Subscribe
Notify of
guest
85 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bowsie1996

Technically speaking, they probably should be classed as non combatants. It just seems that we’re the only country in Europe that doesn’t cheat on this definition. If we’re not allowed to bid on French/Italian/etc. contracts, they shouldn’t get the chance to bid for ours.

On the practical side, it just allows the government to buy cheap from subsidised industries in the Far East.

Either way, we lose.

Barry Hooper

Get real they ride class RFA ships built in Korea had to go in to A&P falmouth to be have mod standards done how many millions did that cost so really they weren’t any cheaper, buy British it’s a no brainer.

Darren

At 700 million pounds by 2016 or 2017, with 452 million pounds at 2012 for just the shipbuild part (not including the 160 million pounds protected UK vested interests non-shipbuilding part) making them nigh on 900 million pounds to build. They were actually the most expensive option, by giving the contract abroad. Considering the irony the more UK content can be gained from ships like these than Frigate or Destroyer type warships, that ramp up cost with their systems (6-7% above inflation). Buying from abroad taxpayer-funded ships of any sort is a mug’s game for the UK and help kill UK industry that can be very competitive if the UK gov believe in it and backs it!

Scott

How is a ship designed to support warships in a warzone not a combatant??? In addition they’re in fact armed. (lightly)

Captain Nemo

This has been done to death in the past and we’re unlikely to see any new arguments or a change of direction, but that is in no way a criticism because we should probably try again anyway.
This is more than a defence issue, building domestically returns a third of the cost in taxes, sustains and creates skilled jobs, invests in UK supply chains, industrial production and infrastructure, it’s an issue with many aspects and Gavin should probably be roaming the corridors and knocking on some doors arguing for cross-party and cross-departmental support and funds. I’d give the example of Tempest actually, UK defence exports are overwhelming dominated by aerospace which I believe make up 93%, isn’t £2bn for Tempest just a subsidy to protect UK aerospace jobs, I’d argue it’s not a defence issue because we could easily buy off the shelf, so why not apply the same logic to ship building and inject some diversity into our portfolio.
This would be a good time for the government to show some leadership and some direction by investing in the UK, it should be an easy win for them really.

TAA

You have made a good argument here particularly in comparing with aerospace sector.

donald_of_tokyo

We need exact number, i.e. fact.

1: How much money in percentage came back to Treasury, when Waves were built in UK? And, how much percentage in case of Tides? Treasury, accumulating tax, can evaluate this (to some extent), I think.

Fact number is much more important than “impression”. MOD will have 5 bids for SSS. Surely, the cost will be devided into,
A: hull cost, which could be “imported”.
B: RAS kit and other specific kit cost, which will be anyway procured from and within UK.

Surely “A” is NOT zero vs “about a half”. Even if buit in UK, many of the stuffs are NOT from UK. Diesel gen, pumps, cables, navigation radars, and steal, for example. Even part of the labors was coming from abroad. We need the exact number. By doing the same analysis to Wave and Tide procurement information, and apply its ratio to the 5 bids, Treasury/MOD can easily see which is cheaper.

This is the first point. Financial merit.

2: On top of this, there is a good need for supporting engineers/technicians. Getting training and experience, they will be the core of the UK near future industry. How to evaluate this is an open discussion, but in this case, future order list = the MINIMUM work which could be provided from MOD, needed to be addressed. The estimation here must not be optimistic, but must be realistic, because here we are talking about the engineers/technicians long term evolution/sustainment. (I’m afraid it is not large here.)

This is the second point. Engineers/technicians (not industry) support.

Anyway, only with these exact number, UK/MOD/RN can dicide which way to go.

Darren

With Steel as in plate and section and other suppliers, it would be 70% and more UK content. More than a frigate which is less steel intensive. The STEEL will come from the UK and if bought directly from the Gov, will get tax claw back!

