The Modernising Defence Programme, a review of the military capabilities and spending, has now been made public.

According to the report, The Modernising Defence Programme:

“The Modernising Defence Programme continued the Defence strand of the NSCR, aiming to further strengthen and modernise Defence in response to the more complex challenges that we now face. We have reinforced our Armed Forces, and paved the way for bolder and more substantial progress to be made in the year ahead.

This report describes how our progress in implementing SDSR 15 and our achievements under the Modernising Defence Programme have made Defence stronger. It sets out where we need to build on our plans and policies to maintain our competitive advantage.
It describes how we intend to invest the significant additional sums the Autumn Budget provided to Defence this year and next, in addition to the uplift agreed in 2015.

It sets out a vision for the further adaptation and modernisation that we will explore alongside other national security priorities in next year’s Spending Review.

It describes how we intend significantly to transform Defence to deliver these ambitious plans.”

The 2015 Strategic Defence & Security Review established a central ‘planning assumption’ for Defence, that if called upon by Government the Armed Forces should be able to deploy a highly capable expeditionary force of around 50,000, including:

  • A maritime task group centred on a Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier with F35 Lightning aircraft
  • A land division with three brigades including a new Strike Force
  • An air group of combat, transport and surveillance aircraft
  • A Special Forces task group

This planning assumption remains unchanged, and according to the report, the government say it has “made good progress” in turning it into reality.

83 COMMENTS

  1. The US defensenews website was calling this long on ambition, short on detail, silent on where the money is coming from.

    • The “Review” in the title actually means reduction. Can anyone point to a SDSR that has EVER resulted in an overall increase in defense assets?

    • Interesting. I am surprised a renowned US publication could call MDP, which is really just a progress report on delivering SDSR15, ambitious. Defence is being modernised, at a snails pace, but I dispute the word ‘strengthened’. Only the Royal Marines are at a comfortable strength, in terms of manpower, but they lack firepower and adequate numbers of well protected vehicles. The rest of the Armed Forces are at totally inadequate levels for a global power.

  2. >We have reinforced our Armed Forces
    >This report describes how our progress in implementing SDSR 15 and our achievements under the Modernising Defence Programme have made Defence stronger

    Can’t imagine anyone writing this with a straight face

  3. Reinforced our armed forces?? Seriously??? What are they smoking in the MOD? Because I want some of that impressively hallucinogenic drug.
    Reality since 2015
    RAF down to 7, frontline jet squadrons of Eurofighter
    Still awaiting delivery of Poseidon MPAs
    Only 48 active F35Bs so far ordered
    Only LPH in the RN sold off without replacement
    Only 7 SSNs
    Only 19 frigates and destroyers with reality being only 17 available for active service and 2 hills laid up due to lack of manpower…sorry I mean harbour training vessels
    RFA diligence sold off
    No sight of a replacement for challenger 2 in the next 10+ years
    Inadequate order of just 54 Apache Es down from original 67 longbows in service. Yet the Apache is a firepower bargain at less than £17 million each
    Army unable to recruit the required personnel.
    Ditto RN
    Armed forces salaries, working conditions and trying to do more with less coming home to roost.
    Bravo Tory government. But it’s all ok just so long as we send £14 billion a year abroad as foreign aid and pay the EU £39 billion everything will be fine

    • u.k service accommodation leaving service mens/womens being treated like second class citizens the st.budeaux and rowner naval quarters(devonport and portsmouth) are becoming alike to 1970’s failures under maintained or updated.no wonder we’re losing our people.

    • And the above mentioned equipment list is far more then any other nation has in it’s arsenal with the exception of the US. And we have some incredibly capable assets. And the foreign aid budget gives this country far more influence then an extra couple of frigates in service could ever achieve.

      • Robert, do you work for MoD PR? We are not second only to the US in terms of the quantity of equipment. Assuming you mean second strongest in NATO and not in the world, I would argue that France has more equipment. Our Army is very small for the size of population and GDP. Much of our equipment is capable, but Challenger 2 is 20 years old and has yet to be significantly upgraded, WARRIOR is 30 years old and CVR(T) is a 1960s design.

  4. The irony is, RN wise, we have those assets already for the QEC group.

    To me our problem is how we use our assets.

    We use the pool of 14 tailed T23s and 6 T45 for other tasks, spreading them like confetti far and wide. Concentrate them in a CBG as their core task, 4 at a time, and use River and T31 for other roles.

