HMS Iron Duke firing a Harpoon missile
In 2018 the British Royal Navy will retire the anti-ship Harpoon missile from all its frigates and destroyers. No replacement missile is planned. This will put said naval vessels on par with the Royal Air Force which has for some time had no anti-ship missiles. In addition, Royal Naval helicopters are losing the anti-ship Sea Skua missile in 2017. The replacement Sea Venom missile will not be put in service until late 2020. The Telegraph News Article
The motivation for the Britain neutering its navy – to save money.
Said one Naval sources:
“We will be losing our missile capability in total for two years. We will still have the gun, but the range of that is about 17 miles, compared to [the] Harpoon, which is about 80 miles”.
Another Naval source said the decision is:
“like Nelson deciding to get rid of his cannons and go back to muskets” and one senior former officer said warships would “no longer be able to go toe-to-toe with the Chinese or Russians”.
This is unbelievable. But try as I might, I found no indication that this article was from The Onion. Pretty much, if anyone wants to take out the British surface navy from 2018 onward, have at it. Because this move makes it essentially defenseless.
But wait … there’s more. In late breaking news, the British Minister of Finance has announced that as a cost cutting measure to save on fuel oil costs, the British Royal Navy will be reverting to sail power.
Well … that last isn’t true. But heck, it sure could be, as it makes as much sense as getting rid of anti-ship missiles.