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David Simpson

A good look back and perspective thanks

Blue Fuzz

‘Two hydrographic vessels will be purchased to replace HMS Scott, but with additional capabilities to monitor and protect undersea cables’.

That’s good news – initial reporting after the PM’s announcement suggested it was only the one vessel, with no guarantee that it would be operated by either the RN or the RFA. Where did this new information come from and is it reliable?


Watch the video. I find Tony Radakin to be very credible, with real substance underlying the political buzzwords.


The future is looking brighter than it has done for a while!

Supportive Bloke

At least capability gain has replaced capability gap.

Russia has helped to focus minds.

I suspect the big fear is what happens to the Petro/Kleptocracy once Putin’s grip weakens.

Things are going to get more and more wobbly over there as the power of gas diminishes with PV and wind making massive contributions. So less cash to keep the populous quiet.

What happened in ‘82 when a dictatorship needed a publicity boost for domestic consumption? This time it will be little green men simulating ‘terrorism’ but in the usual highly subtle manner so that for domestic consumption it is obvious that they are in it up to their elbows.

The risk is if you don’t do something pretty aggressive when the LGM (Little Green Men) turn up and start messing the next wave of LGM get a bit more fast and loose thinking impunity rules KO.

Lovely thought for this weird Christmas. Be safe all.

Christopher Allen

I suspect Putin will just do what he did previously to bypass Russian presidential term limits and that was to use Dmitry Medvedev as a proxy to continue ruling Russia.

Last edited 9 months ago by Christopher Allen
Supportive Bloke

That might be the case but he isn’t getting younger and there are strong persistent rumours that he isn’t in the best of health. He isn’t really seen in public and all the broadcasts are of him seated and pre-recorded.


You really do live in the normie bubble don’t you?


<i>Things are going to get more and more wobbly over there as the power of gas diminishes with PV and wind making massive contributions. So less cash to keep the populous quiet.</i>



Exactly. Too much wishful thinking on that. Wind is a fraction of electricity production and that alone is a fraction of total energy use from gas and oil.


I am all for domestic generation and generation at the ‘local level’. But we can’t cope without substantial centralised generation too.

Supportive Bloke

10 years ago I would have agreed with you and laughed at PV & Wind as credible sources of energy.

Now the supply graphs are telling a different story.

Sure surge power is needed and baseload: I’m pro nuclear baseload. Yes I know the numbers but what price keeping the lights on.

Volvo are saying no carbon fuelled trucks after 2040: big changes are afoot.

I’m not seeing how global oil/gas demand is going to recover. Shale dented prices before COVID. Now EV’s are a decent % of sales and climbing. Diesel will be a dead duck for personal motoring within a few years.

All of which impacts Russia petro/gas export stream. And that is it major foreign currency earner.


“Now EV’s are a decent % of sales and climbing.”

What do you think will produce electricity if there is no Hydro or Nukes?
“Now EV’s are a decent % of sales and climbing. Diesel will be a dead duck for personal motoring within a few years.”

Haha. Explain how you can refill your EV in 5 minutes?

Supportive Bloke


I am pro nuclear and hydro has always been a valuable part of the mix.

My Tesla recharges pretty quickly with a 200kW supercharger.

Without getting into an OT EV conversation the critical question is can you do a series of 220 mile legs of a journey. Realistically you can, mine does over 300 miles on a full charge. Stop after 220 miles for 20 minutes (realistic herding a young family) and you are good to go a similar distance again.

Try one, I was unconvinced about EVs until someone drove into the back of my Discovery and I was given a Tesla as a loaner for a few weeks. Converted me.


Read the fine print about the ‘supercharger’ …you are seriously shortening the battery life by using regularly. It should be emergencies only.

Supportive Bloke

I have and it does not significantly impact battery life.

The company have been using Tesla’s for some time so we understand them pretty well now.

We have had several go towards 80k miles with very little change in battery characteristics and that does include using superchargers on longer journeys. Most of the EV batteries are useless after bla bla bla is just anti EV waffle IRL not true for a Tesla.

