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The British Army still has 31 regular Infantry battalions, not 25 as the article states.
Regarding the Type 45s, when the Marine National only has two modern AAW destroyers (the two Horizon class vessels) it was always going to be impossible
to justify 12 T45s, but it is unfortunate that ships 7 and 8 were axed.
Also worth noting that the Type 26s with 24 Mk 41 strike length cells and
48 Sea Ceptor canisters, will be larger, more heavily armed and more capable
vessels than the FREMMs.
eg French FREMM just 16 Aster 15 missiles and 16 SCALP.


I agree that the RN must have a reserve fleet of ships and aircraft. A recent study shows that the RN suffered by far the largest loss (2.3bn) through equipment scrapped prematurely of all the 3 services.
In WW2 by far the greatest RN losses were in the first 30 months of a 69 month war. Ships take far longer to build than any comparable piece of military equipment and an ample force is required.
Just as the foreign aid budget has been cast in tablets of stone so should the RN budget be backed by a statutory minimum % to prevent the haphazard cuts the treasury and politicians at Westminster inflict in the fleet.
In the likely scenario of a 10 years hence future war, the present fleet is unlikely to be able to sustain operations for 30 months let alone 69 months.


What to do?
Nothing will happen to reverse the slippery slope on which the RN finds itself.
Much will be said during the run up to englands election. Promises will made but they will not be kept come the morning after. Other countrys seem to care more about their societys and defense. In the aftermath of what happened in Paris France increased defense spending, with possibly added money for the French Navy in the Med( which might be used to smuggle in barabarians and their weopons).Also the French have a real independent nuclear deterrent which does not rely on america to supply missiles or guidance satellitess which could be turned off to prevent it being used if Washington decided against them. Think again Keep Trident.
Sweden suspected a sub(s) in its waters (.Better than uk . With nimrod gone and RN shrunk they probably would never know they were there.) As a result they are increasing spending with no doubt some more of those brilliant super quite subs . The best way to counter a enemy boat is with another sub armed with big beefy torpedos.
Meawhile in britain victum of 7/7 and Woolwich. Its cuts , cuts and more cuts to the very means of guarding its all important shipping lanes and lands.

ian potter

I agree with waylander//the type 26s will be very potent indeed but if we get 13 is any bodys guess.
I also agree our navy has been hit very hard .Yes we do need a reserve fleet and I agree with Dr clarkes assumption that we could keep hold in reserve 8 type 23s .
Im my mind we don’t have enough submarines ,no jets to put on these very expensive carriers .I think the f35s are unreliable as of yet and maybe we should invest some time looking at a couple of squadrons of sea gripen.
This government has played with defence since it came to power mr Cameron is a very impulsive man and isn’t very pragmatic in my opinion..Hes willing to get our forces involved in scraps everywhere with out understanding he has sacked a lot of military personel.
Scrapped much needed assets and he hasn’t got the military might behind hes whims the uk used to have .
In my mind the first job of a prime minister is to ensure the security of our trade by sea ,the security of the air in uk airspace and also make sure we have a credible army properly equips and large enough to defend the uks interests.
At this moment in time dodgy dave isn’t only putting our home security at danger by savaging our armed forces he also lets [them] live here in our country a lot of them on benefits .He gives away £11 billion a year to countries as rich as us if not more ..
WHO decides on this foreign aid business ,we should put our own house in order before anybody else..
With out a big stick we are nothing in the world !!! MR CAMERON get your finger out and get our military funded and brought up to strength or indeed you may very well be sorry we all might be !!


If you all want super duper RN, and armed forces, I suggest you launch a coup and ensure there’s no other government department besides defence, Arm yourselves!


