Military group says more ships needed to protect country

Admiral Sir Alan West pictured during his naval career
Admiral Sir Alan West pictured during his naval career
The Queen meets members of the ship's company

PICTURE GALLERY: The Queen commissions HMS Queen Elizabeth

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THE Royal Navy’s ability to protect the nation from unexpected attacks has been diminished to a ‘perilous’ degree, experts have warned.

Military experts, including former First Sea Lord Alan West, have written a report for the UK National Defence Association calling for more ships, aircraft and troops.

The Portsmouth-based group is urging a halt to defence cuts and wants to see spending increased by three per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Former First Sea Lord Alan West said: ‘The ability of our military to protect the nation from the shock of the unexpected has diminished to a perilous degree.

‘The Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010 hammered the final nail in the coffin.

‘I have no doubt that today the Royal Navy is too small to meet all the commitments expected of it by the government and the British people.

‘That does not mean the navy cannot be proud of its amazingly dedicated and well-trained people and some impressive kit.’

The full report was penned by Lord West, General Sir Michael Rose and Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon and covers all three of the armed forces.

It sets out a case for the expansion of all three services, arguing for an increase in ships, troops and aircraft.

The report specifically recommends an increase in the number of frigates, destroyers and submarines.

Lord West added: ‘Unless there is a conscious decision to increase the percentage of GDP spent on defence to three per cent and properly fund the Royal Navy, we will live to regret it.’

The defence review in 2010 was commissioned in an attempt to recoup an overspend in Britain’s defence budget and is the document which saw Portsmouth-based HMS Ark Royal axed.

Commander John Muxworthy, the chief executive of the Portsmouth-based UK National Defence Association, said: ‘Defence has for far too long been a sacrificial lamb.

‘The security of the United Kingdom is being severely compromised by the continued swingeing cuts to our armed forces.’

He added: ‘The Royal Navy will have no aircraft carriers or Fleet Air Arm fixed wing aircraft for at least the next six years.’