The Patriot Post® · Royal Navy Weakness a Warning for America

By Harold Hutchison ·

The seizure of at least one British tanker by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has caused a lot of concern. It rightly should, and not just because it’s technically an act of war against one of America’s closest allies by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The seizure raises the risk that the tension could erupt into war.

Why did this happen? Well, Iran has a long track record of aggression and sponsoring terrorism going back to 1979. The country has repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel off the map. The regime’s Houthi stooges in Yemen fired missiles at a U.S. vessel multiple times. When President George W. Bush put Iran on the Axis of Evil, it was for that and a host of other reasons. This maritime hostage-taking escalation is just the latest on the list of reasons to kick this genocidal regime’s collective rear.

Well, that’s the readily apparent reason. However, if you want to get to the root cause, it comes down to the fact that evil, genocidal mullahs in Tehran thought they could get away with it. To see why, look at this graphic from the Twitter feed of NavyLookout. This represents the entirety of the Royal Navy’s force of major surface combatants: Six Daring-class guided-missile destroyers and 13 Type 23 guided-missile frigates. The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers are not even ready to deploy.

Loyal Patriot Post readers will note that we have discussed the Navy’s need for hulls in the water on multiple occasions — not just in terms of the aircraft carriers but also the need for more submarines. Just take a look at that graphic about the Royal Navy again, and you will see why.

Of the six Daring-class destroyers, only two are actively deployed as of this month. Of the other four, two have been undergoing major refits (significant maintenance to address wear and tear), and two others are undergoing minor maintenance). One has deployed to the Persian Gulf on short notice, the other is preparing to operate in the Western Atlantic. In essence, to have one ship deployed, you really need three hulls to account for upgrades and maintenance.

Looking at the baker’s dozen of guided-missile frigates, the British are in the same sort of fix. Five of the ships are undergoing extensive modernization to receive a new surface-to-air missile (among other upgrades). One is inactive, waiting its turn. That leaves seven active frigates, with one deployed to the Persian Gulf, one making a hasty deployment there, one returning from an exercise in the Baltic, and four others in British waters.

This is exactly why the decline in the United States Navy’s ship totals has to be considered a huge problem in need of immediate addressing. The good news is that the Navy’s FFG(X) program offers one chance to do that. Buying the designs based on the Freedom and Independence classes of the littoral combat ship and the Coast Guard’s Bertholf-class national security cutter would help boost the totals. But the real benefit would also be to buy the version of Spain’s Alvaro de Bazan-class guided-missile frigate.

That ship, with many systems similar to those on the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, would be an excellent addition to the Navy’s fleet with a few minor tweaks. But the other real problem is that the Navy needed even more ships built earlier. The Zumwalt-class of destroyers was supposed to be 32 ships. We’re only getting three. It will be even worse as the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers keep aging and need replacement. There seems to be no movement forward there. And a large navy will be needed to help Japan protect the Marcus Island motherlode that could neutralize one of China’s economic weapons.

President Trump is buying time with his policies aimed at China and Russia. However, if the United States does not start building the necessary hulls in the water now, we’re squandering a strategic opportunity.