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Tony Rosier

All sounds good to me, when do we start

Daisy Cutter

Nice list and in an ideal world the RN would get some of the very sensible ideas you suggest.

However the reality is that not a single one of the above mentioned upgrades will actually happen. Not. One.

Thomas

It would be good to see it all work out, it can be done but having a government willing to spend, is another thing

Kevin Cochrane

We need to rebuild our navy to a relist level with the best equipment you can get urgently

AR

tell the clyde yards 2 ships per year minimum

J sanders

Agree with all points we must have strong navy, we are an island,where is the Nelson spirit?

Kevin Cochrane

Please look at the amount of money you give away in foreign aid and just look at that needs doing her with our NAVY say no more please wake up

christopher whicker

Very good piece and a few more destroyers wouldn’t go a miss,
but sadly you will be talking to a treasury brick wall and arrogance that refuses to listen until its to late,
until the government wakes up , talking is all we can do, but don’t get me wrong, this is a great article.

Michael Watson

A very good plan to begin to restore our Navy, however will Mrs May, Mr Hammond and Mr Fallon read and take action to put this plan or at least some of this plan into reality ?

Edward Andrews

And scrap trident and put the money saved into the general navy

Gerard

This is where the international aid budget should be bought into play, Ocean, Bulwark and Albion to be fully funded from it starting today, replacements and a suitable number of escorts (C words if possible as demonstrators) for protection funded from it in future.

These would still be aid in the form of immigrant rescue, disaster relief and constabulary tasks to name a few, while offering a military capability when needed, training for personnel, flag flying, future trade sweeteners and a huge diplomacy tool.

All the while freeing up some defense spending for an eighth Astute, a few conventional subs or a few 31s.

Money would still be needed to be moved around (or added to debt to recreate our manufacturing capability) for a fully capable navy but the above would show an immediate intent and would require little in the way of spending change, unless we care about some despot getting his bung that badly.

If we build enough ships often enough, we get the cost down, can flog the older ones for more than scrap, save on maintenance, keep high skilled jobs all across the UK, keep design skills, keep decent reserves and capacity, get the yards building for foreign orders and many other associated benefits.

Or we can keep buying foreign at a premium and build a handful of ships every now and again and run them until they can almost transfer from the surface to sub fleets of their own will. Cost of everything….

Paul

Great article, both this and the HCDC findings on which it is based are very sensible and much needed. I hope that somebody in a position of power/influence can ensure that it’s acted upon !

sisyphus

I sincerely hope that you send this to HM Government…

Peter Oldham

If this government refuses to return the RN to what it should be, then the people must get rid of them, and vote in a government that will! Now is the time for strong government and a strong defence. Each government over the last 50 years, have allowed our country to become practically defenceless! It is a national disgrace! All the three main parties are to blame.

dansmith17

As I’m reading the short term list comes over as sensible improvements a moderate increase in funding could deliver, in the present environment unlikely but possible.

The medium term list is immediately into ‘fantasy fleets’ 13 properly equipped T-26 is good and only in theory reverting to plans of last year, but funding and manning for an additional 8 escorts of a design that does not yet exist comes from where?

But more F-35, buy them faster and give them ALL to RN, and the RAF flys what in the mean time? Undermines the credibility, of the article. Arguing to buy enough to meet the needs of both services is good for U.K., just saying take them away from RAF and leave them nothing is playing fantasy fleet.

There is nothing in the article about how much this is assumed to cost, 3% of GDP, 4% of GDP? A GDP which we were told only last week is going to be smaller than had been assumed due to lower growth for at least the next 5 years.

How do you aim to get cross party consensus and public support for a plan which at a minimum stretches through 2020, 2025 and 2030 elections, at the point were the Treasury is spending the most on the Trident successor boats?

AR

the country needs to get real, every other navy in the world buys foreign ships from each other, we could and maybe should do the same, i’d also insist on a buy back option on assetts sold.i’d want some of the 22’s back, the 2 23’s that went to chile

AR

we’ve got 19 nuclear ,subs ‘alongside the walls of rosyth and devonport fund them, crew them and get them back to sea

Don

Great article. Escort numbers need to be in the high twenties and sub numbers need to be in the mid teens. This isn’t going to happen overnight. The path may be long and slow but we need to start on the path now to gradually increase numbers . The RN can ill afford more treasury induced barriers to getting on the path.

