NATO has released a report detailing the defence spending of its members.

The U.S. is in first place with $811 billion which is equivalent to 3.5% of its GDP. The UK comes second with just under $73 billion in spending estimated for 2021, which is 2.29% of its GDP.

Luxembourg has the lowest defense spending as a share of GDP in NATO at 0.57% of GDP or $474 million.

NATO say that it collects defence expenditure data from Allies and publishes it on a regular basis.

“Each Ally’s Ministry of Defence reports current and estimated future defence expenditure according to an agreed definition of defence expenditure. The amounts represent payments by a national government actually made, or to be made, during the course of the fiscal year to meet the needs of its armed forces, those of Allies or of the Alliance.

In the figures and tables that follow, NATO also uses economic and demographic information available from the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission (DG ECFIN), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).”

Click to enlarge

NATO add that equipment expenditure includes expenditure on major equipment as well as on research and development devoted to major equipment. Personnel expenditure includes pensions paid to retirees.

Click to enlarge.

The cut-off date for information used in this report was 2 June 2021. Figures for 2020 and 2021 are estimates.

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Tom
Tom
28 days ago

Let’s think and be civil. Soft power keeps the UK safer for less expenditure. SP is built using Foreign Aid via cultural programs, education etc. Not against spending more on defence but cutting 0.2% of FA sends a message to potential partners that the UK doesn’t want to help you via sharing our values but by the barrel of a gun. Is that what “Global Britain” is about?

Caspian237
Caspian237
28 days ago
Reply to  Tom

So, Britain has to take a disproportionate share of the Foreign Aid burden compared to our NATO allies as well as a disproportionate share of actual defence spending? Why? If we maintained our spending at 0.5% and France increased to 0.6% then it’d still take France nearly two decades to catch up on what we’ve already put into foreign aid.

Tom
Tom
28 days ago
Reply to  Caspian237

I thought it was Britain who wanted to take the lead in rules and values-based international order? We cannot compare ourselves to others and say we still want to set an example for others to follow.

Caspian237
Caspian237
28 days ago
Reply to  Tom

But we have been and we still are. Since we first adopted the 0.7% FA target we have been outspending all of the major players in terms of GDP commitment. Even if we maintain 0.5% for another ten years then there will still be few countries who will catch up with our cumulative spending over the same period. Where is the kudos for what we’ve already done? Is the international community attitude really along the lines of, “That’s fine and all but what are you going to do for us next?”

Sean
Sean
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

We don’t have a big enough economy to spend like America

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
27 days ago
Reply to  Sean

USA is HUGELY in debt though

Mac
Mac
27 days ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

When you have the worlds reserve currency and can just keep printing more money to service that debt, its largely irrelevant.

Rob
Rob
26 days ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

America is seriously considering paying people TO not work as a permanent socialist program. “guaranteed wage.” in fact, they’ve already started to do that with $300 per week and there are loads of job vacancies but if someone is giving you money why bother? They, Biden and cronies, actively decided to corrupt the free-market system by flooding the country with dollars for free. They’ve spent trillions on covid handouts. They are raising corporate taxes and many business are closing. see it every day. The American century, the 20th century, is over. We’d all better get used to China being top… Read more »

Gary
Gary
10 minutes ago
Reply to  Tom

Trouble is Tom, most of the money is lost due to corruption. I’d prefer the UK invest in hospital ships and do mercy missions than see money disappear and fall into the hands of tyrants or criminals. I also think the Foreign Aid budget has gone to the wrong countries historically. India, China? These countries have space programs and state they don’t want the money. If soft power is winning the hearts and minds, then I’d prefer we have a direct role in it. Use the Royal Engineers to build new hospitals etc. Hospital ships can double as support ships… Read more »

Rob
Rob
26 days ago
Reply to  Caspian237

In my view the UK is an overly permissive, soft touch. They don’t know when they are being fleeced, and as evidenced by Brexit, don’t know how to strike proper win-win deals. Hard to believe a large portion of the financial transactions flow through London. Germany and France and others have to be loving the fact Biden is in power in the US and won’t ruffle feathers over a few dozen billion here and there. Important to be liked, unlike Trump who called it like it was (and was called racist).

Gfor
Gfor
28 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Really?
What is your evidence for this, or is it just what your socialist friends tell you around the dinner table?
Billions cannot be spent without tangible, evidenced results. One thing I do know is that the virtue signallers will never struggle to spend other people’s money.

Tom
Tom
28 days ago
Reply to  Gfor

Hi Gfor, I said let’s be civil but anyhow. I’m a democratic socialist at best. “Billions cannot be spent without tangible, evidenced results” *cough* Ajax, dodgy chinook’s. The list goes on. Not saying FA is spent perfectly but neither is defence.

