22 Mar 21. Defence outlines 2030 vision for the Armed Forces.
- Billions to be invested across land, sea, air, space and cyber domains
- Forces adapt to counter hybrid and conventional threats
- £85 billion on equipment over next four years
- Huge benefits to British industry across the UK
The Defence Secretary has set out the future vision for the UK Armed Forces ensuring the military is prepared for new and emerging threats and challenges.
Outlined in ‘Defence in a competitive age’, the UK Armed Forces will become a threat-focussed integrated force with a continued shift in thinking across land, sea, air, space and cyber domains.
Defence will spend over £85bn on equipment over the next four years so our Armed Forces can adapt, compete effectively, and fight decisively when needed. This will support 400,000 jobs across all four nations of the UK.
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said, “This Defence Command Paper ensures our Armed Forces are threat-focused, modernised and financially sustainable. Our military will be ready to confront future challenges, seize new opportunities for Global Britain and lay the foundations of a more secure and prosperous Union. We will continue to work with allied partners to address future global security threats whilst also enhancing critical outputs in the battlespace domains. Our people and their expertise are at the heart of what we do and further investments into training, welfare and support facilities will be reflective of this and ensure our Armed Forces are well equipped to face tomorrow’s threats today.”
The Army will receive significant investment to become more agile, integrated, lethal and expeditionary. The service will receive an additional £3 billion on new vehicles, long-range rocket systems, air defences, drones, electronic warfare and cyber capabilities.
£120m will create new Ranger Regiments; four battalions will form the Regiment that will support Special Forces in collective deterrence activity. This will range from training to accompanying personnel on the ground. The Army will also introduce a new Warfighting Experimentation Battlegroup that draws on elements from across the entire Army designed to fight prototype warfare, focussing on hybrid and conventional threats.
The Royal Navy will develop a new Multi Role Ocean Surveillance ship to help protect vital underwater maritime infrastructure and protect from maritime threats, aiming to come into service by 2024. The fleet of frigates and destroyers will grow through this decade with shipbuilding investment doubling over the life of this Parliament rising to over £1.7 billion a year. The Royal Marines will also benefit from a £200m investment over the next ten years to form the Future Command Force, a Commando force that is persistently forward deployed conducting specialist maritime security operations.
UK air capabilities will bolstered with an injection of over £2 billion in the Future Combat Air System which will deliver a pioneering mix of crewed, uncrewed and autonomous platforms including swarming drones and the ultra-modern Tempest fighter jet. This programme has already created over 1,800 highly-skilled jobs in over 300 companies across the UK. The Typhoon fleet will be upgraded with a suite of new weapons and state-of-the-art radar.
Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter said, “For the first time that I can remember we have an alignment of the ends, ways and means to modernise and transform the posture of our nation’s Armed Forces to meet the threats of a more uncertain and dangerous world. The ends were set out by the Prime Minister with the publication of the Integrated Review last week, the ways were confirmed by our new Integrated Operating Concept which was published in September, and finally the means, which were confirmed last year when Defence was given a significant multi-year settlement of £24bn. This gives us the certainty to plan for the long term and deliver the Integrated Force Structure for 2030.”
£6.6bn will also be invested into research and development projects, helping to provide a strategic advantage that, facilitated with science, will lead to cutting-edge equipment capabilities. £60 million over the next four years to develop a programme to develop novel weapons, artificial intelligence, synthetic/digital systems and space-based capabilities. Further to this, £500m will be invested in capabilities to enable our forces to respond in a growingly contested electromagnetic environment.
Space is fundamental to military operations, so the success of our forces greatly relies on control of that domain. We are investing £5bn over the next decade in the Skynet 6 satellite communication programme. This will be complimented by £1.4bn allocated to the new Space Command, National Space Operations Centre, Space Academy and a UK-built Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance satellite constellation. Space Command will officially launch on 1 April 2021.
Strategic Command will invest £1.5bn over the next decade to build and sustain a ‘digital backbone’ to share and exploit vast amounts of data, through the cloud, and across secure networks that are resilient to cyber-attacks from state, proxy and terrorist adversaries.
With its people at its forefront, Defence is set to invest £1.3bn into improving Single Living Accommodation (SLA), as part of an accommodation strategy, and £1.4 billion into wraparound childcare giving personnel more childcare options, as part of a revised families strategy.
The UK will also enhance its global outlook with an investment in overseas training and will add to its Defence Attaché network which supports our integration with allies and overseas partners.
The Integrated Review addresses the challenges and opportunities the UK faces in a more competitive world, where new powers are using all the tools at their disposal to redefine the international order and seeks to examine how the UK uses its capabilities to respond to these threats.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace describes Defence’s contribution to the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.
