The Daily Telegraph's Defence Correspondent writes that the Army is set to lose its ability to fight large scale tanks battles under radical plans being drawn up to slash its fleet of armoured vehicles:
The proposals have led senior officers to question whether it is “a risk too far” to axe more than 3,000 vehicles as part of government enforced cuts under the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
The proposed cuts mean that the country which invented the tank has signalled it is to surrender almost a century’s experience of fighting armoured warfare.
The move also means that the Ministry of Defence will once again throw away billions of pounds in equipment after flushing away £3.6 billion on the new Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft along with millions on axing aircraft carriers and Harrier jets.
Under the plans the 400 strong fleet of Challenger 2 main battle tanks, that played a key role throughout the Iraq campaign, could be reduced to as little as little as 50 tanks, enough to equip just one regiment. ...
Senior officers admit that the move means the Army is gambling it will not have to fight armoured operations outside of Afghanistan for at least the next five years.
“This does mean that our early entry capability is completely denuded,” an officer involved in the planning told The Daily Telegraph.
After the 2015 exit from Helmand they hope that the government will provide the cash to reconstitute its armour by agreeing to the estimated £5 billion vital Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) programme that will produce about 2,000 advanced combat vehicles. ...
- Full article by Thomas Harding, Daily Telegraph: Army's 400 tanks may be cut to 50