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Need more escorts…

Asker of questions

There is no possible way that anyone sane (and with knowledge of defense) could disagree with you.
In other words too true.


Really, you cannot be serious?
What weapons do we put on them or just FBNW?
Any salt corrosion maintenance issues?


Need some autonomous escorts for both air defence and underwater defence that can be controlled by the carriers or by the escorts could also be designed to enable UAV, UAS etc and commando assault ships similar to the Tx ships may even allow us to reduce mand escorts required.

Ian Donald

Escorts need sailors as does every vessel in the Royal Navy. Unless this issue is sorted (which will take more that two years to get going, in MHO) we are all talk.

Darren Sharrocks

That is easy to to rectify, up pay so much is makes sense to join the navy. That of course will not happen.


Sailors and hulls!!!

Craig Lewell

Thank you for keeping us all informed during 2023, look forward to reading more excellent articles in 2024!

Last edited 1 month ago by Craig Lewell

Navy Lookout articles are always the best in-depth and researched that I’ve seen on the web. And I can’t fault this opinion piece either. The MoD does seem to proceeding on a peace-time basis as the world appears to be sliding towards more wars and a sustained period of conflict.

One issue I do have though, does Navy Lookout have not control over advertising? I’m beginning to see adverts for The Epoch Times, a conspiracy theory publication that in the past has backed QAnon, anti-vaxxers, etc. The entire conspiracy movement seeks to undermine the Western liberal democratic system, so it’s seems counterintuitive to see such treacherous advertising appearing here.


Very good points . However I dont think Lookout can control the advertising ‘themes’
A the moment on my page theres a range, probably unique for me , of weight loss, teenage gaming, a local forklift company ,CRM software from Salesforce . All of which are irrelevant to me- which is good in a way as it would be interesting if they could pick my interests from the web sites I visit . LOL


I too get the epoch times, a spin off from falun gong, I don’t think that the sites have any control, just keep hitting hide this ad whenever you can.


Maybe you should get a software upgrade which you seem to be expert in?
I see absolutely no ads when I browse NL.

From the ads list, it is obvious that you are an overweight gaming teenager working for a forklift company in sales pretending to be a Naval expert. lol


Moderation policy
Please try to stick to the subject matter of the article you are commenting on and above all, avoid personal attacks, however much you disagree
Do not use more than one username per person to post comments or supply false email addresses.


Pretty sure the reply was tongue in cheek, less of an attack than a joke. Bit close to the edge, but heigh ho


he does it all the time using an invented wardrobe of different user names. never on or near the topics

Andrew Deacon

I’m using Edge on Windows laptop with Adblock and see no ads. I don’t get asked to turn off adblocker either as happens with some sites. Perhaps try other options for viewing?


That’s not the point, I know all about The Epoch Times agenda so I ignore them. The point is does NavyLookout have no control over adverts? If not are we going to see adverts by Trump or even Putin next?


Thats the reality . They are dynamic ads often tailored by Google ads to each user or website. Lookout just sells the space to a broker and computers do the rest.


So we can hardly complain here about HMG penny-pinching by outsourcing when this site does the exact same thing for its advertising.

Darren Sharrocks

The brits do this all the time, and when a major defeat takes place i.e. they lose a ship it is only then will defence spending be increased. The Brits are are still in the late 1920s and early 30s mind set where they think they can make do. It only dawn on them around 1936 that the old chap Hitler was going to start a war. Three years of rearmament was not enough but at least they did something. Also the British have a problem, they have so many allies and bound to the top power they feel no threat to themselves, so no defence spending is needed. In fact they feel they can cut it while the world simmers for war.


