British Army is in a “dire state” and may not be able to defend the UK and its allies, experts warn
By Cassie B. // Feb 01, 2023

Concerns are growing about the current state of the British Army following a warning by the chairman of the UK Defense Select Committee Tobias Ellwood.

Ellwood, who is a former soldier, called on the UK government to reverse what he described as “swathing cuts” because “we are now at war in Europe.” He added that the army is in a “dire state.”

His comments come after defense sources claimed that a senior American general told British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace that their army is no longer considered a “top-level fighting force”.

The country’s army currently numbers 76,000 troops, but this will drop to 73,000 should planned downsizing proceed. The army is already sitting at half its 1990 size and is the smallest it has been since the times of Napoleon. The number of British Army tanks, meanwhile, is poised to drop from 800 in the Cold War to just 148.

Speaking to Sky News, the senior Conservative MP said: "The army is in a dire state. Our army is simply too small, we have cut down by 10,000 troops.

"I do hope the defence review will look at these issues and reverse some of the swathing cuts that were made a couple of years ago.

"It is up to the Treasury and Number 10 to recognise the world is changing -- we are now at war in Europe, we need to move to a war footing.”

He also drew attention to the state of the military's equipment, which has been described as “obsolete.” A subcommittee has been set up by the Commons Defense Select Committee to explore the problems they have been encountering when it comes to modernizing their heavy armored vehicles. Many of the upgrades and new equipment that are already in the works will not be ready until a decade from now. Some of the vehicles that the army is currently using are around 50 years old.

At a hearing, former Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois asked senior generals: "How can you possibly say we have a credible deterrent effect when our warfighting division is so old and so full of obsolete vehicles that you have had 20 years to replace and you have replaced none of it that we can credibly contribute to deterrence with an army which is clapped out."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under pressure to provide funding to the UK military following years of cost-cutting measures that have damaged its power considerably.

A senior US military general reportedly told several high-ranking UK officials that their army is losing its prestige, saying: "You haven't got a tier one. It's barely tier two."

Right now, China, Russia, France and the U.S. are considered to be Tier 1 military powers, while the UK is now joining lower-ranking nations that fall into Tier 2 like Germany and Italy.

Underfunded and understaffed military is saddled with obsolete equipment

Some insiders have said that if the UK's armed forces were called on to fight, they'd run out of ammunition within a matter of days and would not be able to defend themselves against the types of drone and missile strikes being experienced by Ukraine at the moment.

Moreover, almost a third of the country's forces on high readiness are reservists who would not be able to mobilize within NATO timelines. Meanwhile, most of the army’s tanks and other armored vehicles are between 30 and 60 years old.

Many insiders are warning that the military needs to make improvements quickly in the wake of the Ukraine situation, which they say should serve as a “wakeup call.” Sunak is being encouraged to boost the country's defense budget by at least £3 billion a year while ending cuts to the size of the army and taking steps to improve the country's weapons and ammunition supplies.

Sources for this article include:

Express.co.uk

Independent.co.uk



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