The latest annual report on the UK armed forces’ equipment and formations, as of April 1, 2023, presents a comprehensive overview of the land, maritime, and air capabilities of the UK military.

The report, complemented by data from the Department for Transport (DfT) on militarily-useful British-registered vessels, offers detailed insights into the current state and changes in the UK’s defense assets.

Maritime Capabilities: Submarines and Vessels

The maritime section highlights the UK’s naval strength, reporting a total of 10 submarines and 72 vessels. This includes 59 vessels in the Royal Navy Surface Fleet and 13 in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

A slight decrease in Royal Navy vessels, from 62 in 2022 to 59 in 2023, is attributed to the retirement of two Mine Countermeasures Vessels and one Survey ship.

Conversely, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary witnessed an increase in its fleet size, thanks to the addition of a Mine Hunting Capability vessel and a Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance vessel.

Land Forces: Equipment and Battalions

The land component of the UK armed forces shows a mix of strength and ongoing updates. With 3,207 pieces of combat equipment, the army’s arsenal comprises 845 Armored Personnel Carriers, 1,480 Protected Mobility Vehicles, and 882 Armored Fighting Vehicles.

However, these numbers are provisional, pending an ongoing process to enhance data quality. The infantry strength stands at 32 Regular Army Battalions and 16 Army Reserves Battalions.

Air Power: Aircraft and Squadrons

In the air domain, the UK armed forces boast 564 Fixed-wing aircraft and 265 Rotary-wing aircraft. Additionally, there are 55 Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The report highlights the Typhoon as the most common Fixed-wing platform, with 137 aircraft, and the Chinook as the leading Rotary-wing platform, with 59 aircraft.

The Royal Air Force has expanded its squadrons to 103, while the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm consists of 16 squadrons and four Headquarters.

Trends and Changes

Significant trends include the planned retirement of certain equipment, such as the Scimitar, to be replaced by Ajax, and the transfer of platforms to Ukraine.

There’s also a notable reduction in the number of militarily-useful British-registered vessels, dropping from 532 in 2021 to 495 in 2022.

This report paints a picture of a modernising and adapting UK armed forces, balancing between retiring older equipment and introducing advanced platforms across all domains.

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

And a significant percentage of those numbers are useless shells neglected and cannibalised to the point they will be nigh on impossible to make operational. The report glosses over that…

pete
pete
4 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Easy to rob a part out of manufacture, has to be put out to tender which is three months and then the lead time to be manufactured . Expensive to have small number of parts made and you have to work to budget. Lot of inertia in MOD took three years to source replacement fuel water separator for T2 fuel system !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Depends what you mean by ‘significant percentage’. Equipment that is ‘in-service’ should have a reasonable level of availability. The traditional metric in the army field force was for 70% of key equipment to be available for use, rising to 90% after 24hrs of concerted work by eqipment crew/operator and the REME maintainers.

Equipment that is ‘out of service’ will of course be in rag order.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

The Royal Air Force has expanded its squadrons to 103″

Many being existing organisations, schools, and other units given a Squadron number plate. Like 19 Sqn for example, which is now involved in the RAF ASCS force, or 92 Sqn, part of the A&SWC.

Does not mean they all have aircraft, many many don’t!

Peter tattersll
Peter tattersll
4 months ago

It’s the same with all nations militaries Russia had much less modern equipment compared to the UK . 99% of the UK listed equipment would be available if needed . Only the USA have supper power toys in serious numbers and we won’t be fighting them .

Jim
Jim
4 months ago

You only have to look at what’s been done for Ukraine to see it’s nonsense that equipment can be reactivated in a time of war. NATO sending them Lepoard 1 that were ready for the museum and the Russian’s are reactivating tanks almost of Second World War vintage that have been sitting outside for decades.

The UK MOD is ready to write off a piece of equipment as soon as it’s missing the latest sat nav.

Marked
Marked
4 months ago

99%? Wow 🤣

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 months ago

A look at the latest table of GDP spending on defense are bloody infuriating. Especially when you see how many millions of pounds are given away to nations in foreign aid places like Sudan get hundreds of millions and that country allots over 3 per cent to its defence budget. The a allocation to the BBC and how they spend it is a national disgrace and nothing is ever said about it. Pakistan and India are big in the military world Pakistan, a nation that harbours terrorists and allows the use of the soil to train more, indit with a… Read more »

George
George
4 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

It’s complete madness. Mismanagement of taxpayers money by a government we have permitted to shirk it’s primary duty, defence.

