Military Review

Robert Gates: Britain is no longer a full-fledged US military partner.

Robert Gates: Britain is no longer a full-fledged US military partner.

"Reducing the military budget and the British armed forces means that the country is no longer a full military partner of the United States."

With such a strong statement last week by ex-Pentagon chief Robert Gates on the radio station BBC.

“We have always expected that there are British troops on the other side of the Atlantic that could carry out a full range of combat operations. However, a significant reduction in defense spending deprives the UK of the status of a full partner, which it was before. ”

Among the most questionable decisions British leadership Robert Gates sees a reduction of naval forces.

"For the first time since World War I, Her Majesty’s fleet does not have operational aircraft carriers"

According to Gates, this deprives the UK opportunities to conduct operations without the use of air bases on the territory of other countries.

Also made a statement on the inadmissibility of the reduction of naval strategic nuclear forces.

The loud interview of the ex-Pentagon chief was not left unanswered - the very next day was followed by denials from British officials.

“I do not agree with the views of Gates. I think he is wrong. We have the fourth largest military budget in the world, we are constantly upgrading our military capabilities. We are a first-class country in the field of defense capabilities, and as long as I am the Prime Minister, it will be so. ”

- British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Another senior official of Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom said that his country has the most trained and well-equipped armed forces outside the United States.

Let me remind you that the cause of the heated debate was the program for reforming the armed forces of Great Britain, according to which by 2020 the number of personnel in the army, aviation и fleet will be reduced by 30 thousand people (in exchange there will be a slight increase in the number of reservists). By the beginning of the new decade, 147 thousand people should remain in active military service.

How true are the concerns of Robert Gates and what does the UK expect in the near future? About this - in a short dossier, representing an independent view of the situation with the reform of the armed forces of Her Majesty.

Facts and figures

By 2020, the British army will have only five multipurpose brigades with 200 main combat tanks Challenger 2.

Even taking into account the high-class equipment and the introduction of the most modern technologies in the field of high-precision ammunition, vehicles, communication systems and command and control, such insignificant forces will be incapable of independent combat operations. The British army, as before, will play the role of the “second” of the United States in all local conflicts of the near future.

However, this situation is more than enough for the British: a compact army of the “European type” for solving auxiliary tasks in local wars ... The heirs of the once great British Empire are no longer claimed. And they cannot claim for a number of objective economic and geopolitical reasons.

No less serious criticism for the Royal Air Force. By the beginning of the XXI century British military aircraft finally degraded and turned into a small provincial structure, without any hint of the solution of global problems.

The complete absence of long-range bomber aircraft. The combat core of the Air Force is made up of one hundred lightweight Eurofighters and the same number of Tornado fighter-bombers.

The situation is more than comical. In its present form, the Royal Air Force is repeatedly inferior in combat power even to the Air Force of its former colony, India. And roughly correspond to the Singapore Air Force. Talk about any serious comparison of the British Air Force with the Israeli Air Force (Hel Avir) is not at all necessary.

The logical result - the British Air Force to match the ground forces. Small "pocket" army with disabilities.

First F-35B built for the Royal Air Force

On the positive side for the British: by the 2020, the outdated Tornado will be replaced with the new VT-series F-35 modification “B”.

There is a full range of support aircraft: AWACS, tankers, aircraft and other RTR. Specialized machines, without which the effective use of military aircraft would be impossible.

A large number of rotary-wing aircraft are in service, including Over 60 attack helicopters "Apache" (licensed assembly of the company Westland).

An increase in the number of “UAVs” is expected - by now ten reconnaissance-impact UAVs Miperderless Reaper MQ-9 have been acquired in the USA.

In general, the potential of the Royal Air Force will remain the same, and even win due to the emergence of a new generation of vehicles. Future reduction in the number of personnel (in 4000 people.) Will obviously come from the rear and staff positions. Number of aircraft will remain unchanged.

If the overt weakness of the land and air forces can be attributed to the traditional "maritime" specialization of Great Britain, how does the situation with the Royal Navy look like?

Mistress of the seas. Useless to argue

Robert Gates, with his accusations against the British Admiralty, fell, to put it mildly, "with a finger to the sky." As of 2014, Her Majesty’s fleet is in a better position than in all of the last 30-40 years. The fleet is the only type of armed forces of Great Britain that is capable of independently conducting military operations without resorting to the help of “Uncle Sam”.

If in the 1982 year, the British admirals were able to win the 12 war thousands of kilometers from their native shores, it is difficult to imagine what they are capable of today with submarines with Tomahawk SLCM, unique Daring-type air defense ships and an armada of high-class auxiliary equipment.

