UK’s new defence plan envisions the commissioning of new Type 26 Global Combat Ships from the mid-2020s, upgraded maritime helicopters and the new aircraft carrier in operating capability by 2020. This plan is backed with a £178 B budget which represents a £12 B increase on previous plans.
The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence Review for 2015 was presented to the UK Parliament by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron on November 23.
The Prime Minister hailed the plan as the only response to the growing threats of terrorism:
“This morning I was in Paris with President Hollande discussing how we can work together to defeat the evil of ISIL. As the murders on the streets of Paris reminded us so starkly, ISIL is not some remote problem thousands of miles away. It is a direct threat to our security at home and abroad.”
In addition to the threat of terrorism, the Prime Minister mentioned UK’s growing economy which, unlike the one from 2010, is now able to sustain this increase in defence spending.
For the first time in years, Britain’s defence budget will start increasing, said the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
The nation is purchasing 9 new Maritime Patrol Aircraft to protect UK’s nuclear deterrent. Additional 13 frigates and two new patrol vessels are also in line. The frigates will include the new Type 26 Global Combat Ships which are envisioned to be commissioned by mid-2020s.
The review also announces the design and build of a new class of less expensive, lighter, general purpose frigates, which will replace the River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels and bring an increase in numbers of the Royal Navy fleet.
The UK Chamber of Shipping welcomed the announcement in the Strategic Defence and Security Review that nine new maritime patrol aircraft will be brought into service, but warned that UK maritime capabilities must be upheld in order to protect global trade and strategic interests.
The government’s decision to buy the Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft is intended to address the gap left in the nation’s maritime search and rescue and defence capabilities by the loss of the Nimrod aircraft which were scrapped in the 2010 review.
BAE Systems, one of the nation’s major defence contractors, greeted the Government’s commitment to shipbuilding continuity arguing that this decision would create more jobs in the UK, specifically Scotland, where the company’s shipbuilding facilities are located.