Dern
Dern
4 months ago

Yeah with you here, 99% availability isn’t even achieved in high readiness formations with NTM’s measured in hours. It’s just not achievable.

Alan Ferguson
Alan Ferguson
4 months ago

Lies dammed lies and statistics … meaningless and misleading.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Ferguson

There is also the endless rebranding of existing entities that are then described as “new”
They’re old hands at that game, it is a pain in the neck to keep track of!

Alan Ferguson
Alan Ferguson
4 months ago

About 20% of the totsl RAF fleet of fixed winged aircraft are training aircraft with no operational capability. Add to that a desperate shortsge of trained pilots and poor spares availability (due to defence cuts) and you end up with a VERY limited capacity to contribute to any conflict scenario.

AlexS
AlexS
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Ferguson

Are the Hawk already retired?

Recent news say that 2 RAF pilots already made solo flights in M-346 in Sardinia as part of their course there.

Alan Ferguson
Alan Ferguson
4 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

The Hawk T2 has huge engine serviceability/availability issues such that that Hawk T1 has been extended well beyond its planned retirement date. As a result, RAF fast jet students are being trained in Italy and the USA to meet OCU input requrements. In a word SHAMBOLIC ….😠

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Ferguson

Hawk T2’s are flying nicely. I’ve seen many flying recently. But there is a backlog. And some students are flying abroad at joint NATO units. Which is nothing new. We have used these in some capacity for years.

Last edited 4 months ago by Robert Blay
Alan Ferguson
Alan Ferguson
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

The concept of UKMFTS was to bring all UK military fyling training in house and to remove the need for expensive NATO outsourcing (USA & Canada) that graduated pilots that required additiional flying training to bring them up to UK OCU input standards. A return to NATO outsourcing is a pragmatic decision that has been required because of UKMFTS’s failure to deliver.

Math
Math
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Ferguson

Hence drones…
In UK, Israël, France, Turkey, USA, China, Japan, Korea, Iran: conventionnal air battles will be won by drones.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
4 months ago

I thought that was a typo, no way the RAF has 103 squadrons lol

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

It does if it keeps giving Sqn number plates to everything that moves.

AlexS
AlexS
4 months ago

With correspondent officer perk…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yes, but when they were their previous incarnation they still had officers. To me, it is simply them trying to make the military look bigger than it is by expanding the Squadron count.

As we know, most ignore the background cast of the military, including many posters here, and just look at how many squadrons, how many ships, how many Tanks.

A military is more than that.

John M
John M
4 months ago

Real shame famous squadron numberplates used in this way. 19 and 92 both flew Phantom FGR2 in Germany during Cold War.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  John M

I know, that’s why I gave them as examples.😐

Steve Ide
Steve Ide
4 months ago

If, ( hopefully if ) it comes to the crunch this simply isn’t enough.

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Ide

We have all stressed our concern about UK FV numbers, but Whitehall doesn’t appear to be taking note of the huge loss of armour on both sides in the Ukraine War. Our MBT assets are a laughing stock and would soon fall short in a land conflict. Now we hear that CH3 is facing issues that could delay the project, one thinks of the Nimrod update, which resulted in a comedy of errors, or a Whitehall farce!!! The Army fleets listed here will dwindle when Warrior is dumped and it will be some considerable time before Boxer fills its shoes.

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Hardly a laughing stock, bloggers and news articles were all raving about the capability that the 14 challey gave to Ukraine. They need an upgrade but they are far from redundant when compared to other MBT out there

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Come on Steve, the losses per day are probably more than 14 on both sides. The CH2 is not a laughing stock but the fleet numbers are. The stark reality, which the Western powers are loathed to talk about is the horrendous armour loss in Ukraine. They are simply staggering and highlight just how few fighting machines the UK have.

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

As far as we know there has only been one of the 14 lost so far. Admittedly we have no idea how many actually have been lost or how they have been deployed to take anything useful from the 1 loss.

Paul T
Paul T
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Did the CR2 make a significant difference on the Battlefield – probably not, it was never going too in the numbers supplied.

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Who knows, I doubt it but that is just an assumption.

