The UK Ministry of Defense has published the Defense Equipment Plan 2022-2032, which is more stringent than the one published last year, as a result of the current unfavorable economic situation in the UK.
This is the tenth annual summary of the UK Ministry of Defense’s plans, which forecasts the future procurement strategy for weapons systems for the next ten years. The equipment investment plan for this year shows a deepening trend towards modernization, but with austerity, and in search of maximizing existing resources, compared to the plan presented last year.
Summary of the Equipment Plan 2022-2032
In January this year, the ninth and final Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA 1 maritime patrol aircraft and anti-submarine warfare aircraft arrived on British soil. From 11 April, the RAF has assumed responsibility for providing all Poseidon Weapons System training from RAF Lossiemouth, where all nine P-8As operate.
On June 30, the Poseidon MRA 1 fleet reached “temporary capacity” and is expected to achieve full operational capacity by 2024.
E-7 widget AEW Mk1
The program is currently in manufacturing stage With two Wedgetail aircraft being modified at STS Aviation’s facility at Birmingham Airport. The third aircraft will arrive at STS Aviation in July this year.
Due to inflation affecting all countries, there is a general rise in costs across the programme, affecting construction, the procurement of aircraft parts, and exacerbated by uncertainties in exchange rates.
Final costs for the Wedgetail program will be announced during the second quarter of 2023. From the UK Ministry of Defense, they hope that the announcement of the US intent to acquire the E-7, to replace the E-3 AWACS, helps keep program costs within limits. sustainable.
F-35B Lightning II
Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35B fighters (short take-off and vertical landing version) will continue to be purchased to form the 809th Naval Air Squadron by 2023 and 2024. The aim is to launch two air wings by March 2025, aboard the aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is in the process of modernizing its fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon fighters. The mentioned program covers aircraft of tranches 2 and 3. The oldest tranche 1 will be deprogrammed, as it is considered uneconomical to update it.
Tranche 2 aircraft will receive a software and hardware update to specifically improve mechanical radar characteristics. The Tranche 3 aircraft will receive a new AESA radar, the ECRS Mk2.
The ECRS Mk2 Developed by Leonardo UK, to RAF specifications, it is described as one of the most modern and capable radars in the world.
The program is progressing at the expected pace, as a prototype undergoes ground testing and a production system design is determined. Leonardo UK will deliver the first ECRS Mk2 radar to the RAF in the coming months.
After completion of integration activity and ground tests, the new AESA system is expected to begin its trial campaign at the end of 2023.
One of the UK’s major defense programs is the next-generation combat aviation system FCAS/Tempest, to which a significant portion of its future development budget has been committed.
The program is progressing at a good pace and work is underway in the evaluation phase to define and initiate system design (it’s not just a new fighter jet, but an integrated combat system), technologies maturity, and investment in people a qualified and secure digital design infrastructure to move quickly toward the entry-in-service date, which is now targeted Year 2035.
The UK is conducting conceptual analyzes with its Japanese and Italian partners to understand areas of mutual interest and pool efforts. Work was done with Japan on advanced jet engine and sensor technologies, and collaboration with Italy was on the design of core concepts. All these actions led to the fact that he finally European FCAS/Tempest programs (UK and Italy) will be combined with Japanese FXwhich would reduce the partner’s total costs.
Royal Air Force It has already received 21 of 22 orders for the A400M to Airbus Defense and Space. behind the Early grounding of the C-130J Super Hercules fleetThe option of buying more A400Ms from Airbus was considered, but this option was finally rejected, due to lack of sufficient funds.
Instead, Air Command is developing an affordable option to improve the availability of the existing A400M Atlas fleet.
In short, the programs that the UK Ministry of Defense considers to have the greatest strategic value continue without many surprises, but some expectations have changed regarding the Defense Equipment Plan 2021-2031, especially due to the economic exit of Britain from the European Union and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the UK economy.
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