Armed Forces - a6a1 - Royal Artillery Summary





The Royal Regiment of Artillery (RA) provides the battlefield fire support and air defence for the British Army in the field.

Its various regiments are equipped for conventional fire-support using field guns, for area and point air defence using air defence missiles and for specialised artillery locating tasks. 

The RA remains one of the larger organisations in the British Army with 15 Regiments included in its regular Order of Battle. Early 2011 personnel figures suggest that the RA had a personnel figure of 7,710 officers and soldiers representing just over 100 % of its establishment strength.

Before SDSR restructuring, in late 2011 the RA had the following structure in both the UK and Germany.

Field Regiments (AS 90 SP Guns) 3 2
Field Regiments (Light Gun) 3 (1) -
Depth Fire Regiments (MLRS) 1 (2) -
Air Defence Regiments (Rapier) 1 -
Air Defence Regiment (HVM) 1 -
Surveillance &Target Acquisition 1 -
UAV Regiment 2 -
Training Regiment (School Assets Regt) 1 -
The Kings Troop (Ceremonial) 1 -

(1) Of these three Regiments, one is a Commando Regiment (29 Cdo Regt) and another is an Air Assault Regiment (7 PARA RHA). Either of these Regiments can be called upon to provide Manoeuvre Support Artillery to the AMF (Allied Command Europe Military Force).

(2) A second MLRS Regiment is now a TA Regiment with 12 Launch vehicles in peace, uprateable to 18 in war.

Although the artillery is organised into Regiments, much of a 'Gunner's' loyalty is directed towards the battery in which he serves. The guns represent the Regimental Colours of the Artillery and it is around the batteries where the guns are held that history has gathered. A Regiment will generally have three or four gun batteries under command.

The Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) is also part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and its three regiments have been included in the totals above.

There is considerable cross-posting of officers and soldiers from the RA to the RHA, and some consider service with the RHA to be a career advancement.


Artillery recruits spend the first period of recruit training (Phase 1 Training, Common Military Syllabus) at the Army Training Regiment – Pirbright, the Army Training Regiment –Bassingbourn or the Army Foundation College – Harrogate.

Artillery training (Phase 2) is carried out at the Royal School of Artillery (RSA) at Larkhill in Wiltshire. During Phase 2 intensive training is given in gunnery, air defence, surveillance or signals. Soldiers also undergo driver training on a variety of different vehicles. After Phase 2 training officers and gunners will be posted to RA units worldwide, but almost all of them will return to the RSA for frequent career and (Phase 3) employment courses.

The Royal Artillery is undergoing a transformation. As when gunpowder lifted the range of the bow and arrow to that of the cannon, currently modern technology both in space and on the ground is showing signs of yielding ever greater range and accuracy to the artillery.

Greater ability to fix locations in depth and the ability to fire projectiles accurately over longer distances is transforming the horizons for modern artillery. Base bleed ammunition reduces drag by burning chemical compounds at the rear of the projectile and results in greatly increased range. Similarly, technology has discovered that there is an optimum relationship between projectile range, diameter and barrel length. Longer ranges had used to mean greater beaten zone or dispersion of the fall of shot.

Micro technology now makes it possible for on-board computers and navigation systems to provide a long-range shell with a once only correction, which brings the round back onto a more precise route to the target. Re-barrelled British Artillery will enter the next decade capable of firing accurately to double their present range.

Rocket artillery is reaching ever further towards the enemy rear areas. The next generation of rocket artillery rounds is looking beyond a range of 80 kms and designers are also looking at precision guided terminal sub- munitions. In addition, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are flying deeper into enemy territory and sending back ever more accurate target data which will be used by the artillery of the future.

The manned aircraft could carry a man and deliver a weapons load with pinpoint accuracy (in the right conditions) far beyond the range of an artillery observer. This situation is about to be reversed, and there will probably be little support for sending a man where an artillery observation vehicle can go for a fraction of the cost and the same likelihood of striking the target.

This is likely to happen within the next decade and the term 'Depth Battle' will have real meaning for the Artillery. Once this happens they will have an increasingly important role in shaping the future battlefield. Attacking an enemy with ground troops in the field will be less costly if all his command and control headquarters up to 100 km behind the lines have already been identified and destroyed.

Costs of Artillery Training Ammunition During Financial Year 2010-2011


Ammunition type




Round 14.5MM Artillery Training Charge 2 L2A1


Shell 105MM FD HE L31A4 Fused L106A4 W/Cart Normal L35A3


Shell 105MM FD HE L31A4 Fused L116A1 W/Cart Normal L35A3


Shell 105MM FD BE SMK SCR L52A1 FZD L132A1 W/Cart Nor L35A3


Shell 105MM FD Illuminating L43A4 Fused L132A1


Cartridge Propelling 105MM FD Normal L35A3


Shell 155MM HE L21A2 Plugged


Charge Propelling 155MM M3A1


Charge Propelling 155MM L8A2 Charge 3 to 7


Charge Propelling 155MM L10A2 Charge 8


Shell 155MM Smoke BE DM105A2 Fused L132A1


Shell 155MM Illuminating DM106A2 Fused L132A1


Shell 155MM Practice Inert L17A3 with PRF


Fuse Nose Percussion Direct Action and Graze L106A4


Primer Percussion DM191A2


Primer Percussion M82


MLRS Reduced Range Practice Rocket L1A2




Total Cost




Note: During the Financial Year 2009-2010 £19,611,296 was spent on artillery training ammunition.