Battle Star
Battle Star
4 months ago

It shows our armed forces are significantly below the strength needed to protect the UK, our interests and commitments overseas. Our carriers are sailing with just 8 F35’s aboard when they need a minimum of 24 but can house 36. We have 16 escort vessels, but some are very old like the type 23 Frigates. We need double the number of Frigates and destroyers we have now, ideally with dedicated missle cruisers to protect the carriers. The carriers also need to retro fitted with catapults so we have the option of aircraft other that the F35. The army needs to… Read more »

Kevine
Kevine
4 months ago

There was a story going around when I was serving. Firstly all military parts and equipment have a part number and a NATO Stock Number NSN . So if I required a engine fuel pump for a puma helicopter then I would need these details. Some parts though were special like a High value item ( aircraft engine)and required a Not in Vocabulary NIV action process.However some wag noticed a NSN for a Chieftain battle tank . One was put on demand . The result for the individual that did this was apparently a one way conversation with his CO.

pete
pete
4 months ago
Reply to  Kevine

Simon ex REME ordered the tank lol

Bell
Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Kevine

NSN stands for National stock number, an international system, each country has a designated two numbers, the 5th & 6th number in a 12 number sequence.
Uk is 99, the USA is 00, 01 & 02, Germany is 12, Austria who is Neutral is 14.

Kevine
Kevine
4 months ago
Reply to  Bell

Thanks Bell my memory is not good. Now fully retired. No more fast jet work for me. However I have a new excuse. I have worked for 3 airforces.my last was RAAF F18 . Now a old doder.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Bell

NSN = NATO Stock Number.

DC647
DC647
4 months ago

The Russians, Chinese, Iranians or anybody else who wants to pick a fight with us must be quaking in their boots.(not) the only thing the UK military has in its favour are the highly trained personnel that are still the best with the limited equipment that has been cut to the bones by the bean counters. Even the number of personnel might be cut further if they have their way. You’d think with Russia and China flexing their muscles the priority must be to bolster the armed forces back to a readiness level adequate for the times, and stop wasting… Read more »

Rob Young
Rob Young
4 months ago
Reply to  DC647

OK, Not saying waste is in any way ‘good’, but it is a fact of life and it is wishful thinking to believe it can be eliminated. And yes, lots of projects may be called vanity projects – but I think you’d find that most of them are ones that the people initiating them feel that they were needed. Think of how much America wastes… and other countries are the same. Whilst trying to eliminate as much waste as possible a sensible organisation would try and quantify waste so it can be ‘built in’ to the budget!

DC647
DC647
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

But these so called sensible organisations are not that sensible. If a private business was run like some of these public sector organisations they would go bust in no time. I’m not just talking big budget projects one projects that springs to mind the government paid £19000 for a motivation magician. MOD wasted £5billion on projects that in the end they decided they didn’t need them. The government has paid over £2 billion to private companies to develop IT systems that never worked but they still got paid the full amount, there is £2.5 billion worth of PPE sitting in… Read more »

Rob Young
Rob Young
4 months ago
Reply to  DC647

I totally agree. Some sort of rational oversight ‘should’ be in place to stop this sort of thing. Point is, you’ll never eliminate all waste. Motivation magician? Haven’t heard that one, sounds ridiculous. £5B on projects they finally didn’t? Happens, probably should have been ended earlier but – happens. £2B to develop IT solutions that didn’t work? Depends on the contract. £2.5B of PPE? Panic measures, but someone should either say scrap or donate as part of international aid – someone should make the decision!

DC647
DC647
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

It will never happen because its not the government’s money but ours it’s easy to spend other peoples money.

Rob Young
Rob Young
4 months ago
Reply to  DC647

Which is why you have to incorporate it into your costings!

And we’re not the worst by a long – US forces failed their audit for the 6th year running!

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2023/11/16/pentagon-fails-sixth-audit-with-number-of-passing-grades-stagnant/

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

The oversight is by the politicians we put into place and the media we read. The issue is neither cares about defense and both are just interested in the quick buck, over doing their job properly.

