The United Kingdom was the 4th largest military spender last year, ahead of Russia and every other NATO ally apart from the United States.

The five largest spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia, together accounting for 62 per cent of expenditure, according to new data on global military spending published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Click to enlarge.

Military expenditure reaches record level in the second year of the pandemic

World military spending continued to grow in 2021, reaching an all-time high of $2.1 trillion. This was the seventh consecutive year that spending increased.

“Even amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, world military spending hit record levels,” said Dr Diego Lopes da Silva, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

“There was a slowdown in the rate of real-terms growth due to inflation. In nominal terms, however, military spending grew by 6.1 per cent.”

As a result of a sharp economic recovery in 2021, the global military burden—world military expenditure as a share of world gross domestic product (GDP)—fell by 0.1 percentage points, from 2.3 per cent in 2020 to 2.2 per cent in 2021.

United States focuses on military research and development

US military spending amounted to $801 billion in 2021, a drop of 1.4 per cent from 2020. The US military burden decreased slightly from 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 3.5 per cent in 2021.

US funding for military research and development (R&D) rose by 24 per cent between 2012 and 2021, while arms procurement funding fell by 6.4 per cent over the same period. In 2021 spending on both decreased. However, the drop in R&D spending (–1.2 per cent) was smaller than that in arms procurement spending (–5.4 per cent).

“The increase in R&D spending over the decade 2012–21 suggests that the United States is focusing more on next-generation technologies,” said Alexandra Marksteiner, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

“The US Government has repeatedly stressed the need to preserve the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors.”

Russia increases military budget in run-up to war

Russia increased its military expenditure by 2.9 per cent in 2021, to $65.9 billion, at a time when it was building up its forces along the Ukrainian border. This was the third consecutive year of growth and Russia’s military spending reached 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2021.

“High oil and gas revenues helped Russia to boost its military spending in 2021. Russian military expenditure had been in decline between 2016 and 2019 as a result of low energy prices combined with sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014,” said Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, Director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

The ‘national defence’ budget line, which accounts for around three-quarters of Russia’s total military spending and includes funding for operational costs as well as arms procurement, was revised upwards over the course of the year. The final figure was $48.4 billion, 14 per cent higher than had been budgeted at the end of 2020.

As it has strengthened its defences against Russia, Ukraine’s military spending has risen by 72 per cent since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Spending fell in 2021, to $5.9 billion, but still accounted for 3.2 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Continued increases by major spenders in Asia and Oceania

China, the world’s second-largest spender, allocated an estimated $293 billion to its military in 2021, an increase of 4.7 per cent compared with 2020. China’s military spending has grown for 27 consecutive years. The 2021 Chinese budget was the first under the 14th Five-Year Plan, which runs until 2025.

Following the initial approval of its 2021 budget, the Japanese Government added $7.0 billion to military spending. As a result, spending rose by 7.3 per cent, to $54.1 billion in 2021, the highest annual increase since 1972. Australian military spending also increased in 2021: by 4.0 per cent, to reach $31.8 billion.

“China’s growing assertiveness in and around the South and the East China seas have become a major driver of military spending in countries such as Australia and Japan,” said SIPRI Senior Researcher Dr Nan Tian.

“An example is the AUKUS trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States that foresees the supply of eight nuclear-powered submarines to Australia at an estimated cost of up to $128 billion.”

Other notable developments:         

  • In 2021 Iran’s military budget increased for the first time in four years, to $24.6 billion. Funding for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps continued to grow in 2021—by 14 per cent compared with 2020—and accounted for 34 per cent of Iran’s total military spending.
  • Eight European North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members reached the Alliance’s target of spending 2 per cent or more of GDP on their armed forces in 2021. This is one fewer than in 2020 but up from two in 2014.
  • Nigeria raised its military spending by 56 per cent in 2021, to reach $4.5 billion. The rise came in response to numerous security challenges such as violent extremism and separatist insurgencies.
  • Germany—the third largest spender in Central and Western Europe—spent $56.0 billion on its military in 2021, or 1.3 per cent of its GDP. Military spending was 1.4 per cent lower compared with 2020 due to inflation.
  • In 2021 Qatar’s military spending was $11.6 billion, making it the fifth largest spender in the Middle East. Qatar’s military spending in 2021 was 434 per cent higher than in 2010, when the country last released spending data before 2021.
  • India’s military spending of $76.6 billion ranked third highest in the world. This was up by 0.9 per cent from 2020 and by 33 per cent from 2012. In a push to strengthen the indigenous arms industry, 64 per cent of capital outlays in the military budget of 2021 were earmarked for acquisitions of domestically produced arms.

SIPRI say that they monitor developments in military expenditure worldwide and maintain the most comprehensive, consistent and extensive publicly available data source on military expenditure. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org.

 

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. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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John N
John N
1 month ago

The total amount spent is one thing, yes, more is better.

The real question is, how effectively was it spent?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  John N

In the case of the UK, probably not very well. How can we spend $12bn more than France yet have markedly smaller forces?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

In some areas I think we do spend really well. Typhoon, F35B, P8, T31, QEC (yes I really think they were a bargain). Trouble is on things like armoured vehicles we spend really, really badly. The money was there and the money was spend for a whole pair of QEC’s on, well nothing that can be deployed. If you look at the French forces they choose to spend on numbers rather than heavy lift. Some of their platforms are ancient and given that they are funding all of the upgrades themselves I can’t really believe that they are all cutting… Read more »

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago

“that they fund all the upgrades themselves, I can’t really believe they’re all state of the art.”
It’s the difference between buying your stuff in a foreign country while we buy in France for the French forces.

But I’m curious because according to a French stat, the UK spent exactly the same amount as France, and a little less than Germany (they are the best example of bad spending).

When did the UK increase its budget?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes
Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

Repeating my comment on the main thread.

It’s worth a note that there are a couple of factors in our ‘favour’ here:

1 – This is in $, and both the $ and £ have strengthened against the Euro in the last year or two. Worth 3-5% afaics, which is $2-3bn.

That is for us part of the post-Brexit stabilisation.

2 – Uk defence budget had the largish boost in 2020 (?), which has now been somewhat undermined by a 4-5% increase in inflation.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

France often includes police spending under defence which makes their budget look larger. Gendarmes are technically para military forces but provide zero in effective military forces.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

What is the status of the National Gendarmerie wrt the French Defence Budget (I don’t know), and Armed Forces headcount?

They are listed as part of the Armed Forces, with 102k staff and a budget of 7.7 bn Euro.

Which pot does that fall under?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Gendarmerie

Do the French (and especially Italian?) versions of the RNLI fall under the Defence Budgets of those countries?

(Equally UK Defence Pensions for comparisons the other way?)

What about coastguard helicopter rescue services?

Suspect there are wrinkles everywhere !

Last edited 1 month ago by Matt
Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

So, Il Corpo delle capitanerie di porto, which is more akin to Border Force+Coast Guard+RNLI is technically part of the Marina Militare, but much like the RFA it’s members are uniformed civilians not officially members of the Navy, but it’s funding basically comes from which ever department uses it’s resources if that makes sense? So for example the Reparto Pesca Marittima is founded by the ministry of Agriculture because Fisheries falls under their purview, but Gli Offici di collacomento di genti del Mare falls under the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies. In practice this means that the Capitani di… Read more »

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks for that.

Comparisons are v. difficult, as ever.

I came across the RNLI one when thick-as-a-plank-and-ignorant-as-sin journos were publishing tables of how “few” boats the UK had available to regulate fishing waters post-Brexit, compared with the ‘hundreds’ available to Italy.