Ken Pearson

How would the government react, let alone the family of the crew, if we had a ship damaged or lost because it was fitted ‘for but not with’ vital equipment that was not available?

4thwatch

They would set up an enquiry that would deliberate for 8 1/2 years and report in a vaguely confused sort of way but that it was all naval stores fault that they forgot to ‘just fit in time’ the vital bit which had been sent to Turkey for scrapping by accident when they scrapped HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales to meet the .7% Foreign Aid Budget Target. No really.

Richard

The 1SL and gov’t should be sued if anyone suffers as a result.

Frank maginnis

I like your thinking,however ,all politicians are wearing blinkers,the only thing getting their attention is their expenses

michael wannop

Nothing about gettitng rid of the massive amount of paid for life admirals and scrap the paid for life fully stop runing the RN like a buisness it cannot work like that as shown

Dave Gooding

“Ban all defence lobbying interests from Parliament and MoD. Play hardball with BAE Systems and, if necessary part-nationalise or break up its monopoly, if that is what it takes to make it serve the interests of defence ahead of profit.”

BAE has a monopoly only because the UK Government makes it so. Merely open the defence contracts criteria to include foreign manufacturers – and force BAE to become more competitive by introducing competition. The Government meddling in how companies chase profit sets a dangerous precedent.

TAA

This should be done immediately, it will not cost the taxpayer and improve confidence onboard regarding procurement of everything from engineering to uniforms.

Dylan Jones

What you forgot to mention is to stop building “lean manned ships” unless the RN significantly bolsters the maintenance support infrastructure in the RN dockyards.
The personnel on board are being run ragged by gapping and the ‘one brick thick’ manning does not work.
They also have to take another look at the quality of training (we need to start from scratch) as we are far too reliant on contractors to bail us out.

Gerard

That’s another thing that’s hard for government to understand and needs a strong voice from the top of the Navy to explain.

It’s hard to grasp in the simplistic terms cabinet needs that someone that volunteered for the Navy would not want to be at sea for any reason when they don’t know the umpteen valid reasons that would be the case both from a personal and command perspective. I have a feeling all they are being told is “all commitments met, we are doing awesome” without any of that nasty stuff “like retention is getting near impossible, morale is rock bottom, our best and brightest will never get a command or rounded education so are off to pastures greener”.

RFA personnel should replace all contractors (unless the next the step is a 9-5, 5 days a week service) but they are facing much the same issues as the RN.

What would Duncan have had to do if not so close to port and no repair ship available last week? Limp all the way back on the good engine and hope for no further damage?

Rod Fearnley

We also need a Naval Chief of the Defence Staff. Too many Crabs for too long.
A Fleet Air Arm destroyed by jealousy by the RAF.

Richard

The RAFs not to blame, its also down to just 3 GR4 Squadrons. Your SL is the problem, he’s the one happy to send his ships to sea without anti ship missiles and no torpedoes. Like asking the a r my to do away with anti tank weapons, your top brass are clueless.

4thwatch

The Navy should indeed take a leaf out of RAF tactics.
In 1940, then Squadron Leader Douglas Bader refused to sign off his squadron as combat ready for want of adequate tools and other equipment. I wait to see the Captain who refuses to take his Type 45 to sea until it has a proper engine outfit.
I want to know what the timetable is for the planned upgrade, and why it hasn’t started NOW.
Nelson it often seems to me was the last RN Admiral to ruffle feathers.

Si123

The captain that did this would soon have an interesting desk job in the Falkland Islands.

DJ73

This happened a couple of years ago when the CO of a T23 refused to take the ship to sea for training due to his belief that it wasn’t ready or fit. He was removed very rapidly.

Tidewatch

Oh how right you are Rod! History shows that Political Strategy, supported by a burgeoning PR set up, has long been deployed as the key factor by the RAF. The need to have them embarked on the QE2s as a permanent arrangement is a joke and quite alien to maritime operations; it merely serves as a recognition of the inadequacy of their overseas capability. Remember the farce of the F111 pipe dream which Denis Healy supported in 1966 at the cost of the then building new strike carrier CVA-01.

Chris Kirk

Seeing iis believing

Tony Raines

I like the comment about foreign aid being used. Cant understand us giving foreign aid for instance to India and they are able to send a rocket towards Jupiter or wherever and also build themselves a brand new aircraft carrier. We should claim it as ours as we probably paid for it!!!

