Category Archive 'British Military'

16 Oct 2010

Proposed British Defense Cuts Are Drastic

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Unnamed sources indicate that reductions in defense spending being contemplated by Britain’s coalition government would be so drastic as to threaten the very existence of the United Kingdom as a strategic partner and fundamentally undermine the NATO alliance.

defpro news:

All leaks emerging out of the new British government’s defense review indicate a budgetary bloodbath is in the offing. Later reports indicate that the review was seeking cuts as deep as 15 percent in the UK’s defense budget. Later reports suggested reductions in the range of 10 percent. In addition, it is reported that the review will conclude that the Ministry of Defense must pay the entire cost for modernizing the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent from its own funds. British defense spending is likely to fall below two percent of GDP, which is a threshold for strategic irrelevance.

Even at the smaller figure, such cuts would have a dramatic, even catastrophic, impact on the British military. Entire Army brigades would have to be disbanded, fighter squadrons eliminated and naval vessels scrapped. One or both of the UK’s planned new aircraft carriers could be cancelled, new intelligence programs terminated and the number of Joint Strike Fighters to be bought reduced.

Increasingly rare among U.S. allies, Britain retains the will and so far the means to oppose hegemony and aggression in critical parts of the world. This is the basis of the so-called special relationship. Without the means to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S., of what good is British will alone? Without both will and wallet, how long can the special relationship continue?

The UK’s review may prove the final straw breaking the back of the U.S. willingness to underwrite the defense of Europe. Other NATO countries are conducting their own reviews looking to reduce government expenditures in the wake of the recent global financial crisis. Further defense cuts by major NATO nations will render moot the Alliance’s new strategic concept.

So alarming is the current trend that both Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates made mention of it at a recent NATO summit. Gates warned against the expectation that the U.S. would pick up the check if Europe reduced its defense spending. Clinton noted that NATO is premised on the idea of the common defense to which every member must contribute.

NATO could be sustained so long as a core group of countries were willing to invest sufficiently in their military capabilities. Britain was the symbol of Europe’ willingness to remain a relevant force in regional and global security. The review is likely to mean the end of the United Kingdom as a nation of military note. As goes Britain, so will go NATO.

16 Feb 2009

New British Sniper Rifle Deployed

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L115A3 Long Range Rifle, chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum (8.59x70mm)

The Daily Mail announces the deployment of Accuracy International‘s Arctic Warfare Magnum (AWM), aka the Arctic Warfare Super Magnum (AWSM), to use in Afghanistan in the hands of British army snipers, which actually occurred last May.

British Army snipers call it ‘the Silent Assassin’ and it is the weapon the Taliban fear the most.

It is the British-made L115A3 Long Range Rifle which, in recent weeks, has killed scores of enemy fighters in Afghanistan.

In a new initiative on the front line, the Army is using sniper platoons to target the Taliban and ‘The Long’, as the snipers call it, can take out insurgents from a mile away. …

The L115A3 Long Range Sniper Rifle – based on a weapon used by the British Olympic shooting team – weighs 15lbs, fires 8.59mm rounds and has a range of 1,100-1,500 yards.

The .338 Lapua, interestingly, was developed by the American ammunition company Lapua as a joint venture with Accuracy International with the goal of producing a long-range cartridge firing a 16.2 gram (250 gr), .338-inch diameter bullet at 914 m/s (3000 ft/s) that would penetrate 5 layers of military body armor at 1000 m (1094 yd). The new cartridge was created simply by necking the illustrious .416 Rigby (introduced in 1911) down to .338 diameter and stiffening up the case to withstand higher pressure.

It’s an excellent cartridge, and the AWM sounds like a nice rifle, but the Taliban have a lot more cause to be afraid of the American Barrett M82, chambered in .50 Browning Machine Gun (12.7x99mm), which will reach out and touch someone even further and make a bigger hole.

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