This piece was inspired by a recent click-bait gem that proposes the UK consider joining the US Long-Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) programme with a view to replacing the submarine-launched nuclear deterrent with an air-launched alternative. This kind of proposal rears its ugly head very so often and was even briefly enshrined in UKIP defence policy. Here we will show why submarines are overwhelmingly the best vehicle to carry the UK nuclear deterrent.More
For most navies including the RN, the trend is towards building bigger, more powerful and expensive ‘small combatants’. Unmanned technology offers new possibilities to partially escape this size, cost and complexity spiral. It also can save exposing the crew to danger as well as the cost and size penalty of their accommodation space. More
Since its inception the RN has been a service of technology; often under-funded, often outnumbered but rarely out-thought. The Navy board is determined the RN will regain its reputation as a leader in technology More
In 1963 the Royal Navy commissioned 9 Tribal & Leander class frigates – 9 frigates in a single year. Around 50 years later the RN has just 13 frigates in total, has not commissioned a new frigate since 2002 and will not receive another frigate before at least 2024.
Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) Exhibition last week, the First Sea Lord Admiral Zambellas said: “the Type 26 [Frigate] will form the backbone of the Royal Navy, with a design that has the potential to meet the operational needs of a number of major navies around the world.”
Glossy MoD publicity may give the impression the Fleet Air Arm is in rude health with several new types of aircraft coming into service to replace ageing veterans. A new generation of aircraft are indeed being delivered but the actual number of helicopters in RN service will have declined dramatically by 57% (From 194 to 83) in the decade between 2009 and 2019. More
The civilian ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are a relatively ‘low profile’ part of the surface fleet but they are critical in providing the RN with the ability to stay at sea for extended periods and many other additional capabilities. An examination of the RFA flotilla in 2015 reveals a small and rather threadbare collection of ships. Like the RN it serves, it is doing its best with what it has in anticipation of the arrival of new vessels.More
The size of the Britain’s £11Bn overseas aid budget is becoming increasingly controversial at a time when we are cutting defence spending and trying to reduce national debt. There are good reasons for wealthier nations to help the poorest in the world but whether these hand-outs create lasting peace and prosperity is questionable. There is however, a clear moral imperative when natural disasters occur to assist our fellow man struggling for their very survival. This important and frequently required humanitarian aid mission is often forgotten in political discussions around the size and shape of the navy.More