MoD to increase reliance on naval reservists

The 'Annual Emsworth St George's Day parade by veterans and 47 Regiment Royal Artillery troops from Thorney Island in 2014

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THE Royal Navy’s reserve force is set to grow by more than 50 per cent while the number of regular servicemen and women continues to be scaled back.

The government is expected to announce a detailed proposal on the changes to reservists this autumn.

If early plans come to fruition, many key frontline roles will be handed over to the part-timers.

This will include members of the HMS King Alfred reserve unit based at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth.

Defence secretary Philip Hammond has said that an additional £1.8bn will be invested into reserve forces over the next 10 years.

MoD officials are hopeful that they can use a publicity drive to increase the number of naval reservists from 1,900 to 3,100 by 2018.

The changes have been ushered in as part of the Strategic Defence Security Review in 2010, which axed 10 ships and made 5,000 sailors redundant. The navy fleet has been cut down to just 19 frigates and destroyers.