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Rick

great photo of the 2 carriers.

Sam

The Navy really needs to find a way to make money. If the Navy operate a business say in commercial shipping they could suppliment funds from the MoD. Governments running businesses usually ends up being a disaster. Maybe make the Queen and the UK gov shareholders

Bobs Baradur

Bring back Letters of Marque and Reprisal and Prize Courts.
Enforce sanctions with New Model Privateers, instead of RN vessels.
I miss the good old days…….

Nicholas

Excellent idea, we will need to find our Jack Aubrey.

Nigel Spawton

I do like Bobs suggestion!… the Navy as we know it had its foundations on high seas prize ships .. and allowing crews to share spoils would be a fantastic way of exerting British sea power : degrading criminal use of the seas and most importantly bringing revenue and morale back to our navy … its a tall order and would face many hurdles but could be the post Brexit bounce we all need !

Simon m

They do make money via FOST and hydro graphic surveys. I’m not what they else they could do ethically or practically?

Sam

Thats why I thought cargo shipping might be a good avenue.

Richard Grieve

MN training
STCW training with DC add on.
Simulator training.
Statutory security courses.
Commercial flight deck crew HLO & ACCO training.

4thwatch

Fishing.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking

It is long past time for the government to try and make money in something. Maybe the civil servants might gain experience from having to run a business.

Sean

The various government schemes to keep people employed and advert business collapse and high unemployment are being financed by 30 year bonds. Started this week and we’re hugely oversubscribed by a factor of 3. With the extremely low returns on these the government will effectively by able to live with this debt. With most developed nations having to do similar, this will be accepted as the new norm by lenders and rating agencies.

The big issue is how much of a hit the economy takes if we don’t have a V recession-recovery. However as indicated by the budget before the pandemic where increased spending was announced, Bojo is more liberal one-nation Heath style conservative than hard-core Thatcherite.
The two unknowns are;-
• any backlash against China and possible new policies to on-shore essential industries
• economic and market disruption always creates new opportunities for growth for the fast-moving with initiative.

Meirion X

Also, why not revitalize National Savings products, e.g. National Savings Certificates?

ATH

Lots and lots of small (in commercial terms) investors drive up the admin costs of debt. HMG can pay big investors a higher rate the National Savings and still get money cheaper overall.

X

True. But citizens saving into a NSC scheme wouldn’t in itself be a bad thing. HMRC seems to keep track of millions of taxpayers, so I don’t think keeping track of a few million who would take part would tax them. (Tax them!) Britons need to get back into the habit of saving and not spending now.

Sunmack

Sadly there will be no backlash against China. The Western consumer army will be back to buying their cheap products in credit just as soon they can

4thwatch

Some increased import duty might bring money into the treasury and dampen home demand on selected items.

Sean

While we were in the EU all import duties (minus administration costs) went straight to Brussels – in addition to our membership fee.
Now all import duties remain with HMG, so we will see an increased revenue here without having to raise duties.

Adrian

“While we were in the EU all import duties (minus administration costs) went straight to Brussels”.

Well that sounds like bullshit. Quite apart from the fact that trade with the EU itself wouldn’t be subject to import duties in most cases (that was rather the point). So can you give us your source please?

X

Strictly speaking any trade within the EU wasn’t an import or export. So all trade from without the EU was an import. So buying something from German from here in the UK wasn’t an import. Buying a similar item from China was an import. Single marker and customs union and all that stuff. And yes import duties minus a fifth to cover admin went to the EU. So not rubbish.

The fun comes in when something destined for say China was transhipped via say Rotterdam and that was counted as a trade within the EU. Now that is b*****

Gavin Gordon

Sean’s referring to the common customs tariff, not trade within the EU

Duker

Seems to me that many still want to repeat the mistakes of the 1930s and slash public spending. Economic downturns are made worse by this approach not improved. The ideologues who want to shrink the size of the State have had their day.
Im pretty sure the Royal Navy will be fine, which country is slashing their defence budgets? The germans have just decided to order a large number of fighters and I think Canada will follow similar later on and may move forward on its ship building plans.
From the other side of the world, where some governments acted decisvely and quickly rather that like that of the dithering of the UK, means schools are back tomorrow, shops open , factories humming, highways busy again. I had to buy a kitchen kettle urgently and couldnt believe the serious shoppers out there. Its the younger generation who arent as easily panicked as us oldies.
As for Bank of England predictions, seriously after all the widely inaccurate ( mostly) predictions for the epidemic in the hardest hit countries means we should take them with a grain of salt.
As a Statistics professor here keeps saying . Predictions about the future are hard , as data from the future doesnt exist.

Sam

A country wide whip round for the Navy? I am sure a Country got a ship that way…*off to find who it was*

Greece held a crowdfunding campaign for the Hellanic Navy in 2019. The one I was thinking of was very early 20th century :/

Harry Bulpit

The Greek public have a lot of interest in their armed forces. Cyprus and the presence of Turkey make it a paramount public service. Plus i think they still have conscription.

Todd C Bulgarelli

Perhaps you were originally thinking of the Japanese battleship Mutsu, the building of which was supposedly partially funded by Japanese schoolchildren around 1920– though this may have been more of a ploy to avoid her scrapping as the result of one of the international naval reduction treaties of the time.

Sam

Wasnt the Mutsu I was thinking of…..It was the Swedish Coastal Battleship HSwMS Sverige -Sverige Class 😀 took me ages to find that quote lol -1912 till the 1950s and with her 2 sister ships made Sweden more trouble for Nazi Germany to invade than it was worth. To take on these 3 ships they would have needed one or two of their Big 4 (Bismarck, Tirpitz, Sharnhorst, Gneissenau). Because the Sverige Class had such a shallow draft she could operate in the littorals where U-boats could not go and sticking close to Sweden under their defensive doctrine they would have had great air cover. 120m longish, 2×2 283mm guns and Battlecruiser 200mm armour belts. They were the true pocket Battleships. In 1912 the entire cost of the Sverige was achieved by a national fundraising campaign after the Swedish parliament deemed buying the ship as too expensive

Last edited 1 year ago by Sam
D J

Perhaps HMS New Zealand?

