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IAV 2024: British Army only has confirmed funding for 18% of equipment plan

An Ajax armoured vehicle displayed at Defence iQ's IAV 2024 conference held in London from 22 to 25 January. (Janes/Nicholas Fiorenza)

The British Army only has confirmed funding for 18% of its GBP44 billion (USD55.9 billion) Equipment Plan 2023–33, British Army's Chief of the General Staff General Patrick Sanders told Defence iQ's International Armoured Vehicle (IAV) 2024 conference held in London from 22 to 25 January.

He also spoke of the need for the British Army to have a strength of 120,000 personnel, comprising regular soldiers, reservists, and strategic reserves (previously trained predominantly ex-regular service personnel held at low readiness).

A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson told Janes on 25 January that GBP9.3 billion of the British Army's GBP42.4 billion 10-year equipment plan budget is committed. She went on to state that it is common practice for the equipment plan to have both “committed” and “uncommitted” spending to ensure substantial uncommitted headroom is maintained over the period of the plan, with on average 25% currently committed.

Gen Sanders said over 1,200 vehicles are entering service with the British Army. This includes 148 Challenger 3 main battle tanks, 589 Ajax family tracked armoured vehicles, and 523 Boxer family wheeled armoured vehicles.

There is yet to be a decision on the replacement for the AS90 self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) that have been donated to Ukraine. These are to be replaced by the Mobile Fires Platform, which is due to enter service from 2029. Hanwha's K9A2 SPH is the only tracked offering, competing against Krauss-Maffei Wegmann's (KMW's) Boxer Remote Controlled Howitzer (RCH) 155, Nexter's CAESAR 8×8 SPH, BAE Systems' Archer, and Rheinmetall's HX3 10×10 truck equipped with an automatic remote-controlled artillery turret. However, as Gen Sanders also suggested, unconfirmed funding is “at risk”.

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