    • Back in the olden days the ‘fleets’ used to go on cruises. We will never operate the carriers at the same tempo as the US operates their CBG’s. Yes the RN should form up around the carriers as you and perhaps undertake a cruise once year. One year to the Med. One year to exercise with the US on their west cost. One year RimPac. One year down under to Oz and NZ. One year to the Gulf. And when I say RN I mean RM too. Deploy a commando with the carrier; a close combat company in QEC. The remainder in the dock ship and Bay; though ideally we need a new big fast dock ship like the USN San Antonio’s. (Get 42 back up to strength). A small tailored air group in QEC of 12 to 18 F35b, Crowsnest, 8 Junglies, a clutch of Wildcat etc.

      Saying that we are still shore 5 SSN’s. We need to think of TAPS.

      I think T31 is needed but the budget is unrealistic.

    • Is that the type 31s that only exist in our dreams, on paper, on design board?
      Until we get 10 of them ordered and in the water I will not believe the RN is going to retain any semblance of adequate numbers of fighting ships

      • Yes Mr Bell. Those T31s. Which is why to me they are greater priority than the 26.

        Despite that. IF the RN wanted to change its operational pattern it could, could it not.

        Are we really to believe of 17 operational escorts we could not have 4 at a time for 4 months or whatever period operating concentrated, with 1 and and 1 FSS.

        The RN is spread far and wide due to commitments.

        Like in 82 IF they are needed to come together stuff the standing NATO patrols and other tasks they concentrate.

        I repeat. I’m talking about the ability to deploy a QEC task group only. 2 T23. 2T45. 1 SSN. 1 Tanker.

        We have the assets. They are used elsewhere.

        So change the system.

        • Though presence, the hull in the water as it were, is a fundamental of naval warfare. And though T31 will give us that it is very much a luxury these days. We need capability more than presence these days, that’s why T26 is more important T31. T31 in terms of conventional hulls if we want frigates in those numbers then the budget is unrealistic. Three of yes, doable, five no way. If all we want is presence we should look to a class below frigate and aim for ships like the RNLN Holland class or a mix of other capabilities beyond ships. A Holland class per hull would cost £130 million and we could afford a new Wildcat per hull too. And then use the rest of the budget somewhere else. More Merlin. Or add money onto T45 refit program……Something.

        • So a task for of one QEC, 2 type 45, 2 type 23 and 1 SSN would represent the maximum deployable strength of the RN. And we are happy with that?
          That is not a fleet it is a single task group and would be inadequate against a peer navy. We need to return to force levels whereby a QEC, LPD, LPH, 2 type 45, 4-5 frigates, 3+ SSNs can deploy for a single high intensity operation as one unified fleet. That means at least 10 type 26s, 10 type 31s and at least 10 SSNs and a replacement ideally 2 ships in the LPH role.
          Likely means 3-4% GDP to defence ratio and an uplift in armed forces personnel numbers and better service conditions of accomodation, pay and retention.

    • fit the rivers to the same specs as the sigma 105114 corvette, same size, 20 more crew, two triple torpedo launchers an oto melara 76mm gun, two quad anti air missile launchers, oh and exocet.’gunning up the rivers like this would make the R.N 9 light frigates/corvettes better off plus, they’re already built.

  5. Looks like quite sensibly the Westminster government has faced financial realities and unless people are prepared to pay more taxes – which they won’t be – the militarists and right wing latter day imperialists will have to be content with the UKs reduced role in the world. This is the product a a political party which is more likely to spend on the military than the current oppostion. Fortunately, I don’t have to vote for either!

    • Militarists and latter day imperialists! LOL!

      You really have issues you know….

      We’ve not had the empire for 50 years!

      The only people obsessed with empire are people like yourself with a giant chip on the shoulder.

      Keep sizzling it’s hysterical.

      • You are rather more hysterical madam. Watching you squeal at every cutback is hilarious. I note your much loved military has dropped another peg on the world rating. Now that is even more amusing.

        • Back again TH with your tiny dick syndrome? Taking out your frustrations from being born with deficient appendages will only make you feel better about yourself in the short term. Unless you deal with these inner demons that cause you to mock, lash out and demean people on a perfectly justified forum, the rage you feel is likely to consume you. Have you tried a therapist? Don’t leave it too long, or the inner rage you feel towards yourself ( which you deflect upon us) could bring on thoughts of self harm, and we really wouldn’t want that to happen… would we? If you need to open up and get everything off your chest, I am here for you. Go on, get it all out. There there, bless.