Jeff

That was the NZ Govt. The Malayan Government did the same.

Jeff

A Greek millionaire George Averoff died and left money in his will which was used by Greece to build a ship of the same name.

Simon

The Ottoman navy had a battleship which was paid for by public subscription. Churchill requisitioned it when it was nearly complete at the outbreak of the First World War. It became HMS Erin.

john

Well we did that during WW1 and WW2. So yes I think a modern version could and should be done!

Mike Jones

A detailed and bold analysis, without being bigoted. Well done. Doesn’t mean I agree with it all, but it’s what the country needs at the moment- some joint up thinking 😂

Merlot

Couldn’t have put it better Mike.
Insofar as Putin is concerned, could be a case of “better the devil you know, rather than… etc”. At least he appears at least (albeit dangerously) rational.

Duker

Its a mistake to become blinkered over Russian actions on its border areas which involve millions of ethic Russians living in former Soviet republics. China is the one to be concerned about with long term ambitions to create a hegemony on near and distant neighbours.
Look at Turkey , a Nato member, what punishment was though necessary when then invaded an immediate neighbour and Commonwealth country Cyprus back in 1974 , and is still there ! Im sure it was rationalised at the time and still is.

Henry

“millions of ethic Russians”
Ok, Putin.

Harry Bulpit

If this virus has shown anything, it is the weakness and ignorance of the west. For to long we’ve belivied that these pandemics were for the history books and third world nations, and that us 1st world westerns with vaccines and antibiotics where some how above Mother Nature. Now perfectly healthy people, when confronted by a virus with a mortality rate of less then 5%, our to scared to return to the work that puts food on their plates. What the point in having a military if it serves a society, unable and unwilling to except risk and its own mortality.

JFKvsNixon

To put the price paid by society into context. Twice as many health care workers have died during the Covid-19 crisis than UK servicemen in the first Gulf War. This was with the lockdown, imagine the consequences if there had not been a lockdown.

So I think that you really need to look at the scale of the numbers involved, before you come to your conclusions.

It was estimated that the virus would infect between 60% to 80% of the population, and if we took your 5% morality rate, then work out for yourself whether or not this is an acceptable risk for society to take, instead of is this an acceptable risk for you as an individual?

4thwatch

I for one think our healthcare workers have been magnificent. They have soldiered on through the worst pandemic in living memory without good PPE. Essential we have home resourced PPE of the highest quality and amount.

Sean

We need to identify and preserve/create strategic industries in the U.K. to avoid dependence from overseas. Traditionally this is seen as a military issue but this pandemic has shown this is a medical issue too.

Paul.P

Totally agree…self defence 101. Also food, also pharma, also weapons….When it was threatened with foreign takeover I think the French told the EU that Danone Yoghurt was a strategic industry.

Harry Bulpit

yes the healthcare workers have shown themselves to be incredibly brave and capable and have gone above and beyond as have transport workers and Shop staff. Lockdown has been incredibly effective. My issue is with the average working person who refuse to do their work. The teachers being the primary example. the issue is regardless of the percentage, the virus isn’t going anywhere and people will need to except this and move on. However, my point is geared towards the wider issue the virus highlights. The purpose of an armed forces is to fight, and with that comes risk. Why should we even have one if the society controlling the military can not except risk? how many times have you heard people say we shouldn’t have carriers because the enemy can sink them? as if the prospect that an enemy would want to target and destroy your assets is something of a surprise to them. And yes it is an expectable risk to me, although precautions should obviously be taken. the reality is risks have to be taken.

JFKvsNixon

OK, so lets take your percentage of 5% mortality rate with the lower percentage of 60% infection rate. 60% of 65 million is 39 million. So a 5% mortality rate of this 39 million would be just under 2 million deaths.

Another point that needs recognising is that a lot more than these 2 million people would require hospital treatment. So the strain on the public services would be massive, possibly to the point of them becoming ineffective.

Finally, it needs to be recognised that the only reason that the curve has been flattened was due to lockdown, not the virus starting to reach it’s natural plateau.

So the risk to our society, and the economy that goes with it, is massive if we get things wrong when we try to reopen.

Harry Bulpit

Once again none of my points. My point is the virus has highlighted that we live in a society unwilling to except risk. I am neither calling for an end to lock down, or stating that we should all go back to normal. Indeed i previous said lock down has been successful and i truly support it. Risks should be managed as best as possible, but the reality is you simply cannot remove all risk. While we need to be careful we still need to move in a controlled way to a form of normality, and many seem to scared rightly or wrongly to do this. And that is my issue. As a society we seem unprepared to take risks.

JFKvsNixon

I see things differently.

From my perspective it has all been about managing the risk from the virus, not trying to avoid the risk. Or more to be more specific, keeping the levels of critically ill people down to a level that the NHS could manage without being overran.

I also agree about the need to move to a more productive society. My worry would be, has the government taken the necessary measures to ensure that we’re at the point where it is prudent to make that step, or are they more worried about being left behind by the other economies that are starting to unwind out of lockdown.

So return to risk management. I wonder if the risk that is being managed is the risk to our economy or the risk to our population.

Harry Bulpit

I think both our being considered and need to be. Obviously risk to life is important, but all our lives our dependent on the economy. I also feel that the government itself has struck a good balance in meesurments. I just feel it is some within society who can not handle risk. But it’s also from both sides of the spectrume. Just look at those protesting lockdown as they fear it will lead to totalitarianism.

