British Armed Forces

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

British Armed Forces
Badge of the Ministry of Defence
Flag of the Ministry of Defence
Founded1546 (Royal Navy)
1660 (British Army)
1918 (Royal Air Force)
Service branches
HeadquartersMinistry of Defence, London
Head of the Armed Forces King Charles III
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer
Secretary of State for Defence John Healey
Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin
Vice-Chief of the Defence StaffGeneral Dame Sharon Nesmith
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chiefs of Staff CommitteeWarrant Officer Class 1 Richard Angove
Military age16–17 (with parental consent)
18 (without and to serve in combat)
Active personnel
  • 138,100 regular forces personnel (January 2024)[2]
  • 4,060 Gurkhas (January 2024)[2]
Reserve personnel32,580 volunteer reserve personnel (January 2024)[2]
Budget£54.2 billion (2023/24)[3]
Percent of GDP2.33% (2024)[4]
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers United States
 South Korea
Annual imports$568.1 million (2014–2022)[5]
Annual exports$1.074 billion (2014–2022)[5]
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of the United Kingdom
Warfare directory of the United Kingdom
Conflicts involving the United Kingdom
Battles involving the United Kingdom

The British Armed Forces are the military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They also promote the UK's wider interests, support international peacekeeping efforts and provide humanitarian aid.[6]

Since the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 (later succeeded by the United Kingdom),[7] the British Armed Forces have seen action in most major wars involving the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the American War of Independence, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the First World War and the Second World War. Britain's victories in most of these wars allowed it to influence world events and establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers.[8] The British Armed Forces consist of: the Royal Navy, a blue-water navy with a fleet of 66 commissioned ships, together with the Royal Marines, a highly specialised amphibious light infantry force; the British Army, the UK's principal land warfare branch; and the Royal Air Force, a technologically sophisticated air force with a diverse operational fleet consisting of both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. The British Armed Forces include standing forces, Regular Reserve, Volunteer Reserves and Sponsored Reserves.

King Charles III, sovereign of the United Kingdom, is the Head of the Armed Forces,[9][10] with officers and personnel swearing allegiance to him. Long-standing constitutional convention, however, has vested de facto executive authority, by the exercise of royal prerogative, in the Prime Minister and the secretary of state for defence. The Prime Minister (acting with the Cabinet) makes the key decisions on the use of the armed forces.[11][12] The UK Parliament approves the continued existence of the British Army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years, as required by the Bill of Rights 1689. Only a "standing army" requires reapproval by Parliament; the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Royal Marines and any other forces are not included in the requirement. The armed forces are managed by the Defence Council.

The United Kingdom is one of five recognised nuclear powers, a permanent member on the United Nations Security Council, a founding and leading member of NATO and party to the AUKUS security pact and the Five Power Defence Arrangements. Overseas garrisons and training facilities are maintained at Ascension Island, Bahrain, Belize, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Kenya, Montserrat, Nepal, Qatar, Singapore and the United States.[13]


Defence spending in the UK

Organisational history

With the Acts of Union 1707, the armed forces of England and Scotland were merged into the armed forces of the Kingdom of Great Britain.[7]

There were originally several naval and several military regular and reserve forces, although most of these were consolidated into the Royal Navy or the British Army during the 19th and 20th Centuries (the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps of the British Army, by contrast, were separated from their parent forces in 1918 and amalgamated to form a new force, the Royal Air Force, which would have complete responsibility for naval, military and strategic aviation until the Second World War).

Naval forces included the Royal Navy, the Waterguard (subsequently HM Coastguard), and Sea Fencibles and River Fencibles formed as and when required for the duration of emergencies. The Merchant Navy and offshore fishing boat crews were also important manpower reserves to the armed naval forces (any seaman was liable to impressment, with many so conscripted especially during the two decades of conflict from the French Revolution until the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and from 1835 registered on the Register of Seamen to identify them as a potential resource), and many of their seamen would serve part time in the Royal Navy Reserve (created under the Naval Reserve Act of 1859) and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (created in 1903).

The British military (those parts of the British Armed Forces tasked with land warfare, as opposed to the naval forces)[14] historically was divided into a number of military forces, of which the British Army (also referred to historically as the 'Regular Army' and the 'Regular Force') was only one.[15][16] The oldest of these organisations was the Militia Force (also referred to as the Constitutional Force),[17][18][19][20] which (in the Kingdom of England) was originally the main military defensive force (there otherwise were originally only Royal bodyguards, including the Yeomen Warders and the Yeomen of the Guard, with armies raised only temporarily for expeditions overseas), made up of civilians embodied for annual training or emergencies, and had used various schemes of compulsory service during different periods of its long existence.

The Militia was originally an all infantry force, organised at the city or county level, and members were not required to serve outside of their recruitment area, although the area within which militia units in Britain could be posted was increased to anywhere in the Britain during the Eighteenth Century, and Militia coastal artillery, field artillery, and engineers units were introduced from the 1850s.[21] The Yeomanry was a mounted force that could be mobilised in times of war or emergency.[22] Volunteer Force units were also frequently raised during wartime, which did not rely on compulsory service and hence attracted recruits keen to avoid the Militia. These were seen as a useful way to add to military strength economically during wartime, but otherwise as a drain on the Militia and so were not normally maintained in peacetime, although in Bermuda prominent propertied men were still appointed Captains of Forts, taking charge of maintaining and commanding fortified coastal artillery batteries and manned by volunteers (reinforced in wartime by embodied militiamen), defending the colony's coast from the Seventeenth Century to the Nineteenth Century (when all of the batteries were taken over by the regular Royal Artillery).[23][24] The Militia system was extended to a number of English (subsequently British) colonies, beginning with Virginia and Bermuda. In some colonies, Troops of Horse or other mounted units similar to the Yeomanry were also created.[25] The Militia and Volunteer units of a colony were generally considered to be separate forces from the Home Militia Force and Volunteer Force in the United Kingdom, and from the Militia Forces and Volunteer Forces of other colonies. Where a colony had more than one Militia or Volunteer unit, they would be grouped as a Militia or Volunteer Force for that colony, such as the Jamaica Volunteer Defence Force, which comprised the St. Andrew Rifle Corps (or Kingston Infantry Volunteers), the Jamaica Corps of Scouts, and the Jamaica Reserve Regiment,[26] but not the Jamaica Militia Artillery.[27] In smaller colonies with a single militia or volunteer unit, that single unit would still be considered to be listed within a force, or in some case might be named a force rather than a regiment or corps, such as is the case for the Falkland Islands Defence Force and the Royal Montserrat Defence Force. The Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteer Forces collectively were known as the Reserve Forces, Auxiliary Forces, or Local Forces. Officers of these forces could not sit on Courts Martial of regular forces personnel. The Mutiny Act did not apply to members of the Reserve Forces.

