Is technology a substitute for the masses in Defense?

Since its public broadcast last night, the new British Defense White Paper flows endless streams of digital ink. In the crosshairs of most comments, very often hostile to the approach proposed by the Conservative government of Boris Johnson, the reduction in the size and size of the force of the British Army, which will lose 10.000 men to settle in 70.000 miltaires, some of its Challenger II heavy tanks and all of its Warrior infantry fighting vehicles once these have reached the age limit, but also 24 first-generation Typhoons from the Royal Air Force, or two Type 23 frigates from the Royal Navy, even if the latter must eventually be replaced by more recent models . This reduction in format is justified by the White Paper by the need to modernize or replace a large number of systems in service in the British armies which, like many Western armies, today find themselves having to pay for the years of budgetary errors passed while the threat rapidly intensified around the world.

Behind this publication and the controversies it arouses across the Channel, and beyond the pure capability choices implemented by the British White Paper, the question arises of the optimum position of the cursor between the mass need of the armies for be able to respond to operational pressure and the challenge imposed by potential adversaries, and the need to have significant technological added value on the adversary, both to preserve their forces and to exhaust the adversary, and win thus the decision.

The White Paper confirms the acquisition of the 48 F35Bs ordered, and suggests that other devices of this type could be ordered in the future without specifying the number. In contrast, the Royal Air Force will see 24 of its Tranche I Typhoons withdrawn from service.

There is nothing modern about this question. Already in antiquity, fighters sought to gain a technological advantage over their opponents, especially when the numbers were not in their favor. The great ancient strategists, like the Greek Themistocles, or the Carthaginian Hannibal Barca, implemented materials and units making it possible to compensate for their numerical disadvantage against the Persian or Roman armies. During the Middle Ages, some great battles were won using one-sided technologies, such as the British longbow at the Battle of Agincourt. In recent history, there are also many examples, such as the crushing of France and Great Britain in May and June 1940 by the German Army, thanks to fewer and less powerful tanks than those of their adversaries, but equipped with radio and acting in concert with the assault aviation, or during the Israeli-Arab conflicts, during which the Israeli military very often made use of advanced technologies and superior training to compensate for their immense inferiority digital.


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