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It’s certainly a pleasant change to be discussing an improvement in the RNs situation


One of the key factors is the distribution of trades within the manpower total. If the RN is maintaining or improving the proportion of “shortage” trades then this is a step forwards. It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next 18/24 months.

Evan P

Regarding the decreasing ratio of seasoned sailors to new recruits: this is how ratios work. The number of seasoned sailors could stay the same, but if the number of recruits increases, the ratio will decrease. This is not, therefore, something to worry about, it is just an inevitability of successful recruitment.


While the T45s are having their refit….how about adding the Sylver 70 strike length VLS tubes while they are at it? There was space left for them and we all know the 45’s need more teeth in the offensive department (Harpoons with Zimmer frames and a 4.5 inch gun is quite pathetic) At least then they could have a few TLAMs, ASROC, Quad Sea Ceptor and a new LRASM ?

Meirion X

I don’t think Cammell Laird fit missile systems, more likely to be done at a Portsmouth dry dock.

Meirion X

Also, there will be No missile upgrades, unless there is funding for it!


None of the above (TLAMs, ASROC, [Quad] Sea Ceptor and LRASM ) had been cleared for Sylver last time I checked, has that changed or are the French waiting for someone else to pay for it still?

(Also an upvote for “Harpoons with Zimmer frames “)


You are mostly right….the Storm Shadow LAM and its Naval ASM were being proposed for the s70 launcher. I wonder if they could fit some Mk41 or mk57 VLS instead? Adding a MK 41 would make sense as it would allow the RN to have missile commonality with many other Mk 41 users


Surely better to add some MK41 given the range of missiles it can hold and for the sake of commonality with T26.

Sylver can then be phased out of RN service in the 2030’s when the T45’s are replaced.


Mk 57 is designed to blow outwards, if/when hit by incoming projectiles, as a very expensive form of reactive armour so I’d say it’s strictly for new builds, but naval architecture isn’t my field so I may be wrong on that and they may be able to retrofit it to old hulls.

Frankly however the RN is already operating too many different types of VLS, and while VLSes are comparatively simple next to old school point and shoot launchers it’s still multiplying both the training and logistics burden on the RN, and every dollar/pound/euro spent on the logistics and training side of things is two dollars/pounds/euros not available for hulls or headcount. What they should have done is stuck with the first one is service (Sylver) and just fronted the development costs for DNCS of ensuring the compatibility/certifying each new missile with it, some would have been recouped in the long run in royalty payments as other navies adopt the same missile/launcher combinations (much as the UAE is getting royalties on future F16 sales) but having A50 on the Darings, Mk 41 and a unique Ceptor tube on the T26 is poor planning.

The T26 needs to be singled out for criticism because of the spectacularly poor planning that sees it having two different systems on it in the first place, as not only do the above logistics and training problems apply but they have lost one of the key advantages of VLS tubes as it takes away the flexibility of swapping the missile loads around to suit the mission it’s on at the time, instead of developing a launcher for Ceptor they should have just made it compatible with Sylver and put that into the T26 or at bare minimum, if they really had to introduce a 2nd system into the fleet with Mk 41 (I imagine both the RAN and RCN versions will just have Mk 41 but thats an aside), even if the RN’s headcount issues are solved for the foreseeable future, they now have to train people to operate and maintain three different systems, two of which will be installed on one hull.


You’re missing several key points, Geo.

The RN always wanted Mk41, even during the Horizon programme that lead on to the T45s. Unfortunately, the French and Italians wanted Sylver, and even after we split off the cheapest and most practical option was to stick with Sylver to avoid the extra costs of adapting the combat system and certifying Aster for Mk41 (although if I’m not mistaken the Aster 30 is actually certified for Mk41 now). As for paying out for and then recouping (potential) royalties from the certification tests of new missiles for Sylver, do you not think it makes more sense to go with Mk41 (the far more popular option over the Sylver with international customers), and AVOID all the certification tests? The weapons to go in the Mk41 like ASROC and Tomahawk are already certified after all.

Given that the RN has no requirement for another tactical-length VLS like the existing Sylver A50s and wanted strike cells for the T26, it made far more sense to go with the strike length VLS with the most options, which also had the benefit of integrating a common VLS with countries like Australia and Canada and thus making them more attractive for export, instead of buying the A70 Sylver which we don’t have any weapons for anyway. As for the Sea Ceptor soft-launch cells, you’re ignoring the fact that they’re far simpler, cheaper, and lighter than a hot-launch system like the Mk41.

Yes, as you pointed out the T26 has lost most of the ability to mix and match its loadout, but in context it really hasn’t. The T26 carries 24 strike length weapons and 48 short-mid range AA missiles, while the Canadian and Australian versions with the same loadout, with 32 Mk41 cells, can carry only 20 strike length weapons and 48 quad packed AA missiles. For a combatant as big as the T26, you’ll want to be carrying at least 48 defensive missiles anyway, so the RN has simply cut out the expense of buying more hot-launch cells and developed a cheap soft-launch system suitable for fitting on lighter combatants as well. The Australian and Canadian ships are meant to be more versatile vessels, so they might swap out some of those quad packed AA weapons for longer range or even BMD weapons, but the RN version will primarily be an ASW escort under the cover of either a T45 or carrier/land based aircraft.

Iqbal Ahmed

Has the RNs online Capita recruitment system been improved?

I understand that their online system was overly complicated and had problems like registering candidates.


It is telling that in 2017 the RN stopped reporting publicly the manning levels by Engineering Trade breakdown. The last available figures in 2017 showed that the RN was losing a huge amount of skilled trades people from the legacy Tiffs and new ETs. I dont see how this can have changed that significantly.
Whilst the manning levels are improving its where they are improving that counts.
No point having a surplus of Warfare operators if the Radar, Sonar and Command systems they operate don’t work because there are no maintainers to keep them running.


good luck with experienced numbers being maintained. i conducted my career course in 2015 and was offered a financial retention bonus for staying in 4 year. surprisingly all those people who took the bonus which was up to 90% of the class are now free to put their notice in. i myself a mechanical engineer have only recently put my notice. the only thing that was keeping me in this unsupported and overworked job was my time left on the financial retention. good luck to the RN but you’ll see in the next year these numbers drop off just like before


That’s not bad news.
However, what about the “black hole” which was (is ?) messing up the whole HR structure ?


HMS Forth finally sets forth to resume her sea trials!