Ben Brown

Good List. Some of the things on there are already being done, for example the procurement of Tomahawk missiles for 45s/31s is kind of happening, with the Government looking to purchase storm shadows.

Also I would advocate fore less type 31s and 23s and 2-4 more type 45s, (perhaps an upgraded model similar to the type 42s batch 2 and 3).

Also, I disagree with the fitting of dipping sonar to Wildcats, current dipping sonar is far to bing and bulky to be fitted to the Wildcats effectively, with out compromising the Wildcats other roles. Apart from that, lets see the Royal Navy be made great again!

Mark

All well and good, chances of getting the money is nil but more to the point there is no way that you can man that fleet,the RN can’t even man their current fleet fully, engineers are like gold dust, no one wants to spend 9months away from home anymore with out Internet or good contact from home. We cant man the fleet.

4thwatch

Start a lottery for all University (all non-Scots) UK engineering students. If they win they see the world, the RN pays for their education (backdated to 12) plus a bonus when they leave the RN after 7 years.

AR

break the BAE MONOPOLY

Steve

Not a very realistic fix.

The cost would be too huge to be achieved in our budget.

A quick fix list needs to be cost efficient, which might mean taking some cuts to gain elsewhere. For example the bay classes aren’t hugely useful in peacetime, so bringing the 2nd out of extended readiness isn’t cost effective. Assuming that it can be brought out in a realsitic time frame to be useful, then leaving it there seems good value for money.

AR

i’m pretty ell in agreement with all of the above i’d alo committ to returning to service at least two of the mothballed tralgars at rosyth. explore to feasability of returning to the origiaonal aim for 12 type 45’s i’d also go for the purchase of one of the french mistrals currently laid up after collapse of deals for them to go elsewhere.

sisyphus

transfer Albion and Bulwark to the RFA, to replace a retired Argus, and give them an extended medical diplomacy role, cover the hurricane season and have all their costs covered by the Foreign Aid budget. Having only one in readiness for this role will extend the life of both out beyond 2030, with suitable mid life upgrades. in extremis both are available for supporting RN in any conflict. In turn they are immediately replaced by a Mistral/Juan Carlos type LHD, with preferably a second shortly after …

Andy

I do not agree with is the purchasing of a new LPH/LHD/LHA built to commercial off the shelf standards far better to build two or three Juan Carlos and re-open Portsmouth as major shipbuilding yard to build them and leave the T26/T27/T31 to the Clyde. Transfer Albion and Bulwark to the RFA and build replacements once the new LHD,s have been built.

The Ginge

Ok that’s an interesting article. However as others have commented “show me the money”. Lets look at some of those immediate wishes, ignoring the pie in the sky later 2 segments but lets look at the first part.
Just doing a rough back of an envelope calculation for refits and extra kit is about £2bn over say 5yrs. That’s a big chunk of money, add in if the RN are getting all the F35’s then the RAF are going to need something more than 7 Sq of Typhones, the Army is going to want the hacking of its 3rd Armoured Battalion stopped. Plus the cost of the extra personnel to man all those. It all adds up.
Whilst I can see the need the problem as has been evident over the last 6yrs nobody is going to cough up the extra 2% to the defence budget permanently to take spending back to cold war levels to create effectively a cold war sized navy that you wish for.

It would be more helpful if people looked at what the RN has now (including the all the rivers) and try and work out what could actually be delivered with 5 T45’s, 8 T23/T26 ASW equiped, 5 GP Frigates, 6 OPVs, 2 Aircraft Carriers, 2 LPD’s, 7 Astutes. To my mind at max effort 1 Strike Carrier Group, 1 Amphibious Group. That means the other Nato Countries with large Frigate Fleets are going to have to keep the Atlantic open and the UK safe if they want the power of those 2 groups. Could we keep the 8 T23’s afloat with another refit, maybe with a lean manning refit ?
But I just can’t see the RN getting anywhere near the money needed for even the first part, so lets be realistic and try and limit the Politicians ambitions rather than asking the RN to do things it just can’t.

sisyphus

@Ginge…

Let me respond in two parts.

