UK Politics

Defence review at-a-glance

Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined the details of the UK government's first strategic defence review, since 1998. Here are the key details:


The Harrier jump jet and Nimrod reconnaissance planes will be scrapped. Some squadrons of Tornado jets will be saved, but Joint Strike Fighter and a modernised Eurofighter will form the basis of the RAF fire power and there will be extra money for unmanned planes. The air transport fleet will be upgraded with A400M and A330 aircraft, replacing the Tristar and VC-10 from 2013. Some air force bases will close and 5,000 RAF personnel will lose their jobs over the next five years. Extra 12 Chinook helicopters to increase flexibility.


The Army will have to cut up to 7,000 personnel over the next five years, and lose 40% of its tanks and 35% of its heavy artillery. It will lose one deployable brigade out of six.


The Ark Royal, launched in 1985, will be decommissioned almost immediately, rather than in 2014, as previously planned.

The construction of two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will go ahead, as it would cost more to cancel the projects than proceed with them but one of them will be mothballed rather than entering service and the other will be fitted with equipment for the Joint Strike Fighter rather than the Harrier.

The navy will lose 5,000 personnel and its surface fleet will be cut from 23 to 19. It will get a new fleet of Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines.


The government says £750m ($1.2bn) will be saved over four years on the Trident nuclear deterrent missile system by cutting the number of warheads on each boat from 48 to 40 and reducing the number of missile tubes from 12 to eight. The UK's nuclear warhead stockpile will be cut from 160 to less than 120. The final "main gate" spending decision on Trident will also be delayed until 2016 - after the next general election.


The Ministry of Defence will lose 25,000 civilian staff over the next five years. It will also have to renegotiate contracts with industry and sell-off "unnecessary" buildings and assets.