Mr. Gates’s concerns about the lack of aircraft carriers and the need to use air bases in their place in other countries sound at least ridiculous. Who, if not the former head of the Pentagon, knows better than others about the methods of waging a modern war? Any major military operation is carried out with the participation of ground-based aircraft. In preparing for Operation Storm in the Desert, the US Air Force and dozens of their allies flooded not only all military bases, but also most of the civilian airports in the Middle East — from the UAE to Egypt!

To declare the inability of Her Majesty’s fleet to conduct combat because of the absence of aircraft carriers is pure populism, which has no relation to reality.

Frankly speaking, the British did not have full-fledged aircraft carrier ships over the past 35 years - after writing off HMS Ark Royal in 1979 year. But there was a victory in the naval Falkland War.

By 2020, the naval force of the Navy should replenish two large aircraft-type "Queen Elizabeth." The Quinas were conceived of as good ships controlling the marine zone — with a modern layout, a gas turbine GEM and an air wing based on F-35C fighters. Due to the continuous succession of budget cuts, the project has come to a complete decline. The ships under construction turned into terribly expensive structures with useless characteristics. Suffice it to say that the Queen air group will be limited to F-35B "vertical lines". DRLO aircraft are not and are not expected.

Hopes for the entry of these ships into service under the flag of the White Ensign are melting every year. The British Admiralty is increasingly thinking, but do we need such ships? Or is it worth preserving "Quinas" and subsequently reselling them to Yu. Korea or Taiwan?

Currently, aircraft carriers as part of the Navy there is not even nominally (elderly HMS Illustrious was renamed in the amphibious assault ship, its cancellation is scheduled for the current year). But the British not too saddened by their lack of ships of this class.

After all, they are:

- six destroyers of the Daring-type air defense system, whose appearance set new standards in the development of ship-based anti-aircraft missile systems. More detailed story about these technical masterpieces can be found here -

Destroyers of this level in any country in the world. According to the capabilities of its detection and anti-aircraft missile weapons Daring is superior to any of the existing (or under construction) ships. Even the inevitable distortions and frauds in the "advertising purposes" are not capable of spoiling the overall impression of the ship: today its systems have no analogues in the world, they simply have nothing to compare;

- 13 frigates such as "Duke". Multifunctional ships with a displacement of the order of 5000 tons and with unexpectedly large autonomy for its size. To date, the frigates of this type are noticeably outdated, but they are still able to effectively solve the tasks of anti-submarine defense and perform patrol / escort functions in any region of the World Ocean.

Next - a group of "amphibious" ships:

- Two transport docks such as "Albion";

- the landing helicopter carrier (UDC) of the “Ocean” type - the typical “Mistral” with a British accent.

The submarine forces are the “black pearl” in the lists of navy ships. Total is currently in service with the Navy Her Majesty are 11 submarines. All - atomic. The British fleet traditionally adheres to the "shock" concept of development; "Dizelyuhi" ineffective when acting on distant frontiers.

All British multipurpose SSNs have the ability to carry Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The most controversial element of the British submarine fleet are four Vanguard missile carriers with the Trident-2 ballistic missiles. The liberal part of the government proposes to quickly get rid of this "relic of the cold war." Objectively, four SSBNs will not play any value in a hypothetical nuclear war against the background of the nuclear arsenals of Russia, the United States or China.

Supporters of naval strategic nuclear forces, by contrast, are confident that the presence of a SSBN gives Britain some “confidence” in the games in the international arena. It enhances international status and contributes to national security. In May 2011, the British Parliament approved the allocation of funds for the design of new-generation SSBNs.

Finally, you can not ignore the RFA - Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Auxiliary ships and vessels, in peacetime, staffed by civilian crews. They are called upon to increase the mobility of squadrons of warships and ensure the rapid transfer of army units to any continent of the Earth. The Royal Auxiliary Fleet lists 19 ships and vessels - naval tankers and integrated supply ships, helicopter carriers, transport docks, floating craftsmen and container ships.

Landing Ship RFA Largs Bay


By the beginning of the next decade, outdated frigates should be replaced with new “global warships” (Type 26, GCS). All 7 planned multi-purpose nuclear submarines of the “Estyut” type will be commissioned. Perhaps the emergence of two aircraft carriers and the start of construction of new SSBNs.

The reduction in the number of personnel of the Navy is due only to greater automation of new ships (for comparison, the regular crew of the destroyer Daring is only 190 people, 2 times less than the destroyers of other states).

