The UK authorities on Monday unveiled its much-anticipated navy modernisation plans, bolstering the nation’s navy, particular forces and world focus whereas reducing the dimensions of the military.
The long-awaited proposals promise new funding in ships, submarines and sailors, in addition to robots, drones and cyber warfare, alongside an overhaul of the land-based armed forces construction and numbers.
Publishing the 70-page report, titled “Defence in a Competitive Age”, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace instructed lawmakers the federal government’s technique marked a shift “from mass mobilisation to information age speed, readiness and relevance”.
“We will ensure defence is threat-focused, modernised and financially sustainable, ready to confront future challenges, seize new opportunities for global Britain,” he mentioned, calling it “an honest assessment of what we can do and what we will do”.
“We will for the first time in decades match genuine money to credible ambitions,” Wallace added, noting that will imply retiring some platforms “to make way for new systems and approaches”.
However, the choice to scale back the military’s dimension to 72,500 by the center of the last decade, from a longtime energy of 82,000, may show contentious domestically and amongst allies.
Military specialists within the United States have already expressed alarm on the transfer, whereas opposition events in Britain additionally voiced concern.
The reforms comply with a dedication by Prime Minister Boris Johnson final November to extend defence spending over the subsequent 4 years by 16 billion pound ($22 billion, 19 billion euros).
They additionally come scorching on the heels of final week’s broader overhaul of Britain’s safety, defence and overseas coverage, billed as the most important because the Cold War.
Crafted over the previous yr as London recalibrates its post-Brexit overseas coverage, that assessment outlined a pivot in strategic focus in direction of Asia, labelling China a “systemic competitor”.
It additionally prioritised ongoing efforts to counter Russian threats and, in a shock transfer to many, set out plans to extend Britain’s nuclear stockpile.
Johnson mentioned forward of Monday’s plans being launched that Britain wished “to be useful around the world in partnership with our friends to keep the peace”.
“To do that, you need strong, robust armed services of the kind that we are investing in,” he added, throughout a go to to BAE Systems in northern England.
The defence assessment set out key spending priorities, together with funding to take the variety of navy frigates and destroyers to 20 by the beginning of the subsequent decade.
It additionally detailed that Britain will broaden its fleet of US-made F35 fighter jets solely to 48, the minimal quantity it had dedicated to purchase.
The doc earmarks 200 million pound of funding over the subsequent decade to remodel the Royal Marines into a brand new unit referred to as the Future Commando Force.
It will conduct roles historically carried out by UK particular forces and be deployed on “an enduring basis” to assist safe delivery lanes and uphold freedom of navigation.
The assessment additionally pledges 120 million pound to determine a military particular operations brigade and a brand new Ranger Regiment.
It will “be able to operate discreetly in high-risk environments and be rapidly deployable across the world” and concerned in “collective deterrence” with associate forces.
A brand new Security Force Assistance Brigade will present steering and coaching to allied associate nations and draw experience from throughout the military.
Meanwhile the Royal Navy will develop a brand new surveillance ship, to return into service by 2024 with a crew of round 15 folks, aimed toward defending Britain’s undersea cables and different vital nationwide infrastructure.
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