Paul.P

Agree your point on being risk averse. A few Covid lessons…?
1. Don’t rely on beta blockers to get your blood pressure down. Get on the treadmill and safeguard your immune system.
2. Tie carers to a single care home.
3. Bring back isolation / fever hospitals.
4. Ramp up basic hygiene in public places by an order of magnitude and enforce using H&S and local authority Public Health staff.
5. Declare war on obesity: food labelling and restaurant menus to state glycemic load as well as calories.
6. Don’t place your faith in a vaccine….it might not be there…
7. Don’t panic…the mortality rate of Covid is about 1% , half of those are care home residents, the other half are on medication which is nobbling their immune system. Most healthy people will shrug it off.
8. In a year or twos time it will have mutated and become weaker and we will have herd immunity, with or without a vaccine. The vulnerable just need to stay safe until that happens.
9. We have remembered that the best things in life are free…caring, sharing and solidarity.,

Have a great day 🙂

Harry Bulpit

I mentioned the 5% (which is a worse case scenario), as from the individual perspective its pretty insignificant. Although i appreciate from a governmental strategic position to lose 1% of the population would be pretty devastating.

Shire boy

The Government have made numerous failings with their handling of the Covid-19 crisis. And you have a pop at the teachers, for refusing to work! Both my kids are of school age and working remotely. The teachers are doing a good job in the circumstances. I’ll let you get back to your copy of the Daily Mail

Harry Bulpit

Hate the daily mail. And i moan at teacher’s because they, or more so the unions refuse to go back to work. And i know because my mother works in a school, and is being left with all the children because most of teachers seem to think their life is more important then that of the TAs.

Dern

I dont’ think anyone believed that Pandemics where for the History books, the west’s strong response to Ebola and periodic scares over previous diseases such as SARS spring to mind.

Harry Bulpit

True. But how often did you hear, “it will never reach hear” throughout all those examples. Even as late as February this year.

Dern

I don’t know, maybe it’s just because of my job, but my experience has been much more “lets make sure it doesn’t reach here” than “it won’t reach here.”

Sunmack

The nuclear deterrent is sacrosanct to politicians. I expect big defence cuts in conventional forces as that doesn’t cost politicians votes. We’ll end up with a totally hollow military. The only things that’ll be protected are those which create or sustain civilian jobs.

I wouldn’t bet against cancellation of the 7th Astute with the build programme for the other six stretched out, sale of a carrier, the F35 buy stopped at 48, cuts in the MCM force and maybe even the sale or mothballing of a couple of T45’s. I expect reductions in the numbers of T26 and T31 but with the build programme of fewer ships stretched out over the same timescale to preserve jobs.

China will have annihilated the UK military without firing a shot 🙁

Gavin Gordon

That is why defence spending would indeed need to be emphased as the strand of public spending it always has been, i.a.w. the article. This would not be a ‘cunning plan’ for vested interests, as you know S, since the general public, i.e. not political diehards, have never been fools.

At this time more than for many decades they will be well aware that, not only has China led to the loss of loved ones and the decimation of our finances, but the country stands to gain disproportionately from the pandemic after effects.

In short, all levels of society are directly feeling the threat posed by malignant Polituros (rather than their populace, say) opposed idealogically to our way of life.

On a similar front, the general public are fully aware that we never cranked up our virus response until public and private medical facilities started to work in tandem – towards an extent that is very familiar to other benign democracies.

Regards.

Sean

Who would by the carrier and T45s? Every other government is in the exact same situation of increased debt levels. Consequently so long as they can all afford the very small interest payments, these debt mountains don’t matter.
(The biggest problem with these is that it ties up money being spent on public services rather than being invested in developing the private sector.)

Cam

All of what you said won’t happen, we have already cut our fleet! Our army and Air Force! We need everything you mentioned and I really do think we will keep them thank god. And the huge loans Britain’s getting will be paid off over decades and hopefully we won’t notice many cuts, we need to spend money to make money and save the economy, look what austerity was like and done!

We need a bigger industrial base and more manufacturing in the uk, mega projects like HS2 should go ahead and we have already scraped the barrel in terms of military cuts! We have lost lots and lots of our assets all our tornado jets and expensive crews gone saving many millions, half our tanks and more than half of our heavy artillery as90s and crews gone , half our helicopter fleet gone! Many ships, 40,000 personnel! The lists huge, we can’t hardly save any more money, and to hit the 2% gdp spent on defence they started adding huge things like military pensions into the costs to swindle the numbers! We spend 1.5% of gdp and that’s probably on the high side!

David Broome

I go the other way.

Unemployment will hit 10% and the services are undermanned and this allows the government to kill two birds with one stone.

Building large capital items is stimulus: especially ships. Selling them will only add to unemployment let alone being embarrassing.

All we need is a Defence Secretary to go into bat.

Argue for an 8th Astute on a hot line. Commence the Type 31 this year and announce 7 additional hulls to grow the Navy to 26 surface combatants that sees the Arrowhead team go on a recruitment drive. Commit to build the FSS in the UK (more jobs) and announce plans for Albion replacements as LHD’s 50% paid by overseas aid given their HADR utility (good PR).

Then the Defence Secretary, to balance the ledger announces a reduction in F35Bs from 138 to 96 while inking a deal for the next 48 “showing how they are prepared to make hard cuts too”. This tips off base infrastructure works.

Defence just needs a charismatic politician who can use crisis to good effect.

Meirion X

The supply line items(engines) for the T31
were only ordered in April, the first will take 18-24 months to be manufactured. The new assembly hall has not even been built yet!

D J

Nothing improves optimism like orders in the book though & there is the efficiency bonus to be obtained if you order early enough. When it comes to building naval ships, the greatest increase in efficiency is usually from ship 1 to ship 3. Ship 1 is first of class & massive learning curve, also when most design stuff ups are (hopefully) discovered. Ship 2 is working out what & how to do better. Ship 3 is having most of it worked out. Ship 3 can be up to 50% more efficient than ship 1. Ship 4 & 5 is fine tuning. After ship 5, everything is working like clockwork (as much as these things do).