Ron

I am starting to wonder if there might be a different issue here. In many ways it does make sense to build these ships in the UK and I think that two could be built for the £1 billion mark. The question is where, H&W I think is no longer viable, Cammell Laird is trying for the T31s so that leaves Rosyth. However if the dry dock is used in Rosyth to build these ships what will happen if one of the carriers needs to go into drydock.
I’m not sure but it is possible that this could be the issue or at least part of it. The government would not want to say that they cannot build them because the drydock is needed for the QEs so are dreaming up some other possibility.
The other issue is this, we see that the UK enforces EU regulations even when it is possible to get around them whilst other EU nations seems to flaunt them when they want. Is it any wonder that many people and industries in the UK are fed up.

Pete

HMS QE maintenance at H&W no brainer! Amalgamate H&W with Babcock Rosyth. Build FSS in Rosyth! ✅
Potentially consider UK Hospital ship from foreign aid budget.🤔

Not a Boffin

If only Rosyth had actual build facilities (ie steel fabrication – and the people to run it, proper undercover build facilities) rather than just a big hole in the ground. All the heavily outfitted blocks for QEC were built elsewhere (Portsmouth & Govan), whereas the small sponson blocks assembled in Rosyth had their steelwork fabbed in Appledore.

Rosyth is a big hole in the ground with a (soon to be departing) crane. It ain’t a shipyard, nor is Harland & Wolff.

Joe16

Agree that they should be built in the UK.
The crazy thing is, it wouldn’t even be flaunting the EU regulations; Article 346 gives exemptions for national security reasons, doesn’t say anything about warships. We can (and the other European nations have) quite legitimately say that vessels intended to perform strategically vital wartime roles fall under national security concerns and should be manufactured in the UK. If that doesn’t describe a fleet replenishment vessel, then not sure what does…

Darren

Is this not one of the reasons why we are leaving this eu empire?

4thwatch

The arguments in favour of UK design and constuction have been well versed. I simply want to support construction in the UK. There is something perverse about the accepting of bids from EU countries and our other economic rivals when there is such a glaring gap in orders for large vessels (Naval or otherwise) in UK yards. This frankly defies logic and is a prime example of Globalist and peculiarly UK Short Termism. This Government has become warped in its twisting of words and definitions. Very 1984ish and scary.

fin

the government need to act proactively and actually support the few remaining ship industries. nationalisation is a very difficult thing but under a strong enough Labour government we need to see support and not let British industry die to the growing service sector that is highly unsustainable and relies mostly on foreign imports from China. its an absolute discrace

Not a Boffin

The last time Labour were in, they effectively nationalised shipbuilding via the Maritime Industrial Strategy, which led to all bar BAES exiting shipbuilding. The unpalatable truth is that to build ships efficiently you need modern integrated facilities – which don’t currently exist, not a collection of disparate yards conducting subassemblies and the erection around the country.

4thwatch

Its good to remember that already the nascent branches of UK (war) ship building are withering and dying as I write.
Appledore is a door pretty much closed and BAE Portsmouth is closed; both block builders for QNLZ and POW Carriers are no longer.
The country is toast if this goes on. Its unbelievable to believe we can go on ‘punching above our weight’ a day longer.
Put a bookeeper like Hammond in charge of anything more than Petty Cash and he will find an excuse to do nothing . Promoted way above his pay grade along with so many in any current party at Westminster.
Is what it comes down to is Defence is too important to be left in charge of shamateurs.
Set Defence expenditure in Statute at 3% of GDP for the next 10 years and appoint a suitably qualified panel to run it and integrate it with key industries. You need to fix it fast.

Fin

Mate that just isn’t true the British ship building corporation was largely successful employing 80,000 people country wide and producing British built ships to be exported very successfully.
It was the 1980s and the murder of BSC that led to 80% of British shipbuilding to be closed down just look at Newcastle. From 1980 to 2000 marks the largest decline in the Royal Navy and British shipbuilding since the after Second World War.

Not a Boffin

As one who actually experienced BSC, I can tell you you’re way off the mark…

David Graham

As someone originally from a ship building town, I can agree with Not a Boffin. I knew both Ken Douglas [MD of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and who had been involved in the design of the SD 13] and Ross Belch, who was my neighbour when I lived in Greenock, who was MD of Scott Lithgow. All I will say is that political interference did nothing to help UK ship building in the 70s and 80s.

