A Scottish independent navy would be large enough to meet the needs of its extensive maritime territory, the SNP's defence spokesman at Westminster has suggested.
Speaking to the UK Defence Journal, Stewart McDonald said an independent Scottish navy's size would be consistent with having the fourth largest core water of any European state.
Pointing to the geographical features of Scotland, Mr McDonald said: "With a sea area of around 470,000km² and around 60% of current UK waters, Scotland has a longer coastline than France and would have the fourth largest core waters of any European state.
"It makes sense for our Armed Forces to reflect this and be structured in a way that protects our external borders, our natural assets and our sovereignty."
Mr McDonald said an independent Scotland would not be a "scaled-down version" of the UK.
"It is most important to understand from the outset that an independent Scotland will be no 'Little Britain' – this is as true for the Armed Forces as it is for everything else," he told the UK Defence Journal.
"Thankfully, we are surrounded by small states of similar populations which provide a number of tested models for an independent Scotland.
"We have spent a lot of time since 2014 getting to know these better, along with undertaking a detailed risk assessment that will provide a clear logic flow in support of the optimum solution for Scotland."
He added: "While I’m not going to give anything away on that front, it seems uncontroversial to say that Scotland is – and will long be – a maritime nation."
Cover image: Stewart McDonald (Picture: UK Parliament).