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The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 was published by the British government on 23 November 2015 to outline the United Kingdom's defence strategy up to 2025. It identifies key threats to the UK and the capabilities required to address them.[1]


The government plans to spend £178 billion on equipment and equipment support across all three services until 2025. This is roughly 20% of the 10 year budget period.[2]

The government reaffirmed its commitment to spending 2% of national GDP on defence.[3]:27

Joint ForcesEdit

  • The largest deployable expeditionary force will be increased from 30,000 to 50,000 by 2025.[3] It will include a maritime task group, a land division consisting of three brigades, an air group of combat, surveillance and transport aircraft, as well as a Special Forces task group.[3]
  • Planned investment in Special Forces equipment will double and advanced communications equipment and weapons will be bought.
  • There will be a £1.9 billion investment in cyber capabilities and development of satellite communications and space-based surveillance capabilities.[3]:40[3]:46

Royal NavyEdit

HMS Queen Elizabeth

Both Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will now enter service.

  • Personnel will be increased by 400.
  • Both Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will be brought into service and fully crewed, one of which will be modified to better support amphibious operations.
  • The Royal Navy will continue to maintain 19 frigates and destroyers.[3]
  • Procurement of the Type 26 frigate will be reduced from 13 to 8.[4] A new class of "at least five" lighter, flexible, general purpose frigates will be designed and built to ensure the Royal Navy has "at least" 13 frigates in service.[3] The Prime Minister stated in the House of Commons that "These will be more affordable than the Type 26s, which will allow us to buy more of them for the Royal Navy so that by the 2030s we can further increase the total number of Royal Navy frigates and destroyers".[3]
  • A further two offshore patrol vessels will be ordered for a fleet of "up to 6" by 2025.[5]
  • Four Tide-class tankers will continue to be built as originally planned, along with three Solid Support Ships.
  • Both Albion-class landing platform docks and all three Bay-class landing ship docks will remain in service. The decommissioning of HMS Ocean will proceed in 2018 as long planned.[6]
  • 12 mine countermeasures vessels will exist in Future Force 2025.
  • The manning levels for the Gibraltar Squadron will increase.
  • The role of Type 45 destroyers in ballistic missile defence will be further investigated.

Royal Air ForceEdit

FIA2014 (15221322236)

Nine P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will be ordered.

  • Personnel will be increased by 300.
  • Typhoon will be retained for an additional ten years (until 2040) and will receive upgrades. Two additional squadrons will be stood up, bringing the total number of frontline Typhoon squadrons to seven by 2025. Tranche 1 Typhoons will form these additional squadrons with around 12 planes per aircraft.[2][7]
  • There was a reaffirmed commitment to 138 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs (with a total of 24 available to be deployed on board the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers by 2023).[8][9]
  • Nine Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will be ordered to plug the gap left by the retirement of the Nimrod in 2011 and the scrapping of its successor, the Nimrod MRA4.[2] The aircraft will be based at RAF Lossiemouth.[10]
  • The RPAS fleet will be doubled with the current 10 General Atomics MQ-9 Reapers to be replaced by more than 20 new armed "Protector" RPAS.[11]
  • Fourteen C-130J Hercules aircraft will remain in service alongside 22 Airbus A400M Atlas and 8 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.
  • Fourteen Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft will be in service by 2025, with one fitted for transport of the Prime Minister, senior cabinet officials and the Royal Family.[12]
  • Around four Sentinel R1 will be extended in service "into the next decade", but will leave service by 2025.[13]
  • Shadow R1 will remain in service until "at least" 2030 and two more aircraft will be procured.
  • Sentry AEW1 and Rivet Joint R1 will remain in service until 2035.

British ArmyEdit

Scout SV Specialist Vehicle MOD 45157765

The Ajax armoured vehicle, of which 589 are to be ordered.

  • The size of the Army will not fall below 82,000 regulars and 35,000 reserves.
  • 589 Ajax armoured vehicles will be ordered.[2]
  • Two rapid reaction "Strike Brigades" will be formed by 2025, comprising 5,000 personnel each, equipped with Ajax. The Armoured Infantry Brigades will be reduced from three to two.[2]
  • Two innovative brigades will be established, comprising a mix of Regulars and specialist capabilities from the Reserves, that are able to contribute to strategic communications, tackle hybrid warfare and deliver better battlefield intelligence.
  • Apache attack helicopters will be "upgraded". Four squadrons will exist in 2025.
  • The Challenger 2's Life Extension Project (LEP) will proceed to extend its out of service date.
  • The 77th Brigade will be the core unit for counter-hybrid warfare.
  • "Commander Land Forces" will become "Commander Field Army".[14]

Intelligence agenciesEdit

  • There will be an increase of 1,900 security and intelligence staff across all intelligence agencies to respond to terrorism, cyber and other threats.[3]:24

Foreign policyEdit

The government outlined a range of foreign policy initiatives. These included:

  • The replacement of all four Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines with a new class, currently known as Successor, including ongoing cooperation with the United States and France.[3]:35
  • A permanent UK military presence would be maintained in the Persian Gulf, including a new naval base in Bahrain, named HMS Juffair, and the establishment of a new British Defence Staff in the Middle East, as well as in the Asia Pacific and Africa.[3]:55
  • There will be a doubling of the number of military personnel contributed to United Nations peacekeeping operations.[3]:60
  • The UK will work with the rule-based international order and help strengthen multilateral institutions.[3]:60
  • UK Official Development Assistance expenditure will be maintained at 0.7% of national GDP, with 50% of the DFID's spending going towards fragile states.[15]


  • Malcolm Chambers of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) welcomed the 2015 NSS and SDSR, stating that "The outcome of this SDSR is much better than the armed forces had been expecting only six months ago, when further steep capability cuts – comparable to those suffered over the last five years - were widely anticipated."[16]
  • Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed that U.S. President Barack Obama was "clearly delighted" with the results of the UK's defence review.[17]
  • Former Chief of the General Staff Lord Dannatt welcomed the SDSR, stating that it was an attempt to rectify past errors made in the 2010 SDSR.[18]
  • The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) responded to the SDSR by saying it "offers a credible plan to improve, modernise and increase UK security and hard power. It maintains the UK as a significant defence power, and adds and protects future capabilities, including in areas that are needed to deal with modern threats such as terrorism and cyber attack."[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. "The 2015 SDSR: a primer". 19 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "PM pledges £178 billion investment in defence kit". 23 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 "National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015". HM Government. November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  4. David Cameron in the House of Commons,, November 2015
  5. "SDSR gives Royal Navy OPV boost". 23 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  6. "Lords Hansard text for 23 November 2015". 23 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  7. "SDSR 2015: Typhoon service life extended and numbers increased". 23 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  8. "UK to buy more F-35 jets, boost anti-terror budget - Osborne". Reuters. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  9. "Osborne: UK to speed up aircraft carrier jet purchase". BBC News. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  10. "New P8 maritime patrol aircraft to be based at RAF Lossiemouth". 23 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  11. "UK to double top-end UAV fleet with new 'Protector' platform". IHS Jane's. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  12. "David Cameron to get own plane for official trips". 25 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  13. "HomeNewsCentury Of Sorties For Raf Airseeker And Sentinel". 25 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  14. "Flag raised to signal new HQ Field Army". 23 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  15. "UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest". HM Government. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 
  16. "2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review". RUSI. Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  17. "Exclusive: Cameron Says Obama 'Clearly Delighted' by UK's New Defense Plans". Defense News. 23 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  18. "SDSR: Lord Dannatt's reaction". 23 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  19. "UK augments military and counter-terrorism capacities". 25 November 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015. 

External linksEdit

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