LONDON – Due to the recruitment crisis in the United Kingdom Army combat units are operating with up to 40% fewer soldiers.
British Army infantry regiments have steadily declined over the past five years, according to recent UK Ministry of Defense data. There are currently about 2,500 fewer soldiers in the first-line regiments compared to 2015.
In addition, the country’s 16 regular regiments also have a staff deficit. Nine of them operate with one-fifth of the soldiers below the recommended level, while four other units have only 75 percent of the required military.
The most affected regiment is the prestigious Scottish Guard, whose troops have fought in almost every major conflict in the United Kingdom since the reign of Charles I in the seventeenth century.
The numbers show that there are 257 troops less than the 697 target, a deficit of 37%, according to The Guardian.
In total, the British infantry currently operates with 17% fewer military than recommended.
The Ministry of Defense, however, responding to criticism, insisted that the Army continues to fulfill all its operational commitments to keep the United Kingdom safe.
This comes as last month the UK Ministry of Defense that it is investing about $162 million in state-of-the-art laser and radiofrequency weapons for its military.
In a Notice of Information (PIN) issued this week, the British Defense announced that it is seeking to develop three new weapon-powered (DEW) demonstrators to exploit the technology’s potential and accelerate its introduction into the battlefield.
Such state-of-the-art systems are powered exclusively by electricity and operate without ammunition. According to the ministry, these weapons should revolutionize the sector.
The new systems are expected to be tested in 2023 on Royal Navy ships and Army vehicles, but once developed, both technologies could be operated by all three services. The Armed Forces will use these tests to gain a better understanding of directed energy weapons and to assess how they will be integrated into existing platforms.