The number of troops taking part in a “vital” annual training exercise in Canada will be reduced, according to top military sources.
The shock warning comes as the army reportedly struggles to make an extra £1billion in savings over the next year.
The crucial training exercise involving tanks and other armoured vehicles takes place at British Army Training Unit Suffield (Batus) on the Alberta plain in Canada.
British troops may not be prepared for war with Russia, military sources have said
There could be a defence funding shortfall of up to £10billion over 10 years, it is claimed
Soldiers take part in mock battles over an area the size of Wales, enabling them to simulate real life combat with hi-tech equipment.
The manoeuvres have been described as “vital” by Colonel Lincoln Jopp of the Scots Guards, who led a battle group on the exercise in 2009.
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The army has been told that they have to save money in-year and the only way they can do that is to stop training
But now defence chiefs are reportedly being forced to scale back the extent of the Batus training in order to cut costs.
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A defence source told the Times: “The army has been told that they have to save money in-year and the only way they can do that is to stop training.”
Military insiders now believe a battle group of around 1,200 may no longer go.
The exercise, which runs from May to October, costs around £10million per battle group.
Tensions with Russia means the Batus training is more important than ever
But it is thought the shortfall in funding earmarked for defence may be more than £10billion over 10 years, according to defence industry insiders.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Britain has the largest defence budget in Europe and it is growing as we invest billions of pounds in new Ajax armoured vehicles, cutting-edge communications equipment, ships, submarines and aircraft.”
Fears over the future of Britain’s military are particularly important as tensions grow with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The Russian military is set to hold a trial of one of its largest amphibious assaults in June over fears of a clash between the US and Putin.