July 22 (UPI) -- Britain has invested $268 million for another 13 Protector aircraft, Defense Minister Jeremy Queen announced Thursday during a visit to GKN Aerospace, a press release stated.
Protector is a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System equipped with surveillance equipment and precision strike weapons.
The aircraft were ordered from General Atomic Aeronautical Systems and, along with three others, are expected to start service by mid-2024. Britain also invested in four ground control stations and associated support equipment.
"Our fleet of sixteen Protector aircraft equipped with ultra-modern technology will provide the RAF with a vast global reach allowing us to monitor and protect the battlespace for hours on end," Quin said during the visit.
The move is supported by a $33 billion funding of the defense budget and outlined in the Defense Command Paper.
The first three aircraft were ordered last year for a total of $81 million.
Two are complete so far and are undergoing test and evaluation in the United States. They will replace Britain's current fleet of Reaper drones.