UK must learn from Ukraine war and boost land warfare strength, Ellwood says

Watch: Ukraine has proved why it's important to invest more in land warfare capability.

The UK must invest more in its land warfare capabilities, having seen the importance of more traditional methods of fighting in the Ukraine war, according to MP Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Defence Select Committee.

The question of whether the UK should buy more tanks for its Armed Forces is one for the long-anticipated Defence Review Refresh.

The review, which comes just two years after the most recent Integrated Review, is an opportunity for the Government to set out its economic and policy intentions.

Mr Ellwood told Forces News: "The last review, I'm afraid, had a massive impact on all three services.

"We tilted, quite rightly, towards cyber and space – this has become a new area of threat and the Government responded to make sure we were safe in these arenas, but, because the budget was essentially capped, it meant it was to the detriment of our Army, Air Force and Navy."

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, however, it made those calculations – that tanks and traditional armour were irrelevant and old-fashioned – seem off the mark.

Now, there is another defence review.

Defence Secretary 'pretty confident' about receiving defence budget boost.

Mr Ellwood added: "There was a determination at the last review to say 'we don't need tanks anymore'. I remember having this exchange myself with the Prime Minister, [who] said 'nobody uses tanks anymore, the next wars are going to be all to do with cyber, hybrid warfare space'.

"What Ukraine has proved is that there may be new threats in the different arenas, such as cyber and space, [it] doesn't mean the old ones have disappeared, that's why it's so so important we invest more in our land warfare capability."

If it is no longer safe for the UK to choose between space and cyber and conventional warfare. The Defence Review Refresh is going to have to come with significant funding attached so the UK can invest in both.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is reportedly asking for an extra £10bn for the military over the next two years.

The question is – will he get it, or will there be more tough choices ahead?

Forces News understands the refresh of the Integrated Review will be published on Monday.

Join Our Newsletter


Prince William thanks UK troops for 'defending our freedoms'

Iraq War: Hearts and Minds - a very British tactic

LIVE Army v Navy Inter Services men’s football