BRITAIN would be “outgunned” by Russian artillery if the two nations went to war, a bombshell new report on Wednesday warns.
The shock new paper by leading think tank RUSI revealed UK troops have a “critical shortage of artillery”.
And claimed the Army lacked the ability to transport heavy guns and rockets to a new frontline in Europe if war breaks out.
Historically shelling inflicts between 60 and 90 per cent of casualties in high intensity warfare.
But the paper, published on Wednesday ahead of a major NATO summit in London next month, gave a stark assessment when comparing the UK’s force to Russia’s heavy artillery capability.
It said: “The UK’s ground forces are comprehensively outgunned and outranged, leaving enemy artillery free to prosecute fire missions with impunity.
“This must ultimately fix and suppress British guns and manoeuvre elements, and thereby lead to the defeat of UK units in detail.”
British Army insiders hit back, saying the UK would never go to war with Russia without NATO – and any combined NATO forces would completely overwhelm Russia’s.
ARTILLERY ‘TOP PRIORITY’
However, the paper, titled ‘The Future of Fires: Maximising the UK’s Tactical and Operational Firepower’ urged the UK to invest in artillery – saying it should be a “top priority.”
It claimed a Russian motor-rifle brigade fields 81 artillery pieces, ranging from 152-mm and 203-mm self-propelled howitzers – heavy guns on tracked vehicles – to 300-mm multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS).
But the British Army has only two regiments of 24 AS90 155-mm and 39-calibre self-propelled howitzers.
While 16 Air Assault Brigade and 3 Commando Brigade can each field just two batteries of six 105-mm L118 light guns as their entire capability.
The paper also says the UK’s rocket system’s GPS guidance system could be jammed by Russian forces and has an 85-km range, as compared with 120-km for Russian systems.
The RUSI paper also claimed NATO had underestimated the scale of firepower needed to ensure ground forces can move freely on the battlefield.
And said there was a shortage of artillery ammunition across the alliance.
The authors urged the UK to invest in weapons stockpiles or use cheaper cluster bombs – which the UK has agreed not to use.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The UK does not stand alone but alongside its NATO Allies, who work closely together across air, sea, land, nuclear and cyber to deter threats and respond to crises.
“As the largest NATO defence spender in Europe, the UK’s armed forces are well equipped to take a leading role in countering threats and ensuring the safety and security of British people at home and abroad.”