The British Defence Secretary stated in
that the defence budget was set to rise by £3.7 billion. Indicators
around the world and the volume of business carried out at the
Farnborough Air Show, which opened on 19 July (with USA and NASA
back) –– clearly illustrate that all countries led by USA, and
including Australia, China, France, India, Israel, Malaysia and
Pakistan and now UK have increased their defence budgets.
India the UPA Government appears to have realised that defence
spending was essential for long term benefits, but already doubts
had appeared whether the money allocated for capital expenditure in
the latest budget would be fully expended. New procurement rules for
the Defence Acquisition Council were issued in June 2003 but they
are cumbersome and even today the intricacies of defence spending
that were exposed by the Tehelka episode, seem to remain. Recently
the media reported that a non defence Minister had recommended the
Russian 155mm gun in a letter to the Defence Minister!
Media had indicated that the selection for the towed and self
propelled 155mm gun was short listed to Bofors of Sweden, Denel of S
Africa with an outside chance for Soltam of Israel. Several trials
were undertaken and Bofors, which is no longer blacklisted, appears
to be the Army's choice but media indicated that the BJP Government
had reached some special agreements with
S Africa. So the
wheels within wheels continue!
In an attempt to show the clarity of the
outlook we post a synopsis of their Defence Budget below.
Already news is out that the Indian Navy was looking for 16
Seaking helicopters and possibly the Royal Navy may provide them as
they go on to acquire the Merlin EH 101?
highlights the role of coordinated and effective intelligence.
UK's Defence Budget –– A Synopsis
(With our brief
Defence budget set to rise by £3.7 billion –– “transform
Armed Forces to deal with the challenges of the 21st Century”
There is a shift away from emphasis on numbers of platforms
and of people to a new emphasis on effects and outcomes, and on
the exploitation of the opportunities presented by new
technologies and Network Enabled Capability. (Comment: the Indian
army will have to look at this option as the Home Ministry can
take over some of its functions. The Indian Armed Forces are all
looking to Special Forces and will need to reduce manpower.)
The balanced Land force of the future will consist of two
heavy armoured brigades, three medium weight brigades –– based
around FRES and a light brigade, in addition to the Air Assault
and Commando brigades
Three additional light armoured squadrons to be established,
a Challenger 2 regiment to be re-roled into an armoured
reconnaissance regiment and an AS 90 regiment re-roled into a
light gun regiment. “Later, we will equip three artillery
regiments with the new Light Mobile Artillery Weapon System”.
Improve ability to engage land targets with precision and at
range. As an important first step down this path the first Apache
attack helicopter will go operational later this year.
Improvements in missile inventory, through introduction of
Brimstone, Javelin, and precision indirect fire artillery rounds.
Collectively, these improvements will be balanced by a reduction
of seven Challenger 2 armoured squadrons and six AS 90 heavy
artillery batteries by early 2007
Invest £3 bn in helicopter platforms to replace and enhance
Ground-based air defence to be met from 24 Rapier fire units
and 84 High Velocity Missile launchers. Rapier will be deployed by
the Army with the RAF Regiment relinquishing the role. Ground
Based Air Defence will be commanded by a new Joint HQ within the
RAF Command Structure. (Comment:
India needs joint command and control too).
Procurement of additional missiles worth around £180m for the
High Velocity Missile System.
The Infantry Arms Plot to be phased out
Reduction by a further two
battalions which will take place in the autumn. This in turn will
reduce the overall requirement for Infantry battalions from 40 to
36. This reduction will comprise one battalion recruited from
and 3 recruited from England
The manpower released by the reduction of 4 battalions will
be re-distributed across the Army, to strengthen existing infantry
units, but also to be used elsewhere amongst the most heavily
committed specialists such as logisticians, engineers, signallers
and intelligence. The overall size of the Army will be around
NAVY –– Pay off our oldest Type 42 destroyers, HMS CARDIFF,
NEWCASTLE and GLASGOW by the end of 2005 and three Type 23
frigates, HMS NORFOLK, MARLBOROUGH and GRAFTON by March 2006
Maritime reconnaissance needs will be met with 16 Nimrod MR2
aircraft. The requirement could in future be met by a fleet of
around 12 more capable Nimrod MRA4 aircraft, subject to industry
demonstrating satisfactory performance at acceptable prices
Pay-off HMS INVERNESS, BRIDPORT AND SANDOWN by April 2005.
The improved security situation in
also makes it possible to pay off the
patrol vessels, HMS BRECON, DULVERTON and COTTESMORE, by April
2007. Manpower of the naval service will reduce to 36,000 over the
next four years. (Comment: Indian Navy could look at some buys
from the Royal Navy.)
Air Force –– Reduce the number of the air defence Tornado F3
squadrons by one, and bring forward the withdrawal of two Jaguar
squadrons to 2006, with the final Jaguar squadron to be disbanded
in 2007. Reduce RAF manpower to around 41,000 by 2008. Close RAF
Coltishall airfield by December 2006. Carry out extensive review
of our future requirement for airfields.
Buy the current fleet of four C-17s at the conclusion of the
current lease arrangement and purchase one additional aircraft
Maintain the effectiveness of the nuclear deterrent including
making the necessary investment at AWE Aldermaston, and keep open
the options for a successor to Trident until a decision is
Reduce around 10,000 civilian jobs