In the rest of Her Majesty's fleet will remain the same, the third power of the fleet in the world.

Truth and Lies of Robert Gates

In his interview with the BBC, the former head of the Pentagon did not say anything new. He just spoke in a rude and impolite way about what is not customary to speak out loud: no member of the NATO bloc can be a full-fledged military partner of the United States. All of them somehow depend on Uncle Sam - and the United Kingdom is no exception.

Future reduction of the armed forces are unlikely to affect the combat capability of the British Army, Air Force and Navy. Royal Armed Forces, as before, ready to defend the integrity of the overseas possessions of the Crown.

The main concern of the United States is the reduction of the British military presence abroad. Pentagon strategists understand that the key to reducing defense spending will be to reduce the size of the British military contingent in Afghanistan - up to the complete withdrawal of British troops from that country’s territory. Leaving the main ally, whose units have so far performed up to 20% of the tasks set in local wars, can be an unpleasant surprise and will result in additional expenses for the Pentagon.

That is why such a reaction and tough statements in the style of “if you are not able to maintain an army performing the same tasks with the same risk as our soldiers, we will not be able to achieve a full-fledged alliance.”

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. mirag2
    mirag2 23 January 2014 08: 43
    Yes, perhaps all of this is from the series — we pay more than you, and we have the right to demand something in return, and if this does not happen, you should think about it.
    1. Vladimirets
      Vladimirets 23 January 2014 08: 54
      Quote: mirag2
      Yes, perhaps all of this is from the series — we pay more than you, and we have the right to demand something in return, and if this does not happen, you should think about it.

      The Americans solve their problems at the expense of others, including the British, why should the British always serve overseas down? States pursue their geopolitical goals, from which Britain has already moved away.
      1. sledgehammer102
        sledgehammer102 23 January 2014 09: 43
        Quote: Vladimirets
        States pursue their geopolitical goals, from which Britain has already moved away.

        The day is not far off when the United States will be alone and with a bunch of parasites on its neck ....
        1. AVV
          AVV 23 January 2014 13: 29
          Faster, then parasites, the states will surely be pulled to the bottom !!!
    2. lelikas
      lelikas 23 January 2014 11: 15
      Quote: mirag2
      Yes, perhaps all of this is from the series - we pay more than you, and we have the right to demand something in return, and if this does not happen, you should consider

      Finally, they began to call a spade a spade. We (America) dance all of NATO.
      1. Sid.74
        Sid.74 23 January 2014 12: 02
        “A reduction in the military budget and the UK armed forces means that this country is no longer a full-fledged military partner of the United States. "
        Calling Britain this country ... laughing Well done with Medvedev on one manuals work?
        Oh my God, yes Gates is something completely sold out in earnest pearl after pearl gives out! I would read the book with pleasure. Otherwise, apart from Bzhizi-shizi, the adversaries of "experts" and no!
        Here Leonitev said well.
        To which McCain, a Republican senator and fellow party member of Gates, who is not distinguished by adequacy, reacted: "I could have kept quiet at least until the next election."

        And what can it say that the ripened conflict in the elites is about to break out! And the merry fellow and shizoyd Makeyushka is just a screen! Has the country of the Yankees weakened so much that it merges all the very allies of Great Britain, CA, Israel, and will move to the Far East to China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea with which there has been a lot of talk lately about financing the US Army! But of course the Yankees are leaving beautifully sown unrest and misleading where it is possible in Syria and in Ukraine and throughout BV that the European countries and Russia have raked these agnium stables!
        The conclusion of a virtual peace with Iran is a reason to think how close the world has come to a new redistribution of influence and a new "multipolar world"!
        I watched an excerpt of a conference from Montreux, complete nonsense, Kerry, like that mouse from a joke that pricks and cries, but still continues to eat the cactus!
        Kerry seems to have been allowed to flow and only the lazy will not kick him for an unconvincing foreign policy! The screen opens the puppets into the shadows, will we have a chance to see the puppeteers! We live in an interesting time!
        1. Kibalchish
          Kibalchish 23 January 2014 14: 30
          So Medcedev is a prostitute. He learned fashionable expressions and now boasts them before cattle.
        2. sphinkss
          sphinkss 24 January 2014 15: 27
          I would have read the book with pleasure. And then, apart from Bjizi-shizi, there are no "experts" adversaries!

          Duc, who's stopping?
          1. Sid.74
            Sid.74 24 January 2014 19: 05
            Quote: sphinkss
            So, who's stopping?