Gfor
Gfor
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Tom, agreed about very poor spending in defence, I have worked in it for over 30 years, so I see on a daily basis how taxpayers money isn’t used in the best manner. However two wrongs don’t make a right, let alone balance the national accounts.
When an arbitrary amount is set, it will get spent regardless of need. I would prefer we allow taxpayers to decide whether their earnings are diverted to these projects as I cannot see evidence that soft power actually achieves anything approaching its huge cost to the nation.

Tim
Tim
26 days ago
Reply to  Gfor

Four options with foreign aid: 1. Do nothing. 2. Send money with the hope that it will be used to dig a few water wells and not go to corrupt local officials. 3. Give the money to a UK company to fit out a truck with well drilling equipment, then go abroad, spend a year digging wells, train some locals how to use the kit, then leave it there and come home. 4. Do 3 but only with a trade agreement of some kind with the local government that gives us some influence in the region, like getting them to… Read more »

Gfor
Gfor
25 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Sorry Tim, option 4 may be best, but even then there is little to nothing to show for a single penny spent. I appreciate it is difficult to quantify soft power by its claimed nature, but all other ‘investments’ should show value for tax payers money. I work hard for my salary, I certainly resent giving it to the treasury to be used to salve the public images of politicians. A very quick poke through some OECD figures show absolutely no correlation whatsoever between money given away in the name of soft power and results by any measure. As I… Read more »

Tim
Tim
25 days ago
Reply to  Gfor

Yes, very difficult to quantify soft power, it is basically charity. But if we got UK companies to do infrastructure work abroad then at least we’d get some UK employment out of it as well as the satisfaction of actually helping. Much better than creating an Indian Spice Girls pop group in a country with Nukes and Satellites.

Gfor
Gfor
24 days ago
Reply to  Tim

You have me in total agreement with the last sentence.
If we do force taxpayers to donate to charity, I agree with your UK companies doing the building proposal and Pete’s (below) of Australia’s policy of building assets and then gifting as a better solution.

Andy Poulton
Andy Poulton
23 days ago
Reply to  Tim

In my opinion, the UK should set aside a fixed amount of money, maybe equivalent to 0.7% GDP but set it aside once.

This fund should be tapped in to during times of crisis, floods, crop failure, natural disasters etc and, once the emergency is over, the fund can be topped up.

I remain to be convinced of the impact of soft power

Chris
Chris
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Foreign Aid has proven to fuel corruption in developing countries.
Shipping money overseas doesn’t work. It’s appeasement in the loser form. Someone will always have a bigger checkbook than the UK.

AJ
AJ
21 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Foreign aid is taking money from poor people in rich countries to give to rich people in poor countries is a very true saying

Rob
Rob
26 days ago
Reply to  Gfor

EXACTLY – and thanks for that.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
28 days ago
Reply to  Tom

I support soft power myself, provided it it spent properly. I also support defence spending with it. However… “cutting 0.2% of FA sends a message to potential partners that the UK doesn’t want to help you via sharing our values but by the barrel of a gun.” It shows that we are being sensible while the public finances are under extra Covid strain with extra borrowing. Some describe it as literally borrowing money to give it away. Even with a reduction we still spend more than most other countries. So where does that leave them? Are they sending us a… Read more »

Pete
Pete
27 days ago

I really like what the Australians often do such as rather than handing over cash they might build OPV’s / fishery protection vessels and gift them to various pacific states. Maintains the steady drumbeat in the shipyards, supports economies of scale for their own needs, avoids cash disappearing into the ether and provides those nations with a sound asset that supports protection of fishing grounds and disaster relief efforts etc.

John N
John N
27 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Yes it is a good way of assisting our smaller Pacific neighbours, certainly a project that I’m happy to see my tax dollars spent on.

Currently 21 Guardian class PBs are under construction by Austal in WA, the construction cost is approx $330m and another $200m over their life for sustainment.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardian-class_patrol_boat

And a lot of the money is spent here in Oz, firstly during construction, then over the next couple of decades for sustainment.

These 21 PBs are replacing a previous class of 22 PBs that were also supplied free to Pacific nations.

Cheers,

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Yes. Good principle.
Sadly I wonder how much gets corrupted when it’s given out.

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago

Yes. But his words which you quote are repugnant.
Spilt British blood has saved western democracy twice inside 50 years. British treasure has since continued to be spent defending Communist totalitarianism and hegemony.
And both has been expended in the name of freedom all over the world, from Korea, Malaya and the middle east – and not least our own with and kin in the South Atlantic.