It always needs a second look.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

When you see French defended spending above 2% of GDP and larger than UK it’s generally because it includes gendarmerie. All NATO defence spending includes pensions and coast guards also a part of it although RNLI is not as it’s civilian volunteer.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

Appreciate the reply.

Ian
Ian
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

Since these ‘cash terms’ comparisons are all quoted as USD-equivalents, exchange rate fluctuations are always a factor. Also the actual value of exchange-rate comparisons versus those based on purchasing power parity depends on how much capability is indigenous versus imported.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago

Those carriers are even more of a bargain than you think. IIRC the build was put hold for a couple of years by Cameron which inflated the costs. If we wanted another two carriers we could probably build them for less or the same price depending on how messed up inflation changes the figures.

Geordie
Geordie
1 month ago

Would be better off with 4 large carrier rather than 2 large and 2 helicopters carriers answers on postcard

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  Geordie

I absolutely agree mate, especially if we’re going down the route of using F35B + Drones on the carriers.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Geordie

Its all about what you want the carriers for. A QEC is a remarkably efficient design. Being able to deploy a 72000 tonnes full load carrier capable of supporting 50 aircraft in surge conditions with just 1600 crew is excellent. I think the QEC will evolve over time to carry UAVs and likely F35Bs with a loyal wngman type of drone swarm. Would I like to see 2 more QECs? Why not? But only if we have enough warships and subs to support them. Get the RN surface warship fleet (escorts) back upto 26-30 and attack subs upto 10 again… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I’d like future carriers to be nuclear powered. Trailing that fuel around is ball and chain to any operation. Perhaps when future modular reactors come along?

barry white
barry white
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan

People seem to forget you will still need supply ships
Food
Ammo
Fuel for the aircraft
Spares etc
So whats the point of nuclear

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  barry white

I’m not saying to go nuclear but from what i’ve read you do get a lot more room inside for planes drones ammo and jet fuel.

Northco
Northco
1 month ago
Reply to  barry white

Nuclear gives you more room to store fuel and spares…etc, so you dont need to re-supply as often

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  barry white

More power for future electrical systems. Smaller supply footprint and reduced logistics overhead, less on board fuel storage. The capability for producing enough electrical power to produce the strike group’s own synthetic hydrocarbon based fuels.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan

Hmmm Nathan the US carriers are nuclear powered yes. Gerald Ford cost $14 billion dollars. More than x3 QEC. She does not deploy 3x the aircraft numbers vs QEC nor does she manage 3x sortie rate. The QEC might as well be gas turbine driven because her escorts are as well and the escort warships as a minimum would still need an accompanying tanker. Just like a US carrier battle group. The pragmatic approach to QEC design philosophy learnt after type 45 propulaion debacle was to go with a proven power plant offering reliability, seperation of machine spaces, redundancy etc.… Read more »

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

QE is supposed to carry a max of 36 x F35B, GRF can manage in excess of 90 aircraft including F35C, thats 3 times more…. yes GRF was more expensive but she incorporates emals etc designed to reduce stress levels in airframes giving them a greater life expectancy and saving the USN a lot of money in the long term.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul42
Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Paul 36 is actual a very low end figure, Vice admiral Jerry Kidd was Quoted as saying they could carry around 70 aircraft as a maximum war load. The 36 is the maximum jobbing air wing.

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

They could double their aircraft capacity/capability ?…really? That seems a big jump to me – still what do I know.
I know we will never find out as we will never have that many F35Bs so somewhat of a moot point.
If we were going to do anything id prefer a big fuck off nuclear carrrier…once we got the rest of the fleet sorted of course…

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

The problem is there are a lot of different “max” figures. 36 is the maximum effective fixed wing load a Queen Elizabeth Carrier can take. Basically you can stuff more aircraft on board but once you exceed 36 F-35s the tetris game of moving the aircraft around the deck to get them into the hangar for repairs/launched/recovered becomes so complicated that you start to loose returns. So the most efficient Max for a Queen Elizabeth is about 40 aircraft all in (36 F-35’s + 4 Merlin Crowsnests). But she can fit more on and still operate. The maximum operable number… Read more »

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

90 aircraft is with fixed wing and helicopters. Today’s Nimitz class usually deploy around 70 aircraft. With around 45 being fast jets.

Ron
Ron
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

No, the QE is designed for a 72 F35B theoretical surge capacity. It does mean that the helicopter component would come from her escorts, so I would imagine 60 aircraft to be the max at surge capacity for sustained operations. The 36+4 number is max peace time operation.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

I would say a typical Gulf War ‘type’ deployment in 2030 would break down to the following… 36 X F35 12 X Merlin MK2 5 X Merlin MK4 =53 That covers a strike carrier role very effectively, with AEW, ASW, and Cod roles also covered. If we were also supporting an Amphibious landing from the carrier, we could also add another 10 MK4 Merlin, or a Merlin Chinook mix that could start to max out the air group up towards 70. Operations with 70 odd airframes would be vexing I would think, they have very large decks and hanger space,… Read more »

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

QE can carry 35 F35s on top of the other support aircraft… The GRF can carry 90 aircraft which includes F35s… So it carries around double the aircraft in normal conditions, However as others have pointed out the QE can potentially carry more than 35 F35s if needed.

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Slightly off topic, but we are talking about future carriers. Eventually, electrical power will be so plentiful and given electrical machines’ inherently superior torque/weight and efficiency characteristics over hydrocarbon based fuels – the latter won’t even be considered. Tokomak Fusion based out of Oxfordshire has just proved their design, ST40, can hit 100m degC. This verifies their approach will achieve net energy when scaled up, they are now upgrading to hit next milestone (2025). At this rate, we’ll have a commercial, fusion reactor by 2035. The next generation (or intergeneration) of carriers won’t be coming along in 5-10 years. 15-20… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan

And when inevitably nuclear powered warships get sunk we irradiate the seas & our seafood for 1,000s of years. I’d rather live with the “ball & chain” than that.

Northco
Northco
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Take away the ball and chain and the fleet is dead in the water

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan

The aircraft need fuel though. So you still need the supply ship.

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Hughes

We are talking about future carriers. With surplus electrical power from a nuclear generator, reverse osmosis and electrolysation they could produce synthetic fuels on board for the aircraft – or just used hydrogen, which is what a lot of rockets use.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan

They thought about that carefully aiui, and a Carrier Group always has an RFA along, which carries fuel for all the others even with a nuclear carrier.

So the trade off is no need to refuel one ship from a resource which is always there, in exchange for exclusion from a huge % of the world’s ports which ban nuclear powered vessels. Plus billions on the cost of the carrier (see the budget for the next French one).

I really make that a no-brainer in favour of conventional propulsion for the carriers.

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan

Nuclear brings its own issues. You have to have a Nuclear capable port to dock in… There are not many of those in the world… Some countries ban Nuclear too. Even the ports that are capable of docking a Nuclear vessel need a long notice period in order to be ready for it to happen.

Graham
Graham
28 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

No. There is one theoretical advantage to nuclear powered carriers and at least half a dozen disadvantages. USS George Washington is in a shipyard for a 4 year period for reactor refuelling and overhaul and incidentally, sadly several of the crew have committed suicide.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Geordie

What would we realistically do with 4 carriers? 2 seems more than enough even if we get sea vixen.

Graham
Graham
28 days ago
Reply to  Martin

With 2 carriers, as they age, we will only have a 70% chance of 1 of them being available for operations. With 3, there is a 100% chance of 1 being available. We needed 2 carriers to retake the Falklands, hence why some say we need 4 carriers.

