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More Nukes And A Regional Pivot: Britain Unveils Its Long-Awaited Defense Review

The Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Glen Mallan, Scotland on 3/15/2021 as part of final preparations before her first operational deployment for drills with Japanese maritime forces. Sailing in along the Firth of Clyde, the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier has spent the last two weeks at sea testing and trials of her latest equipment, before berthing at the new Northern Ammunition Jetty for a routine onload of operational stores. (Image: UK MOD)
The Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Glen Mallan, Scotland on 3/15/2021 as part of final preparations before her first operational deployment for drills with Japanese maritime forces. Sailing in along the Firth of Clyde, the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier has spent the last two weeks at sea testing and trials of her latest equipment, before berthing at the new Northern Ammunition Jetty for a routine onload of operational stores. (Image: UK MOD)

Britain is to substantially increase its stockpile of nuclear warheads in response to a deteriorating security environment, the government said in a long-awaited review of defense, security and foreign policy released March 16.

The move would see Britain increase the inventory to no more than 260 warheads, reversing a decision made a decade ago to cut the maximum from 225 to 180 by the mid-2020s.

The review also confirmed the government’s previously cited intention to pivot foreign and defense policy toward the Asia-Pacific region. The “tilt’ toward the region, as the review put it, is Britain’s response to the growing economic power of regional countries and China’s increasing influence on its neighbors and beyond. It’s no coincidence the first deployment of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, is to take place in the region later this year.

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