A NAVAL expert has said lessons could be learnt from the USA’s newest warship.
The US Navy is trialling its $4.4bn (£2.6bn) destroyer USS Zumwalt – the largest vessel of its kind to be built in the States.
Nimrod is a classic example. We spent billions trying to make it work but we still went overseas to get itMike Critchley, naval expert
The 600ft warship features a host of high-tech stealth technology and automated systems.
It comes as Portsmouth continues preparation work to welcome HMS Queen Elizabeth – the UK’s largest aircraft carrier ever built – to the city’s naval base, in 2017.
Now retired Royal Navy officer Mike Critchley has said the UK – as well as building its own ships – could look towards other countries like the US, for future equipment purchases.
He said: ‘We probably should (consider this) but we don’t because over the years we have tried to protect UK jobs.
‘But it would be a lot cheaper to buy off the shelf.’
He said the axing of the former RAF Nimrod spyplane in 2010 – at a cost of £4.2bn – was a ‘classic example’ of this ethos.
Last month the government said it was investing in a fleet of nine American-made Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to finally fill the gap.
‘Nimrod is a classic example; we spent billions trying to make it work but we still went overseas to get it,’ added Mr Critchley.
A source for defence company BAE Systems said it was ‘too early’ to tell what the UK’s new destroyers would look like.
But the spokesman added: ‘As a key industry partner we contintue to push the boundaries of technology in everything we do.’
Mr Critchley said it is possible the navy might look towards using more automated systems, similar to that of USS Zumwalt.
The US government claimed the ship’s high-tech systems allow it to operate with a minimal crew of just 130 – far less than the 300 used for other warships in the US fleet.
‘Manpower is expensive, so where the Royal Navy can save money they will,’ he added.