While I understand, very well, working within a budget, we do have, as the MOD continually quote, ‘Last year [we] invested £5.6bn in equipment, and over the next decade we’ll be investing £178 billion’ …so where is it going? Surely not all on the carriers [tongue in cheek], more likely the forward projection includes a significant chunk of spend on the Dreadnought class [we can debate the rights and wrongs of including this strategic spend in the Royal Navy budget line ad nauseam], is the Army spending it all on an ever more incoherent vehicle policy? How much is really available to the Royal Navy, and if we could get that figure, isn’t the First Sea Lord in charge of his own budget, free to decide where he spends his equipment money…. of course not,

Your own back of envelope calculation of £2 billion seems small change against the much-too-often quoted MOD platitude, and would take a 3.56% increase in the equipment plan. How much of this could be raised from the sale of all the MOD real estate the government are so keen to offload to property developers but assured everyone funds raised would be available to the MOD, ‘expected to generate around £930 million’ so call that £250m for the Royal Navy? How much could be raised from a revised Foreign Aid budget [that is bloated at £12.2 b in 2015 and helping India to build-up aircraft carriers] when anything goes wrong, requires the Royal Navy as first responders? For this contingency alone, it should be written into legislation that the Royal Navy receive £250m per year to fully equip them for such a role? So cough up!

So all that aside [I feel much better now], and accept such lists are always dependent on a dose of ‘pie in the sky’, your own response assumes a ‘future’ fleet. To quote Tracey Chapman, if not now then when? Certainly not this decade. Maybe not even in my lifetime…

there wont ever be 6 OPVs, the admirals themselves dont want that many and the ‘treasury’ are sharpening their cutting tools as I write, but this is a very minor issue.

Two carriers available at the same time [highly unlikely] and could only happen circa mid 2020’s and would take additional funding [so get your envelope out], and with one expected, under current planning, to be in the amphibious assault role. It would take, as a minimum, a Falklands type event, with a willing nation, backed by a united political class, with a gagged treasury and an adversary willing to wait until 2025.

Be realistic? sure, I don’t agree with everything in the article. I take your point about the F35Bs, but within the stated purchase of 138 [yeah, like that will happen] a four squadron FAA would keep the carriers busy, a couple of RAF F3B squadrons for ‘surge’, and the rest for the RAF in the A version which is what they really want.

‘Britain risked losing its sovereign capability in military helicopters’ with the potential closure of GKN and though the writer’s plans might not save the industry, in the long run, an industrial strategy now is needed urgently, and updated the 12 Merlins is a start, well within the remit of the government, or do they prefer to pay job seekers allowance for very skilled workers?

I’ve already stated my suggestion to juggle a replacement LHD, rather than the writer’s idea.

However, I think the writer’s suggestions for immediate actions and medium term are a pre-requisite for the plans you outline and I only wish we had someone in power who could act on this today…

Kenneth ARMITAGE

Might you now change the section/paragraph that suggests build all Type 26 and 31 on the Clyde to build in any suitable UK Shipyard ? And, the sooner this building programme begins the better!

Gerard

Clyde and suitable for complex warship build is the same thing thanks to a lack of big picture thinking and without massive investment. The Clyde will live or die on the modest RN orders as it doesn’t have capacity to build those and private/foreign orders. Everyone else will twiddle thumbs waiting for scraps and have to be subsidized to keep skills which then get added to build costs. After all as who would buy a complex ship from a yard without relevant experience.

I hope the shipbuilding strategy fixes this and isn’t just about settling scores for other shipyards. Even if it tries it will need lots of orders to keep the yards self-sufficient that means a show of confidence to get the ball rolling, “We can build a section of a hull but aren’t trusted with assembly” isn’t a great sale tag line.

Order 30 Corvettes or 50 sloops/minesweepers and sell as many production slots as possible *cough* like the French *cough* as we go to help fund what we need and keep the industry viable.

John Brocklehurst

I cannot help but feel that this kind of list would be taken a lot more seriously if you set out a vague idea of the costs and ongoing costs of what you’re proposing alongside some suggestions of what you would cut, tax or borrow to pay for it.

I don’t think what you’re proposing is politically achievable (as much as I sympathise with your intent) which means to the politicians who would actually have to deliver it, it is of very little value.

Just saying ‘cut DfID’ isn’t a solution, incidentally (as per comments below).

