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Nigel Walker

Y buy royal family ship y this country bad way ad dete peoples on street ad losses jobs ad business we need bull this country up First for about waste money on ship building jobs ad get this country back up run member of liberal Democrat west Midlands




Nigel if you had read this properly you would understand its not for the Royal family but a ship for UK government officials to discuss trade deals on etc rather than using an aircraft carrier as they do currently although as stated in the article, the Royal family may at times have the occasional times on it.

Other countries may not have anything like it but it promotes us a maritime nation that we have always been so it makes perfect sense to have a ship to dicuss trade deals on etc. It will pay for its self over time bringing in more trade which in turn will also bring more jobs and help with economic recovery and future growth whilst doing as you mentioned about getting this country back up and running

Last edited 3 years ago by Vinnie

No idea what you’re attempting to say. Could you try again in English this time?


I think Nigel’s having a stroke

Trevor H



I think the education budget may be more in need.


That comment has to be a wind up? But if it isn’t and you are a Lib Dem from the Midlands, then mmmmmmmmmmmmm………


I’m sure that we all agree with you Nigel.


Can’t wait for the eventual “Why doesn’t it have Mk41 VLS & Phalanx CIWS” comments


16 inch triple turrets! You forgot the turrets! oh and Catapults for drones


Of course, while we’re at it we might as well make it a flat top and add a ramp.


+ a towed array & torpedo tubes …

Trevor G

I always thought the 8 barrel 2pdr pompom looked the biz….

Something Different

It will need a full suite of weaponry. Look at the Russian super yachts, they all have 20 shipwreck missile, 96 s-300s, 8 CIWS and a pointed mango. Our version must have double, no triple that firepower!

Tim Hirst

My guess is that to become involved CL would want a “Cast Iron Guarantee” that taking this job wouldn’t harm their chances in the FSS competition. That project is much bigger and much closer in style to the likely future government work.
My second thought is that there is no way this can be built to a very very high standard for £200m. Just look what super yachts of this size cost even when bought from yards familiar with this style of vessel. If the final price is less than 50% more I’ll be very surprised.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tim Hirst
Mike O

You are possibly right on the price but the Octopus is about the right size,a little heavier and about the right price. I don’t think the budget is entirely unreasonable but I will not be surprised if the budget slides to the right.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mike O

Wouldnt the ship be fitted to cruise ship standards not those of the higher again standards of mega yachts- so no onyx bathrooms

Mike O

? I think you are right about no onyx bathrooms. This further supports the budget being reasonable for this type of vessel.


Originally the nuclear deterrent was funded separately directly from The Treasury, but as we known that now comes from the defence budget. I suspect the same will happen with this white elephant.
The U.K. doesn’t need a cruise ship operating as a floating conference centre to boost trade. It obviously can only be in one place at a time, and won’t be available 100% of the time, which obviously limits opportunities for it to boost trade.

I’m sure the RN would prefer to see an extra £40m spent on each Type 31. I’m also sure the Dept of Trade could also achieve more trade-wise with £200m.


That’s a common misconception, but it’s not the case; the nuclear deterrent has always been paid for by the MOD. Maybe not always out of the core equipment budget, but always by the MOD. See below link and the PDF.


I stand corrected on the the nuclear deterrent.
I bet the RN still ends up having to foot the bill for crewing this though…


I was the same- I thought it was a government cost rather than an MOD one, especially as it’s more of a political tool than a military one!
You’re right, at a point that the RN is just making its way out of a situation where they couldn’t crew all their warships, they’re being asked to also crew a large yacht for the FCO and DIT! My thinking is that they need this like a hole in the head. Again, make it a more working ship and plenty of peopple will be interested in crewing it- if they know they’re going out to help people and make a difference rather than wear their best uniform all the time and smile politely at rich people.


Agree, RN primary roles have to take precedence, I don’t think any secondary roles should even be considered if RN is still bellow full strength, and struggling to meet existing commitments.

But as per @Sean it does depend how the crewing is funded – could this be another thing like VIP Voyager, where MOD get paid by other departments, for using it?

Maybe doesn’t help the RN crew R&R issue but could it become a way for RN to increase numbers (albeit by a tiny amount) without eating into their own constrained budget?

I guess Voyager is a bit different because it’s an existing asset, and a multipurpose one. So a latent resource if you like, rather than an additional commitment.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins

I think as a matter of course that the relevant departments across government would fund the costs, but I still question why the RN would be involved for the majority of the crew to tell the truth.
Most of our other support vessels are RFA, rather than RN; they are trained differently, deployed for longer at a time and all of that jazz. If we’re talking a multipurpose vessel, then an RFA crew with MOD (all branches) and civil servant add-ons would be the way I see it.
Voyager is a tad different in that it’s an active enabler of RAF ops and the RAF don’t have an airbourne equivalent of the RFA (I don’t think?). But as a funding model (the departments that use the services pay for it), I think that it’s very applicable.


Agree, would seem more sensible to run as RFA with RN support, would certainly make crewing easier. Not sure what the real driver is to make it a commissioned ship.

I think you are right too on the multi-role argument, but that doesn’t seem to be what’s proposed. For me, besides being the right thing to do, there is no downside for RN in doing more HADR/hospital ship work.

HADR is rewarding and often challenging work for service personnel. It can only buy goodwill internationally and in the UK it’s usually supported even by those with no interest in the military.


That timeline is not achievable, unless someone has already done most of the work.

This is a one-off design, of a type (passenger ship) that has not been built in the UK for 50 years or so. Suggesting steel can be cut next year, when the competition has not yet been run is “brave” to say the least. You simply can’t cut steel until the steel production drawings have been completed. These in turn cannot be generated until the basic design has been completed and Class approved. Which in itself will be a stretch for LR. I could just about believe 2023 for start of cut steel – assuming there is sufficient Naval Arch and particularly Marine Engineering resource available amidst the T26 B2, T31, FSS demands.

That still leaves the question of where to build it. Lairds have to balance hanging on to staff and completion of T45PIP with waiting for this – and potentially FSS. H&W (Norn Iron) still have around 100 staff and H&W (Manglewurzel) is still on a skeleton basis. Where are all these people coming from?


Boris says so Boris does,

Tim Hirst

Boris also lies whenever it suits his purpose.


OK, and would you like to post on here, those Lies and your evidence together with your actual name ?

Tim Hirst

Why not start with what he told the people of NI about the need or lack of need for paperwork to move goods between NI and the rest of the U.K. post Brexit.

Tim Hirst

Unfortunately lots of people will concentrate on the politics or the looks, but few will consider the practicalities of the design, bid and build process.

El Sid

First we need to discuss whether this is a good idea in the first place, especially since HMQ has been smart enough to kibosh the figleaf of connecting it to the Royals.

This is like the PM telling the FAA that they need to use limited budgets to buy some Swordfish “cos Taranto/Bismarck”, with no consideration of the modern relevance.

Some people on this site will see that as an excuse to debate whether we should buy the version with the 1-speed supercharger or the 2-speed supercharger, or whether we should buy Albacores instead, but the real debate should be why on earth this idea has got as far as it has?

