UK Defence Secretary dismisses reports of axing battle tanks

14 September 2020 (Last Updated September 14th, 2020 16:46)

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has dismissed earlier reports that the British Army is planning to mothball its tanks.

UK Defence Secretary dismisses reports of axing battle tanks
A Challenger 2 tank on Castlemartin Ranges in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Credit: Cpl Si Longworth RLC (Phot).

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has dismissed earlier reports that the British Army is planning to mothball its tanks.

Last month, it was reported that the British Army is planning to axe Challenger 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) and Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) as part of its efforts to focus on evolving technologies such as cyber and space warfare.

Denying the speculation, Wallace told BBC: “The idea that tanks won’t be there for the army, upgraded and modernised, is wrong.”

However, he added that investing in new technologies will also involve scrapping antiquated equipment.

The Times’ report, published last month, said that the government is considering axing ageing 227 Challenger tanks as part of its integrated defence and security review.

Secretary Wallace confirmed the review and said that it will involve equipping the three branches of the military with new armaments.

This may lead to a reduction in the number of tanks but axing the whole fleet is not part of the intention.

Wallace further told BBC: “We’re going to make sure we have an armed forces fit for the 21st century and meets our obligations to Nato and elsewhere.

“We are not scrapping all the British army’s tanks and we will make sure the ones we maintain are up to date, lethal and defendable.”

He further said that the government is also planning to acquire long-range artillery and drones.

Last month, AmeyBriggs secured a £240m contract to overhaul the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) construction and materials handling equipment.

AmeyBriggs is a joint venture of Amey and Briggs Defence.