Tom
Tom
4 months ago
Reply to  DC647

The same can be said for the NHS and the colossal amounts of money wasted within and by ‘it’. A common factor between these two massive organisations, which have damaged both, is ‘buying’ the services of private sector companies. The PPE debacle that you mentioned, being the best example. I’m not sure what the answer is. Neither the MOD nor NHS can afford private contractors. However to keep everything ‘in house’, would require a completely new method of financial controls. Maybe a top tier executive Accounts office, who are responsible for allotting money to county requirements, then a county tier… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  DC647

You’d think wouldn’t you. Except the UK’s Tory governmental response to the Ukraine war is to do precisely nothing to increase military preparedness or add much needed additional vehicles, tanks, ships, planes and crucially personnel back onto the armed forces. We need the 26 additional F35Bs ordering, 2-3 more Wedgetails putting back onto the order, a follow on order for further P8 Poseidon aircraft (4-5 more) and a new batch of 36 Eurofighter typhoons with ECRS mark 2 Type 32 frigates ordering (another batch of type 31s but with the 5 inch medium gun for NGS) and ideally to then… Read more »

mark one
mark one
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I’d vote for you mate…. Go stand at the next election…. also could you get rid of Ulez, The ban on Petrol/diesel vehicles, Stop all the Illegals and tell China to stop building anymore Coal fired power stations to build Electric Batteries for green energy (1300 is a tad excessive given the UK has just 3 now)…. It’s not fair that the UK has to protect the Climate all on our own…..😎

Bill
Bill
4 months ago

Damn statistics! Some cheeky ‘facts’ in there!

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 months ago

I think and have come to around to accepting that the merger of all of the country’s armed forces, should be visited. The constant in fighting over resources does not work in anyone’s interest. The idea of a u.s marines type model makes sense although the prospect of the traditionalists would be a big issue. Canada had quite a few problems with the merger of the joint Canadian armed forces it has had the kinks ironed out now and the CAF are rightfully although woefully under equipped entity has gained a new perspective on the performance and structure Canada is… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Th Canadian Forces had massive morale problems with the unified military. To a large extent they have rowed back from this and recreated single service identity – the RCN and RCAF are terms once more being used.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Canada’s Armed Forces hardly have a good reputation. They are 7,600 personnel short of their 68,000 authorized regular forces strength, poorly equipped with outdated kit, under-trained and over “woke.” Quite frankly, the condition of Canada’s Armed Forces is scandalous and probably the worst in NATO.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Thanks Daniel. Their defence budget is low (1.2% of GDP) and some of that figure is fudged – hence much old kit.
I am surprised that you consider them under-trained – I always thought they had a good reputation for effectiveness in their UN and NATO missions.
Do you have personal knowledge of the CF/CAF?
You may find this interesting:
https://globalnews.ca/news/9874896/canadian-armed-forces-ipsos-poll-august-2023/

Dern
Dern
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I don’t get the idea that uniting all the services under one roof would end the fight for reasources. It’ll still be a finite pot of cash, with different priorities, the fight just gets moved to a different level (and I’m not sure about that since I imagine you’d still need a Ground Forces HQ, Sea Forces HQ and Air Forces HQ).

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Dern

It would be a disaster for the military.
People forget that for ops they already are under one roof, at PJHQ, and are purple in many areas. And yes, with that said, separate HQs are still needed, not just for admin reasons, but some of those places have C3 Ops functions one cannot just move.

Challenger
Challenger
4 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

I don’t think creating one service would necessarily solve a lots of the problems with budgets and procurement, and like it or not but service/unit identification is important for morale. But there certainly needs to be a lot more joined up thinking when it comes to equipment. Helicopters – Merlin (in 2 variants), Wildcat (in 2 variants), Chinook, Apache, Puma/NMH and a plethora of smaller fleets for training and SF. Missiles – Aster, CAMM, Meteor, ASRAAM, AMRAAM, Storm Shadow, Brimstone, Hellfire/JDAM, Harpoon/NSM, Sea Venom, Martlet. Lots of bespoke systems across the 3 services with overlap and duplication aplenty. Standardisation of… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago

Someone needs to tell the MoD that APCs are AFVs – and how to spell ‘armour’ the British way!

Cripes
Cripes
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

😀😀😀

Coll
Coll
4 months ago

When they say ‘564 Fixed-wing’, what are they including? If the figure includes the Grob Tutor 115E, it shouldn’t.

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
4 months ago
Reply to  Coll

It also probably includes the battle of Britain flight! …which should be managed by a national aviation museum and heritage trust of some sorts….and charged out for event participation

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago

The Navy figure includes HMS Victory! That’s not a joke…it is a commissioned warship.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Coll

I think they are also included the pigeons that roost in the hangers to get to that number….

