Plymouth naval ships will not be scrapped or mothballed, says Defence Secretary

  • Defence Secretary Grant Shapps tells ITV News there are 'no plans' to scrap the naval ships

The Defence Secretary has quashed speculation that a pair of amphibious naval ships based in Plymouth will not be scrapped or mothballed ahead of their scheduled retirement date.

Visiting Devonport dockyard on Friday 2 February, Grant Shapps told ITV News West Country there are no plans to get rid of HMS Albion or HMS Bulwark before 2034.

"I keep reading this speculation and I'm pleased you've asked me directly," he said. "They are not being scrapped."

HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion are due to continue serving until 2034. Credit: ITV News

Mr Shapps was in the city to announce a new £1.8 billion contract to fit technology to ships and submarines over the next 15 years.

The contract will support sonar, masts, periscopes and electronic warfare equipment, enabling the Royal Navy to detect and target potential threats. 

“In a time of global instability, it is imperative we minimise the time our ships and submarines are out for maintenance," Mr Shapps said.

“Devonport Naval Base is an incredibly impressive facility with staff who play a role of such magnitude it cannot be underestimated.”

Mr Shapps met apprentices at the dockyard. Credit: ITV News

Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Martin Connell, said: “The warships and submarines of the Royal Navy rely on the latest cutting-edge sensors and sonars to give us a key warfighting edge.  

“The new contract is a significant commitment from the MoD and Thales-UK to improving the availability of our equipment, maximising its effectiveness and enabling the Royal Navy to operate with confidence. 

“This significant investment in our ship and submarine sensors will ensure our equipment is at the cutting edge of technology", he added.