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The UK was only able to buy HALF its targets for F35B Lighting 2 fighter jets


Britain was able to buy only half of its target from F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, and spend the extra money on a futuristic aircraft that will control a swarm of drones.

Plans for 138 jets could be dropped, but the UK has agreed to buy 48 in a £ 9.1 billion deal by the end of 2025.

The short takeoff and vertical landing jets will be deployed on the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, The Times reported.

The military funding will instead be used for the UK-run Tempest jet, which is expected to go into production by 2035.

Plans for 138 jets could be dropped, but the UK has agreed to buy 48 in a £ 9.1 billion deal by the end of 2025

The short takeoff and vertical landing jets will be deployed on the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, The Times reported. Pictured is an F-35

The short takeoff and vertical landing jets will be deployed on the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, The Times reported. Pictured is an F-35

The next generation fighter jets will be "optional manned," which means they can operate without human pilots. And the jets are supposed to command a swarm of unmanned drones called "loyal wingmen".

According to a 2015 UK defense review, military leaders were hoping to purchase 138 F-35 jets over the life of the US-led programs.

But the Commons Defense Committee has since said that the decision was made "after some hesitation" and that Britain is not contractually bound to buy more than 48.

An integrated review for foreign police, defense and security will be completed in November.

A defense source told the newspaper, "The guiding principle of the review is to ask us what threat it poses and whether we are able to address it."

According to a 2015 UK defense review, military leaders were hoping to purchase 138 F-35 jets (pictured) over the life of the US-led programs

According to a 2015 UK defense review, military leaders were hoping to purchase 138 F-35 jets (pictured) over the life of the US-led programs

Military chiefs can opt for a final number of 70 F-35s which, according to one expert, would "make sense" as 60 could be used while ten were withheld to replace in the event of damage or malfunction.

Justin Bronk, a research fellow in Combat Air Force at the Royal United Services Institute, added the number was "on the low end of expectations."

He said investing in Tempest could create more jobs in the UK, but the futuristic jets are unlikely to be as successful as the F-35.

Tobias Ellwood, Conservative chairman of the Commons Defense Select Committee, urged ministers to review their options.

"We cannot constantly undermine the range of capabilities that way," he told the newspaper.

It comes two years after then Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson said, "Tempest will be a future jet fighter that will take the RAF to ever greater heights."

When asked if Britain could afford the jets, Williamson replied, “If the RAF is to be able to protect Britain and make sure we can defeat our adversaries at home and abroad, we must make this investment in a fighter jet make.

“We have been the global leader in combat aircraft for a century and have an enviable range of capabilities and technologies. This strategy makes it clear that we are determined to make sure it stays that way.

"It shows our allies that we are open to working together to protect the skies in an increasingly threatening future – and this concept model is just a look at what the future might look like."

The British Army could scrap all of its TANKS as part of a cost reduction and modernization plan that aims to focus on cyberwar and other 21st century threats

By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent for the Daily Mail and Joe Middleton for MailOnline

The British Army's entire force of hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles could be scrapped as part of extensive modernization plans.

The British Challenger II main battle tanks and Warrior infantry combat vehicles are said to be at risk due to the volatile budget cuts likely to be expected after the coronavirus crisis.

The cost of upgrading heavy armaments and a desire to shift the military focus to modern threats like cyberwar could mean that the heavyweights on the battlefield barely go out to graze more than 100 years after their invention.

The Challenger II has been Britain's main tank since the late 1990s, used by cavalry regiments in Iraq. There are around 227 in use.

The Challenger 2 main battle tank taking part in exercise Saif Sareea 3 in Oman

The Challenger 2 main battle tank taking part in exercise Saif Sareea 3 in Oman

The warrior, of which there are nearly 400, has been in service since the 1980s.

Britain has already alerted NATO partners to abandon its heavy armaments and instead focus on aviation and cyberwar, the Times reported.

A government source told the newspaper: "We know a number of bold decisions need to be made to adequately protect British security and rebalance defense interests to face the new threats we face."

It comes after senior MPs Boris Johnson's chief assistant Dominic Cummings asked questions about his involvement in a major review of the UK's defense and security capabilities.

Labor shadow defense minister John Healey said: “This administration has shown time and again that it lacks the strategy and competence to maintain our national defense. Little black hole to show from a decade in power other than a lack of troops and equipment funding.

