Top UK military brass are mulling the idea of scrapping all tanks in the country, in a move to modernise the armed forces, according to The Times.
Unnamed government sources told the newspaper that ministers are doubting the utility of the country's tank fleet, currently including 227 Challenger 2 tanks and the 388 Warrior armoured vehicles.
The alleged plans come as London has appeared to step away from heavy armor in favor of cyber and aviation warfare, as the battles of the 21st century are expected to be fought in urban areas, with the strengthened role of cyber technologies, alongside space and information operations.
Reports of talks over plans to scrap the tank fleet are part of the government's foreign policy and defence review, even though it has been put on hold due to financial troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We know that a number of bold decisions need to be taken in order to properly protect British security and rebalance defence interests to meet the new threats we face", the anonymous government source told The Times.
Last year, concerns were voiced by then-Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt that tanks are "obsolete".
"Challenger 2 has been in service without a major upgrade since 1998. During this time the US, Germany and Denmark have completed two major upgrades, whilst Russia has fielded five new variants with a sixth pending. Warrior is even more obsolete, and is twenty years older than those operated by our key allies", Mordaunt stated in 2019.
Currently, the British tank fleet is behind those of Argentina, with 231 tanks, Germany with 236 and Uganda with 239, as Russia, the US and China are in top three with 12,950, 6,333 and 5,800, respectively.
The so-called Integrated Review was announced to "define the government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and the long-term strategic aims for our national security and foreign policy", particularly with military chiefs discussing "tailoring the Armed Forces’ balance of capabilities, as well as how best to invest in people, skills, and equipment".
The government plan is described as the "biggest review of our foreign, defence, security and development policy since the end of the Cold War".