The UK has two options for modernising its armour: developing a Challenger 3 or procuring Leopard 2. The latter is an assured capability that will likely prove cheaper over the life of the programme. The former is risky but offers the UK an opportunity to develop valuable intellectual property.
A consistent feature of official UK positions after Brexit was enthusiasm for continued UK–Europe cooperation on defence and security matters. However, difficulties in the talks endanger both intergovernmental activities in this domain and the future of UK defence industrial capability.
The UK and France mark a decade since the signature of bilateral treaties designed to tighten their defence and security cooperation. There have been many achievements, but quite a few disappointments as well.
The future of the UK government’s Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy is now uncertain. In its absence, the government should consider issuing a top-level policy paper which defines a vision for the UK’s role in the world, but not until spring or summer 2021.
As the UK formulates its post-Brexit relationship with China, one key policy interest is the possibility of stronger commercial ties. However, the benefits of doing business with China are less straight-forward in light of the complex commercial and political landscape of the world’s second-largest economy.