This week’s announcement by the Prime Minister of an additional ‘£16.5bn’ for defence spending over the next four-five years is a welcome development for the Ministry of Defence, coming in the wake of financial uncertainty regarding the Chancellor’s delayed autumn spending review, where defence was viewed dimly by number ten.

In the end, the combined political weight of the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, and the former Downing Street special adviser Dominic Cummings was enough to ensure that this financial uplift represents the largest investment into the British armed forces in 30 years, setting the scene for a UK defence strategy in a post-Brexit age.


This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by Robert Clark, a Postgrad Researcher and British Army veteran. Robert can be found on Twitter at @RobertClark87.


Correctly identified as an additional £7.3bn spent annually on defence by 2024-25 in real terms, this is £6.5bn over manifesto pledges, representing a 4.2% growth per year above inflation. By 2024-25, defence spending will nudge the £50bn mark. This is a powerful statement of intent from the UK government, and a show of force from the Prime Minster highlighting his strategy for UK defence over this next government.

Those immediately standing to gain from this announcement are the Royal Navy, and with them, UK shipyards and manufacturing. In addition, the RAF will receive funding for the new space command, with additional investment for drone technology and the UK-led Tempest programme; the sixth generation fighter yet. Further announcements were a national cyber force, and an artificial intelligence (AI) agency.

Though this announcement precedes the delayed Integrated Review, now slotted for early 2021, deductions can plainly be made from this new ‘pre-Review’ strategy. It focuses on two separate components for UK defence; the return of naval supremacy and the forward-deployed Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group in 2021, and the arrival of a truly digital defence age.

Whilst the hype surrounding the announced £16.5bn can more accurately be characterised as an additional £7.3bn spent annually by 2025, there was much media speculation that this would go towards ‘extravagant’ programmes; predominantly the new space command, AI programmes and cyber systems. This is simply not true. The National Cyber Force will cost £1.9bn over the four-five year period, and the new space command will cost £400mn.

The vast majority of the remaining £14bn will go towards plugging the £13bn blackhole in various procurement programmes, renewing the Trident independent nuclear deterrent, and re-investing into the men and women who make up defence, including free child-care cover for primary school aged children of military families.

This manifesto pledge by the government acknowledges that people are at the centre of defence, and that often the men and women of the UK armed forces do not work normal Monday to Friday, nine to five jobs, and that often the family unit is the first to suffer across military families.

It is important to keep these figures in perspective; already, there has been much surprise in the media that defence has been allocated this investment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where services are thinly stretched across the board. The ‘£16.5bn’ over four-five years in fact represents a mere fraction of the £200bn that the government have spent on fighting the pandemic since March alone, including on furlough schemes and local and national lockdowns. In addition, the government quite rightly spends £170bn on the NHS annually.

However, in order for the military to evolve and invest into these new battle-winning capabilities and technologies, the so-called sunrise capabilities, then the sunset capabilities must also be addressed.

In a broad stroke, this involves the future roles for heavy armour, long-rumoured to be facing significant cuts in the upcoming review, and also to conventional (infantry) troop numbers. Though there remain no suggestions for any redundancies, recruitment will merely reduce in order to bring the troop numbers down, if that is what is decided.

Reducing the overall manning levels across the military would have significant adverse effects however, as current deployments are already reducing the planning times for the next ops cycles, in addition to the military becoming even more forward deployed going into 2021 and beyond.

In this new digital defence age, where global pandemics, civil wars, migratory processes, and natural disasters all show no regard for artificial borders, the British armed forces must adapt, and adapt quickly, to this new globalised era where great state rivalry is the defining geopolitical characteristic.

A revisionist Russia is actively engaged in using sub-threshold means to destabilise NATO partners across Europe, utilising cyber attacks and sophisticated disinformation campaigns, including against the UK.