And he has the nerve to pretend we do things “by the barrel of a gun” ?? Repugnant. Get out of my sight, what ever your name is.

Andy P
Andy P
27 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Dear oh dear….10 out of 10 for the Am-drams there Trevor.  😂 

Darren hall
Darren hall
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Whilst I agree with you in principle.
In real terms, how much do the needy actually get?
So much evidence of graft and corruption in so many of the countries we send aid to.

So, should be spending hard earned British Tax money on countries that send Rockets to Mars? Are buying the latest tech for their military, whilst ours makes do?

I agree with foreign aid… but not in the current ‘none controllable method’.

We, the British Tax payer, should be able to See where our money goes…

expat
expat
27 days ago
Reply to  Darren hall

Darren I’ve worked in places where ‘aid’ is being delivered. There’s a fairly large gravy train involved in international aid.

Airborne
Airborne
27 days ago
Reply to  expat

Agreed, most definatly.

Darren hall
Darren hall
27 days ago
Reply to  expat

Agree 100%

Darren hall
Darren hall
27 days ago
Reply to  expat

What makes me laugh the most is the people who scream and shout that we should do more, spend more, act more… But when they pass a beggar in the streets of the UK these same people say… “Don’t give them money, you don’t know what they will spend it on…” or “don’t give to beggars it makes them dependant on welfare…” So how does this concept not work in their minds for overseas aid? The MOD wants to build a new barrack, they ask, get funding, it gets built, we see the end product… So let us cut out… Read more »

Andy a
Andy a
27 days ago
Reply to  Darren hall

Exactly right just said exactly same above. Aid to India China and Palestinian families of suicide bombers!! Hmm tax money well spent. Shows how out of touch MP’s are

Matthew Finch
Matthew Finch
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Tom can you actually state how the 0.7% of GDP on aid was reached. Don’t state it is in a OECD report from the 1970s but provide a detailed analysis of why it should be 0.7% and not 0.5%, 0.3% or zero or even an arbitrary figure. 0.7% has been plucked out of thin air and if you set a value then civil servants will inevitable match that target without thinking logically about what it is spent on. The majority of people in the UK from opinion polls demonstrate the UK thinks 0.7% is too high and they prefer increased… Read more »

OOA
OOA
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Tom, there are a couple of angles on this: When purely considering state aid, clearly a reduction in spending is likely to reduce the impact but I think it’s important to remember that soft power is a concept which exists within a complex framework of influence. In its simplest form this goes something like, ‘you can’t have soft power without hard power to back it up’, but there are many subtleties. To my mind, a key issue which the NATO numbers highlight is around value for money. We frequently compare ourselves to France who seem (to the layman at least)… Read more »

Jack
Jack
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Utter nonsense.

expat
expat
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Simple answer is grow GDP and defence RnD spin off has a much better chance of creating a robust growing economy that can give more for decades to come. Gifting money does nothing to strengthen the UK economy and make us a guaranteed long term contributor.

Peter S
Peter S
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

In what way does foreign aid “keep the UK safer?” Safer from what? What benefit is it to the UK to provide funds for girls education in Africa? It might be a worthy aim but it has no connection with our security.

Steve
Steve
27 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Think longer term. Those girls grow up and get into positions of power and responsibility, and hopefully remember which country helped them get there. Also the basic, a stable country is less likely to fall apart and cause more terrorists/freedom fighters causing issues.

Peter S
Peter S
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Stabilising a country is desirable but really sits outside the ambit of development aid. It’s also an incredibly difficult thing to get right. Just funding things that foreign governments should be providing themselves adds nothing to our security.
Helping out in acute crises-earthquakes, tsunamis- is a reasonable thing to do. Making good the deficiencies of often corrupt 3rd world governments is just wasting money we don’t have.

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Mostly I agree.
You mention girls. And I believe that girls and women are treated very badly in the 3rd world.
I want to see all given a fair opportunity inside of a safe and not corrupted environment.

Last edited 27 days ago by TrevorH
Steve
Steve
27 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Let’s face it, we have a government that channeled away billions to their mates during a global pandemic where tens of thousands died in the uk, we have no morale high ground when it comes to corruption. I fully agree it’s hard to make sure the money goes where it is most needed, but not trying is guaranteed for none to make it. My thinking is that as long as enough makes it, over time it helps stabilise very unstable countries (most 3rd world countries and a lot of 2nd fall into that category) and stable countries help our security… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
26 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Shocking statement. ‘channeled billions to their mates’

I find that offensive.

Steve
Steve
26 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Tell that to the courts, which have ruled on it multiple times now

James
James
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Any evidence from said courts as to who received exactly what amounts then?

