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It’s just more doctrine. More jaw-jaw. More yawn-yawn.


Doctrine is as important as any other consideration. Many superior forces have been defeated by inferior forces with better doctrine.

Although if all you do is talk about doctrine all the other important bits get mixed.


I understand the importance of staff work. But the modern RN talks rhubarb.


I don’t disagree, the propensity to use modern business speak is a bit ridiculous, as it’s full of Wessel words.


What matters is what is beyond doctrine
The first job of the doctrine is to protect the jobs of those that promote it. So it needs to be vague.. sorry flexible.
For example RN ships from 1960’s to 2022 until T31 despised guns for AA work.
Where are the doctrinal documents for both decisions?


There is never ever anything beyond doctrine that is my point.


Sometimes all the tech talk is used to mask cuts. Like when the government justified the cut in T45 numbers from 8 to six years suggesting that Co-operative Engagement Capability would make the 6 ships more effective. They then didn’t fit it.


Exactly. What annoys me is how a virtue is made of lack. If you point out on forums what other countries do and we don’t do there always seems to be the inference that the RN just knows better. And I don’t think it does these days. And hasn’t for a long time.


Like in parliament, where they say your true enemies aren’t the opposition but your colleagues.
For the the RN their biggest enemy is….the RAF and lesser one is the Army.


All very sound concepts and approaches, many of which appear to come from private sector best practises. If the ‘marginal gains’ works as well for the RN as it did for British Cycling then the results could be spectacular.
However what we need to see is a concerted follow-through on all of these, and no halts or tinkering whenever a new FSL, CDS, or Defence Secretary takes office.


Government is not business, Many of our current problems are down to government believing it is a business. Whether it is targets in health or selling off gas storage or civil servants walking into well paid quangos or even privatized entities (Hello QINETIC!).


Too late, the RN Navy Board structure

This is of note:

Director Strategy and Policy: Rear Admiral Iain Lower
Director Strategy and Policy acts as the First Sea Lord’s Chief Executive, working to identify and drive the Board’s strategic objectives.

neither of the two Ministry officials are even Defence background and the outside non executive directors are the usual sorts of business world big wigs


Yep. I know. 🙂


Cannot agree more..businesses sole function is to make money for the investors/owners, every transaction is a potential for profit. Government is there to undertake a number of roles for the health of the nation, with each transaction being a cost against tax base not a chance for increased profit.


The trouble is most of the time business strategies don’t work in business.


That is too true…and then some wag business leaders package it all up and sell it the the public sector….because our political masters are always telling us we need to listen to business….never ever acknowledging that every time they get a business leader or consultancies like KPMG to make it work better they turn the system to shit then bugger off with loads of money…..leaving the public sector experts to put it all back together……until the next politically driven bollox change.

From a personal view, the only time I have ever seen a non expert actually manage to come into my field and tell my field ( healthcare, public health, health protection, risk management) anything useful ( getting us to think in a different way, or adding to our knowledge base without suggesting something we had already tried, was blatantly obvious if we had the time to do it or was just actually bollox ). Was when HMG asked some marine general to review NHS leadership practice…to be honest we knew most of it Anyway but had been slaves to HR For so long…..and it allowed us to point out what was needed to try and break the cycle.

Armchair Admiral

The immediate future vision appears to be having trials, then more trails and then…
It mentions the vulnerability of unmanned autonomous systems to being tampered with or stolen, or perhaps simply approached by a go-fast armed with a machine gun.
You have to agree with most of what has been said, but without a timeframe ?


I’ve spent much of my career developing and implementing strategy for large capital expenditure programmes so the intent of a piece of work like this is familiar. In corporate life, most strategies which fail tend to do so because they are not well translated into meaningful targets having broad buy-in and adequate funding – and for this reason, are not delivered; I imagine a similar challenge will attend this piece of work.

I just really hope that we don’t get a reversion to the 2% GDP target in the autumn statement or we’ll need to start giving up some key aspired areas of capability eg. Having a credible (any) missile defence for the homeland.


