UK armed forces could be ‘wiped out’ by Russians in head-to-head war, warn MPs

British troops could face being outgunned and potentially wiped out if their armoured vehicles ever went head to head against Russian forces, MPs have warned.

An alarming official report is believed to say that while British troops are the best in the world, their tanks and other armoured vehicles, many of which date right back to the 1960s, are totally out of date and unfit for modern warfare.

The Commons Defence Committee report – called “Obsolescent and outgunned” – says the UK's mechanised forces "suffer from poor mechanical reliability, are heavily outgunned by a more modern missile and artillery systems and are chronically lacking inadequate air defence.”

It warns "an artillery duel between a modern British and Russian division is likely to end one way – and not necessarily to the British Army’s advantage”.

The committee blamed years of blunders by top bosses at the Ministry of Defence who it says have wasted time, and hundreds of millions of pounds, on "overly-ambitious” futuristic equipment projects which rarely work, resulting in cancellations and delays.

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Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said: "A mixture of bureaucratic procrastination, military indecision, financial mismanagement and general ineptitude has led to severe and sustained erosion of our military capabilities.

"This will have a profound and potentially devastating impact on our ability to respond to threats from adversaries."

A former UK soldier, who still works for the army as a civilian and so wanted to remain anonymous, told the Star Online: "It's the same old story.

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"From World War One to Iraq and Afghanistan, our boys have died in foreign fields because of crap outdated kit and army cuts.

"I was in Iraq wearing melting boots and driving around in Land Rovers which were so unsafe and under-equipped we called them coffins.

"At the same time, the MoD bigwigs and politicians were sitting safely in Whitehall collecting their fat pay cheques and pensions – for decades our frontline troops have been let down and it sounds like nothing is going to change fast."

The report also claims the UK would struggle to properly help NATO if war broke out, and said even under the MoD's current modernisation plans, the Army is at least four years away from being able to field a “warfighting division”, which would still be “hopelessly under-equipped” and undermanned.

It compared the UK's military development with "investment by the Russian military in modern missile and rocket artillery systems, which in 2014 were able to obliterate a Ukrainian formation within a matter of minutes."

The report comes just days before the Prime Minister sets out his vision for the future of the UK's foreign, defence and security plans.

Boris Johnson is expected to call for the country to move away from traditional equipment like tanks, and instead prepare for the battlefields of the future such as space and cyberwars.

However, Mr Ellwood said: "Whilst the defence landscape is certainly shifting, traditional warfare remains a very real and frightening possibility, and one for which we must be fully prepared."

A spokesperson for the MoD told ITV News: "We thank the Defence Committee for their report and acknowledge their recommendations as we look to improve the management of our large and complex equipment programmes.

"Aided by the substantial £24 billion settlement for Defence, the Integrated Review will provide resources to deliver an upgraded, digitised and networked armoured force to meet future threats."

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