MPs warn Britain lacks ‘battle-winning capabilities’
Britain’s armed forces may lack the “modern battle-winning capabilities” they need to meet the demands of future warfare, MPs have warned.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a reminder of the “risks and responsibilities” which come with the UK’s membership of Nato.
But while other countries were developing new capabilities such as hypersonic weapons, the committee said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was forced to address “capability gaps” in the existing forces.
Despite a £16.5 billion budget increase in the four years to 2024-25, it expressed frustration at the “complacency” within the MoD over the affordability of its equipment plan.
The Government Integrated Review of foreign policy and defence last year identified Russia as “the most acute threat” to national security.
However the committee said it was concerned that recent events meant it still “downplays” the scale of the threat Moscow poses to the UK’s interests.
“We are concerned that the department may not have identified all the modern battle-winning capabilities our armed forces need, and also that it is not developing its existing large programmes with sufficient urgency,” it said.
“The invasion of Ukraine highlights rapid technological advances by other potential adversaries beg serious questions about the pace, scope and ambition of the department’s equipment plan.”
The committee said that while the MoD was beginning to develop next-generation systems, there was “relatively little money” to exploit promising research during the coming decade and a lack of clarity as to whether they would be truly “battle-winning”.
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