Let’s see the strategic reasoning, let’s see a proper, worked-out Business Case, and if it’s such a good idea then it will leap out as a priority within the budget of the Department for International Trade (the clue is in the name).

Tim Hirst

Do you think this ship could be built without delaying one of the existing RN build priorities?



Tim Hirst

To me that’s a big problem. The FSS is key as Fort Vic is a very old and limited ship to entrust the supply of your main force to.
If this ship is really a good idea would it matter that much if it’s not started till the early 2030’s?

Last edited 3 years ago by Tim Hirst

My personal take on it is that a more “workhorse” design would bring greater return on investmant- there is a greater market for one of those than a passenger ship on the market, so greater chance someone else might want one too! After all, that’s the point of this, isn’t it- to showcase the British shipbuilding industry?!
I appreciate that the complexities of ship design mean it’s more complicated than that, but there must surely be a more widely applicable design than the one being currently put foward!

El Sid

I was thinking the politics is all to do with the Red Wall – but is this a £200m bung to Norn Ireland?

It’s not like Johnson has upset anyone there lately….


I wonder if it’s this lot, rebadged…

Supporters | Britannia Maritime Aid


Britannia Maritime Aid has been crowdfunding since 2019 and has raised less than £2k. No social media activity since December 2019. I think it’s dead.

Trevor H

It’s not a passenger ship. Repeat, it is not a passenger ship.
I say again, its not a passenger ship.

It will sail somewhere. It will set up an exhibition. People will fly there and embark and hold a conference. They will schmooze. They will leave. They will fly home.


I may find myself a bit of a dissenter on here, but I do think that the suggestion as-is belongs to a different era.
I am all for broader government supporting a large vessel that can be used to fly the flag abroad, but to base it on a vessel like those in the artists’ impressions is a bit of a waste; to me, even the design should be an advertisement for what can be sourced from Global Britain and the market is very small for such vessels.
What would be of more interest is more along the lines of a commerical multipurpose vessel, which we can fit out in any number of ways to support disaster relief and other such things, while maintaining some swanky rooms near the top for trade delegations etc. We will create far greater goodwill towards potential trade partners and allies if we can rock up with a large practical vessel that can help solve a problem, and give their trade ministers a good feed in the function rooms. It is also far more helpful to prove to potential ship buyers that we can design and build a hard working, tough vessel that performs commercial-type functions well.
It may no t look as fancy, but I think we’ll get far more return on our investment.

Nigel Collins

I thought something along the lines of an Xbow would be more appropriate for this role?

Features and Benefits of X Bow Ship

  • Higher transit time.
  • Reduced fuel consumption.
  • Negligible slamming reducing the risk of damage to the vessel.
  • Lower pitch and heave accelerations, and enhanced protection of cargo areas reducing the risk of loss or damage of cargo.
  • Increased payload capacity for certain applications and configurations.

An interesting article can be found here.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nigel Collins

Potentially, yes. They’re very common in the offshore energy industry and I’ve sailed on a number of them in my previous line of work. They are indeed pretty stable- I think I’ve only ever felt a bit rough on one once, maybe twice in particularly heavy weather.


Ermmm, You forgot the main feature ….. It’s just so Pig Ugly !

Nigel Collins

Just a matter of opinion, personally I would look at the advantages it has to offer overall, not least fuel savings over the lifetime of its service to the UK!

Last edited 3 years ago by Nigel Collins

Well If you want to make serious Savings then just don’t build the blessed thing !

Nigel Collins

Very true! Hopefully, it will generate more money than it costs!


And, and I’m not being funny here but, Which Royals would you like to see on her exactly ? Liz, Charles, Andrew, William, Harry ? Zara, Anne, Edward ? personally I’d rather see Boris.

Nigel Collins

Whoever generates the most money for the UK.

Here’s an interesting point, if this design incorporates all the advantages I’ve mentioned above, why are we building warships based on relatively old hull designs in comparison to the XBOW?

One for the experts on here to answer.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nigel Collins
Trevor H

It’s nothing to go with the Royal family. Are you blind and deaf. Did you read the article?

Trevor H

Thats a billionairs play thing yacht.
No one knows how it will look.

Nigel Collins

Did you read my original post? It has nothing to do with looks.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nigel Collins
Meirion X

Visitors will have to assume, that every conversation will be recorded!


Haha, of course- why build a fancy piece of sovereign territory if we didn’t?!

David MacDonald

I think I agree. The oligarchs have given luxury yachts a bad name.

A combined disaster relief vessel and hospital ship with some ability to host conferences and trade fairs with a few VIP cabins would do fine. Maybe an adaption the design of the RRS Sir David Attenborough.


Exactly, I think that’s far more in keeping with the image we want to present as global Britain- we’re supposed to be making the oligarchs feel unwelcome rather than trying to sell them giant floating palaces!
Interesting idea about the RRS SDA, hadn’t thought about it- might make a good basic hull!

Glass Half Full

Luxury yachts for billionaires has been a boom business during Covid and it shows no signs of going away apparently. We may not like the wealth discrepancy this reflects, but that isn’t going away either and people with that much wealth seem to like buying expensive yachts costing 100’s of millions … and doing it repetitively. Forbes estimates there to be >2,700 billionaires WW, not everyone will buy a yacht and of those that do clearly not everyone will buy 75m+ yachts, but still a sizeable market. We already have Sunseeker and Princess operating a bit below this size category, both appear to be significant employers of personnel. Building custom yachts (well ships in all but name really at the size of some of these yachts) is just another facet of shipbuilding, along with building smaller as well as larger vessels. Not without strong competition from primarily European shipbuilders though.


Clearly we circulate in different social circles GHF, I wasn’t aware that luxury yachts was a growth industry! 😛
I take your point, and this proposal does make more sense in light of that. But as a public symbol, and for the kind of people I’d rather we did business with, I’d still prefer a genuinely helpful multipurpose vessel of some kind. I guess I’m still a bit idealistic!


I agree with your sentiments, but I don’t actually think there is a fundamental discrepancy here.

There is a world of difference, between Class (in the social sense) and the ‘lodsa money’ brashness of the new billionaires from Russia etc. Class has little to do with absolute wealth, it’s more about how you conduct yourself, and deal with others. HMQ is a perfect example.

The UK has long epitomised this and it’s something others clearly aspire to, even if they don’t fully understand it. Why do so many Russian oligarchs live in London, and send their kids to famous public schools? How does this affect UK soft power, in the long term?

In that sense, a national flagship that is nice, but understated and not outrageously expensive, perfectly fits this image of the UK that others so want a piece of.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins
Glass Half Full

If only 🙂 I read it as part of an article on the recent news of Bezos’ new $500M yacht that comes with its own mini-me yacht to land the helicopters on because the big yacht has masts. These billionaires, they’re building navies now! I believe one was even a converted corvette or similar.

Here’s an article discussing the market … and that Bezos’ yacht is almost modest in comparison to the cost of some. Also that ship yards are booked solid.


This whole proposal suffers from an outdated impression of how trade deals work. Complex trade deals are not won by showing up in a fancy boat flying the union jack. They are the result of complex negotiations by skilled operators who are on top of their brief. We would likely do better from investing this money in getting more and better trade negotiators, an area we are underskilled in.