Further to the east, an embolden China is seeking to export its deeply authoritarian governance structure across the developing world and within international organisations, whilst militarising the South and East China Seas, dominating the world’s most crucial shipping lanes, and clamping down on human rights across Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong – breaking the Sino-British Joint Declaration in the process.

With Russia maintaining a particularly active cyber capability, and China investing heavily into next-generation technologies including hypersonic missiles, AI and enhanced biology, this announcement of extra funding for UK defence is not only timely, but also highly appropriate given the threat posed to UK interests across the globe.

In a testament to the Prime Minister’s renewed focus on re-establishing naval supremacy, the Royal Navy are set to acquire eight new Type 26 and five Type 31, in addition to new Type 32 frigates, the building of which will safeguard thousands of manufacturing jobs and create thousands more across BAE Systems’ yards on the River Clyde.

In the meantime, the naval Carrier Strike Group, led by the flagship behemoth HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and accompanied by US, Canadian and Australian personnel and equipment, is set to sail East of Suez in 2021. Charting the Indian Ocean and on to South East Asia, the UK’s global partners and allies will be reassured that London has indeed re-prioritised defence, flying the flag for a truly Global Britain.

4.3 12 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
68 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
julian1

Really, compared to the 100s of billions spent on the pandemic, furlough, vaccines etc, it really is a “small” amount for such a key responsibility. The decision for Brexit means trading more, further afield, must put greater emphasis on the RN and less on continental focused land warfare. Increasing the strength and reach of the RN and ensuring it can support air and land assets from the sea has to be the new paradigm. Surely the army will lose heavy armour and manpower in favour of lighter, faster and more mobile forces – including perhaps more Apache? Will the elite… Read more »

Caspian237

It has been said that Boris is an admirer of the ancient Athenian statesman Pericles. I choose to interpret this as Boris’ nod towards the Periclean Strategy during the conflicts with Sparta. Maintain naval supremacy, avoid a major clash of arms on land where Sparta has the natural advantage and concentrate on trade with the numerous colonies and partners in the Aegean Sea and beyond.

Daniele Mandelli

Good post. I’ve tried to enlighten the moaners on Twitter, but didn’t make a decent job of it. I should have used your well thought out reasoning.

Tony

A left-leaning colleague brought up the fact that we were “spending £16m on some lasers” and how ridiculous it was. I couldn’t even be bothered to argue.

lee1

If we have learned anything from the many land battles we have had over the years, it is that Heavy armour is essential in order to gain and hold ground, especially if your enemy has good Heavy armour. We need a Challenger 3, we may not need the same numbers as we did before but we do still need them.

Tony

I think we need to gauge how likely we are to be fighting a land war against an enemy with good heavy armour. Unless we end up on the ground in either China or Russia it’s not particularly likely. As OP stated, redirecting these funds to light infantry, special forces and the like may be prudent.

lee1

Iran? Turkey? Any number of rogue nations supplied with equipment by China?

Frank62

There’s heavy armour in most likely adversaries order of battle, so losing it would be a huge mistake. The new investment gives us hope for the 1st time in decades, but let’s not marr that by gapping main tank capability. What they need to be more effective is new & more artilliary support, where we’re dangerously out-classed.

Darren hall

True, however, from personal experience.
When the Canadian Leopards came to our aid in Afghan (where the enemy had zero armour of any type),the sense of security that this brought to our side is immeasurable.

A modern, land based form of gunboat diplomacy, but it works…

Graham Moore

In just the last 30 years we have deployed tanks in warfighting roles in Gulf War 1, Gulf War 2, Bosnia, Kosovo – and now have tanks in Estonia in a dterrent role. How many times has a T45 been deployed in warfighting or deterrent roles? How many dogfights has Typhoon ever been engaged in? Some are too quick to right off the utility of heavy armour, and in the face of all evidence.

Sean

When people complain of this increase in defence spending, I’m reminded of the Royal Navy’s motto:
“Si vis pacem, para bellum“

Frank62

Is that: If you desire peace, prepare for war?

I never did Latin. But play way too much RTW.