Ron
Ron
1 month ago
Reply to  Geordie

Two large carriers and 6 T83s with a through deck for helicopters. Yeep I am thinking along the lines of a T83 armed destroyer with a deck for four heli spots and a hanger for 12 and possibly four LCVPs in boat bays. Possibly use the Hyuga class helicopter destroyer as a base concept. With a 5in or 57mm, 4×40 mm, 3x CIWS, 64 Mk41s, 24-32 Sea Ceptor and 8 anti ship missiles, they could operate as carrier escort, anti submarine flottila flagships, convoy escort carriers or Royal Marine assault ship.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

I also think that building modules in different yards around the country and floating them all up to Scotland for integration must have been very inefficient and costly – just done to appease MPs in marginal constituencies.
The hoo-ha about first mandating F-35B with ski jump, then cats and traps for F-35C, then FFBNW cats and traps, then F-35B (no FFBNW) – was ridiculous and wasted time and money too.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It allowed for serious competition between yards and kept prices down. That’s what the national shipbuilding strategy recommended to continue it.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I also think that building modules in different yards around the country and floating them all up to Scotland for integration must have been very inefficient and costly – just done to appease MPs in marginal constituencies. I honestly do not know but i thought that’s how they actually saved a lot of money. As the other shipyards did it on the side so it meant less needed to be employed full time by the ones doing the main building. That’s probably a load of nonsense i picked up from listening to some MP in the news. You know what… Read more »

Graham
Graham
28 days ago

I totally agree. Under the rule of 3, you need 3 platforms to guarantee availability of 1 to deploy. Clearly that is more a truism as the ships age. We should have 3 carriers and an LPH.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

I totally agree that Osbourne inflated the cost of the carriers.

I don’t honestly think we would know what to do with 4 x QEC.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago

I don’t honestly think we would know what to do with 4 x QEC. With this global Britain stuff, we’re supposed to be pivoting towards Asia. So we could probably base one over in Aus as part of AUKUS deal. They’ve got subs and frigates that could act as escorts same with the Koreans & Japs even the Indians. I’m sure they would love to have a carrier based over there as big swinging dick to wave at the CCP. It would make a great recruitment tool as well. Instead of all the woke crap have the QEC doing a… Read more »

Martin
Martin
1 month ago

Not to let Osbourne of the hook but the 1 year delay requested by the MOD that added £1billion to the price I believe happened in 2008 before Osbourne.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

That’s what i remember being quoted at the time.

Last edited 1 month ago by ExcalibursTemplar
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

Yep, under previous gov, like so much else folk are happy to forget the cuts 98 to 2009 with SDSR2010 being the main bad guy.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago

The budget was not actually cut between 98 and 09, cost overruns certainly but largely on programs such as typhoon ,MRA4 and Astute that were all started by major government and a department fighting two wars at the same time is always going to need more money. The massive axe fell in 2010 and if your remember after gutting the MOD Osbourne put in his little coup de grâce of offloading the successor submarine program to the MOD core budget from the treasury contingency fund which is what really f**ked the MOD budget.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

Totally agree Martin – especially regarding Osborne’s gem of a body blow by moving the cost of the nuclear deterrent into the MOD core budget – I read before that this accounts for ~7% of the total MOD annual budget. Can you imagine what the MOD could do with that 7%? What amazed me too at the time, was the distinct lack of outcry – hardly a murmur!

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago

Couldn’t agree more. The other part of the equation is the cost creep of keeping older assets updated , particularly RN
ships. The type 23 as an example. Deferment and delay in their replacement invariably means a rise in costs as well as maintaining/upgrading the older vessels.

Glass half full though, it’s not a terrible show though being 4th highest defence spend globally. I remain hopeful events in Europe will drive more UK defence investment.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

Very true Daniele….

Blair actually started well, with a proper ( ish) defence review and continuing the Renaissance of our Amphibious capability started by the Tories …. Then he decided to sign us up for every war he could find and the cuts started to fund the never ending and utterly pointless sandbox wars that achieved absolutely sod all…

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago

I just thought I’m sure I remember at the time they said delaying the carrier build would add an extra billion to the cost.

Do you actually know how much extra the delay cost ?

Graham
Graham
28 days ago

1 could be Far East/Asia/Australia based, 1 could be in refit/maintenance and 2 could be in home port ready for tasking.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

AFAICS we could build Uncle Sam full on carriers for about the same as is being paid for their latest “how many F35Bs can we get on this” landing platforms.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

The daft sods would probably never do that though. Even though they would more than likely just buy the design and build them themselves.

Last edited 1 month ago by ExcalibursTemplar
Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Are they really though? Outside the Falklands, when was the last war that a carrier was actually needed. They have been useful in various wars, but I’m talking needed. That money would have probably been better spent elsewhere on gear or personal that will be needed to fight the wars we are like to fight, rather than vanity project which was the main reason for them.

We will get good use out of them, but value for money I disagree with.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

They are compared to a US carrier which cost $10 bill a pop.

Grant
Grant
1 month ago

Lets get enough aircraft for the two we’ve got! We could use a few more large decks…. not necessarily as big as the aircraft carriers… couple of LPHs would do. Such a vessel would of been far better suited to the cold response exercise.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  Grant

I’ve got a feeling after what’s gone on in the Ukraine (Bayraktar TB2) they might go all in on drones. Even a couple of years back I was hearing talk they were toying with the idea of Drone based carriers.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

Thanks mate. As an ex-army guy and then a civvy contractor at Abbey Wood, I am mortified at the number of very poorly run AFV procurement and modernisation projects over many decades.
The last decent tracked vehicles procurement was 33 Trojan and 33 Titan vehicles for the Sappers in about 2002. All other tracked vehs procurement or upgrades projects have gone badly – if fingers had been pulled out with WCSP, then all WRs could have been modernised a few years ago.
Not much wrong with the wheeled PM vehicles procurement for Op Herrick (Afghan).

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I knew you were army based on our previous discussion.

I agree the wheeled PM for Herrick went quite well. Mainly because there wasn’t an over long development phase for things to get over complicated.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

They were UORs, no time to F it up by adding endless extra requirements.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

Yep, most UORs were MOTS and needed very little modification to get them to TES.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

How many Warriors do we have? Why not re-instate WCSP? Create UK jobs and very likely renew the inventory as quickly as buying something like CV90. And while we are at it create a reconnaissance version.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Qty 789 were built for the British Army which would have been split into UE (Unit Establishment), Trg Org, RP (Repair Pool) and WMR (War Maintenance Reserve, which I think is called Attrition Reserve now). I have no idea how many have been written off over the years but am fairly sure that none have been sold or decommissioned by scrapping. I do not know how the current fleet is broken down into those above categories by number. Under WFM, units do not now have their full UE as they used to, with most such vehicles being rusticated away to… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Not sure re-starting WCSP is a good idea. Jack Watling from RUSI mentioned in an interview on whether CH3 upgrade might get cancelled at some point, that the Warrior turrets were all individually matched to the hulls. This means every new CT40 turret would need to be custom fitted to each old hull. That sounds like it would drive both cost and potentially quality/reliability issues in service. I’m reminded of a “Nimrod wings” deja vu all over again situation that we surely don’t want to repeat. BTW in the interview he observed that Challenger 2 having been developed about two… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

Interesting. WCSP development is either fully done or very nearly so therfore production could start swiftly – it gives a fantastic life extension to a very good underlying vehicle. It gives the Infantry what they want and need – a modernised IFV that is a good partner for CR3. It saves us introducing a potentially inferior and expensive replacement (Boxer). I had not heard that the WR turret rings were all different – that I had not expected. Is it true? Odd that there should have been a discussion about cancellation of the CR3 project – if that project is… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Saw on Twitter recently the WCSP prototypes being scrapped. They didn’t waste any time.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

You can find Jack Watling’s response to the speculative question of whether CH3 turret upgrade could go the same way as WCSP at the link below. Its the second video in the article. Its quite interesting as its the only time I’ve seen these points made wrt WCSP. Wrt to CH3 he thinks cancellation is unlikely simply because the BA have nothing else available in the numbers (or at all) to support infantry … but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks for CH3, which he outlines. Its not the ISDs that are the issue in this case, its when the… Read more »

Graham
Graham
28 days ago

Just seen Jack Watlings second video. His point about wear patterns is true, but I would have thought that the turret ring would be replaced before dropping in the new turret. It is speculation that CR3 might be 80 tonnes and this is a bit heavier than the 72 tonnes of a combat loaded TES CR2, so logistics would take a hit. Not sure if AVLB could take 80t tanks. CR3 is far more than a turret upgrade of course. Tanks also do more than support Infantry too, but it is inconceivable that they would ever operate outside a combined… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Indeed. The money existed up to 2015 to update the 3 Armoured Infantry Brigades with Warrior, Challenger and AS90 all updated and Ajax coming in.

