Military Review

We will create the new, we will modernize the old. The wishes and capabilities of the British Armed Forces


Tempest fighter by artist from BAE Systems

Great Britain intends to maintain its defense capability, for which it requires new models of equipment and weapons. A number of projects have been opened and are being developed in all major areas, from combat aviation to underwater fleet. In the foreseeable future, they should give real results, but so far the main focus is on the work in the early stages. Consider how London plans to strengthen its army in the future. Moreover, not so long ago during the DSEI 2019 exhibition, he boasted of his new developments.

Next Generation Plans

Perhaps the most ambitious plans are being implemented in the Tempest program. In the framework of international cooperation, several companies, including British BAE Systems are going to create the next sixth generation fighter. Great Britain, Sweden, Italy and the MBDA company representing several states participate in the works. The appearance of new participants is not ruled out.

Ready Tempest fighter will appear only in the second half of the twenties. From the mid-thirties, production vehicles will enter the troops. In the meantime, the project participants show only a full-size model of the aircraft. How much he will look like a real fighter is unknown.

Layout "Tempest" at the exhibition DSEI 2019. Wikimedia Commons Photos

For many years to come, before the advent of the production Tempest, the FAC of Great Britain will be forced to use other fighters. The basis of the park may remain the Eurofighter Typhoon. Also expected mass delivery of American F-35 in two versions.

Armored Upgrade

Ground forces plan to modernize the main combat tanks Challenger 2, but have not yet chosen a specific project on which it will be carried out. There are already several proposals, and in September another one appeared. This project was proposed by the German-English joint venture Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).

The RBSL Challenger 2LEP project provides for the replacement of the turret with a new German-made unit equipped with a RNMX-mm smoothbore gun from Rheinmetal. The fire control system and communications facilities are also completely rebuilt. Maximum unification with other NATO ammunition tanks is ensured. The engine has been replaced. The new MTU motor has 120 horsepower. vs 1500 hp at the staff.

Showpiece of the upgraded Challenger 2 LEP with a new tower, DSEI 2019. Photo

This is not the first Challenger-2 modernization project proposed recently. His real prospects remain uncertain. The British army has not yet decided which of the projects will be accepted for implementation and will ensure the renewal of the tank fleet.

In parallel with the modernization of the Challenger 2 MBT, the construction of new Ajax family machines will be carried out. Already there is small-scale production of such equipment, and the army receives the first samples. In the coming years, the delivery of the first batches of such equipment and the completion of retraining of personnel are expected. After that, Ajax in the configuration of the BMP and the APC will be able to start a full service.

It is expected the appearance of serial Warrior BMPs that have been upgraded by the Warrior Capability Sustainment Program (WCSP) from Lockheed Martin. At the DSEI 2019 exhibition, there was a similar prototype that passed a number of necessary tests and showed its capabilities. The appearance of the WCSP program is connected with the impossibility of quickly building the desired number of Ajax: the modernized armored vehicles will have to complement the technology of the new building.

One of the experienced Ajax armored vehicles. UK defense photo /

The WCSP project offers the installation of additional reservations on all projections and other measures to enhance protection. The on-board electronics complex, including the LMS and surveillance systems, is being radically rebuilt. The standard 30-mm gun is replaced by an 40-mm gun for a telescopic shot. In terms of armament and parts of equipment, WCSP is unified with Ajax.

By the end of the year, Lockheed Martin must complete the current phase of work and transfer the final package of documents to the customer. After that, the issue of adopting and launching serial modernization of equipment will be decided.

We will create the new, we will modernize the old. The wishes and capabilities of the British Armed Forces
BMP Warrior, upgraded by the project from Lockheed Martin, on the DSEI 2019. Photo

The future of the submarine fleet

The most interesting promising project for the Royal Navy is the creation of a strategic submarine missile carrier such as Dreadnought. Such SSBNs in the future will have to replace existing ships of the Ave. Vanguard. Four units have been planned, and two are already under construction at BAE Systems. The head submarine is planned to be accepted for service not earlier than 2028.

Submarines with a displacement of 17200 t and a length of 153 m will become the largest in stories KVMF. They will be equipped with a unified missile compartment CMC joint US-British development, containing 16 launch mines. The main weapons will become Trident II D5 SLBMs. It is also possible to re-equip several mines with other weapons.

Due to the construction of the Dreadnoughts, the KVMF will be able to gradually abandon the aging Wengards and ensure the existence of the marine component of nuclear forces until the sixties of the 21st century. At the same time, there are no plans to replace multipurpose submarines with torpedo and missile weapons.

The expected appearance of the submarine Dreadnought. Figure

New frigates

In September, the DSEI 2019 announced the decision of the competitive commission for the construction of promising frigates Type 31. On November 15 a corresponding contract appeared. The winner of the contest for the development of the ship was the Babcock group of companies with its Arrowhead 140 project. Now she has to build a series of five frigates worth 250 million pounds each.