However this is not just the shipbuilders. Everything that you can order now, even if you demand delayed delivery (even the carrot of more orders), feeds into the equation. Need more bank finance? A signed government order will work wonders. Wait 2 years after the last ship is delivered – already efficiently is on the wane. Wait 5 years & you are starting again at ship 3 (if you are lucky). Wait much longer & you are back to ship 2 (never back to ship 1 because design faults have at least been sorted & documented – you did didn’t you?). Though , whatever you do, don’t order all components for delivery now – otherwise they will be obsolete & out of warranty by the time they are fitted. Bare in mind also, the people that build the hull are not the same people as do the fit out, so don’t wait for the final ship to be delivered if you intend to order another (clock is ticking).

David Broome

They didn’t need a hall to work on the QE class. The delay is down to the contract period agreed with MoD but if the MoD was to say, ‘look we want you to start fabrication in 2020 and BTW we’d like to extend the order,’ watch Babcock move faster than a rat up a drainpipe.

Meirion X

The QE class were assembled in the large dry docks at Rosyth ship building yard,
from sections fabricated on The Clyde, Portsmouth and Barrow.
Babcock plan to build a new assembly hall at Rosyth yard to build 2 Type 31 frigates at a time.
A steel cutting and Forming & Fabrication plant will need to be constructed on the site there too.

X

An 8th Astute won’t happen now as there is no capacity at Barrow. The Astute program is winding up and the Dreadnoughts are already in train. The time for Astute 8 disappeared when Brown messed up the drum beat and then disappeared forever when Cameron dithered over Dreadnought. i hope the RN can generate 2 A boats from a pool of 6/7 as we need them.

We couldn’t crew more T31 even if we could afford them. And if we could afford 7 and crew 7 I would rather have more T26.

Roders96

In a fight everyone would probably prefer a type 26 over a type 31 but the fact remains that they cost 4-5 times as much!

Frank Morelli

I agree totally with the point made, that a large part of the UK’s defence industry – and ALL of its naval shipbuilding – are in the regions that this government keeps trying to talk up its investment in…there are vast sums being floated (sorry about the pun…) at the moment to sustain hairdressers and the like, and if commonsense were allowed to intervene, government investment in Defence Infrastructure and technology should surely be seen as a better use of at least a part of this. One of the UK’s and RN’s problems at the moment is the BAE shipbuilding monopoly, itself the result of Government policy, which allows a purely self-interested organisation to stiff its captive customer left right and centre. Competition is absolutely essential under capitalism and the Government needs to support this. The problem is – apart from orders – that for a yard like Cammell Laird, for example, which once built nuclear subs and aircraft carriers, to make itself capable of competing, needs a level of investment that these shrunken and chronically under-funded companies cannot reasonably expect to achieve. So why not change the model? Let the Government build the infrastructure, a modern shipbuilding facility in Birkenhead on the derelict industrial land adjacent to what is left to Cammell Laird, and lease it to the company – the Government-owned, contractor-operated model already in place at quite a few places in UK (e.g. Porton Down). Absent orders to keep it busy, Cammell Laird would simply take a lease “holiday” so the financial risk – which would be peanuts anyway, compared to the astronomical sums being proposed to make the train journey to Birmingham 30 minutes faster – would be Government-borne. If BAE complains then give them the same level of investment and the same deal on the Clyde; and force them to take the costs of infrastructure out of their bills for the T26. Of course it would be necessary to order ships to use the capability but at the moment we are putting off orders for (for example) the Support Ships for the RFA … due to high costs (back to no competition…). I think the depression that we have let ourselves in for will solve on its own most of the Forces’ recruitment problems – for at least a few years – and an investment of well under 1% of the sums the Government wants to support Industry with would cover all the infrastructure investment in shipyards and at least a first wave of orders to fill the revitalised yards with. There is no absolute reason that UK shipyards cannot compete with, say, Chinese yards, either in military or civilian shipbuilding. Higher European costs are mostly driven by inefficiency, not just personnel cost, and that can be removed with sensible investment, and successfully utilising the yards at continuing high levels of work. Take away the upfront investment costs and you can create the conditions needed to revitalise an industry in which the UK once led the world by a huge margin. I don’t suppose for a moment that UK shipbuilding will dominate the globe again as it once did, but there is certainly an opportunity for it to become competitive, sustainable and a major national asset once again, instead of a pension fund for BAE Systems.

4thwatch

I agree some priming of the pumps at Cammell Laird is a decent idea. Enfield Small Arms Factory is another long lost asset.

Stephen

I also agree. I have been saying for years British shipyards need investment in new , state of the art facilities and equipment to build our Royal Navy and R.F.A. ships in, this will in turn make British shipbuilding cheaper, more efficient and more competitive. British shipyards have been under invested in for so many decades they have become archaic.

The frigate factory should still be built on the Clyde, and something similar on the Mersey. Keep all our R.N. and R.F.A. ships home built, like other countries do, and we can have a decent sized, modern shipbuilding industry in the U.K., keeping our own people in poorer areas in highly skilled, well paid jobs.

Cam

We will need foreign orders to sustain our ship yards though, we build great frigates so I don’t understand why we can’t get some sold globaly then built in the uk, even patrol boats. I liked how Australia built a dozen patrol boats for free for Pacific island nations to patrol their waters, we should use our foreign aid budget and build some basic patrol boats for third world nations and giving British ship building a boost.

4thwatch

Excellent idea. Use the Foreign aid budget for some thing useful.

N-a-B

Porton Down is most definitely NOT a GoCo. Dstl are a government body.

Aldermaston is a GoCo, as are some other MOD facilities like MoD Boscombe Down.

BAES no longer have a shipbuilding monopoly, as the T31 contract to Babcock demonstrates. The effects of this are yet to play out.

Sadly, unless the country is willing to fund a substantial and permanent increase in the size of the Navy, expanding shipyards is not going to be economically viable.

The global commercial shipbuilding market was already in serious trouble before C19 and the coming reduction in international seaborne trade is going to exacerbate that issue. Which means that the freight rate a shipowner can charge to move cargo will be held low, which means the ability of the owner to make money (the reason he owns ships in the first place!) will be under pressure. Fuel price reductions will help that for a while, but the underlying trend is not for growth in trade or freight rates.

