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Geoffrey Hicking

“As the House of Commons Defence Select Committee says, 19 escort vessels is “woefully inadequate”.”

Hmm. I’ll believe that when The Thin Pinstriped Line says so!

Ian Williams

You mean the RNVR’s crack PR Unit.

Geoffrey Hicking

The MOD doesn’t appreciate Humph as much as they should.


Awful blog. Leftwing defeatest drivel pretending to be otherwise.

Geoffrey Hicking

Praising the armed forces to the hilt is hardly defeatist.

Cape Clear

Peter this blog wants to boost the royal navy. If that is left wing id love to see what younthink thenright wing looks like


I take it you are one of those sit on the fence liberals. It’s neither left wing or right wing to want a strong and proud armed forces or a strong infrastructure to support them. Just short sighted idiots like you who no nothing

Iqbal Ahmed

I’m a Lefty and I think a force capable of defending our home islands and occasional NATO deployments is sufficient. We have that force already.

19 Escort vessels are more than enough because of the billions we spent on the Carriers. Having fewer ships will make us act more multilaterally. Make the politicians think twice before doing another Iraq or Libya.

Don’t really care about deploying ‘East of Suez’ where we are not wanted other than by despots wanting us to protect their misrule.

Sean Crowley

HI Ahmed , east of the Suez is what us Australians want and Libyan deployment was done to appease the UK Muslims who were yelling bloody murder and why was the UK doing nothing , though your right that they should have stayed out and done what they did in Syria . That is Let the tyrant kill as many terrorist as he could get away with .


Iqbal you are not lefty, you are straight up anti-British.

Meirion X

What A naive Bury your Head in the Sand, Viewpoint!

Cam Hunter

We need around 26 escort vessels minimum. Japan alone has that many destroyers!


26 Type 26s sounds right, though 13 is more realistic and better than building stretched OPVs and calling them Type 31 frigates.

Captain Nemo

Good grief is it Christmas already, how the time flies.
In combination the speech and the report echo many of the sentiments repeatedly expressed on this very board, I particularly liked recognizing the value to the treasury, effect of foreign subsidies, long order books, drumbeat production. I’d like some specific recognition of the direct effect on British workers, ‘industry’ seems a little detached, but still on lunch so not read the document yet.
If this translates into policy then Christmas truly has come early for Royal Navy watchers.


Captain, so this Is where you are hiding. Missing you on the UKDJ. It’s just not as much fun as it was when you were my play thing .

Captain Nemo

Never posted on UKDJ.
Another Nemo could turn out to be a bit of a pain.


Actually one cost that is often overlooked when we talk about maintaining local economies is the cost of social disintegration. I saw this first hand when Swann Hunter was shut down, people who had good jobs and heavy engineering skills all of sudden are on benefits. Crime goes up, mental and physical health takes a battering, putting stress on the NHS. Social and communal cohesion also suffers.

It isn’t just about money, it is also about whether we want healthy communities.

There are so many benefits to really investing in an industrial strategy (not just for shipbuilding, from what I can see we have no industrial strategy at all). That really can benefit all.

With the advent of AI and robotics it can be argued that the low skilled high population countries have lost their edge. The UK should be embracing this and going back into manufacturing of goods and building up our STEM+ capabilities.

This could be the first step in something more radical and longer lasting, but I will not hold my breath


Yes. Digital, Al and robotics etc with the jobs that go with it are key. I went to Swan Hunters in 2007 then in 2008 (I am from Southampton). It was desparate. I drank in the ship Inn in 2007 and was told this time next year will be even worse. It was, justy me in there for a drink. Soon it was closed. Not just this pub but the whole area looked desparate and many people I spoke too were angry as to what was happening here. Lets not forget, Swan Hunters was one heck of a firm, not just At Wallsend and Walker, but it’s other yards on the Tyne, Tees and elsewhere. It was once a huge group. The NAO said that the Bays were actually built to a realistic true price by Swans. How sad. None of this should have happened.


My dad served his time in Swan Hunters as a burner in the 70s and worked there until it initially closed in the 90s working on ships such as H.M.S. Ark Royal. Swan Hunters was massive then with numerous slipways, dry docks, etc. on the Tyne. Such a shame to see yet another famous British company disappear.

Still, things like this report give me hope. It is nice to see they taking at least some notice.

