Defence budget 2010
GDP 2009

Land area
Life expectancy
Population growth rate
60.7 million
Euros 44 billion (UK£37 billion) (US$54 billion)
Euros 1,680 billion (UK£1,400 billion) (US$2,100 billion)
242,277 sq kms (94,500 sq miles)
London (Population 7.5 million)
79 years
0.42 per cent
Total Armed Forces  
Air Force
Volunteer Reserves

108,800 (including personnel in training)
38,700 (including personnel in training)
44,000 (including personnel in training)
29,000 (probably 19,000 immediately available)


Royal Naval figure includes some 7,500 Royal Marines.




Contact Details





Ministry of Defence
Main Building
SW14 2HB

Tel:  +44 207 218 9000
Fax: +44 207 218 6360




Army Strength: 108,800 (including personnel in training)

Outline Army Structure:



1 x Corps Headquarters (ARRC)
1 x Divisional HQ in Germany
1 x Divisional HQ in UK
5 x Non-deployable divisional type HQ in UK
8 x Deployable Brigade HQ (excluding 3 Commando Brigade)
10 x Regional Brigade HQ
1 x Northern Ireland Brigade HQ

Major Units:

10 x Armoured Regiments
36 x Infantry Battalions
15 x Artillery Regiments
11 x Engineer Regiments
12 x Signal Regiments
7 x Equipment Support Battalions
17 x Logistic Regiments
8 x Medical Regiments

Two of the Infantry Battalion are Gurkha battalions (Royal Gurkha Rifles). There are approximately 3,600 Gurkhas in the British Army. These are Gurkha soldiers man 2 x Gurkha Infantry Battalions (Royal Gurkha Rifles) and a number of other support units.


Chain of Command

The Army is controlled from the MoD via the following subsidiary headquarters and a number of smaller headquarters worldwide. The diagram illustrates this chain of command as at mid 2009.

British Army Chain of Command

From Mid 2009 HQ Land Forces has been located at Andover in Hampshire having moved from Wilton near Salisbury.

The Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) at Northwood in Middlesex has an important input into command at the operational level and it is almost certain that any operation with which the army is involved will be under the overall command of PJHQ.

Field Army Structure: Major units under the direct command of the Field Army include:

  • 1st Division (Herford - Germany)

  • 3rd Division (Bulford - UK))

  • 6th Division (York)

  • Combat Service Support Group (United Kingdom)

  • Combat Service Support Group (Germany)

  • Land Warfare Centre

HQ 6th Division was formed in August 2008 as the third deployable divisional headquarters.

Regional Forces Structure: Major units that assist Commander Regional Forces are amongst the following:

  • 2 Division (Regenerative Division)

  • 4 Division (Regenerative Division)

  • 5 Division (Regenerative Division)

  • United Kingdom Support Command (Germany)

  • London District

  • Army Recruiting & Training Division

Joint Helicopter Command: With about 350 aircraft as follows:

  • 4 x Royal Naval Helicopter Squadrons (113 aircraft)

  • 6 x Army Aviation Regiments - including 1 x Reserve (151 aircraft)

  • 7 x Royal Air Force Helicopter Squadrons - including 1 x RAuxAF Helicopter Support Squadron - 86 aircraft)


UK Army – 16 Air Assault Brigade

The following diagram shows a possible configuration for 16 Air Assault Brigade during significant operations:


British Army 16 Air Assault Brigade Outline Structure

The Brigade capitalises on the combat capabilities of two parachute battalions with an increase in combat service support. This brigade is under the command of the JHC (Joint Helicopter Command) and would be detached to other formations for operations.

Support helicopters are provided by the RAF (from the Joint Helicopter Command) and the Brigade would normally expect to operate with 18 x Chinook and 18 x Puma. An air assault infantry battalion can be moved by 20 x Chinook equivalents lifts. Each air assault infantry battalion has a personnel strength of 687 and a battalion has 12 x ATGW firing posts.