Private companies exist to make money, not to support jobs. That means they will go wherever they can get their ships built cheapest. Which means the Far East (RoK, Japan and probably China). None Far East yards (eg the European ones) will be reliant on existing niche product lines (Flensburger Ro-Ro, Cruise ships from Fincantieri and Meyer Werft) which are sustained primarily by their long track record of successful delivery. Even then, those yards are going to be in trouble for a while. Anyone see the cruise market expanding any time soon? No? I wonder why……

The UK industry has a “very limited” (one could say zero) track record in on-time, on-cost delivery (for a variety of reasons, none of which change the price of fish to a commercial shipowner), It is therefore highly unlikely to suddenly attract an influx of commercial ship orders, as it has no product portfolio and no track record. This means it must by definition be dependent on government-funded ships. Or in other words the Navy/RFA, which would require a huge increase in manpower an funding to support it, before you get to the capital cost of ships.

In an era where money is going to be tight, the harsh truth is that justifying that will be an “interesting career challenge” for anyone who wants to take it on.

Paul

How does Japan build cheap ships, their labour costs are higher than ours. Therefore it must be down to efficiency and investment.

N-a-B

It’s less that they’re cheap, although they are competitive, it’s that they’re dependable. It’s down to efficiency and more importantly track record. It’s a matter of honour for Japanese yards that they deliver on time every time.

That track record breeds confidence and repeat business. It’s also how the German commercial yards survive.

Duker

Even the Italian yard building cruise liners has a delivery date set down in advance. Its not hard to do, just requires a will to do it.
German yards , I think you will find subsidys somewhere

N-a-B

It’s not hard to do if you’re used to building that type of ship. It’s much harder if you’ve not built something in thirty years.

Shipbuilding subsidies in the EU are streng verboten – and have been for 15 years at least. What the Germans do have is a commercial bank that specialises in loans to shipyards which allows them to get the cashflow right.

Todd C Bulgarelli

As usual, another highly informative article from STRN. Thank you.
May I offer a counterpoint, however, to the assertion that there might be more FONOP deployments involving a QE/PW battlegroup after 2021?
Even before this pandemic, there was the possibility that regular deployments of an RN carrier battlegroup as a function of British foreign policy were going to be problematic from a budgetary standpoint. The reason being that, in the previous 10 years or more, the British public and Treasury have grown accustomed to seeing highly-publicized yet relatively-inexpensive one- or two-ship deployments of frigates, destroyers, or auxiliaries around the world. Gone are the days of yesteryear where regular deployments of large British naval formations were expected and proudly tolerated by the public. What happens after the first time a modern British battlegroup returns to port after months at sea?
Meaning, a carrier, half a dozen or so escorting destroyers/frigates, several auxiliaries, and a couple of attack submarines– perhaps as many as 15 vessels total –with 2,000 – 3,000 sailors and marines, and a mix of around 40 fixed/rotary/uav aircraft? The UK has not done such a thing in a very long time, and the financial cost of such a deployment might be off-putting to both Treasury and public.
I do not mean to say that this would be the end of the carriers, and I hope that I am wrong, but I can see a situation where there are fewer large FONOP deployments after 2021 and not more, contrary to what this website suggests.
Time will tell and it would be interesting to see STRN delve further into this subject.

D J

While I agree that large scale deployments are expensive, Treasuries love to misrepresent costs. They tend to allocate complete costs rather than additional costs. If a ship was tied up at the dock, it still costs money. The crew still have to be paid. Basic maintenance still has to be done. Just like if you owned a car but never drove it. It’s still going to cost a packet. When treasuries work out the cost of doing something, they never work out the cost of doing nothing & subtract one from the other. It’s like charging yourself VAT on imported military equipment. It makes one set of figures look good & another set bad.

Todd C Bulgarelli

A good point, DJ. I have given you an upvote:) My remarks in the earlier post were not meant as an attack on the carriers; I have enjoyed seeing these ships come to fruition over the years and it is an exciting rebirth, of sorts, of the type of RN which used to operate “big ships” (aside from the SSBNs, which cannot be discounted).
I was merely making the observation if the the UK is really ready for the attendant costs of regular formation deployments . . . indeed I hope they are; again, it will be exciting to see the deployment of QE and her escorts to the Indian Ocean(!) in 2021, and to see if the Treasury is ready for more such deployments, once this flotilla returns to port and the costs are tallied.

Thomas Martin

It would seem to be the perfect opportunity to introduce a ring fenced health and social care tax that cannot be plundered for anything else. Gov should level with people explain the costs and specifically means test it. Do away with triple lock pensions explain this to. Most would accept this given our new found awakening how vulnerable we are. Transparency is key.

This would leave normal taxes to carry on funding the forces etc as normal. Rather like the NHS the forces are under appreciated outside of crisis.

Glass Half Full

Austerity would be a mistake, there’s surely enough recent experience to demonstrate that, particularly in a financial climate where the govt. can borrow at extremely low rates. Consequently changes to existing manning and equipment plans shouldn’t be made for short term expediency or PR optics, threats are increasing rather than decreasing.

However, its not possible to suddenly increase capital spending in equipment in a meaningful way. Deciding to build 10x T31 for example wouldn’t have any impact for years. FSS is years away from employment impact. We might try to accelerate the T45 upgrades but I doubt schedules would change much, if its possible at all. Ditto T23 refits, although if we’re putting the two oldest GP T23 through refit just to tie them up alongside due to lack of manning, or to immediately sell to someone afterwards, then I would question that vs. pushing forward with T31.

What perhaps is practical is to focus on recruiting to get manpower numbers where they are supposed to be and fill the pipeline so that potential future fleet expansion actually has experienced manpower in necessary trades to support it. There’s also likely to be a far faster economic impact by investing in services accommodation refurbs and improvements to help with current and future retention, thus taking up any slack in commercial building employment. In other words short term positive impact with long term payback.

