British Army Is Planning to Upgrade Just 148 of Its 227 Challenger 2 Tanks
The British Army is planning to upgrade just 148 of its 227 Challenger 2 tanks, according to The Times.
The proposed cut to the armored force -- the British Army’s second major reduction in tanks since 2010 -- would make the U.K. ground-combat branch the 56th biggest tank-operator, The Times estimated.
Cutting tanks could jeopardize London’s plan to revamp its armed forces for high-tech combat with a major world power such as Russia.
As recently as 2010 the British Army possessed 316 of the 408 Challenger 2 tanks it originally acquired starting in the late 1990s.
Deep cuts across the U.K. armed forces in 2010 eliminated not only 89 tanks, but also two aircraft carriers, two amphibious ships, four frigates, an army brigade, a third of the army’s artillery and all of the air force's Harrier jump jets and maritime patrol planes. Uniformed manpower dropped by 30,000.
As recently as late 2017, there were rumors that the United Kingdom might try to offset the cost of the country's exit from the European Union by further cutting the military. Army brigades and amphibious ships appeared to be particularly vulnerable.
Instead, funding stabilized at around $55 billion annually. In 2017 and 2018, the government allocated the armed forces an extra $2 billion, combined, above planned spending levels, enough to employ 196,000 active and reserve sailors, soldiers, airmen and civilian personnel.