Main Battle Tanks (MBT)

345 x Challenger 2

Reconnaissance (Recce) 320 x Scimitar (tracked)
  11 x Fuchs NBC Recce (wheeled)
  200 x Panther (wheeled - 200 more on order)
Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) 550 x MCV 80 Warrior (tracked - 200 more in store)

Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)

380 x Bulldog (tracked - AFV 432 type)

  700 x AFV 432 (tracked)
  495 x Spartan (tracked)
  147 x Saxon Patrol (wheeled)
  250 x Mastiff (wheeled)
  130 x Jackal (wheeled)
  166 x Vector (wheeled)
Towed Artillery 135 x 105 mm Light Gun
Self Propelled Artillery (SP Arty) 134 x 155 mm AS 90 (40 more in store)
Multiple Rocket Launcher (MRL) 42 x 227 mm (G)MLRS
Mortars (Mor) 600 x 60 mm Light Mortar (possibly 1,500 in store)
  470 x 81 mm Mortar (including 112 SP)
Anti-Tank (Atk) 300 x Javelin ATGW
  60 x Swingfire ATGW (SP on Striker)
  1,000 x MBT LAW (estimate)
Low Level Air Defence (LLAD) 84 x Stormer with HVM (tracked)
  24 x SP Rapier Fire Units
  145 x Starstreak LML
Army Aviation 66 x Apache AH Mk 1 (attack)
  100 x Lynx (utility)
  42 x Gazelle (utility)
Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) 54 x Watchkeeper (deliveries commenced)
  100 plus x Hermes 450 (our estimate)
  Desert Hawk





Navy Strength: : approximately 38,700 (including personnel in training)

Principal Units:

  4 x Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Firing Submarines
  9 x Nuclear Powered Attack Type Submarines
  2 x Aircraft Carriers
  1 x Helicopter Carrier
  2 x Amphibious Assault Ships
24 x Destroyers and Frigates
16 x Minehunters and minesweepers
  5 x Ocean survey vessels
  1 x Antarctic patrol ship; 20 x Patrol vessels


Royal Marines Summary

1 x Commando Brigade Headquarters with:

3 x Royal Marine Commando (Battalion Size)
1 x Infantry Battalion (1 Bn The Rifles)
1 x Commando Regiment Royal Artillery
1 x Commando Squadron Royal Engineers
1 x Commando Logistic Regiment
1 Commando Assault Group (Landing-Craft)





UK Royal Navy Outline Structure




Strategic (SSBN) 4 x Trident Class
Submarines Tactical (SSK) 6 x Trafalgar Class
  2 x Astute Class (2 more under construction)
Aircraft Carriers (CV) 2 x Invincible Class
Destroyers (DD) 5 x Type 42
  2 x Type 45 ( 4 more under construction)
Frigates (FF) 13 x Type 23
   4 x Type 22
Assault Vessels (LPD) 1 x Albion; 1 x Bulwark
  1 x Ocean (Helicopter Carrier)
Mine Countermeasures (MCM) 8 x Hunt Class
  8 x Sandown Class
Patrol and Coastal Combatants (PCC) 4 x River Class
Hydrographic 4
Ice Patrol (Antarctic) 1
Support (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) 2 x Fast Fleet Tankers
  2 x Small Fleet Tankers
  2 x Support Tankers
  4 x Replenishment Ships
  1 x Aviation Training Ship
  4 x Landing Ships
  1 x Forward Repair Ship
Naval Aviation 42 x Merlin MK 1 Helicopters (ASW)
(FAF – Forward Available Fleet) 10 x Sea King Mk 7 (AEW)
  70 x Lynx Mk 3/Mk 8 - (ASW and missile armed for surface ship attack)
  6 x Lynx Mk 7 (with ATGW for Royal Marines)
  12 x Hawk. Fixed wing trainer
  12 x Jetstream. Fixed wing trainer
  13 x Harrier GR7/9 (with Joint Force Harrier - JFH)
  37 x Sea King HC Mk4 (with the Joint Helicopter Command - JHC)





Air Force Strength: approximately 44,000 (including personnel in training).