Mike

Half of the money raised when the bank of England was first established was used to rebuild the Navy. Possibly the greatest investment of all time!

X

The state was a lot smaller then. And defence, the first duty of the state, further up the list of priorities and easier to define.

Dern

Good point, have an upvote.

JohnHartley

Modern Monetary Theory, says that if a country has its own currency, it can print its way out of trouble. Mmm, well, I am old enough to remember that when I was a ten year old schoolboy, if one of the dads turned up & decided to treat the boys, he would spend a five pound note. Now, he would need to spend a fifty pound note. So in my lifetime, the purchasing power of the pound, has gone down 90%. Near zero interest rates for a decade+, & Quantitative easing (currency debasement) will slide the pound lower. Perhaps in slow motion so many don’t notice. As we are so dependent on imports, the value of the pound does matter.
I would like to see the government & opposition get behind the UK reshoring movement. Not just warm words, but action too. Japan has announced a one billion pot to give grants to Japanese firms who reshore manufacturing from China to Japan. If Japan can do it, why not the UK?
I would like to see business rates on UK manufacturing sites reduced to the European average, rather than 2 or 3 times higher, as they are now.
We will need a manufacturing/infrastructure “New Deal” to get the economy going again. With Covid-19, we will need our cars, vans & lorries, so lets dual those single carriageway A roads to left behind parts of Britain. Don’t give QE money to the banks, as they just sit on it (money velocity at all time lows). Use QE money to build the Severn & Wash barriers & new nuclear power stations.
As for defence, sacking soldiers, sailors & airmen at a time of high unemployment, only means putting them on welfare benefits. Might as well keep them useful in the Forces. UK built equipment gives more bang for the buck in tax take to HM Treasury. Tempest should go ahead with lower ambitions i.e. tranche3+ Typhoon in a new stealthy body, rather than expensive, all new, super duper bespoke. Design it for potential STOBAR & we might get a few on QE/PoW.

Edd

Re. Ellwoods remarks.
Unlike 1939 we have nuclear weapons which have kept the world piece for some 70 odd years. And while i wish for a better way to keep the piece it has worked. No nation can attack (with nuclear weapons) another nation which has them or is allied to a nation which possesses them. Its not worth 10 of their cities or worse.
Putin of course is not stupid and therefore has other ways to project Russian power via the soft-ish way. Russian Today is on our TVs and some of the uk media is owned by Russian billionaires. Plus Russian Zvezda model kits are vastly superior to poor old airfix (now owned by china).
Watch out for the little green men and their ginger tabby chum near you!

Phillip Johnson

It is looking very much like the UK is going to have a hard BREXIT at the end of this year. Another negotiating session has ended without progress on sticking points, so the Government is going to have to factor in the short term effect of that plus the ongoing effect of the virus.
Massive deficits look like the only option in view but Defence tends not to have too many projects that can be implemented quickly to stimulate the economy.
That says Defence will be lucky if it is left to push on with current plans while any new money goes to the civilian side of the ledger. Work that can be got underway tends to be infrastructure maintenance, followed by new infrastructure. Defence equipment is way back in the pack.

David Broome

I would say that Type 26, Type 31, FSS and building an 8th Astute are all shovel ready (as are base works for additional F35Bs). The Type 31 is especially good for an extended production run let alone the indirect jobs involved in the supply chain.

Duker

Not an 8th Astute as it depends on some very long lead items. Better to move more quickly on the very large autonomous submarines that are ‘under development’, like the XLUUV and the semi secret much bigger cousins
https://www.navylookout.com/manta-the-royal-navy-gets-its-first-extra-large-autonomous-submarine/

Andrew ex rfa

I would hope that the brilliant work the armed forces have done in relation to Covid 19 would be taken into account here. I think what they have done has been well appreciated , especially with logistics and the Nightingale hospitals.

Basil Barnes

Exactly they are taking the same risks if not more for a fraction of the pay of many Dr’s.

Red

RE increased / unlimited NHS spend.

Totally agreed that the NHS front line (KEY) workers are fantastic, underpaid and generally under appreciated, but more cash is not the answer. The NHS is a bottom less pit, and extremely inefficient, needing reform, If you haven’t paid into the system/ or part of the system, you should have to pay to use the system ( NHS tourism and similar).

Clearly I also agree that the foreign aid budget should be used to fund humanitarian aid / defence provided by RN/ RFA, inc Falklands defence force

Sunmack

I don’t agree front line NHS staff are underpaid. We have the second highest paid doctors in the world and the second highest paid nurses in Europe. I’m all for giving those who have been on the front line a one off
cash bonus but we don’t give our servicemen, firemen or policemen a pay rise every time they go into a dangerous situation

Andy

My friend was a registered mental nurse for 25 years and retired on a full pension at 50 due to a restructuring. Her pension is 19k a year and she now dose agency work for the same department she was retired from on £800/day .

Basil Barnes

There is definitly waste in the NHS through some dubious contracts but overall its actually pretty efficient considering what it delivers with its budget compared to the US. The US spends more than double on health care compared to us yet their service isn’t much better. They also get ripped off on drugs, pharma charge their insurance providers double what they charge the NHS which is crazy. I also think our Dr’s and nurses are well paid relative to others. If they weren’t they would be off to Australia, Canada or anywhere else considering how well educated they are and country roll out the red carpet to bring them in. A lot of them do locum shifts which pay more for 1 day than the average person earns in a week, so talk of poor Dr’s and nurses is just a lie.

Leslie Moffatt

Scrap the overseas aid. (£14bn).

Grant

Its crazy to think how much has been written about the cost of our carriers; but they cost ~2 weeks of Furlough (and that excludes the financial benefits of building them)

Investing in British hardware and recapitalising our armed forces would help jump start the economy – FSS, an Ocean replacement, the LSS and more type 26 and 31s are all ‘shovel ready’ projects that would be far better for our economy and our country then HS2.

