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Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy ships are (a) operational, (b) in reserve, (c) available for sale to a foreign navy and (d) waiting to be scrapped. (171118)

The Royal Navy has a total of 75 surface vessels available for operations at various states of readiness ranging from those that are available immediately to those that may require 365 days or more notice to deploy. I am withholding information about the readiness states of most Royal Navy vessels as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces. The exceptions are for those in refit and the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. Three vessels are currently in refit and at Low or Very Low Readiness (typically between 91 and 365 days notice). HMS Invincible is at a lower readiness state than any other RN vessel and although she is capable of being returned to active duty in the Fleet (at about 18 months notice), there are no plans or requirement at this time to do so.

In addition to the 75 surface vessels available for operations, four vessels are currently available for Government to Government sale; two of these have recently been sold for recycling and three are awaiting sale for recycling.