The Integrated Review will be published on the 16th of March and the Defence Command Paper will be published on the 22nd of March.

The ‘Integrated Review’, to give it its full title the ‘Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy’ is effectively a defence review.

According to a Ministry of Defence announcement:

“General Sir Nick Carter has been central to setting the vision for our future armed forces. The Prime Minister has asked General Carter to remain in post to ensure continuity and stability while the conclusions of the Integrated Review are implemented following the £24.1-billion settlement for defence announced last year. 

The Integrated Review will be published on 16 of March and the Defence Command Paper will be published on 22 of March. The selection of General Carter’s successor as Chief of the Defence Staff will begin in the autumn.

The Chief of the Defence Staff is the professional head of the armed forces and the principal military adviser to the Defence Secretary and the Prime Minister. The average tenure of a Chief of the Defence Staff has been 3 years, although several have served less, and a small number have served for 4 years. The longest any Chief of the Defence Staff has served is 6 years, when Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten held the role from 1959 to 1965.”

The review was previously described by Boris Johnson as the largest review of its kind since the Cold War and will be published later this month.

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Jonny

*gets popcorn ready*

Andrew

Please not more cuts already far to small in all three services.

Steve R

I might be being naive here, but considering the £4.1 billion a year additional funding over the next 4 years, how bad can it really be?

Steve

They have been leaking constantly news of major cuts, which means some cuts are coming, but they won’t be as bad as the leaks, which will make them seem less bad.

Patrick

Warrior, few thousand troops and the c130js are proably the best we can hope will only be cut. With some vague AI Space Force creation to grab headlines.

Daniele Mandelli

I think Warrior will remain.

What is the war fighting ability of an army without Tanks and an IFV to operate with them? Can Boxer with Turret be as capable?

WCSP may well be reduced in scale, along with Tank numbers, but I’d be surprised if it vanishes as the requirement wont.

Andrew

New Turret for warrior but the rest of it remains old it’s done it’s job back in the day and perform well to think it’s been going since the 80s and it’s just getting an upgrade .A new type should of been order years ago .That’s the Failed British governments for ur.

Graham Moore

We Brits tend to keep kit (especially army kit) in service for many decades –
FV432 is still around in quantity after nearly 60 years, never being fully replaced by the WR family. Scimitar has served 50 years and awaits full replacement by Ajax.

DE&S (DPA as was) makes things worse by not fielding regular and timely upgrades to combat vehicles.

Maybe there is still life in the Warrior hull – periodic base overhaul includes checks to hull welds and rectification as required. I hope there is life left in the chassis, otherwise WCSP will be wasted.

Challenger

Boxer with the turret isn’t a direct IFV replacement but perhaps it’ll be decided that a 90% solution is enough?

Daniele Mandelli

If that happens, it is imperative that additional hundreds of Boxer to the 500 or so are ordered. There were options for around 900 extra I believe when we signed up. Without that or Warrior remaining, the British Infantry’s main combat strength in our deployable brigades is reduced to FOUR battalions of Boxer armed with a machine gun. 4… Sobering and terrifying considering that SDSR2010 had 6 Warrior and 3 HPM ( becoming Boxer ) and A2020R of 2015 would have meant 4 Warrior and 4 Boxer ( as current plans ) If 4 Warrior and 4 Boxer actually now… Read more »

Airborne

Yes mate, strange that the numbers on option cover all the armour remaining including 432s! However you know my thoughts, if we are to keep warrior, then 2 Battalions, with 2 Tank Regiments with 1 x AS90, 1 x GMLRS etc, fully manned and a decent square Brigade. And then, yet again I will say jt, use the remaining turrets to fit on Boxer (technically how hard, not sure?) and start with Support Companies, and filter down, numbers remaining to Rifle Companies. Then we need to be buying the essential Boxer variants, starting with 120mm Mortar variant and fit some… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Morning mate.

I’ve read of the Ares suggestion, because of the difficulty/impossibility of changing the Ajax contract. Can it carry the number of dismounts required? No idea. I know the others cannot which is why we cannot “just use Ajax” as some had suggested.

I too cannot help regards costs, issues with conversion. Wouldn’t have a clue there.

The additional optional Boxers add up to exactly the numbers required. Co incidence? No way.