Your point about the blind worship of the NHS is a fair one. Its interesting that usage is down 39%; which makes you wonder how much of what they do is truly vital (and I intend to take nothing away from the heroic front line staff by saying that)

The direction of travel for our Country seems to be that the British state will end up being the NHS with a Nuclear Deterrent.

Basil Barnes

Exactly the Carriers where not expensive at all if you compare it to the money that is pissed away by the goverment on a yearly basis. The mod has pissed away billions on Nimrod, Fres, Warrior Lep, Panther, long production contracts for Type 26, Astute and paying well over the odds for the River 2s. The aircraft carriers are the only project I would consider acceptable despite the goverent changing its mind half way through that cost 500mm.

Duker

They – Camerons Conservatives- changed their mind TWICE. First to have the catapaults and then again to not have catapaults. In a way the P-8 decision was a reversal of the previous decision not to have an MPA as they made much of the alternatives that would be ‘good enough’

[…] Royal Navy’s argument for maritime capability at the last Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR 2015) was built around three core pillars: […]

Meirion X

Has construction resumed on the Type 26 frigate program?
And will there be much work left to do at Scotstoun yard, now that the fitting out of River OPVs are nearly completed?

David Broome

How’s this as stimulus:

– Uparm the Batch II rivers with 40mm, camcopter and USV for ASW etc
– Bring forward the 5 x Type 31
– Declare RFA naval vessels for build in Britain
– Order 7 x Batch II Type 31 with strike length VLS, 24 Seaceptor, CIWS and towed sonar array
– Order an 8th Astute and extend out of service date for the Vanguards
– Commence Type 45 replacement design to follow the Type 26 on a hot line
– Commence design of 2 LHDs to replace the LPDs

On the F35b, reduce the order to 96 from what was budgeted. This creates a credible minimum number of planes while freeing up what was tagged for the Batch II Type-31 and up armed Rivers.

Meirion X

I think the Type 26 design will be too small for the next generation destoryer.
You will be looking at 10Kt vessels with lasers and rail gun.

X

At least 10k. I think they are going to have at least another GT and even larger diesel generators. You are going to need bigger bunkers for those. Another thing to consider would be battery banks; I can’t see how these energy weapons will work without a reverse on tap, and substantial reserve at that. And battery banks are heavy and will need a lot of ‘structure’ to support them to prevent hogging and sagging. Then all that will have to be wrapped in a good hull form. 15k tonners……easy…..

Dern

Even if nothing changes you’ll probably need 9k+ if you want a radar mast competetive with the Type 45, I imagine that much weight that high up in a type 26 hull would cause some alarming stability issues.
Also…. uparming the rivers being a good offset for any number of F35’s? WHAT!?

David Broome

If you’d read my suggestions, reducing the F35 buy to 96 (given there is speculation it will stoop at 48), can go towards 7 more frigates, an 8th astute, uparmed rivers and design work on Albion replacements.

Dern

You said “Batch II Type-31 and up armed Rivers.” we can read. Still, reduced F35’s for the Navy AND Airforce is not a good trade for extra 31’s and “uparmed” (ie worse) Rivers.

David Broome

As the US Navy’s Zumwalt’s manage to make the MoD competent (a US version of the Courageous class?), the rail gun has become an unfunded orphan in the US. Not to say they’ll get the technology right but the powerplant will likely have to shrink to the ship to make it economically deployable than building a destroyer larger than a WW1 battlecruiser.

Meirion X

The USN plan to replace their Ticonderoga cruisers with a new large surface combatant. Maybe also merging the A. Burkes as well.

Meirion X

I mean merging future built Burkes with the hull of the future large combatant.
So the USN will be back to a Hi- Lo fleet, with the proposed FFG (X), ,serving the low end.

X

You can’t really compare ships of today with the ships of yesteryear. Though it is interesting in certain circumstances.

To generate a certain of amount power the volume the machinery takes up in terms of the whole is much the same for what ever system you choose for a large ship say over about 8000 tons it is where the volume is found which changes. So your GT’s may themselves be compact because of the flow of gasses you need big intakes and even big uptakes. GT’s need lots and lots of fuel. So the uptakes and intakes sit near the centre of the ship and take up space vertically. Where as the bunkers will obviously extend for much of the ship’s bottom. Compare with nuclear system which doesn’t need uptakes and intakes or large amounts of fuel. But the plant is large. So you end up with a large block amidships and towards the bottom of the ship. That’s why the CVN’s of the USN have huge hangars there are no uptakes impinging on the space. Compare with the Invincibles where a large volume in the hangar was taken up with uptakes for the Olympuses. If the RN goes with electric weapons they are going to need a huge generation capacity. The ships aren’t going to get smaller. TBH I am not sure about electric weapons myself. But I can see the problems they would present for future ship designs.

Meirion X

It was disappointing that the RN only had HMS Bristol built at the time, with a beam of only 17m. She could of carried much more weight with a wider beam!

X

Wider beams only really became proven with Arleigh Burke. Bristol’s hull is quite traditional. She was evolution along a very safe path. She always seemed narrower to me than the Counties though the latter is 16m in the beam.

The ship we all need to look at is the PLAN Type 055.

Cam

Isnt the plan type 055 a meter or so smaller in beam than a type 45, but it is longer I hear.

X

Yes

X

It is more installed power that is the issue. Type 055 has 6 turbine generators, each one generators more power than both diesel generators installed in T45. And has 4 GT’s in a COGAG arrangement; more powerful than those in T45 but only on par with maturing models of LM2500. That’s what we will probably need if we go down the electric weapons route. It is going to take a lot of power to make multiple shots in quick succession and that has to come from somewhere.

Duker

What is the point of reeling out a wish list of ‘unobtaniums’. None of it is for the next 2 years to sustain the economy.

JohnHartley

It is going to take more than 2 years to get over this financial shock. Think 10 to 20 years.

