The UK Government has published the Defence Equipment Plan for 2021 to 2031, as it seeks to modernise its armed forces in order to combat future threats.
The move comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an increase in the defence budget in November 2020, by spending £16.5bn over four years. The announcement provided medium-term certainty to the defence budget, and also expedited planning and decision making.
According to the Defence Equipment Plan, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans to spend £238bn on equipment procurement and support over the next ten years, starting from 2021/2022.
The figure represents a £48bn increase from last year’s report.
The equipment plan, which includes several large programmes and forecasts, is still evolving and may incorporate further changes as delivery schedules and cost estimates develop.
There are six top-level budget (TLB) holders, which include the Army, Navy, Air, UK Strategic Command, the Defence Nuclear Organisation, and Strategic Programmes.
Using the delegated budgets, the TLBs will work with the head office to deliver the outcomes.
The Navy Command is expected to use £38.1bn in the equipment plan over the next ten years. The figure was £30.6bn at the end of the previous planning period.
The investment will be used to improve the sustainability, lethality, and availability of the naval fleet.
The Army Command is allocated £41.3bn in the equipment plan to 2031, up from £32.6bn at the end of the previous planning period.
The investment will be used to make the British Army more lethal. This includes the expansion of the Boxer programme, Challenger II tank upgrades, and strengthening ground-based air defences, among others.
The allocation will also be used for AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and to strengthen intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
The Air Command plan to spend £36.2bn, in the same period, to make the Royal Air Force one of the most advanced in the world.
The UK Strategic Command, the Defence Nuclear Organisation (DNO), and the combined Strategic and Combat Air Programmes plan to invest approximately £35bn, £58.1bn, and £21.5bn, respectively, over the next ten years.
Earlier this month, the UK announced that it was sending additional troops to Estonia, amid fears that the Russian military build-up near Ukraine’s border may trigger a wider conflict in Europe.