David Cameron will today announce another £1.1bn in defence spending, just ten days after the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier was launched at a cost of £6.2bn. The announcement will come at the Farnborough Air Show and includes “everything from extending hi-tech surveillance aircraft to next-generation radars for our Typhoon fighter jets”.
Writing in the Telegraph, the Prime Minister claimed the spending was needed to clean up the “mess” created by the last Labour government. He claims they neglected the challenges of the modern age, specifically the threat from global Islamic terrorism.
Cameron said: “this announcement shows we are equipping our armed forces for the conflicts of this century, not the last.
“The threats we face have changed utterly in 30 years – from the clarity of the Cold War to the complex and shifting challenges of today: global terrorism, organised crime, hostage taking, the risk of nuclear proliferation, cyber attack, energy security.”
The comments included a few words of praise for the new HMS Queen Elizabeth but the tone of the article overall clearly put some distance between the coalition and the overall strategy that led to the ordering of the carrier. As reported yesterday on Breitbart London, the ship was ordered by the last Labour government as part of a deal to share military hardware with France.
It was intended to form part of a single European military, which was to be started with the EU Rapid Reaction Force. In more recent years the plans have been largely dropped, as they were expensive, unpopular and impractical.
But the big piece of infrastructure promised by the UK, namely HMS Queen Elizabeth was built anyway. It has now been launched without any planes, aside from a fake fibre glass model loaned by the manufacturer during the naming ceremony by the Queen.
It will not have any American F35s jets until around 2018, although it was never due to go into full service until 2016.
Cameron said the majority of the extra budget, some £800m will be spent on intelligence and surveillance. This will include drones, cyber defence technology and surveillance aircraft that will be used to fly over terror hotspots like the Horn of Africa.
The Prime Minister said the intelligence systems are needed because “the plain fact is that in the 21st century, you cannot defend the realm from the white cliffs of Dover” – a clear reference to the global terror risk posed by groups that do not intend to ever deploy large numbers to the UK.
The new spending will also boost morale at a time when the military is feeling the pinch from the Strategic Defence Review. Large numbers of soldiers have been made redundant as a result of the review and the government had hoped to replace them with reservists.
However, as reported on Breitbart London, more British people volunteered for Jihad than for the reservists this year. In his article, the Prime Minister paid tribute to his Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, which indicates he could be fired in the reshuffle later today.