On Friday, the UK Ministry of Defence announced the solicitation of bids for the scrapping of two of its Type 42 destroyers, HMS Liverpool and HMS Manchester. Both ships were launched in 1978, commissioned in 1982 and saw service the First Gulf War. The scrapping of their sister ship HMS Edinburgh was announced last year and drew record crowds when she was open for tours in Liverpool for the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic in May 2013.
Today the Type 42s have been replaced by the Type 45s in their fleet air defense role. Unfortunately for the United Kingdom, NATO, the US and all who rely on the US, the UK and their allies to ensure the freedom of the seas, the vessels are being replaced at a ratio of 2:1 with only six joining the fleet. While only two of the six Type 45s have officially joined the Royal Navy’s fleet, one, HMS Dauntless has already been deployed to the Falklands to ensure the continued liberty of the Falkland Islands. While the Type 45s are vastly more capable than the Type 42s they replace, the Royal Navy will lose the quality that comes with quantity and be forced to further rely on allies and “hope” as a strategic defense policy. All the while, many of the Royal Navy’s vessels, including the carrier HMS Ark Royal, face transformation from mighty vessels of war to lowly razor blades.