Hundreds of thousands of Nato troops are to be put on a higher readiness for deployment amid mounting tensions with Russia, it has been revealed.
Commanders have been increasingly anxious at the length of time it would take to assemble a force in the event of aggression from Moscow.
It is thought it would currently take the alliance around 180 days to deploy a force of around 300,000.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has indicated that he wants to slash the timescale for deploying signficant numbers of troops
But Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has indicated that he wants to cut that timescale to two months or less.
The troops on higher alert would act as a ‘follow-on’ to the bloc’s existing response force, which can be deployed within days.
The military personnel are expected to come from a range of nations including Britain.
Mr Stoltenberg told the Times: ‘We have seen Russia being much more active in many different ways.
‘We have seen a more assertive Russia implementing a substantial military build-up over many years; tripling defence spending since 2000 in real terms; developing new military capabilities; exercising their forces and using military force against neighbours.
‘We have also seen Russia using propaganda in Europe among Nato allies and that is exactly the reason why Nato is responding.
‘We are responding with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.’
Nato has already been beefing up its forces in key areas in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the conflict in Ukraine.
Some 4,000 troops — almost a quarter British — are being sent to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from next year.
An emergency response force of 5,000 ground troops has been established.
Military analysts have warned Russia’s new Armata tank is more advanced than Nato’s current heavy armour including Britain’s Challenger II
President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of the Crimea sent relations with Nato into a tailspin
Mr Stoltenberg said the 28-nation alliance was now looking at improving readiness of its three million military personnel.
‘We are … addressing what we call the follow-on forces,’ he said. ‘There are a large number of people in the armed forces of Nato allies.
‘We are looking into how more of them can be ready on a shorter notice.’
Meanwhile, British military intelligence officers have issued a warning over a new Russian ‘super tank’ which they claim is far superior to anything which is available to Nato.
The document claims that Britain’s Challenger II main battle tank could be overpowered by the Kremlin’s new Armata tank.
Officials believe the new Russian tank is ‘revolutionary’ and blames the government for failing to provide a proper response.
The new Russian tank has several highly advanced features including an un-manned turret which makes the machine safer for crews