As to the argument about the RFA and non-combatant status, I quote from an Order-in-Council dated 8 November 1989, which refers to Merchant Shipping, Ships and Shipowners, and a letter of intent to the Department of Transport from the MoD regarding it.

It states that; “this Order makes provision for the registration under the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894-1988 of ships belonging to the Secretary of State for Defence, and in the service of the Ministry of Defence, and for certain modifications and exceptions in the application of those Acts to such ships. By section 47 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988, this Order and the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts applied by it [both as modified by that section] apply also to United Kingdom registered ships in the service of the Ministry of Defence by reason of a charter by demise to the Crown. This Order does not apply to ships forming part of Her Majesty’s Navy”.

As RFAs continue to show a port of registry and display their unique IMO number, it can be concluded that there has been no substantial change to the Acts, and therefore RFAs are not warships by definition.

Rick

A strong Labour government would be a disaster for the Navy and the country.

Fin

Mate that just isn’t true the British ship building corporation was largely successful employing 80,000 people country wide and producing British built ships to be exported very successfully.
It was the 1980s and the murder of BSC that led to 80% of British shipbuilding to be closed down just look at Newcastle. From 1980 to 2000 marks the largest decline in the Royal Navy and British shipbuilding since the after Second World War.

Rick

British Shipbuilding, 1977-1989, absorbed massive sums of taxpayer subsidies and was a bottomless abyss of money from day one. An uncompetitive, unproductive, labour intensive boondoggle. British companies need to be building quality products that people want to buy, not building products so people can have a job.

Iqbal Ahmed

Rick, whereas now we have a BAE capitalistic monopoly that produces glued bolts on ships!

Instead of ideological grandstanding, maybe we should look at the short termist government strategies (both Tory & Labour), management failures and lack of technological innovation that have lead to decline in this industry, as in most other industries.

Above all we need a successful commercial shipbuilding industry that supports the naval building programme and not the other way around. Most of their business should be in the civilian sector for long term sustainability.

Rick

Iqbal, I’m simply trying to point out to people that the first duty of a business is to post a profit, not collect a cheque from the taxpayers. Are we talking about shipbuilding as a business, ie: ships for profit, or are we talking about shipbuilding as the vehicle for a state funded jobs program? The latter was thoroughly tested with BSC and was a complete failure in every respect. In regards to the former, people are “glossing over” the underlying fundamental problems of productivity and workmanship. Until these issues are resolved, Britain will be unable to sustain shipbuilding as a viable business.

Darren

A real National Shipbuilding Strategy and not from the MOD, which looks like a policy for building 5 frigates.

Rick

Yes you are correct about BAE. They have an extremely lucrative “cost plus” arrangement with the government. This is an unfortunate situation for the taxpayers and can only be corrected with competition.
Again this can only happen if the issues I’ve mentioned above are addressed.

Tom

Under Corbyn there’ll be fewer wars because we won’t have any armed forces to speak of. Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser.

Mike

To put it bluntly, building these abroad would be a misuse of public money, and anybody responsible for making such a decision should be barred from public office at the very least.

Left hand down a bit

Given the experience of our latest build warships I’m surprised we are considering building any ship in this country. Over priced, late and built as cheaply as possible for the maximum profit for the manufacturer. Unless we shake up our industry and introduce some pride and quality into our ship building I can only agree with Sir Humphrey and go with the best value of supply. Before you all moan would you want to be on an OPV in the south atlantic where some of the bolts securing the liferafts have been sheared and the heads glued on. The lads who built the Invincibles, type 42, type22 and type23 would be disgusted with the situation we now find ourselves in but we must provide for the lads in blue at the frontline and not the financial and political profit of fatcats and politicians.

uk shipbuikd deserves better

dont tarr all uk shipbuilding companies with the same failures the incumbent monopoly has delivered. Time for change…yes, but that doesnt have to be outside of the uk

fin

going foreign isn’t the answer getting the government to step up is. hopefully the train wreck tory government soon makes way for a labour government that might actually support and revitalise dying British industry

4thwatch

Sadly you have too much confidence in a Corbynista Govenment in doing anything better or constructive at all and that includes shaking the cocktails.

fin

we can only hope I suppose but I don’t think the country can get much worse at this point

Not a Boffin

I’m assuming you didn’t experience the 70s then……

Merlot

Believe me it could Fin. Been to Venezuela recently?

