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US, UK sign joint armed forces modernization agreement

The US Army is already exploring improved mission systems configurations for both the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft programs. Photo: Bell and Sikorsky via US Army

The UK armed forces minister James Heappey and US Army secretary Ryan McCarthy have signed a memorandum of agreement on joint modernization of both the British and US Army.

The agreement is a sign of intent to formalize a number of ongoing initiatives between the two armies, boosting opportunities to co-operate effectively as modern warfare continues to evolve.

The initial plan aims to cover complementing capabilities from 2023 to 2027, and will focus on future vertical lift with the aim of creating closer affiliation in the development of helicopter capability. Other cooperation points will include work on shared development of digital infrastructure to support UK/US operations, and long range precision fires development.

Other topics will include soldier and ground lethality and assured positioning, navigation and timing (APNT) systems.

“In an age of great power competition and constant conflict, there is an even greater onus on us to work together with our greatest allies,” armed forces minister James Heappey said.

“This partnership allows costly and complex problems to be distributed and helps protect the industrial base through enabling faster innovation and cost-sharing towards achieving our modernization priorities,” US Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy added.

The UK defense ministry said this agreement was in line with the ambitions of the upcoming integrated review. The review will look at modernizing UK military equipment and improving the capability of the country’s armed forces and intelligence agencies.