Armed Forces of the United Kingdom
Profile of the United Kingdom Armed Forces
Along with Russia and France, the United Kingdom has
one of the largest and most powerful military forces in Europe.
Officially known as the Armed Forces of the Crown,
they are charged with ensuring the security of the United
Kingdom and its territories overseas, in addition to supporting
international peacekeeping missions.
Despite its wide ranging capabilites, as well as possessing
the second largest navy in the world, Britain's
armed forces are only the 26th largest globally in terms
of troop strength. To compensate, the United Kingdom
is one of the biggest spenders of military science and advanced
weapons technology, second only to the US Army. As a result, it fields the most technologically
advanced and best trained military.
The Armed Forces of the the United Kingdom consists of
three branches: the Naval Service (which includes the Royal Navy and
Royal Marines), the Army, and the Royal
Air Force (RAF). While the British monarch
is their Commander-in-Chief, the British constitution gives
the Prime Minister authority over the armed forces.
Being an island nation, it's no surprise that the
Royal Navy is called the “Senior Service”; it's
the oldest service in the British Armed Forces. Structured
around a single fleet, the Royal Navy (including the Submarine
Service and Fleet Air Arm) has over 39,000 personnel and
90 commissioned warships.
The Royal Marines, the infantry unit of the Naval Service,
specialize in amphibious assault, arctic warfare, and alpine
warfare. They also provide special reinforcement for NATO.
Army possesses many diverse capabilities such as air
assault, armored and mechanized infantry. This is reflected
in their numerous deployments to many of the world's
hotspots. The Special Forces provide rapid military responses
especially where a covert approach is required. The
core of the army is made up of 50 regular and territorial
infantry battalions, supported by reserve forces.
The Royal Air Force has a large active fleet of both fixed-wing
and rotary aircraft. Its mission is to “produce a
battle-winning agile air force”. The RAF is made up
of squadrons of Expeditionary Air Wings (EAW); the EAW enable
the RAF to operate as a cohesive unit, transitioning quickly
between missions and deploying swiftly on operations.
Overhauling the Military
In 2003, Britain went through a major overhaul of its armed
forces. In addition to opting for more high-tech weaponry,
the Armed Forces also provided a modern living and
working environment, with high quality military
wall lockers and barracks for hundreds for its personnel.