        • TH.

          Let me relieve you of your ignorance.

          Look up the spelling of Daniele.

          Danielle is female TWO L s.

          Mine is but one. The Italian spelling of good old, plain, Daniel.

          Very much male.

          Been through this before on here and I usually laugh it off with people.

          Not with you….

          Nothing hysterical about what I post or how I write. I try to be sensible.

          You just contribute hate, spite, and glee gloating over what upsets others here.

          And you cannot even distinguish Daniele from Danielle.

          Now that’s hysterical.

          Deary me…..

          • Yet more evidence that TH is an out and out troll. You Daniele have already been through the name/gender explanation with her at least once in the past that I’ve seen. The fact that TH chooses to ignore that past correction and revert back to being stupid (on the “madam” thing – ignoring her other nonsense for now) loses her any tiny bit of credibility that she might have had and just shows that all she is doing is desperately trolling with nothing else to offer.

            These angry middle-aged ladies from the tax payer’s alliance really can be tiresome sometimes.

        • Nice one TH, ‘hysterical madam’.
          Seems poor old Daniele has undergone a sex change again.
          Joke aside for those that pay attention serious increase in funding is needed.
          Williamson is certainly a breath of fresh air but feel it’s all rather falling on deaf ears.

          • Actually I think it is a very old radio joke from Round the Horne………

            Kenneth Williams: ‘YOU raving madam…..’
            Kenneth Horne: ‘Kenneth, it is madman……’
            Kenneth Williams. ‘Oooh! So it is….

          • its time the navy were told your decision of the 1970’s to opt for an all nuclear submarine fleet is unaffordable£1.4 billion for one astute, when the world leading gotland type conventional submarine costs just£100 million its the economics of the madhouse, wanting more for less won’t work, it never has. if the u.k swallowed its pride and did what every other nation does(buy from each other)we could be vastly better off google the following naval inactive ships register showin g what the yanks have sitting around for’foreign sale or donation’ then google AMARG INVENTORY THERE ARE 400= AND 100 PLUS F 15 AND16’S HELD FOR FUTURE REACTIVATION T23’S AND 22’S WITH CHILE ,BRAZIL AND ROMANIA,STILL IN SERVICE reinforces the notion that we sell too early, retire too early. the pakistani navy is only just retiring the 6 type 21’s they bought in the 80’s. given the modern areas on conflict and normal sea conditions there shows that we could have maintained the type in service far longer, the type 22 isposal was criminal

    • I guess TH does not realize the Conservative party reduced defense spending in 2010. And he seems glad that the UK military has shrunk.

      • Interesting that in the 1970s, with Britain broke & the IMF called in, the RAF still had 400+ combat aircraft (Phantoms, Vulcans, Harriers, Jaguars, Buccs) & the RN had 50 escorts & over 30 subs.
        Now the UK gov spends over £700bn a year. It could have good defences if it wanted, but prefers to give the money to foreign aid, diversity non-jobs, MP expenses, badly written PFIs & whatever the EU demands.

    • Blimey I have missed TH on this site. Welcome back fella. Have you been recovering from the inevitable spillage of Novichok that occurs probably quite regularly in Putin’s Russia?
      Glad you are feeling better. Any lasting damage?

  6. Not really that ambious. Ignoring the strike brigades it’s all in place and 3 brigades is around 10-15k troops which is about what was deployed in Iraq/afgan and so not exactly a step forward on deployable strength. Ultimatley the proof will sit with what gear makes up a strike brigades and what it’s designed to actually achieve.

    • This is my point. It is mostly there already.

      Classic MoD Spin.

      This will be seen as an aspiration to reach and things will have to get cut to get it, so we are “more Agile” blah blah blah.

      But we already have it, as said with bits and pieces missing and the Strike Brigades mere shells at the moment.

      A typical MoD slant on things. Watch out for the spending review.

      Reminder also we just recently had 6 fully deployabe Brigades in 1st and 3rd UK Divisions, plus 16 AA and 3 Cdo.

      7th and 20th Armoured.
      1st, 4th, 12th Mechanized. ( 4th was Armoured, downgraded to Mech in cuts )
      19th Light. ( Was Mech, downgraded in cuts, then deleted altogether.

      The lot were massacred in 2010 and before.