Gerard

The problem with giving costs is it only give a part of the picture and partial thinking is what got us into this situation to start with. I don’t think costing in procurement goes beyond looking at the estimate BAE and “Random Other Party doing BAE a solid by being the other required bid” throw down on deadline day. It does however give those in power a very easy out when the number is greater than 0, especially when the blame can be shifted if it all goes wrong.

Remember this lot complained about the army spending money to store and provide security for high explosives as it’s just a mark in the red column. After all why couldn’t they just flog it out the back of a truck at a flea market or pay a private company to store it in the same room as the nations emergency food and medical supplies to save a few pennies.

Give them a list without pound signs, spread it around and hope everyone applies pressure and it may at least make someone, somewhere in the chain look and crunch some numbers involving the short and long term needs of the nation, its industry and her defences.

If things keep going as is we’ll one day decide to build a new battleship, HMS Treasuryhater. Everyone involved can find an absolute need for this ship. The Russians are slowly building up a fleet of over 50 ocean going tugs, ships and impromptu subs will probably be following, the French are being all French-like, the First Sea Lord got rid of all the escorts as they were too small and he really likes the terms gapped and pension. As a bonus our new PM Lord Champagne Socialist the 4th of Devenport wants something understated from which to fish from and the now unarmed Dreadnought subs are beginning to bore his friends.

The estimated cost will be 10 billion (before weapons or luxuries like a deck) designed in Britain, built with British steel (‘Id assume every last piece of it) in a British yard. Billions will flow back into the economy, skills needed in an emergency are retained, welfare bill stays managed, foreign investors may even look at our yards with an eye to order ships. Total lifetime cost to tax payer after deck and weapons fit may be around 5 billion.

Three years on from the initial estimate cabinet says “too much” so we go shopping again.

The Peoples Glorious Republic of Amateur Electricians place a bid in at 6 billion (and throw in the deck) the design work was included in the BAE bid and has already been payed for (but we wont be too open about that). She will be built with the finest steel sourced locally from former RN assets currently resting on the sea floor in international waters. All work will go to GRAE shipyards, the MOD monitors even put on a fake accent so as not to defend anyone. After weapons fit total cost to tax payer would be 6.5 billion.

Our Eton/Oxford educated (a low pass in Art History) Treasurer says well 6 is less than 10 so we’ll arrange a lavish trade delegation of myself and all my school chums to see if the GRAE can be persuaded to take our money and save us from our own excesses.

In record time Treasuryspite floats down the channel in all her glory, a silent and potent display of RN might. Silent it turns out as her engines are disabled in part meet greenhouse gas emissions targets but mostly due to the totally unforeseen electrical fire that’s engulfing her.

Uncontrollably now as the fire suppression system was fitted for-but-not-with and RN firefighting training was scrapped on the say so of a private sector company temp (he was cheaper than an actual engineer or RN personnel) as “ships are always surrounded by water and water beats fire duh”.

She is sold for scrap several months later to a company whose emblem looks suspiciously like a USSR flag with a fake mustache slapped on top, to, in their words to be fixed up as used as some sort of secured floating hotel for men in uniform. The temp overseeing the sale scribbles something about cruise liner on the approval form.

It all turns out OK though because hoping for the best and planning for slightly less than annoying have got us this far since the wall fell.

*I’d like to point out to any government types reading this is obviously an over-the-top exaggerated, slightly bitter example that should be taken as a worst possible case outcome of procurement and not an instruction manual to achievement. No matter how close it already is to reality.

4thwatch

The real problem is the whole defence situation has been allowed to spiral down out of control until we have something approaching an existential threat appearing and we in the UK are fiddling about with a ring fenced foreign aid budget.
Many people have been saying all along this is a nonsense.
In a broader sense this is a Western politician problem. We just don’t have the leadership with the head to see what is coming. The ‘plebs’ many of whom are a great deal more aware of danger are revolting and ditching our wonderful liberal politicos L, R and centre.
Russia has been developing a range of deadly weapons no holds barred and we are now 10 years behind.
Look at the S400 SAM system, Hypersonic SSM and latest tank technology and we are nowhere close.
Most alarming of all is the burgeoning Russian officer corps.
Whereas until recently we might have intervened to curb these territorial situations developing we have squandered our lead in many fields. The answer is an immediate response- like increase our defence spending to at least 2.5% of GDP. This is not a crippling amount by any stretch of the imagination.