The other regular military force that existed alongside the British Army was the Board of Ordnance, which included the Ordnance Military Corps (made up of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, and the Royal Sappers and Miners), as well as the originally-civilian Commissariat Stores and transport departments, as well as barracks departments, ordnance factories and various other functions supporting the various naval and military forces.[28][29] The English Army, subsequently the British Army once Scottish regiments were moved onto its establishment following the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England, was originally a separate force from these, but absorbed the Ordnance Military Corps and various previously civilian departments after the Board of Ordnance was abolished in 1855.[30][31] The Reserve Forces (which referred to the Home Yeomanry, Militia and Volunteer Forces before the 1859 creation of the British Army Regular Reserve by Secretary of State for War Sidney Herbert, and re-organised under the Reserve Force Act, 1867)[32] were increasingly integrated with the British Army through a succession of reforms over the last two decades of the Nineteenth Century (in 1871, command of the Auxiliary Forces in the British Isles was taken from the Lords-Lieutenant of counties and transferred to the War Office, though colonial Governors retained control of their militia and volunteer forces, and by the end of the century, at the latest, any unit wholly or partly funded from Army Funds was considered part of the British Army) and the early years of the Twentieth Century,[33] whereby the Reserve Forces units mostly lost their own identities and became numbered Territorial Force sub-units of regular British Army corps or regiments (the Home Militia had followed this path, with the Militia Infantry units becoming numbered battalions of British Army regiments, and the Militia Artillery integrating within Royal Artillery territorial divisions in 1882 and 1889, and becoming parts of the Royal Field Artillery or Royal Garrison Artillery in 1902 (though retaining their traditional corps names), but was not merged into the Territorial Force when it was created in 1908 (by the merger of the Yeomanry and Volunteer Force). The Militia was instead renamed the Special Reserve,[34][35][36] and was permanently suspended after the First World War (although a handful of Militia units survived in the United Kingdom, its colonies, and the Crown Dependencies). Unlike the Home, Imperial Fortress and Crown Dependency Militia and Volunteer units and forces that continued to exist after the First World War, although parts of the British military, most were not considered parts of the British Army[37][38] unless they received Army Funds (as was the case for the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps),[39][21] which was generally only the case for those in the Channel Islands or the Imperial Fortress colonies (Nova Scotia, before Canadian confederation, Bermuda, Gibraltar, and Malta).[40][41][42] Today, the British Army is the only Home British military force (unless the Army Cadet Force and the Combined Cadet Force are considered), including both the regular army and the forces it absorbed, though British military units organised on Territorial lines remain in British Overseas Territories that are still not considered formally part of the British Army, with only the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and the Royal Bermuda Regiment (an amalgam of the old Bermuda Militia Artillery and Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps) appearing on the British Army order of precedence and in the Army List.

Confusingly, and similarly to the dual meaning of the word Corps in the British Army (by example, the 1st Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps was in 1914 part of the 6th Brigade that was part of the 2nd Infantry Division, which was itself part of 1st Army Corps), the British Army sometimes also used the term expeditionary force or field force to describe a body made up of British Army units, most notably the British Expeditionary Force, or of a mixture of British Army, Indian Army, or Imperial auxiliary units, such as the Malakand Field Force (this is similarly to the naval use of the term task force). In this usage, force is used to describe a self-reliant body able to act without external support, at least within the parameters of the task or objective for which it is employed.

Empire and World Wars

A modern reproduction of an 1805 poster commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar

During the later half of the seventeenth century, and in particular, throughout the eighteenth century, British foreign policy sought to contain the expansion of rival European powers through military, diplomatic and commercial means, especially of its chief competitors Spain, the Netherlands, and France. This saw Britain engage in a number of intense conflicts over colonial possessions and world trade, including a long string of Anglo-Spanish and Anglo-Dutch wars, as well as a series of "world wars" with France, such as; the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802) and the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815). During the Napoleonic wars, the Royal Navy victory at Trafalgar (1805) under the command of Horatio Nelson (aboard HMS Victory) marked the culmination of British maritime supremacy, and left the Navy in a position of uncontested hegemony at sea.[43] By 1815 and the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, Britain had risen to become the world's dominant great power and the British Empire subsequently presided over a period of relative peace, known as Pax Britannica.[8][44]

With Britain's old rivals no-longer a threat, the nineteenth century saw the emergence of a new rival, the Russian Empire, and a strategic competition in what became known as The Great Game for supremacy in Central Asia.[45] Britain feared that Russian expansionism in the region would eventually threaten the Empire in India.[45] In response, Britain undertook a number of pre-emptive actions against perceived Russian ambitions, including the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–1842), the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–1880)[46] and the British expedition to Tibet (1903–1904). During this period, Britain also sought to maintain the balance of power in Europe, particularly against Russian expansionism,[47] who at the expense of the waning Ottoman Empire had ambitions to "carve up the European part of Turkey".[48] This ultimately led to British involvement in the Crimean War (1854–1856) against the Russian Empire.[48]

Soldiers from the Royal Irish Rifles in the Battle of the Somme's trenches 1916

The beginning of the twentieth century served to reduce tensions between Britain and the Russian Empire, partly due to the emergence of a unified German Empire. The era brought about an Anglo-German naval arms race which encouraged significant advancements in maritime technology (e.g. Dreadnoughts, torpedoes and submarines), and in 1906, Britain had determined that its only likely naval enemy was Germany.[49] The accumulated tensions in European relations finally broke out into the hostilities of the First World War (1914–1918), in what is recognised today, as the most devastating war in British military history, with nearly 800,000 men killed and over 2 million wounded.[50] Allied victory resulted in the defeat of the Central Powers, the end of the German Empire, the Treaty of Versailles and the establishment of the League of Nations.

British commandos during the Second World War

Although Germany had been defeated during the First World War, by 1933 fascism had given rise to Nazi Germany, which under the leadership of Adolf Hitler re-militarised in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. Once again tensions accumulated in European relations, and following Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Second World War began (1939–1945).[51] The conflict was the most widespread in British history, with British Empire and Commonwealth troops fighting in campaigns from Europe and North Africa, to the Middle East and the Far East. Approximately 390,000 British Empire and Commonwealth troops died.[52] Allied victory resulted in the defeat of the Axis powers and the establishment of the United Nations (replacing the League of nations).

The Cold War

The Vulcan Bomber was the mainstay of Britain's airborne nuclear capability for much of the Cold War.

Post–Second World War economic and political decline, as well as changing attitudes in British society and government, were reflected by the armed forces' contracting global role,[53][54] and later epitomised by its political defeat during the Suez Crisis (1956).[55] Reflecting Britain's new role in the world and the escalation of the Cold War (1947–1991), the country became a founding member of the NATO military alliance in 1949. Defence Reviews, such as those in 1957 and 1966, announced significant reductions in conventional forces,[56] the pursuement of a doctrine based on nuclear deterrence,[57][58] and a permanent military withdrawal east of Suez.[59][60] By the mid-1970s, the armed forces had reconfigured to focus on the responsibilities allocated to them by NATO.[54][61][62] The British Army of the Rhine and RAF Germany consequently represented the largest and most important overseas commitments that the armed forces had during this period,[63] while the Royal Navy developed an anti-submarine warfare specialisation, with a particular focus on countering Soviet submarines in the Eastern Atlantic and North Sea.[61]

While NATO obligations took increased prominence, Britain nonetheless found itself engaged in a number of low-intensity conflicts, including a spate of insurgencies against colonial occupation.[64] However the Dhofar Rebellion (1962–1976) and The Troubles (1969–1998) emerged as the primary operational concerns of the armed forces.[64] Perhaps the most important conflict during the Cold War, at least in the context of British defence policy, was the Falklands War (1982).[65]

Since the end of the Cold War, an increasingly international role for the armed forces has been pursued, with re-structuring to deliver a greater focus on expeditionary warfare and power projection.[66] This entailed the armed forces often constituting a major component in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions under the auspices of the United Nations, NATO, and other multinational operations,[67] including: peacekeeping responsibilities in the Balkans and Cyprus, the 2000 intervention in Sierra Leone and participation in the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya (2011). Post-9/11, the armed forces became heavily committed to the War on Terror (2001–present), with lengthy campaigns in Afghanistan (2001–2021) and Iraq (2003–2009), and more recently as part of the Military intervention against ISIL (2014–present). Britain's military intervention against Islamic State was expanded following a parliamentary vote to launch a bombing campaign over Syria; an extension of the bombing campaign requested by the Iraqi government against the same group. In addition to the aerial campaign, the British Army has trained and supplied allies on the ground and the Special Air Service, the Special Boat Service, and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (British special forces) has carried out various missions on the ground in both Syria and Iraq.

