Defence related news coverage today focuses on the Queen’s speech as well as further coverage of ISIL, including the story that jihadists have unleashed a wave of suicide attacks targeting pro-Government forces in western Anbar, a day after Baghdad began a new offensive to drive them from the province.
In a long article about the Queen’s speech, The Times reports that there will be a defence review that will involve a major rethink of the threats facing Britain and the role that the Armed Forces should play rather than the “light touch” approach that had initially been anticipated, reporting that the outcome of the review is expected to be in October or early November. The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph report that there is “fury” at the government’s failure to protect the defence budget in the Queen’s speech but to instead protect the foreign aid budget at 0.7% of GDP.
A Government spokesperson said:
With the second largest defence budget in NATO and the largest in the EU, the Government is committed to spending 2% of GDP on defence this financial year. Decisions on spending after the financial year 2015/16 will be determined in the next spending review.
“This government was elected with a mandate to maintain the size of regular Armed Forces, to increase the equipment budget in real terms every year, and to renew our four nuclear ballistic submarines. These commitments will secure the shape and power of our Armed Forces and keep Britain safe.
As the Queen said, the Government will undertake a full Strategic Defence and Security Review, and do whatever is necessary to ensure that our courageous Armed Forces can keep Britain safe. The review will ensure Britain remains a major player on the world stage, using diplomacy to protect our interests, uphold British values and tackle threats to our security and prosperity.
The Financial Times reports on research which suggests that more than half of the world’s countries are producing jihadists to fill the ranks of violent Sunni terrorist organisations in the Middle East. According to a UN report, more than 25,000 mujahedeen have joined ISIL in recent years. The article also states that Turkey has a 12,500 name watchlist but is unable to act as swiftly as it might want to because of inadequate cooperation with other countries.
British forces continue to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL. Read our latest air strike update here.
Rolls Royce engine contract
The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and City AM report on the signing of a £57m contract for Rolls-Royce to provide General Dynamics European Land Systems with 589 MTU Series 199 diesel engines for new British Army armoured vehicles including the Scout. Delivery of the engines will start in 2016 with the last delivered in 2022. The Times reports on the finer details, stating that there will be German engines in our vehicles as the German factory MTU has been bought by Rolls Royce.