Be good if we could protect our own shores from the invaders

Andrew Deacon

RN would only be offering lifts to Dover same as RNLI and BF. Take a look at this article: Why it’s not the Royal Navy’s job to stop migrant boats | Navy Lookout


Well, this kind of “it’s not my job, mate” attitude is why our ancestors are disgusted that the people of this country, particularly its women and children are being put at risk by the importation of tens of thousands of young single men. Other countries’ militaries would never have stood for it. Kind of reminds me of how the lack of payment of the Ship Tax, to protect England from Barbary pirates, led in part to the civil war.


I’m not aware of any landing craft from a foreign nation reaching our shores and deploying heavily armed soldiers, tanks and fighting vehicles to overthrow our democratic institutions and take control of the U.K…


Then launch a Trident missile there.


6 months underwater? Nah! Don’t think so, even though I’ve been out 5 years!

Andrew Deacon

Those were the reports and the state of the hull suggested that. What you are suggesting is there was a break in CASD. At that time Vanguard and Victorious were heading out and in of Devonport respectively so we were down to 2 boats. I assume they took 6 months supplies and crew(and family) were prepared!


Thank you for another year of very informative analysis!

Expat Alien

Hear Hear


HMS Queen Elizabeth ended her trip by embarking additional munitions stocks at Glen Mallan as she remains at very high readiness and is well prepared, should she be called on for urgent tasking in the new year.”

Already suggestions US, UK and France will launch major operations early in new year agaisnt Yemen and could QE be half way there ( on the quiet?)


Unless it’s in the Caribbean.

Erich W

You don’t build a 65,000 tonnes aircraft carrier to use on the quiet. At the end of the day Typhoons from local bases are probably better equipped for any kind of strike missions in the area.


Also, the 30mm guns mounted?


“Already suggestions US, UK and France will launch major operations early in new year agaisnt Yemen and could QE be half way there ( on the quiet?)”
Anyone by the water in Portsmouth can confirm both carriers are at the dock.


Youtube HMS Warrior cam, both carriers alongside

Last edited 1 month ago by Trev

What an utterly depressing situation the RN finds its self in 2023, whilst I suspect that this analysis, merely scratches the surface. I doubt the situation will be much different in 2024 whilst I Fear that the only thing which could trigger defence spending, akin to that of 1980, and the MOD and Defence Industrial Base being placed onto a war footing, is a 1982 Falkland’s scale event on the UK Mainland.


I find the Naval awareness complacency in UK political circles of all shades and persuasions very worrying. While Putin is damaged on land he is remorselessly building up his fleet. I’m not even talking about China overtaking the USA in numbers..


Yes, absolutely agree, as when you stop and take a detailed examination into how vulnerable the UK is to a Large, or even small-medium conventional attack, the findings are truly Chilling. I think Mark Felton did a piece on this subject, albeit don’t quote me on this. Cheers!

Andrew Deacon

There’s 2 A-boats, 8 T26, 5 T31 and 3 FSS to deliver probably this decade. Unless they can sort the personnel, that’s not going to happen unless they tie up existing vessels or delay delivery. I would see MRSS as essential with 2 deployed in Med at moment. Argus can only last so long, Albion would need a refit to get through 2030s with perhaps 2 Bays?


Can’t the two new Ukrainian Sandowns travel via the Rhine, connecting canals and the Danube? They have a shallow draft.


Article 30 of the Belgrade Convention (1948) Regarding the Regime of Navigation on the Danube prohibits the deployment of naval vessels of non-riparian countries


Ukraine is NOT a non-riparian country in terms of the Danube.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter MacINTYRE

It also means Ukraine’s naval vessels can only use its ‘ Danube waters’


Article 30
“Navigation of the Danube by the naval vessels of any non-Danubian country shall be prohibited. The naval vessels of Danubian States may not navigate the Danube beyond the frontiers of the respective countries whose flags they fly save by arrangement between the Danubian States concerned.”


