Tasks and Defence Planning Assumptions
The contribution of the UK Armed Forces to the national security
effort is defined by a number of Military Tasks (MT) and Defence
Planning Assumptions .
2. Military tasks
The seven military tasks are:
UK and its Overseas Territories
civil emergency organisations in times of crisis
UK's interest by projecting power strategically and through
defence contribution to UK influence
security for stabilisation
These assume that in the future the UK Armed Forces will have
the following size and shape that will enable them to conduct
operations of the following type:
An enduring stabilisation
operation at around brigade level (possibly up to 6,500
personnel) with maritime and air support as required, while
One non-enduring complex
intervention (up to 2,000 personnel), and
One non-enduring simple
intervention (up to 1,000 personnel)
For a limited time, and with
sufficient warning, committing all the UK's effort to a
one-off intervention of up to three brigades with air and
maritime support at a level of about 30,000 personnel.
The planning framework provided by the Military Tasks and
Defence Planning Assumptions provides an outline for structure
which the UK Government aims to establish by 2020. Future Force
2020 as three main elements:
This will consist of those forces that are actually engaged in
operations. Therefore aircraft engaged in operations (including
the defence of the UK’s airspace), forces involved in operations
in the South Atlantic, forces operating in Afghanistan and other
expeditionary operations plus the nuclear deterrent will all
form elements of The Deployed Force.
The High Readiness Force
This force will consist of a range of maritime, air and land
based units capable of deploying at short notice to meet the
requirements of the Defence Planning Assumptions. Such forces
would enable the UK to react quickly to a range of scenarios
that might threaten the UK’s national security interests. These
force elements would be capable of operating with allies or
where necessary on ‘stand-alone’ UK operations.
There will be a significant enhancement to the UK’s overall
Special Forces capability.
The Lower Readiness Force
The Lower Readiness Force would consist of elements that
have either recently returned from operations or those that are
preparing and training for inclusion in The High Readiness
Force. Many Lower Readiness Force units would be involved in
supporting The Deployed Force.
5. Land Forces
Land force capabilities will be based around six brigades as
Five multi-role brigades each consisting of around 6,500
personnel that are comprised of main battle tanks, armoured
reconnaissance units, armoured, mechanised and light infantry
elements, plus artillery, engineers, army aviation and a
complete range of support units. One brigade would always be
part of the High Readiness Force and where necessary these
brigades could be Self supporting.
16 Air Assault Brigade would be the sixth brigade and would
provide parachute and air assault units for rapid intervention
operations at very short notice. This brigade would be self
supporting for short duration operations.
All of the above could form part of a much larger organisation
(possibly divisional size) under the command of a deployable UK
divisional headquarters. For multinational operations the
headquarters of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) would
Challenger main battle tank numbers will reduce by about 40% and
heavy artillery numbers such as the 155 mm AS90 will reduce by
about 35%. There are currently no plans to reduce the number of
It is likely that Army units will have been withdrawn from their
bases in Germany by 2020.
6. Air Forces
In the future the Royal Air Force will continue to provide the
air defence of the United Kingdom and territories in the South
Atlantic. To meet this requirement, in the longer term, a fast
jet force of both Eurofighter Typhoon and Joint Strike Fighter
aircraft will provide air defence, precision ground attack and
combat ISTAR capabilities.
In the short term elements of the Tornado fleet will be retained
to support operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere should the
operational requirement arise.
The Royal Air Force will also provide a fleet of strategic and
tactical airlift aircraft based around 7 x C-17, 22 x A400M and
14 x Airbus A330 tanker and transport aircraft. The Chinook
helicopter fleet will be increased by 12 new aircraft and Merlin
helicopters will be retained.
ISTAR capabilities will be enhanced to include a range of
unmanned air systems that will complement existing manned
aircraft. The UK may purchase 3 x KC-135 Joint Rivet signals
intelligence aircraft to improve the existing ISTAR capability.
It is likely that the Royal Air Force will become the lead
agency in the proposed UK Cyber Operations Group.
7. Naval Forces
Under the terms of the Future Force 2020 proposals the Royal
Navy will provide a continuous nuclear deterrent system at sea,
maritime defence of the United Kingdom and defence of
territories in the South Atlantic. Forces assigned to these
roles will include:
The Vanguard submarine force equipped with Trident submarine
launched inter-continental ballistic missiles. Current plans are
for the Vanguard class submarines to be replaced in the late
2020s (with the first submarine possibly being delivered in
Seven Astute class nuclear powered hunter killer submarines
equipped with Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles . Astute
class submarines are capable of operating at sea indefinitely.
Two new aircraft carriers, one of which will be kept at extended
readiness. The aircraft carrier at sea will be equipped with
Joint Strike Fighters and a range of helicopters that (depending
on the operational requirement) could include Apache attack
helicopters and possibly Chinook and Merlin support helicopters.
It is expected that following the fitting of catapult and
arrestor systems the first of these new carriers will be
in-service from about 2020.
A balanced surface fleet of 19 frigates and destroyers.
Up to 14 mine counter- measures vessels to be based on the
existing Hunt and Sandown class vessels. In addition there will
be an ice patrol ship and an oceanographic survey capability.
The Royal Marine's 3 Commando Brigade will provide an important
maritime response capability to the High Readiness Force. 3
Commando Brigade will be able to land significant forces
anywhere in the world.
Strategic transport will be provided by a force of up to 6
roll-on,, roll-off ferries.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary will continue to supply and refuel
Royal Naval vessels worldwide.
8. Personnel figures
By 2015 the three armed services will have reduced their
personnel figures as follows:
Army: Reduced by about 7,000 to a final total of around 95,000.
Royal Air Force: Reduced by around 5,000 to a final total of
Royal Navy: Reduced by about 5,000 to a final total of about
It is envisaged that the Civil Service element in the Ministry
of Defence will reduce by about 25,000 to a final total of
9. Future defence and security reviews
A full defence and security review will take place every five
years. This review will provide the mechanism to ensure that
resources and commitment are in balance as the strategic context
and operational requirement develops. The next review will be in