Delivered on: 19 March 2021 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
As a young officer, thirty years ago almost to the day, I was summoned to the drill square to have read aloud key decisions from the government’s defence review, ‘Options For Change’.
We did not know it then but the world was set for massive change. The fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of China, the global impact of the internet and emergence of Al Qaeda were some way off, which meant no one was really prepared for what happened when they did.
They were all some way off and yet no one was really prepared for what happened when they did.
I was part of an Army that, on paper, fielded three armoured divisions in Germany, but in reality could muster much less – it was, in truth, a hollow force.
That is why – while I know some colleagues would rather play top trumps with our force numbers – there is no point boasting about numbers of regiments when you send them to war in Snatch Land Rovers, or simply counting the number of tanks when our adversaries are developing ways to defeat them.
That is why we have put at the heart of the Defence Command Paper the mission to seek out and to understand future threats, and to invest in the capabilities needed so that we can defeat them.
Because in defence it is too tempting to use the shield of sentimentality to protect previously battle-winning but now outdated capabilities. Such sentimentality, when coupled with over-ambition and under-resourcing leads to even harder consequences down the line. It risks the lives of our people, who are truly our finest asset.
It would, of course, similarly endanger our people if we simply wielded a sword of cuts, slicing away the battle-proven on the promise of novelty, without regard for what is left behind. Old capabilities are not necessarily redundant, just as new technologies are not always relevant – we must employ both ‘sword’ and ‘shield’.
Because those of us in government charged to defend the country have a duty to protect new domains, as well as continuing investment in the traditional ones, but always adapting to the threat.
History shows us, time and time again, that failing to do so risks irrelevance and defeat. As the threat changes we must change with it, remaining clear-eyed about what capabilities we retire, why we are doing things, and how they will be replaced.
The Prime Minister’s vision for the UK in 2030 sees a stronger, more secure, prosperous and resilient Union, better equipped for a more competitive age, as a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation with a global perspective. To become so requires Britain’s soft and hard power to be better integrated.
In this more competitive age, a ‘Global Britain’ has no choice but to step up, ready to take on the challenges and shape the opportunities of the years ahead, alongside our allies and friends. Let us be clear, the benefits and institutions of multilateralism, to which we have all become so accustomed, are an extension not an alternative for our shared leadership and our hard power.
UK diplomacy should work hand in hand with the UK Armed Forces abroad. We will invest in our defence diplomacy network in order to strengthen the influence we can bring to bear.
And at this point I wish to pay tribute to all our civil servants, who’s professionalism and dedication is every bit as vital to UK security as all the other components in that enterprise.
Likewise, in the past we have been too tempted to fund equipment at the expense of our service personnel’s lived experience. That is why over the next four years we will spend £1.5bn on improving Single Living Accommodation and £1.4bn on Wrap Around Childcare over the decade.
The Government’s commitment to spending £188bn on defence over the coming four years – an increase of £24bn or fourteen per cent – is an investment in the Prime Minister’s vision of security and prosperity in 2030.
Previous reviews have been over-ambitious and under-funded, leaving forces that were overstretched and under-equipped.
This increased funding offers defence an exciting opportunity to turn our current forces into credible ones, modernising for the threats of the 2020s and beyond, and contributing to national prosperity in the process.
It marks a shift from mass mobilisation to information age speed, readiness and relevance for confronting the threats of the future.
These principles will guide our doctrine and force development.
The Integrated Operating Concept, published last year, recognises that changes in the information and political environments now impact not just the context but conduct of military operations.
The notion of war and peace as binary states has given way to a continuum of conflict, requiring us to prepare our forces for more persistent global engagement and constant campaigning – moving seamlessly from operating to war fighting if that is required.
The UK Armed Forces – working with the rest of government – must think and act differently. They will no longer be held as a force of last resort, but become more present and active force around the world.
Our forces will still be able to warfight as their primary function, but they will also have a role to play before and after what we traditionally consider ‘war’; whether that is supporting humanitarian projects, conflict prevention and stabilisation, or UN peacekeeping.
But technological proliferation, use of proxies, and adversaries’ operating below the threshold of open conflict means that the United Kingdom must also play a role in countering such aggressive acts. So the steps to sustaining UK leadership in defence must start with ensuring we are a credible and truly threat-oriented organisation, and we must do so in conjunction with our Allies and friends.
These reforms today will ensure that we continue to meet our NATO commitments on land and enhance our contributions at sea.
As the second biggest spender in NATO and a major contributor across all five domains, we have a responsibility to support the Alliance’s own transformation for this more competitive age.
So, today I am setting out in this Defence Command Paper the threats we are facing, our operating concept for countering them, and the investments in our forces that are required to deliver the nation’s defences.
That threat demands that we make the following investments and adjustments to the services.
The Royal Navy
- we have also been a maritime nation for many many centuries and it is vital that we have a navy that is both global and powerful.
