Britain begins major deployment to Kuwait

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

LONDON Britain has begun deploying up to one-quarter of its military to the Gulf region.

Officials said the deployment would total about 30,000 troops, 120 advanced tanks and 150 armored personnel carriers. About 5,000 troops are already in the Gulf region.

The deployment is expected to be completed by the middle of next month. Most of the troops and military assets will be based in Kuwait, Middle East Newsline reported.

British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon detailed the planned deployment in an address to parliament on Monday. Hoon said the military would send 26,000 ground troops as well as thousands of support personnel to the Gulf.

The troops would be supported by 120 Challenger-2 main battle tanks and 150 Warrior armored personnel carriers. Officials said the British military will also send 32 AS 90 self-propelled artillery and 18 light guns to the Gulf.

"None of the steps we are taking represents a commitment of British forces to military action," Hoon said. "A decision to employ force has not been taken, nor is such a decision imminent or inevitable."

The British deployment would also include marines, aircraft and naval vessels. Officials listed some of the units as the 7th Armoured Brigade, the 16th Air Assault Brigade and the 102 Logistics Brigade.

In 1991, Britain sent 48,000 troops to the war against Iraq.

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