With Brexit looming and all the uncertainties that is likely to bring good news could be coming to Portsmouth as plans are being drawn up to retain the city’s ageing fleet of off-shore patrol vessels.
While uncertainty remains over the three batch one River-class vessels that could be phased out and replaced by five larger and more capable warships, a top commander has revealed contingency plans are being drawn up to keep the ships in service.
Rear Admiral Chris Gardner said the ships could be used to bolster the UK’s maritime borders by increasing the overall number of warships capable of patrolling Britain’s coastal shores at any one time.
Keeping the three ships operational could be ‘absolutely vital’ to the UK’s defence and reach overseas and would mean that along with the new upgraded River-class vessels, the Royal Navy would be more flexible than ever before.
Rear Admiral Gardner says at the moment it is just a case of planning for the future.
‘It’s certainly something the Royal Navy would be very, very keen and willing to undertake should we be asked to do so,’ he said.
‘But this is, however, a political decision and down to the government of the day to decide what the requirment is and then to ask us to fulfill that requirement.’
So until that final decision is made the ships are being kept in a state of operational readiness.
There is a long way to go before a decision is made on whether to keep the ships or not, but when it comes to the defence of our country, they would help to give an added layer of security.