So Ukraine would need the permission of Germany, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Serbia and Romania. Even for a mine-clearance ship, a couple of those might well say no.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon

Depressing summary of a situation that has looked likely since the RN bet the farm on the QEs and F35: everything else reduced or delayed to manage the budget black holes.
One thing in the article is I think not quite correct. The RN and I believe the RAF have included projects that have not yet been approved, unlike previous years and unlike the army. The NAO commented that this inconsistency was unhelpful. But it does mean that even though designs are far from finalized, the estimated costs of T32, MRSS, T83 etc are included. ( NAO report para 11). Along with a big increase in nuclear funding, this accounts for the apparent lurch back into budget shortfall.
Whether, in the light of continuing manpower problems, planning for additional vessels as opposed to replacements, makes sense, I am not sure.

Supportive Bloke

Gordon Brown funded and ordered QEC?

Gordon Brown accelerated GCS. Cameron Osbourne Clegg slowed down GCS and Successor programs to save pennies and see the cost blow outs now?

Cameron Osbourne Clegg sowed the seeds for the manpower crisis…..


GCS acceleration was funded by cutting T45s 7 and 8.
Brown and Blair presided over larger cuts to personnel than the Tories have, privatised large portions of defence, involved the armed forces in two very costly wars, cut the Navy pretty much in half, and pretty much all of the Army’s equipment issues are due to them

Supportive Bloke

May I correct that?

There was only funding for T45 #7.

The choice was order T45 #7&8 as BAE were not interested in a singular build OR shelve T45 #7 and accelerate GCS.

If RN pushed ahead with T45 #7&8 the question was what to cut to pay for #8?

I don’t think much of Gordon Brown but he did grasp the costs of going beyond end of life and of gapping knowledge and skills.

Fact was that with QEC and GCS there was a build drumbeat.


#7 and #8 were options to build only. Neither had funding because of that, maybe there was some pre funding involved for very long lead items but we dont know.
Supposedly the funding was transferred to development of GCS but likely that was funded separately and it was merely an ‘announceable’.

Supportive Bloke

There was a £6Bn pot to cover the Horizon/T45 for UK.

That pot was eroded by
– Horizon costs before UK pulled out; and
– SAMPSON development; and
– ASTER integration into CMS; and
– T45 design costs etc

That is why numbers progressively shrank.

Funding was NOT removed by Treasury – money was expended from a finite pot.

So after the first 6 were ordered there was money left for about one more but certainly not two more.


Gordon Brown put the country in major debt bailing out th banks which had got themselves in sh1t creek because of Tony Blair’s laissez faire attitude to regulation – that was the reasons that SDSR 2010 was a massive cost cutting exercise, with all of the awful things in it we bemoan today.

And whilst we’re at it Tony Blair doubled the size of the state but reduced the true funding of our military whilst committing us to two significant wars.

13 years of Tory misrule has only made it worse of course – benefits, pension and NHS spending out of control whilst all other things the Government should be doing (education and defence) gets continual cuts.

Junglie Rating

Yeah well that might be something about the peace dividend post the fall of the wall and the break up of the Soviet Union…etc.
At the time you can understand the reduction of the air force and the army….hmm Navy bit of a lack of understanding on how trade works and soft power projection..
Somehow managed to have 3 major punch ups with the use of many assets….think the govt had forgotten it all costs money not too mention supplying me with 5 attendance gongs and a couple of gimmes.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing….are we any better off at the beginning of this year to last …probably not…potential for the future oooh we might be able to say we have the “most modern navy in Western Europe”again.
We will see


That would make Options for Change the only justifiable set of cuts…
Not sure what changed between 1991 and 1998 that made the world a safer place, if anything Bosnia and Somalia would’ve shown the opposite. Now the 2003 SDSR is even worse considering by that point the UK had been involved in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghan and Iraq.

If anything 2010 (when most of the Tories cuts occurred) was the safest the world had been since the end of the Cold War with Iraq having drawn down, Afghanistan nearing drawing down, ISIS not existing, Syria, Libya and Ukraine not having kicked off etc.

