The shringing Royal Navy.







When the politicians work out what Britain's role is?



So where are the Ships?
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A fully armed Royal Navy warship was scrambled to challenge a missile-carrying Russian vessel in the waters off Britain, in a calculated test of Britain's reduced naval capacity in the North Sea.  The Russian warship came within 30 miles of the coast.  It was detected nearing Scotland, but the only ship the Royal Navy had available to respond after Ministry of Defence cuts,  was in Portsmouth, resulting in a delay of 24 hours until it was in position.  The threatening approach towards Britainís territorial waters triggered a top-secret Navy and Air Force operation co-ordinated by the military top brass at the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) bunker at Northwood just outside London.  RAF reconnaissance aircraft tracked the progress of the Russian warship as it neared north-east Scotland, and the tension heightened when aerial photographs revealed the ship was carrying a full payload of guided missiles. Commanders at PJHQ decided to send the new Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender, which is Britainís immediate-response ship during a national security crisis.   The Russian ship waited in the Moray Forth, a stretch of water that flows into Loch Ness, for Defender to arrive twenty-four hours later.  Having been in the dock at Portsmouth. Her crew were forced to make the 600-mile journey around the coastline. To meet the challenge laid down by the Russian Navy. When defender finally appeared on the scene the Russian vessel dutifully turned around for home waters.


 Lord West, the former First Sea Lord and a Falklands veteran, suggests it is ďbonkersĒ that the Royal Navy has only 19 frigates and destroyers.

However before we address the numbers of warships.  We first need to look at the cost of  warships over the last fifty years.


These are terrible   times for the Royal Navy. The British sailors who once ruled the waves are now struggling with too few ships to define their role. In the last ten years with Iraq and Afghanistan, the army  in the limelight, and the Navy almost ignored, apart from further cutbacks to the fleet to pay for the war although the Navy's workload  as not in any way diminished. Over thirty years after the Falklands war with Argentina, it keeps a watchful eye on the south Atlantic. It maintains a  presence off West Africa and in the Caribbean (where it helps with hurricane relief stopping piracy and  drugs interdiction). The navy patrols the waters around the Middle East seeking terrorists and weapons, and of course around the coast of the United Kingdom.  However what will be the future role for the Royal Navy since the defence review of 2010 and the one to come in 2015.  Now that the government needs to make large savings.  The question will not be how many warships are needed by the Royal Navy in the future But how many can the tax payer afford, and of course the more they cost the less will be the number. So lets look at three examples  which have faced the Royal Navy from fifty years ago to the present day.

The HMS Sheffield Problem:  Although at all times any attempt to control cost must be one of the factors in any warship build.  Care must be taken not to achieve the ultimate waste of building a ship which cannot perform the function it was designed for.  The political directives to the Type 42 design came close to this when it was decided to leave out the 'Whites of their eyes point defense system.' Later a plea for greater length and beam which would have added an additional 30 feet for more equipment, was turned down even though it would  only add  to the total cost by 0.5%. The result now lay at the bottom of the South Atlantic.

The HMS Daring Problem: The type 45 Destroyers whilst being state of the art when they were commission, because of their complexity and size. Only six could be afforded by the Royal Navy.






The Future at £5billion each and rising.

How many would the Royal Navy be able to afford?




Queen Elizabeth class Aircraft Carrier

Type 45 Destroyer

Type 26 Global Combat Ship







Total estimated  running cost of these ships in the service of a  Future Royal Navy  including estimated  mid life refits, and  operational requirements which excludes  any replacements or  a major conflict  such as the a rerun of the Falklands. 



Royal Marines

Trident Submarines

Helicopter Carriers

Attack Submarines


Mine Sweeping

Patrol Vessels

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