Thursday, March 06, 2008

Elsanoran Navy Faces Fleet Reductions

-- PBN March 5th, 2008

Officials at Elsanor's defense ministry have put together proposals that would dramatically reduce the Royal Navy's fleet.

Citing details e-mailed to it by a source within the Ministry of Defense, the source reported that because of the projected lack of need for a blue water navy in what is projected to be a decade of low intensity conflicts, two warships and could be decommissioned from April.

The source told the PBN that the cuts would reduce the Royal Navy's capacity to just "one small-scale operation" per fiscal year.

According to the source, the Ministry of Finance's Comprehensive Spending Review, which allocated an annual increase in defense spending just of 1.5 percent above inflation, sparked rows between senior MoD officials and Minister of Finance Steven Chin.

In addition to that, commitments to expand the land forces at a total cost of four thousand dollars over the next 5 years forced the MoD to tighten its belt, the email said.

"The Finance Minister directed that no further money from the CSR would be allocated to defense and to maintain force levels the dept must find the savings/cuts," the source told the PBN.

"For the ERN, the CSR deal and the MoD's commitment to land based expansion is such that a proposal for the immediate decommissioning of five ships (two schooners and three tenders) from April this year has been considered.

"This would reduce the ERN's capabilities to just one small-scale operation and that is it."

The source also provided an internal MoD briefing paper that said that, assuming no further commissioning of ships, the combined size of the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary could fall from its current level of 13 to 7 within 5 years.

Vice Admiral, Lord Aubrey dismissed the idea that the Royal Navy's capacity could fall by more than half, and said that documents such as those cited by PBN source were produced as a matter of routine.

Ships scheduled for decommissioning in FY 2008 include three from the Auxiliary Fleet (schooner HMES Jaguar, and lightwater crafts Sunfish and Sand Mite), and two from the ERN (HMES Fearless, and lightwater craft Islander, Elsanor's longest serving surface component).

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