UK government to invest £178 billion in defence procurement

23 November 2015

The government will spend an extra £12 billion on defence equipment and support over the next ten years, the prime minister has announced.

A total investment of £178 billion will be made to “ensure the UK can respond to diverse threats”, David Cameron will outline in the five-yearly National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review later today.

Boeing will supply nine new P8 maritime patrol aircraft to provide maritime surveillance, anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare, as well as search and rescue and surveillance capabilities over land.

Two additional squadrons of Typhoon aircraft will be created and fitted with new active electronically scanned array radar, providing a total of seven frontline squadrons each with 12 aircraft.

And two new “strike brigades” which can be rapidly deployed with a lower level of logistics will be created by 2025. They will use the Ajax range of armoured vehicles.

In the foreword to the review, Cameron wrote that the defence budget is now back in balance, meaning the government can invest more in national security.

“This is vital at a time when the threats to our country are growing,” he added. "From the rise of ISIL and greater instability in the Middle East, to the crisis in Ukraine, the threat of cyber attacks and the risk of pandemics, the world is more dangerous and uncertain today than five years ago.

“We cannot choose between conventional defences against state-based threats and the need to counter threats that do not recognise national borders.”

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, UKIP MP Douglas Carswell described the UK’s defence procurement system “absurdly complex”, with major products “routinely coming in late and over budget”. He called on the government to move towards “off the shelf” procurement, by which some items are bought from allied countries rather than defence contractors.

“We ought to do more to try joint purchasing to shift the terms of trade away from contractors and drive down costs,” he added.

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