UK keeps the ball rolling with new naval vessel arrivals

The number of Royal Navy’s frigates and destroyers will return to above 19 vessels by 2026 as new ships are brought into service, Admiral Tony Radakin notes in his written evidence submitted to the Defence Select Commitee, UK.

Over the next decade there will be seven new classes of ships being built in British yards, including three classes of frigates: the Type 26, 31 and the new Type 32s.

It means by the start of the 2030s, the Royal Navy will have more than 20 frigates and destroyers, aiming to grow to 24 with the introduction of the Type 32s, according to the navy officials.

In his written notice, Radakin also stated that the UK’s plan is to retire two Type 23 frigates, HMS Monmouth and HMS Montrose, in July 2021 and July 2023 respectively. The ships were initially scheduled for lengthy retrofits, from 2021 until 2024, before retiring in 2026/2027. By deciding to retire the ships instead of refit, the UK has saved around £100 million ($133 million) to boost the navy’s fleet.

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The projected in service dates for these ships, and the time required for sea trials and commissioning activity, have been modelled against the out of service dates of the Type 23 force.

“So, whilst FFDD hull numbers will dip to 17 by the end of 2023, the numbers of ships we will have available for operations is improved by this measure,” Radakin stated.

Furthermore, the additional availability that the new plans provided in the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) force, through the extension of the Batch 1 OPVs in Home Waters, has allowed the navy to use the Batch 2 OPVs to deliver some
tasks overseas to which a frigate or destroyer would have been attributed previously.

“An expanding Navy, armed with the latest weaponry, equipped with the latest tech, deployed more around the world to meet the UK’s expanding horizons,” is the navy’s goal for the future.

Alongside these plans, the surface fleet will be armed with the latest weaponry and harness the latest technology including land attack and supersonic missiles for the surface fleet. Huge investment in “the Submarine Service spearheaded by the £31bn Dreadnought programme” and nuclear warheads are expected to additionally contribute to the navy’s capabilities. New support ships will be built to accompany the task groups on their global deployments.

We are also committed to several initiatives, under Projects RESOLUTION (Submarines) and RENOWN (Surface Ships), to shorten refits and speed up routine maintenance of the existing fleet. The collective effect of all these measures will be a much more available Fleet, delivering a better return on the investment the Ministry of Defence has made in the Royal Navy, and providing more days on operations for the nation,” Radakin concluded.

Photo: T31ShipXL; Courtesy of Royal Navy