Daily Telegraph link here. As evidenced by the explosion of quangos, consultants hired at inordinate cost and the contracting-out to commercial organisations of training, logistics and maintenance, this government appears to believe that the necessary equipment, infrastructure and expertise can always be 'bought in' if and when the need arises. It fails to appreciate that this does not work for our Armed Forces. High capital cost items like warships and submarines (and the fighting capability of the people who man them) can not be produced or regenerated overnight. We will only remain an effective fighting force if we have sufficient properly-equpped vessels and train continuously against the latest threats. Our new ships may be more capable but so are those of any potential enemy. As things stand, critical mass has been lost in far too many areas already. The reduction from 54 to 29 frigates and destroyers over the past 20 years is bad enough but worse is yet to come. The current government has grudgingly ordered six destroyers and no frigates during its entire tenure. As things stand, these six Type 45s (instead of the 12 mandated by the 1998 Strategic Defence Review) will enter service by 2017 but the Royal Navy will have lost all eight of its remaining Type 42 air defence destroyers. Any of the four remaining Type 22 frigates still in service will be at least 29 years old and any of the 13 remaining Type 23 frigates will be at least 16 years old. The Royal Navy, with its trained and experienced personnel, is part of our national insurance policy. We should not skimp on the premiums.