Britain famously had an aircraft carrier without any aircraft and now it looks set to have an army without any tanks. It sounds incredible but the British government looks set to scrap Britain's force of Challenger tanks in a cost-cutting exercise...what next, a Royal Navy without any ships?
Government boffins are already trying to convince the general public and Members of Parliament that the days of the tank are over and new technology has made them redundant. So why is it that no other military power in the world is considering similar action?Why is the country which invented the tank planning to scrap it?
The simple answer is ofcourse, cost. The government wants to slash the defence budget and the army is in the cross-wires. Britain at the moment has about 250 Challenger 2 tanks, a figure which is low against NATO standards. These vehicles desperately need to be modernised but they are now set for the chop.
Other money-saving options on the table include reducing the size of the British army to 70,000, disbanding the Brigade of Royal Marines and even scrapping the navy's fleet of minesweepers. Obviously these are difficult times and money is short but surely the government needs to be sensible and not introduce a defence review which is based on half truths and claims. There are ways to balance the defence budget and a top priority is to en sure that defence contracts are delivered on time and on cost.