Tim Hirst

Very true. After years and years of this work all being done from Brussels this capability need work to revive.


You think all business deals were done in Brussels ? Deary me !

Tim Hirst

Business deals,no. International trade treaties, yes.

Andy a

You think the PM snd ministers don’t know how trade deals are done? I think boris is a div but he isn’t retarded

Trevor H

Yes and
1) the first thing might be to run a trade fair and start with a conference ship
2) Once a deal is later done, sign and seal it (or them) on board the same conference ship.


Would the Navy prefer the money spent on an additional type 31 frigate?

This is an idea from a previous century, which no other modern economy has any use for. If such ships were as good for trade as suggested the US, Germany and China would have fleets of them.

Meirion X

Boris seems to have forgotten the need to buy hull sonar for the T31, first of all!

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

From memory Britannia was also classified as a Casualty Receiving Ship as well as the Royal Yacht. I can see greater merit in a FSS derivative used for the much discussed medical/humanitarian missions. The idea of Wills and Kate delivering vaccines etc. from such a vessel would greatly enhance the “soft power” that politicians seem to be so keen on. Especially given the aid budget might be going back up again! Could also do the hurricane season in the Caribbean.


A vessel with onboard hospital facilities used for humanitarian missions would both do more good and project more soft-power. It could be funded from the International Aid budget and in time of war be used as a RN hospital ship.


Thing is Britannia never did serve as a casualty ship, it wasn’t practical for such purposes, and arguably the ‘dual purpose’ designation was just an excuse, used to justify its continued existence.

I think Joe16 makes a very good point, if the new ship is going to be designated ‘dual purpose’ it needs to be fit for purpose. However it feels to me that the current thinking is MRSS will be the future for HADR, casualty ship and evacuation roles – much as the Bays do today.

So it’s unlikely that the ‘national ship’ will be positioned as a dual purpose vessel. If industry is going to pay for it I don’t really see the problem, but I still have doubts about it’s utility. Even the Royal Family seems to find the idea embarrassing, it’s not 1950s anymore!

Dogs Nads

The ‘conversion in times of war to a Hospital Ship’ was always a load of rubbish and everyone knew it. It was a lie for public consumption. The jig was up in the Falklands, when despite the need for hospital ships, Britannia remained un-converted…

In truth HMY Britannia’s real role was as a alternate seat of government in time of war. That was why there were that many RN Signallers onboard with a very comprehensive comms suite…Apparently if WW3 kicked off she was to mooch around in a remote Scottish loch.

Trevor H

No it wasnt


Prefer the Commonwealth design personally. To serve the function it’s planned for, it’ll need to look impressive!


Whilst the Royals may not utilize it, it nevertheless is in all practically, a yacht.
A yacht that will be crewed by RN personnel.
In a time when the Admirility is struggling for every pound to add to enhance British naval power, this is IMHO, a very impractical proposal. And for heaven’s sake, don’t call it a flagship! Jellico would be turning in his grave.

Trevor H

Its not a yacht.


In the context of mega yachts which are built to day , it is an MV which would use that description

El Sid

+1 to this being an idea from another age. Trade specialists are baffled why we would want this ship. But we don’t listen to experts now. Just roughly doing the numbers, we can sell 30y gilts for 1.34% so £200m will turn into £300m including interest. Assume 30y lifespan and that’s £10m/year, plus say £10m direct costs and £10m/year maintenance/refits. That’s £30m/year to spend on trade promotion, what’s the opportunity cost? For instance that might buy ~400 trade specialists for 30 years, or 200 trade specialists and 200+ weeks of conference centre hire. Will the Carrie Celeste generate more trade than 30 years of a full-time specialist and annual trade fair in every country in the world?

And £200m is only going to buy us the yacht equivalent of a Travelodge. If you’re going to make a statement then it feels like you have to go big or go home. Use advances in new materials to make a symbol of British creativity – something bonkers along the lines of the Unique Circle yachts by Zaha Hadid or Sea Level’s CF8 which has a big display area for the owner’s Bugattis. Alternatively push the net-zero agenda using wingmasts or DynaRig sails like Oceanco’s recent Black Pearl.

It’s also worth noting that we’ve signed up to the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), which requires government procurement to be open to other countries. It does have a defence exemption, which is why they’re so desperate to put this under the aegis of the MoD rather than the Department for International Trade. But what message does it send out that “our idea of trade is us selling to you, but we are protectionist towards our own markets”?

Of course Johnson has form in making eye-catching announcements without much thought as to the detail of delivery. They end either in complete failures (Garden Bridge, water cannon) or delivering something a bit crap and way over budget (Docklands cable car, London buses). The buses cost twice as much to buy as a normal bus, needed two crew rather than one, overheated and delivered no long-term industrial benefits as the company went bust.

But nostalgia is a powerful drug for politicians – it allows them to promise to “bring back double-decker buses like we had in The Good Old Days” with the implication “Vote for me and The Good Old Days will be back”. But aside from some lone-wolf experts who get dismissed for being negative, the reality does not become apparent to the wider public until the politician is long gone and can no longer be held to account for their incompetence. Think of Johnson as a spaffier version of the “2-years-and-out” cycle at the heart of so many MoD procurement disasters.

So this is not about trade, it’s about shipbuilding. More precisely, it’s about Johnson being able to say at the next election “Look – we’re bringing back shipbuilding, like in the Good Old Days”. And of course the Northeast is becoming a new Tory heartland. So I worry that what’s really underlying this (and the Mod’s recent landgrab for all government shipbuilding) is a desire to bring back shipbuilding to Tyneside. Which recalls Tony Blair’s efforts to do the same by giving two Bays to Swan Hunter, which led to them needing an £84m handout and they still ended up towing Lyme Bay to the Clyde to be finished by someone who knew what they were doing.

This new ship has the potential to be Lyme Bay with a double-decker bus on top.


Not actually what happened.

The “Swan Hunter” that bid for the Bays was not the Swan Hunter that built ships for over a hundred years. Few – if any – staff were re-employed by the Dutchman who bought the site and plant off the receiver after the original had closed.

Lyme Bay was transferred because it would have been more expensive to pay the overhead in completing her on the Tyne with no other work, than transferring her to what was by then BAES Govan. Arguably, the MoD should never have awarded the lead yard contract to them, but the PTL and his bag carrier were both children.

As for people who knew what they were doing, I give you Brunei corvettes and the Araldite River B2s as examples of Clyde output……

The old SH Wallsend yard was flattened in 2008 and the plant shipped to a yard in India.

El Sid

I didn’t say it was the old SH, hence “bring *back* shipbuilding to Tyneside”.

And Govan had at least managed to complete and trial two Bays, and avoided running the engines on seawater, so at the very least could be said to know *better* what they were doing even if that was a relative term…


I think most people knew better than Jaap and his team. Doesn’t mean the jocks were any more competent. I should have added the Wave that fell over in Inchgreen as well…….

El Sid

Talking of Inchgreen, is there any sign of them moving on from their current business model of converting taxpayer handouts into press releases?


