Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The model works fine if you replace them ship for ship, otherwise retiring them early doesn’t bear fruit.


When ships are decommissioned at least some of them could be put into dry dock storage. They are an insurance policy pending resale or refit. Apart from a warranty for a further 20 years or more service, a condition of sale could also include an offer to rearm them as combat capable warships in British yards. Many will have been fitted for but never with these weapons anyway.

Iqbal Ahmed

Is there a pattern here whereby RN ships sold to third world countries are actually up-armed with heavier weaponary like Anti-ship missiles?

Does that mean that RN ships have been under armed for years? Too many platforms but not enough money to arm them heavily or even adequately?


The Batch2 Types 22’s were all uparmed and the Batch 3’s might all have been retained in similar circumstances by USN and French Navies. Instead they were maliciously sold by MOD for scrap.
The disposal of the 4 Upholders was a ridiculous mistake.
The disposal of the Harriers was stupid beyond belief.
Something wrong with our policy IMHO. Most serious of all was letting go personnel after 2010 Review. In other words the main problem seems to be a lack of will and strategic awareness at a most political and civilian levels.
Well done for publishing the article.

David Stephen

You mean like the USN kept all those Spruance class destroyers or those Oliver Hazard Perry’s…….oh wait. Sticking ships in reserve seems like a good idea until you look a bit closer. It took us 2 years to get an LPD reactivated and we had a crew for her, which we would not have for any reserve ships. The RNR are not set up to help with this anymore and we could never train enough specialists fast enough to make a difference. It also cost money to keep ships tied up alongside which could be better spent on active assets. Then there is equipment. Imagine we had kept some batch 2s and wanted to reactivate them now. They would need new radars and missiles and lots more besides. Much better to sell ships off as we do but crucially we need to actually replace them on time.

Rob Cameron

I don’t think the point of keeping them is to put them back in the front line. The idea would be to put them into patrol duties and free up T45s, T26s and T31s in an emergency. They won’t need modern weapons.


I’ll bet like the RN, the USN regrets selling the Oliver Hazard Perry’s which is why they are now building new Frigates that may actually work!


No issue with selling off hulls when they are at the end of our useful tier 1 life. Doesn’t mean they aren’t very useful to tier 2 navies.

Lots of issues selling off useful ones for short term financial reasons and not replacing them. T-23s and Bay really good examples of that.

Also the decision to remove the conventional submarines shows how near impossible it is to resurrect a capability once its gone. Will we ever get that back, I doubt it.

Will be very interesting to see what happens in MDP re submarines & escorts, IMHO, the two single most critical asset shortages across all the forces and that’s saying something.

Kevin "Bugsy" Barrett

We used to have mothballed ships up the trott, now we do not have many ships full stop!

Adam C.

It’s a real shame that we’ve lost so many good ships, although it’s definitely better than putting them permanently in drydock, like the Batch 3 Type 22s. I’d have rather lost some of the Type 23s and have kept the more capable Type 22s.

Dunky the Dalek

T22 instead of T23’s I think not. Both maybe but Type 23’s have to be some of the most capable ships with an excellent balance of weaponry we’ve had some time. Certainly a better weapon fit than even B3 T22’s.

Adam C.

I think it’d be really interesting if you did a piece on the variety of weapons that the Type 26 could carry in its Mk41 VLS, and what the optimum loadout would be (It’d also be interesting if you did the same with the Type 45 if they were fitted with the Mk41).

In an ideal world, if more than 8 Type 26s were being procured, some of them could be configured with SM-2 to take some stress off the Destroyer fleet (provided of course they were fitted with an advanced radar, like a SAMSON-lite or the APAR on German and Dutch frigates), but as it stands, a mix of ASROC, Tomahawk and an anti-ship missile (be it LRASM or the Joint Stike variant of the Norwegian NSM) would be the best fit for its intended mission as far as I can see.


Might be worth buying some back…

David Brackenbury, ex LS (MW)

When we had the River class in the RNR, they were definitely used for minesweeping. Both DATS and Oropesa sweeping was one of our main tasks. They had high pressure hydraulic winches, which sometimes covered the sweepdeck with extremely slippery fluid! But great ships and it is good to see them being looked after.

Chris dickinson

Arguably at the moment the RN doesn’t have the manpower to that many more platforms but you have to question how sensible it is to use something like a T45 for effectively patrol duties, with less platforms we effectively running a £1b asset into the ground.

Alan C

All these royal naval ships sold to other country’s, Now after all the years of decline and our navy stripped down to the minimum, we now find our selves in a position where we do not have the naval ships to protect merchant ships. Gone are the days where we had 21 of 1 class, 12 of another and so on, and that’s just frigates all operating at the same time as well as destroyers.


Well should sell off some of our use less politicians. I doubt we would even get scrap value for them.


A real test as to whether a ship should be sold off is this:
1.It is part of an existing Class of ships the remainder of which will remain in RN Service for at least 10 years.
2.It was built in the last 10 years.
3.It was sold to cover a short term budgetary shortfall.

This covers the Bay class, the Upholders and Type 23’s.
Their replacement value should be the sum deducted from the pensions of the MOD Department responsible or of those politicians that sold them off.

Simon m

If you haven’t got the money then unfortunately you have to sell. Most
of these were past their best. Biggest mistakes selling in my view were:
1. the bay class – versatile and if anything major had happened would have been sorely missed unbalanced the amphibious force

2. The Upholders – good for protection of SSBNs + freeing up SSNs for longer range duties

3. T22 batch 3 (possibly late b2 as well) although they were manpower intensive. They were large, good for C2, possibly up-arming (though that probably wouldn’t have happened)

Not sold – but possibly now seemingly a stupid decision the retirement of RFA fort George especially Vs retention of Rosalie & Austin.


The 2 Irish Peacock class Coastal Patrol vessels have now been retired and are awaiting disposal (awaiting scrapping)