Britain is set to massively expand its arsenal of nuclear weapons as a leaked report warns terrorists will “likely launch a successful chemical, biological or nuclear attack by 2030”.
The UK’s stock of up to 180 warheads will rise to up to 260 under plans expected to be outlined in today’s long-awaited Integrated Review.
The biggest shake-up of UK defence since the Cold War is due to be published at lunchtime on Tuesday – but was leaked in advance to The Sun.
Leaked details including the hike in nukes, the threat of terror dirty bomb and a plan to send troops abroad “more often and for longer” were not confirmed by No10 tonight.
Neither were reported plans to cut 24 Typhoon jets, 13 Hercules transport planes, two specialist sub-hunting frigates (HMS Montrose and HMS Monmouth), the 13-strong fleet of mine hunters and the Queen’s four remaining VIP jets.
But Downing Street confirmed plans for a £9.3m White House-style Situation Centre under Whitehall to react to future crises.
And a new Counter-Terrorism Operations Centre will bring together police and spies in a “state-of-the-art facility”.
The 100-page document – Global Britain in a Competitive Age – will map out plans for the armed forces to adopt AI and focus on “the future battlefields of space and cyber.”
And it will pledge “a new government foreign policy of increased international activism”, where the UK “shapes” the flourishing of democracies.
There will also be a strategic “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific region, where the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier will visit later this year.
In a Commons statement, Mr Johnson will say Britain can no longer rely on an “increasingly outdated” world order to protect its interests.
He is expected to tell MPs: “I am profoundly optimistic about the UK’s place in the world and our ability to seize the opportunities ahead.
“The ingenuity of our citizens and the strength of our Union will combine with our international partnerships, modernised armed forces and a new green agenda, enabling us to look forward with confidence as we shape the world of the future.”
It comes after Boris Johnson announced a £16.5bn rise in defence spending over the next four years with the creation of an agency dedicated to artificial intelligence, and a “space command” capable of launching the UK’s first rocket by 2022.