      Until last couple of years we have had 3 Armoured in 3 Division and 2 Infantry Brigades in 1 Division which were meant to also be depoyable ( having the CS and CSS assets to make them so )

      It is, or was all there. A2020R has damaged it badly to get “Strike Brigades”

      Having said this understood on BV’s point earlier in another thread that much equipment is obsolescent.

        • Likewise. They are mechanized brigades devoid of Tanks, AS90 guns, armoured engineer squadrons, and more.

          Mixing tracks with firepower and wheeled boxer for the mobility I don’t understand.

          I understand they are supposed to be agile and able to self deploy vast distances. With Ajax on tracks?

      • yet we build whopping great ships of the albion class and don’t properly arm . imagine the headline,unarmed major navy ship lost 1000 servicemen/women lost. who would answer to that one?

  7. The outlined force seems sensible and relatively affordable given the security environment and the budget. Just need more SSN’s

    • buy the decommissioning collins submarines from the australians ,and the 4 upholder class we sold to canada(now the victoria class)the RN. has lost its ability to operate dedicated ssk boats, again too early, and its blind approach of nuclear over conventional propulsion boats, my son was on the trafalgar class submarine torbay when it left service and told me that the boat was good for another 5-10 years service yet, we pay 16 million a year to maintain the whole swiftsure class,retired trafalgars and even the old polaris type, which have been in mothballs longer than they were in service!! 19 boats just rotting away.

  8. Reinforce our armed forces? Had to laugh at that one. If you really want to reinforce our military, try this…

    – Order T31 asap and increase numbers to 10
    – Purchase another 40 F35bs and get them delivered sooner rather than trickling down over 20 years. Stand-up 6 frontline squadrons rather than 4.
    – Increase Apache helicopter numbers to a minimum of 65
    – Order another 3 Astute submarines.
    – Ditch Capita and get some serving and ex military to focus on advertising and recruitment of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

    • astutes? overpriced, overrated, untested,jinxed budget ‘munchers’ i’d rather see5 more type 45’s or look at acquiring the retiring ticonderoga class cruisers from the u.s

      • The good old USA is not retiring the Tico’s they are being retained. 13 of the 26 immediately refitted and kept in service other 13 into reserve and in 10-15 years or sooner, they will be refitted repaired and put back into service. Good long term planning. Something we should have done with the type 22s and type 23s that were seen as surplus to requirements. Put them into reserve, harbour training role etc then refit and reactivate when needed. They were sold off too early and too cheapily.

  9. Have to say this report is very poor and people really should be fired if this is all they can come up with after a year

    Politics clearly at play. But we need to set out what we need. The top brass need to come together as one and make a statement both incoming and outgoing.

    From my perspective the budget needs to be £45bn pa. which is really a 25% increase. But this is needed to improve conditions and equipment. We clearly can’t fund the force the politicians wish to boast about on current allocations

    • the forces must be told what do you want expensive ‘bells and whistles which eat the budget increase the costs of new equipment resulting in smaller orders type 45 12 reduced to six, type 26 from 13 to eight, its just not good enough. and it applies to all 3 services

  10. Latest News, Japan May spend 258 Billion US $’s over the next 5 years to Counter the Threat from an Increasingly Threatening China, Including F35’s and Converting their “Helicopter Destroyers”. The UK will not recognise the Increasing threat from Mr Putin despite the Very Large Threat He Is Presenting ( Subs, Ships, Aircraft and Territory ). Meanwhile, The UK Is happy to spread thinly our very limited resources ( Ships, Aircraft and Troops ) All around the Globe In a seemingly Ignorant fashion. Errrmmmm Wake Up and smell the Vodka FFS. An army of 70 thousand, a Navy of 17 Escorts, An Airforce of @120 Strike Aircraft and a few Helicopters together with a few Transports, Tankers and Intel Gatherers, does not a Deterrent make. Nor (In my opinion) Is the reduction of Nuclear Warheads or Tubes in the next batch of Subs. As someone typed earlier, If “We” re going to be serious about “Global Britain” then We should be serious about building a global Deterrent.
    Oh and, TH, Just don’t even try to reply In your usual Limp Wristed way mate, This Is a site for Defence news and Interested and concerned people, not Arsehole Trolls.
    Why you come here Is a total Mystery Truth Be Known.
    Oh and, Merry Christmas.
    Oh and, I never realised Daniele was a Male ( lol ) so thanks for pointing that out (fail) (epic) ( Twat) ( springs to mind ). XXXXX Oh and, leave them Haggis alone bud, ( specially the Bum End ) and the Salmond, Sturgeon and any other Fishy things you like to Finger. ( Sick ). Apart from that, I love your Post’s.