This article is absolute drivel. How on earth can a survey boat, HMS Echo, be of any importance to the defence of the Realm? The University boats have now assumed the mantle of warships, and the Antarctic patrol ship somehow became the Caribbean hurricane relief ship! Meanwhile HMS Glasgow lies rotting for the next six years on the Clyde before sailing with antiquated weaponry and I believe there is a second aircraft carrier hiding away in a dry-dock also somewhere in Scotland. This reliance on satellites and glass fibre can only progress if you have in conjunction a well-armed, capable fleet at sea fulfilling our commitment to kill and destroy our enemies. Scrapping or selling our expensive mine warfare boats is a false economy, bearing in mind that there are NO proven replacements. Of course this is about finance, or lack of it, I understand that, but which idiot made the decision that a “mother ship”[yet to be built] with a flotilla of smaller vessels, yet to be announced, can clear the entire coast of the UK from mines in winter! I think it is about time that one , or preferably all of our Admirals fell on their swords.


First steel cut 2017 and will be launched this year .

A new first is to build it undercover first and then build it outside again before launching when its moved to Scotstoun yard…for final outfitting and test
They sure learned a lot from Lockheed Martin and the F35 on how to slow down the build process
pic UK Defence Journal George Allison

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

The RN doctrine should be, “we are sick of being the Royal Flotilla with less than 30 combat vessels and wish to be the RN again. Please build us more warships so we can do our job.”

Defence thoughts

There is no getting around the fact that whatever operating concepts or doctrines are adopted, the Navy still needs more submarines, warships and firepower to match its ambitions.

Robert Blay, the Thin Pinstriped Line, and friends will be along shortly to tell us we don’t need more ships and that only a fantasy fleeter would think otherwise, etc, etc, etc….


THIS ^^^^^^^^


It seems that the batch 2 type 26, and for 5 ships has been announced by Sunak. Well that’s the good news , just hoping there isn’t a trade-off somewhere else


It was dressed up to sound like he had ordered additional five ships out of the blue. Not that was the expected completion of a long running program.


Yes. Its also just ‘an announcement‘ , not that a contract is drawn up for signing , or even that funding…gasp.. is allocated, and that Treasury has released said funding

I suppose that once Glasgow leaves the site for Scotstoun downriver , the next one can be joined together outside and that leaves space in the halls to start the 4th ship construction or even order long lead items.


Meanwhile the Vospers building hall in Portsmouth for all intents and purposes lies idle.
This needs resurrecting as a second T26+ yard along with all the necessary. England Expects!


It has to be funded. HM Treasury has a history of limiting the size of HM warships (type 2400 submarine was the largest Treasury would support; Types 22 and 42 both required extensions and widening to provide good weapons platforms).
A small ship is tiring. Tired people do not operate well – we are past pulling on ropes, and now have to fine tune electronics etc. A small ship needs resupply, and logistics are the bane of most military operations.
So make the ships larger than needed, so their systems can be upgraded (USS Spruance vs Type 42). If we are going to unmanned, then systems can be operated remotely (EG most diagnostics and electronic operations could be done from UK offices for ships afloat around the world (not in hot war), reducing crewing costs, improving staff retention.
Speaking of retention, when will the navy treat its staff as adult professionals, rather than naughty school boys?


Maybe in the past. But not the future, neither the T26 or T31 could in any way be called small.


Ermm well I’m not so sure about that, The latest trend is to build Bigger Ships but not with all the stuff you would expect to find on them. Think Rivers with pea shooters, Type 31’s with not much of any real use and Two ooje gurt Carriers with hardly any Fixed Wing Aircraft to stick on them and only three CWIS despite having four corners. Big Ships though.


Well said. In fairness we can be justifiably proud of out T31’s as they are amongst the largest Offshore Patrol Vessels in the world! It’s just a shame that they are replacements for frigates that are superior to them in every aspect of warfare except shooting at speedboats

Last edited 1 year ago by Sunmack

(type 2400 submarine was the largest Treasury would support”

Looking back at development history , shows that the original studies had the largest at 1850 tons –
Thats then became Option 1 1960 tons and option 2 at 2250 tons for 15% more and sub harpoon and 2650 tons for a further 5% over Opt 2.
Vickers wanted 2500 tons for more endurance for export orders

Oberon was 2400 tons submerged , no way in that era was a very much bigger boat suggested or ‘stopped by Treasury’
Plus of course its the fitout and such thats costs the money


moving away from being platform-centric to becoming a capability-centric force

Capability: Sink Enemy Ships

Platform Centric Force:
Harrier FRS.2 Sea Eagle, LGB bombs, dumb bombs.
Frigates: Harpoon missile
Submarines: Spear/Tigerfish , Sea Harpoon