Iqbal Ahmed

4thwatch we can’t continue as we are.

The only thing Teresa May is good for is occupying the hotseat. She is an ineffective and indecisive leader held hostage by the Brextrenist minority in her party. The stories have lost their mantle of being seen as the ‘party of business’.

Corbyn is not from the political establishment and would shake things up. I don’t agree with many of his policies but lots of people do. We need more focus on equality between the nations of Britain and between London and the war. We need pay to increase and not stagnate and cost of living to stabilise. We need a customs union at least to stave off the worst aspects of Brexit. This will all mean less cuts to defence spending.

Tom

Tony Bliar and Brown managed to bankrupt the country but it did take them 12 years. Corbyn will manage worse in less than 4 years – look at Venezuala – Corbyn’s shining example of how to govern! Corbyn won’t revitalise British Industry he will kill it.

Captain Nemo

Hello Donald,

Tried to dig up some detail for you.

GMB figures claim 6500 jobs secured or created in the event of a UK build, with £285m returned to the treasury.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8351/CBP-8351.pdf

I found this in The Plymouth Herald, interesting if it can be substantiated:

John Bennett, the Chair of the Industrial Trade Unions at Devonport Dockyard said: “In Germany, their government will only allow foreign bids to make the shortlist if they are at least 30% cheaper than the German bids, due to taking into account the total economic effect of sending the work abroad”

Couldn’t find anything on the Waves, there’s this from the wiki on the Tide Class tankers, but I’d prefer to see the numbers supported with some documentation as it does look a little angry.

‘an order for four tankers was placed with Daewoo at a cost of £452m which became £550m due to currency fluctuations with supply problems and delays (with no tax clawback of between 30%-40+% making the cost much higher), plus an additional £150m and £15m would be spent in Britain, thus the actual total cost for the four ships is over £715m’

Regards, Nemo

donald_of_tokyo

Thanks a lot, Nemo-san!

So “they” say it is 20-30%. (I cannot rely on the “tax clawback of between 30%-40+%”). For clarity, it is “30%-40+%” of £550m, (not £715m). I understand as follows:
– if 30% is correct
– if a UK builder bids with 550×1.3 = £715m, it will be equivalent to importing the hull by £550m.
– if it is 20%, 550×1.2 = £660m

We also need to know, how much Daewoo payed to UK tax payer. For example, the design is of BMT (it might be a small fraction), and some components might be of UK origin? Anyway, thanks for the numbers.

To add, my point is, to “make Treasury itself counting the number”. Thus, they cannot ignore it.

Stephen

We should definitely build these British taxpayer funded ships in Britain, it keeps our own industry going, the money in our own country and our own people in well paid jobs. We have to start supporting our own industries more, that is what other European countries do.

The solid support ships should be assembled in Rosyth and built in blocks around the U.K. (and the Type 31 built at Cammell Lairds). There will definitely be a lot of anger towards the government if they give this order to a foreign company.

Andy

Totally agree that they should be built in the UK, see my petition:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/235377

Sign this and write to your MP. The EU has locked UK companies out of work on the Galileo space program, because we are a ‘security risk’, but we slavishly follow their rules when no one else does

Challenger

A very eloquent and convincing argument.

Sadly it seems increasingly clear this government has zero interest in supporting British industry. Submarine construction at Barrow is begrudgingly retained due to the complexity and scarcity of nuclear technology whilst the absolute minimum level of support is gifted to The Clyde with 8 Type 26 (and then almost certainly the Type 45 replacement) to placate the Scots. Beyond this they really could not give a dam because departments operate in isolation and the ONLY goal is avoid writing cheques by delaying and dithering until it becomes someone else’s problem.

