HMS Lancaster sailed out of Portsmouth today on a 7 month deployment to the Middle East. She previously only returned from 6 months in the Northern Gulf in late February. After an 8 month period of maintenance, training and trials, she is back out again.
If any evidence that the Navy is overstretched, and that it is madness to cut the number of Frigates and Destroyers, this is it. Previously it would have been unheard of to send a ship and its crew on two long deployments within the space of a year.
In times gone by many Royal Navy ships spent years away at sea, when we maintained fleets abroad around the Empire. But in modern times, we have little need to send our servicemen away for so long, and in any case our ships simply arent designed to spend more than 6 months away from Port. Modern warships are higher in technology and require much more maintenance.
That our ships are being expected to carry such a workload shows how underfunded and overstretched our Armed Forces are.