‘We’re not scrapping all tanks’: Defence secretary responds to mothball rumours
Written by on 12 September 2020
The defence secretary has pushed back on rumours that Britain’s tanks could be dropped as part of the upcoming Integrated Defence and Security Review.
Last month, The Times suggested that they could be sold off, or mothballed, to make savings and free up money for investment in cyber and space capabilities.
The newspaper said the proposals were being examined by the government due to the soaring costs of upgrading the UK’s Challenger 2 tanks, and Warrior armoured vehicles.
“We’re not scrapping all tanks,” Ben Wallace told the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, but the newspaper says he did not confirm if all 227 will be upgraded.
“We still have a requirement – until technology changes – for armour, both heavy and light,” he added.
“The armoured division of today is different to that of 1991. We are talking, ultimately about lethality and mobility.
“Will we produce very lethal forces? Yes. Will we be able to produce mobile forces? Yes.”
Mr Wallace has also announced that GBP23.8m will be spent tripling the size of the Royal Navy’s facility in Duqm, Oman.
The base will be used by the Royal Navy to help deployments into the Indian Ocean.
It has a dry dock facility which could support the UK’s two aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The expansion will also support British Army training in Oman.
The move is being seen as part of a new strategy, forward-deploying British military personnel and equipment around the world.
The Royal Navy already has a warship permanently based in the Gulf, with a rotating crew.
That ship, HMS Montrose, is stationed at a Royal Naval facility in Bahrain.
Speaking in Oman, Mr Wallace said: “The long-standing friendships between the UK and the Gulf states are more important than ever.
“With shared defence and security interests, it is vital we work together for both regional and global stability.
“Our trade links are just as strong, too – from cotton to aerospace.
“Whether tackling Daesh, or making our streets in the UK safer thanks to our intelligence networks, these are hugely valuable relationships that I am pleased to be able to renew this week.”