Not everyone that supports defence wants to spend 100% on defence (there may be a few in number, but they’re definitely not the majority). Defence is one key to economic security and prosperity, if trade routes (both physical and virtual) cannot be secured then there will be no money for public benefit and welfare; no public health service, no free schools, no welfare to help those in need. Most supporters of defence want to see our forces manned and equipped to do the tasks that are asked of them, not have resources taken away and asked to do more. It is possible that for the 2% GDP NATO target for defence spending the UK could have a better defence output than it does currently. France and Germany spend roughly the same amount as the UK and have better defence output. This would require long term strategic thinking and planning (certainly for the Navy), not short term political points. The multitude of threats that the general public aren’t aware of further highlights why defence, and investing in defence resources is a vital government function (although no recent government has really delivered on rhetoric).
Some threats to name a few;
– Russia, who are increasing their defence spend and have stated that NATO is their main threat and are increasing their encroachments via air and sea into our territorial areas of interest
– China conducts daily cyber-attacks on other nations to obtain information;
– North Korea is ever belligerent and it is possible that they are close to completing a missile that has enough range to hit Scotland;
– Religious Extremism from fanatics who have twisted religious teachings to justify their barbarism
– Piracy on the goods that we import and export to sustain our economy
The UK armed forces currently do not have the capacity to deal with or respond to multitude of threats in their entirety. All that can be offered is a token gesture. It is through defence and security that we enjoy, and take for granted our freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom to live without fear, freedom to live and work in a society that has been built through the actions of the armed forces for generations.


Couldn’t agree more with this last post. Defence is a lot like an insurance policy, you don’t really appreciate it until it is sometimes too late.
I fear that we take our freedom for granted, and that many (most?) people are too interested in what is in it for them tomorrow, when it comes to voting, to think about this.


What’s really interesting is that populist mass media in the Anglosphere is contemptuous of the Russian Federation’s military branches and effectively installs a popular image of theirs as branches of rusting decrepit ex Soviet materiel. Whilst this fiction is very effective at allaying popular fears of Russia as a threat, the glaring omission is that the British military branches are in an awful state. The Navy shrinks per annum, and the Air branch is seriously depleted, mortgaged to the disastrous F35 project likely to leave gaping holes in the near future. The biggest elephant in room is the absence of any intelligence radar aircraft to cover the coast or Navy – even for viable search and rescue operations required under internal maritime law – let alone act as the eyes and ears for the Naval branch


Totally agree, we do need more capability and we need to stop using high end units for anti drug patrol, anti piracy etc.
I agree in keeping two squadrons of the Type 23 in reserve.They could be used by the RNR, possibly with civilian authorities such as customs, border and police force.
What the British government has forgotten is that the RN needs the complete spectrum of ships not just blue water capable.
So with the two carriers the Type 45’s and 26’s should be allocated to for permanent task groups, train work sail and refit together. This would help the manning issues.
The new Type 31 needs to be built in sufficient numbers to have possibly two at each of the UK areas of interest based on Gib, Falklands, Bahrain, Diego Garcia with possibly four in UK waters. Armed so it can meet low to middle threats from surface, sub-surface and air. Its surveillance suit should be sufficient to carry out this task but be capable of integration into a major units system if working in conjunction with such vessels.
With the development of oil production field in the Falklands two such vessels combined with the RAF flight and Ground force presence could stop a second conflict. It was probably Governments short term money saving ideas that gave the impetus for Argentina to think it would be possible to attack in the first place causing a large expense in material and men to the Government.
It seems impossible to build 12-14 vessels at a total cost of approx 7 billion, however lets look at the real cost of construction, if two ships are to be laid every year on a three year construction period per ships that would mean at the end of the first three years six vessels will be in various stages of build. Appledore could take one possibly two, Portsmouth could be reactivated, but in private hands not BAE. This would create up to 10,000 well paid new jobs, it would also save the government money as these people would be paying taxes, VAT etc instead of receiving benefits if they are not working. As the cost of such vessels would decrease due to the build quantity then it is possible that other nations would purchase them.
Next step would be to guarantee future build, so the moment the design of the 31 is laid the next ships should start to be designed and ready for construction after all 12-14 are finished at a rate of two per year laid. It might sound like coo-coo land but it needs to be remembered that the smaller vessels will need more refit time and have a lower life expectancy.
Personally I would like to see one more type of ship based on the type 45 we could call it Type 85. Basically a 45 with out the Helicopter hanger but with a second set of VLS, one each to act as a AAW cruiser carrier escort and one for the Amphibious Group. Wishful thinking I know but we need to do something and to pay for it well maybe a 1% VAT increase on imports, I think the people would understand that.