Airborne

7 dismounts mate, but with a turret will require 3 crew not two, so dismounts would be 6 in a section I suppose. The Ares has massive growth built in, both size, power and electrical capacity ( new systems and sensors) The Cav lads in Bulford love it, totally raised the recce game, and given the new situational awareness ability, give it a bit of lunch and you have an excellent replacement for Warrior. But as you said it’s all about contracts and industry.

Airborne

Lunch….mmmmm I’m sure we all work better with lunch, but even better with punch ?

Daniele Mandelli

Good to hear they’re chuffed with it. I saw the first arrive on Twitter month’s ago.

1st squadron of Scout version near too.

Also, lad killed at Castlemartin yesterday.

Airborne

Yes mate a Sgt from Welsh guards I heard.

Graham Moore

Hopefully ‘the lunch’ would include somehow fitting a 40mm cannon.

Graham Moore

Ares carries 3+7, just like Warrior, so could be an option, although must be more expensive than putting a WR thorough the WCSP programme, and it only has RWS rather than a cannon.

Airborne

My thinking is fitting half of the 40mm CTA turrets, but contracts and technical feasibility are unknown to me.

Ian M.

Ares carries 3 + 3. Commander, driver, Tactical Commander, 3 dismounts. It is NOT a battle taxi!

Graham Moore

Ares carries 3+7, just like Warrior, so could be an option, although must be more expensive than putting a WR thorough the WCSP programme, and it only has RWS rather than a cannon.

Graham Moore

Daniele, usually these things come down to money, as we know. Which is cheaper in order to provide a modern IFV – buy hundreds more Boxers (with a cannon) or implement the WCSP kit that has already been designed? I heard that standard Boxer was an outrageous £3.5m a pop, so add a fair bit more for the cannon-equipped version. Plus, can we be sure that cannon-equipped Boxer would keep up with CR2 LEP and would have at least as good protection as WR with WCSP package? Would we keep WR variants if we replaced the WR section vehicles with… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I agree Graham, which is why I think Warrior remains. Boxer would be a call back option because otherwise are brigades are screwed.

Paul.P

Is it feasible to fit the 40mm turret onto Ares and if so would this make a decent Warrior replacement.?

Airborne

That’s my thought process, replace the Warrior with more Ares, 2 Battalions worth, fit some of the 245 turrets, and use the balance to provide at least a support companies worth of 40mm on the Boxer in strike in a effort to at least start the process of giving the Strike Battalions some teeth. Use the best of the warrior hulls to rep,ace the 432s. Not the ideal solution, would mean more cost on the Ares purchase, another 130 roughly, but one that could be done cheapest and fastest.

Paul.P

These quotes from the Daily Mail 24th Feb suggest that 150 C2 tanks will receive the full upgrade to include new turret and gun. “Government is planning to scrap 77 Challenger 2 main battle tanks, pictured, to pay for the upgrade of 150 others, it has emerged” “ £1.2bn is being budgeted for the upgrading of the Challenger 2 to a Challenger 3 model, with each of the surviving tanks receiving a new turret and barrel.” If we go with this assumption what does that suggest about the number of IFV we need. Sorry to be an ignoramus by the… Read more »

Airborne

Certainly not an ignaramous as none of us know WTF is about to happen, all we can do is summise and guess. But for a square Brigade of 2 x Tank Regiments and 2 x IFV we would need around 150 Ares or Warrior, for about 70 per Bn and a few spares. Don’t forget to put Ajax back where it should be, as the recce formation. I’m all however into getting away from the capbadge mafia and post these units into the Brigade, as a combined arm Battlegroup. So the parent units are based there but at company and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I’m sure you’ve seen UKAFC blog. That very idea is outlined in Future force 2035 documents.Moving to combined arms groups of 500 or so, Divisions far smaller than now.

Airborne

Yes mate, amongst others and it’s somthing I have thought about for a while, useable and tactical sense. Train as you fight mate.

Paul.P

Ok, thx. I’m getting it now. And if the rumours of 150 C2 being getting the full turret upgrade are correct it looks like the powers that be are thinking along the same lines.

Peter S

Not sure where the DM gets its budget number from. Are we really planning to spend £8m a time to upgrade the gun and turret? The claimed superiority over the existing gun is far too minor to justify such a cost for a tank that will need replacing in 10 years time. It’s such a waste of money, they’ll probably do it.
Listening to politicians and senior officers makes me fear the worst.

