Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/16/2012 -- The United Kingdom maintains an important role in NATO; transatlantic and European defence relations; and a military presence around the world. It is one of the world's acknowledged nuclear powers and alongside France, Russia and NATO is one of the nuclear powers on the European continent.
This report examines how the UK is continuing to fulfil these obligations in spite of the decreasing size of its defence budget and its armed forces. It also examines the UK's continuing redefinition of its strategic posture and its role in global military affairs; a role that is still arguably undefined since the United Kingdom's withdrawal from its military bases east of the Suez Canal in the late 1960s.
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At the strategic level, this quarter's Defence & Security report will conclude that the definition of the UK's role in this regard is, in some ways, still yet to be defined. Moreover, it states that the UK is able to continue to maintain a robust defence manufacturing and services base in spite of defence budget cuts.
The UK's defence posture continues to enable the country to project power around the world at a time and place of the government's choosing. To this end, it is one of the few countries that is able to do this, and arguably the only other Western European country, alongside France, which maintains an expeditionary capability in this regard. As budget cuts begin to have a real effect within the UK armed forces, the government and the service chiefs will have to take tough decisions on the capabilities that they wish to retain, and those that they feel they can either do without permanently, or for a limited time. The UK will have to continue to invest in its defence relationship with France as this is one way in which the cost of materiel can be reduced for both countries.
Over the last quarter, BMI has revised a number of aspects of this report. To this end, BMI has added detailed discussions of:
- Continued job cuts and redundancies across the UK armed forces and the Ministry of Defence in line with government public spending cuts.
- The reversal of an earlier Ministry of Defence decision to procure Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning-II Joint Strike Fighter Short-Take Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft, instead of the F-35C variants that the MoD had originally intended to purchase.
- Changes to the Royal Navy and British Army's helicopter fleets including the entry into service of the AgustaWestland AW-159 Wildcat and the upgraded AgustaWestland Lynx AH9.
- Changes to the Royal Air Force's tanker and airlifter fleets, and the upgrade of its Boeing Chinook HC.2/2A helicopter inventory.
- The Ministry of Defence's plans to procure a new maritime patrol aircraft as a replacement for the RAF's Nimrod MR4 planes.
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