The army then threw everything on its head, invented Strike and ordered Boxer and wheels and is in the mess its in now.

The budget is not the issue. So much of ours goes into operating SSN/SSBN and having the ability to deploy persistently overseas.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Particularly SSBN. Even though the government has chosen to take “silent service” to include not commenting on how the money is spent, we can be sure that the extra £15bn injected into the Defence Nuclear ten-year budget last year (separate from the Dreadnought contingency bucket) means they are bailing themselves out of past mess ups. To be fair, now they’ve increased the cap on nuclear warheads they may also have to pay to reassemble the ones they’ve spent the last ten years disassembling, all at excruciating cost. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that they won’t be keeping the disassembly… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago

The budget is not the issue. So much of ours goes into operating SSN/SSBN and having the ability to deploy persistently overseas.

Is that because we have to few and are over spending trying to keep them running all the time. Or is it just a general cost of running thing ?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

The latter. One look at the TLBs for the next decade, Top Level Budgets, of the 3 services, STCom, and DES equipment and maintenance budgets shows the biggest slice by far goes into the submarine area. Forget off my head how much but 30 billion something? That goes on Successor SSBN, current Vs, the SSNs, and the costs of SWE, AWE, NARO, the organisation’s pinning it all together.

It’s not a cheap business, what would those 30 billions over a decade buy regards conventional kit? It’s a political decision to be a nuclear power and it costs, a lot.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago

£3 billion a year in maintenance doesn’t seem to bad. Considering it makes the UK untouchable, well for now.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

Daniele,

Boxer was originally (way back in the day) to replace the residual FV430s that had (foolishly) not been replaced by WR variants, and Saxon. Not much wrong with that decision.

Later decisions on Boxer were less good!

Has anyone yet seen a MoD definition of ‘Strike’? Can a rather average, under-armed and hugely expensive APC like Boxer even do Strike, if Strike includes delivering accurate and heavy direct fire at hard targets at medium and long range?

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

You seem to have a thing against Boxers? Its only under-armed if there are no modules developed to address that.

There is no reason why Boxer modules can’t support CT40, 120mm direct/indirect fire mortar, 105/120mm assault gun, ATGM missiles, Brimstone, SHORAD etc. The issue is that none of these are likely to make it into full production as approved platforms before the end of the decade unless the projects have already started, which is one reason why CH3 was needed.

Tim
Tim
1 month ago

Do we really spend well on Typhoon? We’re just about to bin the T1’s with half their life left. We still don’t have conformal tanks. We took ages to integrate Meteor. We don’t have a ASM for it. It’s supported by a 220ton A330 for AAR even when only one QRA Typhoon is up. We don’t really have enough of them. RAF squadrons with only 8 aircraft are run by Wing Commanders. Sure it’s a good aircraft, but I don’t think we’re quite a savvy with our money as we could be.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim

The RAF always does a great job of getting the true capability out of its aircraft about five minutes before it scraps them.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim

RAF squadrons have been run by Wingcos for decades.

Rob N
Rob N
19 days ago

Yes for APCs and IFVs we should buy proven off the shelf stuff. We should also force manufacturers of land vehicles to prove their platforms BEFORE scale manufacture. It goes without saying we should scrap Ajax – you can wrap a turd in glitter but it is still a turd. We should not persist with programs that are not working spending more and more money on the argument that we have spent so much already so we must continue. We should cut programmes like we did with Nimrod MK4 and buy something better (P8).

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Exactly!! Take a good deep look at the UK armed forces and its very disturbing……..the RN doesn’t even have a modern anti-ship missile……or enough planes to put on just one of its carriers……The RAF has ever decreasing numbers of aircraft, notably in fast jets and doesn’t have enough crews to actually crew all its P8s, plus of course no AEW capability at all….. As for the army…..deeply hollowed out …only 148 Challengers to be updated, the Ajax programme in severe trouble, Boxers without turrets and ongoing g arguments over the replacements for the AS90……. Its a joke……where is all the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

SSN. SSBN. Incompetence. Overseas bases. Gold plating when not necessary. Ajax, Boxer, both very expensive. Successor. AWE sites, GOSCC, Pathfinder, 2 billion plus on SF, niche intel capabilities, and the list goes on.

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We don’t have a smaller force than the French. 6 years ago the French looked closely at what the UK was doing whether you agree with it or not. The French reduced thier main battle tank numbers, reduced the number of frigates and manpower and restructured the military. Gone are legacy equipment with a focus on new and high tech weaponry. It’s the same with Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace. France realised the need for heavy lift in transport and rotary aircraft to fill a capability gap and a reduction on the different types of fast jets ie, Mirage… Read more »

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Quite enjoyed Armee de l’Espace.

Where the Yanks have Hummers, the frogs get secondhand MPVs from Renault 🙂 .

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Mark, you must be joking? Just looked at Global Firepower Index> Navy – French have a fleet size of 105 platforms greater than RN; 3 LPH to our nil, 10 DD to our 6, 17 MCMV to our 11. Granted we have one more carrier. Army – French have 118,600 regs to our c.80,000; 406 tanks to our 227; 6558 other AFVs to our 5015; 109 SPGs to our 79. Air Force – French have 1055 a/c to our 693 of which they have: 266 fighters to our 119; 125 Transports to our 40; 46 special mission aircraft to our… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Uh… right: That 105 number includes tugs, Auxiliaries, survey ships. So lets have a slightly more honest comparison: *RN includes RFA and Serco Marine services as RFA and SD equivalents are under MN in the French system. Aircraft Carriers: MN: 1 RN: 2 Amphibious Warfare Ships MN: 3 RN: 5 Surface Escorts MN: 15 (2 Horizon, 7 FREMM, 5 Lafayette, 1 Georges Leygues) RN: 18 (6 Daring, 12 Iron Duke) Submarines: MN: 10 RN: 9 Patrol: MN: 21 RN: 24 MCMV: MN: 17 RN: 11 Tankers: MN: 2 RN: 6 Support Ships: MN: 8 RN: 14 Hospital Ships: MN: 0… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
28 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Dern,

Thanks so much for taking the trouble to do such a comprehensive post. You are right. Global Firepower Index has those faults – and others.

I recall it put India, Japan, South Korea and France (as well as US, Russia, China) above the UK – despite India, Japan, South Korea having little expeditionary warfare experience and France having much less than the UK; Japan and Sth Korea not having nuclear weapons. Etc.

Dern
Dern
28 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

No worries, I just really dislike GFI, it’s up there with infographics show for having really bad data because they just do really surface level analysis without even a cursory look at the data they are reporting on.

