2017 will be a landmark year for the Royal Navy, according to the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
A raft of new ships will be built, launched or delivered to the fleet of the UK’s principal naval warfare force this year, as it expands its size and strength to meet growing global commitments.
Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “2017 is the start of a new era of maritime power, projecting Britain’s influence globally and delivering security at home.”
Billions of pounds is being invested into expanding the Royal Navy, added Sir Michael, with new aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, patrol vessels and aircraft all in the pipeline.
This summer will see the maiden voyage of Britain’s biggest ever warship, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, and her younger sister HMS Prince of Wales.
Around the same time, steel will be cut for the first of eight Type 26 frigates in Glasgow, while in the spring, the first of five next-generation patrol ships will begin sea trials.
At its busiest point of 2016, the Royal Navy had 8,325 sailors and royal marines serving on 22 operations across nearly 30 ships, submarines and support vessels.
In the first quarter of 2017, one third of the Royal Navy’s front-line strength will be on global operations, the MOD also revealed.