Defence in a Competitive Age

Summary

Defence in a Competitive Age[1] is a Ministry of Defence command paper which was released on 22 March 2021. It provided details on changes to the armed forces to meet the requirements of the Integrated Review which was published before it on 16 March 2021.

Royal Navy

British Army

  • The British Army will be reduced in establishment, to 72,500 regular personnel by 2025, with no change in reserves.[7]
  • Deploying army forces will be reorganised into five new 'brigade combat teams':[8]
  • 79 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks will be retired, with the remaining 148 upgraded to Challenger 3.[7]
  • The planned Warrior upgrade will be cancelled, and instead the vehicles will be retired upon the introduction of Boxer in the mid-2020s.[9]
  • £800 million will be invested in a new automated fires platform.[10]
  • £250 million will be invested in Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS).[10]
  • The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Mercian Regiment will be amalgamated when the Boxer enters service as the 1st Battalion.[10][7]
  • New Combat Service Support Battalions will be formed, grouping the Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and Royal Army Medical Corps.[10] Two new battalions will be formed by 2023 as part of the new Strike Brigade concept. This decision had previously been announced with 1st Close Support Battalion, REME and 1st Regiment RLC paving the way.[11]
  • New tactical surveillance drones, and new electronic warfare and cyberspace capabilities will be brought into service.
  • Manning will increase in the areas of electronic warfare, air defence, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)[10]
  • The Infantry will be restructured into four new divisions.[12]
  • A new Global Readiness Force will be formed, consisting of the newly formed 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, and 16th Air Assault Brigade, the latter of which will be reinforced by a further infantry battalion. These forces will become known as the Army's 'Air Manoeuvre Forces'.[8]
  • A new four-battalion Ranger Regiment will be formed in August 2021,[10] seeded from the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland; 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment; 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment; and 4th Battalion, The Rifles.[13] The new regiment will sit within the redesignated Specialised Infantry Group, becoming the Army Special Operations Brigade.[10][14] [15]
  • A Security Force Assistance Brigade will be formed to assist and train partner nations.[10] The 11th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters South East would be redesignated as such in due course.[15]

Royal Air Force

Other

  • £200 million will be invested over 10 years to deliver an 'enhanced electronic warfare and signal intelligence capability'. Further manning will increase with the area of collection and exploitation of signal intelligence.[10]
  • £6.6 billion will be invested into space over the next 4 years.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Defence in a Competitive Age" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. March 2021. ISBN 978-1-5286-2462-6. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Warship to be based permanently in Gibraltar". UK Defence Journal. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  3. ^ "First Sea Lord Sea Power Conference Speech 2021". Royal Navy. 19 May 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Royal Navy to get new surveillance ship". UK Defence Journal. 21 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Integrated Review: Defence Command Paper, Volume 691: debated on Monday 22 March 2021". Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  6. ^ "UK announces new Type 83 Destroyer". UK Defence Journal. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "Integrated Review: Defence Command Paper, Volume 691: debated on Monday 22 March 2021". Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  8. ^ a b "Future Soldier". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  9. ^ Chuter, Andrew (2021-03-23). "Who are the winners and losers in Britain's new defense review?". Defense News. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Defence in a Competitive Age" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. March 2021. ISBN 978-1-5286-2462-6. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Written statements - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament". questions-statements.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  12. ^ White Paper, p. 58.
  13. ^ "Integrated Review: Defence Command Paper, Volume 691: debated on Monday 22 March 2021". Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  14. ^ "New Army Ranger Regiment: What We Know So Far". Forces Net. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  15. ^ a b "First glimpse of 'Future Soldier'". Soldier Magazine. 1 August 2021. p. 14.
  16. ^ "UK Defence Command Paper: MoD circumspect on future F-35 numbers". Janes. 22 March 2021.
  17. ^ Allison, George (2021-03-23). "UK looking at '60 and then maybe up to 80′ F-35B jets". Retrieved 2021-03-24.