Britain’s defence chief reminded Russia that NATO air forces – which outnumber Russia’s 3 to 1 – would quickly establish air superiority and that NATO warships would bottle up the Russian Navy in the Barents and the Baltic.

Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin gave a keynote speech at Chatham House Security and Defence Conference on 27 February 2024.

The following is an excerpt.

“Britain is safe. We are safe because we are part of NATO, the world’s largest and strongest alliance and also because we are a responsible nuclear power.

That doesn’t mean that we couldn’t face attacks.  We already do every day in the cyber domain.  We could have random attacks in space, on underwater cables, and attempted violations of our air and maritime sovereignty.  The most likely protagonist is Russia.  We have been clear about that. But the dilemma for Russia is huge. 

The inescapable fact is that any Russian assault or incursion against NATO would prompt an overwhelming response.

The thousands of Allied troops currently stationed in Poland and the Baltic states could draw on the 3.5 million uniformed personnel across the Alliance for reinforcement. 

NATO’s combat air forces – which outnumber Russia’s 3 to 1 – would quickly establish air superiority. NATO’s maritime forces would bottle up the Russian Navy in the Barents and the Baltic, just as Ukraine pushed the Black Sea Fleet from Crimea.  NATO has four times as many ships and three times as many submarines as Russia.

Britain would be at the heart of this response, contributing 25% of Alliance strength at sea, and 10% of land and air, plus our cyber and space capabilities, and our Special Forces. This is an Alliance that is becoming stronger all the time. Growing from 30 to 32 nations. With a collective GDP twenty times greater than Russia.  And a total defence budget three-and-a-half times more than Russia and China combined. 

Plus NATO has the additional strategic depth of a population of over 1 billion.  And sitting above all of this is NATO as a nuclear alliance. The biggest reason that Putin doesn’t want a conflict with NATO is because Russia will lose. And lose quickly.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Roy
Roy (@guest_798612)
3 months ago

“Russia will lose. And lose quickly”

This is also the essence of why the British Government believes that the defence budget can be safely cut.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne (@guest_798652)
3 months ago
Reply to  Roy

We are investing too much cash in both welfare, pensions and the NHS. It is literally bankrupting the UK. we have 5.8 million people of working age in receipt of some form of government handout. This is why immigration has skyrocketed as the Tories have put in a box (too hard to handle). That is why we have managed decline, awful birth rates (as housing is expensive because of immigration) and essentially a country in terminal decline. Reform welfare, pensions and the NHS and we may just have a future…fail to do that and Rochdale is the future for the… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_798658)
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Throughout history, the home financial state should not dictate military spending as defence is the prime responsibility of the UK government. How defence is funded if the internal workings are collapsing would be an extraordinary tax measure just as the British monarchy did for centuries.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne (@guest_798770)
3 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

More tax is the answer….it’s quite the reverse we need less tax to enable business and people to thrive. I would cut welfare to foreigners if they haven’t contributed at least 20 years to the state. I would reduce mass immigration to less than 1000 people. I would then raise retirement ages to 75 and make it impossible for people to claim welfare if they are fit and healthy. No one should be on the dole these days if they are fit and healthy. Then and only then would I raise investment in the armed services to 3% of GDP.

Pleiades
Pleiades (@guest_798891)
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Yeah sure, sounds like Truss the lettuce speaking – and we all know how that turned out; but you still blame others for your many and manifest failings LOL 😂

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_798698)
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

I think the real thing we can’t afford is the ultra rich hoovering wealth from UK circulation to be squirreld away offshore leaving even less for services that made our civilised society work. It’s not the poor or vulnerable that are bamkrupting this country but the cult of greed at the top that has crushed public services mercilessly & sold off the nations assets. When it came to HMG handouts the Tories had no qualms dishing out loads of tax money to unusable or undelivered PPE contracts during covid. They’ve been ripping off public purse on a whole greedier scale… Read more »

Pleiades
Pleiades (@guest_798890)
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Yawn. The right-whingers blaming furriners again after 14 years of failed policies, it’s laughable.

