Cameron to announce new strike brigades in strategic defence review

Two five,000-robust strike brigades for speedy deployment missions will be a central feature of the strategic defence evaluation. Photograph: Noah Smith/Commissioned for The Guardian

David Cameron will announce two new 5,000-strong strike brigades for fast deployment missions as a central feature of the government’s most recent strategic defence assessment. He will also promise a £12bn boost in the equipment spending budget, taking total spending to £178bn on defence equipment and help over the next decade.

In a forward to the evaluation due to be launched by Cameron himself, the prime minister states: “At its [the approach] heart is an understanding that we can’t pick amongst traditional defences against state-primarily based threats and the want to counter threats that do not recognise national borders. Right now we face both and we have to respond to both.”

The boost to defence spending comes alongside a commitment to enhance the counter-terrorism spending budget by 30%, which will fund a range of measures such as an extra operations centre to allow MI5 to react far more quickly to threats in the UK.

The final defence overview in 2010 is largely remembered for enormous spending cuts and the new evaluation will include a commitment to plug gaps in the UK’s capability, like new aircraft to fly from the country’s two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers at the moment becoming constructed by a consortium including BAE systems.

The new strike brigades are due to be ready in 2025 and are intended to project UK power, with the capability to deploy thousands of kilometres away. Each brigade will use the new Scout variety of automobiles and also have access to 600 armoured autos.

Cameron will also announce on Monday the acquire of nine new Boeing P8 maritime patrol aircraft for surveillance, anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare. They will replace the Nimrod aircraft scrapped in 2010 that left a glaring hole in the ability to detect enemy submarines in UK waters, such as at the entry point to the submarine base in Faslane.

They will be created to defend Trident submarines and the two new aircraft carriers. The maritime aircraft has been a distinct request of the Royal Navy after the loss of Nimrod. These roles need an aircraft that can carry torpedoes as properly as becoming fitted with a broad range of sensors, such as radar and sonobuoys that are operated from the rear of the cabin by a group of specialists. These aircraft will also offer maritime search and rescue and surveillance capabilities over land.

The prime minister will also extend the life of the UK’s Typhoon aircraft for an 10 additional years by way of to 2040, allowing the creation of two further squadrons. This will mean a total of seven frontline squadrons, consisting of about 12 aircraft per squadron.

Fitted with a new active electronically scanned array radar to make certain they can continue to operate in hostile environments in the future, the Typhoons will continue at least until the generation of F-35 joint strike fighters grow to be operational. There is also expected to be an improve in the quantity of sailors to run the two new aircraft carriers due to be operational by the end of the parliament.

Cameron will make a point of emphasising that the UK is one particular of the few Nato nations to meet its commitment to commit 2% of GDP on defence. Setting out the case for additional spending, Cameron says in a forward to the 5-yearly overview: “This is vital at a time when the threats to our nation are expanding. From the rise of Isil [Islamic State] and higher instability in the Middle East, to the crisis in Ukraine, the threat of cyber attacks and the risk of pandemics, the world is much more unsafe and uncertain these days than five years ago.

“So even though each and every government should select how to spend the money it has available, every penny of which is hard-earned by taxpayers, this government has taken a clear choice to invest in our security and safeguard our prosperity.”

Cameron has currently said the overview will consist of £2bn over the next five years to bolster Britain’s particular forces for the fight against extremist groups such as Isis. It will also double its Reaper drone fleet by 2020. George Osborne also announced a 30% increase in counter-terror spending, saying it will rise from the £11.7bn number set out in the summer time budget to £15.1bn.

The Treasury mentioned the cash will also be used for what it described as a national digital exploitation service “to allow the processing of seized phones, computers and devices for evidence and intelligence leads, enhancing police and intelligence agencies’ potential to recognize and disrupt possible attacks and prosecute terrorists”. Capability to gather net communications records will also be funded.

Some of the income will be utilised to upgrade technologies and boost border police, but it will also allow enable a fusion of intelligence with the armed forced creating it easier to take action against terrorists in hostile operating environments.

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