I set little stock in “Military Rankings” because simply put how a ranking system falls out comes down to a rankers own priorities, so I have no problem with them ranking eg Japan higher than the UK, but I do take issue with them not reporting accurate numbers because they didn’t bother to eg realise the RFA exists.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It isn’t simply about numbers. It’s capability, technology, training and personnel.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Yes, I get that. But platform and manpower count is still important. Someone once said: ‘Quantity has a Quality all of its own.’
Without quantity your capabilities are cut back – the Army could not now do another Gulf War 1 (Op Granby) or Afghanistan operation (Op Herrick) – and your ability to conduct mutiple simultaneous operations or a long term roulemont operation diminishes.
If ‘The Troubles’ in NI ever re-started I doubt we could do much in the way of expeditionary operations involving the Infantry at the same time.

Steve R
Steve R
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

France has more of a hi/lo mix of technology e.g. Rafale/Mirage whereas we have a hi/higher e.g. Typhoon/F35

We have a larger navy than France, they have a larger army than we do.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve R

French Navy has 180 vessels to our 75, according to Global Firepower Index; 3 LPH to our nil, 10 DD to our 6; 17 MCMV to our 11. Granted we have 1 more carrier.

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Because we choose the Free Market principles to get better value for money …oh hang on a minute…

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Did you see the French intervention in Mali? Even deployment of a small light force required everyone one else to provide the helicopters and strategic lift.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

Was that because the French lacked helos or strategic lift or because politics favoured a coalition enterprise? French air force has 125 transport a/c to our 40 and 435 helos to our 235 – so I am sure they could have done things on their own if they had to or wanted to.

Ross
Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Figures seldom tell the full picture (for exam defence pensions were added to the overall defence budget as was the cost of our Nuclear forces, both of which were previously paid out of the Treasury budget previously). In addition to that our force size it deceptive as we are far more capable in projecting that power aboard. The UK in the last 10 years has quietly, but significantly, invested in upgrading and creating new overseas military bases, not least the two carriers over the rather tired French one, in addition to the superior Typhoons that outperform their French counterparts, or… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Ross

Spot on. The elephant in the room being successor costs into core is often forgotten. I believe previously only operational costs were under MoD.

An Osborne ploy, along with pensions.

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago

Why don’t the press/media call this out? Surely the defence correspondents should be flagging this?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Klonkie

One, they have other more sensationalist stuff to dig up?

Two, are there any defence journalists 8n the mainstream media who actually know their onions like some on this site? Cannot think of any.

I still recall the useless guy who “interrogated” General Carter over A2020 refine which then was broadcast on forces news. Could have crucified him, but didn’t.

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago

Its’ a sorry state of affairs , but what can one do.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

I have it on good authority that some non-Defence Intelligence has been woven into the Defence Budget too.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Ross

Ross, I agree with the thrust of your comment. But our reduced manpower and platform numbers inhibit us from doing as much as we once did – the army could not do ‘another’ Gulf War 1 or an enduring operation on the scale (Brigade Group) of Op Herrick (Afghanistan).
If the Troubles in NI ever kicked off again, that would tie up most of the Infantry who would be pushed to also do much by way of overseas operations.
Does anyone really think that 5-7 SSNs or 6 destroyers is enough?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Ross

I agree but size is not unimportant. The army could not do ‘another’ Gulf War 1 or an enduring op of the scale of Op Herrick (Afghanistan).
If The Troubles kicked off again the Infantry would find it hard to also undertake overseas operations.
Similarly, does anyone think that 5-7 SSNs or 6 DD is enough or just 7 RAF fighter squadrons?

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

In which way do we have “markedly” smaller forces?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Hi Geoff, Just looked at Global Firepower Index> Navy – French have a fleet size of 105 platforms greater than RN; 3 LPH to our nil, 10 DD to our 6, 17 MCMV to our 11. Granted we have one more carrier. Army – French have 118,600 regs to our c.80,000; 406 tanks to our 227; 6558 other AFVs to our 5015; 109 SPGs to our 79. Air Force – French have 1055 a/c to our 693 of which they have: 266 fighters to our 119; 125 Transports to our 40; 46 special mission aircraft to our 20; 435 helos… Read more »

Ian
Ian
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We also have markedly smaller forces than Russia despite a larger spend. The reasons for that are starting to become clearer. The total spend accounts for hardware, manpower and training efforts, and the apparent size of the force is the consequence of the trade-off decisions between those outlays within a finite budget.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  John N

I would also be interested in the normalised values, adjusting for relative cost of the country, such as salaries etc. Would be interesting to see where we end up

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

Curious that our pre Cold War 2 defence plans, as set out SDSR 2020 are still in play, at least in the public arena….

I wonder if the Government see Russian humiliation in the Ukraine as proof of concept that it’s high tech, low manning plan has been vindicated?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Are you defining Cold War 2 as that which started in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea or in 2021 when Russian forces massed against the Ukraine border? Why wouldn’t SDSR 2020 still be relevant to 2021 defence spend data? It was only the next year. SDSR 2020 surely talked about the threat to world order posed by a resurgent and aggressive Russia? But it may need a ‘New Chapter’ as happened when AQ attacked the USA on 9/11. If the UK wanted to invade a neighbouring sovereign country (a ghastly thought), or participate in a NATO operation against a clear… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Afternoon Graham, well the West made the mistake of ignoring the 2014 invasion, just playing lip service and a few token sanctions, then we did the same with an actual state ordered and carried chemical attack! A massive mistake of ‘biblical’ proportions… Putin thought these soft Westerners will do sod all no matter of what I do…. So I would say Cold War 2 actually kicked off in February this year when the first T90 crossed the Ukrainian boarder … We literally couldn’t ignore it anymore! We seem determined to go fully high tech and reduce personnel numbers to the… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I’m sure once this is over (or once it’s at least settled into a clear stalemate if not over) there is going to be another review of sorts to determine where we head next in defence spending, what’s type of weapons are needed and of course how we replace what we have given. That’s inevitable as this will demonstrate the effectiveness of many weapons (or otherwise) against the very enemy they were designed to operate for real against, rather than purely in theory or test scenarios, be they representative or otherwise. Just hope however this isn’t used as an excuse… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I’m sure you’re right. But I’d argue that quantity has proven to have a real quality all of its own. I thought I’d read that Russia had lost as much armour as Germany possess – and still they’re pressing on. Whether or not the Russian kit is any good – they’re still going, still fighting after an insurgency / asymmetrical campaign that would have left most in the West reeling. In my opinion I think it illustrates we can cut back a little on the very high end equipment but we should seriously bulk up on the low end systems… Read more »

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
1 month ago

We have so little to show for it. Right now we have just under 130 fast jets, a few working AS90sm under 80k Army personnel, only 5 SSNs in service and RN escort numbers are at 17/18. Not to mention still no FSS contract and only 3 Wedgetail on order. Where is all the money going? I know we have the nuclear deterrent but we are not getting any value for money.
As much as I dislike DOminic Cummings I think we was right about the MoD and its ability to mishandle procurement and waste money hand over fist.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

France manages an equivalent nuclear deterrent on a lower defence budget, so that can not be used as an excuse (I know that you did not use it that way).

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

We spend more on our nuclear deterrence than UK.
We have our own missiles and the air launched missile (ASMPA).

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

I believe you once had the triad – strategic bombers, SSBNs and land-based silos – so that must have been expensive. But I hear the silos are decommissioned now? You still have the nuke bombers?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

Indeed we get ours relatively on the cheap, we would barely have anything left in our budget if we had to do all that France does to retain its deterrent. But then it’s the same when we build non military infrastructure.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

Do you know the figures?