And yes, you’re gonna need immigration (as will every country on Earth) as the birth rate plummets everywhere duh.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_798616)
3 months ago

If only the picture was of a UK airfield.😉

Frank
Frank (@guest_798620)
3 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

To be honest though……. If you actually count the aircraft shown, it probably equates to the entire airworthy compliment of the RAF …. especially as the T1 Typhoons are being withdrawn……. I Sh&t you not.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_798647)
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank

I was thinking of all those lovely F35’s Frank but point sadly taken.🙄

DeeBee
DeeBee (@guest_798666)
3 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Agree mate, the F35 ( all variants) is a superb warbird, I think we are currently in possession of 32 F35Bs, 48 by the end of 2025, as far as I’m aware the government is committed to purchasing at least 72-86( hopefully🤞)

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_798715)
3 months ago
Reply to  DeeBee

Mmm yes 🤞🏻is a good idea, because at present deliveries are way behind schedule. Last year we should have received 7 but only got 2 and more are presently embargoed by the US due to issues with TR3.
As for 48 just remember that 3 of those are development aircraft based in US and will never be operational.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_798752)
3 months ago
Reply to  DeeBee

I think the truest word DeeBee is “hopefully”. Our progress is tragic, although Iwill no doubt be shot down for saying so, and the chances of our having three squadrons of eight by 2030 are receeding fast.🙄 . As for 80 plus I wouldn’t want to bet my pension on it.

Nick Paton
Nick Paton (@guest_798617)
3 months ago

Good Day,

Indeed it seems the British Government is putting its head in the sand ignoring the realities. There is no more peace dividend and as such one should respond and show the aggressor that enough is enough and rearm as quickly as possible instead of cutting capability. Russia and Putin only respect strength! Once again I appeal to somebody in Government to start taking the situation more seriously. Free democracy is a treasure and should be strongly protected with strong capable forces!

On that note, have a nice weekend!

Nick Hamburg Germany ( from the UK)

Chris M
Chris M (@guest_798623)
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick Paton

Agree 100% We need to rearm ASAP back to levels of spending in the 80s. Make him realise that in every department NATO is strong and resolute. It’s only weakness and confusion of purpose that encourages him to take these risks. Perhaps NATO needs to wrong foot and up the ante instead of always responding after Russia acts.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_799381)
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris M

Couldn’t put it better myself 👍

Frank
Frank (@guest_798619)
3 months ago

Well that’s good to hear then…… Maybe we can just scrap the Frigate programme, stop the F35 orders and ditch the Dreadnoughts…… maybe distribute all the money between all the people so that we can all just go on holiday and relax… safely in the Knowledge that NATO will protect us……All hail Sir Tony Ramakin….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_798621)
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Hip Hip….

Frank
Frank (@guest_798626)
3 months ago

lol…… 😄….. I’m right though

Jon
Jon (@guest_798689)
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank

You can’t scrap the frigate programme — that wouldn’t save any money. Instead you can quietly negotiate with Australia to sell them the frigates deeply discounted as they come off the production line. But shush. Don’t tell the RN. This was the lesson of the Falklands War, well of the year before the Falklands War anyway. And it would have worked if it hadn’t been for those meddling Argies.

Frank
Frank (@guest_798747)
3 months ago
Reply to  Jon

😄

PaulW
PaulW (@guest_798630)
3 months ago

And then suddenly Trump gets re-elected and the US decides to look the other way. What then?

Frank
Frank (@guest_798635)
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulW

What then ?….. I’m guessing another American Civil War ……….

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_798644)
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank

That thought has crossed my mind as well, so polarised has US politics become. The worrying thing is politics in many other democracies is similarly becoming increasingly confrontational. For years ordinary people have been looking for a new political deal as the post war order has faded. Here in the UK two PM’s have been murdered by members of the public in recent years and that is just the headline tip of the iceberg. It’s not just a matter of upping our defence spending. We need a leadership capable of giving people hope and a sense of belonging to, and… Read more »

Frank
Frank (@guest_798648)
3 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hey CR…. Thank god you are here…. for a while now, I just Thought I was alone in Thinking……………… Anyway yes mate…. The UK is way more interested in Love Island than loving this Island…….The US has some pretty epic Issues too….I’m not unconvinced that Trump has not got Self Worship in his Plans……. We should be making plans……

