LAND-BASED NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL DEFENCES
- Although the threat of direct use of nuclear weapons against Britain has diminished since the end of the Cold War, more nations are gaining a military nuclear capability. And the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons programmes presents a continuing threat to our deployed forces. The SDR has therefore placed great emphasis on providing the Armed Forces with modern and effective nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) defences.
- Recent operations, particularly in the Gulf, have confirmed the need for an improved joint land-based NBC defence capability as an integral part of our readily available forces.
- New NBC capabilities are being developed and current capabilities reconfigured within the Army and RAF to equip our forces better for the more varied roles anticipated in the SDR.
- To ensure that these capabilities are as effective as possible, we will develop a joint Army/RAF structure to operate them. We therefore plan to establish a joint Army / RAF NBC defence unit, which will provide an operational capability in NBC detection, reconnaissance and survey.
- This unit will deliver a NBC defence capability at high and very high states of readiness for deployment on operations. It will also maximise joint training opportunities, build on current single Service expertise and establish joint performance standards.
- The unit will comprise both Regular and Reserve components, which it will integrate to provide a high degree of operational capability across a broad range of readiness states.