Here is a rundown of some of the key points that have been revealed in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 published today. Over the coming days there will be a more in-depth analysis of just how the British Armed forces will look over the coming years as a result of this review published on Defence of the Realm.
The Financial Figures
- £178bn – the total defence budget for the next 5 years.
- £31bn for the replacement of the Trident missile submarine fleet (an increase of £6bn over previous estimates).
- £15bn invested in counter terrorism; an increase of a third over present.
- £1.5bn “efficiency savings” from defence chiefs (i.e. cuts).
- £2bn extra injected in to special forces to combat ISIS.
- £1.3 billion to be invested in the conflict security and stability fund.
- £500m for the “Crisis Reserve” to allow the UK to respond more quickly to global issues such as Ebola.
The Equipment/Personnel Figures
- 4 new SSBNs (nuclear ballistic missile submarines) for the Royal Navy to replace the current Trident-missile armed Vanguard-class vessels.
- 2 new RAF squadrons operating upgraded Typhoons with greater emphasis on the strike role.
- 2 new rapid reaction strike brigades of 5,000 troops by 2025
- 9 new Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol planes (contrary to an earlier report in The Sunday Times that this had been cancelled).
- 1,900 more intelligence personnel for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
- 450 new sailors for the Royal Navy (less than a quarter of what the RN asked for. See Royal Navy may have to recruit sailors from overseas to provide crew for aircraft carriers)
- 42 F-35B Lightning II “stealth” V/STOL combat aircraft by 2023.
- 13 new lighter, more flexible and cheaper frigates for the Royal Navy.
The Grey Zone
- An undisclosed number of new surveillance drones.