The defense is based on NATO membership. Britain's
territory is part of NATO's Northern Command, whose naval
staff is located in Northwood, London. The United Kingdom is
a nuclear power and, in addition to airborne nuclear
weapons, has four modern strategic submarines with a maximum
of 200 nuclear warheads.
A discussion was held in 2003 within the EU on a common
European defense and security policy in the formulation of
the EU's new, yet to be adopted, constitution. Germany,
France and others states stated that the transatlantic ties
are of strategic importance to NATO and thus to Europe's
defense. The United Kingdom is still strongly opposed to a
common defense but positive to its connection to the United
The UK's defense (2009) comprises approximately 160,000
personnel recruited. Large parts of these forces are located
outside the UK. The reserves amount to 200,000 people. The
army comprises about 90,000 men and has 360 modern tanks and
160 combat helicopters. The presence in Germany has
decreased from 56,000 men to 22,000. Most of the UK's ground
forces are organized in two mechanized divisions. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that GBR stands for United Kingdom.
The Navy consists of 30,000 men. The fleet has 13
submarines, of which four are nuclear weapons, and 27 are
larger fighter ships, of which two are aircraft carriers, as
well as 23 smaller fighters, seven amphibious vessels, etc.
The naval infantry of 7,000 men is organized in a command
brigade, etc. The Air Force consists of 33,000 men with 340
fighter aircraft. 114 Tornado and 62 Harrier.
In addition to the forces in Germany, Britain has smaller
forces in other NATO countries: 1,600 men stationed in
Cyprus, 550 men in Brunei, 1,500 men in the Falkland Islands
and 340 men in Gibraltar.
In Iraq, there were 11,000 men in connection with the
2003 war events. Following a decision in March 2009, all
combat tasks have been completed, and a remaining force of
about 4,000 people is undergoing long-term settlement.
The strong ties with the United States remain under the
Barack Obama administration. A decision is made to continue
operations in Afghanistan within the framework of the
UN-sanctioned ISAF mission. There are 8,300 people in
Afghanistan. This strength may increase depending on
developments in Afghanistan after the 2009 elections.
The United Kingdom participates in a number of UN
peacekeeping operations, in addition to the forces in
Afghanistan. 160 people in Serbia and Montenegro (KFOR), 260
people in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and in addition observers and
advisors in some 25 countries. The United States has
approximately 11,000 men, mainly air combat forces,
stationed in the United Kingdom.
Defense costs fell from 5.2 to 2.3% of GDP in 1985-2007.
Britain's defense overview
The UK's defense is based on enlisted personnel. The
total personnel force for Britain's armed forces is 148,350
active personnel, with a reserve of 80,000 personnel (2018,
The United Kingdom is a member of NATO.
The United Kingdom has strategic nuclear forces that
include four submarines with 48 ballistic missiles and up to
160 nuclear warheads.
The United Kingdom has a joint helicopter force for the
Army, Air Force and Marine (Joint Helicopter Command),
which includes 50 Apache combat helicopters, 55 multi-use
helicopters and 122 transport helicopters, 12 light
transport aircraft and seven medium-duty drones.
The army has a staff of 83,500, including 3100 Ghurcas.
Army heavier material comprises 227 tanks of a Challenger 2,
623 armored carriages of a warrior and 1291 armored
personnel. In addition, three landings vessels.
The Royal Air Force has a staff of 32,500 active
personnel. The equipment includes 154 fighter aircraft (137
Typhoon and 17 F-35B Lightning II), 59 training and light
fighter aircraft (Hawk), six AWACS aircraft (E-3D Sentry),
12 reconnaissance aircraft, 14 tanker and transport aircraft
(Voyager), 61 transport aircraft, 149 training aircraft,
eight helicopters and nine heavy combat drones.
The naval forces (Royal Navy) are 32,350 active
personnel, including 6600 Marines (Royal Marines). The fleet
includes 10 nuclear powered submarines (of which four
strategic of Vanguard class), one aircraft carrier of Queen
Elizabeth class, two dock landing ships of Albion class, six
destroyers of Daring class (Type 45), 13 frigate (Type 23),
22 patrol vessel, 13 minesweepers and four relief vessels.
Also under the navy is the civilian manned Royal Fleet
Auxilliary, which has around 1950 personnel, three Bay-class
docking vessels and 12 auxiliary vessels.
The Navy has its own Fleet Air Arm. Materials include 12
Hawk training and light fighter aircraft, four light
transport aircraft and 58 helicopters.
Strategic nuclear missiles of the type Trident D-5 are
deployed in four submarines of the Vanguard class.
The UK had forces in 2018 including Ascension (20
personnel), Bahrain (160 personnel, naval base), Brunei
(1000 personnel (Ghurkas), three helicopters), Cyprus (2260
personnel, 12 fighter aircraft, four helicopters), at The
Falkland Islands (1,200 personnel, four fighter aircraft),
at Gibraltar (570 personnel, two patrol boats), in Nepal (60
personnel, Ghurka training center) and in Germany (3750
In the United Kingdom, 2018 participated in NATO
operations in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support)
with 1100 personnel, in Kosovo (KFOR) with 24 personnel, and
had deployed 1015 personnel in Estonia and Poland (Enhanced
In addition, the United Kingdom participated, among
others, in the UN operations in Cyprus (UNFICYP) with 278
personnel, and had 450 personnel and combat drones deployed
in Iraq and Kuwait (Operation Shader).
