18 March 2013

Royal Navy Cuts Too Deep?

Researchers in the UK are saying that the Royal Navy is now 'too small' to protect Britain.

His warning was backed by retired naval officer Commander John Muxworthy of the UK National Defence Association who said that during the Falklands War in 1982 Britain had access to about 60 frigates and destroyers.

He said: "Now we have got 19. You have to use the rule of three with ships - one fighting, one training and one recovering"
"Just divide 19 by three to see how many we have got available for operations. People will fall about laughing if you claim we have enough.
"The Royal Navy has been emaciated. It is no longer a fleet. It is a flotilla."
"Britain is disarming when many countries around the world are rearming. The consequence is that we will lose lives, lose operational capabilities and we will be a shadow of our former selves.
"Yet as an island nation 90 per cent of everything that comes and goes from here goes by sea. "


By: Brant


S O said...

"Yet as an island nation 90 per cent of everything that comes and goes from here goes by sea."

RN folks stress this by now completely island! mantra a lot.

It's still pointless.

The Royal navy never had the capacity to protect British overseas trade satisfactorily on its own, not even in 1918 or 1945.
19, 60 or 160 frigates and destroyers makes little difference in this regard.

What really makes a difference today is that the only navies capable of messing Britain's maritime trade up are either allied or outnumbered anyway (Russian Navy).

Which of course leads to their second pet complaint; the Falklands revival scenario.

Bureaucracies defend their turf and attempt to grow a big as possible. To navies (which are bureaucracies), this is largely about the quantity of their ships.
Bureaucrats crying foul doesn't men anything. They're complaining on autopilot, serving their bureaucracies' interests, not the general public's interest.
You always need to look at the issue on your own if you cannot trust others.

I have not been able to come up on my own with a good idea about what's the benefits difference between 19 and 60 ships.

Btw, his rule of three is bullocks. he didn't even get it right. The original version was 1 on patrol, 1/3 transit, 1/3 harbour. Parallel fighting and training is BS.

Brant said...

I think the rule of three was probably modified over the years as we've moved away from full wartime mobilizations and towards 'interventions'

Scotten said...

I agree their navy is too small, but where were the funds to keep the 60 ship navy afloat?

Scott Moore said...

The headline is inaccurate - there are no 'researchers' just a single PhD student! And his research was commissioned for a Major General rather than any organisation.

I agree that this is probably a case of entrenched interests defending their position in the hierarchy. The arguments put forward in the article are laughable. Modern ships are far more capable than their predecessors and also far more expensive. Inevitably that means that the number of ships in the navy will be less than in the past. It is possible that British politicians need to scale back their commitments IF the navy has a reduced operational capacity. Essentially the only logical argument that could be put forward is not that the Royal Navy is "too small" to protect Britain but that it may not have the capability to protect Britain AND the Falklands AND by deployed in the Persian Gulf (or elsewhere) all at the same time.