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Malcolm Davies

I served in the Royal Navy from 1962 -1972, since then the conservative and labour governments have destroyed the Royal Navy they have done more damage than the spanish,French Italian German navies put together our two new aircraft carriers will not have any sustained protection due to the lack of man power and more importantly frigates or destroyers, As a former submariner I know first hand how easy it is to keep our boats at sea and wear the crews out.

Peter Ward

Every one seems to forget that we are part of NATO’S military forces. And as a ex submarines crew found that it was quite a laidback experience

Gavin Gordon

Nice potted history, though, Chris. Thanks for your time.

Stephen G.

The Royal Navy could use a few more O.P.V.s if you ask me.

Callum

It could use a few more of a lot of things, the challenge is correctly prioritising the most important things.

While more OPVs would be a useful buy, in order of most need IMO the list goes: frigates, aircraft, submarines, and so on.

Matt Smith

Or perhaps just keep the ones we have – need HMS Severn back and keep HMS Clyde IMO. We should also be using the B1s as test beds for new technologies.

Challenger

Assuming we do actually find the money and manpower to keep the batch 1 Rivers active the RN will have 8 OPV’s to utilize which is double what was available and expected up until 2015.

Taking the Hong Kong and Northern Island specific Peacock, Ton and (converted) Hunt class patrol vessels out of the equation the RN had approximately 9 Island and Castle class up until the late 90s / early 00’s when the fleet started to rapidly shrink.

Permanently forward basing HMS Clyde to The Falklands was a smart move instead of rotating 2 vessels but it’s still bizarre to think why it was deemed sufficient to replace 7 Island class on fisheries and general surveillance work around the UK with just 3 Rivers!

Keeping 4-5 OPV’s in UK waters, 1-2 in the South Atlantic and then still having 2-3 to forward deploy to The West Indies, Mediterranean or East of Suez makes for a great force multiplier.

lawrence daly

Yes we need lots of heavier ships. But, if well armed, these little ships could fill a lot of holes! So, we trust Argentina now! Hmm!? The first time they learned a lot. Money spent on defense is always better than the price of coming back from defeat

lawrence daly

Yes. More. But arm them! 30mm? It needs missiles. Perhaps it’s (I hope) just TS Info.

Hugh Paterson

I served on Leeds Castle when she deployed with Dumbarton Castle South In 82, superb sea keeping vessels. Her designer when she was built by Hall Russell is still active in designing ships for the offshore oil industry.

Mike O

The Castle class were designed by DK Brown (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_K._Brown) working for the Admiralty though Hall Russell were the builders. Unfortunately he passed away in 2008. He wrote some very informative books that I would recommend to anyone interested in naval ship design and history.

Mike O

The Castle class were designed by D K Brown who worked for the Admiralty who has now passed away. He wrote some great books on naval ship design and history.

Chris Squire

It’s funny how when bae systems build a ship that is leased to the Royal Navy it works fine HMS Clyde. When they build one for Royal Navy it’s full of bugs that take huge amounts of time and money to repair. Perhaps we should lease all our ships from bae then they can pay for their mistakes for a change instead of the RN in lost capability and cost to the tax payer.

Ian Jarmaine

Spot on

donald_of_tokyo

Great read, thanks a lot.

One question on HMS Clyde’s boat. She carry one RHIB and one Rigid Raider. What is the reason for this?
I guess, the former is (better) for vessel inspection and the latter for “settement visits”?

And, in this case, what will HMS Forth carry? As Forth can carry up to 4 boats if you like, there are many options.
I imagine If she can carry a small LVCP, like munson 30-8? (9.1×3 m), or “Terra Nova” carried on HMS Protector?

Matt Smith

Anyone know what will happen to HMS Clyde when she returns? Brazil apparently has said no to a purchase. My view is that the RN should purchase, refit and send back as the FIPS, or keep to UK waters, for the next 5 years till the T31s come on line. This would free up the B2 Rivers to play a more global role.

Callum

That would require finding money in the budget to outright buy Clyde, money better spent elsewhere on warfighting capability.