What you don’t do is to use superchargers every time and it is recommended to use a 7-22kW charger overnight.

Anyway that is enough EV chat as this is an RN supporting site not an EV supporting one!

Meirion X

Surplus wind energy could be used to make gas artificially.


Thats the PR they say, but in practice to most economic method now uses natural gas. Same applies to synthetic fertilizer.
A recent story about an aluminum smelter closing soon mentioned large quantities of power now looking for a use. An industrial plant in that region which uses coal looked into it , however they price they needed for the electricity to be competitive with coal was 20% of the price the smelter paid, and they were leaving because the price was so high.
UK wind power is only 5% or so of the yearly demand. It doesnt add up to think of ‘excess wind overnight’ can be used for a lot of other things for say 2-3 weeks a year. Existing thermal generation has excess at night as well, but its on call at other times which wind isnt.

Andrew Deacon

My surplus wind energy could fill a gasometer…

Meirion X

Sanction the Pro-Kremlin Oligarchs!

Supportive Bloke

UK have already made a big dent in the oligarchs by stopping the ocean of dirty money being parked in prime London real estate.

The number of houses and flats being bought and then having senseless amounts of money being spent on them and then left empty once they had been remortgaged and money with a verifiable source had been obtained….was breathtaking.

This brought the prime market to a juddering halt for a while. Hasn’t done any real harm in the long term.

Hopefully other countries put Maginski style legislation in place.

The difficult bit is when it all falls to bits and nobody has anywhere to run to that is when silly things *might* happen as nobody has anything much to lose.


It is good that the sea floor is being taken more seriously. I think we will regret in the end reducing the number of SSN’s.


These new Type 32 frigates are supposed to grow the number of ships in the RN. But I’ve also read that they might be replacing the mine countermeasure vessels. Surely that means the fleet won’t be growing, if anything once all the mine ships are paid off the fewer Type 32’s will mean the fleet is shrinking. Could anyone enlighten me?


I think it’s more an increase in front line fighting ships / escorts rather than an increase in ships. Type 32 will still be a frigate so some form of frigate armament (including missiles) & sensors. Perhaps something along the lines of the Danish Absalon class (a T31 relative).


Thanks, I thought so. It just seems a bit contradictory and ambiguous saying we will grow the fleet when from what they are saying the fleet could actually shrink. Though I understand frigates might grow.


“It is possible that by building three Fleet Solid Support ships with enhanced aviation facilities, one of the FSS could be earmarked to provide much of the unique capability delivered by Argus.”

How so? 3 ships are the minimum to provide support to a single carrier strike group. One on station, one working up and one in refit.

Where will they find the time to loiter in the channel between Yeovilton and Culdrose for months providing aviation training as well as fitting in deploying overseas to provide support ops in a HADR or Medical roll?

Auxiliaries are cheap force multipliers we need to build more than we need rather than less.


FSS in 20021 ? Blimey, that’s even slower than normal !


Lol…. Bah Humbug !

Simon Ruffles

Other than budgets, was there any reason why you would stop the crane build from covering both dry docks, it seems a logical step?


To cover both docks you would need a much larger and more expensive crane, if the requirement isn’t there for a larger crane why spend the money building one which you don’t need?


I believe it does plumb both 14 and 15 docks. It just doesn’t span them both as it’s for system maintenance rather than build.


Let’s hope the type 32 will have a good fit out but I doubt it…it’ll probably be worse than the type 31 sadly.


Last edited 9 months ago by Cam

Black dogs matter!



Something Different

An unnecessary jibe (and nothing to do with the navy) at a movement that reminds people that black people also matter (and no it does not mean others do not, it is not a zero sum game)


No. A movement that killed several people including black people ,and would kill even more if they had free ride to their Marxist ideology. Significantly the usual journalists censored the majority male violence against female property.

