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Rangers in focus as British Army transformation plans unveiled

25th November 2021 - 16:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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An X2 UGV on display at a capabilities demonstration at AWE20, seen with a Challenger 2 MBT in the background. (Photo: MoD/ Crown Copyright)

The British Army’s new Ranger Regiment was in the spotlight on 25 November as UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace detailed to Parliament plans to transform the structure of the service.

Speaking to MPs on 25 November, UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace detailed how Future Soldier plans would transform the British Army into a 'more agile, integrated, lethal, expeditionary force'.

A new Ranger Regiment will stand up on 1 December and form part of the Army’s new Special Operations Brigade.

Rangers will routinely deploy with partner forces to counter extremism and state threats.

Other plans will see British Army tanks and armoured vehicles return to Germany as one of three regional hubs used to project force.

Oman and Kenya will also be key locations for this strategy.

Wallace said he was determined to accelerate the introduction into service of the Challenger 3 MBT, with an ambition for delivery to units to start in 2025.

As the army transitions away from Warrior IFVs to the Boxer MIV, units should receive the first vehicles in 2023.

'The announcement failed to shed much light on the Ajax-sized elephant in the room'Sonny Butterworth, Shephard Defence Insight

Shephard Senior Land Analyst Sonny Butterworth said: ‘Plans to catalyse the delivery of Challenger 3 will no doubt be welcome news for a British Army eager to rid itself of legacy platforms, but the announcement failed to shed much light on the Ajax-sized elephant in the room. 

'With a big question mark still hanging over the future of this precarious programme, it remains to be seen whether the British Army can fully realise its ambition to equip its BCTs [Brigade Combat Teams] with cutting edge capabilities.

‘Given the fundamental role networked sensors are expected to play in any future engagements with a peer-level opponent, the failure of the Ajax programme could severely hobble the BCTs unless the British Army is able to find a new way to conduct its reconnaissance.’

Future Soldier describes a force of over 100,000 personnel split between 30,000 reserves and a 73,000 strong Regular Army – 500 more than cuts announced in March 2021 in the Defence Command Paper.

A new Experimentation and Trials Group to lead the trialling and integration of new technologies will form in 2022, built on the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and Army’s existing trials and development units.

The UK aims to be able to deliver a fully modernised warfighting division to NATO by 2030.

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