- the Royal Navy – because of our investment in the Type 26, Type 31, and Type 32 – will by the start of the next decade have over twenty Frigates and Destroyers.
- we will also commission a new Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance Ship which will protect the integrity of the UK’s Maritime Zones and undersea Critical National Infrastructure.
- we will deploy new automated mine hunting systems, which will replace the Sandown and Hunt classes as they retire through the decade.
- the interim Surface to Surface Guided Weapon, will replace the Harpoon missile and we will upgrade the Air Defence weapon systems on our Type 45s to better protect them from new threats.
- we will invest further to improve the availability of our submarine fleet and start development of the next generation of subsea systems for the 2040s.
- the Royal Marines will develop from being amphibious infantry held at readiness, to a forward-based, highly capable maritime ‘Future Commando Force’, further enabled by the conversion of a Bay Class landing ship to enable Littoral Strike.
Our land forces have been, for too long, deprived of investment and that is why over the next four years we will spend £23bn on their modernisation.
- the British Army will reorganise into seven brigade combat teams, two heavy, one deep strike, one air manoeuvre, and two light, plus a Combat Aviation Brigade.
- in addition, a newly formed Security Force Assistance Brigade will provide the skills and capabilities to build the capacity of partner nations.
- in recognition of the growing demand for enhanced assistance and our commitment to delivering resilience to those partners we will establish an Army Special Operations Brigade built around the four battalions of the new Ranger Regiment. This new regiment will be seeded from 1 SCOTS, 2 PWRR, 2 LANCS, and 4 RIFLES.
- our adversaries set a premium on rapid deployability, so we will enhance the existing 16 Air Assault Brigade with an additional infantry unit, supported by upgraded Apache Attack Helicopters. Together they will create a Global Response Force for both crisis response and warfighting.
- the 3rd Division will remain the heart of our warfighting capability, leading in NATO with two modernised heavy brigades. In order to ensure we are more lethal and better protected they will be built around a modern armoured nucleus of 148 upgraded ‘Challenger 3’ tanks, AJAX armoured reconnaissance vehicles, and the accelerated introduction of Boxer armoured personnel carriers.
- as I have repeatedly said, recent lessons from conflict in Libya, Syria and the Caucuses have shown the vulnerability of armour. So we will increase both manning and investment in Electronic Warfare regiments, Air Defence, and Uncrewed Aerial Surveillance systems, all complemented by offensive cyber capabilities.
- the Army’s increased deployability and technological advantage will mean that greater effect can be delivered by fewer people. I have therefore taken the decision to reduce the size of the Army from today’s current strength of 76,500 trade trained personnel to 72,500 by 2025. The Army has not been at its established strength of 82,000 since the middle of the last decade.
- these changes will not require redundancies and we wish to build on the work already done on utilising our reserves to make sure the whole force is better integrated and more productive.
- there will be no loss of cap badges. As I have said earlier the new structures will require fewer units. And therefore the 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment will be amalgamated with their 1st Battalion to form a new Boxer-mounted battalion.
- to administer the new infantry we will reorganise the regiments to sit in four infantry divisions.
- each will comprise of a more balanced number of battalions and give the men and women serving in them a wider range of choices and opportunities in pursuing their careers and specialties.
- in order to ensure that there is a balanced allocation of recruits we will introduce ‘Intelligent Recruiting’ for the infantry and each division of infantry will initially feed the four new Ranger battalions.
- the final details of these administrative divisions, along with the wider Army restructuring, will be announced before the summer and no major unit deletions will be required.
Royal Air Force
- today’s Royal Air Force is now deploying world-leading capabilities, P8, Rivet Joint, A400M and the latest Typhoons. The F35 – the world’s most capable combat aircraft – is now being deployed to frontline squadrons. In recognition of its battle winning capabilities we will commit to grow the fleet beyond 48 aircraft.
- the E3D Sentry, two generations behind its contemporaries, will be replaced by a more capable fleet of three E7 Wedgetail in 2023. These will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, transforming the UK Airborne Early Warning and Control capabilities, as well as contributing to NATO.
- as the transport fleet improves availability we will retire the C130-J Hercules in 2023, after 24 years of service. Twenty-two A400Ms, alongside the C17s, will provide a more capable and flexible transport fleet.
- our counter terrorism operations are currently supported by nine Reaper RPAS (‘drones’) which will be replaced by Protectors by 2024. These new platforms will provide the enhanced strategic ISR and strike capabilities that are so vital for all our forces.
- all forces evolve and the increasingly competitive and complex air environment means we must set the foundations now for our sixth-generation of fighter.
- the Typhoon has been a tremendous success for the British aerospace industry and we will seek to repeat that with £2bn of investment in the Future Combat Air System over the next four years, alongside further development of the LANCA UCAV system. We will continue to seek further international collaboration.
