October 20th, 2010 (Geopoliticalmonitor.com) - The Strategic Defense Review, as expected, has brought the axe down on defense spending in the United Kingdom.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is set to lose the Harrier jump jet as well as Nimrod reconnaissance planes, creating a gap in RAF capabilities that will be hypothetically filled when Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) and modernized Eurofighters enter into service. Several bases have also been earmarked for closing, resulting in the loss of around 5,000 RAF jobs over the next five years.
The Army will lose 40 percent of its tanks and heavy artillery. It will also scrap one brigade out of every six.
Although the aircraft carrier Ark Royal will be decommissioned four years ahead of schedule, the construction of two new carriers will go ahead as planned. One of them however will never enter into service.
With regards to the ever-controversial Trident program, the spending review raised several ways to trim back the projected costs of the program, but ultimately it left the final decision to be made in 2016.
Robert Peston has posted an interesting article up on his blog. He measures the toughness of the defense cuts against the bottom line of BAE Systems- a company that can only be described as the fruit of massive convergence in Britain’s military industrial complex.
An Editorial in the Guardian points out that this defense spending review has illustrated a distinct lack of direction in Britain’s war planners:
“Britain's war planners bear a visceral aversion to what was once called grand strategy”