UK MoD Details Capablity Implications
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued July 21, 2004)
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an edited version of the “Capablity Implications” annexe to the “Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities” white paper published on July 21 by the UK Ministry of Defence.
The document, together with annexes and related documents, is available online on the MoD website, at:


The future Royal Navy will provide an even more versatile and expeditionary force, with an increased emphasis on being able to project power onto the land when and where we want to. The force structure reflects the reduced conventional threat at sea and will be based around our aircraft carrier and amphibious task forces:

--In the short term we will have the upgraded Harrier GR9 aircraft operating from our existing three aircraft carriers.

--The introduction of two new large carriers operating the state-of-the-art Joint Combat Aircraft will transform our ability to project power from the sea.

--Similarly, our two new assault ships, HMS Albion and Bulwark, supported by the Bay Class landing ships, will provide a step change in our ability to launch and support forces ashore.

--Destroyers and frigates will remain a key part of the Fleet – whether as part of task groups or operating independently. We conclude that a fleet of 25 destroyers and frigates will meet our requirements. Eight new Type 45 destroyers will form a vital part of this force, and provide much greater effectiveness per ship.
We are therefore able to pay off the oldest Type 42 destroyers: HMS Cardiff, Newcastle and Glasgow. We will also pay off three Type 23 frigates, HMS Norfolk, Marlborough and Grafton earlier than planned. But we will continue to invest in new technology to continue to give the remaining frigates the edge over potential adversaries.

--Nuclear-powered attack submarines remain an important capability, although we assess a fleet of eight will be suf.cient to meet the tasks required. The capability will be further enhanced when the Astute Class submarines come into service, equipped with the latest generation of the Tomahawk cruise missile.

--Our maritime surveillance requirements can be met with 16 Nimrod MR2 aircraft (a reduction from 21). The MRA4 aircraft should offer greater capability and endurance, and could meet the requirement with a .eet of about 12 aircraft.

--Amongst smaller vessels, we can meet our mine countermeasure requirements with 16 ships, allowing us to pay off HMS Inverness, Bridport and Sandown by April 2005. And the improved situation in Northern Ireland means we can pay off the patrol vessels Brecon, Dulverton and Cottesmore by April 2007.


Recent operational experience and our assessment of future threats show us that we need to rebalance the Army to ensure that it is better structured and equipped to conduct the full range of tasks on battalion and brigade-sized operations, especially when there are several such operations ongoing around the world.

This means making sure that each deployable brigade is fully established with its own logistics support, and that the Army has the appropriate balance of light, medium and heavy forces, capable of being deployed quickly and .exibly.

The Land Force of the future will therefore consist of:

--Two heavy armoured brigades.
--Three medium-weight brigades.
--A light brigade.
--The Air Assault and Royal Marine Commando Brigades.

The shift in emphasis to light and medium weight forces will allow the reduction of seven Challenger 2 armoured squadrons and six AS90 artillery batteries by March 2007.
These changes include:

--Re-roling a Challenger 2 regiment as an armoured reconnaissance regiment.

--Creating 3 light armoured squadrons to support the development of the Future Rapid Effects System (FRES), which will spearhead our robust medium-weight capability in the future.

--Re-roling 3 AS90 batteries to Light Gun, to support the new light brigade.

The improved security situation in Northern Ireland now allows us to restructure the infantry. We will reduce the total number of infantry battalions by four, one of which will comprise a battalion recruited in Scotland, and base the remaining 36 on large single cap-badge regiments of 2 or more battalions.

The manpower freed by these changes will be used to generate stronger, more resilient infantry battalions and additional engineering, signals, intelligence and logistics support to deployed brigades. The need to move infantry battalions and their families en bloc every few years will also be phased out, with the changes to the regimental structure allowing Army families to put down roots in the communities in which they are stationed.

Capability enhancements will include:

--the Watchkeeper Unmanned Air Vehicle surveillance and reconnaissance programme, which will allow us to .nd and strike the enemy much more quickly on the battlefield.

-- the introduction of the Apache attack helicopter in Autumn 2004 which will increase our ability to strike with precision and at range.

--the new Javelin anti-tank guided weapon in 2005.

However, to reflect the reduced air threat to our forces on operations, we will be reducing our Ground Based Air Defence capability, including disbanding four RAF Regiment Rapier Squadrons. In future, Rapier will be operated by the Army.


Air power has been shown to be a critically important aspect of modern warfare, and for that reason our air capabilities have been significantly enhanced since the SDR:

-- The Tornado GR4 upgrade.
-- The development of the Harrier GR9 force.
-- Storm Shadow (proven in Iraq), Brimstone and Maverick precision-guided missiles.
-- Equipping the Tornado F3 with AMRAAM (medium range) and ASRAAM (short-range) missiles.

With individual aircraft and weapons much more capable, the overall requirement for fast jets is reduced.

We are therefore now able to reduce the number of Tornado F3 squadrons by one, and bring forward the withdrawal of the Jaguar force to 2007. This will allow us to close the air.eld at RAF Coltishall by December 2006.

Further advances in weapons, networking and in the aircraft themselves will see continuing substantial improvements in capability in the decade to come:

--Our future combat air power will be built around the multirole Typhoon and Joint Combat Aircraft, which will be able to deliver the offensive air (for attacking ground targets) and air defence (for attacking other aircraft) capabilities currently delivered by aircraft that can only do one or the other.

--The core of our airlift capability remains the .eet of C-130 aircraft and, from 2011, the new A400M. But to accommodate the larger air transportable items we will buy outright the current .eet of four leased C-17 aircraft and purchase one additional aircraft.

--Over the next 10 years we plan to invest over £3 billion in helicopters to replace and enhance our existing capability.


We will continue to invest in the area of logistics:

--We intend to use some of the resources freed up elsewhere to make major enhancements to our asset tracking capability to ensure the right material is in the right place at the right time, learning the lessons from operations in Iraq.

--We are investing heavily in communications systems – Skynet 5, Cormorant, Falcon and Bowman - all of which will underpin Network Enabled Capability.


Clearly both the Defence Change Programme and the Force Structure changes will have an impact on the manpower of the Armed Forces and the civilians who support them. As described above, some manpower freed up will be reinvested to strengthen key enabling capabilities.

Overall, we expect by April 2008:

-- the Royal Navy’s manpower to have fallen from some 37,500 to around 36,000;
-- the Army’s manpower to be around 102,000;
-- the RAF’s manpower to have reduced from 48,500 to around 41,000;
-- civilian staff numbers to have reduced by more than 10,000, primarily as a consequence of the Defence Change programme.
-- The total reduction in administrative and support functions within the MOD will be over 15,000, both civilian and military. These reductions will in part be achieved by the natural turnover of personnel. However, some redundancies will unfortunately be necessary.


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