Daniele Mandelli

Navy first. Bravo. Make sure the RAF, Intelligence, and SF are not far behind mind. They too I see as key in a global expeditionary posture. I don’t think the army will lose all armour, I’d not want it to. I think it will be reduced further, a process underway since Future Army Structures in the early 2000s. As for Light Infantry, while I have often bemoaned the number of light infantry battalions vs enablers from the CS and CSS arms which keep getting chopped I’d hope that rather than wholesale manpower reductions in infantry with no uplifts elsewhere we… Read more »

Spencer

To me, the RAF and RN are joint 1st place in terms of which service is most important for protecting the UK itself. While the RN is much better suited to protecting shipping lanes and other assets further afield that are vital to our survival, the QRA efforts, maritime patrol and general versatility of the RAF goes far above the RN in terms of protecting our Islands themselves from threats (well, if we were to properly fund and anti-ship missile for the RAF that is)

ChariotRider

The numbers set out above make more sense. So most of the uplift over the next 4 years fills the black hole, leaving the defence budget ~£7b per year better off on an on-going basis. So putting the AI Agency, Space Command and Cyber to one side for the moment, I am not expecting any great changes to the equipment programme in the coming months except perhaps for the go ahead for a number pending AFV projects for the Army, Future Solid Support Ships and the next F35b buy. This would hopefully put the Equipment Programme onto an even keel,… Read more »

Andy P

Hi CR, I get your logic of wanting specialist military personnel in but for me it would still miss the point. Ideally you would want people with current or recent experience of using the equipment or platforms involved rather than people who would effectively be Civil Servants in uniform. I know first hand when RN platforms have been getting designed the consultations got nowhere near the people who were operating the current platforms. For very little effort, talking to the people who live on and work and use the equipment might be worthwhile. Yeah there might be some wading through… Read more »

ChariotRider

Hi Andy, I did go into more detail on this on another threat, but this post was getting too long so I did not go into all my thoughts. I agree that there is a real need to involve frontline units in the process, particularly with the development of project requirements and ideas for capability insertions for maintaining a capability overtime. In a bit more detail I would aim to build into the system something along the lines of the Navy’s Percy Hobart Fellowship and the Army’s Streetfighter project both of which involve frontline personnel in the develop of ideas… Read more »

RichardB

It looks increasingly like amphibious warfare is regarded as the RN’s sunset capability. No sign of new amphibious shipping, not even LSS, and 3 Cdo Brigade as a combat formation is defunct. I see that the Telegraph is quoting Wallace as saying that the future of the Royal Marines is as special forces … so it seems safe to say that Corps numbers will reduce significantly and the Littoral Strike Group (aka Amphibious Task Group) will soon be history.

Daniele Mandelli

Hmmmm, not so sure. There may well be reductions yet the talk is still of RM deployed forward, along with army.

That means boats and helicopters to move them and shipping to host them. I don’t believe the Bays cut it in that regard.

I remain concerned however about CLR, 24RE and 29RA, brigade level support formations for a 3 Cdo on the wain.

The latter two especially are army formations safely cut without bad headlines of doing away with elite infantry.

One big problem with that is that 29RA has Meiktila battery, specialists that we must not lose.

Sjb1968

If the Army top brass had any sense they would at least reconfigure and rename a couple the Rifles battalions to resurrect the Army Commando units and throw the lot into an expanded 3 Cdo Brigade and undo the reductions to the brigades support units. Over time these army commando units would be all fully commando trained and become part of a enlarged expeditionary unit. All under RN control of course but immediately it would give the army a gateway into supporting NATO’s Northern and Southern flank, which is where the U.K. can best exerts its unique and elite capabilities.… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I can agree to that idea Sjb.

In my original post the arctic also sprang to mind, and we were meant to be putting new emphasis there.

So WHO and WHAT take the flank role with the RM now back as small raiding companies deployed afloat?