If we build our R.F.A. ships and Navy ships in Britain, like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc., we could have a decent sized shipbuilding industry. Not only that but it would make it worthwhile British shipyards investing in new facilities and equipment, which will make British shipbuilding more efficient and our Navy ships cheaper to build. It will also keep British people in highly skilled, well paid jobs.

The frigate factory should be built on the Clyde and another shipyard invested in to build large ships (carriers, solid support ships, tankers, amphibious, etc.) on one site, which is the cheapest and most efficient way. This shipyard should be in England (possibly Cammell Lairds?), Scotland can’t have everything. The Royal Navy will then have the modern, efficient, World class facilities it deserves in which to build its ships.

Also, looking to the future, we need to invest heavily in designing and building space rockets, satellites, etc. Also setting up a British company making electric vehicles (cars, trucks, vans, busses, motorbikes, etc.) so that when this technology is commonplace we will be World leaders. Also setting up a British company designing and building wind turbines. Also un-manned vehicles will be big in the future (u.a.v.s, un-manned submarines, etc.) we need to get into designing and building those so when they are commonplace we will be World leaders.

And support these companies with British orders, like other countries do.

David Stirling

Scotland doesn’t have everything.
Why do you keep omitting the fact that the astutes are built in Barrow, England?


That’s a fair point, but there are far, far less submarines in the Navy and R.F.A. than ships. Do you think it would be fair if England gets 11 submarines and Scotland gets dozens upon dozens of ships? Every single last one without fail?

And to be fair I did say the frigate factory should be built on the Clyde. Scotland gets every single destroyer and frigate, they can’t have every single R.F.A. as well. There are plenty of shipyards in England which desperately need the work and investment to build some Royal Navy/R.F.A. ships in future.


Very frank report, I think.

1: As the document states, invoking competition with no long term “support” from HMG simply results in failure. History tells so. Logic tell so. There is zero rationale “leaving everything on competition” is good. Ship building needs long term investment (infrastructure and work-force growing), and without a long term “road-map” supported by HMG (including Treasury), it will simply die out.

I think promising “number of hulls” is not a good idea. None will believe in it (T45 from 12-> 8-> 6, T26 13-> 8, many “bad” examples). But, promising the total money will be doable, because MOD does have a long term “equipment budget” program, and Treasurey seldom cut the money they promised. (they do cut hulls, if the cost increases).

2: Report strongly suggest to use British “systems” to export. This is a big negative to Arrowhead 140, which adopts TACTICOS (as Thales is the major member of the team), and maybe also Atlas UK.

3: As opposed to the articles’ comment, I agree to “re-think” T31 (for example, imposing “British” CMS and radars). Re-thinking will surely delay T31 program, because at least Arrowhead needs big modification. Also, as we see the 250M GBP price stated as unrealistic, one possibility is to order 4 (not 5) T31e, and keep the 5th as an “option” (or “gaped”) to increase unit cost.

These reconsiderations will delay the program, but if it is 4 hulls (gaping 1), delaying by 1 year has no impact. I say so because I do not think T31e will deliver a “credible” light frigate, without significantly adding money = sacrificing other programs (even cut T26 to 7?) …

Alternatively, I agree considering “increasing” T26 is a good candidate. Increasing “one more” is just to speed up the build by 12.5%. Not difficult, I guess. Of course, it is about “after” the hull-3 of T26 and also means escort number will fell far below 19.

# For example, “adding” one more T26 needs ~800M GBP. One possibility is to reduce the T31e to “building three Floreal-like large OPV” with total budget of 450M GBP, to make this 800M GBP. (May be too drastic idea, though).


In essence this report only represents Westminster catching up with reality.

The Royal Navy needs both T26 and T31…..but perhaps slightly more of the former with slightly less expectation and reliance placed on the latter.

Reverting to the old C1/C2 plan with 10 T26 and a slightly accelerated delivery schedule and an aspiration for 8 credible T31 would be a very good step in the right direction!


Yes…lots of type 26s and use the type 31s to fill gaps in less intensive envoiroments. Admiral Zumwalts Hi-Lo fleet 😉


Same old Detritus on here I see.

Phillip Johnson

HMG has committed to engine orders for he second batch of T26
This will keep Derby in work until the export orders from Canada and Australia start arriving.