The armed forces have also been called upon to assist with national emergencies through the provisions of the military aid to the civil authorities (MACA) mechanism. This has seen the armed forces assist government departments and civil authorities responding to flooding, food shortages, wildfires, terrorist attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic;[68] the armed forces' support to the latter falls under Operation Rescript, described as the UK's "biggest ever homeland military operation in peacetime" by the Ministry of Defence.[69]

Figures released by the Ministry of Defence on 31 March 2016 show that 7,185 British Armed Forces personnel have lost their lives in medal earning theatres since the end of the Second World War.[70]


Command organisation

Elizabeth in red uniform on a black horse
Commander-in-Chief Queen Elizabeth II riding Burmese at the 1986 Trooping the Colour ceremony
The Ministry of Defence building at Whitehall, Westminster, London

King Charles III, sovereign of the United Kingdom, is the Head of the Armed Forces,[9][10] with officers and personnel swearing allegiance to him. Long-standing constitutional convention, however, has de facto vested military authority and associated royal prerogative powers in the prime minister and the secretary of state for defence, with the former (acting with the support of the Cabinet) making the key decisions on the use of the armed forces. The sovereign retains the power to prevent the unconstitutional use of the armed forces, including that of its nuclear arsenal.[71]

The Ministry of Defence[b] is the government department charged with formulating and executing defence policy. It currently employs 56,860 civilian staff members as of 1 October 2015.[72] The department is administered by the secretary of state for defence who is assisted by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Minister for Defence Procurement, and Minister for Veterans' Affairs. Responsibility for the management of the forces is delegated to a number of committees: the Defence Council, Chiefs of Staff Committee, Defence Management Board and three single-service boards. The Defence Council, composed of senior representatives of the services and the Ministry of Defence, provides the "formal legal basis for the conduct of defence". The three constituent single-service committees (Admiralty Board, Army Board and Air Force Board) are chaired by the secretary of state for defence.

The chief of the defence staff (CDS) is the senior-most officer of the armed forces and is an appointment that can be held by an admiral, air chief marshal or general. Before the practice was discontinued in the 1990s, those who were appointed to the position of CDS had been elevated to the most senior rank in their respective service.[73] The CDS, along with the permanent under secretary, are the principal military advisers to the secretary of state. All three services have their own respective professional chiefs; the First Sea Lord for the Royal Navy, the chief of the general staff for the Army and the chief of the air staff for the Royal Air Force.


Welsh Guards Trooping the Colour

As of 1 July 2023 the British Armed Forces are a professional force with a total strength of 185,980 personnel, consisting of 140,300 UK Regulars and 4,140 Gurkhas, 33,210 Volunteer Reserves and 8,330 "Other Personnel".[c][74] As a percentage breakdown of UK Service Personnel, 77.1% are UK Regulars and Gurkhas, 18.8% are Volunteer Reserves and 4.1% are composed of Other Personnel.[74] In addition, all ex-Regular personnel retain a "statutory liability for service" and are liable to be recalled (under Section 52 of the Reserve Forces Act (RFA) 1996) for duty during wartime, which is known as the Regular Reserve. MoD publications since April 2013 no longer report the entire strength of the Regular Reserve, instead they only give a figure for Regular Reserves who serve under a fixed-term reserve contract. These contracts are similar in nature to those of the Volunteer Reserve.[75]

The distribution of personnel between the services and categories of service on 1 July 2023 was as follows:[74]

Service Regular Volunteer
Navy 32,360 3,370 2,480 38,220
Army and Gurkhas 80,360 26,760, 4,530 111,650
Air Force 31,710 3,080 1,320 36,110
Total 144,330 33,210 8,330 185,980

As of 1 October 2017, there were a total of 9,330 Regular service personnel stationed outside of the United Kingdom, 3,820 of those were located in Germany. 138,040 Regular service personnel were stationed in the United Kingdom, the majority located in the South East and South West of England with 37,520 and 36,790 Regular service personnel, respectively.[76]

Defence expenditure

Top ten military expenditures in billion US$ in 2014

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United Kingdom is in sixth place in the world's military spending list in 2023.[77] For comparison: Great Britain spends more in absolute terms than Germany, Ukraine, France or Japan, similar to Saudi Arabia, but less than India, Russia, China or the United States.[77] In September 2011, according to Professor Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute, current "planned levels of defence spending should be enough for the United Kingdom to maintain its position as one of the world's top military powers, as well as being one of NATO-Europe's top military powers. Its edge – not least its qualitative edge – in relation to rising Asian powers seems set to erode, but will remain significant well into the 2020s, and possibly beyond."[78] The Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 committed to spending 2% of GDP on defence and announced a £178 billion investment over ten years in new equipment and capabilities.[79][80] On 8 March 2023 Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a further £5bn in defence spending with a long-term goal of an increased spending to 2.5% of GDP.[81]

Nuclear weapons

A Trident II SLBM being launched from a Vanguard-class submarine

The United Kingdom is one of five recognised nuclear weapon states under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and maintains an independent nuclear deterrent, currently consisting of four Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, UGM-133 Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and 160 operational thermonuclear warheads. This is known as Trident in both public and political discourse (with nomenclature taken after the UGM-133 Trident II ballistic missile). Trident is operated by the Royal Navy Submarine Service, charged with delivering a 'Continuous At-Sea Deterrent' (CASD) capability, whereby one of the Vanguard-class strategic submarines is always on patrol.[82] According to the British Government, since the introduction of Polaris (Trident's predecessor) in the 1960s, from April 1969 "the Royal Navy's ballistic missile boats have not missed a single day on patrol",[82] giving what the Defence Council described in 1980 as a deterrent "effectively invulnerable to pre-emptive attack".[83] As of 2015, it has been British Government policy for the Vanguard-class strategic submarines to carry no more than 40 nuclear warheads, delivered by eight UGM-133 Trident II ballistic missiles.[84] In contrast with the other recognised nuclear weapon states, the United Kingdom operates only a submarine-based delivery system, having decommissioned its tactical WE.177 free-fall bombs in 1998.

