On 1 April 2022 the total size of the full-time UK Armed Forces (trained and untrained) was just under 158,000. Most personnel were within the Army (56%), with the remainder being equally split between the Royal Navy/Royal Marines (RN/RM) and the Royal Air Force (RAF).
Personnel targets are based on the full-time trained strength of the RN/RM and the RAF, and the full-time trade-trained strength of the Army. The most recent targets were set in the Defence in a Competitive Age command paper.
On 1 April 2022 the Army was 6% above its targeted size, while the RN/RM and the RAF were 2% and 6% below their targeted size respectively.
Inflow and Outflow
Between 2000 and 2022, inflow of personnel to the UK Regular Forces has only been higher than outflow in six years. In the 12 months to 31 March 2022 there was a was a negative net flow of personnel – intake was 13,350 while outflow was 14,630. This followed two consecutive years of positive net flow.
On 1 April 2022 there were 16,680 women in the UK Regular Forces who accounted for 11.3% of the total trained and untrained strength.
Around 9.6% of personnel (14,110) self-identified as belonging to a minority ethnic group (compared to an estimated 14.3% of the total UK population). The Army had the highest proportion of minority ethnic personnel (14.0%), followed by the RN/RM (4.8%) and RAF (3.5%).
Between October 2013 and April 2022, the trained strength of the Tri-Service Future Reserces 2020 increased by 38% (from around 23,000 to 32,500). However, only the RAF Reserve has achieved its targeted size.
Location of personnel
On 1 April 2022, most personnel in the UK Regular Forces were stationed in the United Kingdom (around 96%). Of the 5,890 personnel stationed overseas, around two thirds were in Europe (65%), while 15% were stationed in North America, 7% in North Africa and the Middle East, and 6% in Sub-Saharan Africa.