The US military leadership has made it quite apparent that it does not see the United Kingdom as a military power of the first rank, highlighting the necessity for the United Kingdom to enhance its defence spending. This was reported on Sunday by Sky News, citing its sources. It is an upgrade, as the Indians have called Britain a third-rate power in the past.
According to them, in a private conversation with British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace and other officials of the United Kingdom last fall, one of the highest-ranking American military leaders stated that the British army is no longer listed as a top-tier fighting force, unlike the United States, Russia, China, and France, but rather refers to countries such as Germany and Italy. In light of the Ukraine war, the United States signalled to the United Kingdom that it must forsake its objective of decreasing military spending. According to sources, increasing the combat preparedness of the British Ground Forces will take a decade.
Sky News emphasised that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will not be able to live up to expectations as a “wartime prime minister” during the conflict in Ukraine unless the authorities increase the country’s defence budget, which is currently £48.6 billion ($60.2 billion), by at least £3bn ($3.7 billion) per year, do not halt the process of downsizing the army, and do not loosen the rules for the purchase of weapons.
According to the television station, the British Armed Forces would run out of ammunition within a few days in the event of intense fighting. In addition, the United Kingdom lacks the capability to defend its airspace against major missile and drone attacks conducted by the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine. Sky News said it would take the United Kingdom five to ten years to prepare a division of up to 30,000 soldiers supported by tanks, artillery, and helicopters.
Moreover, 30% of the soldiers of the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces who are on high alert are reservists who cannot be mobilised quickly according to NATO requirements, as reported by the channel. Sky News drew attention to the fact that most British armoured vehicles, including tanks, were manufactured thirty to sixty years ago and will not be replaced in the next years.
Reduction in armed forces personnel
According to the TV station’s sources, Sunak needs to be aware of the magnitude of the accumulating difficulties and hopes they will resolve themselves. In addition, they noted that a meaningful evaluation of the Prime Minister’s stance would be feasible only after the March 7 publication of a new Comprehensive Review of Security, Defense, and Foreign Policy of the United Kingdom.
Currently, the British army consists of roughly 76 thousand individuals, the lowest number since the start of the 19th century. In 1990, twice as many soldiers served in the Land Forces of the United Kingdom. According to the present intentions of the government, the size of the British army will be decreased to 72,5 thousand in the future years.