Almost half of the Royal Navy’s fleet of frigates and destroyers is inactive because of long-term repairs.
The Ministry of Defence has admitted that six of its 13 Type 23 frigates and three of its six Type 45 destroyers are in scheduled upkeep and therefore cannot be deployed.
The frigates are undergoing engine upgrades and work to extend their lifespan because delays to their replacements mean their use must stretch beyond the intended 20 years.
The destroyers, which cost £1 billion each, are receiving serious maintenance after defence chiefs acknowledged that they could not cope with warm waters after problems in the Gulf.
The “normal rule of thumb” allows for a third of a given fleet to be in scheduled maintenance. It means that the options open to the Royal Navy to protect commercial shipping and bolster its presence in the region, in which Iran seized a British-flagged tanker last week, are limited because the 19 frigates and destroyers are the major warships that provide security to merchant vessels.
Click here for the full story, on The Times website.