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DSEI 2023: does the Royal Navy's surface combatant recapitalisation go far enough after a decade of neglect?

6th September 2023 - 14:30 GMT | by Tim Fish in Auckland


The Type 26 City-class frigate HMS Glasgow is launched by BAE Systems. It is the first new frigate built for the Royal Navy since the Type 23, HMS St Albans in 1999-2002. (Photo: UK MoD/Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Navy (RN) operates one of the world’s premier fleets with the ability to deploy high-end warships globally and retains key competencies in carrier aviation, amphibious and undersea warfare that few can boast. It also provides the UK’s nuclear deterrent submarines. Despite this potential, it needs to recover from a decade of neglect to sustain these capabilities.

In the first of a three-part analysis of the state of the UK Royal Navy and the challenges it faces to sustain its core capabilities ahead of DSEI 2023, Shephard takes a hard look at UK surface combatant programmes, frigates and destroyers, which have seen a renewed focus in recent years after a decade of neglect.

The reason for this neglect was that in an effort to secure the delivery of the two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers promised in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review the RN agreed to cut the size of its surface combatant fleet to provide the necessary savings

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Tim Fish


Tim Fish

Tim Fish is a special correspondent for Shephard Media. Formerly the editor of Land Warfare …

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