David Cameron has just announced the major headlines of the SDSR. Actually most of these have been announced in the press over the last few day's
Harrier gone immediately along with Ark Royal
Astute number 7
The Type 26 frigate
British forces Germany reduced by half to 2015 all back by 2020
Army reduced by 7,000 men
40% reduction in Challenger and AS90 numbers
Four Type 22 frigates gone immediately fleet of 19 escorts to be kept
Trident Replacement delayed until 2028
war heads cut to 120 from 160
Vanguards to carry just 40
F35 C to be acquired instead of F35B
Prince of Wales to be built for Traps and Cats while Queen Elizabeth kept in active reserve
Review of the TA possibly being given a regenerative armour capability
New flexible frigate program started C2 Medium Vessel Derivative
A400M to be kept
Gurkha's were not mentioned however the size of the Army 95,000 suggests one less brigade which may be the Gurkha brigade.
How many F35 C's to be purchased speculation is 70
Amphibious fleet or HMS Ocean
Plymouth naval base presumably to be kept
Which RAF bases are to close.
Ummmm not as bad as it might have been but allot that does not make sense. Canceling Harrier leaves us with no ability to launch aircraft at sea for a decade. However now we don't have any aircraft carriers I suppose that does not matter. No Carrier Strike Group will free up loads of escorts and save the government all those headlines about not having a Falklands Patrol ship. Not sure how we are going to have sailors for the new carriers if they don't have any ship's to sail for 10 years. However we are not to worry as David Cameron has also announced that we are unlikely to need carriers for the next 10 years.
On the plus side we are finally getting rid of the F35B in favour of the F35C so when we do have carriers in future at least they will be decent.
The Army did not get off unscathed which seems fare with 7000 to go by 2015. Ability to sustain a brigade in theatre with the ability to surge 30,000 into a theatre is to be the main capability of the Army. Not Sure if the 30,000 includes 3 Commando. The MRA4 is to go, does that mean that we will no longer have a maritime patrol capability. Can't imagine the MR2 lasting much longer and there is definitely no money for a replacement. This is a major issue for NATO as the MR2 provides ASW patrol for the entire alliance in the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap.
C1 seems to be up for the chop. Sorry Brazil you better buy FREMM. Not to mention £126 million on development gone. Some form of new lighter general purpose frigate to be designed. That will mean that the best ASW navy in the world will have no ASW capability in 10 years time.
All in all it looks like the usual salami slicing. This force structure seems to have little to do with any of the goals laid down in the NSS yesterday other than the £500 million given to cyber crime. We have been told that we are to maintain our ability to project forces but we are not to have any carriers to do that. All in all I am confused. The only strategy seems to be to maintain Afghanistan forces and pray nothing else happens in the interim. Also our new strategy is not to stop conflicts but prevent them with the international aid budget. I really can't see how that would actually work. Very confusing.