    • Captain.

      Many don’t.

      We had “Sex Change Gate” about a year ago on here! Older posters are aware of it. Many aren’t. It’s no big deal.

      When a total tosser like TH comes on all high and mighty and superior it IS a problem.

      Ignorance is bliss they say.

      Ignorance, stupidity and an arrogant streak like that revelling in glee in our upset at cuts is his/her raison detre. People here actually care for their forces, and our veterans, especially me. I have respect for all of you here who have or are serving.

      TH? Utter prat. He’s been at it for a few years now. Know TH you have my utter contempt.

      Also know I don’t hide behind initials either. Male or female, this is my name.

      Captain. I enjoy your sense if humour and I wish you a merry and drunk Christmas!!!!

    • this nation, and india , have a cleat plan and are sticking to it, showing real ambition and making it happen. the u.k is rudderless, talk of exportable ships that aren’t even built yet, large ships, and the rivers are large enough to with ambition big enough for a design upgrade and redesignation to corvette or light frigate.(as many are referred as.) we,ve two average sized carriers, no catapults, no planes,no means of defending them, or they themselves the t45 isn’t going to last forever they’re being flogged to death, and will be knackered out within 10 years.

  11. Most European counties are under no pressure to spend more money or increase their military capabilities because they all know that when the shit hit the fan America will be there for them like always. All they need to do is spend the bare minimum to make it look like they are doing something for their own nation defense and they are content with that. The worst offender of this policy is Germany hands down. Germany’s military as it stands now could be defeated by most Arab countries forces with little effort.
    The countries of the former USSR are finally waking up and starting to realize they must pull their fingers out of their butts and start rebuilding their pathetic militaries. Ukraine made the mistake of thinking the Cold War was long since over and paid for that ignorance in land and resources taken away by Russia.
    America isn’t saying that we won’t help you guys defend Europe what we are saying is that we won’t be able to shoulder the overwhelming majority of that defense like we have been since the end of WW2. I don’t think that asking Europe to take over the majority of their OWN defense is unreasonable.

  12. I’ve been occasionally dipping into this forum. The majority of people seem to focus on more defence expenditure and what we would do with it. Perhaps it is time to give up the false hope that defence spending will increase significantly and focus on what we should do with roughly what we have coming through.

    Do token presences around the world serve our essential interests and make sense now Russia has gone rogue?

    • David, that’s the Worry. Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China and Russia are all very much areas of concern as are Terrorists and Cyber threats. Do we have sufficient assets ? Do we really want to spread these as thinly as we seem to be, what with the Falklands and our new “East of Suez” commitment ?

      • Realistically we don’t have the hardware or manpower to do a mini war again in 2018, we also don’t have the empire to defend. Today’s threats are more hidden, in the cyber warfare realm.

      • we have a lot of assets but many are the wrong ones or the ones we have being wrongly used. it’s the management of the services that is wrong no vision, no expertise, more desk admirals than ships, more generals than regiments, as for the RAF,what they will do as a replacement for tornado leaves me senseless,if the u.k used the model of japan and india who have ambition, a plan, and the backing to make it happen, in short everything we do not.

  13. I’m just curious but let’s say that by some miracle, Fiscal Phil actually listens and increases defence spending to 3% of GDP, what could actually be achieved with that? What could we be looking at in terms of ships, aircraft, troops etc?

      • I remember reading somewhere that at the end of WW11 it was something like 70%. Not sure If that’s correct but I guess It is probable given the circumstances.

        • Considering the debt the nation had after the war and that it will take a few more decades to pay it off, I suspect the 70% is probably right.

          The issue is percentage of GDP is a nonscence figures. I could say I spend x% (would have many 0 after the full stop) of GDP on my mortgage and that 3% would get me a much better house, but reality is my disposable income is not aligned with GDP and also government’s revenue is also not fully aligned.

          It should be a percentage of tax revenue minus cost of debt (the cost each year we pay on interest against the national debt not the capital reduciton cost) and then we could compare X date with y date.