Dern

The problem is that the Navy pretty much owns the Commando course, and I get the distinct impression that, while the Navy is happy to let individuals attend and gain Army Commando Flashes (and the Navy is pretty much reliant on the Army breathe a little life into the doctrine side of Commando training), I think it’ll be a cold day in hell before the Navy lets entire Army units be Commando qualified.

Though again, Commando is just a flash, and there’s no reason the Army couldn’t start to create it’s own Amphib/Arctic capability.

Richard B

Only 40 and 45 Commando’s can still fight as battalion size combat formation’s. But the future seems to be company sized battle groups. Replacing the versatile and hard worked Bay’s is far more of a priority than the Albion’s IMHO.

Daniele Mandelli

Apparently so. The Corps consists of several other formations though, and I remain concerned for them until things become clear. I agree on the importance of the Bays. The selling of the 4th was one of the craziest decisions of 2010 for such small saving. One must remember though, despite their perceived vulnerability, that the LPD carry 8 landing craft to the Bays 1. You cannot count the Mexefloats! They also possess comprehensive C3 and ammunition storage. How could a solitary Bay support ashore even a RM Company? I have not given up the idea that a LSS type or… Read more »

Just my penny’s worth

On the bay’s a versatile asset which could be improved, many moons ago there was proposed a JSBL to which end I quite like the Dutch JLSS where being perhaps a modular adaptable hullform could be designed to replace the bays, Argus, a uk hospital / aid ship, the jsbl concept capable of fulfilling the LSS role and that of the bay deployed to the gulf and perhaps fss as well? A modular hull approach should reduce costs and afford a distributed build strategy taking on lessons from the bay’s shortcomings chief among which being aviation support in my view.

ChariotRider

Hi RichardB,

There is also a growing issue with Russian troops crossing the North Norway border which is becoming a serious convern locally and in NATO. The Royal Marines key NATO responsibility is reinforcing that operational area.

So in the context of a 40% increase in defence spending by Sweden and Norway getting seriously concerned (and perhaps not far off their own up lift) I would be surprised if we cut the RM back too much as North Norway could be an often overlooked flash point.

Cheers CR

Sjb1968

With the Army finding it difficult to find a new role for itself a reinforced Commando Brigade is no a brainer particular as the army is going to become a lighter force. IMHO the Commando brigade could be supported by a dedicated artic trained strike brigade. Sadly our little Army battle groups in the Baltic states are an embarrassment. As for deleting the Albion’s that would be insanity so the review should be starting to define what a replacement might look like. To get men and equipment to shore requires ship lift and connector vessels and they might not like… Read more »

ChariotRider

HI Sjb1968, I think the Albion replacements might yet come out in the later details of the Review. If the Royal Marines are reduced to a raid only force it will be a mistake and an abandonment of our NATO obligations to Norway, another close and long standing ally and friend. So I would be very surprised if, in the current developing geopolitical situation, we went down that road. Such vessels would be very much in the Cammell Laird area of expertise so could go to the Mercy yard. As for the Army’s condition – shocking and will need rectifying… Read more »

James Fennell

I think most strategists believe that large contested amphibious landings are a thing of the past, the littoral battlespace is too vulnerable to bring large vessels loaded with combat troops and equipment close inshore before the battle is won. Over the horizon air assaults from the sea to secure landing beaches much less riskly, followed up by logistics vessels once a landing zone is secured. However amphibious raiding by commando type forces and SF is back in vogue. So more helicopters and raiding craft and fewer landing craft. Different types of vessels required too. LPHs and LSS and LSLs. LPDs… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by James Fennell
Spyinthesky

I think if people understand the threat from cyber to our very way of life (how the hell don’t they) they might see why these commitments are crucial to our very existence in the not very distant future. Heard a labour MP today naively going on about the firing of rockets over more immediate needs as difficult to defend without any remote understanding it seems of the necessity for this capacity, not as most like her probably think in terms of missiles and the like, but in enabling the protection of our facilitators for wealth back here on earth that… Read more »

Sean Rayment

Great post – quick question. What’s enhanced biology?

