In bullish mood last week, the First Sea Lord told the Portsmouth News “we are through with relegating frigates and destroyers to training vessels due to a shortage of sailors”. This is an encouraging sign and here we examine the context and true extent of the improvement in RN personnel numbers.
In June 2018, we reported on how the Type 23 frigates are receiving engine upgrades and life extension refits. Here we review the state of the frigate fleet and progress on their refits.
At one time British shipbuilding dominated the world. As late as the 1950s, a quarter of all ships sailing the seven seas were built in Britain. Now, sixty years later, that figure is less than 1%. In this guest article, Will Green argues greater government intervention could improve this situation.
Back in 2014, we published an article suggesting that a small portion of the generous overseas aid budget be used to construct and operate a British hospital ship. The idea received a very positive response and after some work behind the scenes, now has the support of Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development. Here we take a more nuanced and updated look at some of the options and benefits of the proposal.
In broad terms, 2018 was a positive year for the naval service, in many ways an improvement on 2017. The navy has been able to deliver a higher operational tempo than last year and despite initial indications to the contrary, has escaped further cuts. More
Serco Maritime Services operate the tugs that are commonly seen assisting RN vessels to leave and return to harbour. Serco also provides a diverse range of other marine services, that support warships and submarines. In this article we examine another of the key enablers that the RN could not sail without.
Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor at Sky News has reported that, behind the scenes, the RAF is arguing hard to split the UK purchase of F-35 aircraft into two variants. The F-35B is the only fixed-wing aircraft able to operate from the new QEC aircraft carriers but it’s no secret that the RAF harbours the ambition to procure F-35As as a direct replacement for its land-based Tornado force.
BAE Systems supply and integrate many of the combat systems currently in service with the RN. Working closely with the navy, the company is funding ‘Project Dragonfly’, a £20 million investment in new technologies to ensure the warships of the future harness the rapid developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).
2017 was an especially bad year for fatal naval accidents. Then last week the Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad collided with an oil tanker and is was run onto rocks in a vain attempt to prevent her sinking. There have always been serious accidents involving warships and submarines during peacetime operations but with the advent of modern navigation technologies, there is some surprise that these incidents keep happening. Here we look briefly at the circumstances of some of the accidents and what might be learned from them.More