- all services recognise the importance of Unmanned Aerial Systems, which is why we will also develop combat drone swarm technologies.
- but in order to ensure our current platforms have the necessary protection and lethality we will also upgrade the Typhoon radar and introduce Spear Cap 3 deep strike capabilities.
UK Strategic Command
- the lessons of current conflict demonstrate that however capable individual forces may be they are vulnerable without integration.
- UK Strategic Command will, therefore, invest £1.5bn over the next decade to build and sustain a ‘digital backbone’ to share and exploit vast amounts of data, through the cloud and secure networks.
- to ensure our workforce are able to exploit new domains and enhance productivity the Command will invest in synthetics and simulation, providing a step change in our training.
- the National Cyber Force will lie at the heart of defence and GCHQ’s offensive cyber capability and will be based in the North West of England.
- keeping ourselves informed of the threat and ahead of our rivals means that Defence Intelligence will be at the heart of our enterprise. We will exploit a wider network of advanced surveillance platforms, all classifications of data, and enhanced analysis using Artificial Intelligence.
- strategic Command will partner, alongside the RAF, to deliver a step-change in our space capabilities. From next year we will start delivering a UK built Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance satellite constellation.
Space is just one area in which the MOD will prioritise more than £6.6bn of research, development, and experimentation over the next four years.
These investments in our future battle-winning capabilities will be guided by the Science and Technology Strategy of 2020 and a new Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, published tomorrow.
Our special forces are world leading. We are committed to investing in their cutting-edge capabilities to ensure they retain their excellence in counter-terrorism, while becoming increasingly capable of also countering hostile state activity.
To conclude, if this Defence Command Paper is anything it is an honest assessment of what we can do and what we will do.
We will ensure defence is threat-focused, modernised, and financially sustainable, ready to confront future challenges, seize new opportunities for Global Britain and lay the foundations of a more secure and prosperous United Kingdom.
We will, for the first time in decades, match genuine money to credible ambitions. We will retire platforms to make way for new systems and approaches.
And we will invest in that most precious commodity of all – the people of our armed forces.
To serve my country as a soldier was one of the greatest privileges of my life: ‘serving to lead’, contributing to keeping this country safe, upholding our values, and defending those who could not defend themselves.
Putting yourself in harm’s way in the service of your country is something that fortunately few of us are ever required to do.
But we all have a duty to ensure that those who do so on our behalves are as well prepared and equipped as possible.
So the success of this Defence Command Paper should not be judged on the sophistication of its words, but the implementation of its reforms.
And, ultimately, on the delivery of its capabilities into the hands of the men and women of our armed forces.
It is they who keep us safe and will continue to do so in the years ahead. It is to them, their families, and all those across defence that we owe it to make this policy into reality.
The work to do so has only just begun.
The UK Defence Command Paper announced this afternoon by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace contained some well-advertised announcements and some better kept secrets. The main thrust of the UK Defence Command Paper is to prepare the British Armed Forces for future conflicts using new technologies to meet the evolving threats in what will become multi-domain conflicts with space having a new and important exposure.
A certain element of UK Defence Command Paper was ‘The King’s New Clothes,’ or a ‘Jam tomorrow,’ approach to conceal the need to fill the huge funding gap in the existing equipment budget. Many of the technologies mentioned in the Paper are new and evolving and will take years to field. At the same time new training and doctrine techniques need to be developed to allow troops to work with unmanned vehicles and new technologies on the battlefield. In addition, the lawyers will be immersed in examining the legalities of deploying these unmanned systems and the consequences for such issues as blue-on-blue engagements with unmanned vehicles and new Rules of Engagement in general.
The Announcements (extracts)
The Army will receive significant investment in order to become more agile, integrated, lethal and expeditionary. We will invest an additional £3bn in new Army equipment on top of the more than £20bn planned. Investment in new vehicles (including Ajax, Boxer and, Challenger III); modernised long-range precision fires (including multiple launched rocket systems and Apache); new air defences; tactical surveillance drones; and new electronic warfare and cyberspace capabilities, will transform the Army’s equipment over the next decade.
The Army will be designed to operate globally on a persistent basis. A new Ranger Regiment will be the vanguard of this expeditionary posture as part of an Army Special Operations Brigade. This Regiment’s four all-arms units will be aligned with the new Divisions of Infantry and initially seeded from the current Specialised Infantry Battalions: 1 SCOTS, 2 PWRR, 2 LANCS and 4 RIFLES. They will be able to operate in complex, high-threat environments, taking on some tasks traditionally done by Special Forces. This work will involve deterring adversaries and contributing to collective deterrence by training, advising and, if necessary, accompanying partners. The Army will establish this Regiment in August and invest over £120m over the next four years in equipping it.
