The impact of the ongoing budget crisis in Britain on the Royal Navy has been far reaching. Last week we posted about concerns that budget cuts would leave Britain with a shortage of attack submarines. Recently, it was revealed that the Type 23 frigate, HMS Westminster, was sent on patrol off the Libyan port city of Benghazi in March with as few as four Seawolf missiles. The ship is designed to carry 32 Seawolf missiles which are used to intercept incoming missiles fired at the ship. The Seawolf missiles are fired two at a time, so if the ship had come under attack, it would have had the capacity to defend itself against only two incoming anti-ship missiles.
Navy frigate sent to Libya with four missiles
Earlier this month, the Royal Navy acknowledged that it did not have a warship on emergency stand-by in British waters for the entire month of October. In the past, a destroyer or frigate, designated as the Fleet Ready Escort (FRE), was maintained in readiness to respond to an emergency at home or abroad. Due to budget cuts, no ship was available. A navy spokesman called the FRE role a ‘luxury’. Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord Alan West, diagreed, saying, ‘I would hardly say it is a luxury. If there was a terrorism incident in UK waters, this would historically be the ship sent in to deal with it.”
Thanks to Alaric Bond for passing there articles along.