Capability Centric Force 40 years latter…
F-35 : LGB bombs, dumb bombs
Frigates(less): obsolescent Harpoon.
Submarines(less): Spearfish.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

40 years ago (1982) the RN was using Exocet MM38 rather than Harpoon (Equipped to Batch 2 County Class DDG, Exocet/Seawolf Leander Class Frigates such as HMS Andromeda. And some deployed to Gibraltar) The RN Harpoons were purchased in 1985 IIRC and are Block 1 C models. The Very same Harpoons the RN have today. Spearfish Torpedo’s were not around until 1992, in 1982 The Navy were using Tigerfish which suffice to say was a disaster so much so that WW2 vintage Mark 8 torps were preferred. General Belgrano was sunk by Mark 8’s which while being shorter ranged and less advanced….worked correctly unlike Tigerfish which was hit or miss with some of the issues it had

“When HMS Conqueror sank the ARA General Belgrano during the 1982 Falklands war she used the “point and shoot” 21-inch Mark VIII torpedoes rather than her Tigerfish. The Mark VIII had no homing system but, despite the design being over 50 years old at the time, was far more reliable and carried a greater high-explosive payload. In a test carried out by submarines returning to the UK after the war, two of five Mod 1 Tigerfish fired at a target hulk failed to function at all and the remaining three failed to hit the target.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Samuel

Being pedantic doesn’t lessen his point. That is the platforms and ordnance are capabilities. The RN should be in the game of tangible results not theoretical positives.

The wise man points at the moon. The fool looks at his finger.

Last edited 1 year ago by X

I wasn’t being pedantic…I was sharing my knowledge of the subject so that AlexS would have a more accurate knowledge of 1982 RN Assets. I didn’t say he/was wrong on their point they were making


🙂 sorry


Thanks Samuel, i should have said 30 years ago.

In 1982 it was also Harrier FRS1 not the FA2.


No worries 🙂 I agree with the point you were making….just wanted to chip in with extra info


Well I would say that depends, if your fingers bleeding then the fool points to the moon and the wise man looks at his finger…..everything is situational and everything tends to be both right and at the same time wrong, depending on which side of the “mountain” you are looking at.


I aways wondered why mk8s were used, interesting cheers.


No worries…glad you learned something new about this 😀 Mk8s may have been old…but they were reliable and tested in full combat conditions during WW2. That earned it a lot of trust in 1982. They were specifically Mark VIII** late Torpedo’s that were used in 1982 (The 2 ** are part of the Torpedo’s designation)

Last edited 1 year ago by Samuel

“‘However, in a test performed in 1982 immediately after the Falklands War, two out of five Mod 1 torpedoes fired at a target hulk failed to function because of bad batteries and none of the others even hit the target. This unreliability was well known in the Fleet, which is why ancient Mark 8 torpedoes were used to sink the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano.”
Some claim its the larger explosive charge of the Mk8 but its only slightly more


its the reliability of the old weapons then 🙂


Platforms are capabilities.



And interestingly it was the Soviets that called their systems “Complexes”.


But you forgot to mention Trident, Tomahawk and personal bunks for the Subs.

Peter Ash

I realised it wasn’t going to be sensible when I read Synthetic Training from FOST it was confirmed by the concept of a Wise Pivot giving cognitive ability to a change of direction. In my day we would have called it Waffle. Wardroom Waffle actually and that’s the worst kind. The reality is the RN has now been forced to a situation of reduced capability .No training base no Asset Base worth the name and not enough trained people. This is a very poor attempt to replace capability withi anything but people and ships Good Luck with that.


Sunak has just stated that 5 more Type 26 Frigates are to be ordered in light of Russian Aggression. BAE have been awarded a £4.2bn contract. This is apparently on top of the 3 being built.

I reserve judgement until the ships leave the yard, its still 4 below the Number of Type 23 and with the Type 31 not even at the steel cutting stage AFAIK. Does the Navy even have enough people to crew ships properly anymore?

