“The laser directed energy weapons will work without ammunition and could make an important contribution for future national security,” said Quin.

The minister brought attention to the technological innovations exhibited at the event, taking place at ExCel London, such as AI, automation capabilities, underwater drone swarms and directed energy weapons. He said the UK military is going through a once-in-a-generation modernisation.

“Our Future Combat Air System is not just a sixth-generation system with a virtual brain embracing, artificial intelligence, deep learning novel sensors and communications technologies. It is a partnership where £2bn pounds of government investment is leveraging hundreds of millions from industry, providing opportunities for 2,500 apprentices, and galvanising an entire sector, with strong global alliances, and a world-class industrial base,” he said.

Before cutting the ribbon, Quin reiterated the importance of collaboration, both internationally and across domains, implying one of the key themes of DSEI 2021.

“Success depends increasingly upon international collaboration. We know we are better off when we work together better off in terms of economies of scale and better off in terms of interoperability, and our new defence and security and gospel strategy,” he said.