Navy must ‘double effectively in size’ to help fight China rise ‘World more dangerous!’
Royal Navy must 'double effectively in size' to help fight China rise
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Tobias Ellwood appeared on LBC to discuss the Defence Select Committee report which calls for the UK Government to increase shipbuilding capabilities and to double the size of the Royal Navy over the next few decades. The 91-page report makes reference to the Royal Navy being a “fleet of porcupines” meaning they are “well-defended herbivores” which lack a land-attack capability. Ultimately, Mr Ellwood warned with the aggressive posturing of China and Russia in seas across the world the island country of the UK needed to protect its interest by reinvesting into its Navy.
Speaking on LBC, Mr Ellwood discussed the report from the Defence Select Committee which said the Royal Navy had good defensive capabilities but lacked enough strength to take the fight to the enemy.
Mr Ellwood was asked by Mr Ferrari how big he would like to see the Navy and said: “It’s very important that we keep one eye on what is happening and coming over the horizon.
“[They need the proper kit] and from where I sit, the world is getting more dangerous but we remain on a peacetime defence budget.
“We’re actually going to see a decrease in defence spending, can you believe it, over the next four years.
“We are investing in cyber and space but that’s come at an expense of the traditional services of the Army, the Air Force, and indeed the Navy.
“We have 18 frigates and destroyers but don’t forget the rotational process on this between operations, refits and training mean you’ve only got a third of those at any one time.
“So you’ve only got six ships available, possibly nine at any one time yet here we are trying to defend UK waters, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Gulf, East Africa, the Black Sea.”
Mr Ellwood said because the UK is an island nation it needed access to waters to conduct trade and to bolster its defences against foreign regimes.
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He added the UK Navy had some of the best weapons and ships available currently but simply lacked enough of them.
He explained: “It’s very well sending our aircraft carrier through the South China Sea… but if you only turn up there every couple of years, you’re not gonna change China’s behaviour.
“They’ll continue to turn those reefs into military bases and so forth.
“We’re seeing more activity in the Black Sea as well and we do very well to stand our ground there…
“Asymmetric warfare is now taking over so it’s not a clash of military might at sea it’s what’s happening with the underwater cables that connect the United States and the UK.
“All these need to be defended too and we can’t do that with the size of Navy we have, we need to double effectively in size.”
The report branded Royal Navy vessels as “well-defended herbivores” who were being let down by reduced military budgets and axed programmes.
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Tensions in the South China Sea and the Black Sea have continued to ramp up after more military exercises from Russia and China are conducted in the region.
In June this year, tensions mounted between Russia and the UK after HMS Defender was subject to warning shots and escort missions from the Russian military.
The vessel sailed 12-miles off Crimea’s coast, an area annexed by Russia in 2014 which is not recognized as part of Russia by many world powers.
The UK was making a journey through the waters which are recognised by most of the world as being part of Ukraine but Russia took it to be a deliberate provocation.
Jets and warning shots were launched with the Ministry of Defence denying shots had been fired.
China has ramped up aggressive military action in the South China Sea and has repeatedly bumped heads with Australia who they have fallen out with politically.
Hostilities between the two countries ramped up due to the pandemic with the Australian Government demanding better investigation and access into the origins of COVID-19.
China has also flown several jets through Taiwan’s airspace in recent months with international relations experts concerned over China’s posturing.
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