In addition, a new Security Force Assistance Brigade will be established. They will draw on personnel and expertise from across the Army. These units will be expert in building the capacity of allied and partner nations. Routinely deployed around the world these Security Force Assistance units will contribute to conflict prevention and resilience at an early stage. Defence’s global foundation will underpin this.
The Army’s increased forward presence will be supported by a very high readiness Global Response Force, consisting of 16 Air Assault Brigade and the newly formed 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, which will be ready to respond to emerging crises from humanitarian relief through to crisis response and warfighting. The newly formed Land Operations Command will coordinate the Army’s global engagement daily.
While this renewed structured is optimised to operate, warfighting capability remains the cornerstone of deterrence and the bedrock of a world-class British Army. The 3rd (UK) Division will remain at the heart of this, able to manage a multi-domain battle in ever greater depth; designed to act with NATO and capable of providing a framework for Allies. The 1st (UK) Division will be capable of operating independently or as part of multilateral deployments. It will provide theatre enablement and offers NATO the agility to command operations on its flanks.
The 6th (UK) Division will deliver cyber, electronic warfare, information operations and unconventional capabilities designed for warfighting and for operations conducted below the threshold of war. We will also continue to lead the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) headquarters, which stands at high readiness to deploy and lead NATO’s Response Force. The Reserve component is intrinsically important to the generation of warfighting mass.
The Army of the future will be leaner, more lethal, nimbler, and more effectively matched to current and future threats. The new structure will reorganise the Army into more self-sufficient Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) able to meet demand by drawing on their own dedicated logistics and combat support units. A new Deep Recce Strike BCT will combine the Ajax’s formidable sensors with enhanced fires systems to provide long-range persistent surveillance for the coordination of deep fires. Overall, this restructuring will see a reduction from the current Full Time Trade Trained strength of 76,000 to 72,500 by 2025.
The restructuring of the Army means fewer units are required. The creation of Combat Service Support Battalions will require fewer separate units of logisticians, electrical and mechanical engineers, and medics. The Infantry will be restructured into four divisions. These divisions will comprise a balanced number of battalions offering the full range of infantry roles. No cap badges will be deleted nor any redundancies required. It will ensure all infantry soldiers can access the full range of operational opportunities. Across all parts of the Army, these new structures provide more operational resilience, integration, deployabilityand greater opportunity for our people. The introduction of ‘Intelligent Recruiting’ will ensure that personnel are also better allocated across the Infantry. This new structure will require the deletion of a single infantry battalion and a further four battalions will provide the foundational units of the Ranger Regiment.
Through a more productive integration of the Reserves, increased lethality of weapon systems and survivability of platforms, and a specialised workforce fit for the digital age, the Army will continue to be world-class. Human-machine teaming will also play an increasingly prominent role in how the Army delivers effects. We will make sure that we are fit for the challenges of the future with the establishment of a new experimentation battalion, drawn from the Yorkshire Regiment, which will lead in the trialling of cutting-edge technology and its integration into the way we fight; testing the BCTs to their limits, driving innovation and ensuring that the Army’s structures, equipment and way of fighting evolve in line with the threats.
Warrior WCSP Cancelled, Challenger III Goes Ahead. Ajax Procured In Full
Modernising the Army will mean some legacy platforms that have already been extended beyond their planned life will be retired. In doing so, the Army will be able to invest new funds into accelerating the in-service date of the Boxer armoured vehicle and enhancing its capability. Boxer will allow the Army to respond at pace to deliver soldiers around the battlefield, travelling long distances quickly, cross country, and in the most austere and hostile environments. As planned, the Army will invest around £1.3bn in our armoured capability by upgrading 148 of our main battle tanks to ensure the Challenger III will become one of the most protected and most lethal in Europe. The remaining fleet will be retired. We will no longer upgrade Warrior but it will remain in service until replaced by Boxer, which we expect to happen by the middle of this decade.
Now that WCSP has been cancelled after the MoD spending £500m and Lockheed £100m of its own money, wait for the gloves to come off for the blame game to commence! Reports stated that BAE Systems were wary of WCSP given their paying out for overruns on Terrier, so submitted their bid accordingly. In the Editor’s view, the dogged decisions to keep the CT40 as the armament of Warrior in the face of mounting criticism of its performance and TRL level took the whole of WCSP down with it! That is where the debate will be around the GFE equipment and its effect on the cost overruns.
When asked by the Editor today, the MoD would not comment on the TRL Level of CT40 or the overall cost to the taxpayer.
The MoD said in the earlier briefing that the full complement of Ajax vehicles will be procured particularly as the Army needs the Recce variant for the Deep Recce Brigade Combat teams formed as part of this Review.
Investment in ground-based air defence will deliver a system of survivable and digitally connected platforms with a new short-range capability, including small drones, and a new deployable medium range capability. These will give the Army an air defence capability to defeat modern airborne threats.