Saw the “Brunei Corvettes” moored at Barrow a few years back, what a farce.


billionaires have massive yachts not just for the fun of it. those yachts are also used as a very strong tool to get projects and businesses signed by hosting national officials etc.


How about a ship based on RRS Sir David Attenborough, with finer bow and stern to improve its speed from 17.5 knots to 20 knots. In this case, at least Cammel Laird knows how to build it. Just modifying its outlook (super structures) to follow the current CD rendering image.

This ship do not need to be a “yact”, but better be a business negotiation vessel. No need to be fashioned as a mini-super cruise liners?


Actually I would prefer something much smaller. Something that could access the inner waterways found in many large coastal states. I don’t think anything gimmicky like say Rainbow Warrior III would work unless the aesthetic is just right.


I understand you point for smaller vessels. But, larger vessel has its own merit. To be a “pavilion” of UK industry, soft-power, and may be HADR, larger hulls makes sense. Many of the nations has good ports, what’s wrong with a large ship?

Newly designed smallish cruise liner will be very very costy, becase UK has zero experience on such things. My point is,
1: forget making it a cruise liner (no problem having luxurious rooms, but no need to make everything luxurious)
2: If in hurry, base it on something UK industry knows how to build.

Anyway, just a proposal.


I do remember this from a year or three back…………

And this is the ship in question……
comment image

Tim Hirst

I suspect the sort of ultra posh interior planned so it “befits its status as a National Flagship” will end up costing as much as the hull and marine systems.


Thats how everything is now. A multistory building would be 1/3 total cost for the structure only


What on earth is a “business negotiation vessel” supposed to be? Business has been negotiated on Microsoft Teams since March last year, and by and large it’s a lot less hassle.

There won’t be any royal involvement so that area of prestige has gone.

So is it supposed to be the lines of Charlie and all-you-can-eat hostesses kind of business negotiation vessel?

There’s absolutely no imperative for a daft flash boat to negotiate business.

Let’s just face it it. It was sold as recently as a few weeks ago as a replacement Royal Yacht and a tribute to DoE. HMQ wanted nothing to do with it, and now it’s just another personal vanity project for Bojo.

Bit disappointed in NavyLookout for swallowing the party line so uncritically. Almost Pinstriped levels of compliance.

Last edited 3 years ago by RichardIC

Even pinstriped was not wholly enthusiastic, with doubts about funding.


I love the way that the article tells me that if I find this cringy and embarrassing it is because I don’t understand. I presume it will be painted “Great British Passport Blue”.

Tim Hirst

And made in France?


Easier on the eye than ‘EU fascist red’ I think………


When I first read this announcement, I thought it was a spoof. Even if funded outside the defence budget, it is to be manned by a navy struggling to crew its warships. This is a ludicrous decision, borne of the same infantile nostalgia as the ” tilt to Asia Pacific”.
If there is £200m going spare, speed up the building of FSS vessels we actually need.
For a country running such large deficits, this is verging on insane. It isn’t an investment because there is no demonstrable return on the capital outlay.
It won’t revive UK commercial shipbuilding- we are just too expensive to compete.


The big question is will she be more heavily armed than a Type 31e?


A Type 31/32 using the mission bay as semi-permanent presentation space and luxury apartments is probably a better use of the money. You can use the same paint scheme, fund it mostly the same way, and an extra frigate always has value.

HMS Ark Royal wouldn’t be a bad name either, since it is unlikely a new carrier or large thru-deck amphibious ship is going to be built during this ship’s lifetime.


have to say there are some amazing designs in this article. I like a bit of all of them TBH

Am all for this, if as expected it essentially becomes a floating embassy.

The Royals are a great asset to this country and open doors, we need to make sure we make the best of this going forward.

El Sid

But Pacman27 – why do we need another embassy? We already have embassies/consulates in all the countries we are likely to trade with. We could use the same money to fund trade specialists in every embassy, can you explain why they would be less effective than the Carrie Celeste?

Any Royal involvement was notably absent from the announcement, and rumour has it that the Palace want nothing to do with this. If the Royals don’t think a ship will help open doors, what do you know better?

Meirion X

Agreed, as well!


the Royals don’t think a ship will help open doors”
Not what they have said. Do you think all the state visits and top level functions they attend now are because they ‘love that sort of thing’ .
Its not called ‘duty’ for nothing and the current family have long known they are ‘a firm’ who work in the national interest as decided by the Pm of the day.
Even Theresa May these days makes her money on the ‘celebrity speaker circuit’ , if she can do it the Royal family can open many more doors by supporting UK in the closing of country-country trade deals and similar


I hate to break it to you, but some dodgy artists impressions are not designs.

A design has credible calculations behind it, that allow you to estimate both performance and cost.

What this article shows are some pictures, nothing more.

Trevor H

This is true.


Dont the top level mega yacht designers have ‘outline designs’ at various sizes ready for customisation once a a buyer shows interest ? It would definitely be via one of those designers first
This is the online ‘Super yacht directory’ to show what is built in last 15 years or so in this length class or could soon be.
Boat International


It’s a pointless PR stunt, we don’t need a ship to make better trade deals, we need better negotiators. Anyone thinking it will help, is smoking something.

From what i have read the royals have distanced themselves from it, as they understand the negative links in a time where we are cutting the foreign aid budget.

The who will pay for it, is the key part. Whether it is the MOD budget or elsewhere, ultimately it will pull resources from the MOD, as the RN will crew it.

If they design it to be flexible and provide some value for the navy in the event of a war then great, but it doesnt’ appear they are.

Such a bad idea.


I know who will pay for it we will.

And cutting the foreign aid budget isn’t unpopular. It is £14bn we have to borrow for little to no return.

Saying that I do find the whole concept really odd. But Boris is keen on this Kool Britannia Redux warm over. Still it gives us a reason to talk about ship designs.

Simon Hall

Another thought is to do a second world tour distribution of the Astra Zenicca vaccine by sea. Hopefully already planned? This time with POW as the flagship..just a thought to give.


I can already see Brian May playing Rule Britannia from atop of the ski-ramp.

Meirion X



Can I play devils advocate?

From a purely industrial perspective, cruise ship build is one area where other European nations – Germany, France, Italy – are able to successfully compete, internationally, on commercial terms.

The aim of NSBS is to revitalise UK shipbuilding, not only to provide jobs and prosperity, but to provide a secure industry base to build vessels for the RN and RFA as and when required. Ultimately, this will require UK shipbuilding to become internationally competitive, for other commercial work, and not solely reliant on MOD contracts.

The UK has quite some success in super yachts but doesn’t get a look in on the bigger commercial cruise ships. Perhaps, being something of a mini cruise ship, the National flagship can provide a stepping stone to showcase UK potential in the field?

The UK is unlikely to ever be able to compete with the EU mega-yards due to their economies of scale. However there is arguably a decent opportunity for the specialist cruise market e.g. Antarctica, Norwegian Fjords etc. UK could be well placed to compete in this sector, as it is requiring smaller, high specification and ‘eco’ vessels.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins

Sorry mate, I’ve tried to read this a few times now but my brain just don’t work too well at the moment …….. might be better in the morning…..