Coll
Coll
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

You can scrub 91 aircraft if that’s the case because Babcock owns the Grobs. Counting the pigeons wouldn’t surprise me.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Coll

Most training aircraft are now COMO or COCO.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
4 months ago

I love the idea of a combined HLP/drone carrier the plans to convert the Mv contender argent to one.looked exactly what is needed. Especially when a look at how drone warfare has burst into the spotlight of modern confrontations I’m looking forward to seeing the sights of heavy duty drones with weapon payloads taking off from the Carriers. Taranis could/should be a such tool. If it ever gets past the concept/ demonstration stage.

Last edited 4 months ago by Andy reeves
Tom
Tom
4 months ago

So how many of that figure are Warrior vehicles? I doubt the MOD will replace them as quick as the Army would like.

I wonder what will happen to the Warriors that will be made obsolete by the introduction or the Ajax?

Will the Gov flog the Warriors on, or gift some to Ukraine?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom

789 Warriors (IFVs and variants) were received by the army between 1987 and 1995. Not sure if any have been scrapped. 380 Warriors were to have been upgraded by WCSP, so my guess is that it is about that number that are on the active list, the balance being ‘out of service.

When any AFV class is declared Obsolete, due to its replacement being fielded, then it is sold, gifted or scrapped (in extremis) ASAP.

I am sure there will be discussions about gifting to Ukraine. I am sure they will take as many as they can get.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Tom et al,
I missed out a step – MoD declares 625 Warriors as in-service (down by c.100 on a year ago, 2022) in 2023, itself a reduction of about 50 on the 2021 figure. They were going down to 380 in the WCSP era, which never came to be.
So MoD today has 625 Warriors in service (ie 164 have been taken out of service over the years).

John Hartley
John Hartley
4 months ago

The UK military had 522 helicopters in 2008 & that was thought inadequate. Now the UK is down to 265 helicopters.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Well yes, if we replace well over 100 army Lynx with 34 Wildcat and withdraw Gazelle with little or no replacement, that is not surprising.
SAR role for the RAF also withdrawn.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago

I see Janes reported a few days ago that the RAF plans to buy some H145s to replace the Bell 212 and 412 (Griffin) in Brunei and Cyprus. What with mothballing the H135s and Puma moves it looks like something of a chess game leading up to the new medium program order.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Yes, for me a good move. FMH wasted in Cyprus on SAR and Brueni supporting jungle training.
Concentrate them on their battlefield support role.
Being pedantic, they actually replace Puma in those places, as the Bells have already gone and the Puma force ( 33, 230 Sqns ) has been broken up somewhat to cover them.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago

Morning Daniele, it’s even worse than that, Wildcat carries 50% less personnel than the outgoing Lynx! Just how are these decisions made, picture the scene in Whitehall…. ” Right then ladies, Gentlemen, woman with beards, chicks with dicks and people who identify as farmyard animals, we need to replace the Lynx, ideas please??? ” Wastelands have Project White Elephant sir, basically, it looks like a Lynx, but it’s not, it’s all new, it’s going to carry half as much and be ferociously expensive” “Wonderful idea, take the golden shovel and fill a hole with money” It’s quite incredible isn’t it….… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Mate, you know we’ve long, long agreed on this!
Jobs for the boys order, with pressure from local MPs who know not a jot regards defence capability or what the Army wanted..Which I want mention!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

Wildcat for the FAA, fine.
The Army ones fulfil a recc role working with Apache, which I guess one could argue should be filled by a drone?

John Hartley
John Hartley
4 months ago

DM. I know I bore people with this, but the Lynx3 & 606 prototypes had a one foot longer cabin. Why on earth the Wildcat did not get that one foot longer cabin is beyond me.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Hi John. I didn’t know that, I’ve no idea either.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

And when the inevitable happens and a certain heli gets ordered in half the numbers needed, more posters will groan about numbers.

mark one
mark one
4 months ago

Well I’ll be one of them…. but I prefer to say “Bemoan the numbers” as i do believe rather strongly that we as a nation lack any real depth of reserves and have a rather inept leadership given current affairs….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  mark one

You’re right, we do mate.

John and I are talking about buying Blackhawk OTS or a Yeovil offering.

We believe the latter means a small number bought, just like Wildcat.

