David Axe reports: http://warisboring.com/?p=1727
Under current plans, the Royal Navy circa 2020 will be a very strange force. There will be just six high-end warships to protect two 65,000-ton super-carriers, plus a mixed flotilla of old Type 23s and FSCs numbering just over a dozen. Itâll be a top-heavy force with too few destroyers to escort the carriers into a shooting war, and too few frigates to perform day-to-day patrolling during peacetime. Itâs a fleet optimized for nothing.
For the past few decades, Her Majesty's Armed Forces have steered away from the preservation of empire and colonies, instead configuring themselves in such a way that they can provide a solid bulwark to the US Armed Forces, while operating independently in a single theater, Falklands style scenario.
But, the backbone of any British strategy -from the pre-Victorian age all the way up until the Labour Party victory in the mid 1990s- has always been a powerful Royal Navy. The fleet's demise over the past several years has been one of the great tragedies in recent memory. There was a time when the Union Jack protected every major sea lane and trade route on the globe -- today the British can barely protect their own coastline. That's a terrible fall for what was once a mighty sea-faring empire.
What's troubling about this report, to me at least, is that the Brits are shaping their fleet in such a way that it will be largely reliant on American protection. Instead of existing as a powerful, independent ally that can operate jointly or independently with its US counterpart, the Royal Navy is becoming a welfare case -- where supporting it with anti-sub and anti-air protection becomes more of a drain on our own resources than a benefit.
Watching the British lose confidence in themselves, the oft-lamented "Suez Syndrome," is terrible. But, as much as it pains me to say so, perhaps it's time we look for new, stronger allies for our special defense relationship -- perhaps in the Aussies or Japanese.