Something Different

Please do cite your sources. Is multi millionaire Sir Lewis Hamilton a Marxist? Many recent strides in this country have been taken to level the playing field for black and other ethnic minority people and to combat prejudice and discrimination. This nation should be proud that in the more distant past that it used its naval strength to suppress the slave trade.

However, the continued struggles of BAME people should not be overlooked, are you’d saying that racial prejudice has completely left society? No one has been discriminated against in recent years based on their heritage?

Last edited 9 months ago by Something Different

Yep sue was.

Supportive Bloke

Let’s hope it is another good big capable platform with plenty of growth margin. Like the T31 actually is before we get too down on it.

I’m optimistic that we will see other armament added to the T31 once they have been accepted into service. I guess this is likely to be AShM.

Hopefully the T32 will have a larger main gun as it is the obvious candidate for shore bombardment.


A 5 in her would be nice.

Gavin Gordon

Looking futher to the future, there’s an Interesting comment on Janes with Hornet demonstrating ski jump ability. By all that’s sensible, the Tempest design should be capable of trumping that given sufficient foresight.

Supportive Bloke

Yes that is interesting.

Doesn’t say what the max load out was though.


I believe this was for the Indian Navy trials, which required 4 AAMs (2 short, 2 medium), full gun load and 70% fuel load. I’d expect them to at least be aiming for that, if not a bit better.


Any jet will improve carrier deck takeoff performance with a ski jump. Just depends on the run up length when you dont have have vectored thrust
The USN has done previous testing more than 30 years ago
An Air Force Systems Command, dated 1991, says that between 1982 and 1986 “a metal ramp was constructed that could be modified to give ramp exit angles of 3, 6, and 9 degrees. The ramp was 112.1 feet long and 8.58 feet high at ‘he exit when configured for the 9 degree exit angle, measured from the horizontal. A total of 112 launches of the T-2C, 28 of the F-14, and 91 of the F/A-18 were made. The minimum ground roll for the F/A-18 was 385 feet at a gross weight of 32,800 lbs. This ramp effectively reduced the takeoff roll of the F-18 by more than 50 percent.”


That’s good to know, thanks! I knew they helped, but didn’t realise that they were quite as effective at improving take off performance.


Yes. The catapult has the shortest ‘run’ of course which is why its used.
Im curious why the catapult and ski jump together cant be used, not so much to shorten the shot as the end speed is the critical factor but increase payload as you effectively rotate the plane for increased lift – the normal runway process- but a catapult shot doesnt rotate the plane for climb. British catapult shots in the old days would start with the plane at an abnormal angle of attack often with the front wheels in the air

4th watch

Increases possibility of a form of fixed wing EW if they fitted wires. They must plan for this.

Supportive Bloke

We have sophisticated fixed wing EW with F35 and I *suspect* EW from CrowsNest and we *know* EW from Sampson – that was allowed to go on TV so it is hardly secret.

I am not sure what adding another aircraft type would do apart from massive cost?


EW or AEW? either way what matters most is altitude to maximize horizon range

Supportive Bloke

Most modern radar does both.


E2 is 4 tonnes heavier than FA18. And we would need the platform to be that capable, and so that big, to make it worthwhile.

I would rather see Chinook with folding rotors (has been done) (plus other work perhaps compound wings) modified to take an enhanced Crowsnest module.
comment image

Supportive Bloke

The hardest bit is getting hooked back on the wire.

So whist the arrested bit is cheaper mechanically it is massively more expensive trading wise.

USMC will get a AEW drone working for the GATOR Flat tops. No sense in making things complicated.


Tempest will be great, it’s a few years until we see a test flight though., and We BRITISH 🇬🇧🇬🇧Have built some of the best planes ever, I’m Confident we can again with TEMPEST, the old WW2 plane called tempest saved EngLand from loads of the GERMAN doodlebugs, those flying bombs, the tempest plane was amazing at flying alongside and flipping the doodlebugs wings Making it crash👌… well before London or a populated area…amazing 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Gavin Gordon

Good Xday, Cam.
If we go 6th Gen alone, or at least limited for partners, then it’s got to be maxed out for capability to suit all likely scenarios including short take off with or without arrested recovery. On that assumption, and with F18 and others proving the concept even now, AI design and aerodynamic control ought to provide the answer, since it will safely take the aircraft to the edge of it’s flight envelope.
I still hope that 6th Gen will encourage more cooperation from other potential participants whether EU sourced or otherwise for the benefit of all, though.


