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But that’s not the whole story. I just want us to briefly recap the headlines from the last three defence reviews. In 1997, the review pledged to deliver 32 destroyers and frigates and 2 Amphibious Assault Ships. In the event, we got the 2 Assault ship…but only six frigates and destroyers.
In 2010 SDSR, we said we would deliver 2 carriers and 19 destroyers and frigates …of which 6 were Type 45s and 13 were Type 26s. Well we got the carriers. But the 13 Type 26s were reduced to 8 and we’ve ordered 3 of them.
And in SDSR 2015 we set out a shopping list of 8 T26s, 5 Type 31e, 2 OPVs and 4 ballistic missile submarines. I am determined that remains on track.
I ask you, what is the point of methodically reviewing threats and tasks, formulating capability and then not delivering it?
What’s the point of building ships only to mothball them for lack of crew, spares or funds?
What is the point of costly design and innovation if we only intend to build a handful?
What is the point of running on old vessels and delaying new ones and running up massive costs in the process?
If the RN and wider defence is to deliver on the ambitions of our country, then we must tackle both the funding and the political behaviours which constantly undermine it.
We'll see if the actions meet the words, but she's got a very good point there...