The ongoing war in Ukraine is making the British Army feel “very uncomfortable” with some aspects of its modernization drive, a top UK military official has revealed.
The comments surfaced after a three-hour UK defense committee hearing earlier this week to analyze the armed conflict’s impact on UK land strategy.
Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Sharon Nesmith, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused the British Army to reconsider its “Future Soldier” modernization program.
She cited air defense, unmanned systems, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance as areas that need recalibrating.
Nesmith suggested that the service continue to look for opportunities to accelerate defense procurement.
She also said that the country must brace for realistic constraints, such as supply chain difficulties and industrial capacity, if tweaks are to be made in its modernization drive.
‘Future Soldier’ Program
“Future Soldier” is a modernization effort launched in 2020 to achieve the “most radical transformation” of the British Army within 20 years.
It involves the creation of a fully-modernized warfighting division by 2030 to address future threats.
Part of the modernization drive is the deployment of Challenger 3 main battle tanks, Ajax armored fighting vehicles, and Boxer armored personnel carriers.
A total of 41.3 billion pounds ($50.4 billion) has been earmarked to support the initiative.
Show of Force
Russia’s ongoing show of force in Ukraine has prompted many countries to invest more in sophisticated weapon systems to defend themselves in case of an escalation of conflict.
Earlier this year, Poland signed a deal to procure 116 Abrams tanks from the US as it builds up its army amid the war in neighboring Ukraine.
Finland also received the US Department of Defense’s approval to purchase AIM 9X Block II tactical missiles and AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapons for $323 million.