There has been no official announcement but in early 2016 the surface fleet was effectively reduced by a further two ships.
HMS Dauntless, in commission for just 6 years has been reduced to harbour training ship status and unlikely to go to sea for some time. Dauntless has suffered the most from the propulsion defects that have plagued the Type 45s. A cure will be found and she should eventually resume a full operational role, although it is unclear when this may be.
The MoD is still considering proposals for rectifying the Type 45 propulsion but it will require major work, almost certainly involving cutting open the hull and the insertion of at least one new generator set and this will not happen before 2019.
HMS Lancaster has been put into “mothballs”, or in MoD double-speak, “extended readiness”.
She is being stripped of stores for use by active ships and laid up in the basin in Portsmouth where ships have traditionally awaited disposal. This is not to say Lancaster will never go to sea again. Her official out of service date is listed as 2024 and she remains in commission. She may be refitted and see further service after a few years laid up.
Alternatively, she may go the way of several RN vessels that languished in extended readiness for years before a final trip to a Turkish scrapyard. Lancaster is one of the older Type 23s, she had a £17.9M ‘mid-life’ refit in 2011-12 but does not carry the Type 2087 towed array sonar or the Artisan radar the rest of the class have received.
Reducing the status of these 2 vessels was not a cut mandated by government, rather a wise, if difficult decision taken by the RN leadership in the face of a manpower crisis. The 2015 SDSR supposedly promised an end to cuts but this reduction is not a result of recent policy.
This is the legacy from years of commitments mismatched with inadequate resources, over-stretching the service. Both ships could possibly have been keep operational but there is such a shortage of people, that it could only be done at the expense of breaking promises.
Keeping ships alongside obviously saves money but lack of suitably qualified & experienced technical senior rates is the bigger immediate problem. (end of excerpt)
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