This is sad news. Because of the budgetary crisis brought on by profligate government spending and the recent recession, the Royal Navy has offered to reduce itself to its smallest size in over 450 years, when Henry VIII was King:
The Navy is set to be reduced to the smallest size in its history after admirals yesterday offered drastic reductions in the fleet in order to save two new aircraft carriers from defence cuts.
Under the plans, the number of warships would be cut by almost half to just 25, with frigates, destroyers, submarines, minesweepers and all amphibious craft scrapped.
It is understood that the Navy has offered to slim down to as few as 12 surface ships, leaving it with six Type 45 destroyers and six Type 23 frigates. In addition, its submarine fleet would reduce to seven Astute hunter-killers plus the four Trident nuclear deterrent boats. With the two carriers, this would reduce the fleet by half from its current total of 42 ships.
“If we want the two carriers it means we have to mortgage everything and by that I mean reducing the fleet by almost a half,” said a senior Navy source.
Navy analysts warned that the cuts would mean Britain reducing its fleet to the size of the Italian navy and almost half the size of the French.
Emphasis added. This is what the heirs of the victors of Trafalgar are reduced to? Oh, the shame.
The Admiralty apparently is offering to make these cuts because they want to complete the construction of two new aircraft carriers, which they claim is essential to maintaining Britain’s status as a world power. Perhaps so, but I’m not sure what good carriers are if you don’t have enough other ships to protect them. Besides, as the article points out, Her Majesty’s Government may not even be able to afford to put any planes on them.
So, they’re gutting the Royal Navy to build floating planter boxes?
It’s a depressing turn for what was once one of the greatest naval forces to ever sail the oceans. Along with its great battle victories, the Royal Navy essentially ended the transatlantic slave trade and guaranteed freedom of the seas, until we took over that latter role. Indeed, the US Navy took many of its traditions from the Royal Navy, and for the last 100 years the two have fought side-by-side against the deadly enemies of both nations.
And now it’s come to this: just 25 ships, a fleet that’s little better than a coastal defense force. Great Britain thus leaves itself reliant on the EU and soft power for its security.
Nelson and Churchill weep.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)