B Lambert

There is a cheaper and more effective way to turn Wildcats into ASW helicopters. Fit them with Ultra Active Sonobuoys and processors (or re transmit the data to another unit). The advantage is longer sortie time, no major changes to the airframe, quicker re-role times, and significant reductions in cost and maintenance. The other advantage is that every part of the system is currently available off the shelf, the buoys can be monitored by other ASW units and the Wildcat can operate at a greater height where its radar and EW equipment can be used to greater effect. Dipping sonar restricts the helo to one task.

Bloke down the pub

In the event of us needing a serious anti-sub effort, there are two things which could be bought now that would provide rapid increase in capability. The first is more helicopters, probably wildcats, which could be operated from improvised flight decks on merchant ships. Secondly, we should acquire more towed array sonar. Thales, who supply the captas-4 system on the type 23, also produce the captas-2, which is a lightweight version that can be mounted on standard shipping containers. The purchase of a number of these systems would allow for the rapid conversion of suitable vessels, such as large trawlers or North Sea supply ships, in times of need. For an outlay that would be very modest when compared to the wish list in the article, a real difference could be achieved.

Mr D Pullen

I fear the saying”to little to late” sums up the whole senior management know as the Admirals.

Tugg Wilson

Even the immediate actions seem a long way off unfortunately the RN is too run down.

Ray Dunn

Well we can all dream. Most of this is just ‘wishful thinking’ and will never happen. Oh and hands off the P-8, it’s not simply a Navy asset.

Tim

I don’t get the P-8. It burns loads of fuel and litters the ocean with single use sonobuoys hunting for subs that most of the time won’t be there. Nine of them isn’t enough anyway to maintain a 24/365 watch over anwhere. Sure, if we’ve just had a ship sunk then it can get out there quick and throw out some big life rafts, but any aircraft can do that. When it comes to hunting subs day after day a sub is better, and ships with towed array are cheaper when nine P-8’s are costing us £3bn.

4thwatch

You need to close off the options for a hostile sub and that is what the P8 is about. Then you can home in a sub. P8 also has long range recon etc and can strike subs with torpedoes. Of course they should be Fleet Air Arm inventory.

John murgatroyd

Please fund all the recommended new,replacements and upgrades,we need to be strong,I’m fearful of Russia and its warlike stance,I think that America’s possible isolationism will make us have to stand on our own feet.Every goverment first responsibility is the safety of the nation,let’s be honest there is no negotiation with the Russians.I’m getting older we need to get it right for the present and future generations.Please act now before we regret our actions at slater date

John Carlin

I am not a Navy person, but there was an article, in the Daily Telegraph by the First Sea Lord under a ‘photo of a Type 45 being towed back to port by four tugs,. I have read several books on the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and I get the impression that the “squaddies” and their field officers were hung out to dry by the high command. So that badly equipped and under resourced forces are put in harms way at the behest of our political masters and abetted by the yes men that seem to make up the high command. I am very concerned that one we will strike one posture too many and will receive a severe drubbing for our pains.

RICHARD

If that happens then any service personnel affected should sue the life out of 1st SL, Defence Sec for gross incompetence.

Gerry

How much?

Gerry

So the navy gets the entire defence budget for 5 years to deliver what?

4thwatch

Don’t blame the RN for carrying the burden of Trident. Historically we are the gatekeeper of the Atlantic Ocean approaches and beyond. We are bound to have a special responsibility in the Maritime.
PS. how long will any fixed bases survive in face of hypersonic cruise missiles?

David Stephen

There is a very simple solution to almost all the problems mentioned. Money. The RN needs more in its budget to deliver all or even most of the suggestions above. It is very unlikely that the RN will be given the needed increase in budget but there is a way to gain this increase on the fly. The budget for successor class and the deterrent as a whole should be moved back outside the normal RN and indeed MOD budget. I am fairly sure that this was the case until the odious Tony Blair government moved it within the navy’s budget. By removing this huge cost burden from the navy we could implement everything required in much shorter timeframe. The detergent is not so much a military weapons system as it is the nations “household insurance policy” and should be treated as such. Funded from a separate budget stream outside the military. This was understood fully during the Cold War and forgetting it and making the navy shoulder the massive costs of the system has gutted its procurement capabilities. At present even if we start building Type 26 & 31 together numbers will end up cut in the 2020s to support SSBN construction. If this pressure is removed then the navy could divert 1.5 billion a year to other shipbuilding programmes like Type 26 & 31 and increasing there production runs, enabling the all important rise in hull numbers. If you sell it properly then this is less politically difficult than increasing defence spending.

