As part of a push this year to increase the military capability of the British military, The Financial Times has gotten hold of a 10-page memo to by General Sir Richard Barrons, recently retired commander of Joint Forces Command (UK).
Make no mistake; this has everything to do with Russia.
In the correspondence, a copy of which has been obtained by the Financial Times, Sir Richard states:Read it all, and remember that it is generally considered that the British are not only our most reliable ally, but our most capable.
● There is no military plan to defend the UK in a conventional conflict. “Counter-terrorism is the limit of up-to-date plans and preparations to secure our airspace, waters and territory . . . There is no top-to-bottom command and control mechanism, preparation or training in place for the UK armed forces [to defend home territory] . . . let alone to do so with Nato.”
● A Russian air campaign would quickly overwhelm Britain. “UK air defence now consists of the (working) Type 45 [destroyers], enough ground-based air defence to protect roughly Whitehall only, and RAF fast jets. Neither the UK homeland nor a deployed force — let alone both concurrently — could be protected from a concerted Russian air effort.”
● Navy ships and RAF planes are often deployed without adequate munitions or protections because they have grown used to depending on US forces to protect and support them. “Key capabilities such as radars, fire control systems and missile stocks are deficient.”
● The army is not equipped to fight a rival professional land force and is significantly outgunned by Russia. “The current army has grown used to operating from safe bases in the middle of its operating area, against opponents who do not manoeuvre at scale, have no protected mobility, no air defence, no substantial artillery, no electronic warfare capability, nor — especially — an air force or recourse to conventional ballistic or cruise missiles.”
● Small numbers of hugely expensive pieces of military equipment make the UK’s capabilities “extremely fragile”. It is unlikely the UK’s two new aircraft carriers, which cost £2bn each, will ever be sent within 300km of the Chinese coast, for example. “We operate platforms that we cannot afford to use fully, damage or lose — industry would take years to repair or produce more.”
● Manpower across all the forces is dangerously squeezed. “It is not necessary to shoot down all the UK’s Joint Strike Fighters, only to know how to murder in their beds the 40 or so people who can fly them.”
They are also in many ways the most transparent and honest - and don't completely dismiss this as a part of selling additional spending to the British public. That being said, it is all true.
I'd also recommend a viewing of the short video by British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon over at The Independent.