A handful of moderate backbench MP’s genuinely care and try to push the counterargument but if the current government gets it’s way i fully expect any future classes of mine-hunter, survey and amphibious vessels to go to the lowest foreign bidder.

It’s of course a false economy when vital projects end up costing significantly more further down the line – adding to the fact that a much broader view of spending vs saving shows how beneficial it can be to keep things local.

If tax revenue from industry falls whilst forking out on benefits increases so what! Doesn’t affect you if you’re in an upper middle class Westminster bubble.

A low pay, low tax haven for the stupidly rich heads of multinational corporations whilst the rest of us endure generational austerity is the glorious future that awaits!

criss whicker

why not give the contract to Appledore, just a thought.

criss whicker

Why cant they give the contract to Appledore, this would also create jobs.
just a thought

Not a Boffin

If you’d ever been to Appledore, you’d know it can’t build anything bigger than something half the size and then only with great difficulty.

UK shipyards are currently :
BAES Govan (building River B2 badly), building T26 – little if any spare capacity
BAES Scotstoun – Outfitting only, no significant build capability anymore
Cammell Laird – Building SDA and bidding for T31e and doing T45 P&P. Little capacity for anything else if they get T31.
A&P Hebburn – Big panel line and dock, but no real means of transferring big blocks into dock. Not built a ship since mid 80s.
Fergusons – Too small and currently struggling with an inter-island ferry
H&W – Not built anything since Point in very early noughties. Most fabrication facilities demolished some years ago, particularly panel line. Not a good track record (see Argus & Fort Vic for details)
Appledore (closed and see above)
Rosyth – No significant steel fabrication facilities which will make building a ship the size of FSS extremely difficult and very expensive. Also bidding for T31e – which will be a big ask to build there too.

Like it or not. There isn’t a yard capable of building FSS cost effectively in the UK, however much wishful thinking is applied.

Not a Boffin

Pessimistic, I’ll grant you. Inaccurate, no. The UK consortium is in the competition, because they have to be seen to be in it politically. The lobbying that has been going on for the best part of two years now, is intended to collapse the competition, thereby removing the need to hit timeline and budget. There is no way that a distributed build in the extant UK facilities can be anywhere near as efficient as any of the overseas yards – the UK labour manhours would be significantly higher than that elsewhere to do that sort of build. It works for a carrier project where there’s no alternative and you have the odd £7Bn lying around. Not so for this project, I’m afraid.

R38

I fear Not a Boffin speaks truth borne of painful firsthand knowledge!

Darren

But time and technology move on. In order to get a modern forward-looking industry with new talent and facilities. You need some orders with a government that believes in you.

Darren

Sorry edit: facilities, you…

Darren

It works for German and Italian (cruise ship mid sections towed hundreds of miles around Italy to the main yard) builders too. Also, Hyundai have curved bow and stern units formed and fabricated away from the main Ulsan site.

David Graham

Re Ferguson of Port Glasgow: I am originally from Greenock and have maintained an interest in what is left of lower Clyde ship building. [My Dad was a close friend of Louis Ferguson when the yard, as Ferguson Bros., was family owned]. The present owners wanted to buy the dry dock at Inchgreen, which was built with public money in the 60s, and transfer ship building from the present site, which cannot expand because of the main road [A8 Greenock to Langbank, where it becomes the M8] and the proximity of historic Newark Castle to the east. My understanding is the Peel Group, who own the dry dock, were not prepared to sell. This is a great pity, because much larger ships could be built if the facility was developed, as there is plenty of land for fabrication sheds etc. Pity this seems unlikely to happen.

R38

Peel Group are ruthless aggressive and selfish. Expect no help from them!

Darren

Go on Facebook and support “Save Inchgreen Drydock” page.

