The defence secretary Michael Fallon has confirmed that the UK is getting a new Royal Navy ship to guard against “Russian aggression” in Europe and terrorism around the world.
At the BAE's Govan shipyard in Glasgow, Michael Fallon commented that the HMS Medway new-building would have an important role to Britain's commitment to global security amid a rise in threats from Russia and elsewhere.
Image by: Engineering Scotland
Earlier at the G7 conference in Bavaria, the US President Barack Obama said he was concerned that budget cuts may see Britain drop below the NATO target of spending 2% of GDP on defence. The comments of the UK Defence Secretary in regards with the need of new supplements in the Royal Navy fleet, came just after these remarks of the US President.
Michael Fallon said: "The United States wants all European countries to do more to defend themselves with the rise of Russia and the aggression that we have seen in the east, and the very direct threat of ISIL (Islamic State) and instability in the Middle East, to the streets of London, Paris and Brussels. We face across the world terrorism, piracy, drug smuggling, so it's very important that we keep our Navy up.”
According to the UK Defence Secretary, in recent months more aggressive Russian sailing submarines and ships have been seen close to the UK coast, moving aircraft into their airspace. He said it was very important for the United Kingdom to continue to strengthen and modernise their defence forces. The HMS Medway warship of the Royal Navy would be very much part of that.
The UK Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed claims that the influence of Britain on the world stage is reduced. At a closing conference at the G7 meeting, David Cameron said:
"When our flagship is saving lives in the Mediterranean, when we are training the Iraqi army, training Afghan officers, our jets are flying air patrolling missions over the Baltic, our submarines are silently patrolling the seas giving us a nuclear deterrent 365 days a year…We are ordering the largest aircraft carriers that the Royal Navy has ever had, we have the A400Ms, we have the Joint Strike Fighters on their way…”
The Prime Minister said that it was nonsense to be said that a £160bn equipment budget was a shrinkage of Britain's military strategy. According to him, Britain is still very serious global player in the world with the budget to back it up.
At the same time, the Scottish National Party is reportedly seeking two seats on the Commons Defence Committee in recognition of Scotland's geographical and technological importance to the industry.
Michael Fallon said:
"That's a matter for the House of Commons but it's for the SNP to argue its case.I hope they understand, though, that this investment today is an investment not just in Scotland but in the defence of the United Kingdom which the clear majority of the Scottish people voted for last autumn."