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_798668)
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Hi Frank I actually believe that Trump will end up self destructing himself by either running out of Cash or not thinking about the consequences of his actions. I’m a bit of a lateral thinker and an odd thought occurred to me, and made me smile. The US Supreme Court has just agreed to hear his appeal about the President having immunity from all Criminal Acts committed whilst in office. Hasn’t it occurred to him that if he succeeds the present incumbent can then just have him “Wet Jobbed”, then rebalance the Supreme Court, pardon himself and get the decision… Read more »

Frank
Frank (@guest_798736)
3 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

I like your thinking !

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne (@guest_798655)
3 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

have a look at Rochdale if you think American politics is bad. The reform candidate was threatened directly. We have postal votes which comprised 25% of the total votes cast….We had one of the candidates campaigning on the same day as the voting (an illegal act that has a potential prison sentence attached to it). You think we have democracy in this country? We have sectarianism imported from abroad in the last 25 years by both Labour and the Conservatives.

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_798663)
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

What is disturbing is the prospect of another Trump term. The first one ‘Let’s see how he does then judge him’ was a fair assessment. However, the thought of a second term fills me with dread and rightly so. One point I made about Trump was at the end of his first tenure would he leave the White House? As we know, it became a bloody close thing. Hence my warning if he refuses to leave after his second term US politics would be in ruins and the world’s military balance in turmoil. I would guess that would signal to… Read more »

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne (@guest_798800)
3 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

I would be more worried about the senile Biden. Biden has some serious mental health health issues and his senility is beyond doubt.

Jon
Jon (@guest_798690)
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

I’m sorry to say this, Andrew, but I can’t remember a time when politics in Rochdale wasn’t decidedly strange. From Stanley Burgess through Cyril Smith to George Galloway, the good folks of Rochdale can sure pick ’em.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne (@guest_798803)
3 months ago
Reply to  Jon

If you don’t think the recent events in Rochdale are a portent for the future of the UK you have your head well and truly in the sand. We have seen the rise of political Islam in the UK and our children and grandchildren will be the ones picking that tab up. What we are seeing is the extreme left linking themselves to extreme political Islam and this is a dangerous recipe for the UK and everyone included Jewish people.

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_799016)
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

I agreed that those that did not have ID to vote in person in last years LA elections, were illegals anyway! So have now resorted to postal votes!

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_798699)
3 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

“Here in the UK two PM’s have been murdered by members of the public in recent years”

Just realised you meant MPs, not PMs. That would’ve been a terrible porky.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_798702)
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Oops… Typo… Thanks for pointing it out mate. As for making plans, I couldn’t agree more (re your first response). What worries me is the response of politicians to the result in Rochdale. Instead of asking why so many voted for non main stream parties they have all assumed the electorate have gone all extremist. The fact is there is considerable disillusionment with the main parties. The chap who finished second in Rochdale was a local man focused on the community. Perhaps the Westminster politicians should start asking some serious questions of themselves instead of assuming everyone else is wrong.… Read more »

Adrian
Adrian (@guest_798637)
3 months ago

While true, there needs to be recognition that the reason NATO is strong is because historically the US does the heavy lifting along with the UK. Look at all the previous NATO engagements (not strictly NATO but look at the red Sea, only the UK and US has done any kind of shooting), do we as a nation want to fall back into just one of the other freeloaders or actually want to stand up and be counted. There are 2 militaries in NATO that have the capacity to realistically act without the US, that’s the UK and France but… Read more »

Frank
Frank (@guest_798638)
3 months ago
Reply to  Adrian

UK Heavy lift capability has been slashed…….. together with SF insertion capability……

Mark
Mark (@guest_798650)
3 months ago
Reply to  Adrian

If by shooting you mean bombing, yes, if by shooting you mean defence actions with SAMs, no both Germany and France have engaged and destroyed missiles in the Red Sea.

Marked
Marked (@guest_798657)
3 months ago

Is this deja vu or a repeat of what was posted yesterday? Those bs figures he quotes got laughed at least time as well. 25% of the strength at sea. Pull the fekin other one or learn some maths.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_798685)
3 months ago
Reply to  Marked

And what grand information can you share with us all that proves the head of our Armed Force’s wrong?

