A report released today has slammed the state of affairs leading to the Royal Navy having ‘too few’ warships.
Defence Select Committee chairman Dr Julian Lewis MP said:
“For decades, the numbers of Royal Navy escort vessels have been severely in decline. The fleet is now way below the critical mass required for the many tasks which could confront it, if the international scene continues to deteriorate.”
The recently released report ‘Restoring the Fleet: Naval Procurement and the National Shipbuilding Strategy’, concludes that:
“At 19 ships, the Royal Navy’s frigate and destroyer fleet is at a dangerous and an historic low. By giving a commitment to build “at least” five General Purpose Frigates, the SDSR implicitly acknowledged the need to increase this woefully inadequate total.
The Government has now set itself a target date for the start of construction of Type 26. It now has to demonstrate that it can deliver these ships, and the GPFF/Type 31 frigates to the timetable set by the out-of-service timetable for the Type 23s.
If the MoD does not, it will put at even greater risk our frigate numbers and the capabilities they provide. The SDSR 2015 undertook to modernise the Royal Navy, it is now time for the MoD to deliver on its promises.”
As of August 2016, there are 77 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy.
19 of the commissioned vessels are major surface combatants (six guided missile destroyers and 13 frigates) and 11 are nuclear-powered submarines (four ballistic missile submarines and seven fleet submarines).
In addition the Navy possesses a landing platform helicopter, two amphibious transport docks, 15 mine countermeasures vessels, 22 patrol vessels, four survey vessels, one icebreaker and two historic warships.