Glass Half Full

I agree. I posted up page a similar thought. For UK build there seems to be a gap between luxury yachts from the likes of Sunseeker and Princess and trying to break into the full on cruise ships which would be a tough gap to bridge. Fitting in that gap are the super yachts for billionaires in the $75M to $500M+ price category, which has been a boom industry during Covid and looks set to continue.


I’m pretty sure that targeting this gap is part of the thinking behind the National Flagship.

In DSC, talking about shipbuilding strategy, Ben Wallace specifically mentioned UK super yacht industry and need for UK yards to diversify:

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins
Glass Half Full

Thanks for the link. Ben Wallace makes an extremely pertinent point that whatever else happens, UK yards must find a way to compete in commercial contracts and not be dependent on govt. largesse to keep them operational. The number of Princess employees certainly makes a point about where the jobs are.

I suspect HMG and MOD were extremely displeased with having to stump up TOBA to BAE, because BAE either failed, or were not interested, in pursuing foreign naval business or diversifying into commercial work to keep their yards busy and retain skills. That approach can’t continue, but BAES show no signs of trying to expand beyond T26 at Govan. It wouldn’t surprise me if BAES ends up just being a naval design house, with manufacture of ships in Rosysth, H&W or CL, assuming they don’t build more than 8x T26 at Govan and presuming they win the design contract for T83, i.e. essentially a similar business model to Australia and Canada.


Note that Germany, Italy and to a lesser degree France don’t compete in the cruise ship market. They are that market. Cruise ship construction is basically divvied up between three or four yards because they have specialised in that type of ship – in some cases to the exclusion of all others – and they have pretty much all the market share.

The Far East yards haven’t been able to break into that market with all their efficiencies and economies of scale. A collection of UK shipyard remnants isn’t going to either.


I agree, it’s difficult for anyone to break into a high volume, tight margin market where efficiency is king.

The specialist ‘eco’ cruise market, requiring smaller, high specification, bespoke vessels, does not appear to have the same volume/cost efficiencies, so perhaps an opportunity, for those who can offer a range of more specialised, high end skills?

Notable that Sir John Parker (Author of NSBS) is a director of Carnival, and former CEO of P&O Princess, so perhaps this has informed thinking. NSBS explicitly mentions both the need for UK yards to get more civilian work, and the competitiveness of EU cruise ship builders.

Not arguing if it’s going to work or not, just trying to explore one possible motive, behind the decision to build this National Flagship.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins

The people behind the NSBS (collection of MoD and other CS) are trying to identify anything that might be government funded that could be channelled to UK yards to kick start them.

Trouble is, they’re trying to do this in an industrial landscape that is dominated by two military primes, one of which has a functioning shipyard (ignore Barrow for the minute) and the other is busy completing one, both of which have a decent amount of engineering resource.

The remainder of the sector comprises one yard that survives on subcontract work from BAES Barrow and looking after some RFA and a bit of commercial shiprepair, another organisation that does similar but is split across the country, a business bought out of receivership that owns two shipyards only one of which has anything resembling a workforce and a Kafka-esque nightmare on the lower Clyde that survives only by the decree of wee Jimmy K.

The thing that is missing throughout all this is sufficient trained and experienced people to conduct the design, engineering, project management, build and commissioning.

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B

We are where we are, but there is potential, and you have to start somewhere.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins
Commonwealth Loyalist

Interesting article — it is sad that most of the comments are so negative. Even though it is not officially to be a Royal Yacht, I personally think that would have been a positive rather than a negative. Most people do not seem to realize how lucky they are to have the monarchy, and certainly don’t realize how much it nets the UK in terms of tourism, stability and good will overseas. Far fewer people would be interested in visiting Britain without it.




To me it smells more of Blair’s Air Force One. Though HMY Britannia was a problem running on heavy fuel oil it was No 10 who drove the agenda over not replacing her. And then he went out to try to get himself Air Force One Lite. I can’t see it working just a government asset at a time when trust in the government is very low. And I can’t see it working if it ends up being overtly sponsored either. It is all too much of a muddle to sort out.


All significant countries now have business jets in the medium to large airliner class
Germany is getting 3 A350 type widebodies. National leaders are expected to travel much more often with large entourages and these allow the long distance non stop flightscomment image


My point was Blair was more concerned with status than practically and the way he went about it. Other countries have leaders who put their countries first not themselves That would be a change for us. Blair wanted to be ‘president’ not just PM. Would you like me to post some pictures of European governmental aeroplanes too?

El Sid

I don’t see anyone making an argument about the Royal Family here – not least because we’re taking the announcement at face value, and the announcement did not mention the Royals.

We’re debating it on the merits, on the basis proposed by HMG – which is as a vehicle for trade promotion. Let’s leave aside the fact that any flagship must have a flag officer…

FWIW, this is the (long!) take of someone who was an actual trade negotiator in a previous life – he tried to be fair to the different arguments, but as someone who has a good idea of how trade promotion works, he reckons it’s just lousy value for money and there would be much better ways to achieve the stated goals :


This vessel would be ‘for closing the deal’ as a public ceremonial, indeed those who would have done the background work over a long time could attend as well as a thankyou. All the international conferences work like this , work is done long before and sometimes sticking points or the ‘menu of options’ are left to the final decision makers to meet face to face at the public ceremonial

criss whicker

Good luck and much neede one thinks

Ant Miller

In all seriousness this is an utterly preposterous idea. On multiple levels:
1 – the trade benefits are negligible – as the govt itself has admitted the kind of deals that get sealed on a yacht are essentially tiny little nations, or corrupt ones. The majority of the 3 blocks – the US, China, or the EU. Until very recently we benefited from being a key part of one of those – this represents an admission that we have fallen off the top table, and are now looking to hoover up scraps through desperate, outdated approaches. Pathetic.
2 – ‘arguably easier to secure than an embassy’. Congratulations on picking an argument you’ve lost before you’ve begun. Embassies are secure for a number of reasons, not least because they occupy fixed spaces where the security can build up a persistent intelligence picture. We’re going to rock up in a harbour with thousands of transient people and vehicles and either be very insecure, or a huge expensive restraint on business. And lets not forget that the days of a cute little quayside in the middle of town are long gone. 7500 tones? 125m length? You’ll be in the industrial sector. Next to the scrap metal loaders and chemical works. Less secure than an embassy and a good deal smellier.
3 – construction – a commercial standards design with an NBC citadel for a function that NOBODY has designed or commissioned ever before, cutting steel in 18 months? I’d wish you good luck, but it’s pointless. If this goes to sea it’ll be a rushed ill considered design that’ll cost a fortune to run, and will need expensive refits within a decade.
4 – The navy are onboard? AH, no, not so far as I can see actually.
5 – It’s not a royal yacht – it better not be – the Queen is getting on to put it mildly, and for all the predeliction in the next generation for grotesque budgets, they do tend to be a little more discrete about it. Britannia made sense when you sent Royals on tours lasting 6 months or more, as a temp home away from home. No need these days, they can be home on a charter flight now we have regular safe efficient fast air transport.
6 – Ooh but it could be a hospital ship too! No. It couldn’t. Hospital ships are big ugly specialised bits of kit that need to be outstanding at what they do, processing potentially of hundreds of critically wounded personnel in the golden hour. They have high end kit like CAT and PET scanners, vast stocks of medicines, highly specialised ventilation, and capacious flight decks and patient transport , as well as clean rooms, operating theatres, and specialised treatment facilities. All these features are entirely incompatible with acting as a part time trade show venue.

