Download Defence under Thatcher by Andrew M. Dorman (auth.) PDF

By Andrew M. Dorman (auth.)

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British Defence Policy in May 1979 25 Partly as a result of the division command and control problems there were a number of projects in the design stage concerned to control various elements during battle and allow them to communicate with one another. 122 The Wavell intelligence system was scheduled to follow in 1980 with the BATES battlefield artillery targeting engagement system and the Ptarmigan tactical communications system planned for service in the mid- to late 1980s. For the army the 1980s promised to be a period of transformation as it replaced the vast majority of its equipment, which dated back to the 1960s.

Europe, rather than the Empire, had become the focus of British foreign and defence policy. Within this transformation four interlinked assumptions remained consistent throughout the period. 69 That these assumptions would continue to underpin British defence policy was inevitable given the position with which Britain was confronted in 1945. 70 This concern with maintaining the ‘balance of power’ in Europe led to frequent shifts in allegiance in favour of the weaker power bloc. In 1945, with the single exception of the Soviet Union, Britain was the only large European power to have survived the war relatively intact.

83 The LTCs were therefore subject to constant readjustments as estimates were updated resulting in further delays to existing programmes. The services shared two common approaches to procurement. First, they prioritized the purchase of weapons platforms rather than the expense of weapons systems. They never purchased a complete weapons package because the various elements of the package would then be dependent upon each other within the LTC process. 84 Second, they generally felt the post-war trend towards concentrating decision-making within the Central Staffs to be unwise.

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