Recent Government and MoD press releases regarding the Royal Navy made claims that the Royal Navy is “growing for the first time since the Second World War”, those claims have now vanished.

In one of the most notable releases republished across a few government pages regarding the naming of HMS Medway (the cached original can be found here), the Government claimed:

“The OPV programme is sustaining around 800 jobs in Scotland at BAE Systems and is maintaining the vital skills needed to build the new cutting-edge, anti-submarine warfare frigates, the Type 26s, for a Royal Navy growing for the first time since the Second World War.

However, in the most recent version, that claim has rightfully been edited out and only a quote by Fallon remains making a similar albeit not as outlandish claim.

We even tweeted about this earlier in the Month.

It would appear that standalone references to a growing Royal Navy have decreased across the board with the remaining examples that we could find being included in quotes by officials and therefore, not really all that removable.

Earlier today, we reported on potential plans to cut the number of Type 23 Frigates (one of the type is pictured at the top of this article) in Royal Navy service, read more about this here.

Recently, we drew attention to claims made by multiple ministers, MP’s and other officials that continue to insist the Royal Navy is growing.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said in Parliament recently that “a growing defence budget means more ships, more planes, more armoured vehicles and more cutting edge equipment for our forces”.

The Defence Secretary also said it again after announcing the naming of a new frigate in Belfast:

“Thanks to our ambitious new National Shipbuilding Strategy, this shipyard once again has the chance to be involved in building a British warship thanks to the competition to build a new class of light frigates for our growing Royal Navy.

Again as part of another announcement:

“This new approach will lead to more cutting-edge ships for the growing Royal Navy that will be designed to maximise exports and be attractive to navies around the world.”

This isn’t true according to the the UK Armed Forces Equipment and Formations document released by the Government detailing statistics on vessels, land equipment and aircraft of the armed forces. It states:

“At 1 April 2017 there were 73 vessels in the UK Armed Forces: 64 vessels in the Royal Navy and nine in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). This is a reduction of three vessels since 2016 following the withdrawal of three RFA vessels: two Small Fleet Tankers and one Forward Repair Ship (RFA Diligence).

Patrol Ships (18 Inshore and four Offshore) make up the largest proportion of Royal Navy vessels, with 22, as shown in Chart 1 below.

The total number of Destroyers and Frigates (19) as at 1 April 2017 are also in line with SDSR Joint Force 2025 commitments.”

Further, according to the Defence Select Committee, the UK has a “woefully low” number of warships. Chair of the committee Dr Julian Lewis advised earlier in the year that the Government risked leaving the country with fewer than 19 frigates and destroyers.

“The United Kingdom will then lack the maritime strength to deal with the threats we face right now, let alone in the future. We are putting the MoD on notice that it must not let this happen.”

Additionally, Sir John Parker the author of an independent report on the National Shipbuilding Strategy, has indicated that the frigate fleet will fall below 13 frigates unless the Type 31 Frigate build starts soon, something that appears unlikely for a project described by a minister this month as still in “early pre-concept phase” with no design having yet been chosen.

Julian Lewis asked during a Defence Select Committee session on the National Shipbuilding Strategy:

“So what you are saying—and this is a critical point—is that unless we start building the Type 31e frigates in parallel with the Type 26s, there is little chance of not reducing below our existing figure of 13 frigates all told.”

Sir John Parker responded with one word:

“Correct.”

13 frigates are due to leave the service at a rate of one a year between 2023 and 2035. There remains serious concern about the funding and timetable of the fleet that will replace them.

There is also fresh speculation that the Royal Navy will lose the two Albion class landing platform dock vessels. Among other speculated cuts is a reduction of 1,000 to the Royal Marines and the retirement of two minehunters and one survey vessel.

The loss of more ships isn’t growth, no matter who is tallying it up.

30 COMMENTS

  1. The armed forces are essentially doomed. What political party supports ensuring they are properly funded bar UKIP? The conservatives, despite claiming that they are the ‘party of defense’, have presided over some of the most devastating cuts we’ve ever seen. Barely 10 years ago, coincidently when the conservatives came into power, our fleet was twice it’s size. Now look at it and what they are planning to do. And then you have labour and Jeremy Cobryn, who would just as likely dimantle our military the moment they get in. The lib Dems aren’t much better in that regard, and the greens are worse.

    I honesty can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel with these clowns in charge.

    • None.
      Literally none.

      Under Jihad Jezz & the new socialist radicals of Labour, the DoD is all but finished.
      The Tories are on the same trajectory but just doing it slower.

      In the end, the destination is the same.

  2. Still has this in it of course: “It is a privilege to see yet another ship named for the growing Royal Navy. “.

    The original also mentioned 800 jobs, and preserving skills, but whereas in 2014 the UK Government were talking about “thousands of jobs” on the Clyde for the T26, now at the rate of perhaps 1 T26 every 2 years, how many jobs will it keep on the Clyde? Thousands, or 800?

  3. Lethality is sadly missing across the entire armed forces. We have forsaken war fighting capability for high end toys we can’t afford and that are in such limited numbers to offer no real threat or defence.

    Numbers matter, munitions matter plain and simple.

    Type 45, Carriers, JSF a complete waste.

    We should have copied the US Arleigh Burke destroyers and loaded them with Aegis and cruise, bought more tranche 3 typhoons to lower the price and doubled the number of astutes.