John Stott

I still cannot for the life of me understand the point of “strategic” nuclear submarines. For a long time, many far more knowledgable than me have discussed having a larger submarine service and every sub carrying nuclear warheads. Astute seems to be maturing into a world-leading class, but as always there are not enough. Why not increase the number of Astutes and arm them with a decent medium-range nuclear cruise type missile? Just the threat of not knowing where they are and where they could strike would carry the same deterrent effect. And you also have the numbers of subs… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Hi John “Just the threat of not knowing where they are and where they could strike would carry the same deterrent effect.” No, because they can be shot down, and might make war more likely. If a conventional cruise is launched how do rival states know if it is nuclear? They cannot possibly know until it hits. And by being used in a “traditional” role this betrays their presence unless they sit on the bottom of the ocean at 5 knots or less, which Vanguard does brilliantly. Therefore they are not invulnerable to a first strike, as Vanguard Trident is.… Read more »

John Stott

I think we must beg to differ on many things. Thanks for your response though. I am now of an age where Ike’s warning of the military industrial complex rings more true than ever in my ears. One point about “cruise” missiles. To be shot down they need to be detected by adequate air defences. It is physically impossible to cover a land mass of our potential adversaries with AA. And some modern stealth properties could be built into any missile, including some hypersonic capability. It only takes one to get through. The apparent ease of rather crude drone use… Read more »

Meirion X

I am disappointed you have been listening to likes of Lord Haw-Haw II! I hope you are wrong on the issue of the UK breaking up John. We still don’t know what damage from a No deal Brixit yet!

Dern

The Army can’t project itself? Huh. Guess all that rolling stock and channel tunnel don’t exist then.

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Dern. That is why I stated – “granted, this does not include Central Europe” as a little rider incase someone questioned my post! Indeed the RN, Point ships and RAF are not needed for that and the channel tunnel can be used. Though chartered AC were used, as in BD which I mentioned, as we’re ships of the RLC. I was, I thought obviously, referring to expeditionary operations outside Europe. In all seriousness, despite the channel tunnel, the army cut most of its railway capability in 2010, so apart from the recent UKDJ article showing elements sent to Norway… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Just a correction to my post, was thinking that BD “Brave Defender” was not sounding right…it was Lionheart in 84.

Meirion X

An Astute carring cruise missiles would have to be positioned relatively close to a targeted adversary at all times, that is a very risky strategy indeed.

TopBoy

No news on f35 or challenger??

Ron

Looks like the R.Sigs will be expanded and rather bussy. Pity they closed AAC Harrogate. It could be used now.

Daniele Mandelli

AFC Harrogate is very much open.

Blandford is now home of RCS.

Ron

True I know I was speaking about the AAC, Army Apprenticies College Royal Corps of Signals, you know where boys from the age of 16 went for 2-3 years learning to be operators or technicians. I was a techy.
Blandford was always the home of the R.Sigs, I’m not sure but I think that is where the men went for their trade training after completeting basic in Cattrick.

Daniele Mandelli

Apologies Ron. I did suspect you might mean the old college by the ACC ref.

Yes, I believe phase 2 for RCS is still at Blandford.

Peter S.

This scenario is exactly what I suggested in a post yesterday. On reflection after re-reading the announcement, I am now rather more worried. Why make this announcement now ahead of the strategic review? The only reason I can see is to forestall criticism when the next cuts are revealed. These look increasingly likely to fall on the army, the only service that has done any real fighting in the last 20 years. The army may need re-organising but it certainly does not need cuts,either to manpower or heavy equipment. I do not see Johnson’s emphasis on naval assets as a… Read more »

Alabama boy

Any extra spend on Defence is to be welcomed but until we see the full picture its difficult to see where all the benefits will be felt the most. In the mix are some totally new capabilities/departments which will need to be funded and staffed. I would expect much of the extra spend will be on these new capabilities and extra spend on some existing capabilities which help employment in northern England and the devolved nations. But given the MOD black hole it will be inevitable that cuts will be needed to balance the books as it could swallow the… Read more »

Dern

It’s a real shame that all this money is going to the RN and RAF.
Both are not really in need of investment, with new equipment coming off the lines pretty regularly. The Army on the other hand is in dire need of modernisation, and seems to be getting nothing.
RN and RAF are great and all, but all they can achieve in the long run is a stalemate, you need boots on the ground to win a war, and that, in the end means the Army.