The House of Commons voted on 18 July 2016 in favour of replacing the Vanguard-class submarines with a new generation of Dreadnought-class submarines.[85] The programme will also contribute to extending the life of the UGM-133 Trident II ballistic missiles and modernise the infrastructure associated with the CASD.[86]

Former weapons of mass destruction possessed by the United Kingdom include both biological and chemical weapons. These were renounced in 1956 and subsequently destroyed.

Overseas military installations

  Overseas military installations of the United Kingdom, and locally raised units of British Overseas Territories.
  Military interventions since 2000: Palliser (Sierra Leone); Herrick (Afghanistan); Enduring Freedom (Horn of Africa); Telic (Iraq); Ellamy (Libya); and Shader (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

The British Armed Forces historically relied on four Imperial fortress colonies (Bermuda,[87] Gibraltar, Halifax and its environs in Nova Scotia, and Malta),[88] where dockyards were established, naval squadrons based, soldiers garrisoned,[89][90][91] and naval and military stores stockpiled.[92][93][94] These acted as lynchpins in maintaining British naval supremacy on the Atlantic and its connected seas.[95][96][97][98][99] As, until the end of the First World War, it was presumed the only navies that might prove a threat were all of countries on, or off, the Atlantic, no Imperial fortress was established in the Pacific or Indian Oceans, to which power would be extended from Bermuda and Malta following the completion of the Panama and Suez canals. Local-service military reserve units were raised in some of the Imperial fortresses (notably Bermuda and Malta), which could be embodied for full time service in war time to reinforce the regular garrisons, and these were funded by the War Office as part of the British Army. After the First World War, the growing belligerence and naval power of the Japanese Empire led to the construction of the Singapore Naval Base. The regular British Armed Forces otherwise were distributed around the world where required to guard against invasion or rebellion, reinforced in some colonies by locally raised reserve forces. In colonies where there was no strategic requirement, regular forces were rarely stationed, with local governments encouraged to maintain and fund military reserve units as contributions to their own defence (although these units were ultimately under the control of the national, i.e. British, Government via the colonial Governors as defence is not a competency that has been delegated to local governments). Under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, and with the steady reduction of both the British Empire and the British Armed Forces over the decades that followed the Second World War, the significance of the three remaining Imperial fortresses (military control of Halifax having passed to the new Dominion government following the 1867 Confederation of Canada, and naval control transferred in 1905 to what was to become the Royal Canadian Navy) rapidly faded. The Bermuda-based North America and West Indies Station was abolished in 1956, and the last regular army units removed from the Bermuda Command in 1957 (leaving only two part-time reserve units), with the naval dockyard in Bermuda reduced to a base,[100] without repair or refit capabilities, in 1951 and finally closed in 1995, following the Cold War (United States and Canadian bases in Bermuda closed in the same period), leaving only the Royal Bermuda Regiment and the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps there today.[101] Malta became independent in 1964, and the last British armed forces personnel were removed from the former colony in 1979. Gibraltar continues to be used by the regular British Armed Forces, though the naval and military establishment in the colony (now termed a British Overseas Territory) has been reduced to several Royal Naval patrol craft, the locally raised Royal Gibraltar Regiment, and a Royal Air Force Station without aircraft based on it.

The British Armed Forces today maintain a number of overseas garrisons and military facilities which enable the country to conduct operations worldwide. The majority of Britain's permanent military installations are located on British Overseas Territories (BOTs) or former colonies which retain close diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom, and located in areas of strategic importance.[13] The most significant of these are the "Permanent Joint Operating Bases" (PJOBs), located on the four overseas territories of Cyprus (British Forces Cyprus), Gibraltar (British Forces Gibraltar), the Falkland Islands (British Forces South Atlantic Islands) and Diego Garcia (British Forces British Indian Ocean Territories).[102] While not a PJOB, Ascension Island (another BOT) is home to the airbase RAF Ascension Island, notable for use as a staging post during the 1982 Falklands War, the territory is also the site of a joint UK-US signals intelligence facility.[13]

Qatar is home to RAF Al Udeid, a Royal Air Force outpost at Al Udeid Air Base which serves as the operational headquarters for No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group and its operations across the Middle East.[103] A large Royal Navy Naval Support Facility (NSF) is located in Bahrain, established in 2016 it marks the British return East of Suez.[104] In support of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), the United Kingdom retains a naval repair and logistics support facility at Sembawang wharf, Singapore.[13][105] Other overseas military installations include; British Forces Brunei,[106] British Forces Germany,[107] the British Army Training Unit Kenya,[108] British Army Training Unit Suffield in Canada,[109] British Army Training and Support Unit Belize, and British Gurkhas Nepal.[110]

Some British Overseas Territories also maintain locally raised units and regiments; The Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Falkland Islands Defence Force, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, the Royal Montserrat Defence Force, the Cayman Islands Regiment, and the Turks and Caicos Regiment. Though their primary mission is "home defence", individuals have volunteered for operational duties. The Royal Bermuda Regiment is an amalgam of the Bermuda Militia Artillery (which had been part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery) and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps,[111] raised in the 1890s as Imperial forces funded by the War Office as part of the British Army,[112] and both antecedent units sent contingents to the Western Front during the First World War. They also sent contingents that served in North-Western Europe, and Italy and North Africa during the Second World War. The Royal Gibraltar Regiment mobilised section-sized units for attachment to British regiments deployed during the Iraq War.[113][114] The Isle of Man, a Crown dependency hosts a multi-capability recruiting and training unit of the British Army Reserve.[115]

Since 1969 Britain has had a military satellite communications system, Skynet, initially in large part to support East of Suez bases and deployments. Since 2015 Skynet has offered near global coverage.[116]

Expeditionary forces

The British Armed Forces place significant importance in the ability to conduct expeditionary warfare.[66] While the armed forces are expeditionary in nature, it maintains a core of "high readiness" forces trained and equipped to deploy at very short notice, these include; the Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) (Royal Navy), 3 Commando Brigade (Royal Marines), and 16 Air Assault Brigade (British Army). Frequently, these forces will act as part of a larger tri-service effort, under the direction of Permanent Joint Headquarters, or along with like-minded allies under the Joint Expeditionary Force. Similarly, under the auspices of NATO, such expeditionary forces are designed to meet Britain's obligations to the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and other NATO operations.

In 2010, the governments of the United Kingdom and France signed the Lancaster House Treaties which committed both governments to the creation of a Franco-British Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.[117] It is envisaged as a deployable joint force, for use in a wide range of crisis scenarios, up to and including high intensity combat operations. As a joint force it involves all three armed Services: a land component composed of formations at national brigade level, maritime and air components with their associated Headquarters, together with logistics and support functions.[118]

The Armed Forces

Royal Navy

HMS Queen Elizabeth, a Queen Elizabeth-class supercarrier on sea trials in June 2017

The Royal Navy is a technologically sophisticated naval force,[119] and as of May 2024 consists of 66 commissioned ships with an additional 13 support vessels of various types operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Command of deployable assets is exercised by the Fleet Commander of the Naval Service.[120] Personnel matters are the responsibility of the Second Sea Lord/Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command, an appointment usually held by a vice-admiral.[121]

The Surface Fleet consists of aircraft carriers, amphibious warfare ships, destroyers, frigates, patrol vessels, mine-countermeasure vessels, and other miscellaneous vessels. The Surface Fleet has been structured around a single fleet since the abolition of the Eastern and Western fleets in 1971.[122] The recently built Type 45 destroyers are stealthy and technologically advanced air-defence destroyers. The Royal Navy has commissioned two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, embarking an air-group including the advanced fifth-generation multi-role fighter, the F-35B Lightning.[123]

A submarine service has existed within the Royal Navy for more than 100 years. The Submarine Service's four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered submarines carry Trident II ballistic missiles, forming the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent. Seven Astute-class nuclear-powered fleet (attack) submarines have been ordered, with five completed and two under construction. The Astute class are the most advanced and largest fleet submarines ever built for the Royal Navy and will maintain Britain's nuclear-powered submarine fleet capabilities for decades to come.