    Spent the rest on high end electronic warfare, cyber, space assets and doubling the size of the marines and parachute regiment.

  4. This is the end of are military, and position on the world stage. I have no problem being a lower rate power like Denmark, spain, Sweden and similar countries. But we must realise that and step down from are position on the UN, give up are number 2 position in Nato and stop pretending to be something that we are not. As well as get rid of are top end military kit such as the carrier and nuclear deterrent.

    • Which is precisely what the likes of TH want so do stop fuelling him with talk like that, none of which is going to happen unless Corbyn takes over as the left actually find Britain having a world standing offensive. Why is it the end of our military when we get rid of 1000 RM out if around 6000 and cut in effect 1 LPD? There were probably groans of doom when Ark Royal and Illustrious went and look what’s replacing them now.

      • Unfortunately I see how my view correspond with TH, but I don’t want this to happen. I’d much rather see are defense spending go up to 3% so we can continue at our current strength and latter expand with an increase to 5% of our GDP. But unfortunately I don’t see that happening and if it doesn’t we simply can’t remain a credible force.

      • But when ark and Ilustrias went the QE carriers where already underconstructio so we knowed they would be replaced. Unfortunately there not even anything on the drawing board to replace the Albians and Oceon meaning we really will have no amphibious capacity.

    • Harry Bulpit. So is this also the end of ‘are’ country and ‘are’ language. Instead of running down OUR nation and OUR Armed Forces, on a RN Enthusiasts site no less, why don’t you learn to speak and write OUR language correctly?

  5. I am not a military man, but I understand money. The T26 is a frozen design and can be built, in parts, at shipyards across the UK. T31 is still a drawing board dream. Building T26 hulls UK wide has to be cheaper and to a higher class than the T31 (the 1 T26 per 2 years is BS, it can be done faster). Even as a FFBNW design a T26 has greater capability/survivability than any of the T31 designs. If I am being dumb, feel free to shoot me down.

    • One T26 per two years is a Treasury requirement, the original plan was one a year until George Osborne changed it. I’m sure Scotsoun could build one a year.

  6. “We’re doomed, doomed” say you all. NO we are not. With respect a lot of people are responding to something that may not exist but it’s very easy to talk something down. Try doing the opposite. Write to your MP and the SofS and the papers. Be positive and what our service personnel would do. FIGHT BACK.

  7. Fallon is at it again with his mild mannered apparently innocuous pronouncements telling anyone who will listen the Tories are “Keeping Britain Safe.” It’s all BS. The loss of another 2 escorts, the 2 LPD’s and the Ocean as well as 1000 Royal Marines is national vandalism. Admiral Lord West recently wrote that he ‘Despaired.’ I do too at the pusilanimous poltroons in the MOD who allow this nonsense about a growing RN to perpetuate. It’s utter guff. Who needs enemies when we have these blithering buffoons in charge. It must be bad when Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, mentions 30 new Army Cadet Corp sites in his conference speech: what a total prat. Talk about scraping the barrel! Putin must be bricking it!

    • The trouble is the UK electorate swallow the lies but our enemies know the truth of our ever weakening forces. When a conflict does occur 1,000s of our servicemen will pay with their live & limbs for UK gov’s miserly treason.

    • That’s it. Keep attacking the one man who can do something about the cuts which are largely treasury led. Brilliant tactic.

  8. Agree with the dismay. However. Until this year with changes to the role of 42 Commando and reduction of the number of Lcvp and Icu the RM have escaped unscathed through countless SDSR’s and defence cutting salami slicing efforts.
    They currently number 8 regiment or battalion sized formations, including the SBS, several RM bands, and the staff of CTCRM. 3 Commando Brigade has not for years been able to deploy as a complete formation, and it’s supporting army elements are too few to support each Commando.
    I would guess that the axe will fall on parts of Commando Logistics Regiment and Fleet Protection Group RM. Maybe 42 Commando will merge with FPGRM. Each carry out specific maritime security roles once carried out by the FPGRM only. There is your 1000 RM cut leaving landing craft and the line Commando units intact. Just speculation on my part.

  9. I was shouted off this forum for posting the news of these reductions via my son who is aboard a Type 23 held together with string a tape. Now even a couple of Type 23s are up for sale. You people are so out of touch.

    • Hello Alan,

      I am sincerely interested in your son’s assessment of our current T23’s. As I have said elsewhere – I am not a military man but do hold those who serve in high esteem and want the best equipment for them. Cost is a secondary consideration.

      Can you please give more details. I realise you may have done this previously but I cannot find your comments.

  10. It would help if the costs of the current and future Trident systems (apart from the crewing) were taken out of the MOD budget and the money released given to the RN. My argument is that Trident is more than a defensive system – it is used as for diplomatic leverage as well. Trident gets the UK a seat on the Security Council and is a constant reminder to the Americans that we are serious partners. I believe it used to be the case that at least some of the costs of the Deterrent came from the Treasury. That being the case, why don’t we switch back to that arrangement?

  11. What makes this situation worse (or even dare I say it; is actually causing the problems) is looking at what our political parties ARE willing to spend our money on.
    Money does grow on trees if you want to spend it on anything that can be labelled ‘green’ or ‘environmentally friendly’. Politicians actually believe they are saving the planet (they are not) but they do not give a sh?? about saving the UK.

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