Roders96

Yes but you only know the army you need, once the war has begun.

Fleets of ships, submarines and aircraft however take decades to build – and a nation like ours can’t hope to generate them once the war has begun.

It’s a strong strategy to hold any aggressor to a stalemate, then win on logistics and having the army you need – when you actually need it.

Peter S.

Agreed. Nelson stopped Napoleon invading Britain. Wellington and Bluecher stopped him completely. I would not worry if we were planning to replace heavy armour with systems proven by combat experience or operational research to be more effective. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Instead, there appears to be an aim to switch to lighter forces with no clear idea of how to maintain the firepower needed to deal with hostile heavy units.
Given that there has been no naval combat since 1945, the emphasis on the RN is bizarre.
Let’s hope that our fears are unfounded.

mark Latchford

”Given that there has been no Naval combat since 1945” – you haven’t heard of the Falklands War then?

Peter S.

There have been no significant fleet on fleet actions since 1945. The Falklands War naval actions consisted of a single attack by a submarine and defence against air attack by land based aircraft approaching obsolescence using mainly dumb bombs. Both showed the extreme vulnerability of surface ships.In Korea, Malaya, Vietnam for USA, the naval involvement was essentially carrier launched air attack without any risk of counter attack.The US navy is increasingly worried about the ability of China to deny access even to its massive naval forces. Of course, to operate outside Europe, we need to be able to move our… Read more »

Latch71

“what we are hearing” – we haven’t really heard anything yet. As far as I know all this is based on the Prime Ministers speech, which was very general for the most part, but people are reading all sorts of things into it re the future makeup of the forces. Just because he didn’t mention something in the speech doesn’t mean it’s going to be cut. Also, I think you’re being a bit optimistic about how easy it would be to deliver, and support, light forces by air. For a start it assumes suitable airfields would be available and that… Read more »

Peter S.

We do know about new cyber and space. We have also heard a good deal about legacy or sunset equipment being scrapped to fund sunrise capabilities. With Boris’s ambition for the navy, the legacy kit must mean the army since the RAF doesn’t really have any. The contradiction I see ( I have failed to express this properly before) is that a frigate is a good example of sunset capability. The T31s will have no anti submarine ability and just 12 SAM launchers. All they are good for is presence, a role that made sense when we had numerous colonies… Read more »

Latch71

I have stopped paying attention to online predictions about what’s the future made by people with no clue about what’s going to happen but speak as if they do. (I don’t mean you Peter, this is a general point). Too many people online read an opinion/fantasy piece and react to it as if it’s fact. I had a discussion on this site a month or 2 ago with someone who swore that he was mates with a conveniently unnamed Tory MP who’d told him that Dominic Cummings was going to slash the Defence budget. As we now know this was… Read more »

Meirion X

So in the future, Type 26 and T45 are gong to be more tied up escorting commercial shipping in the Gulf then?
This role is presently done by capable general propose Type 23 frigates.

AlexS

Well the ships were vulnerable to aircraft in Falklands because they had worse self air defence than a WW2 late war destroyer.

Compare a Type 21 with a inefficient 114mm gun, 2 Oerlikon and an unworkable Seacat vs several 4″ , Bofors and Oerlikons.

Peter S.

