UK creating elite rangers fighting force

Special operations battalions will be formed as part of wide-ranging military revamp

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: In this handout image provided by the Ministry of Defence, Royal Navy Commander, Nathan Gray lands his F-35B onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on September 26, 2018 in Portsmouth, England.  Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets have successfully landed onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time, laying the foundations for the next 50 years of fixed wing aviation in support of the UKs Carrier Strike Capability.
Royal Navy Commander, Nathan Gray, 41, made history by being the first to land on, carefully manoeuvring his stealth jet onto the thermal coated deck. He was followed by Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, RAF, both of whom are test pilots, operating with the Integrated Test Force (ITF) based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
Shortly afterwards, once a deck inspection has been conducted and the all-clear given, Cdr Gray became the first pilot to take off using the ships ski-ramp. (Photo by LPhot Kyle Heller/Ministry of Defence via Getty Images)

An elite British Army unit will be created as part of a multi-billion-pound vision to strengthen the country's military and global reach in the aftermath of Brexit.

Four battalions, made up of between 2,000 and 4,000 soldiers, will comprise the new ranger regiment and become part of the Special Operations Brigade.

The UK's Integrated Review, which outlines ambitions for the next decade, envisions the rangers operating in hostile environments where special forces troops like the British SAS or the US military's Seal units are regularly sent.

"These ranger battalions will be at the vanguard of a more active and engaged armed forces," said UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

"The best way to prevent conflict and deter our adversaries is to work alongside partners to strengthen their security and resilience.”

Gen Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, Chief of the General Staff, described the new regiment as the "vanguard of the army's global footprint".

One of the arguments against Brexit was that leaving the bloc would diminish the UK’s diplomatic influence.

The Integrated Review addresses that, but it is a much wider strategy document for the decade ahead.

It included plans to add at least 13 warships, a space command and more advanced weaponry.

By 2027, the UK intends to spend 2.4 per cent of its gross domestic product on research and development.

It focuses on the UAE for collaboration in “life sciences and green technology” and countering illegal transactions.

Royal Navy warships will maintain Britain's security presence in Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Aden shipping lanes.

There is a focus on counter-terrorism, with the review highlighting the strong likelihood of a major terrorist attack on the UK using either biological, chemical or nuclear weapons by 2030.

A change in direction was necessary to tackle China and Russia, the review said.

“A defence of the status quo is no longer sufficient for the decade ahead,” it said.

“The Integrated Review therefore recognises the need for a sharper and more dynamic focus in order to … shape the international order of the future by working with others.”