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
1 month ago

It’s the same excuse with unmanned systems. The navy is replacing all its mine hunters with how many? The air force has no strike planes replaced by how many reapers? The army been spending years at a cost of millions while cutting numbers all over for there silly last mile challenge when a quad bike will do. The MOD and government need a proper good hard look at what they want us to be and then actually fund it, otherwise this mess will continue until at some point we will get into a dust up and struggle as the russians… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Silly last mile challenge? Is this a UGV that can deliver ammo etc over the last mile? Why would that be silly and/or expensive?
The bigger problem for the army is a catalogue of appalling AFV procurement and modenisation projects, coupled with continuous savage cuts to manpower.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

The army picture is worse than that – pretty much all AFVs are 25 – 50 years old and little modernised or unmodernised.
But I agree. Why do we spend so much and get so little? Who is asking the question of the MoD and wider Government?
BTW, not all procurement projects fail – only a few do, but they happen to be the big ones whose stories sell newspapers.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

All those committees and commissions and all those civil servants and associated minions to support them cost money, it’s an industry of filtering wealth to those deemed to be part of the establishment club of deemed fit to join. (Only partly in jest)

Last edited 1 month ago by Spyinthesky
Marked
Marked
1 month ago

Just proves how much money is being wasted by incompetent pen pushers. We have so little to show for that massive spending! There is no excuse for so many missing capabilities with a budget like that.

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Marked

I’m not sure I’d agree. There are gaps yes, many of which are being dealt with over time. We are unique however in maintaining abilities across the spectrum, which very few militaries do.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Bravo. This is so often overlooked, the enablers and back up not just how many of.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

The army has very weak capabilities in AFVs (including artillery) and towed artillery.

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

600 ish Boxers with a few more planned. I guess we are far too down the line with that programme to pivot away now. It’s not ideal but if they get CTA 40mm, mortar, and even Brimstone variants, does that begin to redress the issue?

If Ajax gets canned I hope we go for CV90 for recce and with an additional order for IFV to better compliment Chally 3.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago

Russian Druzhba Oil Depot 70 miles east of Ukraine border reported as having been hit overnight, youtube video shows explosions and 200m high flames just outside city of Bryansk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRn0E55i-8E

A second fire has broken out nearby (about ten miles) at a Russian military base overnight, huge explosions and secondary fires reported, this youtube clip shows second attack to the left

Source; the Telegraph and elsewhere

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/04/25/ukraine-russia-news-war-putin-latest-updates-boris-moscow/?curator=upstract.com

Doubtless these fires have been started by careless operatives not following the tobacco procedures

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Vlad had better upgrade his sand buckets?

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago

There have probably been other such incidents. I’m more concerned that apparently the entire available Challenger 2 force now appears to have been deployed to eartern europe. It might have been prudent to send a few to Lossiemouth and Faslane – just in case

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

You know the RAF Regiment can run 5 miles into death and take on all comers, they being Tier 1 SOF, heavens, even Airborne runs away from them.

Steve R
Steve R
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Why?

What good would Challenger 2s do in Lossiemouth and Faslane? If it kicked off the Russians would just try to bomb both sites; tanks can’t do squat against that.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve R

Mr Blair successfully deterred terrorists from Heathrow Airport with them !

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2849829.stm

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

“Tanks”
The vehicles pictured appear to be a Spartan and a Scimitar.

R.92859f56ee01ed06cbd016acc7d8154f.png
peter Wait
peter Wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

Didn’t Blair’s foreign policy make as a terrorist target !

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

I remember that! The media don’t know the difference between a Tank and a APC.

I believe the real ace we had was, as usual, our intelligence community and stopping Blowpipe from being used on the flight paths not using the HCR for a PR stunt to make Bliar look good.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

David,
We bought 386 Challys but have declared only 227 in the last few years as active. Are all or most of the 227 in eastern Europe? I would be surprised.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Danielle would probaby have the accurate data but I assume that the 148 earmarked for the Ch3 upgrade will have been held back

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Remember the BATUS fleet has been closed down and redeployed to Senelagaer, closer to where it may be needed.
Rest will be at Ashcurch, a few at AC at Bovington, and the rest deployed or with their regiments at Tidworth.

Caribbean
Caribbean
1 month ago

Didn’t Ashchurch get sold? I thought they were planning to move everything at Ashchurch back to Germany

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Caribbean

No. Ashchurch and Ayreshire Barracks Munchengladbach remain.

Sensible given that Ashchurch stores more than just Armour and has a rail link.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Why on earth would we want to deploy Challys to Lossiemouth and Faslane? Rebellious Scots?!?

Last edited 1 month ago by Sean
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Sean

😆

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Sean

Well Sean, we beseige the Irn Bru refinery with them at the first sign of trouble, that will bring the rebellious Scots under control quick enough…..

Marked
Marked
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

No need for them there, if either were attacked it would come from cruise missiles.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

That’s several hundred km inside the Russian border. If it was a strike by Ukrainian forces 👏👏

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Seems to be the new strategy of Ukraine, hit Russia where it feels safe, to further reduce their morale.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

As I understand it the target is key to Russian fuel supply and military logistics organisation. Smart strike. They must have positioned their own Ukrainian MLRS within range. Or maybe used special forces. I don’t see Ukraine copying the Russians and hitting civilian targets out of pure spite. They are better than that. The ‘expert’ on Sky News suggested Ukraine might try to split the Russian forces in the north east. Briansk is the fork in the road which link Moscow to Kharkiv, Kyiv, Dnipro and Luhansk. If they cut the flow of Russian materiel into Ukraine there you might… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul.P
Angus
Angus
1 month ago

It’s not more cash MOD needs but some SMART people to make some SMART Spending. So much wasted over the years and it will continue. RAF should have at least 250+ fast jets (compared to Germany/France/Italy). RN 24+escorts with additional large patrol ships + 10 SSN’s in service as they are a real force with 7+ ready for sea. Army well high tech is all well and good but you have to have effective numbers on the ground. UK NO SAM defence to talk of, really poor when there are system out there we could use. All those desk jockeys… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

I am not sure that we could really use 250 fast jets. Maintaining 120 first class Typhoon and having a good big lump of F35B so that we have about 200 fast jets would feel about right. By first class I mean buying T4 Typhoon to backfill the T1 being retired to keep the numbers up to that level. Yes, we should have SAM defence. I would suggest that major facilities use Ceptor layered with 40mm auto-cannon and that more minor facilities use 40mm auto-cannon. With an over arching umbrella of ASTER-NT/30. The lunchers can be moved around periodically to… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago

The MoD is a bottomless pit into which the taxpayer pours billions each year rectifying their cock-ups and should be disbanded – saving millions immediately

The military should be allowed to buy their own combat-proven off-the-shelf kit and nothing else. Then we could have an army of 120,000 infantry again, 150 T4 Typhoons with the latest radar, 75 F35b, 50 C130 Hercs,10+ Astute and 25 RN escorts. The MoD current wasteful system is not fit for purpose considering how much we spend on it

Steve R
Steve R
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I certainly hope they’re not going to be disbanded; I’m in the middle of applying for the MoD, specifically procurement.

If the armed forces bought only off-the-shelf kit then our entire defence industry would cease to exist and we’d be reliant on the US for virtually all of our equipment.

Yes it needs reform but getting rid of the MoD altogether would be insanity.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve R

Having spent many years of my career working in association with the Authority, I would suggest that you choose a different career path. No Defence Minister in living memory has managed to reform their procurement procedures.

If you really want a civil service career, go for the Treasury

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve R

Quite. The MoD underpins everything, it’s not just DES.