Paul.P

My understanding is that you have to change the rifled gun to the smooth bore so you can use the ammunition needed to kill the latest Russian tank. If we had been prepared to forego this capability then the cheaper sensors only upgrade would have sufficed.
Creates UK jobs and keeps Challenger relevant for longer than 10 years I think.

Peter S

I’ve seen the stories about army brass fears of the T14. I think they are at best exaggerated. To keep weight down it has a lightly armoured turret which will be vulnerable to existing tank guns. The available info on comparative performance does suggest the smoothbore AP round is a bit better but not by much. For long range HE, the rifled gun is superior. We need to keep tanks in meaningful numbers and it might be better to have a more modest upgrade to allow that. By the time a new turret and gun are fitted, Ch2 won’t have… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Paul. See Airborne below! I’d have nothing to add.

Ian M.

A 40mm turret on an ARES is called AJAX. It’s a common hull.

Paul.P

I think the only reason the Warrior upgrade program might remain with numbers cut down would be to protect jobs and keep faith with the investment LM have made in the UK.

Pacman27

Hey Daniele I would actually stop the LEP on both warrior and challenger but keep them whilst we buy new tanks an IFV the CTA should be scrapped or moved to boxer/ new tracked IFV. warrior is ok for most scenarios but the tip of the spear needs to be more modern. I think let’s keep and cannibalise as a secondary capability and buy new leopards and an IFV version of Ajax. then let’s make sure we buy enough kit every 8 years on an indefinite cycle to keep us current and cycle it through a new 3 small div/… Read more »

Ian

Patrick
Space Force…… Thunderbird 5 and 27 operatives from G4S
We will end up spending millions and get what in return ……

Airborne

Losing the C130 will be a serious loss, and if so I wonder what DSF has been told they can have instead as a sweetener.

Daniele Mandelli

THAT is the one scaring me which above all I don’t want to happen. Cannot happen. HOW can the remaining 22 Atlas cover that mission, which is extensive given the groups commitments, and do their other roles!!?

Paul.P

I would hope that if we lose the C130s then on the assumption it can fulfil the role, the Atlas fleet would grow a bit. The production line is still open. I think the review is another Tornado vs Harrier exercise. i.e. to make big cuts you have to decide to lose whole fleets rather than salami slice numbers. Adding more Atlas planes will have only a marginal impact on their support costs. So the equation is ‘ how many new Atlas can you buy for the total support costs ( and planned upgrades) of the C130s?’ Answers on a… Read more »

Airborne

Spot on mate, to save money you need to remove a whole fleet, not just reduce numbers, and that’s the worrying thing. And while Atlas seems capable, it won’t replace the hercs usefulness. It reduces options for the military, the SF and HMG, and the crazy thing is, if you have reduced options, it can make a bad option seem feasible, as it may be the only one remaining….

Paul.P

Re your point about options. Done a bit of googling; see my posts to Daniele on the Chinook 47G. Also it seems you can fit a Chinook inside an Atlas.
https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircraft/atlas-c1-a400m/

Daniele Mandelli

I pray.

Is the Atlas ideal for SF? Not so sure as why else was DSF so keen to keep them last time.

Paul.P

is Atlas ideal for SF? I don’t know. I wonder if the thinking is that the C130 capability could somehow be provided by a combination of Atlas and extended range Chinooks.

https://web.archive.org/web/20181020140520/http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/united-kingdom-h-47-chinook-extended-range-helicopters-and-accessories

Daniele Mandelli

We already have 7 Squadron on Chinook, albeit not this version. The new Chinooks are not additional, but replace existing.

It’s a cut, no way around it.

The 22 Atlas cannot take on a role 14 Hercs are required for.

Cutting enablers for one of our gold plated assets infuriates me.

Nervous.

Paul.P

Just bear with me on this. It looks like we are buying a Chinook version we are calling 47H which is a copy of the 47G model used by US special forces. It has long range external fuel tanks which give it a radius of action of 630km and an in flight refuelling probe. Special Forces looking at the spec below would think Santa has come early.

https://www.americanspecialops.com/night-stalkers/helicopters/mh-47.php

Daniele Mandelli

Sorry, not meaning to sound dismissive Paul.

