Royal Navy does not have enough ships: Naval Technology Survey

Harry Lye 16 March 2020 (Last Updated March 23rd, 2020 12:36)

A poll of Naval Technology readers has found that 93% of respondents think the Royal Navy does not have enough ships and only 7% believe it does.

Royal Navy does not have enough ships: Naval Technology Survey
The HMS Queen Elizabeth-led carrier battle group with the Norwegian Navy’s newest frigate HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl. Credit: Royal Navy.

Our poll asked ‘Does the Royal Navy have enough ships?’. Of 17,284 respondents, 16,151 (93%) said no, whereas 1,133 (7%) said yes.

The size of the Royal Navy has been questioned in recent months, not least by British Politicians, who have cast doubts on the ability of the Royal Navy to effectively deploy its forces. Since the new year, a priority for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been boosting the readiness of its ships to maximise the availability of its forces.

The Royal Navy operates several major surface combatants including six destroyers, 13 frigates, two aircraft carriers, and two assault ships. The navy is also engaged in the development of five new Type 31 frigates and eight Type 26 frigates, designed to replace the ageing Type 23 frigates that currently make up the backbone of the fleet.

Infographic: HMS Queen Elizabeth By The Numbers | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

The Royal Navy also operates a large fleet of mine hunting vessels, however, it is expected to lose this capability in the next decade as the current MOD equipment plan does not include funds to replace the vessels when they go out of service.

The Royal Navy’s Submarine Service has four ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), and six attack submarines of mixed classes. The Royal Navy is currently procuring four Dreadnought-class submarines to replace the in-service Vanguard-class and is continuing to acquire Astute-class attack submarines that replace older Trafalgar-class boats.

Infographic: The UK's shrinking navy | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

The Royal Navy has several operational deployments around the world, one of the most well-known being work ensuring the safe passage of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. This mission was brought into focus last year when British-flagged shipping vessel the Stena Impero was seized by Iranian forces in the Gulf.

In an interview due to be published next month in Global Defence Technology, MP and Chair of House of Commons defence committee Tobias Ellwood said that the Royal Navy could look to developing cheaper, modular ships to expand its fleet. Ellwood added that there was “not at all” enough investment in the Royal Navy.