The committee, which is made up of 11 MPs, has warned that Britain's ammunition stockpile has fallen so low that the country's national security is now in jeopardy.
A report by the parliamentary committee characterized the stockpiles of both the UK and its NATO allies as having reached “dangerously low levels.” They estimate that replenishing these inventories could take as long as a decade if the present rate of manufacture continues.
They noted that although Russia is also experiencing a drop in its reserves, other adversaries that are not sending any aid to Ukraine are maintaining and possibly even increasing their own supplies, which gives them a distinct advantage.
The report notes: "The inability to replenish the UK's stockpile puts at risk not only our ability to supply (ammunition) to Ukraine but also to counter any threat to our own security."
It added that the country’s defense industry does not have the capacity and power it did in the Cold War era and that it needs to ensure it has adequate ammunition, weapons, equipment and personnel.
In a statement, Committee Chairman Tobias Ellwood said: “We are concerned that it is taking so long to replenish UK stockpiles: both government and industry need to act. The Integrated Review Refresh [due to be published soon] and the budget need to show that the government understands the importance of UK defense in an increasingly dangerous world.”
One former general recently warned that the country could well run out of ammunition after just a day of a direct war against Russia.
General Sir Richard Barrons, who held the position of Joint Forces chief, said that the government would need to spend a further £3 billion on the military each year in order to keep up with the top levels of the NATO alliance.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has blamed years of the British government “raiding” defense budgets as part of the reason the country finds itself with historically low stockpiles of ammo. The cuts have also impacted their ability to maintain crucial equipment such as tanks.
Other MPs have said that even increasing funding by £10 billion would not be enough to adequately address the issue.
Former Tory Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that aging tanks and limited aircraft fleet are major problems. He warned: "We've gone too far with the reduction in our army. We have real problems now with the tank fleet, issues with one of the aircraft carriers. We've got a tiny number of aircraft -- it's ridiculous now that we've got so few aircraft.”
He added that the war has illustrated the importance of preparation and echoed the sentiments of other experts that the UK is not ready for a war in the manner they should be.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that NATO and its allies need to increase their production of the ammunition they are providing to Ukraine dramatically to meet demand as the country’s ammo consumption is currently far outweighing the West’s production capacity. He called on allies to invest in production and expand their production capacity in order to keep up with the demand. Unfortunately, for some countries, that may come at the cost of their own national security.
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