I will bear with you and check the link.

Daniele Mandelli

As far as SPIES goes we already use that. Seen it in use at what looked like Valley.

Paul.P

Ah! Good spot mate.

Jungle Jim

Perhaps a V-22 Osprey buy is on the cards for the SF. It’s been rumoured for a while.

Graham Moore

On Warrior do you mean WCSP might be delayed, pared back or axed – or do you mean the fleet will be reduced or scrapped?
Any of those things would be disastrous.

Daniele Mandelli

Agreed. Tanks and IFV go together.

Andrew

Just pray mate.

Graham Moore

We had a number of statements from well-placed people about the tank fleet being cut or totally decommissioned last summer but Ben Wallace later rowed back on it, at least to some extent – I still think a cut of tank numbers from 227 to about 150 is a possibility. However, alarmingly there have been stories about a 10,000 cut in regular army numbers – and their replacement by a few more drones and a bigger spend on cyber thingummies. If true, it will be even harder to deploy a single strong warfighting division whilst maintaining other commitments – or… Read more »

dave12

I think the UK gov should be taken to court and be hold accountable for neglecting the armed forces and risking the uk security, they are to small as it is.

Andrew

Well said that man.

Challenger

The Guardian are claiming it’ll feature a major pivot to Far East to counter China and reduce The Army to 72,500 – both of which seem consistent with a lot of the rumours flying around.

If I had to put money on it I’d say Warrior will go and maybe the C130J. Sadly there will be a longer list of salami slice cuts with the mine-hunter fleet, older T23’s, Watchkeeper, Puma and Wildcat all in my opinion looking vulnerable as well as the usual round of cuts to defence real estate and MoD civil servants.

Steve

Watchkeeper wouldn’t seem to be a bad cut, it seems to be a cursed platform.

Daniele Mandelli

How much would it save? We spent the billion already! I believe after a decade or so they have a battery up and available!

Geoffrey Roach

Navy to the fore globally, high tech air force for Europe and the Middle East and a compact highly equipped army quickly responsive to our needs. Dream?…maybe.

sophie

I hope the type 26 number will to the 13

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Sophie. That is long gone. Will be 8 plus T31 to make the 13.

Meirion X

We have had this debate, over this issue, many times Sophie!
Most of us concluded that T26 was not needed for places like the Gulf. Especially escorting commercial shipping!
I think T31 will be ok for the right places , but needs some up-arming!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Levi Goldsteinberg

May I speak for all of us when I say; ‘shiiiiiiiiiiittttt’

Daniele Mandelli

You may! I hate these reviews.

Sean Crowley

LOL Daniele you remind me of John Wayne’s Alamo movie where Davy Crockett goes around the parapets reassuring the men .

Daniele Mandelli

? What else do we have? We are, after all, powerless here, despite our combined knowledge, and desire that our forces are protected and properly equipped and funded.
We need a seriously knowledgeable journalist who can call out and embarras HMG to a wider audience on a regular basis.

Ian

Completely agree with you Daniele
Thanks Ian

Meirion X

Lucy Fisher maybe, from the Times!

Daniele Mandelli

I think the counter to my comment, sadly, is that too many of joe public don’t give a fig so even a journalist shouting from the rooftops would only get so far.

Andrew

That you can

Graham

With the 1% pay rise announced for nurses causing the government embarrassment and a possible nurses strike plus the IR proposing cuts to the armed forces the government are in for a rough ride of their own making.

Meirion X

The Gov needs to start opening the economy, Now!

James

I’m just too impressed by how over confident some are thinking they could take on major powers like China with some type 31 lol Even second rate navies have better armed corvettes than that . The idea that 6 destroyers and an empty carrier would be world beating and face China in the south China sea is a fantasy to say the least. China has restrained itself a lot but may not in the future if provoked by medium powers like the UK or France and trust me America would never go war over that! Britain needs a serious army… Read more »

Peter S

It is a bit like gunboat diplomacy but without the gun.

Jungle Jim

It’s always been about the numbers. Technology can only mitigate so far before you get defeated I’m afraid.

Neil Mosedale

I’m starting to fear the worst. Cuts to the army and massive reduction in f35 orders. The sweetener for this will be drones and other hi tech kit that isnt ready yet whereas the cuts will be made asap.