Great Britain would not have the means of its defense ambitions

In recent months, the British authorities have shown significant defense ambitions, which some have described as exemplary. Thus, in September, before the departure of Boris Johnson from 10 Downing Street, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace proudly announced that he intended to raise Britain's defense effort to £100bn by the end of the decade, and to maintain it at 3% of GDP.

At least that was needed to finance all the programs promised by the British government, whether it was the Tempest fighter plane, the Type 31 and Type 32 frigates, the new class of Dreadnought nuclear submarines or the replacement of the Puma maneuver helicopters, not to mention the modernization of the armored corps with the highly contested Ajax program.

Since the arrival of Rishi Sunak at the head of the country, a wave of economic realism seems to have swept over British ministries, including the ministry of defence, still in the hands of Ben Wallace.

Thus, a few weeks ago, Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt announced that London would respect its commitments and maintain its defense effort above 2% of GDP. (br) Exit then the 3% announced in September, and with them, a large part of the programs announced so far, canceled, reduced or, at best, postponed to an indefinite date.

This is how the Type 32 frigate program, supposed to compensate for the loss of anti-submarine capabilities of the Royal Navy's surface fleet, will not be launched for several years, probably not before the end of this decade. Additional A400M strategic airlifters expected by the Royal Air Force, are purely and simply abandoned.

As for the Ajax program, it remains an enigma, the corrective measures taken to solve the problems of vibration and noise not being, to date, satisfactory, whereas neither Lockheed-martin, nor the British Ministry of Defense, wants to be at the origin of the cancellation of the contract.

London struggles to find funding for its defense ambitions
The order for 8 additional A400Ms for the Royal Air Force has been canceled by London, deeming the operation impossible to finance in the current context

Be that as it may, across the Channel there is an independent body intended to audit public accounts, the National Audit Office or NAO, the equivalent of the Cours de Comptes in France.

Et the conclusions of its latest report regarding the budgetary sustainability of the defense programs undertaken by the British government, are particularly severe and without appeal: it is impossible, in the current budgetary trajectory, for the British Ministry of Defense to finance all the programs in progress by the equipment plan 2022-2032, the equivalent of a Military Programming Law in France.


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