Royal Marines

The Royal Marines are the Royal Navy's amphibious troops. Consisting of a single manoeuvre brigade (3 Commando) and various independent units, the Royal Marines specialise in amphibious, arctic, and mountain warfare.[124] Contained within 3 Commando Brigade are three attached army units; 383 Commando Petroleum Troop RLC, 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, a field artillery regiment based in Plymouth, and 24 Commando Regiment Royal Engineers.[125] The Commando Logistic Regiment consists of personnel from the Army, Royal Marines, and Royal Navy.[126]

British Army

The British Army is the land force of the British Armed Forces, and is made up of the Regular Army and the part-time Army Reserve. The Army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff, a four-star general within Army Headquarters, based at Andover.[127]

Sky Sabre (with Land Ceptor missiles) ground-based air defence system as operated by 7th Air Defence Group.

Deployable combat formations are;[128][129]

Boxer mechanised infantry vehicle (MIV) with remote weapon station (RWS).

The Infantry of the British Army has a strength of 48 battalions (32 regular and 16 reserve), structured under 17 unique regiments.[131] These battalions are trained and equipped for specific roles within their respective Brigade Combat Teams (BCT); Light Infantry, such as the famous 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, within the 4th Light Brigade Combat Team, fight on foot without armoured vehicles; Light Mechanised Infantry, such as the 1st Battalion Royal Yorkshire Regiment, within the 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team, operate the Foxhound protected mobility vehicle; Armoured Infantry (to become Heavy Mechanised Infantry under Future Soldier), such as the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, within the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade Combat Team, operate the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), but will be equipped with the new Boxer mechanised infantry vehicle from 2024.[132][129][133]

2PARA on a live fire exercise operating the Javelin anti-tank guided missile, GPMG, and GMG from a RWMIK.

The four battalions of the Parachute Regiment, forming 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and part of Special Forces Support Group, are the British Army's elite airborne infanteers, held at high readiness and specialising in rapid deployment by parachute and helicopter, widely regarded as the "fittest, most aggressive, resilient and disciplined regiment in the British Army."[134][135][136][137]

The Royal Armoured Corps provides the armoured capability of the British Army. The Royal Tank Regiment, Queen's Royal Hussars and Royal Wessex Yeomanry (of the Army Reserve) operate Challenger 2 main battle tanks, which are being upgraded to Challenger 3, and are part of 3rd (UK) Division's Armoured Brigade Combat Teams. Armoured Cavalry regiments, such as the Royal Dragoon Guards, currently operate the Warrior IFV on an interim basis, until Ajax reaches full operating capability. There are six Light Cavalry regiments (three Regular + three Reserve) equipped with the Jackal 2 and Coyote TSV, tasked with providing reconnaissance and fire support. The Household Cavalry, made up of the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals, operate in a dual role of Armoured Cavalry and Mounted Ceremonial on Horse Guards in London, and for state occasions.[138][139][140][129][141]

Royal Air Force

The Eurofighter Typhoon multirole combat aircraft

The Royal Air Force has a large operational fleet that fulfils various roles, consisting of both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.[142] Frontline aircraft are controlled by Air Command, which is organised into five groups defined by function: 1 Group (Air Combat), 2 Group (Air Support), 11 Group (Air and Space operations),[143] 22 Group (training aircraft and ground facilities) and 38 Group (Royal Air Force's Engineering, Logistics, Communications and Medical Operations units).[143] In addition 83 Expeditionary Air Group directs formations in the Middle East and the 38 Group combines the expeditionary combat support and combat service support units of the RAF. Deployable formations consist of Expeditionary Air Wings and squadrons—the basic unit of the Air Force.[144][145] Independent flights are deployed to facilities in Brunei, the Falkland Islands, Iraq, and the United States.[146]

The Royal Air Force operates multi-role and single-role fighters, reconnaissance and patrol aircraft, tankers, transports, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and various types of training aircraft.[147]

Ground units are also maintained by the Royal Air Force, most prominently the RAF Police and the Royal Air Force Regiment (RAF Regt). The Royal Air Force Regiment essentially functions as the ground defence force of the RAF, optimised for the specialist role of fighting on and around forward airfields, which are densely packed with operationally vital aircraft, equipment, infrastructure and personnel.[148] The Regiment contains nine regular squadrons, supported by five squadrons of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment. In addition, it provides Forward Air Controllers to defence as well as a contribution to the Special Forces Support Group.[149][150]

Ministry of Defence

RFA Argus (left), the fleet's aviation training and hospital ship

The Ministry of Defence maintains a number of civilian agencies in support of the British Armed Forces. Although they are civilian, they play a vital role in supporting Armed Forces operations, and in certain circumstances are under military discipline:


A newly qualified Royal Marine of 122 Troop Kings Squad is pictured during a passing out parade in 2011, having undergone the recruitment process and selection and training

All three services of the British Armed Forces recruit primarily from within the United Kingdom, although citizens from the Commonwealth of Nations and the Republic of Ireland are equally eligible to join.[151] The minimum recruitment age is 16 years (although personnel may not serve on armed operations below 18 years, and if under 18 must also have parental consent to join); the maximum recruitment age depends whether the application is for a regular or reserve role; there are further variations in age limit for different corps/regiments. The normal term of engagement is 22 years; however, the minimum service required before resignation is 4 years, plus, in the case of the Army, any service person below the age of 18.[152] At present, the yearly intake into the armed forces is 11,880 (per the 12 months to 31 March 2014).[153]

Excluding the Brigade of Gurkhas and the Royal Irish Regiment, as of 1 April 2014 there are approximately 11,200 Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) persons serving as Regulars across the three service branches; of those, 6,610 were recruited from outside the United Kingdom. In total, Black and Minority Ethnic persons represent 7.1% of all service personnel, an increase from 6.6% in 2010.[153]

Since the year 2000, sexual orientation has not been a factor considered in recruitment, and homosexuals can serve openly in the armed forces. All branches of the forces have actively recruited at Gay Pride events.[154][155] The forces keep no formal figures concerning the number of gay and lesbian serving soldiers, saying that the sexual orientation of personnel is considered irrelevant and not monitored.[156]

Role of women

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, April 1945

Women have been part of the armed forces, on and off, for centuries, more fully integrated since the early 1990s, including flying fast jets and commanding warships or artillery batteries. As of 1 April 2014, there were approximately 15,840 women serving in the armed forces, representing 9.9% of all service personnel.[153] The first female military pilot was Flight Lieutenant Julie Ann Gibson while Flight Lieutenant Jo Salter was the first fast-jet pilot, the latter flying a Tornado GR1 on missions patrolling the then Northern Iraqi No-Fly Zone.[157] Flight Lieutenant Juliette Fleming and Squadron Leader Nikki Thomas recently[when?] were the first Tornado GR4 crew.[158] While enforcing the Libyan No-Fly Zone, Flight Lieutenant Helen Seymour was identified as the first female Eurofighter Typhoon pilot.[159]

In August 2011, it was announced that a female lieutenant commander, Sarah West, was to command the frigate HMS Portland.[160] In July 2016, it was announced that women would be allowed to serve in close combat, starting with the Royal Armoured Corps.[161] In July 2017, the Secretary of Defence announced that women would be allowed to enlist in the RAF Regiment from September 2017, a year ahead of schedule.[162] In 2018, women were allowed to apply for all roles in the British military, including the special forces.[163] As of 11 August 2022, the most senior serving woman is three-star Lieutenant General Dame Sharon Nesmith.