The evolution of the British tanks in the bottom row. And in the top row are the armored vehicles still in use by the armed forces in Great Britain

& # 39; The integrated review is taking place at a time of national crisis and further cuts in the defense budget are likely. With the last two strategic defense and security reviews botched and the shipbuilding strategy seemingly in tatters, this government's track record cannot assure that the national interest in this review will be preserved.

“The Secretary of State must make a credible assessment of Britain's defense needs, based on extensive consultation with military leaders and stakeholders. Britain simply cannot afford to have ministers pursuing pet projects or repeating the mistakes of the past caused by jerky cuts in defense equipment. & # 39;

Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Defense Select Committee, said Mr. Cummings is not allowed to "drive trainers and horses through our defense architecture."

The British soldier (Sgt George Long) escapes his Warrior armored vehicle after it was bombed with gasoline in Basra

The British soldier (Sgt George Long) escapes his Warrior armored vehicle after it was bombed with gasoline in Basra

In July, it emerged that Mr Cummings, Boris Johnson's oldest advisor, had been given the green light to tour classified sites such as MI5, MI6 and SAS headquarters prior to the review.

Mr Cummings' involvement in the review has given rise to controversy in Whitehall. MPs have warned the chiefs of the armed forces that they need to improve or face the prospect of the adjutant sorting you out in his own way.

When Challenger 2s defeated Saddam's tanks 14-0

Tank-to-tank swaps are rare in modern warfare, and the only time a Challenger 2 has been defeated by another tank on the battlefield has been a friendship fire in Iraq by another Challenger 2.

In that conflict in 2003, the Challenger 2 had its proudest moment.

A squadron of 14 tanks from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards faced a similar number of aging T55 tanks from the Soviet era.

Every Iraqi tank was destroyed and every British tank untouched in what one cavalry officer described as "like a bike against a car".

Last year, Secretary of Defense Penny Mordaunt warned that the age of armored vehicles in the Army meant Britain was falling behind other nations without an expensive investment program.

In her first speech in her brief stint in the role before being replaced by Ben Wallace, Ms. Mordaunt said, “Challenger 2 has been in service since 1998 with no major upgrade. During this time the US, Germany and Denmark have made two major upgrades. Russia has introduced five new variants, a sixth is pending, ”she said.

& # 39; Warrior is even more out of date and 20 years older than those run by our key allies. Since Warrior was launched in 1988, the US and Germany have made four major upgrades, and Russia has invested in three new variants, ”said Mordaunt.

The ongoing talks on the tanks are part of the government's defense review, which is expected to be completed in November.

Steward McDonald, the SNP's defense spokesman, tweeted, "The black hole in the equipment plan is not going to close by itself – you'd have to be pretty naive to believe that this is just a skill choice, not a financial one."

A senior UK defense source said: “We simply will not be seen as a credible leading NATO nation if we cannot use hand-to-hand combat capabilities. It brings us behind countries like France, Germany, Poland and Hungary. & # 39;

Currently, the British arsenal of 227 tanks leaves us behind Argentina which has 231, Germany with 236 and Uganda with 239.

At the top of the table is Russia with 12,950, followed by the USA with 6,333, China with 5,800 and India with 4,665.

But General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander of the joint armed forces, supports the modernization of the armed forces and said the future is "about manned / unmanned autonomous things".

The graph shows the number of tanks per country according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies

The graph shows the number of tanks per country according to data from the International Institute for Strategic Studies

As part of the possible plans, the Challenger 2 tanks would be preserved in case they were needed in an emergency.

The country's main main battle tank has been in service since 1998 – the successor to the Challenger 1 used during the first Gulf War – and was used during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The tank was used in Bosnia and Kosovo during the NATO-led mission to the former Yugoslavia in the late 1990s.

The tank has a crew of four, carries a 120 mm main rifle and two 7.62 mm machine guns with a top speed of about 60 km / h.

It is currently in the service of the Queen's Royal Hussars, the King's Royal Hussars, and the Royal Armored Regiment.

A Defense Department spokesman said: "Our commitment to NATO has been unwavering and Britain recognizes that our greatest strength as a global military power remains our alliances.

"We are engaging our international allies and industry partners as we develop and shape defense's contribution to integrated review."

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