News ID: 255954
Published: 0510 GMT July 17, 2019

The Royal Navy: A Shadow of its Imperial Past

The Royal Navy: A Shadow of its Imperial Past

The United Kingdom’s decision to deploy more naval assets to the Persian Gulf has caused worry and anxiety in the international community for fear that the augmented British military presence in the region will dramatically inflame tensions.

The UK Ministry of Defence recently announced it would be sending two additional warships to the Persian Gulf, namely HMS Duncan (a Type 45 destroyer) and HMS Kent (a Type 23 frigate), Presstv Reported.

The new warships join HMS Montrose (a Type 23 frigate) which has been operational in the region since late last year.

This move has already raised serious questions in British military circles as for years senior naval commanders have warned about over-reach by the royal navy.

In a letter to The Telegraph dated August 2018, Admiral Alan West, who was chief of naval staff from 2002 to 2006, admitted that the royal navy lacks the resources to adequately defend the UK’s territorial waters post-Brexit.

The recent British show of strength in the Persian Gulf is consistent with the long-standing British policy of punching above the country’s weight on the world stage.

On this occasion it would appear that this show of force is a ploy to pressure Iran, even though by all credible accounts the Iranians are less than impressed by British chest-thumping. 

For years now, British military commanders, and their allies in the political establishment, have bemoaned budget cuts aimed at the royal navy.

In November 2017, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, the former chief of the naval staff, told the House of Commons defence committee that cuts to the Royal Marines was ”madness”.

These interventions, at the highest military levels, are consistent with reports that the number of operational royal navy vessels has halved in the past 25 years.

 

The effect of this shrinking capacity came into sharp relief on July 09, when the £3.1 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier was forced to return to port because of a leak, which led to “neck high” flooding.

As former, and current, British military commanders have repeatedly pointed out, their naval force can barely defend the UK’s territorial waters, let alone project power in far-flung corners of the world.

The ruling politicians in London still dream of the glory days of the empire by clinging to the delusion that their so-called imperial navy can play a strategic role in sensitive waters like the Persian Gulf.     

 

 

   
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