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_798720)
3 months ago
Reply to  Marked

If you read the proceeding sentence about NATO maritime forces bottling the Russians up in the Baltic and Barents Sea then it takes a different context. And if he means the immediate NATO response that would be available then yep we would be about 25% of that response. It’s pretty interesting when you look at the 2 NATO Maritime standing forces and their compositions. There’s very little US involvement in either. So our bit is U.K, Norway, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Finland. And don’t forget Canada has its Navy split between 2 Oceans, All the rest are in… Read more »

Frank
Frank (@guest_798738)
3 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Nope… apparently It’s a correct and accurate figure… I was told yesterday.. albeit in a rather aggressive condescending manner laced with a few childish insults……… 🙄 It all depends on how you read/view it…. Currently with so many ships out of active service a 25% of what effectively is an area covered by 8 different Countries plus America and France if needed, would appear to be rather optimistic.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_798745)
3 months ago
Reply to  Marked

The figure could be right. RN is bigger than RCN and must be bigger than all other NATO European navies except the French.

geoff
geoff (@guest_798757)
3 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Morning. It also depends on how you calculate 25%. If it is based on tonnage then one QE Class would be more than enough on its own. On weaponry including embarked aircraft plus a Type 45 and an Astute, then 25% would be an easy target. Even on number of hulls, it might be possible in certain circumstances.
Regards from SA-our Navy is in the process of sending a frigate to visit Cuba and Russia and in the process damaging both our international reputation not to mention our economy!!

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_798697)
3 months ago

The UK has fewer ships, fewer aircraft, fewer troops yet still considering more cuts, but we’re somehow making NATO stronger.

But united, we add up to more than Russia just as China’s neighbours outnumber the PRC. I expect that unity is what they’ll be trying to erode.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece (@guest_798707)
3 months ago

Over whelming NATO response … no longer sure of that, especially if the orange American idiot gets re-elected in November.
Until either Trump is taken by Mother Nature or if elected in November and the next 4yrs pass – then not until Trump is off the American political scene can America be relied on to support NATO.

geoff
geoff (@guest_798732)
3 months ago

Tony Radkins speech was reassuring and delivers a note of reality into the debate. However, don’t discount the possibility, even probability that Russia would resort to Nuclear weapons in the event of a large scale conflict with NATO. Some of the utterings from the mouths of he and his henchmen are disturbing to say the least,and given the supposed state of Putins health, what is to stop some insane final act by the Russian president?

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_798766)
3 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Yes, we have to remember that the default mindset of the Russian leaders is paranoia; a bunker mentality. They are frightened to death of being invaded. The other key thing is that ‘Russia’ is not limited by geography; it is construed to be a people. By this logic eastern Ukraine in which about half the population is of Russian extraction is part of ‘greater’ Russia. We are seeing something analogous in Rochdale. The Muslim community there considers its ‘spiritual home’ as it were to be their faith. So the people of Gaza in their minds are ‘kith and kin’. Appeals… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Paul.P
geoff
geoff (@guest_798779)
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Thank you for interesting post Paul. In trying to be as objective as possible here I would say a good analogy would be the Six Counties of Northern Ireland. In the eyes of the ROI, North Eastern Ireland is occupied by the British and despite changing demographics there is probably still a majority for the status quo. The two big differences between the two situations are that the UK would never invade the ROI nor bomb it’s Capital city. The second difference is that the Good Friday Agreement allows for a Referendum on re-unification if/when it is deemed necessary. Russia… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_798836)
3 months ago
Reply to  geoff

I think two concepts are helpful when attempting comparisons. The first is that of ‘a people’. A people can be identified by a the set of things which gives them a unique identity. The English for example might be defined by Shakespeare, Dickens, Wembley, the language, the Legal System, Morris Dancing, warm ale. The Scots would defined by Highland dancing, whisky, haggis, bagpipes, Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson. You get the general idea. The second important idea is colonisation. So I think a good analogy for Ireland is Algeria. The Berber people of North Africa have a unique cultural identity which… Read more »