R38

Excellent round up. Thanks. Is it credible to recusitate the modern facilities created at Portsmouth when the Vospers yard moved there? Built T45 and CVF blocks and various OPV and Corvettes in the not so distant past

Darren

It was one big fix up to take away any potential competition to BAE. The steel production shop is gone.

Not a Boffin

Given that the small but perfectly formed panel line and all the welding power supplies were ripped out and taken away immediately after the last PoW block departed, only with a great deal of expense.

Barry

Appledore could build sections like they did for the carriers .That’s what the shipbuilding strategy was all about keep the skills and jobs in the UK not let them go abroad. If you want a cheap crap job look closely at the tide class

Darren

Check out “Save Appledore Shipyard” on facebook.

4thwatch

You forgot BAE Portsmouth closed

David Stephen

I was under the impression that the FSS will have the same automated weapons handling system and elevators as the CVF. If this is true surely we could remove foreign competition on National Security grounds.

Expat

The argument has been gone over many times but its looked in very binary fashion. If you save 300m by going to a foreign yard, if its subsidised then a foreign government is contributing to our defence budget through the subsidy. The 300m could be ploughed back into another industry that provides bigger returns for the economy growing GDP and therefore Tax revenues. This is where the money return to treasury argue falls over when you consider options for investing savings elsewhere.

There also the issue that if you place an order at 300m more than other tenders then this could be classed as a subsidy effectively you could be barring UK ship building from foreign competitions leaving it reliant on the MoD for its future. I don’t see how that benefits the industry and protects jobs long term.

Darren

So allowing a foreign subsidized yard is ok? We are always assuming that UK products are more expensive too, but a look around the web for warship costs and prices shows Britain is if anything cheaper than many and others only use the shipbuild price, whereas we tend to include the the whole lot, weapons too. In a day and digital age where even a weld run price/cost can be modeled and measured, a price is a price and you cannot hide, be it putting in an unrealistically low price or one that is way over the top. The 452 that became 550 million pounds is most likely (no certainly) to be more expensive than the UK net price. I think it is, divide 550 by 70% (for 30% clawback), then multiply by 100%, gives you 785 million pounds for the shipbuild bit add 175 million for UK content. I don’t think each one of these ships would have cost 240 million pounds gross back then (that’s not including inflation now) to build in the UK. Cammell Laird more recently has built a complex ship for just 150 million pounds. OK, the ship is smaller, but it is far more complex and needs to be compared to other similar Polar ships from other nations, including the Chile ship. How much tax back will HMC receive too, from this Polar ship?

Darren

Plus. Most of that 452 or 550 million pounds shipbuild price stays in Britain with steel supplied from Scunthorpe, Dalzell, Skinningrove, Hartlepool etc, spread over a few years with employment and a product made here, in the UK! Product made in the UK with money kept here with future investments. Does that make sense?

Captain Nemo

Hello Expat, sorry, I think it’s accepted that a UK build would be more, the argument is whether you spend £1bn in a foreign shipyard or spend an extra £300m in a British shipyard and get your £300m back, you’re still spending £1bn, the £300m is basically on a piece of comedy elastic, you can spend it again if you like.
I also don’t see how you extol shopping in a subsidised yard and yet claim subsidies would stop people shopping with us? Everything can be gotten around.

Regards, Nemo

Grubbie

It’s not going to work. There isn’t the experience, trained workforce,big well equipped yard or the necessary volume to get good at this and produce quality ships for anything like a reasonable price.
Maybe we should produce a national ship building strategy………

Johnf

Our deluded government should be building UK ships for sole use by the RN in the UK. ANy discussions/disagreements round that basic fact are diversionary nonsense.
But them our Civil Service/MOD does not believe in supporting UK plc, and neither does the majority of our MP’s.