Last edited 1 year ago by Samuel
Armchair Admiral

Not seen any pictures lately, but I am sure the first T31 “keel” had been cut and laid already?? AA

Armchair Admiral

UK defence journal 13/2/202. “Hull of first type 31 begins to take place in Scotland”.
Actually, not sure it has a keel as such, just boxes welded together!


Your comments about the T31 are just plane wrong. Please check your facts.


Is it April fools already ?


More management consultancy gobblygook. I work in the tech industry and have done for 35 years, one of my children serves and having seen the supposed best of waht we have – its miles and eons behind what most commercial organisations have. TThe Admiralty is so stuck in its traditions it doesnt know what to do or how to do it. Tech roles have been part of warefare, then engineering, the navy brass dont get its different and need to restructure to push it properly. The training is pathetic for rates, less than GCSE standard. Mny kid is qualified to teach the stuff given the standard they provide. Ofifcers get any trainng they want, the prospective tech engineers in CIs get bugger all. The faraday programme was a waste of taxpayers money and just disillusioned a generation of IT specialists – many of who have gone to civvie street to work in a modern organisation. The state of the fleet from a tech perspective is ancient, obsolete. We seem to glory in the past while spending what little money we have producing fantasy papers like this one.


It is repeat of the events when engines first being installed into ships. It is very difficult to reconcile those adverts that say ‘learn to fix anything’ with the reality which as you is poor. What I see is ‘management’. This idea that anything can be ‘managed’ without a base knowledge of the field. Our Political Class could be described as the Management Class. As I have said above and most here have said it too more doctrine, more jargon, more ‘management speak’ isn’t what is needed. RN ships today are call centres at sea. I will add that there is nothing wrong with tradition. All I see is the RN doing away with what it should keep and keeping what it should discard. But that is a topic for another day.


I cannot agree more X as an expert in my field I dispair at our political masters and leaders propensity to spend a fortune on getting the veiws of management consultants and generalists like the KPMGs of this world who charge a fortune to provide a meaningless shit field document of unusable suggestions..that you then as the expert are forced to try and implement. as no one will believe that the 5million quid spaffed up the wall for KPMG bollox is actually infact the bollox you say it is, and that if you had been give some protected time from trying to keep things afloat you could have produced a viable plan for for nothing more than a couple of grand in backfill costs.


Yes. I remember being an observer of a month or three long’s interaction between a company and Anderson. It was excruciating.


There is far too much management speak these days in most publicly available military communications. Unfortunately that doesn’t make it content free; it’s just less comprehensible to those outside the circle, who have to work harder to find the info that’s buried in there somewhere.

The need to train a more tech-savvy defence service is something the MOD has agreed on. Of course that agreement is also buried in doubleplus duckspeak.

As long as ships are bought with the idea that they are specified several years up front, last 35 years and maybe get a mid-life upgrade, of course they will be at least a decade behind the times on average. Perhaps we shouldn’t be buying the best equipment and letting it get stale over the decades. Perhaps we should buy something cheaper and upgrade it regularly.


Read on “The Administrative State”

The issue is not only in military, but in whole society.

Bloke down the pub

I was trying to find a photo I’ve seen of XV Patrick Blackett when she was still on the slipway, showing her propellors. For the life of me I can’t track it down. Can someone point me in the right direction?


Was it on the UKDJ Site ? I think I saw the same pic on there a while back.


I can’t, but you could drop the Navy a message and see if they have something in their Crown Copyright database. I did that once for some piccies of Tamar, and they were very helpful.


Navy Lookout

John Hartley

Better not build NSN in China. Does the UK still have the electronics factories to build a sovereign capability?


Of course, a well refined and practised Operational Doctrine is essential for all military forces throughout the world, whether that be Naval or otherwise to operate effectively in providing the defence of their nations concerned. But having read this piece I can’t help thinking that our defence Chiefs have spent far too much time in board rooms of Whitehall appeasing the politicians and not enough time with operational personal in understanding the operational reality for their respective services.

stephen ball

Think everything depends on, Can China keep the tempo up with their armed forces etc.

The continued lockdown’s hurts themselves. Plus, big business is pulling out of China fast.


A nation of 1.4 Billion can do some amazing stuff truth be known.


The RN shouldn’t be operating anywhere outside the Atlantic, there will be problems brewing in the far North. Britain needs concentration in mass, forget the global nonsense, ‘strong nowhere, weak everywhere’, that’s worth remembering.