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F-35s and Aircraft Carriers: Making Great Britain’s Military Great Again?
The extra money in part came from a $13-billion reserve fund for four new Dreadnought-class ballistic-missile submarines that the Navy is developing at a total cost of around $39 billion, which is nearly as much as the entire British military spends in a year.
The British military is struggling to reorganize for a new cold war in Europe. A modest spending boost in 2018 could give planners some hope that budgetary shortfalls -- a perennial problem for the U.K. armed forces -- might not doom the effort.
(This first appeared late in 2018.)
"After almost three decades of relative international stability, the world has now re-entered a period of persistent and intense state competition," the U.K. Defense Ministry stated in its December 2018 review "Mobilizing, Modernizing & Transforming Defense."
To deter and defeat potential enemies, the study asserted, the British military should be able to deploy a 50,000-person task force including a maritime task group centered on a Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier embarking F-35 stealth fighters, an army division with three brigades, an air force group with combat, transport and surveillance aircraft and a special forces task group.
At the same time, the military must keep at least one nuclear-armed ballistic-missile submarine at sea at all times for strategic deterrence.