Matt Smith

In 2012, the three 10 year old B1s were purchased for £39mn, so a 15 year old B1.5 would be @£10mn plus about £2mn a year – a 10th of a F35B and will allow the use of more expensive assets to be optimised.

Callum

At a time when there’s still a multi billion pound black hole in the defence budget and the RN is trying to maximise the availability of the rest of the fleet, even that is unnecessary expenditure.

It’s not exactly freeing anything up. The RB2s aren’t equipped to go anywhere hostile, so they’re limited to the fishery protection and border patrol. Another OPV would certainly nice, but with a planned fleet of 8, there’s not a pressing need for another.

donald_of_tokyo

I think the limiting factor is crewing. So even RN finds a money to keep HMS Clyde, RN will not be able to “use” her without robbing crews from other assets.

The idea itself is not bad, I think, but to do that what ship/vessel shall we “put into extended readiness”?

In this point of view, I think retaining HMS Clyde is not a good idea. (Actually, I do not know from where the crew of the 3 retained River B1 is coming…)

Matt Smith

In a recent interview Cdr Simon Pressdee (head of the Fisheries Protection Squadron) announced that the force was increasing from 260 to 480 people. On the face of it enough to man all 5 B2s OPVs and the current force. Not sure where all these people have come from though….

4thwatch

Consideration should be given to basing her in Gibraltar as Guard Ship and RNR Training vessel.

Cameron

Why not deploy an old RFA ship down there permanently we have a few spare even a few old lynx to put on her, use her as mother ship, or even an old type 23 when type 31s come in, why can’t we spend the money we need to we are Great Britain not Poland! We have the money and the people to do it!

Challenger

There might be an argument for deploying another OPV considering the combined size of the Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands territorial waters.

Generally though the assets should meet the threat and the danger from the Argentine military is currently very low. Certainly not worthy of a frigate when there are so many other commitments to meet.

A RFA ship wouldn’t add much utility and with just 28 Lynx they are spread pretty thinly!

Will O

If another OPV means finding 58 crew, I tend to agree with Donald-san above, is it really worth their time?

There looks to be just one rather massive A400M down there for maritime patrols which must cost a fortune. It can’t possibly cover everywhere on it’s own, there’s surely better ways to support that OPV.
If not Lynxes, then why not additional but smaller MPAs?
If the EEZ that needs policing extends 200nmi from shore, then base from shore (i.e. make use of those 25+ grass air strips).

Britten-Norman Maritime Defenders could hardly have been better designed for the task, better range & endurance than a Lynx. Radar (Seaspray 7000E), & camera turret like the German Lynxes (Titan 385ES).
Some very Lynx-ish functionality! Low CPFH, easy to service & maintain; several BN Islanders already operate there. –
Still in production & British made.

4thwatch

Call me old fashioned but I agree. Islanders could probably land on a carrier if they tried! Folding wings and Job done.

Cam

Hi Challenger, I was on about our old lynx choppers or even old seakings mate surely we have a few knocking about. And instead of scrapping RFA and Navy ships we should Atleast keep a couple for duties like this instead of using brand new frigates or destroyers, we know our frigates for eg do last many more years after we sell them in other navy’s.

Challenger

Have to agree with Will O that if we wanted increased aerial over-watch then the cheap and rugged Britten-Norman Defender would be a better choice.

In terms of vessels there’s just not a task or a threat to warrant anything more than OPV’s. I completely agree deploying frigates or destroyers to the area is a waste, but as the article says the last time one did was 2015 so the RN seems to agree.

RFA’s are too big to conduct coastal patrols and visits to communities on West Falkland and South Georgia etc.

Dern

Keeping an d Type 23 on will cost a fortune. One reason we sell them off is as ships get older their maintenance costs skyrocket, and keeping a 30+ year old frigate on station with the 150 crew (3 opvs worth) would cost the RN a lot in terms of what it would have to give up.

And for what exactly? The Argentines are not going to invade any time soon.

