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UK left ‘dangerously exposed' by military aviation cuts, parliament reports

A Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon intercepts a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 ‘Flanker' over the Baltic region. The House of Commons Defence Committee has warned that recent cuts to the UK's combat aviation capabilities have left the country ‘dangerously exposed' in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine. (Crown Copyright)

Cuts to the UK's combat air power over recent years have left the country “dangerously exposed” in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, a parliamentary report has determined.

Published on 11 August, the House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) report titled Aviation Procurement: Winging it? said that the “significant” cuts made in the 2021 Defence Command Paper (DCP) had diminished the UK's combat aviation capabilities in the face of a resurgent and intransigent Russia, presenting what the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) described as “the greatest threat to the open international order in decades”.

“There are serious questions as to whether the UK's diminished combat air fleet can successfully deter and defend against enemy aggression. Whilst made up of highly capable aircraft, it is just too small to withstand the levels of attrition that would occur in a peer-on-peer war,” the HCDC said in its report published on 11 August.

Particular elements of the DCP titled Defence in a Competitive Age

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