Compared to what the Army wants?
A reliable heli, with decent lift, in the numbers needed?

So which do you choose mate? An offering that prioritised British Defence industry, or numbers?

Macleod
Macleod
4 months ago

The general consensus is most people don’t believe this bullshit

magenta
magenta
4 months ago

Here is the report in its various formats, it was published back in 21 september 2023.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-armed-forces-equipment-and-formations-2023

Mark B
Mark B
4 months ago

Interesting discussion. Some people seem to be talking about the kit we need in peacetime while others are talking about what we might need whilst we are at war. It seems to equate to the PPE question of not having sufficient kit for a pandemic (or the ability to manufacture said kit) whereas our only recent experience (pre 2020) was for normal non crisis use. Exactly where does the balance lie?

thomas boyne
thomas boyne
4 months ago

We have cut the armed forces far too much and we will pay for this future

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
4 months ago

Absolute one hundred per cent bulls..t. 💩

Coll
Coll
4 months ago

What’s this about purchasing over 30 H135 for the army and mothballing them already?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Coll

30? 6 I thought. And since then 6 other helis have been bought and will replace Puma in Cyprus and Brunei, allowing FMH to concentrate on its main roles, as helis that size are not needed for Cyprus or Brunei.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago

Sorry, missed your post..should’ve scrolled down 🫢

Coll
Coll
4 months ago

The article I read mentioned 30 H135 and never mentioned that 6 have been mothballed. Cheers.

Last edited 4 months ago by Coll
John Hartley
John Hartley
4 months ago
Reply to  Coll

They were meant for British Army support of Northern Ireland Police. Then the Army changed its mind.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Indeed. But 5 AAC was not going to operate 30 helicopters!
A small sqn at the most.

John Hartley
John Hartley
4 months ago

I still think the mothballed 5 or is it 6?, H135, should go to Middle Wallop as runabouts to partly replace the now retired Gazelles. It is not as if we are awash with helicopters

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I agree actually.

Gemma
Gemma
4 months ago

There might be 32 Regular Army Battalions and 16 Army Reserves Battalions.Am I right in saying these Battalions have a strength of between 450-500 soldiers in each Battalion & that if we had to deploy to a major conflict.UK would only have around 15000 trained line infantry. Also the Navy has apparently only 16 ships of the line. 8 of those Destroyers-Frigates will be in dock for refit etc.So the RN will only have 8 or less Destroyers-Frigates at sea or ready for fast deployment. Air force just needs more front line aircraft. Seems to me UK has peace time… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
4 months ago
Reply to  Gemma

Ah Gemma, you made me laugh, RN has one “Ship of the line”-HMS Victory, a historical treasure. I think you mean escorts(Destroyers-Frigates as you said). But your other points are true. We’re woefully weak & dysfunctional militarily & governmentally.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

And, our one ship of the line apparently has concrete masts that go through the keel, (is that right??), so setting sail in the event of war might be a tad problematic…..

I believe the Ranger ‘Battalions’ are 250 strong!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hmmm, heard that number or thereabouts for the SFAB Battalions but not Ranger Regiment. Thought they were a bit higher. Dern will know, but don’t think he’d comment openly. To be fair mate, the CS CSS formations have been cut so much if those battalions were all at 650 or so, full size, just what role would they do and what would support them? They cannot form brigades as the CS CSS no longer exist. As it is, the Grey Zone is a thing, highly complex, linked with the intell and SF world, US forces, and the Rangers input directly… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Gemma

I think infantry battalions were about 1,000 strong in WW1. Also, there seems to be some doubt as to whether light role battalions have sufficient organic transport to move the troops.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Gemma

“.Can the Country’trust the Tories on defence” No. And that goes for the other parties too. “Back in the day UK Battalion strength was around 950-1000” Depended on the role of the Battalion. Mechanized and Armoured Infantry had around 700 plus I recall, Light Infantry fewer, with 600 or so. Graham or Dern will correct me on those numbers but I don’t think our Infantry have ever had 950,1000 per Battalion, even when we had 56 in the days of the Cold War. “UK would only have around 15000 trained line infantry.” Yes, but an army has more than just… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago

