[caption id="attachment_7279" align="alignnone" width="1368"]russian-tanks-red-square.jpg Russian tanks on red square independence day [/caption]



The United Kingdom’s armed forces have “withered” and would not be able to defend the country against a Russian invasion, a former head of the Joint Forces Command has warned Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

General Sir Richard Barrons described how Whitehall’s preoccupation with “skinning” budgets has created “profoundly difficult” logistical challenges.

He claimed in a memo sent to the Defence Secretary the UK no longer has the capability to fight conventional wars because it has been too reliant on its allies, such as the United States, in the past.

In the memo - sent before retired in April as head of Joint Forces Command and obtained by the Financial Times - Sir Richard concludes: “Neither the UK homeland nor a deployed force could be protected from a concerted Russian air effort.”

“There is a sense that modern conflict is ordained to be only as small and as short terms as we want to afford – and that is absurd,” he remarked.

His comments will concern Britain’s Nato allies, with a US army general suggesting back in June that Russia has the military power to overwhelm eastern Europe

Among the weaknesses within the UK’s armed forces, Sir Barrons highlighted how RAF planes and Navy ships are frequently deployed with insufficient ammunition because they are overly dependent on US support.

Sir Richard, who retired as a four-star general, noted: “Capability that is foundational to all major armed forces has been withered by design.”

“Counter-terrorism is the limit of up-to-date plans and preparations to secure our airspace, waters and territory… There is no top-to-bottom command and control mechanism, preparation or training in place [to defend UK territory]… let alone do so with Nato,” he wrote.

Sir Richard suggested the lamentable state of Britain’s armed forces is a result of poor budgeting: “We operate platforms that we cannot afford to use fully.”

He highlighted the Navy’s use of new aircraft carriers that “we cannot afford to use fully, damage or lose.”

Britain’s Air Force is also an area of particular concern for Sir Richard: “It is not necessary to shoot down all the UK’s Joint Strike Fighters, only to know how to murder in their best the 40 or so people who can fly them,” he wrote.

Despite Sir Barrons’ comments, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said its most recent defence review “was backed by all of the service chiefs.”

Although the latest Strategic Defence and Security Review increased the armed forces’ budget, many believe it is still insufficient.

The UK’s Air Force is due to introduce 48 F35 Joint Strike Fighters, the most expensive and advanced combat aircraft in operation. The small number of planes, however, means only six aircraft will be operated at a time.

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