The Royal Air Force’s new squadron of “network-enabled swarm drones” may not be ready by the end of 2019, despite Gavin Williamson’s claim that they will be.

In his speech, Williamson said “we expect to see these [drones] ready to be deployed by the end of this year”.

Many cast doubt on this claim early on, with Ulrike Franke, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, highlighting that drone programs historically take far longer to enter service.