Grubbie

What does the NSS say?It’s obvious that we don’t have the necessary infrastructure to do the job properly at the moment.The point class was only half built in the UK owing to political pressure, the builders would have much preferred to build them all in the worlds highest labour cost nation.Whats the plan?

maurice10

Every time we award these types of contracts abroad, we weaken the resurgence of British shipbuilding. The only way to rebuild excellence is to keep domestic yards busy. The UK demonstrated its ability to build large vessels with the two new carries. In principle, the UK could get back into heavy shipbuilding and be a viable alternative to foreign yards. However, we can not do that if the government award contracts to foreign yards, as this simply insinuates we are not competent enough to compete.

Grubbie

There is no resurgence,just constant decline and the ability to build large commercial type ships is long gone. Building subsidised ships every 10years or so in half cocked facilities will get us nowhere, we need a plan.A limited amount of modern infrastructure was expensively built up for the carriers and immediately (and deliberately) demolished when they were finished.

Darren

Made in Britain tag is one of the most desirable for other Countries, only slightly behind guess who? Even cruise ship operators say if they could buy British, they would.

4thwatch

Consider this.
HMS Protector is; and quite rightly so; a fully fledged warship. Logic therefore suggests the FSS should be in the same category.
Cammel Laird are obviously quite capable of building both of them.
They could also be named the FFS class if that helps.
What are we waiting for.

David E Flandry

Why is Italy able to build combined tankers/supply ships (AOR) for France, but the UK cannot build just the solid support ships for itself?
PS Protector is a warship because it has 20 mm guns. Tiny popguns, but they make it a warship.

Bob

If they are operating in a hostile environment alongside warships they should have decoys and a CIWS as a minimum.

David Graham

HMS Protector is a commissioned ship belonging to H M’s Royal Navy, hence she is by definition a “warship” in exactly the same manner as was HMS Reward [a salvage tug], and later, HMS Wakeful, also an ocean going tug which was, in the late 70s/80s attached to HMS Neptune. Having served in both the RFA and the RN, and seen the results of various reviews/way forwards etc for fleet support, if the solid support ships are manned by the RN, they will have much larger compliments than if they are manned as RFAs. This in turn has a considerable impact on through life costs, and will simply add to the current difficulties being experienced in manning warships. What might be a sensible way around the placing of contracts could be an Order-in-Council stating that these ships require, on the grounds of National Security, to be built in the UK. Look no further than the fact that USN civilian manned support ships are all built in America.

TAA

I understand that the French and Italian support ships are/will be commissioned vessels therefore Navy manned.

Darren

Italian design, but built in France with no rigged international competition.

4thwatch

Its Not a Warship because of its guns, its because the Government Commissioned it to be one. Being a warship is basically a paperwork excercise. A 38ft motorboat can be a commissioned warship with no guns! Survey vessels!

Darren

Three of them. Keep the eye on three, not two.

4thwatch

Consider also this. The naval tanker HMNoS Maud a smaller sister of the Tides is a Norwegian Navy Ship. In other words a Warship. Of course Norway isn’t part of the EU or up to the word games played by our Government. It does however show up the UK courts as a cipher for the Government otherwise this might have given cause to shift Government position.
Imagine if in 1941 HMS Hood redesignated a merchantship due to unsuitability to withstand 15″ shellfire.

Darren

I find it strange that the RFA is considered one of the fighting arms of the RN.

Darren

I find it strange that the RFA is considered one of the fighting arms of the RN. One big point is missing on the older, cannot do commentators here. Ship orders like these THREE FSSS, the possible two point type ships mentioned and hospital ships, plus replacements for other military ships in the future, can be a catalyst for the spur and impetus for a new reinvigorated UK shipbuilding sector in other fields apart from pure warship-building that does not make for much innovation. As Sir John Parker made clear in his better than the official strategy report, these yards have to show (with a decent fair profit margin) on winning these contracts, investment in facilities and people. Something not really seen recently apart from the few panel lines (one gone in Pompey) and some lifting gear.

4thwatch

See my post above. FFS are manifestly warships apart fom crewing arrangements. But then what about Armed Merchantmen like Rawlpindi etc. Merchant ships or even yachts can be taken up and Commissioned as Warships. The whole thing is a scam and a gift to subsidised foreign yards. Quite unworthy of HMG IMHO.