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

You do despair of RAF T1 Typhoon being scrapped with less than half the miles on the clock. The excuse being they need an expensive upgrade to meet new rules. The Austrians are meeting it on their T1 Typhoon for 175,000 euros per plane. Not exactly a fortune.

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

We should give them to the smaller post-Soviet states in Southern Europe and draw them in to our sphere of influence.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Agree with all points. Sensible upgrades here and there.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

Does that not leave the basic question, though?

Where has it all gone?

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago

Good points on the Typhoon – 200 jets seems like a practical and sustainable number. Whilst I agree with you Typhoon T4 point; I’d settle for retaining the T1with suitable upgrades.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago

I disagree with the T4 for T1 Typhoon buy that seems popular in the comments. For the UK its the wrong aircraft going forward and we shouldn’t lock ourselves into an airframe, whose design is 3 decades old at this point, not optimal for future requirements, and for any longer than we have to. We need a long range, large weapons bay, low observable aircraft, with similar system capabilities to F35 or better … in other words Tempest, to address the threats from the late 30’s onwards. Our focus should be on ensuring we get Tempest to IOC in 2035,… Read more »

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

They need a lot more cash IMO and need to spend SMART.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

Angus, what high tech kit has the army got? – probably just Land Ceptor and Apache 64E (when we get it).

Agree about the numbers – for a one-shot operation the army would struggle to deploy a small (2-brigade) division at the moment, and it would have ancient and non-digitised kit. Alternatively it could not roule a brigade group now for an enduring operation, as we did for Afghan.

David Llloyd
David Llloyd
1 month ago

And another video of the Bryansk oil depot fire, now reported as having extended to a nearby pipeline network;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mocY3bDPwOc

DFJ123
DFJ123
1 month ago

Is there a budget breakdown for UK forces? Would be an interesting pie chart to see.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  DFJ123
Last edited 1 month ago by ExcalibursTemplar
David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago

Where is the multi-bn £ uplift?

Why are pensions not part of personnel?

Where are the off set incomes from jobs done for DFID?

Where are the incones from Cartography etc?

DFJ123
DFJ123
1 month ago

Cheers!

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  DFJ123

There is also this but it’s older

Defense spending 2.png
David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago

And not a dig at you at all, but, where are the Rights incomes from T26 sales?

Very murky.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

If you click on the link i posted this is near the top

“£1.7-billionExternal income earned by MOD in 2019/20.”

I’m guessing some of that will be from the T-26

Last edited 1 month ago by ExcalibursTemplar
Challenger
Challenger
1 month ago

Just shows how appallingly badly that money must be spent – 70k soldiers, 150 tanks, 100 fast jets, 5 SSN, 18 destroyers and frigates…..pathetic!!!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

See reply to B of F below. Yes, numbers need increasing but there are other factors at play.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

Sad to say this is typical of the nonsense on this site. 70k soldiers, well if we are not at war and we don’t have conscripts and people don’t want to join the army, what do you suggest? And what are these phantom soldiers to do, remember point 1 we are not at war. 150 tanks, well we are not at war, when was the last time we deployed even 50 mbt and what would we do with another 100 mbt except put them in storage, as we are not at war. 100 fast jets, well this is difficult to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
28 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

I think it is reasonable to be critical of the small numbers of manpower and platforms, especially for the huge amount we spend on defence. An army of 70,000 soldiers is very small indeed – the smallest its been since the Peninsular Wars. [French Army is 119,000]. With a 70k army you are pushed to deploy a strong warfighting division without recourse to reservists and you cannot conduct an enduring operation of brigade+ size (as we did in Afghanistan). Makes a mockery of living up to our ‘Global Britain’ label. Not sure what phantom soldiers are – are you you… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

👍

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago

And yet we seem to have much less hardware than some of the countries lower on the list …. Our procurement processes needs fixing.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bringer of Facts
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

And do those countries lower down the list have the niche capabilities we do?

Numbers 7 to 11 on that list are the ones. Large conventional forces and …..?

Worldwide deployment? Overseas bases? Actual operations? Nukes? R&D? Intel capability?

It works both ways.

AV
AV
1 month ago

Or the training regimes we have in place 👍

KM
KM
1 month ago

I think the war in Ukraine has highlighted that it’s important to invest in logistics and deployability, not just numbers. This is something that, in my (very insignificant) opinion, we do very well in the UK.

Not that a few extra (for e.g.) F35s or tanks wouldn’t hurt 🙂

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  KM

👍

JohnM
JohnM
1 month ago

We could and should do a lot better in procurement as people have stated. Unfortunately Afghanistan UORs meant money spent on particular vehicle types unsuited to other theatres for example. The UK is a professional force with very good capabilities across the spectrum, more so than some of the other nations being mentioned – expeditionary warfare in particular. Yes we are small, numbers wise, but we punch above our weight and often commit to an enduring capability which other nations cannot. But I agree we need to grow these capabilities and fill in the gaps quickly. It’s the 40th anniversary… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  JohnM

The first part of that is where I suspect there is big differences between the UK and say France. We have been in back to back wars for decades and each time we have had to rebuild our force based on lessons learnt, but each time more lessons are learned before the previous kit is delivered, resulting in delays as things get constantly redesigned and increased costs from it. For sure there is massive wastes and corruption but that isn’t I suspect the full story.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  JohnM

Well said

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

I doubt these figures. Cameron, Osborne & New Labour, added all sorts of other things into the defence budget, so they could claim to be spending 2% GDP, when they were not.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

It’s worth a note that there are a couple of factors in our ‘favour’ here:

1 – This is in $, and both the $ and £ have strengthened against the Euro in the last year or two. Worth 3-5% afaics, which is $2-3bn.
2 – Uk defence budget had the largish boost in 2020 (?), which has now been somewhat undermined by a 5% increase in inflation.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago

When looking at the budgets , remember that a lot of it has been spent on things on order or still being built that haven’t been delivered – Astutes, T26s, T32s, Boxers, F35s, etc, etc, etc.

Though it does also includes Ajax…

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago

These figures should be adapted for purchasing power.
You buy a lot of brain power and muscle in China and Russia for much less than the West.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan

And we can all see the quality of the much vaunted Russian and Chinese equipment in the Ukraine, yeah there should be an allowance for ppc (purchasing power corruption)

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Spot on.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan

Precisely Nathan.
Make this exercise OkamsRazor: UK attacking Ukraine from a willing neighbour country but with no support from anyone and see how much you can go while Ukraine retains the current support… Not very far. Today UK would be already out of tanks and probably also of most of expensive ammunitions(missiles).

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

You are also saying “assuming the British Army and RAF make the same mistakes and take the same approach as the Russian Army and Airforce”.

Maybe we would have finished our invasion in a day or two and Ukraine would not have had chance for resupply or the benefit of U.K. training and missiles to defeat/delay the U.K. invasion.

Last edited 1 month ago by Uninformed Civvy Lurker
AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

Day and 2 against a force of more than 400 tanks, more artillery, many ATGW’s many manpads and SAM’s and mostly important on defence?

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
29 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Your scenario of the U.K. attacking still rests on the U.K. invading force taking the same losses as the Russians. The U.K. would have 10x the ATGW weapons that the Ukraine would have and we wouldn’t have donated thousands of them to defeat us. A better example would have been OkamsRazor 2 – how would Russia have done invading the U.K. if the U.K. was where Ukraine is and the cities and armed forces were British. With UK ELINT , Typhoon and F35 CAP , many more ATGW missiles ( we wouldn’t had to gift a small amount of them… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
28 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

True. One estimate says that Russia has lost 873 tanks in 2 months. If we had lost tanks at that rate (unlikely as we have better tanks and better tactics) on an operation and had deployed 112, we would have run out after 8 days.

