On 22nd July HMS Illustrious entered Portsmouth for the final time flying her paying off pennant and formally decommissions on 28th August after 32 years service. The passing of this ship marks a significant moment for the RN. It is always sad when a warship that has served the nation for so long is retired but it also marks the start of a ‘rock bottom’ period. 2014 – 2020 will see the RN in a deep trough of major ‘capability gaps’ mainly stemming from the decisions of the 2010 defence review.
Confusingly the majority of official naval and government PR and promotion of the project has been focused on the carriers size, the engineering achievement and the industrial and employment benefits. The carriers certainly are amazing products of British design and manufacturing and are keeping thousands employed across the country. However the whole purpose of aircraft carriers and their actual benefits to the UK have been very underplayed.
The value of having RN ships deployed across the globe has been vividly demonstrated by the announcement that HMS Daring and HMS Illustrious will be sent to the Philippines for ‘Operation Patwin’ to provide what assistance they can in the wake of the Typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines on the 8th of November. More
When HMS Edinburgh hauls down the White Ensign in Portsmouth on 6 June 2013 it will mark the end of an era for the Royal Navy as the last Type 42 destroyer leaves the fleet.
Info-graphic reviewing the Royal Navy in 2011.
Dominated by the successful operations in support of the liberation of Libya and devastating impact of the 2010 Strategic Defence Review.
4 Type 22 frigates on ‘death row’ Devonport, July 2011, Photo: Keith Reed
The harsh reality of the government’s “strategic defence review”. Amongst the most depressing sights in the UK today, HMS Campbeltown, Chatham, Cornwall and Cumberland lie at Devonport in various stages of dismemberment being stripped of secret formula radar-absorbent paint, weapons and other useful or sensitive equipment ready for scrapping. More