“Type 31” will have a length of 120 m and a displacement of 4000 tons. It will accelerate to 24 nodes and show a cruising range of up to 6 thousand miles. The project provides for the allocation of volumes to accommodate the modular load and equipment. There are also places for mounting a variety of weapons. The frigate will be able to carry a universal vertical launcher on 16 cells and deck launchers. Small-caliber artillery and machine guns will be placed around the perimeter of the hull; there will be an 127-mm gun on the tank. Aft deck is made in the form of a platform for a helicopter. Nearby in the superstructure is a hangar.

Currently, the contracting company is preparing for the construction of a new type of head frigate. The bookmark should take place soon. It will take several years to build and test, after which in 2023 the ship will enter the combat force of the KVMF.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the first two frigates of the promising Type 26 project. The first was laid in July 2017, and the laying of the second took place in August 2019. The construction of the third is expected. Five more frigates are planned, but a contract for their construction has not yet been signed.

Frigate Type 31 / Arrowhead 140. Figure Babcock Group /

Ships “Type 26” are built according to the design of the marine branch of BAE Systems; their main goal will be the search and destruction of surface, air and underwater targets. Ships with a length of 150 m and a displacement of 6900 t will receive the whole range of necessary equipment and weapons. Missile launchers can carry missiles of various types for various purposes; It provides advanced artillery and torpedo armament.

From desires to opportunities

In recent years, Great Britain independently and in collaboration with other countries has developed many different types of weapons and equipment of all main classes for the rearmament of all arms. Some of these developments have already reached production, while others are expected only in the distant future. News recent months show that the British military and industry intend to continue such work and transfer to the army all the required products. The recent DSEI 2019 show has confirmed these intentions.

Nevertheless, almost at all stages, new projects face difficulties. The main problems are observed in the field of financing. Modern developments are not cheap, which is why they are constantly criticized by certain political circles. Criticism spills over into disputes that lead to a substantial adjustment to development, production, and operation programs. Almost all recent projects had to be reduced for reasons of economy.

Proposed appearance of frigate "Type 26". Figure BAE Systems /

Ajax has already undergone similar reductions, which has increased the need for upgraded Warrior machines. Similar processes are observed in the area of ​​surface and underwater fleets. The Tempest fighter project has not yet emerged from its earliest stages, but has already been criticized because of the expected high cost.

Thus, a very interesting situation is emerging. Having a sufficiently developed economy and being a rich country, the UK is not able to quickly, timely and fully implement the modernization of the armed forces.

The desire to save leads to a reduction in even the most basic programs with understandable consequences for rearmament. Moreover, such processes in the recent past have already led to a loss of competencies in a number of important areas. Nevertheless, British industry - alone or in collaboration with overseas - is still capable of delivering bold and interesting projects in all major areas.

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  1. mark2
    mark2 27 November 2019 18: 10
    [Quote] [/ quote]
  2. mark2
    mark2 27 November 2019 18: 13
    [quote]. Having a sufficiently developed economy and being a rich country, the UK is not able to quickly, timely and fully implement the modernization of the armed forces.
    / Quote]

    Similarly with other rich countries.
    They spend a lot of effort and money on multiculturalism. But it’s even good.
    The more and longer they play it, the less forces for war will remain
  3. knn54
    knn54 27 November 2019 18: 37
    It’s interesting not what they’re talking about, but what they’re silent about, for example, the development of a new nuclear warhead along with the Yankees
  4. Amateur
    Amateur 27 November 2019 18: 42
    Tempest fighter by artist from BAE Systems

    And this is what this plane would look like if the artist from BAE was a fashionable cubist
    1. Avior
      Avior 27 November 2019 20: 47
      Personally, I remembered the portrait of Checkered.

      But you're right - Picasso is better suitedsmile
  5. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 27 November 2019 20: 15
    I don’t know how it is with the sixth generation fighter (and what is its difference from the fifth), and other projects look realistic.
  6. l.jensen
    l.jensen 27 November 2019 23: 29
    In principle, we have a design idea, there are technical capabilities to build everything. But we are bored, the weather is bad, in the government there is a passion at the steam level. The army is being reduced or recruited, the military budget is constantly being cut. Now we have found out what we need 50000 nurses. It will cost a lot of money, which project will support citizens, medical staff or a fighter of the 6th generation? You won’t get the budget on military orders, you won’t get kickbacks, there isn’t much interest.
  7. Saxahorse
    Saxahorse 28 November 2019 00: 04
    The Type 31 will have a length of 120 m and a displacement of 4000 tons. It will accelerate to 24 knots and show a cruising range of up to 6 thousand miles.

    What a strange frigate they have. And the size is small, and especially struck by the speed. Who are they hoping to catch up with at 24 nodes? Strange project.
    1. 3danimal
      3danimal 9 December 2019 16: 31
      We decided to save on GEM: less fuel consumption, less size.
      Obviously they decided that no one would sail away from the missiles, and the era of artillery duels was over.
  8. NF68
    NF68 28 November 2019 17: 13
    Maximum unification with other NATO ammunition tanks is ensured. The engine has been replaced. The new MTU engine has a power of 1500 hp. against 1200 h.p. at the staff.

    It is not clear which engine is in question? 870 or a newer, 880 series?