July 2024

More bang, bang, bang for the rouble

You’ve probably seen a story yesterday about how the Russian military outguns the British. Russia, with a population of 143 million, has the fourth largest defence budget in the world spending about $65.6bn a year. Britain, with a population of somewhere between 65 million and 70 million, comes in at number five with $56.2bn spent on defence. So, Russia is spending about 17% more than Britain.

Of course, costs are a lot lower in Russia – Russia’s GDP per capita at $14,000 is only around a third of Britain’s at $42,000. But even if you assume that Russian costs – salaries and materiel – are just a third or even a quarter of Britain’s, Russia still seems to be getting an awful lot more bang, bang, bang for its rouble than Britain’s useless military elites:

military strength Russia vs UK

Russia has five times as many troops. But that’s understandable as it has a largely conscript army who don’t really get paid. But Russia has over 8 times as many fighter aircraft as the UK; 38 times as many tanks; 33 times as many pieces of towed artillery; 67 times as many self-propelled guns (SPGs) and 90 times as many multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS).

I also recognise that much of the Russian equipment may be maintained at the usual Russian standard and so doesn’t and never will work properly. But even so, Britain spends just a little less than Russia but is massively and overwhelmingly outgunned.

How is this possible?

I’ve written extensively in several of my books about the mind-boggling uselessness of the Ministry of Defence’s procurement operation. Here are just a few examples:

  • Acute class submarine – budget £2.578bn: actual cost £3.806bn and rising
  • Type 45 destroyer – budget £5.575bn: actual cost £6.464bn and rising as the engines don’t work properly and are repeatedly breaking down
  • The SA80 rilfe which costs more than three times its US equivalent (M16) and doesn’t work as well
  • Nimrod plane – scrapped after £3.602bn spent
  • MoD headquarters in London – £2.347bn over 30 years on comfort for bureaucrats
  • Spending on management consultants £2.3bn

And while administration costs in our military rise every year, the amount of kit we have seems to fall. Under New Labour, the number of tanks we had fell by 32%; the number of aircraft by 41% and the number of ships by 42%.

Then there are the huge and ever-increasing salaries and expenses of our military bosses. But that’s a story for another day.

Like all parts of the British public sector, the MoD succeeds in giving us less for our tax money every year while paying its elites ever more.

1 comment to More bang, bang, bang for the rouble

  • chris

    Why on earth would Russia want a war with any European country? Russia sells us gas, oil etc. The media is full of how Putin is hell bent on war but this is just perverse propaganda. It is the trillionaires behind the scenes in the USA who want a war. War makes them lots of money. Who starts all of the regime changes throughout the world? Who has the largest military budget? Who owns most of the banks? Iran’s view of the USA is probably closer to the truth. The nation state called the USA is just a ‘front’ for the world’s richest criminals.

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