Steve
Steve
20 days ago
Reply to  James

Look up the good law project, the evidence is there.

John Clark
John Clark
27 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Who can argue with that. Woman and girls are treated appallingly in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, more like property than people and it shows little chance of significant improvement.

All rather depressing, as we move further into the 21st century, some countries remain stuck in the 18th century, keeping woman under educated and subservient.

This chasm of opposing attitudes will likely continue to grow unfortunately.

David
David
22 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Thinpinstrippedline wrote a very balanced article on this subject.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

How do you come to such a conclusion? Any numbers to back this up? While foreign aid is admirable, i don’t buy for one second that there is any return on investment, and certainly does not do anything to contribute to the UK’s security. Otherwise you will have to explain to me how funding a hospital in Central Africa or providing food to Somalians makes the UK more secure. As for spreading British values, while i agree that the barrel of gun is not an effective means, but neither is writing a blank check. There have been billions and billions… Read more »

Andy a
Andy a
27 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

And people that wouldn’t send us aid for one second

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

No logic to that especially has UK has been spending a lot more on aid than most if not all our partners.

David Steeper
David Steeper
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

If we want to have the maximum influence we need both soft and hard power in all there myriad forms. The more real and potential allies and the fewer real and potential enemies the safer and stronger we are. On aid hope someone asks those upset by temporary cut which govt spending or tax increases they would support to cover the £4.5bn reinstating it now would cost.

Gfor
Gfor
25 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

David,that mechanism to fill the aid gap already exists. Its called giving to charity. That is my problem with this attitude of paying money over at a predetermined rate, regardless of need or result.
As I’ve said above, there is no correlation between money spent/influence/friends/safety from terrorism etc.

Andy a
Andy a
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom

How about we spend foreign aid helping our homeless, people using food banks and kids in poverty. Helping inpoverished Indians while there government currently builds 4 boomers 7ssn , carriers, strategic nukes and space program. Until this year we were giving millions to Chinese peasants, what joke. I believe we even gave to charity helping Palestinian suicide bombers families! Fed up of helping countries that would not return favour.

TrevorH
TrevorH
26 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

We do. Take a look at our welfare budget.

Tim
Tim
18 days ago
Reply to  Tom

NATO has kept the uk safe not giving money to Africa if anything that has made us weaker the billions spent giving money to the African spice girls or breeding programs for rare fish off the coast of Somalia (really Mercedes for warlords) could have been spent on more war ships giving people in the uk jobs

Steve
Steve
28 days ago

Can anyone explain how the French seem to get more out of a smaller budget? Are we comparing like for like? I note they are ahead of us in the Global Firepower index. On the surface they have more troops (+ 40%), more fighter aircraft (269 Vs. 119), helicopters (432 Vs. 269), more tanks (406 Vs. 109), more ships and not to mention their own in country developed nuclear weapons systems?

Sean
Sean
28 days ago
Reply to  Steve

“On the surface” being the operative phrase, this analysis gives a 1 to 1 rating between a Mirage and an F35 🤦‍♂️

If they have so many more helicopters, why are they depending on U.K. Chinooks in Mali?

Harry
Harry
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve

That index isn’t very useful as it typically just counts numbers and spits out a score without comparison of capability.

Generally also doesn’t distinct between operational equipment in active service and mothballed equipment and depends on how countries categorise equipment (e.g. some countries coastguard/rescue fleet might count to their air force and others may not).

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve

In the manpower figures the French include the Paramilitary police.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
27 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

FYI French army is 115k personnel, Gendarmerie (Military Police) is another 100k. So if you include Gendarmerie than the French Army is 3x bigger than UK’s. So OP was correct

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
27 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Gendarmerie is part of the armed forces so it should be included in the figures. They have MP like responsibilities. No way you could see a British Bobby doing what they do.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
27 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Actually Gendarmerie have a lot more responsibilty than just Military police, they enforce traffic laws on highways, are the only police force in rural areas, they also do search and rescue missions, provide security in overseas territories, and have special units like GIGN (counter terrorism, hostage etc…)

Last edited 27 days ago by Lordtemplar
Peter P.
Peter P.
27 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Incorrect. Paramilitary police is not included.

