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The UK is planning a £178 billion investment in defence equipment and support over the next decade, as part of the Government’s five year National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). Among the main items - the establishment of two rapid deployment 'Strike Brigades', procurement of eight P-8A maritime patrol aircarft and life extension for the Typhoon fleet of fighter aircraft.
The classified MOD report leaked by the Daily Telegraph casts shadows on the capability of the F-35B to meet the requirements set by the military. The documents stated that in order to fulfill the entire mission requirements met by 97 F-35C, MOD will have to buy 136 F-35B STOVL ‘jump jets’, at an extra cost of £2.4 billion. Nevertheless, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to support shifting back to the STOVL variant.
The U.K. decision to select the carrier based F-35C instead of the Short Take Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B variant would require major redesign of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier currently under construction. Even the increasing cost of the F-35B dwarfs, compared to the $1.9 billion cost increase required for the new carrier modification.
The decision to scrap the Sentinel spy plane under defense cuts is to be reviewed. According RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, during the six month Libyan campaign the aircraft has played a ‘pivotal’ role in spotting and identifying Colonel Gaddafi's forces. Dalton insists the Sentinel R1 should be retained within his air forces’ force structure.
The U.K. defence industry could be expecting further job losses following the government's historic and recent cutbacks in defense spending. Further layoffs of 20,000 - 30,000 skilled employees are at risk across the defense industry, jeopardizing the ability of the British industry to recoup and sustain its market leading position, according to Ian Godden, Chairman A|D|S