Eric Willis ex CWEM(R)

I served as WEO on HMS Protector on her first deployment to the Falkland in 1983, got used to the way it handled heavy seas after sailing her from the UK. I then went on to serve in HMS Dumbarton Castle in her role as fishery protection around the UK. Can’t say that either ship was a high light of my career, but certainly changed my life

Peter Lever

HMS Forth: competent, comfortable, capable but severally under-gunned. Why not make a long-term deployment vessel in with a fighting chance to be an enforcer. She is too far away to request assistance when threatened.

Dern

1) shes unlikely to be threatened any time in the next 15 years due to relations with, and the state of, Argentine forces. So more is just inefficient waste of forces needed elsewhere.
2) shes not undergunned. You dont need more than a 30mm to enforce fisheries and patrol an EEZ. Add more and you end up with a ship that costs more and can spend less time at sea (and also eats up more crew in a short staffed RN)

Gavin Gordon

B2 are stated to be excellent sea boats with very good situational awareness. All you primarily require from HMS Forth in that role, Peter. We also have to bear in mind that the Falklands are now effectively a fortress – with Air, Land and Sea Forces represented.

Cam

Typhoons?

Mark Farrell

Mad question I’m sure, what’s to stop Argentina filling half a dozen car ferries with civilians and stores and just sailing into Stanley and taking over? We’re never going to sink an unarmed merchantman full of civilians? Too much Tom Clancy, apologies!

Dern

I mean a British Army Light Infantry Coy, which do non lethal public order training, should see to that…

Mark Farrell

Are there enough troops on the islands though?

Dern

Yes.

David Graham

Gentlemen,
Please find attached some comments on FI fisheries surveillance and enforcement post Corporate [1986-1990.