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Good point

Nic
Nic
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Maybe they just spend the money on sound projects and equipment.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
27 days ago
Reply to  Nic

Don’t be silly. French numbers might look good on paper, but they do not have the depth of capability and deployable capability that we do. ISTAR is well behind the UK, so is heavy lift helicopter capability. No F35, Astute, 2 QE carrier’s, T26 ect. The French have a lot of equipment that isn’t really very useful. But it looks good on paper. It is very wrong to think that everyone does it better than we do, because that simply isn’t true at all.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
27 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Good on paper only? Having a laugh? While it is true France does not have heavy lift helicopter, it has the NH90 and H225 Cararal medium lift. France has plenty of airlift capability; it has 18 A400M (32 more to be delivered), 11 Transall C160, 27 Casa 235M, 18 C130 Hercules, 4 A330 MRTT (11 more to be delivered) France has no ISTAR capability? It has 4 modern E3F Sentry (seems to be good enough for the USAF), 2 Transall C160 Gabriel, 3 E2C Hawkeyes, 18 Atlantique 2, plenty of military ISTAR satellites (Syracuse, Helios, Ceres, Pleiades, CSO etc…) As… Read more »

BB85
BB85
27 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Couldn’t have said it better myself. The French get substantially better value for money than the mod seems to deliver with the same budget constraints. They also manage to support their domestic industry in doing so. Maybe their domestic producers are more patriotic and actually deliver world class vehicles within a sensible budget.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
27 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

My my that touched a nerve didn’t it. I think ‘truly ignorant ‘ and ‘grotesque ‘ is slightly on the dramatic side. Some good kit on that list, and also some pretty old obsolete kit too. Both nations are struggling for new money for defence, hence closer military cooperation.

Finney
Finney
26 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Yeah but we are plainly struggling far more. The French are only lacking in niche heavy lift, and have more numerous and usually just as effective programs in all other areas. And with far more domestic content. No-one is saying there are perfect but they have made long-term strategic decisions and stuck to them within a reasonable budget, all whilst supporting local industry. Can’t really say that about any areas of UK defence other than fast air and, perhaps only more recently, complex shipbuilding.

Last edited 26 days ago by Finney
Robert Blay
Robert Blay
26 days ago
Reply to  Finney

Are we struggling more though?? It is a very British negative mindset to presume everyone else is doing it better and cheaper, when they clearly are not. Better at fudging the numbers maybe. France doesn’t have a BAE Systems or a Rolls Royce. People put BAE Systems down, but my god what kind of shape would we be in if we didn’t have such a national defence giant.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
27 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Great answer. I learned a lot.

BB85
BB85
27 days ago
Reply to  Nic

I think not pissing away their money on failed defense projects has a lot to do with it. Rafale cost them a fortune in the early 2000s but they seem to be getting the export orders in now days. They barracuda, scorpion and fremm projects have all delivered well domestically and in the export markets.

Last edited 27 days ago by BB85
TrevorH
TrevorH
26 days ago
Reply to  BB85

FREMMS are designed and built by both French and Italy. Italy are doing quite well out of the concept. So its not all France. And not particularly cheap at a claimed €650. France is building subs for australia, but there are cost and delay problems As I see it at its simplest, we want to separate out our AA from ASW so have 2 types of ship. One of our designs has been exported, and clearly in due course we will build something significant for our next AA ship. Bad choices by the army has cost us dear when it… Read more »

James
James
20 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

The sub deal is turning into a political hot potato in Aus to say the least, last I saw it was now reported to be costing 90billion australian dollars, massively over budget.

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Are we looking at like for like in expenditure ?
I am not sure about the details, but there may be differences.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Thats a question that I have been pondering for years. They also have a nuclear triad and we don’t.
I wonder if it is because Giat/Nexter produces equipment that is exceptionally good VfM.

dave12
dave12
27 days ago

The UK the second largest defence spender in NATO and we cant afford to upgrade our full compliment of tanks. 🙁

JohnG
JohnG
27 days ago
Reply to  dave12

It’s not that we can’t afford it, it’s the eternal question of whether the money could be better spent elsewhere. In this scenario it was concluded that it could be. Whilst I’m always extremely suspicious of any government cuts and the sound-bites they use to justify them, in this instance I have to admit that it makes sense (considering how the UK would use it’s tanks and the scenarios the UK would be in where a large deployable tank force was required). However the next big step is ensuring the money saved by not upgrading the tanks is actually spent… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Its because the british army have been wasting money.
In between that we have been spending significantly on Iraq and Afghanistan and not on looking at modernisation. But such modernisation it has attempted has been cakhanded.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
27 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Our tanks have been used on kinetic operations many times, often in significant numbers.
How often have our ships been used in serious kinetic ops, other than 1982? When did an RAF fighter last take on enemy air?