Agreed and even the seawolf system struggled with land clutter. Apart from the Falklands and a Seadart success in the gulf against an Iraqi silkworm, there is no experience of how modern defence systems will cope with modern anti ship missiles. Exercises against target drones cannot provide conclusive evidence. But I think it is reasonable to work on the assumption that surface ships are very vulnerable. So building a new class of frigates with (we think)just 12 Seaceptor seems fraught with danger.

Sjb1968

The only time since 1945 that British Sovereign Territory was invaded it was the Navy that led our forces 8000 miles to retake those islands ably supported by the Army and the RAF. As far as I was aware it was very much a naval conflict. Of course there was no naval action in Korea, Suez, Malaya, Indonesia or Iraq just boots on the ground? In all instances before and since 1945 our forces have largely been transported by sea to areas of conflict, which totally relies on sea control. The army however big it is, or configured, can only… Read more »

davetrousers

“A revisionist Russia is actively engaged in using sub-threshold means to destabilise NATO partners across Europe, utilising cyber attacks and sophisticated disinformation campaigns, including against the UK.”

Yes, this is how Brexit and Trump happened.

James Fennell

Important to note that defence is no longer about ‘power projection’ and foreign policy as it has been since 1989, its much more like the previous 70 years, about protecting our people now. What do I mean by that? Well the threat of hybrid warfare is real and actually in play. Whether its from foreign interfearance in our elections, from cyber attacks on our infrastrcuture and communications, hacking our undersea cables or space infrastructure, undermining our democratic values and those of our allies, breaking international law and treaty agreements with impunity, infiltrating our business, financial and industrial base, carrying our… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

That is why MoD have announced the Intergrated Operating Concept, I think originally proposed by UKSF, and where in future SF and others, including from the intelligence community will operate persistently in the “grey zone” That is why we have the RM morphing into small raiding troops, the Specialist Infantry Group being formed, 77 Bde created, and talk of elements permanently forward deployed, as CDS has talked of. Power projection to me still plays a part in that, as all those things need air power, transport aircraft, ISTAR aircraft, UAV like Protector, Aircraft Carriers, a RFA, and the whole host… Read more »

James Fennell

As ever very good points Daniele. Yes I think armoured will take a hit too – also after Nagorno-Karabakh (and in light of Nick Carter’s speach on having 30K robots by 2030) there is going to be a move towards autonomous capabilities. Personally I think the battalion needs looking at. We need a new tactical formation made up of a mix of manned and unmanned capabilites – fewer men but in total more high-powered, high manouvre tactical units. I think the tradtiona (i.e. non elite)l light infantry will take a hit too if not now, soon. Global reach is important… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Thank you James. Interestingly, I think it was either CDS or the D Sec who I read talking of “new units” which may tally with that. The CDS also talked of creating a 3 Division Corps around the sort of formations you speak of – smaller, but more of, and part autonomous. I defer to others with experience on suggesting what such units might look like regards Companies and Platoons. I also worry that reducing the light infantry too far will impact on SF, the very tip of the spear that will now be used alongside Cyber and Intelligence assets… Read more »

James Fennell

Yes I agree Daniele. I’d like to see an uplift in Tier 2 light infantry (Paras, marines) – harder to recruit and select – but that s where SF mostly come from. Might have to pay a smaller number of more elite infantry an specialists more money to deliver a new force structure.

Will Dutton

If there is a gap already on existing programmes, then this money is already spent…window dressing.

Brett Davidson

Sweden has boosted its defence budget significantly, which bodes well for Tempest.

Graham

Some of the money needs to directed into some of the less sexy areas like spare parts, weapon inventories etc, the cupboards are empty. Longer term, the RN needs to standardize equipment (which will help with the supply situation), we don’t need both a 4.5in gun (Type 45) and 5 in gun (Type 26), Aster 15 (Type 45) and Sea Ceptor (type 26/31). Lets simplify, then address adding lethality across the board. No more fitted for but not with stuff.

Meirion X

Aster 15 and 30 are more the less the same, with Aster 30 having a extra booster.