          When you benchmark against GDP you can’t compaee anything. My mortgage payments went down as a percentage of GDP compared to last year, but as I didnt get a payrise it in fact costs me more

          • Steve happy Christmas mate. Can I just point out we finally cleared our WW2 debt in 2005-2006. Only 60 years after lend, lease.
            That was the price of our freedom and rescuing Europe from tyrany and our thanks from a grateful and free Europe was?????
            Still waiting for an answer to that.
            They should have paid our debts off for rescuing them and then paid for all our costs of garrisoning them and protecting them since 1945. Instead we get “you owe us £39 billion divorce bill” utter bullshit.
            Any UK politician with even half a back bone should tell our friends and allies in the EU a few home truths and politely remind them of Europe’s recent history and the debt paid in blood and national treasure they owe us.

      • To be honest though there’s no need for us to have 3 types of bombers.

        If 3% spend on defence could get us a fleet of 25+ frigates and destroyers along with equipping them with cruise and antiship missiles, another 3-4 Astutes and a couple more squadrons of F35s, and a 20% increase in manpower, I think most of us would be fairly satisfied.

        • How about one type of bomber? The USAF will be flying a 100-year old bomber, developed about same time as V-bombers. The RAF was going to go to all-missile force, so the TSR -2 was canceled since there would be an all-missile force. Then all the IRBMs were cancelled. Then the new CVAs were canceled.
          The KGB could not have done a better job with an agent-in-place.

          • Well, we didn’t need 3 in the 50’s either. I guess the Valiant would have made it as it was available much earlier than the other two. However, when the fatigue problems set in, due to the low level role, I guess the Vulcan would have been preferred. But, to my mind, the Victor was the most incredible looking aircraft ever to come off a European drawing board.

    • 3% of GDP is roughly 3% of 3 trillion dollars, so {estimating} 90 billion dollars or 70 billion pounds. That equates roughly to about 220,000 uniformed personnel. More than a 50 % increase over today.

  14. Great to read this thread, most entertaining! Tech defence kit is so expensive these days, the planning, development and build processes take much longer because the threats are more sophisticated but as a US general said (think it was) a year missed building a ship is a year lost, you can’t catch up and China outstrips the US now. I think in the 1930’s we spent like 2.5% GDP on defence, and 3.5% by 1939… and then 45% during WW2 much of which was borrowed from the US and we were lucky to survive – point is it makes no sense to skimp on defence spending at such a threatening and uncertain time because push comes to shove we can’t catch up, capability and recruitment take too long to correct and re-adjust! Still, no cuts announced has to be something to celebrate, greetings of the season!

  15. The challenge we have is the benchmarks we have on number of troops required are now all significantly outdated. The last near peer war was Falklands and that was a very unique situation of both sides being expeditionary, which with the reduced empire seems highly unlikely again.

    Iraq/Afgan were embarrassing mess caused by the lack of troops we deployed, which appeared to be because of lack of equipment for deploying more, rather than lack of the soldiers themselves, combined with lack of political will to deploy more or to take the losses required to win, by either us or the US.

    My feeling is we need to be in a position to deploy 20k troops sustained (not really based on anything solid other than looking at deployments in past wars), which we are a little short of currently, but boosting the manpower is only part of the problem, since we saw massive gaps in basic gear (body armor, radios, ammo, etc) and less basic gear (helicopters, armored vehicles etc) with 10k being deployed.

    As such i would suggest we try and sort the equipment out for the 10k first and then expand the troops after that, along with the gear as things grow, no point having troops without the gear to deploy them.

  16. Until we we accept that we need a bigger defense budget of approx 3 or even 4 %, then we are all deluding ourselves that we can do more and more with less. We can’t.
    The best of it is that we could easily afford such a budget, and stop the many vanity projects that the UK commits us all to pay for, HS2 being one of them.

    We are a 3rd rate or even 4th rate military power, and fading year on year. Successive governments have all gone along with this plan but it has never been publicly discussed and the implications made clear.
    We need to face facts and recognise that we have very limited offensive military combat power. Most of our small Navy is kitted out for defensive purposes only! ( forget nuclear exchanges- we wont be allowed to use that by our US overlords, and they do hold the ignition keys after all.)

    Our politicians have turned us into a lackey of the USA, and we cannot do anything,even if we wanted to, without their support.

    • Even with 4% defense budget, we would be 3rd rate at best, we just can’t compete with countries that have significantly lower manpower costs and/or bigger GDP’s.