JohnG
JohnG
27 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham, for our challenger 2 tanks the largest operational deployment that I’m aware of was to Iraq in 2003 when 120 were deployed. If you have a think about how our tanks would be used and how we would get them there. You either have deployment to the Baltic’s to deter Russia, or deployment abroad for some sort of expeditionary mission. Regarding Russia, the onus has to be on countries on the European continent to provide the bulk of the tanks, it’s daft to expect the UK to somehow transport 100s of tanks across the ocean and then all the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
26 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Agree. Prioritise RN,RAF and the Intelligence community.

Andrew D
Andrew D
27 days ago
Reply to  dave12

IT is odd how there work thing’s out🤔

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
27 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Just like most armies. Tank numbers have been slashed everywhere, even in Russia. Germany originally had about 2000 Leopard 2 tanks, since then they have reduced the number to around 250 in service, the rest was sold second hand around the world or mothballed. France are only upgrading 200 Leclerc to XLR standard, the rest have been put in “storage” (aka used for spare parts) At the end of the day if potential enemies have reduced their tank fleet then it is reasonable to adjust your numbers accordingly and spend in other areas such as cyber, space etc… My 2… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Lordtemplar
dave12
dave12
27 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Maybe but but we are the only power to cut tank numbers to 148 lol!! seems criminal to me.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
27 days ago
Reply to  dave12

I’d rather have 148 first rate tanks, than 250 outdated tank’s. With Challenger 3 we can stand shoulder to shoulder with the American Force’s, even in small numbers. With a larger but less capable fleet of tank’s, we simply would be told to stay at home.

heroic
heroic
27 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Like WW2 ? when our Tanks were rubbish ?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
27 days ago
Reply to  heroic

Any comparison to WW2 is a tad unrealistic when looking at todays capabilities.

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Yes. And hope that the 148 are not expected to do more than it’s numbers and its mechanized infantry and artillery warrant.

Our defence weight bares down on other things than tanks.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
27 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Looks like we’ve bet the farm on Ajax to the extent that it appears to be the IVF fulcrum for UK land manoeuvre (as well as Boxer, but no issue with the latter in terms of potential – better late to the party than never). In other words I think Ajax is the light tank option, not a traditional SV, though for some reason it keeps that designation. Challenger 3 likely more of a back up option to ”stiffen the Ajax line’. In more other words, it ‘Has’ to work at this stage. Hence the fury at initial acceptance faux… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
27 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

IVF is surely an infertility treatment. Ajax is not an IFV – it is a recce/strike vehicle. (Only the media use the term ‘light tanks’).

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
27 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Morning, Graham. Yes, I’d noticed the birth defect just after sending, plus that IFV was not a correction. Posted too late and let sleeping babies lie. Light tank was however more deliberate. Since the removal of Warrior from the combined heavy armour/strike concept, I’m puzzled as to the replacement philosophy. Leaving out air and fires, instead of a 2 plus 2 ground formation we have 3 chassis. Not in itself bad, perhaps, depending how do you combine them? Ajax becomes more central? Fully operational, it would appear to have both a significant offensive and defensive capacity beyond earlier scout iterations.… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
26 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Well there are probably as many command and hospital versions of Ajax as their are fighting ones. Go figure!
Ch2/3 is not there to ‘stiffen Ajax, surely. It’s the main fighting unit, once Ajax has worked out what thß
e enemy are doing.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
27 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Well said. Many people reluctant to let go of the past.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
27 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

The key thing to look at is whether the opposition (not your allies) are either replacing or upgrading their tanks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
27 days ago
Reply to  dave12

…or to upgrade any WR IFVs or AS90s.

JohnG
JohnG
27 days ago

Wow, did not realise Germany recently was spending more on defence than France. Not that too much can be gleaned from these figures mind.

Pete
Pete
27 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Much bigger population. % GDP number is less but it is getting better.

BB85
BB85
27 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Ukraine was a wake up call. I think they plan to keep increasing their expenditure theirilitary spending was getting beyond a joke when they should be the ones leading the line in mainland Europe.

JohnG
JohnG
27 days ago
Reply to  BB85

Yes, I imagine Ukraine combined with pressure from America has played a part. Be interesting to see how they spend it.

James
James
20 days ago
Reply to  BB85

I thought it was after Ursula left the money started being spent properly and the budget increased to fix her problems.

She had ran pretty much the entire armed forces into the ground, no working subs, hardly any ships at sea, handful of aircraft able to fly etc etc.