David Graham

> Back to the Falklands: In the aftermath of Corporate by 1983 it was becoming apparent that some form of fisheries control was required in the archipelago. The territorial sae only extended to 3 nautical miles, and the only revenue accruing to the FIG was that from transhipping fees for the use of Berkley Sound as a sheltered place for this to be carried out. As usual, things ground slowly on, and attempts in 1984/85 to come to an arrangement with the Argentine Coast Guard failed. The united Kingdom then decided to act alone and it was decided to set up a controlled fisheries zone. Establishing a 200nm EEZ was thought to be too provocative as it would have involved a median line agreement between Argentina and the UK, which would have been the subject of years of negotiation. Out of this came the Falkland Islands Interim Conservation zone, a 150nm circle centred in the middle of the Falklands Sound, with a median line south of Beauchene Island separating the FICZ from the EEZ of Chile. Unregulated fishing continued unabated, and in 1986 it was estimated that over 700 vessels were fishing unregulated during the high season [March until circa early July when ilex squid (the main target species) leave the area to breed].
>
> The UK government put the tender for the establishment of a Falkland Islands Fisheries Department out in late 1985 and this was won by Peter Derham Associates in competition with others, including the MoD.
>
> The late Captain Peter Derham OBE took early retirement from the UK MAFF where he was Chief Inspector of Fisheries, taking with him Neil Downes, a former Nimrod navigator, who had been responsible for the MAFF’s UK aerial surveillance. Peter had a great deal of experience in drafting fisheries regulations, having been seconded to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation [FAO] to work on various international regulations etc. Thus with the guidance of Michael Gaiger QC [FI Attorney General at the time] The Fisheries [Conservation ands Management] Ordinance 1986 came into being, and subsequently the supporting regulations, officially The Fishing Regulations Order 1987 {SR & o. No 24 of 1987] were drafted and approved. Although published in 1987, these regulations did not come into force until 1st January 1988. As is the practice with fishing regulations, additions and amendments were added from time to time as necessary.
>
> Methodology: Peter Derham Associates [PDA] looked at the area covered by the FICZ, some 70,000 sq nautical miles, the numbers of expected licenced vessels, the projected amount of illegal fishing and the seasonality of the fisheries them selves. On that basis, it was calculated that two OPV size vessels would be needed, and, from experience in the UK, a Dornier 228-202 was the chosen aircraft for aerial surveillance. As a result, two former distant water freezer trawlers which had been modified for fisheries surveillance and enforcement were chartered from Marr Vessel Management in Hull [Falklands Desire ex Southella] and Falklands Right ex G A Reay]. They were chartered for three years at an average cost of £1.03m per annum, and were in effect to be available throughout the period, with, during the second year, a two week dry docking period at Punta Areanas, Chile. The other major expense was the lease purchase of a new Dornier 228-202 which was the property of the FIG, and was operated by Bristow Helicopters, who supplied the pilots. Bristow were already in the islands, having an MoD contract to operate two helicopters from RAF Mount Pleasant, and our aircraft shared engineering and maintenance with staff working on both types of aircraft. Cost was circa £3m per annum. The total annual cost of the operation was in the order of £7m per annum, and included the running of a large harbour launch for transhipping and port inspections, the maintenance of an office/ops room at the floating port in Stanley [FIPASS], salaries for harbour staff, 4 Senior Fisheries Officers [one of whom was the Operations Controller] 8 fisheries observers [sea-going] 2 research scientists [supplied by Imperial College in London] and local staff [An office manager/secretary and my PA]. There was also a Chief Inspector, a shore liaison post where the incumbent was the link between the Fisheries Department and the FI Government.
>
> My association was through J. Marr Vessel Management. Notrhella was owned by Marr and I was friendly with their ship manager. When my appointment as OIC NP 1020 was coming to a close, I was asked if I would like to go to the Falklands as an SFO, as I was a “proper” British sea Fisheries Officer. When I was in the RNR, I arranged to do my sea training with the Fish Squadron, serving in a number of Island Class OPVs, Tons etc. Thus I did the MAFF course at Lowestoft under one Bill Bridges, a poacher turned gamekeeper whose knowledge of fishing and dodgy practices was inexhaustible, and subsequently invaluable. The 4 SFOs comprised of two BSFOs and two former deep sea trawler skippers, so providing a wealth of knowledge. Similarly, the Dornier pilots were ex FAA fast jet pilots, and later some others with lots of experience of flying over the sea.
>
> Fishing nations licenced were Japanese, Taiwanese, Koreans [ROC] all interested in squid, Spanish, Dutch, Italians and three UK vessels, Hake, Southern Red Cod, and trawling for the small squid, loligo Gahi [similar to the common loligo fished in many other areas. Lastly were the Poles, who were licenced to fish for Southern Blue Whiting, which was then rendered into fish meal. No Russian vessels were licenced [most were part of an Argentine/USSR joint venture], and for the most part they did not encroach into the FICZ. Illegal fishing: Yes, plenty of them, mainly Korean and Taiwanese, which kept us busy during the high season. ilex squid fishing is a night time activity using attractor lights with the vessels lying stopped at a sea anchor, so the working day begins around dusk at 1700 and ends at breakfast time for the SFO and the captain. Patrols were 14 days, and as the high season is in the austral autumn going on winter the weather is often a bit scuffly, to quote our fishing skippers. Our ships ran with 13/14 crew and one embarked SFO. Boarding [weather permitting] was with two large Humber RIBs [about the size of RN Pacifics].
>
> Why did it work? PDA chose the right ships, had personnel with the right qualifications and knowledge, had a good aircraft [we shared all our info with the ops department at Mount Pleasant and the SFO ashore attended the Friday briefing to give an overview of the weeks operations].
>
> I thoroughly enjoyed my 4 years there as an SFO and Ops Controller, and left for West Africa along with a number of my colleagues in December 1990 to work in Sierra Leone, and then to run a seven country project in West Africa funded by the Government of Luxembourg for a decade.
>
> Kindest regards,
>
> David.
>
> D c Graham. Tala, Paphos 8577 CYPRUS.
>
>
>

Mark C

I served on Sentinel in 86 and was part of the crew that brought her back from the Falklands. We stopped in Banjul Gambia on the way back, taking a large chunk out of the jetty when we docked. Guardian and Protector were sister vessels,Sentinel although of similar build was by far the largest of the STUFT vessels It was Sentinel that actually appeared in the film “North Sea Hijack”