In conclusion, there is no need for this, and the proposed solution to this non-problem is itself stupid.

Craig M

Spot on Ant. This is just a Johnson vanity project. Its not needed and to be frank its embarrassing.


Well that covers the Positives, what about the negatives ?


You forget this how Britannia was used since the 1960s, the royals would fly out to meet the vessel in wherever , there may be a short voyage between ports with them on board but they would host functions while in port and they would stay on board for a day or two and then fly home. Other than the cruise around the islands of Scotland for the personal use thats how it was used, although I would think Charles when younger preferred the Med, but he wasnt so much in charge then

Lord Haw Haw

This is a Boris p*n*s extension…..nothing more

Keep trying to sell it, but we know its largely symbolic and has no actual value other than to butter up dignitaries who will no doubt have their own brief of ‘dont do a good deal with the UK or China wont invest’

Andy a

Can’t wait for “why it has no f35 on it!”


That’s because she will be built for Typhoons not “With”.


I here lads from Barrow are on standby to build extra tubes for Trident.


They are built in US. USS Long Beach was designed for but not with Polaris and I think the Italian Andrea Doria helicopter cruiser from the early sixties ‘might have’ considered them in the design.


There was an idea back in the 60s for a joint NATO Polaris task force where the missiles would be based on surface ships of several NATO members. And some ships did have the tubes pencilled in to the design. And yes it was Italians who were furthest along with design.

I actually know members of the team responsible for the tubes for Vanguard boats. And indeed other parts of our submarine force.

I was joking. Saying the Americans are on standby to build extra tubes for a yacht that hasn’t even been designed yet is perhaps stretching pedantry a little too far. Especially seeing as many of us here are struggling with the logic of the venture as it is.



Because the USMC don’t have any (more) to lend us?

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins
Glass Half Full

A lot of comments focusing on the ship’s use for government trade agreements. There’s only so many of those and they’ll decline as Brexit is left behind. Ditto with govt. on govt. meetings on other issues, or events hosted by Royals. It is far more likely to spend most of its time promoting British companies and British industry segments and hosting events for that.

There are advantages of doing this in a vessel designed to host exhibitions of British goods and services, rather than try to compete for mindshare at major exhibitions where all our competitors also attend. If you’ve ever done booth duty at an exhibition you’ll know what I am referring to. Trying to squeeze such events into embassies and consulates is also not ideal, or staging them in a hotel. A ship optimized for this role, with large exhibition area and meeting rooms would be far better than any of those other options.

I would also point out that manning when in transit shouldn’t be high. A T31/IH only needs ~20 personnel to operate when not on operations, much larger commercial vessels do likewise. No reason a National Yacht should require any more under normal circumstances. When in port and hosting events, either local staff or flown in personnel could increase the manning as required.

Trevor H

A trade agreement is just that… An agreement between 2 countries about trade.

It’s after that that you go out and buy and sell stuff because you have that agreement. We can bring the conference center or Expo to where ever it’s needed.


True. But there doesn’t have to be a ‘trade agreement’ between states for entities within those states to trade as long as laws and customs controls in those states are respected. This lie that a ‘trade agreement’ had to be in place arose, unsurprisingly, during the Brexit period.

Glass Half Full

As X says we can trade without agreements. The idea of agreements is to improve levels and conditions of trade, reducing or eliminating tariffs and/or market caps.


That the EU hasn’t a ‘trade deal’ with China sort of points to the idea being moot. 🙂


Often politicians and heads of state like to be involved in ‘the theatre’ of signing off large business to business deals and they especially love defence deals
Macron is a specialist in big noting himself and France in these sorts of specialist trade/ defence deals…..wasnt there a book once called The Art of the Deal, he must have a well thumbed copy


Macron is a puppet.


I agree totally on the benefits of a floating exhibition bit. An offer of a day or two out, on a nice ship, will easily draw in the punters, and once on board you quite literally have a captive audience. In the nicest possible way of course!

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins
El Sid

Sonik – it’s about value for money. This thing will be costing us near-on £30m/year which is a huge amount of money in the trade world. People in that world are saying you could spend several lumps of that money on trade specialists and trade events before the diminishing returns kick in and a ship is the best use for the next lump of money.

To put it in context, it could buy you :
A trade specialist in every embassy and an annual trade fair in every country
Or – pay Adele and Ed Sheeran to each put on a private gig every month for 30 years, at £1m/show
Or – pay 11 recently retired footballers £100k per match to show up for a kickabout once a fortnight. Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, those kinds of people. Obviously your embassy staff would identify in advance whether the boss of Ruritania Telecom was a Man Utd fan, Chelsea fan, prefers cricket etc and you tailor it accordingly.

If you’re looking for a corporate jolly, that’s the level you could be playing at – or you could send a ship full of suits.


pay Adele and Ed Sheeran to each put on a private gig every month

Isn’t that sort of thing banned under one of the Geneva Conventions?


I take your points on costs and possible alternatives, but I wasn’t thinking in terms of a day out on a boat being a blatant jolly-up – it’s not, and that’s the whole point.

Hospitality is a delicate subject, with the principal issue being that something is being offered, with the expectation that something will be gained in return. Hence the saying ‘there is no free lunch’

Attitudes to ‘incentives’ vary widely, between organisations and cultures, with at the one end strict rules to refuse even a free pen, to expecting a brown envelope at the other end of the spectrum. Most businesses is conducted somewhere between the two, but it’s a fine line to tread.

So there is a danger on the one hand, that hospitality recipients will simply take what’s offered, without paying much attention to whatever you are trying to flog; on the other hand recipients may be offended that you are trying to buy their goodwill, and refuse to attend. An ‘exhibition ship’ is different here because it covers both bases.

It’s not a blatant bung, because the hospitality and sales pitch are discreetly combined. Those who are uncomfortable with hospitality (Or unable to accept due to rules) can simply tell themselves they are attending a trade event, that just happens to be held on a nice ship.

And it’s also impossible, to just come along for the free drinks, without at least some exposure to the sales pitch. Unless you are a good swimmer, it will be hard to avoid.

So I’m not saying it’s the best or only solution, just that it does make some sense from this point of view

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins
John S C Lewis

I recall that one of the justifications for Britannia was that it had a secondary role as a hospital ship. It was, of course, never used as one. Uganda was used in the Falklands War instead. So all this talk abut a floating conference centre is, as far as I am concerned, a smokescreen to justify another Royal Yacht.

Trevor H

No. Strikes me you are being prejudiced

John S C Lewis

Not prejudiced, realistic.

L Test engineer

So the just of it is..This ship will be ‘fitted for but not with’ the Royal family?..unbelievable…



El Sid

I mentioned the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement that the UK signed up, item 47 of Annex 4 of the schedule negotiated by the current government explicitly says that only warships are exempt from international competition, whereas eg Annex 1 of the US schedule exempts all ship procurement by the Pentagon

Hence the desperation to make it look like an RN vessel, and the NBCD citadel to allow them to claim its an alternative seat of government.