      There is also the difficulty of comparing, is a lessor trained army of 300k better than a well trained one of 80k, certainly Russia thought so during the cold war, where it realised it couldn’t compete with the US tech wise so went for strength of numbers.

      There is also the motivation levels, the attacker generally is less motivated to win than the defender, as happened in Afgan/Iraq and also Vietnam etc etc.

      How you rate military power is hugely subjective, you could argue we are in the top 5, since we are one of 5 that have nukes and so can level any other non-nuke country if we so please.

      If you look at the Falklands war, both countries were expeditionary and so full strength of either nation was not put to the test, instead it was a test of which had the best stretch at range.

      If there was all out war between two advanced nations, then within the first couple of weeks the advanced weaponry would be used up and conscription would have to start, at which point it would come down to available man power, available weapons in storage and the countries ability to make more which is what happened in ww1 and ww2 and to a lessor extent in vietnam. Today countries like India and China have huge potential on that front and if you look at WW1 and WW2 we relied heavily on India for resources and manpower.

      In the cold war when our expenditure was much higher and so were our troop numbers, our tactics were based around slowing down the Soviets long enough to nuke them, we knew we could not win, so money alone won’t fix that.

      The question that we don’t really have the answer to, is what type of war do we need to fight in the future, and what gear/numbers do we need to fight them. Almost certainly they won’t be peer or near peer wars, they will be much more likely anti insurgency warfare following another major terrorist incident or some form of UN peace keeping mission. What size of force we need would therefore depend on the size of the country (which is clearly an unknown), so that our forces are not too stretched as happened in Iraq/Afgan.

    • America doesn’t hold the “ignition key” for British nukes, yes we would let our yank cousins know our plans just as they would let us know but we can deploy nukes if we wanted go without America being involved. We do build the dam nuke warheads after all and we help with research and development in the trident missile delivery system and we do own plenty of our own trident missile delivery systems but we share a pool of them with USA.

    • America doesn’t hold the “ignition key” for British nukes, yes we would let our yank cousins know our plans just as they would let us know but we can deploy nukes if we wanted to without America being involved. We do build the dam nuke warheads after all and we help with research and development in the trident missile delivery system and we do own plenty of our own trident missile delivery systems but we share a pool of them with USA.

      • The problem is we really don’t know if that is the case or not, and hopefully will never find out. In theory its true but reality we don’t know.

        If I was the US government, and i was selling a weapon as powerful as Trident to anyone including my allies, i would put a backdoor kill switch into the software as a safeguard. If you look at the history behind the US selling us Polaris, you will see that they only did it after we scammed them into thinking we were about to develop our own home made solution.

        Whilst i would like to think that the US have handed over the code to us (look at the issues with the US giving us the code for the f35) and that we have had coders go through it line by line, to make sure there isn’t anything there, we have no idea if it happened or not. What, we do however know is that the UK has a long history of doing defence on the cheap, cutting corners on the basics to make it look like we have capability that we don’t (HMS Hood being the ultimate example, but think body armour in Afgan/Iraq, not investing in land tracking radars for falkands era ships etc etc etc), that i suspect we probably just took trident and didn’t ask too many questions.

        This is a bit tin hat talking and i suspect its not true, but equally believing the official story without evidence is dangerous. In this case it doesn’t matter, if it ever came to war with the US, we have already lost, way way before we get a chance to hit the red button and in practice we would never actually use the nukes against anyone unless they were landing on our beaches and probably not even then, so being able to use or not is completely theoretical.

