The UK has announced an increased contribution to NATO as the Prime Minister and Defence Secretary attend the NATO summit in Madrid. Downing Street said it is almost doubling UK commitment to military support for Ukraine with additional £1bn
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP said:
We have always been clear that our strength and security comes from our alliances, and NATO is at the heart of that.
The New Force Model and our presence in Estonia will ensure that the Alliance is able to respond at pace, helping to determine stability across Europe in the decades to come.
RAF Typhoon and F-35B Lightning fighter jets, Royal Navy vessels including Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, and brigade-sized land forces will all be made available to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) as part of the New Force Model.
NATO says it will increase the size of its rapid reaction forces to 300,000 troops in the ‘biggest overhaul’ of defence since the Cold War.
Another central theme at the NATO summit will be the possibility for Finland and Sweden to join the alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UK will also contribute to the new Allied Reaction Force: an agile, multi-domain and combat-effective force ready to deploy at very high readiness and to respond to a range of crises as Boris Johnson claimed Vladimir Putin was “evil”.
It comes as the Alliance has agreed a new posture of stronger forward defences to reflect the radically changed security context since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK increased its presence in Estonia to include the temporary deployment of a second battlegroup, doubling the total number of deployed personnel to over 1,600. The lethality of these deployments will be enhanced with advanced capabilities including helicopters and artillery systems. Meanwhile, the UK’s existing HQ in Tallinn will be expanded. Led by a Brigadier, it will support the rapid deployment of high readiness forces at the brigade level.
The UK will also support Estonia with training and logistics, the development of its first divisional-level HQ, as well as developing new ways of fighting through their joint hosting of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic European HQ, and supporting innovative dual use start-ups through the NATO Innovation Fund.
In addition to increasing its deployments to Estonia, since the Russian invasion the UK has also deployed hundreds of troops to Poland and sent more aircraft to conduct air policing in Romania. Meanwhile, HMS Prince of Wales has led the Alliance’s Maritime High Readiness Force since January 2022.