Ben Wallace’s £10bn war chest can boost UK troops by 160k troops to counter Russia threat | Science | News

NATO to increase high-readiness forces to 300,000

The news comes as Russian actions against Ukraine have sparked both European Union and NATO members to react accordingly amid fears the conflict could spread west. Furthermore, the UK has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine throughout the war, supplying the nation with a host of military equipment aimed at providing defences for Ukrainian forces.

Mr Wallace has now sought that British defence budgets be increased to a permanent 2.5 percent of GDP to align with the current threat.

The sum would equate to an extra £10billion a year by 2028.

Speaking of how the funding could be spent, defence industry analyst Nicholas Drummond suggested an extra 160,000 personnel could be employed in the armed forces.

Writing on Twitter, he suggested the Royal Navy could see an extra 35,000 staff, the Army 90,000 and the Royal Air Force with 35,000 extra personnel.

Furthermore, he suggested an extra 12 Type 26 Frigates could be added to the fleet, or 220 UAV’s, including a carrier-based upgrade.

Ben Wallance and Vladimir Putin

Ben Wallace is seeking a £10bn boost to defence spending (Image: Getty)

British Army

The British Army could see 90k more soldiers (Image: Crown Copyright)

The analyst also suggested the money could be spent on 600 new Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) or 48 HIMARS rocket launchers.

The money could also be spent on new projects such as the Tempest fighter jet, as well as upgraded Typhoon and Poseidon aircraft.

Mr Drummonds’s suggestions were met with mixed reactions, with other expert adding their views as to how to best defend the UK against Russian threats.

Maritime and Defence enthusiast Josh Thackham said: “48 HIMARS or equivalent seems low. MFP should definitely be on this wish list.

“I still think we need to set targets on the number of Armoured brigades for example rather than just equipment numbers and type.”

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Royal Navy

The Royal Navy could see an extra 35k sailors (Image: Crown Copyright)


The money could also be spent on developing the Tempest fighter aircraft (Image: Crown Copyright)

Head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, will say later today that he has never known such a clear threat” as the brutal aggression of President Putin.”

He is set to liken the war in Ukraine to the build-up to World War 2, describing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “1937 moment” for the UK.

The news of Mr Wallace’s request for more money for the MoD comes ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid.

The conference will discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as discussing the threat posed to NATO members within the alliance, as well as those on the fringes.

The news of the budget request appears to be a leak, with the MoD saying: “we do not comment on alleged leaks”, but added that “the Defence Secretary and the Prime Minister have always said that the government will respond to any changes in threat, which is why in 2020 the Ministry of Defence received a record defence settlement.”

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Sir Patrick Sanders

Sir Patrick Sanders has compared the war in Ukraine to WWII (Image: Crown Copyright)

Ministers have previously announced a £16.5bn cumulative increase in defence spending for the four years from April 2021, but experts have already warned that rising inflation means that increases will be eroded in real terms during the rest of the parliament.

NATO members are encouraged to spend a minimum of 2 percent of GDP on defence in order to maintain membership, however, many of the members fail to meet the quota.

Britain is expected to spend 2.12 percent on defence in 2022, down from 2.26 percent in 2021.

The UK expects to spend £32.4billion on day-to-day defence needs in the current year, 2022/23, plus a further £15.8billion on capital.

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Jens Stoltenberg has announced 300k troops to be on standby as part of NATO (Image: Crown Copyright)

During the NATO summit, the UK is expected to confirm it will commit up to 1,000 more soldiers to help protect Estonia, on top of the 1,700 already stationed there.

It is part of a wider NATO policy to increase the forces committed to defending frontline states in eastern Europe to the size of a brigade.

Tension has mounted on the borders of Russia and eastern European member nations, in particular around the Suwalki Gap, a narrow passage of land used by Russia to access the enclave of Kaliningrad.

NATO’s Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg has said this week’s Madrid summit will agree to the alliance’s most significant transformation of a generation, putting 300,000 troops at high readiness in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking of the move, Mr Stoltenberg said the pledge would be “the biggest overhaul of our collective defence and deterrence since the Cold War.”

For more stories like this, follow Defence and Security Correspondent James Lee on Twitter @JamesLee_DE

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