Phillip Johnson
Duker

Not really relevant here. Rolls Royce is heavily involved as a major aviation supplier of jet engines and maintenance. They are effected differently than the RN
All the ‘maybe can do without’ was cut in 2005 and 2011

Phillip Johnson

Wake up, RR is sill a major UK corporation providing jobs and tax revenue directly through it profits and indirectly through its employees taxes
Tax revenue is what funds the RN. Can’t spend it if you haven’t got it.

Duker

Rolls Royce revenue in 2019 was £16 bill. The UK GDP in 2019 was £2.2 trill., a change from the previous year of £200 bill ( give or take). Any decrease is soon made up
Its just a vanishingly small portion the total UK economy.

David Broome

Because in a depression, capital equipment can be sold as a stimulus. Didn’t Churchill say never waste a good crisis?

Paul.P

Our future relationship with China is clarifying already. More robust and reduced dependence. Boris Johnson has commissioned ‘project defend’ and issued instructions to eliminate dependence on Huwawei by 2023. Semaphore Circular May 2020 is posting that HMS Tamar and Spey are slated to deploy to the Far East late 2021. Post Brexit we will become an independent coastal state so the River Batch 1s will be busy. My guess is I can see us losing the LPDs in favour of a cheaper new multi purpose design built in the UK. Apart from that I think the RN fleet will maintain its size or grow. I believe we will build more than 5 Type 31 and give them an AShM. Costs will be controlled by funding some vessels from the foreign aid budget, having fewer standard hull designs and forward deployment.

Meirion X

I think we will also need the LPDs for launching large UUVs far away from a home port. Trying to lower a large UUV of hundreds of tons by a crane on a frigate, into the water, could most likely cause a ship to capsize, due to the lopsided weight.

Meirion X

So the politicians expect an OPV to survive in the South China Sea?
A most foolhardy way of a use of a OPV!
They were stupid enough to send a LPD right into SCS with barely any anti air defence, and No anti torpedo defence!
An LPD, is vessel that would be accompanied on its mission, by a taskforce of frigates or destroyers.

Dern

Errr what? Sorry do you actually think China is going to react to a FONOP by sinking the ship in question?

Meirion X

Expect the PRC to become even more aggressive and defensive over next few months as it is put under pressure over COVID19.

Meirion X

I think the PLAN will try to disable and even capture a RN OPV with the crew. in the SCS, which the PRC regards as territorial waters.
And to use the incident as a propaganda warpon.
The River Class OPVs are only lightly armed.

Meirion X

If any Royal Navy Admiral that does rubber stamp a decision made by a Politician to send an OPV to the SCS, should be immediately be Demoted to the rank of a Petty Officer!

Challenger

It’s absolutely right that we should be re-engaging with old friends around the world and increased cooperation with the other Five Powers members in defence/intelligence matters in South East Asia is a big part of that.

What i can’t fathom is why our allies would welcome the sight of 2 small and barely armed OPV’s in Singapore! A T23 would be useful and perhaps a T31 if they came with a decent defensive armament and ASW optimised helicopter, but a River class would surely only represent a liability and embarrassment waiting to happen operating in the South China Sea.

Also i would have thought we’ll need more than the 3 batch 1 River’s around the UK post Brexit? 3 batch 2 River’s for The West Indies, South Atlantic and Mediterranean, 2 bolstering OPV’s numbers at home and the T31’s focused on forward deployments in The Gulf and Singapore would seem to me to be the best use of finite resources.

Meirion X

Totally agree with you!

Nicholas

Cummings is known to not to be a fan of these carriers, he is now also known not to be limited to providing advice. As he said himself he make big decisions daily, often shielding the PM from having to make then, and presumably any number of ministers. Expect at least one of these carriers to be sold.

solja45

tbh i dont think they will cut any ships or personal as to lay of people in this crisis would cause them to go on benifits puting more stress on economic recovery which i suspect will be fast . also i dont think ships will be cut considering a resergent china a russia with a dictator who is unpopular we all know what unpopular dictators do start wars ie argentinas did the same. then iran wanting to mine and block the strait of hormuz and north korea with nuclear capability . those are four belligerents . and the possiblity of a second cold war.tbh 2 frigates may be laid up as well as 1 of the bays for possible 2 years but to me thats highly unlikey as to the world powers it is cleary realised a new iron curtain has dawned again but this time with china and russia in the backset.

Last edited 1 year ago by solja45
Nicholas

When anybody talks about the national debt in this way all you are doing is paving the way for cuts when they are not necessary.

Since 1946 the UK government has increased what is called the UK national debt by £1,782 billion.

In that same 74 year period the UK government repaid just £38 billion of the national debt.

As a matter of fact we have not repaid almost any of our national debt over the last 74 years.

maurice10

Unlike past economic down turns and the panic like reactions towards military spending, maybe this time around a more cautious approach may be a wiser pathway?
One strategy could be to continue with all new procurement programmes, but reduce the ISD’s by extending the build spans, to suit the national economy. The Type 26/31 frigates should continue as their delivery streams were pertracted to begin with. Any extension of the Type26 could then be delayed or deliberately slowed?
 
The two QE Class carriers were to be rotated anyway, so there are operational options to be had if, push comes to shove. The notion either one should be sold, would be criminal. Thankfully, we are not under a Cameron or Corben government, so let us hope Boris will take a time in reaching the thorny issue of defence cuts. I have preached doom and gloom on other military blogs since this virus struck, but in regards to the RN, the effects of this new depression, it may just be able to hold on?

Craig Ross

I’m a bit late to this conversation. Here’s the finance problem. I worked at faslane a few years back…joiner to trade. £18 an hour. The sub contractor subbed me to another at £35 an hour and the sub of that one £50 an hour to Babcock. Babcock then to the mod at? Scale it up for the men on site, materials etc and that’s just the accomodation blocks at faslane. We then have shipbuilding, coulport…list goes on. My mate is an electrical engineer for Babcock and the prices he puts in are nothing short of robbery. There needs to be a government minister appointed that knows the building trade that can question tender’s.