An investment of over £200m over ten years will deliver an enhanced electronic warfare and signal intelligence capability. An increase in new personnel able to collect and exploit signals intelligence will demonstrate a significant uplift in our electronic warfighting capability in all formations.
Killing off Warrior will put the Strike Brigades at a disadvantage given that Boxer needs to keep up with Challenger III. Sources suggest that the MoD has looked at the Rheinmetall Lynx tracked APC. Or, there may be a competition as in Australia to include such vehicles as the Hanwha Redback? The MoD will have to take a £500m hit on Warrior as will Lockheed Martin which has spent £100m of its own money on WCSP. Where this leaves the CT40 Programme, which in our view was the major contributor to Warrior’s demise is unsure. Any Boxer variant to support infantry will require a turret and Lithuania is the only European customer to order this and there is no Boxer turret in production with CT40 mounted. At least the MoD has kept Warrior in service until a Boxer replacement is developed.
UK Industrial Strategy
From an industrial point of view, Warrior is key to the UK tracked vehicle supply chain and cancelling WCSP will cause some firms to go bust. In essence this announcement hands the UK armoured vehicle supply chain to German and Spanish companies.
Babcock is already conducting a comprehensive review of all its businesses following the arrival of new CEO David Lockwood. Loss of WCSP where Babcock Land Defence Ltd. (previously DSG) had a major part to play in supplying the upgraded raw hulls, will usher in the much-predicted write-down of the DSG acquisition and also the possible sale of the unit. Lockheed has already stated that the future of its Ampthill turret facility will be reviewed in the event of a cancellation of WCSP. Finding a buyer for the Warriors will be an uphill struggle given their condition and the huge international choice for such vehicles on the world market. Expect Kuwait to follow suit and cancel its Warrior upgrade and to buy a new fleet. One option could be to retain a number of Warriors to be converted at a later date to ABSV to replace the ageing FV430 Series which is still in service. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.23 ISSUE 11, 15 March 2021, NEWS IN BRIEF – UNITED KINGDOM AND EUROPE, £80bn boost for UK military)
Lockheed Martin commissioned a paper emphasising the contribution that Warrior made to the UK Defence Industrial Base; this appears to have been ignored by the MoD.
Some 2,000 jobs at Lockheed Martin UK and its supply chain, which is 80 percent British, are now at risk as well as the future of a center of excellence in turret design the company has spent some £200m ($280m) developing at Ampthill, southern England, over the last ten years.
A KPMG report commissioned by Lockheed Martin said that upgrade work for an assumed 275 vehicles over the next eight years could bring about £1bn, or $1.4bn, gross value added (GVA) to the British economy.
Aside from Warrior, the Ampthill site also produces turrets for the General Dynamics UK Ajax armored reconnaissance vehicles being assembled for the British Army in a factory in South Wales.
Karen Wilken of Lockheed Martin told BATTLESPACE that interest in the export market was expected to grow once the turret is in service.
A £16bn ($22bn) market for medium-caliber turrets over the next 10 years is forecast, she said.
Lockheed Martin UK is already seeking to leverage its WSCP skills and is undertaking conceptual work on future turret developments, including what the company calls an unmanned urban fighting vehicle.
Company officials said future development maintaining British turret capabilities would be unlikely to survive axing of the WSCP.
Lockheed would not comment on cost of the huge investment made in the Ampthill site.
Statement From LOCKHEED MARTIN UK
In response to the statement made to the House of Commons today and publication of the Ministry of Defence document ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ Lockheed Martin UK chief executive Peter Ruddock CBE said:
‘Against the backdrop of a government facing tough economic challenges we recognise that difficult decisions had to be taken during the integrated defence and security review. I’m disappointed that the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP), which would have provided the British army with a critical capability, will not proceed to a manufacturing contract.
We will review the Integrated Review, and use it to inform our long-term strategies and investment plans.
There are a number of areas where Lockheed Martin could grow its business, including in multi-domain integration, space, cyber and electronic warfare, weapons, and training.
We also see scope for greater collaboration with the commercial and technology sectors, building on our existing venture capital investments in areas such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and autonomy. This aligns with the Government’s technology and prosperity agenda.’
There is no mention of a JLTV Procurement for the Infantry.
The Army is retiring its oldest CH-47 Chinook helicopters and investing, alongside the US, in newer variants of this operationally proven aircraft, enhancing capability, efficiency and interoperability. Our AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopters will be upgraded to a state-of-the-art capability by 2025. Investment in a new medium lift helicopter in the mid-2020s will enable a consolidation of the Army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types to one; including the replacement of Puma. The Army will also retain and upgrade Watchkeeper.
