Almost all of the UK's surface combatants are in port
... while Germany has no working subs
These already worrying developments reflect poor readiness overall and other larger issues within both of these NATO navies.
British and German naval forces are both suffering from historically low readiness, with almost all of the Royal Navy’s destroyers and frigates in port and none of Germany’s submarines in working order. This only underscores existing concerns about both organizations spending priorities match their needs and their abilities to respond to crises close to home and outside of Europe.
On Dec. 20, 2017, the Royal Navy acknowledged that only one of its 13 Type 23 frigates, HMS St. Albans, was on duty protecting the United Kingdom’s national waters and that all six of its Type 45 destroyers were also pierside. Two months earlier, after an accident crippled the submarine U-35, the German Navy, or Deutsche Marine, was similarly forced to concede that this meant that all six of its Type 212A boats were sidelined for repairs.
For its part, the Royal Navy remains “deployed globally on operations and will be protecting our national interests throughout Christmas and New Year,” a spokesperson insisted to The Telegraph newspaper. “There will be 13 ships and submarines deployed away and in home waters, as well as the at sea nuclear deterrent.”
That only one of these 13 deployed vessels is a major surface combatant is a serious issue, though, and speaks to broader readiness and morale issues across the board. What the U.K. Ministry of Defense had said would be “The Year of the Royal Navy” has turned out to be full of significant disappointments for the service.
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