British Armed Forces

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British Armed Forces
HM's British Armed Forces
Ministry of Defence Tri Service Seal.png
CountryFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Royal Marine's Headquarters and Corps of the Royal Marines Flag.png Royal Marines
Flag of the British Army from 1999.png British Army
Royal Air Force Headquarters and Flag of the Royal Air Force.png Royal Air Force
Part ofMinistry of Defence
Garrison/HQWhitehall, London
Commander-in-Chief, British Armed ForcesHM Queen Elizabeth II
Commander of the British Armed Forces (de facto)Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Secretary of State for DefenceRt. Hon. Ben Wallace MP
Chief of the Defence StaffGeneral Sir Nick Carter

The British Armed Forces, also known as HM's British Armed Forces, are the military services responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, its overseas territories and the Crown dependencies. They also promote Britain's wider interests, support international peacekeeping efforts and provide humanitarian aid. Currently the armed forces consist of 275,660 military personnel and has an annual budget of $55.1 Billion USD (2019).


The Act of Union (1707) unified the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland to created the Kingdom of Great Britain (later succeeded by the United Kingdom), the former English Armed Forces (927-1707) and Scottish Armed Forces (1306-1707) were amalgamated to create the British Armed Forces. Since then the armed forces have seen action in a number of major wars involving the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the First World War, and the Second World War. Repeatedly emerging victorious from conflicts has allowed Britain to establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. The United Kingdom tested its first nuclear weapon in Operation Hurricane in 1952. As of 2019, Britain is one of the five recognised Nuclear Powers. It has around 225 nuclear warheads. The United Kingdom's nuclear arsenal is controlled by the Royal Navy.


Today, the British Armed Forces consist of the:

British Army

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom and part of the British Armed Force. It was founded in 1707 it succeeded the earlier English Army (1660-1707). As of 2019, the British Army comprises just over 79,300 trained regular personnel and just over 27,200 trained reserve personnel.

HM Naval Service

HM Naval Service is the primary naval force of the United Kingdom. It is the oldest part of the British armed forces dating from 1545 and is known as the "Senior Service". It consists of five operational and support branches including the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Naval Careers Service, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Marine Services.

Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force, is the primary aviation force of the United Kingdom and youngest component of the British Armed forces founded in 1917. It is a technologically sophisticated air force with a diverse operational fleet consisting of both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. The British Armed Forces include standing forces, Regular Reserve, Volunteer Reserve.

Military Strength



Defence Budget
Name No Ref
1 Total Military Budget $55.1 Billion USD pa.


Name No Ref
1 Total Military Personnel 275,660
2 Active Personnel 192,660
3 Reserve Personnel 83,000


Name No Ref
1 Total Aircraft 832
2 Combat Aircraft 148
3 Transport Aircraft 44
3 Special Mission Aircraft 28
4 Trainer Aircraft 241
5 Attack Helicopters 49
6 Helicopters 312


Land Equipment
Name No Ref
1 Total Land Equipment 832
2 Combat Tanks 227
3 Armoured Vehicles 5,000
3 Artillery 215
4 Rocket Launchers 35


Name No Ref
1 Total Ships Combat & Support 102
2 Aircraft Carriers 2
3 Guided Missile Destroyers 6
4 Frigates 13
5 Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines 4
6 Nuclear Attack Submarines 6
7 Patrol Ships 22
8 Mine Warfare Ships 13
9 Aviation Training Ships 1
10 Fuel Tankers 6
11 Landing Dock Ships 3
12 Multi Role Ships 1
13 Fleet Replenishment Ships 1


Nuclear Deterrent
Name No Ref
1 Total Nuclear/Missile Weapons 225
2 Submarine Launched Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles 225


Cruise Missiles
Name No Ref
1 Total Cruise Missiles 214
2 Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles 65
3 Harpoon Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles 65
4 Scalp Air Launched Cruise Missiles 84


Logistical Support
Name No Ref
1 Major Ports & Terminals 16
1 Merchant Navy Ships 1570
2 Serviceable Airports 460
3 Railway Network 16,454 km
4 Road Network 394,428 km


  1. "2020 United Kingdom Military Strength". Global Fire Power. 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2020.