Outline Air Force Structure:

Royal Air Force Squadrons

Strike/Attack Squadrons   5
Offensive Support Squadrons   2
Reconnaissance Squadrons   5
Air Defence (Interceptor) Squadrons   4
Maritime Patrol Squadrons   2
Airborne Early Warning Squadrons   2
Transport/Tanker Squadrons   8
Helicopter Squadrons (2 SAR)   9
Ground Defence Squadrons   6







Royal Air Force Outline Organisation

HQ Air Command is located at RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. The Command was formed in April 2007 following the merger of RAF Strike Command and RAF Personnel and Training Command. HQ Air Command works with the MoD and PJHQ (Permanent Joint Headquarters) to provide the correct mix of airpower to various operational areas.


UK Royal Air Force Outline Structure

(1) C-in-C – Commander-in-Chief; (2) DE&S – Defence Equipment and Support; (3) AOC – Air Officer Commanding; COS – Chief of Staff; (4) DGCS relates to a modular system of mobile, deployable and fixed assets that are designed to task, receive, process, exploit all source intelligence from national and alliance collection assets; (5) DLS – Director Legal Services; Groups are normally commanded by Air Vice Marshals.

The Royal Air Force Regiment is responsible for airbase security and provides Rapier air defence within a composite RAF/Army unit.





Fighters (Ftr) 28 x Typhoon F2/T1/T1A
  64 x Tornado F3 being withdrawn)
Multi- Role 28 x Typhoon FGR4
Note: The UK RAF has orders for 160 x Typhoon aircraft confirmed
Fighter Ground Attack (FGA) 112 x Tornado GR4/4A
  77 x Harrier
Reconnaissance (Recce) 5 x Sentinel
  24 x Tornado GR4A
Airborne Early Warning (AEW) 7 x E-3D Sentry
Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) 9 x Nimrod MRA4 (from 2012)
Electronic Warfare (ELINT) 3 x Nimrod R1
Transport/Tanker (Tpt/Tkr) 9 x Tristar
  15 x VC-10
  14 x Hercules K
  24 x Hercules J
  6 x C-17
  2 x BAe 146
  6 x BAe 125
  2 x BN-2 Islander
Training (Trg) 10 x Hawk 128 (total of 28 on order)
  100 x Hawk T
  100 x Grob Tutor
  35 x Firefly
  90 x Tucano
  9 x Dominie
  30 x AS-355 Squirrel (hel)
  12 x Bell 412 (hel)
Helicopters (Hel) 40 x CH-47 Chinook
  28 x Merlin
  37 x SA-330 Puma
  24 x HAR-3A Sea King
  4 x Bell 412
Air launched missiles (ALM) AIM-9 Sidewinder (AAM)
  Brimstone (ASM)
  AGM-65 Maverick (ASM)
  Storm Shadow (ASM)
  Harpoon (ASSM)
  Stingray (ASSM)
Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) 3 x Reaper (more on order)

Joint Forces

The UK MoD has created the following Joint Force Organisations which operate in support of all three Armed Services.

Joint Force Harrier: 2 x Royal Navy Squadrons; 2 x Royal Air Force Squadrons.

Joint Helicopter Command: 4 x Royal Naval Helicopter Squadrons; 6 x Army Aviation Regiments (including 1 x Volunteer Reserve); 7 x Royal Air Force Helicopter Squadrons (including 1 x RAuxAF Helicopter Support Squadron).

Joint Special Forces Group: 1 x Regular Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment; 2 x Volunteer Reserve Special Air Service Regiments; 4 x Special Boat Service (SBS) Squadrons; 1 x Special Reconnaissance Regiment; 1 x Special Forces Support Group.

Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Regiment.

(over platoon strength – 30 personnel. These are approximate figures)

NATO (ISAF) Afghanistan 10,000 approximate
Falkland Islands 2,000 approximate
Cyprus 1,700
Brunei 550
Germany 21,000 approximate
Gibraltar 280 (including Gibraltar Regiment)

The Royal Navy participates in a complete range of both NATO and EU maritime deployments.