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DRONES

Britain and France to jointly invest €2bn in combat drones

France and Britain signed a deal on Thursday to invest as much as €2billion to develop combat drones.

Britain and France to jointly invest €2bn in combat drones
Photo: AFP

France and Britain on Thursday inked a deal to invest more than €2 billion in the development of combat
drones, Paris said in a statement.

“We hope to proceed to the next phase in 2017 to prepare for the full-fledged development of operational demonstrators of air combat drones by 2025,” the statement said.

“This test programme, the most advanced in Europe, will be based on a platform of multi-purpose drones that could provide the basis for future operational capacity beyond 2030,” it said.

“We plan to invest more than two billion euros in this programme,” it said, adding that work would be submitted to a technical review around 2020.

The British and French governments tasked BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation with the feasibility study in November 2014.

The ultimate aim is to have combat drones capable of carrying out surveillance and observation missions, identifying targets and launching strikes in enemy territory, according to the British defence ministry.

Such a drone would be tasked with entering hostile territory ahead of standard manned warplanes.

In addition to the two main groups, Rolls-Royce and Safran were assigned to work on propulsion systems while Selex ES and Thales was put in charge of electronics and sensors.

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IMMIGRATION

French activists furious after UK charters jumbo jet to deport one migrant to France

Britain's deportation of a lone migrant to France aboard a private jet caused outrage in the city of Rennes this week where activists have gone to court to secure his freedom.

French activists furious after UK charters jumbo jet to deport one migrant to France
AFP

Britain's interior ministry was left red-faced last week when it emerged that officials had chartered a jumbo jet to deport a single 27-year-old Sudanese man to France.

French anti-racism group MRAP, which was called on to meet the flight in Rennes to help with asylum procedures, said it had been expecting a crowd.

“To our great surprise we saw a single Sudanese migrant emerge from the jumbo jet,” MRAP, which went to court Wednesday in Rennes to seek his release, said.

Britain's Channel 4 broadcaster reported that the man was deported under a European agreement that asylum applications must be processed in the country where a migrant first arrives.

It quoted the Home Office, Britain's interior ministry, as saying more people had been due to be deported, but were allowed to stay after last minute legal challenges.

MRAP said the man, whom it identified only by his first name Ismail, had survived “Libyan jails, crossing the Mediterranean, living on Parisian sidewalks, the 'Jungle' (migrant camp) of Calais as well as crossing the Channel.”

He had previously been ordered to leave France, which is when he made the voyage illegally to Britain.

MRAP said he was currently under house arrest.

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