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Defence Defence

Deliver new equipment for the Army

Last updated: 11:47pm 30 December 2018

For the Army we will deliver AJAX armoured vehicles, Apache attack helicopters, new drones, new missile and bomb systems, and better equipment for the Special Forces.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.42

Our verdict

From the wording in the manifesto you’ll see this is a promise to deliver of a range of new equipment for the army: AJAX armoured vehicles; Apache attack helicopters; drones, missile and bomb systems; and better equipment for the Special Forces. Two quotes from the manifesto explain the existence of this policy:

“As a global power, we have a responsibility to sustain our fine armed forces so that they can defend the realm, our overseas territories and our interests around the globe”

“We have the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in NATO”

After pensions, benefits, health and education, defence is the largest area of government spending. Implementation of this policy is the means by which the government plans to maintain the capabilities of the Army.

So what has been done since the government came to power? Government officials announced the AJAX armoured vehicles, for which the government has set aside £4.5 billion, were in the final stage of testing in September 2017, and would come into service by 2020.

The Ministry of Defence is buying 50 Apache helicopters from the US government, 38 of which have already been ordered from Boeing.

In July 2018, the MoD announced prototypes of new drones would be constructed over the next 12 months, and in November 2018 the Autonomous Warrior experiment tested enhanced surveillance drones.

In October 2018, a £93 million project to upgrade High Velocity and Lightweight Multi-role Missile systems was awarded to Thales UK.

This policy is ‘in progress’, but the manifesto promises to “deliver” the equipment, and several of these projects are still far from ready for delivery. To move this to ‘done’ we’ll need evidence that the Army has received all the items specified in the manifesto, so watch this space. Follow this policy for updates.

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