British Army not scrapping all tanks in defence review, Ben Wallace insists

The UK maintains some 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks

Jon Sharman
Saturday 12 September 2020 17:48 BST
A Challenger 2 takes part in a combat demonstration
A Challenger 2 takes part in a combat demonstration (PA)

The UK will not scrap all its tanks in its drive to modernise the armed forces, the defence secretary has said.

Ben Wallace was responding to reports that said Britain would no longer deploy tanks because of high maintenance costs and pressure on defence spending. 

The British Army has some 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

Mr Wallace told the BBC: "We're going to make sure we have an armed forces fit for the 21st Century and meets our obligations to Nato and elsewhere.

"We are not scrapping all the British army's tanks and we will make sure the ones we maintain are up to date, lethal and defendable."

The government is conducting a major review of the country’s defence capability and future plans, billed as the most comprehensive since the Cold War.

In the summer, MPs raised concerns that the process was not transparent enough, saying it was not even clear who was directing it.

“The Defence Committee, alongside colleagues in the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committees, have repeatedly called for clarity and transparency from the government," said Tobias Ellwood in August.

“These calls have, at times, been left unanswered. A number of unknowns remain, including the key players at the heart of the review. A policy review of this importance should not take place behind closed doors.”

The review is due to be published this year.

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