Gerard

It would still require political will and an increase in spending. Just moving the deterrent budget to a separate line item doesn’t guarantee increased spending, more likely other benefits (military pensions, military healthcare, war grave upkeep, GHCQ is now a military asset that still answers to the home secretary for some reason etc.) will just be moved to meet the “2% target”. That is why the deterrent budget was moved in the first place, creative accounting.

An increase in defence spending is required, that can be more short term borrowing or cutting something else.
If the increases are spent in the UK, that money comes back in growth, decreased welfare bills, reliance on expensive outside agencies to fill skill gaps, foreign orders for the kit we are showcasing and so on and so on.

Defence and foreign aid should go hand-in-hand, help keep the world stable, disrupt drug and human trafficking operations, stop piracy, sell as much UK made high-ish end equipment and support contracts as possible (if things go south cut the supply chain and let the equipment rot sharpish), flying the flag during disaster relief. Move a good chuck of funding from the aid budget to defence to cover those things (mostly navy, with AAC and RAF assets being covered as ops dictate) as quietly as possible and then later on increase the aid budget again with all the warm, fuzzy, politically allowed photo ops that it brings with it.

We used to understand the difference between a good and bad investment. Good ones were funded, bad ones cut once discovered. Now it seems the new breed of politician only know how to look at the red column and cut, cut, cut on one side or give things away and spend, spend, spend on the other. Neither willing to accept the country needs to go on beyond their time in government and investment is a four letter word.

Sadly as things are I think we’ll have to lose a few ships and a few hundred sailors before action is taken.

David Stephen

Yes it does. Unless you then cut/change other budgets. Clearly this is not what I mean. I mean just remove the burden of deterent cost and leave the RN budget as is. This would solve all issues related to cost. If you take your position to the extreme, then there is no point suggesting anything because when we did implement it another budget would just be cut/changed.

Gerard

No not just cut/changed, increased taxes or borrowing can also fund new items. That’s how national budgets work. If you want to keep spending flat then you move things around. If you want to increase spending you increase borrowing or tax receipts.

Moving stuff around is fine, but unless you do one of the above to fund the void all that happens is the defence budget is cut.

1.5bn moved to a “new” deterrent budget while keeping the defence budget at current level means finding another 1.5bn from somewhere.

We could recreate the grand fleet in a few years if we just make up numbers, would be even more depressing watching the US/China repo all the ships than an old carrier off to the breakers.

David Stephen

No. Try to understand I am not suggesting moving the money out along with the deterent. I am suggesting moving the deterent outside the RN budget and then leaving the money allocated for it with the RN. The deterent would then be funded by a new pot of money outside the defence budget. Finding another 1.5 billion is not that difficult. 10% off the foreign aid budget for a year would suffice but I am sure it could be done another way. I am proposing we look at the deterent as we should not as we do. 1.5 billion for your national insurance policy is not a lot in the scheme of government spending. You are either being deliberatly obtuse or not reading my posts properly. I suggest funding deterent from another governmet budget totally seperate from defence. No longer class it as defence spending. Is this clear enough?

Gerard

So your finally agree money would need to be found and can’t just be magicked up.

I read you posts you just said move money from the budget and that money would now be available to spend with no explanation of how that would possibly work.

It’s just taking water from a different end of the same pool without a tax increase or tapping the credit cards.

10% of the aid budget would be 1.2bn and it wouldn’t be for a year, the deterrent is a constant and the “feast or famine” approach to naval funding doesn’t work. This government and the lot on the other side are committed to the 0.7%. Lots more photo ops of the uncontroversial kind in food drops than bomb drops.

As the NHS is also not going to be cut the 1.5bn would have to come from Welfare, Education, Pensions or Law & Order. All political suicide and all harder to fix than defence.

That leaves increased taxes or further borrowing. I’d support either if managed correctly (spent on UK shores) as I see it as an investment on many fronts. This is why Parkers report has promise it justifies increased spending with the amount that would be pumped back into the economy.

