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Navy struggling to survive

Discussion in 'Military Rants' started by John A Silkstone, Jan 4, 2010.


  1. John A Silkstone United Kingdom

    John A Silkstone Mi General MI.Net Member

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    Navy facing struggle for survival as Treasury cuts spending, report warns

    The Royal Navy is facing a struggle for survival against a Treasury intent on cutting back on defence spending, a report warns today.

    The Royal Navy is now “smaller than it has ever been in its history but the demands upon the few remaining ships remain as high as ever,” says British Warships and Auxiliaries, an annual guide to the state of the Navy.

    With Afghanistan absorbing an increasing amount of resources, the Navy’s surface warship and submarine fleets look set to be the most vulnerable.

    Steve Bush, the editor of the guide, warns that even though the Navy is to receive two large aircraft carriers and more of the new Type 45 destroyers, there will not be enough frigates and destroyers to protect the most important ships. Mr Bush, who left the Royal Navy in 2000 after 20 years, told The Times: “There are new ships coming through but the fleet has been pared back so much by the Government that there are now not enough escort ships to protect the bigger vessels.

    The Government had planned to build 12 of the Type 45 destroyers but the number has been reduced to six.

    The guide also casts doubt on the so-called Future Surface Combatant, a new generation of warship for the 2020s and beyond. Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, the First Sea Lord, has told The Times that he hopes to have this programme approved before he retires. However, Mr Bush warns that this project is likely to slip because of diminishing resources.

    He adds: “As for submarines, you need a critical mass to make them costeffective because of the infrastructure required to maintain them.”

    Four nuclear-powered Astute-class boats have been ordered to replace the ageing Swiftsure-class submarines and the early Trafalgar-class boats. But the construction programme has suffered from delays and overspend, and there are doubts about the promised extra three to bring the Astute submarine fleet to seven.

    Even the Government’s commitment to the two new 64,000-tonne carriers, costing about £4 billion, might not survive the demand for savings. “With a defence review due this year, nothing will be exempt from the need to cut costs,” Mr Bush writes in the guide.

    He says that if there are to be fewer escort ships [frigates and destroyers] then the Government will have to think about cutting back on commitments. Several ships are tied up with the counter-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden — one of the new commitments for the Navy.

    “We as a country have to decide whether we want a blue water Navy capable of transiting the globe or a Navy that just protects our coastline. I hope it’s the former,” he writes. “I think the next few months are going to be critical for the Navy and for all the Services.”

    Last year the Ministry of Defence announced that the war in Afghanistan was the top priority in defence. The report says: “This is bad news for both the RAF and Royal Navy, but particularly for the Navy, as the public perception is that Afghanistan is an army operation and, therefore, resources should be directed towards the soldiers on the ground.

    “An ever-increasing body count soon gets the attention of the public and pictures of flag-draped coffins arriving at UK air bases galvanise public demand for more and more equipment for the troops in theatre,” Mr Bush says, adding that an “indifferent public seem to think that the Royal Navy of today is an irrelevance”.

    “This totally misses the point that not all deployed troops are Army. To the public, if it fights on the ground it is Army, if it flies it is Air Force. Where are the Royal Navy in all this? [It] does not swan around the oceans. It needs to train personnel and operate its ships in all environments and all conditions to maintain operational effectiveness,” he says.
     
  2. Raven Gold

    Raven Gold Mi Corporal MI.Net Member

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    I'm starting to see whats going on now. To me it sounds all the countries with effective naval forces are all on the same side (for now) and are growing lax.

    Everyone's been fighting against under developed opponents, the 1st powerful nation that decides to go up against even the United States is going to have a great advantage.

    Damn bureaucrats.
     

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