Last edited 28 days ago by Graham Moore
Albion
Albion
1 month ago

That’s as maybe, but what do other countries get for their money?

Colin
Colin
1 month ago

We have spent 3.3 Billion on Ajax out of 5.5 billion and Recieved 14 vehicles money well spent

TabYomper
TabYomper
1 month ago

Belgium 1.1% GDP,says it all about Nato countries relying on the big spenders to bail them out.They should pay the minimum or your not in Nato anymore.After Ukraine theyll soon pay up.

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

I think in terms of purchasing power, the UK will be quite a bit lower than 4th. It’s also no indication on how wisely the money is spent!

John
John
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

Nah differences in purchasing power are nothing compared to Russian corruption such that half of whatever they spend ends up in someone’s pocket. The truth of why Russia appear to do so much with so little us that they are a potemkin village made to look good for a parade in Moscow while the bulk of it is rusting scrap with their books very thoroughly cooked. That is how they, on paper, rival the US military while having the budget of the UK.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

Compared to who? The US, their waste would make our guys look like genius of frugality

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
1 month ago

It is interesting that the number 3 spot is India which the UK still sends £millions each year in aide supposedly to help the millions of people in India who are poverty stricken and yet India is a nuclear power that is buying cheap oil and gas from Russia as well as 75% of its armed forces hardware also from Russia and has indeed refused to sanction Russia. Is it about time we looked at our aide programs and stop sending money to countries like India and Pakistan, the money saved could help towards a real humanitarian crisis in the… Read more »

russ
russ
1 month ago

👍

Daryl
Daryl
27 days ago

The money sent to India in aid is about £50 million which wouldn’t even buy one modern fighter jet and is just a rounding error on their national budget. Bangladesh and Pakistan get much more at around £300 million each. In Bangladesh’s case that is helpful but not that significant since thier economy is doing fine. For Pakistan however that £300 million is much more important. They have a shortage of hard FX reserves and have to go around begging for soft loans from countries like China and Saudi Arabia in order to fund their defence budget. That £300 million… Read more »

PeterS
PeterS
1 month ago

There are a number of such global,studies, differing in detail,but showing similar comparisons. The Russian budget shows why the attack on Ukraine has not been a walkover..Russian armed forces have around 1m full time personnel with maybe 2m in reserve. They have large numbers of armoured vehicles, aircraft and nuclear weapons. Quite simply,even allowing for the lower unit costs of both equipment and personnel compared with Western countries, the budget is not enough to buy and maintain equipment and train people properly. So they are obliged to deploy with sub standard equipment- old designs and probably poorly maintained. There has… Read more »

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  PeterS

We really need an updated defence review, free from the political spin of “Global Britain”

Global Britain is tied into the trade policy mate. It’s also about securing resources and food supply, we simply can’t do away with it.

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
1 month ago

It certainly doesn’t feel like it given the cuts to the Army and the tank force. Add in the farce that is Ajax and it has become one humongous cluster****. Then of course we have overseas bases which I seriously doubt is cheap both in terms of rent and to keep maintained, not to mention the additional costs of choosing to support what little armour-building industry Britain has. Personally, I would rather have liked for the British Army to use Leopard 2 tanks if it meant keeping more then the farcical few 150 or so Challenger 3s we will have.… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

If only we had the numbers of service personnel we had back in the 80s ?.However we let our guard down and now look were we are few ships few aircraft hardly any tanks .Time to spend 3.5 or even 4 GDP on defence .love to put some of our PM on the spot we’ve had over the years and say now what was all the cuts about.Politician’s never learn.🙄

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

But what could the Army in the 80’s actually achieve? For all the vaunted strength of the BAOR it only managed to pull together 2 Armoured Brigades for OP Granby.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
russ
russ
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Make the politicians fight. That would certainly changes their views on such matters….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Out of 3 Armoured Divisions. So that is 2 brigades out of 9.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

Plus how many Infantry and Mechanised Brigades?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
28 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I think thats all the Americans expected of us?

Dern
Dern
28 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes and no, the Americans expected a division, but fielding two brigades required basically the BAOR to be stripped bare to generate, so what the Americans expected was a bit moot because 2 Brigades represented all that could be sent out the door.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago

I am one of those that believes we – nations with militaries and defence industries – are at a turning point. In five years todays inventories will be obsolete. Meanwhile, the same old debates and comparisons and contrasts of systems ready only for the museum.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

This is just political propaganda not much relevant without Purchasing Power Parity.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

This is just political propaganda not much relevant without Purchasing Power Parity.

Ron
Ron
1 month ago

May I ask if we spend so much on what. We no longer are able to field a division of MBTs, we no longer have an RAF with a fighter command-strike command and transport command and we no longer have the ships to form multiple task or battle groups. Our equipment is also old, the Ch2 should have been either updated or replaced 10 years ago, our Warriors are in need of replacement, the T23 have sailed on 10 years longer then they were expected to. The list goes on. The only service that is in a reasonable condition is… Read more »

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

Well said

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

👍

Stuart Paterson
Stuart Paterson
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

You would hope that many critical core aspects of the UK e.g. NHS, Defence, transport, core utilities etc. were all managed at arms length and not used as political footballs to be tinkered and messed with on a regular basis for political reasons but for the benefit of the taxpayer.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

Please yes please please I want that.

Grant
Grant
1 month ago

Yet we have less than 150 tanks, less than 100 frontline fighters, 12 frigates, currently 4 SSN, enough protected vehicles for 1 in 10 of our soldiers…. where does it all go? $28Bn on ‘defence digital’ plus the usual public sector management wastage and mega-salaries. Our government wastes so much money, yet the poor sods at the front line aren’t paid enough and don’t have the right kit. And its repeated everywhere: NHS, Education, Justice. Too many people with their nose in the trough, not enough control and not enough debate: the only answer is more money and more tax…

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago

Considering we are such high spenders, all the monumental cock-ups, past & present, capability gaps, inability to deploy in force we were able to not that long ago, long overdue & vastly over budget fruition of projects etc are all the more pronounced. We don’t have that much bang for our buck & became so weak that Putin felt secure enough to further invade Ukraine undeterred by us. It often appears huge amounts of money get siphoned off, not to nowhere, but to make a few people or corporations extremely rich(who endevour to maintain the sorry status quo) & the… Read more »

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Would you describe the USA’s military as weak? I doubt you would, yet Russia invaded Ukraine regardless of their military and warnings. We have some significant capability gaps and the army is in a state but they are not the reasons Putin ordered the invasion, not even close.

russ
russ
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

And the army seems to be in a better state than the russkies…..

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

What is the view here on the current status of Reserve Forces?

Geoffi
Geoffi
1 month ago

Jolly good. We’ve chucked the 4th biggest pile of money on defence.
Pity we are bottom of the table for VFM; otherwise we’d have pretty formidable Armed Force.
The Snivel Servants at Whitehall need a root-and-branch clear-out

Ernest H
Ernest H
29 days ago

We may be 4th highest defence spender on what though? A shrinking army, Carriers with hardly and jets between POW/QE and the RAF. So what is cash being spent on? Not real meaningful defence of the UK…

Richard B
Richard B
29 days ago

As others have noted, the $ spend doesn’t directly equate to military capability. Regardless of the current Ukraine war, absolutely no one would regard the UK as a military power on par with Russia. India’s determination to keep close to China has left the UK far behind in many areas. Australia is also racing up the rankings and already far surpasses the UK’s capabilities in areas such as maritime surveillance, patrol and protection.

Rob N
Rob N
19 days ago

It always perplexes me we spend more tgen Russia but we get much less kit for our ££££.

I know our workers cost more but the disparity is massive.