David Stephen

I never said it would be magicked up. I would think you could get my meaning from what I said. You are right about the 1.5 billion not cutting it, I would make it ten years. As to cutting something else, spin it right and you can sell it. Or be sneaky. The amounts we are talking for deterrent are tiny in comparison to the health, welfare or education budgets. Just increase one of those or all slightly less than planned for the coming year. The point is to remove a huge cost overhead from the navy’s budget and move it elsewhere, without having to say “increased defence spending”. I know it’s a fudge but so is everything else! Including putting the renewal cost in RN budget to begin with.

PKS

One tweak I’d make is that I’d probably consider French and Dutch submarines first over German/Swedish as they would better match our operational needs – the others are optimised for Baltic ops.

Alex Findlay

How about scrapping all the devolved parliaments and getting rid of MSP’s MEP’S etc etc, that should free up some cash and they’ll be a lot less hot air around. Rule Brittania!

Darren Pyper

OK Wildcat with dipping sonar means you have to remove the “Bear trap/harpoon” landing system there by restricting the conditions Wild cat can launch recover to warships.
Yes refurbish 12 and build another 12 Merlin HMA2 then start building enough to replace wildcat and fit the whole lot for missiles to.
Yes to QE class getting sea Ceptor but also fit Albion and Bullwark and Fort Victoria.
Type 45 repair and refit to include 5in Gun, Mk41 VLS, Anti Ship missile, Aster 30 1/nnt
16 type 24
8 type 31 (optimised to work in falklands, west Indies and Indian ocean as guard ships)
River 2 to patrol UKEEZ and FI waters with guardship. River 1 to become training/reserve vessels
Replace Albion, Bulwark, Ocean with a Juan Carlos I type vessel Built in Rosyth
Replace Fort Austin & Fort Rosalie with SSS
Design a new Generation of one stop replinishment ships evolved from Fort Victoria capable of performing RAS and Looking after itself (so equipped with Sea Ceptor, Phalanx, decoys and EW systems and carrying up to 5 merlin.
And an Avation support ship/ PCRS based on the Juan Carlos
Build Bay II class of 6 vessels as (A) LPD fitted with hangers and defence systems like Phalanx and Sea Ceptor.
ad an 8th Astute class sub

Paul Hill

Nothing will come of this as nobody cares about the strong Naval history that our maritime country has had in the past. The Navy that transported troops during D- day, that kept the supplies coming in from America. That supplied troops in the Mediterranean. That protect the Falkland Islands and retook them from Argentina. That protects our sea borders, fisheries and oil rigs. This is why I left the Royal Navy and emigrated – apathy!

John Lewis

Fantasy! What is the navy for? Rather, what should the navy be for? Should it be sent to the Spratley’s (remember Repulse/Renown)? Carriers are as obsolete as battleships and if you stop those (and the appallingly expensive F35s) then a “useful navy” can be funded, focussed on the North Atlantic.

Some “Systems Thinking” is needed. No carriers, then no need for T45s with ABM. No T45s with ABM then carriers are even more useless. No modern anti-ship capability – that is a bit of a problem then isn’t it. Focus on properly defending GIUK gap during TTW, the ballistic submarines and the UK mainland.

The UK is no longer a world power and we should focus on what we should be doing – and doing it very well.

MoD and the forces need much better leadership – a few senior resignations are needed.

Seve White

While I fully agree, I wonder how this will stack up against the woes of the NHS and their funding needs. As retired Royal Navy (36 years service) I do hope HMG pays attention.

Andy P

The key pillar of Manpower needs to be supported by innovative thinking from agile agencies and those that are truly in tune with Audience Engagement. The appeal of an RN professional experience (Career is too scarier word for many) to millennial / Gen Z CVs requires immediate & different thinking that enables effective recruitment, contemporary technologies for skills development and innovative engagement to enable retention.

Cameron Rose

Whilst I agree in general, I would like to point out that getting the RN full control of the F-35B fleet is not only unlikely, but also a poor idea. with the upcoming retirement of the Tornado, the RAF will need the F-35 to provide bombing support, the Eurofighter can provide some support, but it was never designed to be a multirole aircraft. What would be better is maybe both branches getting a set amount each, and then the leftover aircraft are shared, maybe 48 for the RN, 64 for the RAF, and 36 to share between the two? Alternatively, a purchase of Maybe an extra 72 would allow for them both the have a decent number to themselves, but that also seems extremely unlikely due to the 130 million dollar per aircraft price tag.