Army needs ‘significant investment’ of ‘heavy metal’, war expert says
Ben Wallace grilled by Tobias Ellwood on new defence budget
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Key gaps in the British military have been outlined by defence expert Hamish de Breton Gordon, who said the armed forces needs “significant investment”. The chemical weapons expert told the Daily Express that the UK needs to put more money into hardware – particularly focused on heavy metal, armour, artillery and drones – if the UK wants to join the US and NATO in defending the West against growing threats from China and Russia. He warned that the UK focuses too much money on cyber security and large maritime projects, warning that Britain currently does “not have the right balance”.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a further £5billion for the Ministry of Defence across the next two years, with £11billion being allocated over the course of 5 years.
Speaking to the Daily Express about how the UK should allocate funding, Mr De Bretton-Gordon said: “The sort of equipment the army will need will be heavy metal armour, artillery and drones.
“This is going to require quite a significant investment in hardware in order to get to get the British military up to a viable state so that it can pay its pass along with the US and allies in NATO.”
He added: “Perhaps some of the money is too focused on cyber security and perhaps large maritime projects.
“It might well be that they need to be reconsidered and focus more on the heavy metal that I’ve been talking about.
“Ultimately, Britain requires a comprehensive defence capability covering land, air and sea. And at the moment, we probably don’t have the right balance.”
Mr De Bretton-Gordon said the UK should increase defence spending to 3 percent, warning that an “inflationary increase will barely ruffle the surface”.
But the investment announced at the budget will take Britain up to spending just 2.25 percent of GDP on defence.
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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had campaigned for an increase of £8 to 11 billion over two years but instead got £5billion for two years and £11billion total for five years.
The Chancellor said he is “proud we’re giving Ukraine more military support than anyone else in Europe.”
Defence Select Committee Chair Tobias Ellwood dismissed the funding.
He told the Daily Express: “All smoke and mirrors I’m afraid. I welcome the investment in the nuclear deterrent and the replenishment of weapons stocks but when you take that money out it leaves the MoD with about £1billion a year which is in effect a real terms cut.
“There will be even less when you account for taxes and expenses.
“It means our conventional forces remain hollowed out as the threats come over the hill.”
Tory MP Colonel James Sunderland said: “It’s a step in the right direction but still may not be enough to future-proof our HM Forces, particularly the Army, against the totality of threats we continue to face in an increasingly unstable world.
“I welcome the commitment to 2.5 percent of GDP – the imperative now is to translate this quickly into operational capability.”
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