See also


  1. ^ National Service ended in 1960, though periods of deferred service still had to be completed. The last national servicemen were discharged in 1963.
  2. ^ The current structure of defence management in Britain was set in place in 1964 when the modern day Ministry of Defence (MoD) was created (an earlier form had existed since 1940). The MoD assumed the roles of the Admiralty, the War Office and the Air Ministry
  3. ^ Other Personnel includes personnel of the Military Provost Guard Service, Regular Reserves called up for duty and the Sponsored Reserves.[74]


  1. ^ "National Service". UK Parliament. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Quarterly service personnel statistics 1 January 2024". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  3. ^ "UK defence spending". 3 May 2024. Retrieved 4 May 2024.
  4. ^ "Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2014-2024)" (PDF). 17 June 2024. Retrieved 18 June 2024.
  5. ^ a b "TIV of arms imports/exports data for United Kingdom, 2010-2021". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 7 February 2022.
  6. ^ The Mission of the Armed Forces Archived 2 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  7. ^ a b Acts of Union 1707 Archived 29 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 31 December 2010; Uniting the kingdom? Archived 8 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 31 December 2010; Making the Act of Union 1707 Archived 11 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 31 December 2010
  8. ^ a b Johnston, Douglas M.; Reisman, W. Michael (2008). The Historical Foundations of World Order. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN 978-9047423935., pp. 508–10.
  9. ^ a b Forces Queen and Armed Forces Archived 22 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine,
  10. ^ a b [1], May 2023. Retrieved on 24 November 2023.
  11. ^ Governance of Britain, July 2007. Retrieved on 12 May 2013.
  12. ^ Review of the Royal Prerogative Powers: Final Report, Ministry of Justice, October 2009. Retrieved on 12 May 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d "The Status and Location of the Military Installations of the Member States of the European Union" (PDF). Policy Department External Policies: 13–14. February 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  14. ^ "NAVAL AND MILITARY PENSIONS AND GRANTS", Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), vol. 90, cc248-51, 12 February 1917, archived from the original on 21 May 2022, retrieved 8 June 2021
  16. ^ Major H. G. Hart, 49TH REGT (1854), THE NEW ANNUAL ARMY LIST, MILITIA LIST, London: John Murray{{citation}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "MILITIA BILL. House of Commons Debate 23 April 1852. Volume 120 cc1035-109. British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 23 April 1852. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  18. ^ "THE MILITIA. House of Commons Debate 4 May 1855. Volume 138 cc116-32. British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 4 May 1855. Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  19. ^ "THE MILITIA—QUESTION. House of Lords Debate 11 July 1856. Volume 143 cc625-32. British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 11 July 1856. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  20. ^ "ARMY—AUXILIARY FORCES—THE MILITIA.—OBSERVATIONS. House of Commons Debate 13 June 1878. Volume 240 cc1418-33. British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 13 June 1878. Archived from the original on 23 May 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  21. ^ a b The Militia Artillery 1852-1909, by Norman EH Litchfield. The Sherwood Press (Nottingham) Ltd. 1987
  22. ^ "AN IMPERIAL YEOMANRY RESERVE. House of Lords Debate 26 May 1903. Vol 122 cc1767-71. British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 26 May 1903. Archived from the original on 16 August 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  23. ^ Bermuda Forts 1612–1957, Dr. Edward Cecil Harris, The Bermuda Maritime Museum Press, ISBN 0-921560-11-7
  24. ^ Bulwark Of Empire: Bermuda's Fortified Naval Base 1860–1920, Lt.-Col. Roger Willock, USMC, The Bermuda Maritime Museum Press, The Bermuda Maritime Museum. ISBN 978-0-921560-00-5
  25. ^ "1988 Military Uniforms of Bermuda, By Neil Rigby on November 10, 1988 in First Day Covers, Queen Elizabeth II. Bermuda Stamps website". Archived from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  26. ^ Jamaica Defence Force: Third Battalion Duties. Jamaica Defence Force website
  27. ^ "Jamaica in 1914: War effort The National Archives, Kew". Archived from the original on 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  28. ^ "Unit History: Department of the Master-General of the Ordnance. Forces War Records". Archived from the original on 5 October 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  29. ^ Board of Ordnance. Naval History Archive[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ Leslie, J. H. (1925). "The Honorable the Board of Ordnance. 1299—1855". Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. 4 (17): 100–104. JSTOR 44220102.
  31. ^ Corps of Royal Engineers. National Army Museum
  32. ^ The Army Book For The British Empire, by Lieutenant-General WH Goodenough, Royal Artillery, CB, and Lieutenant-Colonel JC Dalton (HP), Royal Artillery, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. 1893.
  33. ^ "THE ARMY ESTIMATES. House of Commons Debate 15 March 1895. Vol 31 cc1157-209. British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 15 March 1895. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  34. ^ Hart's Annual Army List, Special Reserve List, and Territorial Force List, for 1911: (Being the Seventy-Second Annual Volume,) Containing Dates of Commissions, and a Summary of the War Services of Nearly Every Officer in the Army, Supply &c. Departments, Marines, and Indian Army, and Indian Local Forces. With an Index. By the late Lieutenant general H. G. Hart. John Murray, Albemarle Street, London. 1911
  35. ^ "THE TERRITORIAL FORCES ACT—THE MILITIA. House of Lords Debate 18 February 1908. Volume 184 cc578-605. British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 18 February 1908. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  36. ^ "BRITISH ARMY.—HOME AND COLONIAL MILITARY FORCES. House of Commons Debate 9 April 1913. Volume 51 cc1196-8W. British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 9 April 1913. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  37. ^ The British Guiana Volunteer Force. Stabroek News. 1 October, 2008
  38. ^ "Batteries, Companies, Regiments and Corps (Land): Defending the colony, Colonial Forces Study Group (Queensland) Inc". Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  39. ^ History of The Coast Artillery in the British Army, by Colonel KW Maurice-Jones, DSO, RA. Royal Artillery Institution. 1959
  40. ^ "Bermuda in 1914 The National Archives, Kew". Archived from the original on 17 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  41. ^ The Quarterly Army List Part I, January 1945. Order of Precedence of the British Army. Page xiii. His Majesty's Stationery Office
  42. ^ "ARMY ESTIMATES, 1899–1900. House of Commons Debate 17 March 1899. Vol 68 cc1161-287 British Parliament website". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 17 March 1899. Archived from the original on 16 August 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  43. ^ Nelson's Navy: The Ships, Men, and Organization, 1793-1815Brian Lavery
  44. ^ Brison D. Gooch, Recent Literature on Queen Victoria's Little Wars Victorian Studies, 17#2 (1973): 217-224 online.
  45. ^ a b Keay, John (2010). India: A History (revised ed.). New York, NY: Grove Press. pp. 418–9. ISBN 978-0-8021-4558-1.
  46. ^ Schmidt, Karl J. (1995). An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History. M.E. Sharpe. p. 74. ISBN 978-1563243332.
  47. ^ Hew Strachan, Hew (1978). "Soldiers, Strategy and Sebastopol". Historical Journal. 21 (2): 303–325. doi:10.1017/s0018246x00000558. JSTOR 2638262. S2CID 154085359.
  48. ^ a b Lambert, Andrew. "The Crimean War". The BBC - History. The BBC. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  49. ^ Herwig p. 48–50
