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‘Porcupines’ at sea: British lawmakers sound the alarm on the Royal Navy - from US based DefenseNews

LONDON - article by Andrew Chuter – Britain’s Parliamentary Defence Committee has fired a broadside at the government, raising significant concerns about the future size and capabilities of the Royal Navy in a report released Dec 14.

Too few surface ships and submarines, limited offensive capabilities, lack of clarity around F-35 combat jet numbers, budget restrictions and delayed procurement are among a list of shortcomings identified by the report, titled “We’re going to need a bigger Navy.”

The shortcomings don’t end there. The report also points out issues with the speed of maintenance, the need to prioritize the British shipbuilding industry, the limited ability to operate without the support of allies and the axing of support ships without any plan for replacement.

Problems related to capabilities and fleet size have been brought into focus by a government integrated departmental review published earlier this year. That document sees the Royal Navy becoming a vital tool in Britain’s strategy of tilting more towards the Indo-Pacific region on defense, security, and trade, while retaining its NATO and other commitments.

“Overall our Navy needs more ships, armed with more lethal weapons and the most up-to-date technology,” committee chair Tobias Ellwood said in a statement.

Howard Wheeldon, a consultant at Wheeldon Strategic Advisory, welcomed the report but said the prospects for additional funding for the Royal Navy looked poor.

“If what the Defence Select Committee is calling for is ever to see the light of day, the need has to first be agreed by those charged with responsibility at Defence Headquarters and then agreed by the Treasury and Cabinet Office. The prospect of all those moves occurring appears very unlikely,” he said.

Note: Britain’s Parliamentary Defence Committee is chaired by Tobias Ellwood who was born in New York, USA due to his parents' overseas posting at the time. He grew up in Bonn, Germany and Vienna, Austria, but returned to the UK to complete his first degree at Loughborough University and later completed an MBA at City University Business School. He spent six years in the Regular Army with The Royal Green Jackets, head quartered in Winchester, and served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kuwait, Germany, Gibraltar and Bosnia.

For the full report in pdf, please click here:

‘Porcupines’ at sea - British lawmakers sound the alarm on the Royal Navy - by Andrew Chut
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A man waves a British flag as the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth sails out of the Tokyo bay on Sept. 08, 2021, in Yokosuka, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)

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