London prioritizes Royal Navy to remain Europe's leading fleet in 2030, and beyond

At the end of April 2024, Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, announced that the country's defense investments will be brought, by 2030, to 2,5% of GDP, in a global effort intended to respond to developments in international tensions.

Since then, announcements have multiplied across the Channel concerning the reorganization of British military programming with, for example, the return of the hypothesis of a fleet of 138 F-35s eventually, within the Royal Air Force.

It is, however, the Royal Navy which is the subject of London's greatest attention, with the obvious objective of making the British Navy the most powerful European fleet, as well as a major player on the international scene, including in the Pacific.

The Royal Navy, the priority of the British executive, against the backdrop of the AUKUS alliance

Thus, in recent months, several key programs have been launched, or announced, for the transformation of the Royal Navy, whether it is the renewal of the logistics fleet with the FSS program, or the renewal of the assault fleet amphibious with the MRSS program.

The efforts made by London in this area contrast with those which will be made for the modernization of the British Army, more than ever, the poor relation of the British armies, while the Royal Air Force had already undertaken several structuring programs, such as the acquisition of E-7 Wedgetail, P-8A Poseidon, or the recent order for 14 new CH-47 ER Chinooks.

P-8A Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force P-8A

However, these efforts pale in comparison to the 18 new frigates, six destroyers, six large assault ships, three large logistics ships, as well as the seven nuclear attack submarines and four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, which are, or will soon be, ordered by the Royal Navy from British shipyards.

Thus, after having admitted to service, over the last 10 years, only 2 Astute class SSNs, 5 River class OPVs, and its two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, it is preparing to receive, by to 2034, thirteen Type 026 and Type 031 frigates, the last two Astute-class SSNs, three new logistics ships, part of the six new amphibious assault LPDs from the MRSS program as well as the first of the Dreadnought-class SSBNs.

And it will not stop at that moment, since over the next 10 years, it will receive the last 3 SSBNs of the Dreadnought class, 5 new Type 32 frigates, the remaining MRSS, as well as two to three of the first SSNs of the SSN-AUKUS class, and the first Type 83 destroyers, which will replace the oldest Type 45s.

In addition to the expansion of the fleet itself, the Royal Navy will also receive new advanced systems in the years to come, ranging from the DragonFire anti-drone laser, to the various drones intended to board its two aircraft carriers, in passing through new missiles, including cruise and hypersonic.

The Royal Navy fleet under rapid reconstruction and expansion

In fact, recent announcements made by London outline an unprecedented modernization effort, since the end of the Cold War, to make, or rather remake, the Royal Navy, the most powerful naval force in Europe, and the Great Britain, a maritime power which will, in practice, only yield to the United States and China in terms of surface fleet and power projection.

The two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers as pivots of British naval power

The two British aircraft carriers, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, which entered service in 2017, and the HMS Prince of Walles, in 2019, will, of course, be the central pivots of this renewed naval power.

aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth
Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

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