            Many thanks to Jaroslav for a good link! hi It’s a pity that I haven’t got an e-book yet! And you’ll have to read from the monitor in fragments!
  2. Stiletto
    Stiletto 23 January 2014 08: 57
    Lovely ones scold - only amuse themselves. The situation is something from the series "Once upon a time there was a dog."
  3. Humpty
    Humpty 23 January 2014 09: 09
    If Scotland secedes, Baba Lisa should be sent a commemorative badge "For the Liberation of Scotland."
  4. umah
    umah 23 January 2014 09: 37
    As always. If the SGA is dissatisfied with something, then the question is about money. If the issue of money does not concern, they spat on the high bell tower.
    Britain reduces expeditionary forces? So SGA will have to spend more! This is unacceptable, it is necessary to scold!
  5. Pimply
    Pimply 23 January 2014 10: 05
    Seeing the "hit" on the aircraft carriers, I immediately realized that the author of the article is Oleg 8) Oleg, you are not giving up 8))))
    1. Santa Fe
      23 January 2014 16: 54
      Quote: Pimply
      Oleg, you do not give up 8))))

      Thank you for not forgetting
      Quote: Pimply
      Seeing "hitting" the aircraft carriers

      Where did you see him there ??
      Just a statement of fact - the Britons do not have ships of this class and they do not really need them

      Or do you agree with R. Gates that the absence of Av critically weakened Her Majesty’s fleet - and now he’s no good

      Integrated Supply Ship (refueling) RFA Wave Ruler
  6. Standard Oil
    Standard Oil 23 January 2014 10: 06
    But there is no empire, Great Britain has degraded to the level when people like Pitt Jr., Disraeli, or Lloyd George, spinning in shame in a coffin, can provide the remains of the former empire with free electricity. And their navy seems to be quite good, and the British do not need anything else When they had a large land army? That the British mainly fought with Napoleon with their hands and the coalition that supplied the British with Austrian, Prussian, Spanish and, for me the most offensive Russian cannon fodder, the British confined themselves to Trafalgar and Abukir. Then the British drove all kinds of savages through the deserts jungle, why is there a huge army? By the beginning of WWII, how many ground divisions did the British have? 3-4? There are again French and Russian cannon fodder for the Kaiser's machine guns, they don’t feel sorry for it. What if a thousand other "stupid Russian barbarians" die? Nicholas the Holy Great Martyr allows. So in vain Mr. Gates runs into the British, they have a fleet, and yet another cannon fodder from the Poles, g Ruzin, Balts or Ukrainians, they will find themselves. Yes, and Russia has not gone anywhere, did they sell Russian soldiers in the XNUMXth century, why is the current anti-popular government worse?
  7. kotvov
    kotvov 23 January 2014 11: 10
    just gates showed the place of this, "mistress of the seas," in the modern world. not a lot of rude, but essentially.
  8. mountain
    mountain 23 January 2014 13: 02
    They will always come to the aid of the elder brother, with all the strength of their Armed Forces, these are the Balts, their best friend and partner.
  9. alone
    alone 23 January 2014 20: 36
    The lack of aircraft carriers in the fleet does not mean anything. Generally speaking, it’s too early to write off the British Armed Forces. Gates is disingenuous, the purpose of his interview is to show the world that the only real force is the USA. The rest are just his puppets. was the director of the CIA.
  10. q_556
    q_556 23 January 2014 21: 07
    The correct article, everything is objective and to the point.
    Gates did not discover America: Britain has a small convenient army, which is hard to compete with such monsters as the US Armed Forces, Russia or China. The only thing I was cunning about was that he called Britain a former partner of the USA - partnership is possible between equals, but there is no partnership between the master and vassals.
  11. w2000
    w2000 23 January 2014 22: 19
    Everything is right in the UK and other European countries, reducing defense spending and the size of the armed forces. The Cold War ended long ago; Russia and China have fully integrated into the global capitalist economy, becoming part of a single market for transnational corporations. Accordingly, neither Russia nor China will attack European countries, and competition, redistribution of spheres of influence and confrontation are possible only in third world countries, and these problems are usually resolved not by direct participation of the armed forces, but by the supply of weapons and advisers. And the US military, everything is trying to impose on Europe the ideas of confrontation in the spirit of the Cold War and draw its NATO partners into various military adventures in third world countries in order to justify the financial appetites of its own general and US military-industrial corporations.
  12. The comment was deleted.
  13. Nitarius
    Nitarius 24 January 2014 09: 25
    let Gnaw like dogs! So far, we will fulfill and pursue our GOALS!