Merry Xmas mate


I hate to be the sourpuss, but I think the picture is a little more mixed than that. Recruitment up, marines being marines and a steady drumbeat of OPVs coming of age is super gaps are appearing too. The delay in ordering the FSSs and the next batch(s) of F-35s will mean the CSG will not be a fully operational national asset too quick, and that is ignoring the big delays to the somewhat important Crowsnest… Whilst the talk of new frigates is great as well, this government has a small reputation of over promising and underdelivering. Considering the next five Type 26s apparently have not been ordered yet, and who knows when, I would urge a little caution in counting our frigates before they are afloat.

Peter S

I share your worries. Whilst they will have aircraft, it looks as though it will be years before we will have full load out for both carriers. And trying to ensure frigate numbers don’t actually fall must mean speeding up types 26 and 31 build.
The R2 OPVs, not really wanted by the RN, do seem to be proving useful assets. They may offer a better solution to replacing the minehunters than operating remote systems from frigates. In the meantime not much new about uparming them.
Overall, the announced increase in funding seems to do no more than cover the black hole in the equipment budget. But we can hope the years of continuous cutting are indeed over.


Any F-35s delivered before 2024 will need an expensive upgrade to function fully. I doubt all the F-35s we get before then will undergo the Block 4 retrofit.

Last I heard Block 4 could be delayed until 2026, and Lockheed Martin were considering staging the Block 4 capabilities with several delivery dates rather than having a single switch over. Delaying orders until LM can confirm the schedule isn’t the worst idea.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jon
Phillip Johnson

Block 3 devolved into multiple software drops within the general titles of 3I and 3F so it would be no surprise to see Block 4 do the same.
What will be interesting is how long the US will support earlier versions of the F-35 software. Upgrades likely will not be optional if you want to keep early aircraft in service.
Also, each time the US has gone from one major software ‘block’ to another it has required a hardware upgrade.
The RN/RAF needs to start saving its pennies or you may find early aircraft ‘parked’,

Supportive Bloke

Which is why buying a full mature package makes the most sense!


 The cost of developing the F-35’s Block 4 upgrade has grown by $1.5 billion in the past year, and has now reached $12.1 billion despite Joint Program Office attempts to understate it, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its latest annual report on the program released Tuesday.

The GAO also reported that Block 4 development will take two years longer than planned, and that despite promises of improvement the delivery of Block 4 capabilities will not be completed until 2026, instead of 2024…….GAO “found that reported Block 4 costs did not include all Block 4 costs…and did not include Block 4 costs the program incurred prior to 2018, or that it will incur after 2024,” as the F-35 program office excludes ‘past and future costs'”
Doesnt include the estimated $2.9 bill for non aircraft ALIS and other other systems future development.

as for the UK F35B delivered under previous blocks
Thats $27 mill PER aircraft to upgrade already delivered…an estimate .


Currently the Chinese and Russians have currently got as far as Block Zero with their (none existent) 6th generation fighter.

IRST they did a few generations back which the US is only doing now. Same goes for helmet sight point and shoot.
Its so easy to catch up in other capabilities when the first production F35 was delivered in Feb 2011, nearly 10 years ago now and it still is in ‘development’

Meirion X

Some Block 4 upgrades have already been done in intervals of 6 months at a time.


Yes . Thats called Technology Refresh , they are at the TR3 level now
2 yrs old and the promised faster updates for Block 4 never happened

Barry Larking

Much about which to be encouraged. As ever, the real danger to the R.N. resides in Whitehall.

Very Best Wishes and a Happy New Year to all at SRN.