The Government have refused to confirm or deny claims that a decision has been made to reduce the number of tanks in the British Army.
Andrew Rosindell, Member of Parliament for Romford, asked in a written question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department plans to reduce the number of tanks.”
Refusing to answer directly, Stuart Andrew (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State), responded citing a previous response which is displayed below:
“The Challenger 2 remains a key capability for the Armed Forces as the British Army’s main battle tank. The Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme will provide a suite of capability upgrades and substantially extend its service life. The planned upgrade is currently undergoing an extended assessment phase, which is expected to conclude in 2020. No final decisions have been made on the numbers, which will be informed by the assessment phase, Defence requirements, and balance of investment considerations.”
This comes after a report in The Times, the MoD intends to upgrade only 148 of its 227 Challenger 2 tanks. The report suggested that the British Army is expected to use the remainder of the Challenger 2 vehicles for spare parts.
An MoD spokesperson said:
“We are committed to significantly upgrading our Challenger 2 tanks, ensuring we have the best weaponry and armour. These upgrades will provide the British Army with lethal warfighting capabilities out to 2040. The investment in the Challenger 2 upgrade is part of our £18.4bn land equipment programme. No final decision on the number of tanks to be upgraded has been made.”
While I am in not in anyway an expert on the required numbers and many people would no doubt argue opposite positions on this I do believe that the above responses can be taken as a ‘yes’ to the original question.