Mobile Fires – Future Indirect Fire Weapon System – GMLRS ER PrSM
We plan to invest over £250m over ten years in the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which will provide an upgraded long-range rocket artillery platform with new missiles that travel further and are more accurate. In addition, the Army is spending over £800m over the next ten years on a new automated Mobile Fires Platform that will deliver enhanced close support artillery systems and greater operational mobility. At the earlier briefing an Army spokesman said that one possibility would be an AS90 upgrade, although the age of the vehicle and lack of spares would appear to rule this out.
In the short term, the Army will invest to sustain the Exactor missile system. Over the longer-term this capability will be upgraded to provide enhanced lethality against emerging threats.
This is believed to include HIMARS on an MAN chassis and purchase of the Lockheed PrSM Precision Strike Missile for the MLRS and HIMARS vehicles (see: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.23 ISSUE 02, 11 January 2021, MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS, Options for UK Defence Review)
The 2015 National Security Strategy signalled a shift in the British Army’s planning focus from counter-insurgency (COIN), low-intensity operations to peer-on-peer conflict. While force design and doctrine are changing to reflect this, it has highlighted that certain capabilities, purchased during the Iraq and Afghanistan eras, might need to be employed differently if they are to retain utility in a divisional warfighting context. The EXACTOR missile, acquired in 2007, is one of those capabilities. While there is broad agreement that EXACTOR plugged an urgent capability gap in both Iraq and Afghanistan, concepts of operations are changing and new capabilities may need to be considered for a British Army gearing up for possible confrontation in Eastern Europe.
EXACTOR, originally designed as a standoff weapon that would allow the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to degrade and destroy enemy armour from distance, fulfilled two roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. These were base defence and counter-battery capability against hostile indirect fires such as mortars. Its low-yield, real-time video image and accuracy made it an ideal rules of engagement compliant weapons system for COIN environments. Yet, EXACTOR’s range (25 km), whilst ideal for defending forward operating bases in Afghanistan, is too short to threaten Russia’s integrated air defence system (IADS) assets and other high value targets in the deep battlespace. Similarly, its four-pod configuration and reliance on a non-domestic supply chain means it is not optimised for engaging massed armour in the close battle either. (Source: RUSI)
As part of the £6bn investment in new technology, a part of that budget will be dedicated to developing new hypersonic weapons and a replacement for the Harpoon anti-ship missile.
Whilst the decision to look at ‘loitering munitions, sometimes dubbed kamikaze drones’ is a welcome development to look at new technology. One caveat is that such systems do not replace long-range artillery, they work alongside it which explains why militaries are looking at long range Mobile Fires using new 155mm ammunition such as the BAE/Nexter Bonus Mk 2 tank destroyer which was fired in France last week. (See: MISSILE, HYPERSONICS, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE, US Fires BONUS MK 2 Round In France). A reader told BATTLESPACE that armed drones cannot do what 155mm artillery can do. They offer a limited attack capability to militia groups that do not have artillery or air forces, so cannot hit targets 20 – 30 kilometers away using conventional weapons. Weaponised drones gained a reputation for being cheap, easy to use (minimal training required), able to strike without warning, hit their targets and cause damage. However, small weaponised drones were not used as attack weapons until recently, so the first attacks were completely unexpected. Second, look at the nature of the targets they attacked – Saudi oil fields. These are large, static targets, open to approach, easy to find and completely unprotected. It would have been surprising if they had not been hit, rather than the fact they they suffered any damage. Besides which the damage was minimal anyway and the success of the attacks was more in the surprise and concern they raised than in the amount of damage inflicted. Since then potential targets have introduce defence measures and the success of the drone strikes has fallen considerably. On 7 March the Houthi rebels (AKA Iranian terrorists) claimed to have struck Aramco targets in a number of drone attacks. They admitted that the damage was ‘limited,’ but had caused serious disruption. What they did not admit was that the Saudi defence force jammed some of the drones to prevent them reaching their target and shot down 6 others with a mix of missile and lasers. Times are changing and the utility of small drones as attack weapons ain’t what it was. And it will only get worse as the effectiveness of anti-drone defences gets better. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.23 ISSUE 11, 15 March 2021, NEWS IN BRIEF – UNITED KINGDOM AND EUROPE, £80bn boost for UK military)
The Royal Air Force will continue to grow its Combat Air capacity over the next few years as we fully establish all seven operational Typhoon Squadrons and grow the Lightning II Force, increasing the fleet size beyond the 48 aircraft that we have already ordered. Together they will provide a formidable capability, which will be continually upgraded to meet the threat, exploit multi-domain integration and expand utility. The Royal Air Force will spiral develop Typhoon capability, integrate new weapons such as the UK-developed ‘SPEAR Cap 3’ precision air-launched weapon and invest in the Radar 2 programme to give it a powerful electronically scanned array radar. We will integrate more UK weapons onto Lightning II and invest to ensure that its software and capability are updated alongside the rest of the global F-35 fleet.