Positroll
Positroll
12 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Germany is increasing its Leo II fleet from 228 to 332 (104 new Leo II A7V currently coming in) and modernizing 4 Marder IFV batallions . 2020 it ordered 38 new Eurofighters and 4 new destroyers / frigates (MKS 180). Last week, a 20 billion EUR aquisition project was passed for the next four years. Main points: Marine: 2,8 billion EUR for 2 new additional subs (with Norway), with the likely option of getting more of them later 480 million for new radars for F123 frigate class 1,34 billion for 5 new P8s 2,1 billion for new spy ships. 900… Read more »

Positroll
Positroll
11 days ago
Reply to  Positroll

Correction
“1,9 billion to upgrade 150 Pumas to the new S1 standard”
Actually, that 1,9b number is for upgrading all remaining 310 Pumas.
Parliament greenlighted that in principle, but only 150 will be done right now, For the other 160, certain conditions need to be met.
(basically, the 40 vjtf Pumas already upgraded need to work out in the field over their 6 months deployment as promised before the rest of the money becomes available)

Benjamin Rule
Benjamin Rule
27 days ago

Luxembourg might have a small defence expenditure as proportion of GDP. But it is not the smallest. That’s Iceland. The report says Iceland has no armed forces but it seems odd to ignore them completely. Iceland must spend something on Keflavik for example which is used for Iceland’s defence and NATO’s defence (albeit using other nations’ aircraft).

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
27 days ago
Reply to  Benjamin Rule

Until 2006 Keflavik was maintained by the US though the US will still invest in infrastructure upgrades they want. Since then its been maintained by the Icelandic Coastguard (The coastguard are the only military branch in the country) they operate 4 ships, search and rescue helicopters and 4 early warning stations. Special forces are provided by a police SWAT team.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
21 days ago
Reply to  Benjamin Rule

In WW2 we had to ‘invade’ Iceland in order to protect them from German invasion.

heroic
heroic
27 days ago

Luxembourg’s spending on Navy capabilities is woeful, Just why do we put up with this ?

Andy P
Andy P
27 days ago
Reply to  heroic

Not even a half arsed Coastguard… the swine.  😉 

Meirion X
Meirion X
27 days ago
Reply to  heroic

Luxembourg has No coastline, Not their fault!

heroic
heroic
26 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

You say that now but just you wait till Global Warming takes hold.

Peter S
Peter S
27 days ago

Comparing expenditure is probably the only practical way of presenting members contribution. It isn’t necessarily the best way of organising the alliance. It would be better for each country to define its efforts in terms of manpower and key equipment. On this metric, the UK spend looks disproportionately large compared to its manpower and equipment levels. In part, this is because we buy at arm’s length prices from private sector suppliers. Some others, France and Italy for example, have substantial state ownership of suppliers, so published acquisition costs exclude ongoing financial support to industry. Even allowing for this, we seem… Read more »

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
27 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

You do realise that 50% of air strike are now carried out by drones.

Andy P
Andy P
27 days ago

A lot of reading to sift through but the first impressions on it are that I would guess the figures are able to be ‘massaged’, things like pensions will apply to some countries more than others depending on how the Forces are structured (long term careers v shorter careers) and probably a whole host of of other ways. The ‘big picture’ on spending is interesting though. As for the ‘Foreign Aid debate’, superficially it does look like the government have wheeched 4 billion PA from Foreign Aid and given it out to the Forces and I get the controversy. Maybe… Read more »

Steve
Steve
27 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Figures can be massaged, but you can put money on every country doing it to the max extent possible, as such I suspect the figures are probably pretty accurate for comparison purposes.

David Steeper
David Steeper
27 days ago

Looking at the numbers am I the only one who wonders what kind of armed forces we’d have if we didn’t pee so much of it away on messed up arms procurement. Yep I have edited my comments in case there are children watching.

Meirion X
Meirion X
27 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The losses from failed projects is still small, in comparison to the overall procurement budgets.

Similar to shop stock losses from theft

James
James
27 days ago

Many are not aware the UK uses More disproportionately on pensions than actual defence procurement compared to other nations . Also some countries like Turkey with own defence industry may have a smaller budget but have higher purchasing power giving them more equipment procurement power due to cheap production cost compared to the UK example.

That’s why I always say China in real terms can build more military hardware than the US due to their purchasing power while spending less currency wise.

Andy P
Andy P
27 days ago
Reply to  James

While I can’t say for definite James, I’d guess your average Chinese squady/crab/matelot isn’t on a rockstar wage (even the submariners  😮 ) which all adds up (or down) when it comes to budgets.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
27 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

I don’t think our forces are on rock star wages either!
Even a junior bobby on the beat gets a lot more money than a young squaddie and gets overtime pay – and doesn’t work such long hours.

Andy P
Andy P
27 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I didn’t say they were Graham. Having said that…. We are amongst the best paid (or were fairly recently) although sadly an easy target for government savings by not getting pay rises. The basic pay might not be that vast but when you add in money for being deployed etc it can build up to quite a decent whack.

