BRITAIN must invest in its fleet of main battle tanks to meet an increasing threat of ground war with Russia, senior Army officers have warned. It comes as tensions between Nato countries and Moscow continued to mount, with Russia threatening “nuclear counter measures” over a plan to bolster nuclear facilities in Germany. David Cameron is currently trying to find a “compromise deal” with Russian president Vladimir Putin over tackling the IS terror group in Syria.
But Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, an increase in Nato air-space incursions by Russian bombers, and the development of a new Russian “super tank” has led senior commanders to admit that the prospects of a conventional ground war In Eastern Europe can no longer be ignored. The British Army has 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks but, while they are still respected, they are in urgent need of upgrade. Last year the British Army took part in live-fire Nato exercise in Poland with more than 100 armoured vehicles. Operation Black Eagle “highlighted the British Army’s ability to deploy an armoured battlegroup at short notice anywhere in the world in support of the nation’s allies.”
However the Sunday Express has learned that, unlike its Nato allies, Britain not able to deploy a full squadron of 14 tanks plus two in reserve within the regulation 30 -days time limit. Some, according to serving members of the Kings Royal Hussars armoured regiment, took more than three months to make ready because they had been mothballed, or cannibalised for parts. Speaking recently General Sir Nick Carter, head of the British Army, confirmed that the future of the Challenger 2 was being considered at the highest levels. “We have got issues with the tanks we’ve got and if we don’t do something about it we will have issues – what we will do is in discussion, “ he said.
Senior Army sources confirmed last night that the development of the new Russian T-14 main battle tank, unveiled at the Moscow Victory Day Parade in Moscow in May, had “focused minds” on the issue.
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