The ‘Special Relationship’ to reach new heights in the years ahead
The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has reaffirmed the UK’s ambition to work closer together than ever before with the United States to tackle shared threats as Britain expands its horizons across the globe.
Mr Williamson was a panellist at the Reagan National Defense Forum, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, where he discussed the importance of allies working collectively in the modern world.
During the conference, he also held a one-to-one bilateral meeting with US Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, to discuss how to combat emerging threats, both state-based and from extremist organisations.
The Defence Secretary also visited Edwards Air Force Base, home to the US’ Air Force Test Pilot School and NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.
The UK is the US’ only tier one partner on the F-35 programme, the biggest defence project in history. That partnership led to a historic moment in September, when the first batch of F-35 jets landed on the UK’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, off the east coast of the US.
Unmanned Air Systems and a Common Missile Compartment for UK-US Ballistic Missile Submarines are other recent examples of collaboration.
An even closer bond is expected after Brexit, as the UK establishes new relationships and trade deals outside of Europe.
Mr Williamson said: “The UK has been with the US through thick and thin – we share values and stand together in global leadership. The UK is not slipping back to our shores but is in fact stepping out.
“Our budget is rising year-on-year, boosted by more than a billion dollars to invest in Armed Forces, and in 2019 we are poised to take our great relationship to even greater heights.”
image © Crown Copyright
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