John Clark
John Clark
27 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Let’s not forget the poor hard working, down trodden teachers, who have a paltry starting salary of 30k , regular pay rises as they get automatic promotion, close on a guaranteed job, secured by rabidly left wing unions who will back a teacher to the hilt, no matter how useless they may be, months of paid holidays and an excellent pension.

Hang on a minute, where do I sign!

Andy P
Andy P
27 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hang on a minute, where do I sign!”

You’d have to pay me a lot more than that to look after somebody else’s spoilt brats. I know a few teachers and I’d end up leathering the kids…. and their complaining parents.  😂 

heroic
heroic
26 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Nice…….  😨 

Andy P
Andy P
26 days ago
Reply to  heroic

Its the way I roll brah….  😎 

Not really but lets just say the Armed Forces gain wasn’t a catastrophic loss to the Education sector. Or the Care sector.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
21 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

…or train drivers on over £50k!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
21 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Sorry to misinterpret you Andy.
Not many troops are deployed at the moment, so few benefit from the Operational Allowance pay uplift (only paid for the most dangerous environments, anyway) which was a whopping £29 per day when I last looked. Still the lads get free food and accomodation on tour, as well, and maybe a loaded phone card and free bottled water.
The US look after their deployed guys somewhat more generously – I once heard that income tax was waived for them when on tour!

Andy P
Andy P
21 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

You’re right, maybe not that many troops but matelots spend a lot of time away too and get separation pay or whatever the latestt incarnation of it is. I’m a bit out of touch with it all but I was getting a fair whack extra when I went anywhere on a boat. Admittedly I was towards the top end of it and they had tweaked it all over the years and the younger boys were getting a good bit less. As for the Yanks, they do (or did) get a lot of benefits but personally I preferred getting a decent… Read more »

dan
dan
27 days ago

Would be nice if Merkel and Germany did more than the absolute bare minimum for their own defense but not holding my breath on that.
Trump wanted to get Merkel to start pulling her own weight but zombie Biden reversed all the U.S. troop pullouts from Germany. Ugh.

Last edited 27 days ago by dan
dave12
dave12
27 days ago
Reply to  dan

yaaaaaaawn!

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
27 days ago
Reply to  dan

Not fair. The 2% target spend was actually introduced by Obama administration (Biden was a part of) after Ukraine. This was agreed by Nato members and would be done over some years.
Germany is increasing but in small increments, they had agreed to reach the 2% target over about a decade. Anyway there are upcoming elections in Germany and defense budget is not a political priority. It will depend on who gets into power.

Positroll
Positroll
12 days ago
Reply to  dan

If anything, Trumps ranting stopped Germany from spending more. Orange One pissed a lot of German MPs off, making them completely unwilling to buy American if it could be helped at all. Just look at the above spending numbers for 2020 and 2021. Germany is increasing its Leo II fleet from 228 to 332 (104 new Leo II A7V currently coming in) and modernizing 4 Marder IFV batallions . 2020 it ordered 38 new Eurofighters and 4 new destroyers / frigates (MKS 180). Last week, a 20 billion EUR aquisition project was passed for the next four years. Main points:… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
27 days ago

Why all the Foreign Aid comments? That is not what this article is about.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
26 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

First poster set the ball rolling, or maybe stirred the Hornets nest?

Bob2
Bob2
27 days ago

Sorry if this has been raised by others, but why does the U.K. spend such a high proportion of its expenditure on operations and maintenance (41.6%). The average NATO % is nearly half this, while our spending proportion is about 33% higher than the US (see figure 7 in the report). This same figure also illustrates that the Proportion the U.K. spends on personnel is very low compared to other countries (32%, compared to France on 42%).

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
27 days ago
Reply to  Bob2

Maybe because we actually use our military on ops rather than sitting nice and shiny back at base?

Airborne
Airborne
26 days ago
Reply to  Bob2

When the kit and and people are used they need to be repaired, seviced and maintained/updated. As Daniele stated that costs money mate.

Bob2
Bob2
26 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

That all makes sense, but what I struggle to understand is why the U.K. budget in 2021 for this is $30B, but for France it is just $15B.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
21 days ago
Reply to  Bob2

Thats interesting and not something that I have looked at before. I guess our activity levels, even post-HERRICK and TELIC are higher than most to account for the high O&M spend; a cynic might say we spend a lot on maintaining unreliable and ageing equipment – that would certainly be true of much Land equipment. I cannot account for the low personnel spend except to say that perhaps we don’t have many people now! A parochial point is that there is only one regular army unit in West and East Sussex combined.