  17. I will not comment on the RAF and their requirements as I do not know enough about that force, as for the Army and Navy they for me are a second home.
    So I’ll start with the Army.
    The Army has three operational requirements, but worst of all they are completely different to each other so that will make life difficult.
    1. The operational requirements for NATO means a European focus Army, big tanks, big guns mobile infantry. A need for three divisions to form an independent Army Corps for European ops, one being a Armoured Div (based on MBTs), the other two being Mobile Heavy Infantry Divs (based on Boxer/Warrior) with some MBTs thrown in. (40,000 men, 300 MBTs)
    2. The reinforcement of Northern Norway, this would be done in conjunction with Royal Marines, a light infantry force that is highly mobile in all terrains and weather. Heavy in Anti tank capability. CV90s, something akin to the old Scorpion, MLRS and AS90 would be useful here. (10,000men)
    3 International response, overseas protectorates such as the Falklands. Three Rapid deployed armoured battlegroups of 1,000 men each with 14 MBTs, 60 CV90s or Warriors, 4 Scimitars, Artillery Battery, Anti air, Anti tank missiles and Helicoptor support. Air or Sea transportable reinforced by Royal Marines. (3000 men)
    Air Assault Brigade (8,000 men to be used where needed.
    Total 61,000 men, By having this type of force structure it can be seen that the Army has the man power for its basic roles but there is not much in the way of a reserve for out of area conflict. The Army does need to increase its MBT capability by about an extra 100 tanks but it is totally inadequate in Mobile Artillery and Air defence.
    The next issue is to get the Army to where it is needed, it was once said that the biggest weapon the Navy has is to throw the Army ashore anywhere in the world when and where it wants.
    Well looking at the basic requirements of the Army it can be seen that the Navy at the moment cannot do it.
    The Royal Navy has several tasks which at the moment are increasing. However again by looking at what we have got and what we will have the result is that we are not missing to many hulls to do the job as long as we get all of the T26s and T31s with a few more we are missing then only one capability.
    It appears to me that the RN will be built around three task forces, two are the Carriers QE and PoW and the third is an Amphibious Task Group, the escort numbers for these three add up on two conditions.
    1. They are not deployed on a single ship bases.
    2. They are not used to fill in for missing capabilities.
    So the T31s now have some concept behind the technical requirements and to be honest it does not look good for the 250 million pound price tag. The T31s should be used in an independent role however they will also be needed for convoy escort and to plug the GIUK gap. This means the type needs to be heavy on anti submarine with a towed array and a minimum of one Merlin anti submarine helicopter. With the T31 being heavy in Anti Submarine its next role is Air Defence of the convoy or addition support for the Amphibious Group 24 Sea Ceptors should be sufficient for that task then the Anti Ship capability. No matter which way I try to square the peg five is not sufficient for the task, I can work it down to eight but ten is the more realistic number. I am not saying that the T31s should all have towed array but a containerised version should be available for at least half of them.
    What is woefully insufficient is the Amphibious capability when landing the first wave strike is the most important and if that is not done in numbers it will fail. The landing force also needs air-cover. HMS Albion and Bulwark are only capable to land light forces over the beach, heavy forces needs to come in via a dock. In times of conflict there might not be a dock available. So we need to build ships that can land heavy troops with its own air support that means something like HMAS Canberra with a F35 squadron on board. If we could replace the two Albion’s and Ocean with three Canberra’s then we could land three battlegroups in one strike. It also means that for important convoys we would have and escort carrier or and Anti Submarine carrier to help in plugin the GIUK Gap. It will also mean that the Carrier task forces are left to do there job and act as offensive battlegroups. Before someone asks, no you can’t use the QE for close air support of an amphibious landing, they just are not flexible for inshore work they are blue water units.
    So what does this mean well to start with we would need to find an extra 5 billion pounds over the next ten years for ship building and an extra 1,000 men to man the ships.
    What would it give.
    Two carrier battle groups each with 36 F35s 4 Crows Nest 4 search and rescue, 6 anti submarine helicopters. Offensive operations. Escorted by two T45s, three T26s and an Astute
    One Amphibious group of three Canberra style LHDs giving each 8 F35s and 14 Merlins or helicopter mix in the Assault role, 12 F35s and 8 Helicopters in the escort carrier role or 6 F35s, 14 Anti Submarine and 2 Crows nest in the Anti Sub role. As an Amphib assault group the would be escorted by two T45s, two T26s and an Astute. In the convoy escort role or GIUK anti submarine roles they would be working independently so an escort of three T31s would be sufficient. However this would take the complete F35 force if a NATO war surge was needed. So if there was a NATO conflict possibly the US could have some of their F35bs on board British ships.
    The work horse of the future RN should be the T31, if we could get ten of them then three should be based constantly in the Indian Ocean, three in home waters working with the OPVs, one in Gib Falklands and Caribbean and one undergoing refit. The T26s and T45s should only be at sea when a carrier or Amphib Group is at sea.
    Would it be nice to have some more submarines, yes but I think that with a bit more investment rather than a huge dream like investment we could have a hard hitting highly mobile Army with a Navy to get them there and to escort reinforcements from the US if needed. It would also leave the US navy to look after the Pacific as the Atlantic would have at least one carrier battlegroup possibly three if we count the French, up to three escort carriers groups enough submarines and surface ships from Europe to look after the Atlantic and Northern Norway.

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