This is a list of active Royal Navy ships, complete and correct as of 25 February, 2011.

In total there are 80 commissioned ships in the navy, including 3 which are permanently stationed, but not including one destroyer which has been delivered to the navy but not formally commissioned yet. 21 of the commissioned vessels are major fleet escorts (6 guided missile destroyers and 15 frigates) and 11 are nuclear powered submarines (4 ballistic missile submarines and 7 fleet submarines). In addition the Navy possesses an aircraft carrier, a helicopter carrier and 2 landing platform docks.

The 22 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are not included in this list or above figures; additionally there are the minor vessels (tugs, etc) of the (now privatised) Marine Services.

Large fleet units – amphibious and carriers

Two Queen Elizabeth class supercarriers have been ordered and are to be a new generation of aircraft carrier to replace the three Invincible-class aircraft carriers. The two vessels are expected to cost £3.9 billion, will displace 65,000 tons and, although as of 2010 somewhat delayed, are planned to enter service from around 2016. The initial decision was that both would operate the STOVL variant of the F-35 Lightning II, however following the Strategic Defence and Security Review ordered by the Coalition Government in June 2010, it was announced that the first of the carriers will be fitted with catapults to operate the F-35C CTOL carrier variant. The second carrier will placed in extended readiness after its introduction to service. This leaves open the options to rotate them, to ensure a continuous UK carrier-strike capability; to re-generate more quickly a two-carrier strike capability, or to sell one of the carriers which would result in the UK to relying on cooperation with a close ally to provide continuous carrier-strike capability. In addition to this, a dedicated helicopter carrier, HMS Ocean, complements the aircraft carrier force.

The introduction of the four vessels of the Bay class of landing ship dock into the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 2006 and 2007, and the two Albion-class landing platform docks gave the Royal Navy a significantly enhanced amphibious capability. In November 2006 First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band said, "These ships represent a major uplift in the Royal Navy's war fighting capability."

Escort units

The escort fleet, in the form of frigates and destroyers, is the traditional workhorse of the Navy, and is also being updated. The 2010 fleet of five Type 42 destroyers are to be replaced with the much larger Type 45 destroyer class.

Six Type 45 destroyers are planned, of which 2 are in service, 1 is waiting to enter service and 3 are under construction as of 2010. Under the terms of the original contract the Navy was to order twelve vessels, but only the six will be constructed. The main role of the Type 45 destroyer is anti-air warfare; in order to fulfil this role, it will be equipped with the Sea Viper (formerly known as PAAMS) integrated anti-aircraft system which will fire Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles. The Type 45 will operate the highly sophisticated Sampson radar system that will be fully integrated into the PAAMS system. but have little anti-ship capability.

As soon as possible after 2020 the Type 23 will be replaced by Type 26 frigates, designed to be easily adapted to change roles and capabilities depending on the strategic circumstances".

The last frigate to enter service was the Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans in 2002. On 21 July 2004, in the Delivering Security in a Changing World review of defence spending, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced that three frigates of the fleet of sixteen would be paid off as part of a continuous cost-cutting strategy and were sold to Chile. Several designs have been created for a new generation frigate such as the Future Surface Combatant, which is now known as the Type 26 frigate. The Strategic Defence and Security Review of October 2010 stated "As soon as possible after 2020 the Type 23 will be replaced by Type 26 frigates, designed to be easily adapted to change roles and capabilities depending on the strategic circumstances". It proposed a surface fleet of 19 frigates and destroyers; there are 6 Type 45 destroyers in the fleet. It was announced in December 2010 that the remaining fleet of four batch 3 Type 22 frigates will be withdrawn from service by the end of April 2011.


Seven Astute class nuclear submarines are planned, with the first in service, three under construction, the fifth ordered, and the procurement process started for the sixth. The first, HMS Astute entered service in August 2010. These submarines are much larger than their predecessors, the Trafalgar class and are expected to displace 7,800 tons submerged. Six Trafalgar-class nuclear submarines are currently in service. In December 2006, plans were unveiled for a new class of four ballistic missile submarines to replace the Vanguard-class submarine, which is due to be replaced by 2024. This new class will mean that the United Kingdom will maintain a nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet and the ability to launch nuclear weapons.

Other vessels

At the beginning of the 1990s the Royal Navy had two classes of Offshore Patrol vessel, the Island class, and the larger Castle class. However, in 1997 a decision was taken to replace them. An order for three much larger offshore patrol vessels, the River class was placed in 2001. Unusually, the three River-class ships are owned by Vosper Thorneycroft, and leased to the Royal Navy until 2013. This relationship is defined by a ground-breaking Contractor Logistic Support contract which contracts the ships' availability to the RN, including technical and stores support. A modified River-class vessel, HMS Clyde, was commissioned in July 2007 and became the Falkland Islands guardship. The Royal Navy also has the Sandown-class minehunter and the Hunt-class mine countermeasure vessel. The Hunt class of 8 vessels are mine countermeasure vessels that combine the separate role of the traditional minesweeper and that of the active minehunter in one hull. If required, they can take on the role of offshore patrol vessels. The Royal Navy has a mandate to provide support to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), which comes in the form of the dedicated Antarctic Patrol Ship HMS Endurance. The four Hecla-class vessels were replaced by the survey vessel HMS Scott which surveys the deep ocean. The other survey vessels of the Royal Navy are the two multi-role ships of the Echo-class which came into service in 2002 and 2003.

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