We will also make a strategic investment of more than £2bn (£1.5bn of new money) over the next four years in the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). FCAS will deliver an innovative mix of crewed, uncrewed and autonomous platforms including swarming drones. This will deliver an advanced combat air system capable of fighting in the most hostile environments. The development of novel technologies, and a step change in how we use simulators for mission rehearsal and training, will enable the Royal Air Force to be among the most technologically innovative, productive and lethal air forces in the world.
The Royal Air Force’s cutting-edge equipment programmes will supercharge our contribution to national prosperity through innovation and investment in science and technology, building on our unique partnership with the UK’s aerospace and space technology sector.
The Royal Air Force will retire equipment that has increasingly limited utility in the digital and future operating environment. This will include rationalising older fleets to improve efficiency, retiring 24 Typhoon Tranche 1 by 2025, and Hawk T1. We will enhance the new military flying training system with further investment in synthetic training that will deliver more capable pilots more quickly and more efficiently. The Royal Air Force will retire the BAe146 as planned by 2022 and take the C130 Hercules out of service by 2023. The A400M Atlas force will increase its capacity and capability, operating alongside C-17 Globemaster and Voyager transport aircraft and tankers.
We will retire the E-3D Sentry in 2021, as part of the transition to the more modern and more capable fleet of three E-7A Wedgetail in 2023. The E-7A will transform our UK Airborne Early Warning and Control capability and the UK’s contribution to NATO. The nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will help to secure our seas. The introduction into service of the 16 long-range Protector remotely piloted systems will be the backbone of persistent, multi-spectral surveillance, with the ability to strike and act decisively against our potential adversaries around the globe.
The Royal Air Force will amplify UK global influence by deepening our alliances in the Indo-Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Developing a global network of adaptable basing with key allies and partners will enable our aircraft to be forward deployed and able to respond ahead of potential adversaries. The Royal Air Force will play a key role in persistent engagement, including seeking prosperity opportunities through the delivery of world-class aviation training and building the capacity of partner nations’ air forces, such as the Joint Typhoon Squadron with Qatar. In addition, the Royal Air Force will continue to provide niche capacity building missions, including in areas such as intelligence and targeting, space, surveillance and reconnaissance, force protection, battlespace management, air traffic control, aeromedical advice and air safety.
Royal Navy Announcements
As the foremost Navy in Europe -one of only three navies in the world to be able to operate two 5th generation carriers and F-35B jets -the Royal Navy provides a critical contribution to NATO’s Defence and Deterrence of the Euro-Atlantic area through its highly capable, high readiness forces. By permanently attributing the nuclear deterrent, a Carrier Strike Group and Littoral Strike forces, we will cement our enduring commitment to NATO security objectives.
The Royal Navy will be a constant global presence, with more ships, submarines, sailors and marines deployed on an enduring basis, including to protect shipping lanes and uphold freedom of navigation. With support from partners in the Indo-Pacific, Offshore Patrol Vessels will be persistently deployed and a Littoral Response Group (LRG) in 2023 will complement the episodic deployment of our Carrier Strike Group; contributing to regional security and assurance.
The Royal Navy will invest £40m more over the next four years to develop our Future Commando Force as part of the transformation of our amphibious forces, as well as more than £50m in converting a Bay class support ship to deliver a more agile and lethal littoral strike capability. Forward deployed to respond rapidly to crises, this special operations-capable force will operate alongside our allies and partners in areas of UK interest, ready to strike from the sea, pre-empt and deter sub-threshold activity, and counter state threats. This will be enabled by the deployment of two Littoral Response Groups; the first in 2021 will be deployed to the Euro-Atlantic under a NATO and JEF construct, while a second will be deployed to the Indo will be deployed to the Indo-Pacific region in 2023. They will also be able to deliver training to our partners in regions of the world where maritime security is most challenging.
In conjunction with the US, and other NATO Allies, the Royal Navy will continue to invest in underwater capabilities as this remains pivotal to protect our critical national infrastructure, safeguard maritime trade and maintain our underwater advantage. This will include delivering a safer, faster and automated Mine Hunting Capability (MHC) in partnership with France. The Royal Navy will retire Mine Counter Measures Vessels as these new capabilities come into service.
The Integrated Review and the Accompanying Command Paper quite clearly is a trumpet blowing Post-Brexit fanfare of how Britannia will rule the waves and protect the UK’s multitude of overseas interests having left the EU. The UK will deploy to the Pacific Region to support its allies in that region to counter Chinese threats in the region. In the long term the armed forces will be smaller, more compact, more high-tech to meet and defeat these new threats. But, in the short term will be shorn of a great deal of legacy capability to enable the current remaining Programmes to be fulfilled. But as