Phillip Johnson

I will take the T31 progress with a dose of salts. The original schedule was for the first ship to be in the water by now. The current promise of a launch ‘in the first half of 2024’ probably means May or June.
Launch is really not the critical process, however it is likely to be a milestone in the payment plan. The critical issue the level of pre-outfitting being achieved and how that affects when a vessel is likely to be delivered. I see precious little sign of a high level of pre outfitting in any of the pictures released. A company under pressure can easily launch when the hull is water tight. What is really important is how much of the internal work has been done at that point. If you look at the picture below you will note various holes in he rear bulkhead which should accommodate major piping, and penetrations for cabling and ducting. None of this is in evidence in even the most basic form.

Supportive Bloke


My suspicion is that #1 and #2 completion date won’t be much different. Assuming #2 has a decent level of pre outfitting.


I think with everything that is going on in the world. Defence needs to be a priority. There are lots of projects on the go in all 3 services. The defence budget is far too small. In my opinion it should be increased to 3.5 to 4% if only for a few years. Pay and conditions should be improved. But in reality I’m not sure if that will be enough to increase recruitment. Then all that is left is a limited draft, because if something escalated to a point were we get pulled in I only see disaster on the horizon.


I don’t suppose you are Keir Starmer. Otherwise, you’d better let your MP know what you think.


No just a realist


In proposing a draft you managed to come up with an option even more unlikely than the defence budget being doubled to 4%. Never going to happen.

Steven Alfred Rake

A good artical but utterly depressing


A well done to 1SL for getting NSM, a critical capability gap filled. Not sure why Diamond sent to Red Sea without ASuW fit though.


The 30mm guns and Martlet missiles on the Wildcat will be enough to combat the boats operated by the Houthis.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sean

Not sure that’s the only threat especially given Iran’s support to Houthis


There was only a local civil war where the long time president fled the country but the Saudis got involved because its ‘their sphere of influence’.
Exact mirror of somewhere else in eastern Europe but this time US and UK support the attacking side


I didn’t notice any Ukrainian tanks on the road to Moscow, so not sure what you are referring to, unless there is another war in Eastern europe that I am not aware of?


Iran supports the Houthis and Hammas exactly because it doesn’t want to get directly involved, far better that it gets others to make mischief on its behalf.
Iran still remembers the huge cost of its last direct involvement in a military conflict, the Iran-Iraq War.


“Although the Martlet missile and Wildcat helicopter combination is finally in service and is a major step in the right direction”

If the right direction is a visual range only, one-at-a-time only missile, fired in the hover from an air system with inadequate DAS… Not to mention the knats bladder fuel tanks, and the unforeseen stresses on the airframe caused by the weapon ‘wings’.


What constitutes adequate DAS for a helicopter? We’ve all seen the pretty chaff/flares pictures, so are you thinking about ESM/ECM? Presumably you can’t add something like Praetorian to a medium-sized helicopter, can you?

I think in context of the article, it’s saying Martlet can be used to attack multiple UAVs out to about 5 miles: attacking a £20K drone with a £20K missile rather than a £2m one. Sea Venom will give the greater distance BVR for attacks on small naval ships.

Consider that the operational range of Sea Venom is quoted as >20km, less than Sea Skua; the speed is advertised as Mach 0.85, slower than Sea Skua; and the warhead size is 30kg, the same as Sea Skua. Yet, we aren’t using Sea Skua. I say this just as a reminder than Martlet may also have a range longer than advertised. For a bloke with a MANPAD on a FAC, Wildcat might be firing Martlet beyond visual range.

Commonwealth Loyalist

Sorry for my ignorance but what does DAS mean in this context?




