Defence chiefs turn to British firms for war machines

Defence chiefs are guaranteeing orders to ensure British companies can continually build state-of-the-art war machines.

This, experts say, is because the West will need systems that can counter China’s advancing military technology.

And by developing more “sovereign capabilities”, British military commanders will have more control over their arsenal of weapons, munitions and equipment.

The “golden age” of military spending will be a boon to major UK defence contractors such as BAE Systems, and provide a significant boost to employment.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The UK’s sovereign defence industry plays a crucial role in keeping our nation safe, while supporting allies around the world.Whether that’s building the future class of nuclear deterrent submarines or developing nextgeneration drone technology, we should be proud of the British defence industry.”

“The world continues to become a more contested and volatile space, but we are ensuring our forces are ready to fight the battles of the future.”

“That means doubling down on our own defence production, championing innovation and driving integration with our allies and partners.”

Experts told the Daily Express that Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs will have greater flexibility to modify equipment for specific operations and can use them “how and when” they want. It comes amid concerns that currently the UK could struggle to meet its Nato obligations.

Equipment ordered entirely from abroad can also carry more restrictions, including export licences.

Defence analyst Nicholas Drummond told the Daily Express: “Maintaining a sovereign capability to produce military equipment and munitions is essential to ensure continuity of supply in a time of war.”

“When you manufacture your own ships, tanks, combat aircraft and missiles, you are always first in the queue to replace them when needed. Ultimately, supporting your own domestic defence industry is a win-win strategy.”

“Behind any strategy that recognises the need for a sovereign capability to support a war effort is the fact that any conflict can become attritional.”

“Maintaining the supply of weapons and ammunition – logistics – is more important than the weapons themselves.”

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Professor Trevor Taylor, a senior researcher at the Royal United Services Institute, said of the new approach: “Most significantly we will have the freedom to modify weapons for a specific operation because we control it and know how it works.”

“I don’t believe we have the control over our F-35s that we thought we would have had when we joined the programme.”

But a vital aspect of developing sovereign capabilities is ensuring that defence companies can produce weapons and munitions during a war. Mr Taylor said the upgrades to the Royal Air Force are the “best example” of Britain wanting to keep the ability to develop state-of-the-art fighter jets.

He said: “If you don’t promote projects to advance industrial capabilities, they will disappear and be extremely difficult if not impossible to reconstitute.”

“It is easier to build an airforce than it is to build an advanced combat aircraft.”

“The Government knows it needs to guarantee a drumbeat of orders for key systems and the industry underpinning them.” The issue of “sovereign capabilities” has been thrown into sharp focus by the war in Ukraine.

Key pieces of military equipment – such as the hand-held Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon which played such a crucial role in preventing Russia’s armoured advance on Kyiv – were no longer being produced.

But the Ministry of Defence agreed a £229million deal with Swedish manufacturer Saab for NLAW systems, which will be assembled at Thales’ facility in Belfast. The stockpiles of munitions were allowed to dwindle after the Cold War as governments shifted focus from defence.

The West is effectively locked in a technological race with countries such as China, Russia and Iran.

This will see allies increasingly share critical parts of their technology to work together to build next-generation fighter jets, warships and submarines.

The Global Air Combat Programme will see Britain, Italy and Japan work together on a supersonic, stealth fighter jet.

But British scientists will know every crucial detail of the warplane’s development, meaning that in the future, they will be able to adapt it again.

And they will retain the “intellectual property” of the jets.

The fighters will be armed with hypersonic weapons, radar-defying technology and even be able to fly unmanned. The UK wants the first of these warplanes to be in the sky by 2035. And the UK, US and Australia have agreed to develop a generation of nuclearpowered submarines.

Mr Taylor added: “It seems extremely likely that Chinese technology will advance faster than Russia’s.

“It is also likely they will sell their technology to those hostile to the West because the Chinese are hostile to the West.”

“They are going to sell it to Russia, basically. We need systems which can counter that technology.”

The Dreadnought-class submarines will replace the Vanguard-class vessels that carry out the Royal Navy’s continuous at-sea deterrent operations. This is Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

The submarines’ construction is the biggest defence project underway in the UK today, BAE Systems says, and they will be the most powerful and technically advanced submarines in the Royal Navy’s fleet.

British defence company BAE Systems is building the £31billion fleet of four submarines – expected to take to the sea in the early 2030s.

2 TYPE 26 FRIGATE All of the Royal Navy vessels will be built by BAE Systems on the Clyde in Scotland, giving a boost of 4,000 jobs in the UK.

The Type 26 is one of the world’s most advanced warships, according to its manufacturer. It is designed for anti-submarine warfare and high-intensity air defence.

BAE Systems says “the programme is a UK-wide endeavour, with more than 120 British suppliers securing contracts supporting the frigates”.

Eight frigates have been ordered at the cost of £5.5billion and will be launched in 2035.

Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls- Royce, BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence are working with Japanese and Italian defence experts to build the nextgeneration of fighter jets. They will replace British Typhoons.

The first UK submarines will be delivered in the late 2030s to replace the current Astute-Class vessels. The SSN-AUKUS submarines will be the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack subs ever operated by the Royal Navy.

A source compared these submarines to fighter jets, while the Dreadnought submarines would be similar to bombers.

The UK’s SSN-AUKUS submarines will be built by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness and the nuclear propulsion units at Rolls-Royce in Derby.

Rolls-Royce will also build the nuclear reactors for Australia’s subs.

The Ministry of Defence has ordered thousands of new Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAW) after donating the British Army’s stock to Ukrainian troops repelling Russian forces.

Defence chiefs agreed a £229million deal with Swedish manufacturer Saab for Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon systems, which are assembled at Thales’ facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

A number of British defence companies are developing a laser weapon for Royal Navy warships.

The defence company behind the programme – Leonardo – said the technology “could revolutionise the future battlefield by allowing armed forces to operate without ammunition”.

The firm added: “This new UK sovereign capability is designed to provide short-range air defence and close-in protection for naval vessels using a range of different effects depending on the tactical scenario.”

“These include identifying, tracking and deterring a potential threat by dazzling its targeting sensors, as well as damaging or even destroying the incoming threat.”

Source: Read Full Article