In 2018, it was revealed that the right-wing Koch brothers,
billionaires from the United States, supported the radical
right wing in the UK. Over the previous years, they had
provided $ 300,000 in support to the right-wing Spiked
group. Trump's former chief adviser Steve Bannon also
frequently participates in events organized by the European
Radical Right. The US's covert intervention in Europe aims
to undermine trade, environmental and women's movements and
empower like-minded darkmen.
Although it was almost 50 years since Britain started the
war in Northern Ireland when it executed on January 30,
1972, 14 civilian protesters in the massacre known as
Bloody Sunday the wound continues to gap
open. Already in 1972, the British state decided that its
soldiers and officers had acted correctly when they killed
14 protesters. The state's money laundering continues 50
years later. In March, British Minister for Northern Ireland
Karen Bradley declared that the massacre was not a criminal
act. This happened in parallel with the prosecution - with a
delay of 50 years - investigating whether a case could be
brought against any of the soldiers responsible. The
prosecution ultimately decided that just one of the
murderers could be tried. A decision that triggered much
criticism in Northern Ireland. Another case brought similar
criticism during the same period. In 1994, a British death
squad conducted a massacre at a pub in Loughin island,
Northern Ireland, killing 6. Police later declared that
"every stone would be turned", but none of the murderers was
ever brought to trial. In 2016, a documentary about the
massacre, the responsible and the British authorities was
made. Now something happened. The two people behind the
movie were jailed. Only in 2019 were they released and
released. The court case after 30 years of British war
against Northern Ireland continues to wait.
Britain suffered a staggering international defeat in
2019 over the issue of its occupation of the Chagos
archipelago in the Indian Ocean. In February, the
International Court of Justice in The Hague issued a ruling
that Britain's occupation of foreign territory was illegal
and that the colonial power should leave the archipelago
with immediate effect. In May, the UN General Assembly voted
in favor of a resolution tabled by Mauritius ordering
Britain to follow the ruling of the International Court of
Justice. Both the United States and the United Kingdom had,
up to the vote, through extortion and persuasion, tried to
persuade the UN member states to vote against or at least
abstain. So much bigger was the defeat as 116 states voted
for the resolution and only 6 voted against: the United
States, Britain, Israel, Australia, Hungary and the
Maldives. The result clearly illustrated that the influence
of the old colonial states on the world community was on its
way out. In 1965, Britain left the largest island in the
Chagos archipelago, Diego Garcia to the United
States, who created a huge air base and has since used the
island for bombing attacks on targets in Asia and to torture
centers. The United Kingdom declined to follow both the
Court's and the General Assembly's decision, citing that it
would "worsen the security policy situation in the Indian
Ocean". Not all Brits agreed. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn
urged the government to follow the decision of the world
community. In vain.
After several polls in the British Parliament in the
spring of 2019, British Prime Minister Theresa May had to
give up on agreeing on the country's exit from the EU. She
no longer had support in her own Conservative party and had
to resign in July. The post of Conservative leader and prime
minister was taken over by Conservative EU opponent Boris
Since World War II, the British economy has been affected
by a crisis of varying strength. The international system
that British capitalism had developed within - the Empire -
had finally collapsed. Instead of trade with the colonies or
the Commonwealth, British industry had to switch to
competition with other highly industrialized countries -
notably the United States, later West Germany and Japan.
British industry slowed down. Especially because the country
had older production equipment, a lower technological level
and a working class less integrated into capitalist society.
Working class, immigrants, women
The working class in the UK is far more
independent than is the case in, for example. Scandinavia,
where it is increasingly integrated into the public sector.
Newspapers and mass media, culture, etc. are much more
characterized by being designed for the bourgeoisie alone,
and are marked by its values.
The exclusion of the working class from the public arena
in this way makes it more difficult for ideologies of
community to take root. The class divide becomes clearer. At
the same time, the class is split and does not direct its
struggle against political power, but against economic
conditions. This leads, among other things, to for
unconscious attitudes towards immigrants.
Despite being the most militant women's movement in
Britain (see the Women's Movement), women first
gained full voting rights in 1928. In many other areas,
women held a weaker position than in other Western
countries. The struggle for one's divorce opportunities
continued throughout the interwar period, as did the
struggle to guarantee women the same economic rights as men.
In the 60's and 70's, a formal progression took place.
First of all, with the relatively liberal abortion law in
1967, then with the Equality Act of 1975, and the Equal Pay
Act of 1976. However, the latter two have been largely
In the '70s, the women's movement grew the Women's
Liberation. It was a collaboration between different women's
groups rather than an independent organization. One of its
main member organizations was the National Abortion Campaign
(NAC), which fought the attacks on the abortion law. The
Women's Voice is a group closely linked to the Socialist
Workers Party, and as such, places great emphasis on working
women and the economic struggle. In the late '70s, several
groups of women, who called themselves socialist feminists,
were formed, and more based on the socialism and gender
In the 50s, large numbers of workers to the UK flowed
from Commonwealth countries - especially from South Asia and
the West Indies. As economic expansion and the need for
labor proved to be temporary, these hundreds of thousands of
black and colored residents became a political and social
problem. There were ghettos in the big cities, and racist
tendencies became more evident - even in the working class.
The National Front (NF) is the main racist party, but the
progress it had in the mid-70s was halted. The Anti Nazi
League has played an important role in the fight against the
NF and racism.
As early as 1962, the Conservative government proposed an
immigration law. Labor thought the law was racist, but by
the change of government two years later, the law was
nonetheless implemented by Labor - in a sharpened version.
Since then, the parties have predominantly agreed on an
immigration policy that in practice distinguishes between
the races. Today, immigration is minimal.