  50. ^ Willmott, H.P. (2003), World War I, New York: Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 978-0-7894-9627-0, OCLC 52541937
  51. ^ Mallinson, Allan (2009). The Making of the British Army. Bantam Press. ISBN 978-0-593-05108-5.
  52. ^ "Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2014–2015 p. 38". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  53. ^ Colman (2005), A 'Special Relationship'?: Harold Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Anglo-American Relations' at the Summit', 1964–68, p77
  54. ^ a b Focus on Europe Archived 22 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  55. ^ Johnman & Gorst (1997), The Suez Crisis, p166
  56. ^ Lider (1985), British Military Thought After World War II, p525
  57. ^ Lee (1996), Aspects of British Political History 1914–1995, 273
  58. ^ Pierre (1972), Nuclear Politics: the British experience with an independent strategic force: 1939–1970, p100
  59. ^ Hack (2000), Defence and Decolonisation in South-East Asia: Britain, Malaya, Singapore, 1941–1968, p285
  60. ^ Chandler & Beckett (2003), p345
  61. ^ a b Vanguard to Trident 1945–2000 Archived 10 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  62. ^ Kennedy (2004), British Naval Strategy East of Suez, 1900–2000: Influence and Actions, p193
  63. ^ Chandler & Beckett (2003), p421
  64. ^ a b Chandler & Beckett (2003), pp350–351
  65. ^ Gibran, Daniel K. (1998). The Falklands War : Britain versus the past in the South Atlantic. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. p. 161. ISBN 978-0786404063.
  66. ^ a b Hyde-Price, Adrian (Professor) (9 January 2007). European Security in the Twenty-First Century: The Challenge of Multipolarity. Routledge. p. Chapter - Britain, France and the multipolar challenge. ISBN 978-1134164400. Retrieved 26 June 2016. Professor of International Politics, Adrian Hyde-Price, highlights that in the post-Cold War era both Britain and France have re-focused their attention "towards expeditionary warfare and power projection. Power projection has always been an element of British and French military thinking given their residual over seas interests, but it has now moved centre stage."
  67. ^ Frantzen (2005), Nato And Peace Support Operations, 1991–1999: Policies And Doctrines, p104
  68. ^ "2015 to 2020 government policy: Military Aid to the Civil Authorities for activities in the UK". GOV.UK. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  69. ^ "COVID Response Becomes Military's 'Biggest Homeland Operation In Peacetime'". BFBS. 4 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  70. ^ UK Armed Forces Deaths: Operational deaths post World War II 3 September 1945 to 17 February 2016 Archived 11 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Ministry of Defence,, Published 31 March 2016
  71. ^ "Whose hand is on the button?". BBC. 2 December 2008. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  72. ^ MOD civilian personnel quarterly report: 2015 Archived 11 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine,, 1 October 2015
  73. ^ Hansard (1998), House of Commons Written Answers Archived 17 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine,
  74. ^ a b c d [2]. UK Armed Forces: Quarterly Service Personnel Statistics. 1 July 2023. MoD. Published 17 September 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  75. ^ MoD – reserves and cadet strengths Archived 8 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, table 4 page 13. See note 2. April 2014.
  76. ^ – Quarterly Location Statistics Archived 6 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine, 1 October 2017
  77. ^ a b "Trends in World Military expenditure 2023" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2024.
  78. ^ RUSI Briefing Paper Archived 16 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Is the UK Defence Budget Crisis Really Over?. Malcolm Chalmers. Published September 2011, p. 18
  79. ^ "UK announces rapid strike forces, more warships in new defence plan". Reuters. 23 November 2015. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  80. ^ "PM pledges £178 billion investment in defence kit". Ministry of Defence. 23 November 2015. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  81. ^ "Rishi Sunak: China represents challenge to world order". BBC News. 13 March 2023. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
  82. ^ a b Royal Navy – Continuous at sea deterrent Archived 9 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine,, Accessed 6 December 2014
  83. ^ "The Future United Kingdom Strategic Deterrent Force" (PDF). The Defence Council. July 1980. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  84. ^ House of Commons Hansard - Written Statements - Nuclear Deterrent Archived 17 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine,, 20 January 2015
  85. ^ "MPS vote to renew Trident weapons system - BBC News". BBC News Online. 19 July 2016. Archived from the original on 18 July 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  86. ^ "The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. 4 December 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 December 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  87. ^ Harris, Edward C. (1997). Bermuda Forts 1612–1957. Bermuda: The Bermuda Maritime Museum Press. ISBN 9780921560111.
  88. ^ Sir Henry Hardinge, MP for Launceston (22 March 1839). "SUPPLY—ARMY ESTIMATES". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Vol. 46. Parliament of the United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 1141–1142.
  89. ^ Kennedy, R.N., Captain W. R. (1 July 1885). "An Unknown Colony: Sport, Travel and Adventure in Newfoundland and the West Indies". Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh, Scotland, and 37 Paternoster Row, London, England. p. 111.
  90. ^ VERAX, (anonymous) (1 May 1889). "The Defense of Canada. (From Colburn's United Service Magazine)". The United Service: A Quarterly Review of Military and Naval Affairs. LR Hamersly & Co., 1510 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; subsequently LR Hamersly, 49 Wall Street, New York City, New York, USA; BF Stevens & Brown, 4 Trafalgar Square, London, England. p. 552.
  91. ^ Dawson, George M.; Sutherland, Alexander (1898). MacMillan's Geographical Series: Elementary Geography of the British Colonies. London: MacMillan and Co., Limited, London, England, UK; The MacMillan Company, New York City, New York, USA. p. 184.
  92. ^ Willock USMC, Lieutenant-Colonel Roger (1988). Bulwark Of Empire: Bermuda's Fortified Naval Base 1860–1920. Bermuda: The Bermuda Maritime Museum Press. ISBN 9780921560005.
  93. ^ Gordon, Donald Craigie (1965). The Dominion Partnership in Imperial Defense, 1870-1914. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: Johns Hopkins Press. p. 14.
  94. ^ MacFarlane, Thomas (1891). Within the Empire; An Essay on Imperial Federation. Ottawa: James Hope & Co., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. p. 29.
  95. ^ "Attack on Baltimore launched from Bermuda in 'War of 1812'". Atlas Communications. 2005. Archived from the original on 3 October 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  96. ^ The Andrew and The Onions: The Story of The Royal Navy in Bermuda, 1795–1975, by Lieutenant-Commander B. Ian D. Stranack. Bermuda Maritime Museum Press
  97. ^ "Bermuda Online: British Army in Bermuda from 1701 to 1977; 1881 to 1883". Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  98. ^ Harris, Dr. Edward Cecil (21 January 2012). "Bermuda's role in the Sack of Washington". The Royal Gazette. City of Hamilton, Pembroke, Bermuda. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  99. ^ Grove, Tim (22 January 2021). "Fighting The Power". Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Annapolis: Chesapeake Bay Media, LLC. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  100. ^ Stranack, Royal Navy, Lieutenant-Commander B. Ian D (1977). The Andrew and The Onions: The Story of The Royal Navy in Bermuda, 1795–1975. Bermuda: Island Press Ltd. ISBN 9780921560036.
  101. ^ "World Heritage List: Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda". UNESCO. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  102. ^ "Permanent Joint Operating Bases (PJOBs)". Government of the United Kingdom. 12 December 2012. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016.
