arfah wrote:My point is can the RN (As part of the MOD) justify 'six tankers' when the amount of RN combatants is getting smaller.
The government's declared policy is that the number of RN surface combatants will remain at 19 and possibly increase. Won't comment on whether this will be delivered, but that's their current stated intention. Those RFA tankers also make up a good chunk of European replenishment capacity, so even if the RN alone doesn't need six (which I'd still say it does) our allies benefit significantly from us having six. In the same way that having 8 C-17s allowed us to support French operations in Mali.
Therefore, in order to maintain prime capability something has to go. When the MOD pays off or writes off anything, it has to be justifiable to the public purse and therefore the treasury.
Hence my prior comment regarding the Wave class. A "Tidey" sum could be earned for other concerns.
Edit: Ultimately, I'm just speculating. It isn't like the treasury hasn't got form though, is it?
Paying off RFAs that have repeatedly proven very useful as cheap "plastic frigates", along with providing an extremely valuable capacity within Europe, would be the height of short sighted decisions. Hey this is HMT we're talking about though.