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Unmanned Drone Development Centre To Be Built By MoD And QinetiQ In Wiltshire

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Drone (generic, non-military)
Drone (generic, non-military)

The Ministry of Defence will establish a new technology centre to rapidly design and develop next-generation unmanned drones.

The centre - the first of its kind in the UK - will be built at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, and will be online by April 2013, the MoD said on Thursday.

Tech research company QinetiQ will establish the centre with the MoD.

Details about the cost of the new centre have not been announced.

The announcement was made at the Farnborough International Airshow.

The Unmanned Air Systems Capability Development Centre (UASCDC) will be used to help ensure "safe, effective, deployable and interoperable" drones are built and put into operation.

It will be used to share data and expertise about drones, accelerate existing drone programs and help the MoD work with industry figures to "make the best use of collective expertise".

Fiona Lewinton, QinetiQ UASCDC Account Director said,

"We are implementing a new approach so that we can combine our people's in-depth understanding of air vehicle engineering, release-to-service, integration of command and control and communications systems, and above all safety, with that of the full range of suppliers.

"This combined approach will allow new UAS capabilities to be brought to life more efficiently and effectively than before."

Meanwhile Britain looks set to sign two deals with France to develop more modern unmanned vehicles.

The FT said that the deals will be signed next month, despite suspicions that new president Francois Hollande is less willing to go ahead with the deal than his predecessor.