Trevor H

The alternative government would be in a very deep hole in the ground somewhere.


There was no plan to place the Queen with the PM in Turnstyle. She would have been at sea. Headed who knows where.


That’s probably true, but besides the point – isn’t the idea here to get around the WTO rules, to allow the ship to be built in the UK, as a showcase for UK industry?

Of course that cannot be stated as the objective publicly!


I am missing what you are driving at.

El Sid

I’ll admit it’s a pretty arcane technical point. But without getting too political, one of the big promises for Brexit was that leaving the EU would free us from Brussels’ constraints on government procurement. And the noises over NSS are that this government wants to move in a protectionist direction.

However, in order for British companies to compete in procurement for other governments, the UK has to sign up to the GPA, which broadly allows us to compete in other government’s procurements if we allow other countries to compete in ours. Part of that process is negotiating a schedule that lays out in black and white the areas which we will not open to foreign competition. The WTO tries to minimise these as far as possible but for instance the Jones Act means that procuring any ships abroad is a real no-no for the Pentagon and their GPA schedule is where they officially announce that to the world.

So HMG has told the WTO that we will accept international competition on all ships procured by HMG except for warships, which are designated as 8906 for trade purposes. So if the current post-Brexit rules applied and say HMG had said that the Tides had to be built in Britain then Daewoo could have asked the Korean government to contest that decision at the WTO on the basis that the Tides were tankers (classified as 8901.20) and so open to competition. Whereas the UK would say that they have RAS rigs so are warships. So it goes to and fro until either Daewoo are allowed to bid without restrictions on the basic hull even if the RAS rigs and comms had to be fitted in the UK, or we end up in a trade war where Korea puts tariffs on their imports of whisky from the UK or something like that.

So it goes with the trade ship. As I’ve said above, this project is less about trade and all about the ship. To be more precise, it’s to allow Tory candidates at the next election to say that “Shipbuilding is coming home – look how we’re building HMS Tradey McTradeface in Birkenhead/Tyneside/Belfast!”

Actually delivering a working ship is less important politically than being in the process of building one, and it being built in the UK. Since a UK yard is unlikely to be competitive on cost, they need exemption from open competition so they need it to be a “warship” for WTO purposes. It would be hard to look at the spec of a trade ship and conclude it needed to be a warship, which is why they’re planning to operate it as a warship under UNCLOS rules (which include military crews etc) and add warship features like the NBC defences so that they can claim it’s an essential part of our doomsday C2.

It’s contradictory and just makes the UK look profoundly unserious about trade, to be protectionist about its trade flagship.


I suspect that the “Social Value” clause in the assessment criteria for government funded ships will be more important than trying to pretend it’s a warship.

Overseas yards will be able to enter the competition, but unless they deliver the requisite SV score they’ll be wasting their time.

El Sid

Depends on the weighting of course – I’ve heard of 30% in some local authority procurements, central government is a minimum of 10%. But while social is a great tool to be protectionist with, it’s one of those things where nobody’s quite sure how it works with international law. The WTO have a framework for environmental allowances but not social (although they talk about it a lot). So a prudent government wouldn’t want to rely on the social thing, they need a backup plan.

In theory, if Vom+Boss bid a flat £200m to build a ship, and Lamell Caird bid £202m to build it out of discarded needles then HMG can give it to the latter because of the recycling aspect. But if LC bid £202m and give jobs to smackheads to design the ship, and HMG award them the contract because of the social value, then V+B can protest that they’re being discriminated against under WTO rules because they were cheaper and WTO don’t recognise the social value.

Obviously this case is entirely hypothetical because every smackhead in the country is currently busy with Ajax procurement. But there is a conflict between WTO rules and the UK mandatingconsideration of social value – we’ll see if it gets as far as being contested before WTO do something about it.

I’d have said the biggest factor for overseas involvement is just the fact it has toxic project writtern all over it…. And foreign governments aren’t going to waste too much political capital on protesting a one-off like this. Whereas if say we were trying to pull a stunt like this in a bigger market like trains (“of course the 7.12 from Guildford needs NBC protection”), then Siemens would make sure the German government was all over it.


Thank you. 🙂


Where’s the Phalanx CIWS? Just joking!

Seriously, I think this is a great project. While I’m on the other side of the pond, I see this as an effort for the UK (country of my birth!) to get back into small cruise ships, which will be the future. No one wants to be on a 5,000 passenger giant anymore – not post-COVID.

As far as technologies and Naval capabilities are concerned, I hope this is an all-electric or hybrid drive system with pods, and I would really recommend a hangar for up to a Merlin. If you’re spending north of $200M for a National Flagship, she better be able to accommodate your best aviation asset, for maximum flexibility.

She should be equipped to assist in HADR missions, and again the helo deck and hangar play a key role here. And finally…wait for it, have space and weight for either a Phalanx CIWS or a SeaRAM system. She will be called up during wartime, so may as well.

Phillip Johnson

If it is built in the UK which is a guaranteed requirement, 200Mil wont buy a lot as a semi unique vessel. 7500 tonnes sounds a bit beyond the budget.
If the the 200 Mil is for real everybody should be talking about what is left off.


If you think in terms of warship prices, £200m is buttons,

But this is not really a warship it’s just designated as one for ‘other’ reasons. It’s the weapons, sensors and systems that bump up the cost, none of which are required here. Nor is it likely to include all the tacky expensive bling of a millionaire’s super yacht because that would send the wrong message.

Have a look at the cost of cruise ships you may be surprised just how cheaply they get built.


Yes. Currently Boat International, the Super yacht directory the 125m (415ft) 9600 tons Octopus built by Lurssen now for €235,000,000 (neg?)
There are some that a bit under that size–101657


Thanks for the example. That’s a private yacht, second hand. It shows what you can get, for that budget.

I was thinking more in terms of build costs, of commercial cruise ships e.g. Quantum of the seas, 168k tons, built in Germany in 2014 for $935m

That’s less than the price of a T26, for 20x the displacement.

Build cost under $5.6k per ton. Obviously a smaller vessel would not have the same economy of scale, but that rate would equal $42m or so for a 7.5k ton vessel as the proposed National Flagship.

TLDR: Cruise ships are much, much cheaper to build, than warships.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins

A good article but what a sad butchering of the vision for a successor to Britannia.

This is a maritime version of Blair Force One but with less utility (in fact, Boris has already done this in the air too – we now have PM jets The Queen may use rather than royal jets which the PM may use).

This boat sounds like a floating business centre cum ministerial plaything. No doubt Boris and Carrie will enjoy it but it will have none of the class of Britannia. Quite rightly it seems The Queen does not want Philip’s name associated with it – he was after all a naval man.

Trade and diplomacy was advanced on Britannia because it was a Royal Yacht with cache.

Who in the right mind things foreigners will be impressed by this? “Hey, look at us, we’re capable on building a boat. Come look at the business centre.”

What a wasted opportunity.


