British Armed Forces

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British Armed Forces
The tri-service badge: Royal Navy, British Army
and Royal Air Force.
(males age 16-49)
(2005 est.)
Fit for military service
(males age 16-49)
(2005 est.)
Regular personnel strength
(July 2006)
(Ranked 28th)
Regular personnel per thousand citizens 3.14
Sterling figure
£34.5 billion
US Dollar figure
$ 64 billion (Ranked 2nd)
Percent of GDP
British Army
Main Battle Tanks 386 Challenger 2
Infantry fighting vehicles 575 Warrior
Armoured Personnel Carriers 4,000+
Artillery 400
Aircraft 290
Personnel (Regular Army) 100,010
Personnel (Territorial Army) 35,000+
Naval Service
Ballistic Missile Submarines 4
Fleet Submarines 9
Aircraft Carriers 2
Helicopter Carrier 1
Destroyers 8
Frigates 17
Patrol boats 23
Amphibious Assault ships 2
Minesweepers 16
Survey vessels 5
Aircraft 310
Personnel (Regular, including Royal Marines) 35,470
(7,200 Royal Marines)
Personnel (Royal Naval Reserve) 3,250
Personnel (Royal Marines Reserve) 600
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Tankers 9
Resupply ships 2
Tanker/Resupply ships 2
Aviation training ship 1
Repair ship 1
Amphibious Assault ships 5
Strategic lift vessels 6
Royal Air Force
Aircraft 940 (including helicopters)
Personnel 45,210

The armed forces of the United Kingdom are known as the British Armed Forces or Her Majesty's Armed Forces, sometimes legally the armed forces of the Crown[1]. Their Commander-in-Chief is the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II and they are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence.

The British Armed Forces are charged with protecting the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, promoting Britain's wider security interests, and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. They are active and regular participants in NATO and other coalition operations.


[edit] History

British military history is long, complex and greatly influential in world history, especially since the 17th Century. Important conflicts in which the British took part include the Seven Years' War and the Napoleonic Wars of the 18th Century/early 19th Century, the Crimean War of the mid 19th Century, and the First and Second World Wars of the 20th Century. The British Empire, which reached its apogee in the 1920s, was the largest empire in history; a quarter of the world's population were subjects of the British Crown and it controlled a quarter of the world's total land area. Since the end of the Second World War, British forces have continued to be very active and bases remain spread out across the globe in places such as Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Germany, Gibraltar, Brunei and the Falkland Islands.

The current structure of defence management in the United Kingdom was set in place in 1964 when the modern day Ministry of Defence (MoD) was created (an earlier form had existed since 1940). The MoD assumed the roles of the Admiralty, the War Office and the Air Ministry.

[edit] Current strength

The United Kingdom fields one of the most powerful, technologically advanced and comprehensive armed forces in the World. Its global power projection capabilities are deemed second only to those of the United States Military. The UK has the 2nd to 4th highest military expenditure in the world (depending on source), despite only having the 28th highest number of troops. It is also the second largest spender on military science, engineering and technology.[2] Despite Britain's wide ranging capabilities, recent defence policy has a stated assumption that any large operation would be undertaken as part of a coalition. Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq (Granby, Desert Fox and Telic) may all be taken as precedent - indeed the last large scale military action in which the British armed forces fought alone was the Falklands War of 1982.

The Royal Navy is the second largest navy in the world in terms of gross tonnage, with 90 commissioned ships. The Naval Service (which comprises the Royal Navy and Royal Marines) had a strength of 35,470 in July 2006 [3] and is charged with custody of the United Kingdom's independent strategic nuclear deterrent consisting of four Trident missile submarines, while the Royal Marines provide commando units for amphibious assault and for specialist reinforcement forces in and beyond the NATO area.

The British Army had a reported strength of 100,010 in July 2006 and as of 2006 9.0% of the regular Armed Forces were women. The Royal Air Force had a strength of 45,210. This puts the total number of regular Armed Forces personnel at 180,690 [4] (not including civilians). This number is supported by reserve forces, including over 35,000 from the Territorial Army. The total number of serving personnel, including reserve forces, is therefore in the region of 225,000 (taking into account Navy, Marines and Air Force reserves).

[edit] Branches

[edit] Recent Defence Reviews

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] Trivia

  • Atholl Highlanders - Europe's only legal, private military force.
    • By a quirk of history, this is a Scottish regiment, not part of the British Army, commanded by the Duke of Atholl.
    • Now primarily a ceremonial force.

[edit] External links

British Armed Forces
Image:Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy | Image:Army flag.svg British Army | Image:Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force

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