DAS is Defensive Aid Suite. The Typhoon’s Praetorian sub-system is referred to as DASS, Defensive Aid Sub-system. There are some good photos of helicopters firing flares and chaff for example here


Okay recruitment of UK nationals into the RN and RFA is a real and important issue that may not be easily resolved by simply increasing pay and/or a traditional recruitment drive. However, I’m struggling to see why we can’t recruit more suitable personnel from Commonwealth nations to fill the gaps – as already happens to a degree. in many parts of the world the pay and conditions the RN/RFA offer would surely be seen as highly attractive would they not? Perhaps HMG immigration policy is preventing this, or is the real problem not recruiting young people at the start of their maritime careers but rather retaining highly skilled engineers nearing the end of theirs?

As for equipment issues, we seem to be facing veritable sea of troubles. While it is remarkable that the UK is one of few western nations that has not significantly increased its defence budget in the light of the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war, not everything methinks can be layed at the door of insufficient funding. The simple truth is that, despite countless attempts at reform, too many MOD major projects are still hamstrung with unacceptable levels of delay and cost over-runs. The time it now takes this once great shipbuilding nation to design, build and commission a new submarine or surface warship Is just unacceptable. Is the MOD even a ‘reformable’ organisation I wonder?

Furthermore, points made in this article regarding the UK’s almost total vulnerability to cruise or ballistic missile attack, and the growing threats posed to our vital undersee infrastructure are surely undeniable. To properly address growing problems such as these we should perhaps spend less on developing new bespoke weapon systems (such as this new Anglo-French Harpoon replacement) and more on proven ‘off the shelf’ equipment. For example, monies devoted to new certain weapon development projects might I think be better allocated on increasing the number Boeing E-7 Wedgetail and P-8 Poseidon aircraft we plan to operate – in both cases a seemingly inadequate force number many would say. As for unedifying sight of a large and expensive Type 31 frigate completing without provision for even a basic bow sonar … well sometimes it’s hard to avoid a sense of utter despair when looking at the fruit of UK defence procurement efforts.

Our service men and women deserve better.


The Wedgetail procurement makes your point well about how the funds that have been provided have been wasted by ineffective, over paid civil servants: the plan was to purchase 5 for $2.1bn, by reducing to 3 the cost is $1.8bn. A 40% reduction in capability for a 12% reducing in cost.


Wasnt ‘wasted’ , just the intial estimates of the purchase- conversion-install of the second hand planes and radar was guesstimates rather than actual real world prices.
Plus its a usual MoD inflated system price which includes EIS, long term maintenance of airframe, radar upgrades and software support over say 10-15 years .
Even though they are a generic used 737-800 model planes , they need specific high gross weight versions when most would have been built at the lower gross weight- for shorter flights The extra weight is to carry max fuel


Ooh, this seems a good idea. Training crews from the Caribbean Commonwealth to man the River that we keep out there might have takers. They could be released after a short service to form the nucleus of their own nations’ navies. We get extra hands, they get experience of modern naval ops. We could even have an HMS Guyana to annoy Mr Maduro.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The Army has always had about 1 in 10 recruitment from the Commonwealth.

Our trouble is RN personnel going off to serve in the RAN and elsewhere.

Terry Kane

It strikes me after 14 years of cut backs that people who care about the British Armed Forces need to start taking an interest in economics because we are all still paying for the epic failure of the financial system in 2008. That crash, which was foreseen by numerous people, cost this country £3 trillion pounds in bailouts and lost growth (BoE’s own figures) and yet there has been zero accountability and the fiat currency ponzi scheme has simply been refloated while the banks and hedge funds involved continue to not only receive gargantuan amounts of newly created money (£885 billion in QE) but are still allowed to short-change HMRC via numerous loop holes up to and including the tax havens which the RN has to rescue from hurricanes from time to time.


One bit of very good defence news that has gone virtually unreported here.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sean

“There is no shortage of failures to be laid at the feet of the Tories but unless Labour are going to commit new resources following a likely defence review in 2025, expect further managed decline in an ever-more dangerous world.”

Spot on. Again, this is a complete and nearly across the board failure by the entire UK political class. Heads should roll, and I mean a lot of them. My guess is they won’t.