The Queen hasnt travelled by plane , except to Scotland for some time. The Royal Flight is just a name, its an RAF unit for the government and head of state, like its allways been. The Royal Train is the only royal ‘exclusive’.
A large widebody plane is easily US$200 mill and is a reality of the modern world where politicians travel more to these ‘political music festivals’. Even the Commonwealth PMs thing is once a year, and many others like it.
I see many comments about ‘Blair Force One’, get over it guys , its more than 15 years ago. Its just an RAF widebody with fancy paint job, the days of a Britannia turbo prop to Hong Kong are even longer ago. So many have Daily Mail thinking…if I cant have one he shouldnt either

No one seem to mind if it was Comet , as it was ‘the best of British’, which brings us right back to the present.

Last edited 3 years ago by Duker

I agree!

And the Daily Mail readers can have one if they are really that bothered… Just book a flight from Manchester to Majorca on Jet2 – the plane is a Voyager leased from AirTanker. Somehow, despite saving MOD costs for upkeep, that’s all a waste of taxpayers money too, apparently!

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins
Commonwealth Loyalist

Indeed it would be better to have a real Royal Yacht replacement instead of some kind of fake People’s Democratic Republic Flagship. Nobody cares about the elected politicians, the British ones are the same as elsewhere even if you think the US ones are worse. But foreigners and most British people really do care about the royal family. I don’t think anyone on this board realizes the impact HMY Britannia had on the Yanks when visiting LA and San Francisco with the Queen and Prince Phillip on board.

I have not even heard mentioned on this site the fact that when I sign up for the RN or one of its Commonwealth offshoots, I swear allegiance to the Queen, not to Boris or Blair. People totally underestimate the monarchy in all respects. Nobody seems to realize that being appointed to reign by the accident of birth is in many ways much more democratic than being elected into it due to one’s megalomania and slickness of speech. Think about that.

Aside from all that, the monarchy is a huge profit maker for the UK, and those who argue about the measly amount spent on it have no idea how valuable it is in moderating the effects of democracy (otherwise known as Mob Rule), and that without it the tourism trade would tank, and besides the UK would have to be renamed the Disunited Republic of England, same as all other so-called democracies that nobody would bother visiting.

If a new Royal Yacht helps UK shipbuilding, icing on the cake.

Just my opinion, I am sure others know better how to restore Britain and its shipbuilding to its former glory!


With you 100% there, when I was a child my grandmother said ‘when you are older you will understand why we have a monarchy’ and she was right!

We are very fortunate to have a Queen who has dedicated her entire adult life to service, but is also very conscious of the public image of the monarchy, both in the UK and elsewhere. Hence perhaps the caution around a new Royal Yacht.

But equally I think PoW is very misunderstood. It’s precisely because he doesn’t need to give a stuff about what anyone thinks, that he is able to make a nuisance of himself, in his efforts to help people less fortunate. And I’m sure he understands that as monarch he will need to do things a little differently.

Just my opinion!

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben Robins
Jeff Grandfield

So you negotiate trade deals in years and then send Boris’s yacht over for the final signing – the appropriate minister will, of course, fly in and out. Interesting if the partner hasn’t got a coast


Reality is that the RN was delighted to get rid of Britannia as its opportunity cost in money and crewing terms was about the same as that of a frigate – at a time when the frigate destroyer force target was 32. This looks like another dubious distraction from the ability to actually fight anyone.Its pure polical posturing with no real purpose. Two hundred million might begin to fill one of the capability gaps like adding some antiship missiles for the frigates, or a small purchase of antiship missiles for the F35. Or it would be a downpayment on upgrading the Type 31 from being what you get when you design to a totally inadequate , arbitary, price cap – the worst armed frigate for its size anywhere.

Ryan Brewis

“Despite the ravages of the pandemic, the demand for small cruise ships is likely to grow in the next decade”
Is this actually likely and if so do we have the skills to compete with places like Germany and South Korea?


First of all if built it should be financed by Department of Trade and crewed by the Merchant Navy and when not in use for trade fairs , It could be used as a training ship for Both The Royal Navy and Merchant Navy


“ The National Flagship should create new jobs, promote Britain aboard and more than repay the return on investment by acting as a catalyst for international trade and exports.” Absolutely the most disappointing words ever written on this site. I have not seen a single good argument on how such a vessel actually acts as a catalyst for trade and exports.


In response to the “update”. The last comparable vessel built in the UK was probably the Vistafjord, built on the Tyne in 1973. I’m struggling to remember any others sice.

It’s all very well to make comparisons with overseas yards building cruise ships, but there are limits to those comparisons. Those yards are all fully functioning, fully staffed concerns and in the vast majority of cases have been doing this for decades. In other words, it’s normal business.

Unless you are suggesting that the National Flagship is built at Govan or in Rosyth (hardly feasible given T31, T26 and potentially FSS schedules), the only thing resembling a functioning shipyard is Lairds. The two H&W yards are NOT in any way functioning shipbuilding yards. Their workforce is minimal.

It is now three years since SDA was launched on the Mersey. Three years. A significant chunk of those involved in the build no longer work in the yard. In addition, they’re trying to do the RFA support and T45 PIP. SDA nearly bankrupted them. They’ll be very cagey about doing something like this – particularly if the budget is coming from MoD.

Finally, there’s no such thing as a simple ship when SOLAS is involved. Passenger ships have some very demanding fire safety and escape and evacuation requirements. If you’re used to them – like a shipyard routinely building cruise liners – no problem. If you’re not, it gets expensive very quickly.

All of the people involved in this have minimal conception of what it actually takes to design and build the ship. Anyone asked LR if they can class it in the timescale? Let alone reconcile “Naval Rules” if she’s a warship vs Commercial ship rules if she’s a passenger vessel?

El Sid

For some reason it’s not been splashed all over the newspapers like the yacht was, but the DIT is quietly ending the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) which gave small grants for UK exhibitors at foreign trade shows. Cost £6.5m/year, a fraction of the capex+opex+refits for the yacht, but never believe government when they say something will be paid for with “new money”.


Why not use the type 31 Hull. Its good looking and a proven design and the right size speed range etc. Simple I’d have thought.

El Sid

Contract notice now out, budget has quietly been cut to £150m fixed-price, which would pay for 23 years of tradeshow grants.


must of taken about a year

Ian Mitchell

I am a great fan of Navy Lookout but 8 months ago I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I read the words “The procurement process will be managed by DE&S and is intended to be rapid” . I worked on 25 MOD projects under DE & S, 8 of them warships or RFA contracts and I can assure you none of them fell within the category of the term rapid.

I considered this whole idea unsound 8 months ago and still do. My experience working in Business development on 8 complex expensive overseas bids then contracts tells me deals are not made this way. I would really be interested to see a follow up article that compares the stated timescale with what has actually happened.

I suspect this vanity project will be quickly allowed to fade away in the light of the cold hard light of the invasion of Ukraine not to mention the incredibly embarrassing international spectacle of our PM being subject to the equivalent of an interview under caution by the Police.

Congratulations on Navy Lookout though I find a a great way to stay in touch.


Total waste of money as per usual.Better spent on MK 41 vls for the Type 31s or a better AEW solution than Crowsnest.