As ever, spot on mate. Today, if we had the call to support our Uncle Sam in a hypothetical Gulf War 3, we could offer up a Brigade and 12 Thypoons, that’s about it….. I dare say Uncle Sam would say, thanks for the offer, but send SF and leave the rest at home… Our supposed ability to deploy a a war fighting Division in a couple of years, is utter bullshit. It’s bleeding obvious to anyone who cares to look at what’s available (and planned), we are planning to deploy at Brigade level operations in the future. That said,… Read more »

Richard M
Richard M
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

A real problem is that the definition of SF has been streached too far. I do not blame those directly involved and salute them personally but the whole point of them is misson based. However good or capable they are you need numbers to follow on from their good works who understand what,why etc they have achived. Unless our SF’s are now just clones of the Uncle sams understandings (which would be rare) there is a miss match.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

I agree. If we were required or expected to deploy a warfighting division overseas, it would be an emergency, probably an existential crisis for another NATO member or the European continent in general. Then we would send 3 Div, warts and all. We would have to – and we would send other army assets too, in all probability. Any manpower shortages would be made up by ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, as we always do. I very much doubt we would deploy 3 Div otherwise, such as to Gulf War 3 (as you say) as it is equipped largely with… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago

Can you trust the government? Reminds me a craft teacher’s comment on a school report card..”give him the job and he will finish the tools’.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago

When I was serving (1975-2009) I only remember reg Inf battalions being about 550-600 strong at PE (Peacetime Establishment), but I am sure that would vary somewhat according to whether they were AI, Mech Inf, Lt role (Type B).

I recall hearing that Inf Bns in WW1 were 1,001 strong and the 1,001st man was the RSM!

This from Wiki: “A British battalion in theatre during World War II had around 845 men; as of 2012, a British battalion had around 650 soldiers.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battalion

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes, I knew it wasn’t 1,000 as suggested in the earlier post!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago

I am sure that the justification for the ever-reducing size would be that the guys are better equipped!

‘The smaller but better army’ mantra often heard over the years.

It probably set the scene for the 250-man battalions!

Gemma
Gemma
4 months ago

UK Now has a British owned Merchant Ship taken by Yemen’s Houthi rebels who have hijacked a British cargo ship in Red Sea. No RN Ship in red sea. RN protecting UK sea lanes and strategic sea lanes. Houthi paymaster Generals and weapon suppliers the Iranian Religious Tyrant Dictatorship. Interesting how this will develop. Send a RN offshore patrol boat to intimidate them?.

Jon
Jon
4 months ago
Reply to  Gemma

British owned, Japanese operated, internationally crewed, but despite no crew member being Israeli, the Houthis have described it as an Israeli ship. Is Israeli a general purpose excuse for Iranian-backed terrorist groups? That looks a bit Israeli – kill it!

The OPVs are all busy some miles away. Maybe send HMS Duncan?

Stephen Lander
Stephen Lander
4 months ago

I wonder how much money could be saved by reducing the number of “Flag Officers” ? What is the ratio of flag officers to ships, RAF bases and Army battalions?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Lander

Always a somewhat misleading exercise as these very senior officers (known as General officers in the army, rather than Flag Officers) operate outside and above the Field Force in senior policy/defence diplomacy/administrative roles. The British armed forces has a huge number of these posts at home and abroad, few of which look to be over-gunned. The army does ‘play ball’. Over time the arms and service directors have just about all reduced to 1-star. The REME Training Centre I think no longer has a Brigadier (technically not a General officer, but very senior obviously) in command due to its reduction… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago

HMG governments have cut to the Bone so we all knew numbers wouldn’t be good .

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago

Awful performance over a long period by those we expect to govern. Lots of posts lamenting the situation; all valid – but things are on the up in terms of quality if not quantity. Many if not most programs look likely deliver. Ajax has turned the corner and build rate looks good; Boxer was a good decision ( though I struggle to see how the build rate can replace Warrior before its osd); lots of MLRS ordered, Archers being inducted and AS90 replacement brought forward (supposedly); CR3 will be top drawer tank; QEC and T45 both looking impressive; both T26… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I agree. There are always positives, despite the doom mongers on here.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago

See my post above, an extra £5 billion a year into defence and returning 20,000 personnel to the military role-call would resolve a lot of the issues and put much needed attrition reserve and fighting power back onto the military.
Its not all doom, agree, we have some amazing equipment and some of the best trained and most professional personnel in the world, there is much to be proud of. Until numbers are returned to the military though we are in a precarious situation entirely of our own making.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I agree with all of that. Those personnel cuts in 2010 were a killer.