  103. ^ "UK and Qatar sign pact to combat jihadis and cyber warfare". Financial Times. 2 November 2014. Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  104. ^ "Royal Navy's new Bahrain base seriously enhances Britain's ability to defend the Gulf". The Telegraph. 10 November 2016. Archived from the original on 17 November 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  105. ^ Navy News (Magazine). United Kingdom: Royal Navy. June 2011. p. 11 Eastern Outpost. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2016. ("The White Ensign is still flying above the operations of Naval Party 1022 (NP1022), based at Sembawang Wharves in Singapore.")
  106. ^ "The British Army in Brunei". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  107. ^ "The British Army in Germany". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  108. ^ "The British Army in Africa". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  109. ^ "The British Army in Canada". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  110. ^ "British Gurkhas Nepal". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 4 July 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  111. ^ Ingham-Hind, Jennifer M. (1992). Defence, Not Defiance: A History Of The Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps. Bermuda: The Island Press. ISBN 0969651716.
  112. ^ Maurice-Jones, Colonel (1959). History of The Coast Artillery in the British Army. UK: Royal Artillery Institution. ISBN 1781491151.
  113. ^ "The Royal Gibraltar Regiment". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  114. ^ "More soldiers from Royal Gibraltar Regiment in overseas duties in regiment's history". Gibraltar Panorama. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  115. ^ "British Army opens first reserve unit opens on Isle of Man since 1968". BBC News. October 2015. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  116. ^ "Skynet in Australia". Defence Connect. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  117. ^ Wintour, Patrick (2 November 2010). "Britain and France sign landmark 50-year defence deal". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  118. ^ "Tuesday 2 November 2010 UK–France Summit 2010 Declaration on Defence and Security Co-operation". Archived from the original on 5 July 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  119. ^ "Royal Navy". Archived from the original on 30 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  120. ^ Fleet Command and Organisation Archived 2 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  121. ^ [3] Archived 14 May 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  122. ^ Hampshire (1975), The Royal Navy Since 1945: its transition to the nuclear age, p248
  123. ^ "MoD confirms £3.8bn carrier order". BBC News. 25 July 2007. Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  124. ^ BBC News (19 March 2002), "UK's mountain warfare elite". Archived 21 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  125. ^ "The Commando Role for 1 RIFLER". The British Army. 30 January 2007. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007.
  126. ^ "Commando Logistic Regiment: About the Regiment". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 14 May 2005.
  127. ^ "Command Structure". The British Army. Archived from the original on 16 December 2023.
  128. ^ "Formations, Divisions & Brigades". The British Army. Archived from the original on 16 December 2023.
  129. ^ a b c "Future Soldier: Transforming the British Army". GOV.UK. 25 November 2021. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  130. ^ a b c "Army restructures to confront evolving threats". GOV.UK. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  131. ^ "UK armed forces equipment and formations 2023". GOV.UK. 21 September 2023. Archived from the original on 3 January 2024.
  132. ^ "Infantry". The British Army. Archived from the original on 12 December 2023.
  133. ^ ERR, Joakim Klementi | (23 October 2023). "Brigade assigned to Estonia likely to be one of British Army's strongest". ERR. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  134. ^ Betts, Nick (9 January 2019). "Inside the Parachute Regiment, 'the last outpost for hard men willing to do bad things to bad people'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  135. ^ "The Parachute Regiment | National Army Museum". Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  136. ^ "Special Forces Support Group | SFSG". Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  137. ^ "BBC Four - Regimental Stories, The Parachute Regiment, An Introduction to The Parachute Regiment". BBC. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  138. ^ "Ceremonial". Household Cavalry. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  139. ^ "The Royal Dragoon Guards | National Army Museum". Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  140. ^ "Squadrons". Royal Tank Regiment. 9 September 2020. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  141. ^ "Royal Armoured Corps". The British Army. Archived from the original on 15 December 2023.
  142. ^ Nick Harvey, Minister of State for the Armed Forces (31 January 2012). "Military Aircraft". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  143. ^ a b "RAF – Structure". Archived from the original on 21 February 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
  144. ^ Transforming the Royal Air Force Archived 10 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  145. ^ Royal Air Force Squadrons, Archived 19 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  146. ^ Aircraft Order of Battle, Scramble (magazine) Archived 30 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  147. ^ Royal Air Force – Equipment Archived 17 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  148. ^ The Royal Air Force Regiment, Archived 5 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  149. ^ "Forward Air Controllers | British FAC | JTAC". Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  150. ^ "Immersive Close Air Support Simulator delivered to British military -". UPI. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  151. ^ Evans (2005), How British Army is fast becoming foreign legion Archived 29 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine,
  152. ^ BBC News (6 January 2007), "Recruitment Age for Army Raised". Archived 8 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  153. ^ a b c UK Armed Forces Quarterly Personnel Report Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine,, 1 April 2014
  154. ^ "Army marches with Pride parade". BBC News. 27 August 2005. Archived from the original on 18 February 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  155. ^ "The LGBT community in the Armed Forces". London Gay Pride official website. 11 June 2008. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  156. ^ Leake, Jonathan; Philip Cardy (28 August 2005). "Army on parade for gay recruits". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  157. ^ Haynes, Deborah (23 May 2009). "The Top Gun girl and the Tornado fast jet". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  158. ^ Tornados and Taliban are all in a day's work Archived 13 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. This is Devon (29 December 2009). Retrieved on 24 August 2013.
  159. ^ Collins, Nick (24 March 2011). "First woman to fly Typhoon enforces no-fly-zone". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 11 February 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  160. ^ "Royal Navy appoints first female warship commander". BBC News. 8 August 2011. Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  161. ^ "Ban on women in ground close combat roles lifted". UK Ministry of Defence. 8 July 2016. Archived from the original on 9 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  162. ^ "RAF opens close combat role to women ahead of schedule". UK Ministry of Defence. 13 July 2017. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  163. ^ Lizzie Dearden Home Affairs Correspondent @lizziedearden. "Women now allowed to apply for Royal Marines and all other frontline military roles, defence secretary announces". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.