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago

Never really recovered DM

Ian M.
Ian M.
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

👍

Daniel anderson
Daniel anderson
4 months ago

Good idea, let’s also tell russia and their allies where all of our nukes are stationed, tell then where every nato soldier is… I mean ffs…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

Russia knows where Trident is located. What they do not know is where the Bombers are when deployed on CASD.

I know where most of our military is, both front line and rear MoD stuff, so If I do, so will professional intelligence services who make that their job.

Reports such as this give away nothing beyond that the military is too small.

mark one
mark one
4 months ago

I just so admire your tact mate……. i just wish I could restrain myself every time I read stuff like that !!!!!😂

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  mark one

😉 we are here to educate, mate.

mark one
mark one
4 months ago

Tell me you are just joking mate ? or are you actually serious ?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  mark one

The latter I fear!

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago

These numbers do allude to the fact our armed forces are too small and lack any strategic or attrition reserves. If you consider a high intensity combat as in Ukraine, our army and air force would likely struggle to hold the line for more than a couple of weeks. The RN would quickly be put against the ropes if we lost a few of the vital escort warships or a couple of nuclear subs. This would be if the UK was admittedly fighting alone or even in union against a peer foe like China or Russia, but regardless we should… Read more »

Ron
Ron
4 months ago

And oddly no mention of the Army’s aviation assets ?

John Jones
John Jones
4 months ago

We need a substantial increase in defence spending to match Urgent Operational Requirements to ramp up industrial production to replace/renew all UK equipment. We are in the same position as was in 1937 and it is not good!

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago
Reply to  John Jones

Sadly the government isn’t listing 🎧

Clive Dunning
Clive Dunning
4 months ago

I see that the number of Main Battle Tanks in the British Army is not quoted ! I wonder why ?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Clive Dunning

We have 213 CR2s on the active list, but some have been fed to RBSL for CR3 conversion. There are a number of CR2s that are out of service in Ashchurch, possibly up to 116. Also some 43 were scrapped in the 2010-2014 period.

Adrian Kemble
Adrian Kemble
4 months ago

If you want peace prepair for war — At the moment we can’t defend our own country let alone fill two aircraftcariers with troops.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Kemble

Depends what we are defending against when you say “we can’t defend our own country”
Our Aircraft Carriers do not carry troops.

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago

Morning DM hope your feeling a little better .What Adrian says in the first sentence makes sense I guess has for troops in Aircraft carriers 🤔.Still although the government have put more money in Defence sadly falls short but you know that one. ☕

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Morning Andrew. Coping! Yes, that famous quote is one I believe in. The extra money has been eaten by inflation, sunk into R&D, and spent on the UK MIC = Military Industrial Complex, through big, big budget items such as Tempest and AUKUS, all vital with various high tech spin offs on the AUKUS side especially. Throw away one liners need clarifying. Defending against what? Nuclear attack? Little defence against that beyond what is in place with warning, hardened CNI and communications, and bunkers. CBR event by terrorists? High on the list of possibilities. We have assets in place to… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago

All to the point and top post has even ,watch how you go DM. 👍

Phil Metcalfe
Phil Metcalfe
4 months ago

Lots of comments about the numbers/readiness of UK forces, but with the Russian invasion I think it time that the UK (and other countries) armed forces should reconsider just what is an armed force. ie Not much chance of any tanks being used on UK territory and the same for lots of other military. Maybe the whole kit should be based in Europe where they would be used. And obviously more concentrating on Drones rather than tanks etc.

Matthew Bowler
Matthew Bowler
4 months ago

This really concerns me the numbers are way too small. We need to stop giving weapons away and invest now!!!

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago

President of South Korea on a state visit to the UK. Looks like K9’s are favourite for AS90 replacement?

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Was thinking was that going to be the case ,or would we buy more Archers .🤔

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Have to ask the experts but I can see a need for both. Archer can be air freighted I think, or could be driven to a conflict. Tracked artillery would have to be transported to the battle but is more flexible as regards quality of the terrain once you are there.

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Performance wise I don’t think there’s much in it ,but has you say it’s which is better transported and terrain .Gives the Army a few options I suppose all be it only 14 Archers but still both good platforms .