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fat dave

This was all predictable: The UK was never going to be able to afford and sustain 2 aircraft carriers of this size. Nor does the UK need carriers. What the Navy did in its desperation to acquire 2 capital ships was prostitute itself and its fleet size and balance. Now the Army and RAF are having to bail out the Navy financially and the manpower problems haven’t been resolved.
If the Navy hasn’t the manpower for the CVs, then find the manpower from within existing Navy resource. Bed. Own making.

Paul

When the carriers were ordered, I think you will find that the Navy had 5000 more personnel than they currently do. I suggest that the cuts in 2010 might just have something to do with the current manning issue.
On affordability just look at the cost growth in the Typhoon, great aircraft shame about the costs.
I think that the overall mismanagement of the countries finances, with the consequential delay of purchasing equipment and thus pushing up the costs (£1bn on the carriers) might again be more the issue than a desperate need to acquire the carriers.
You seem to forget that the previous carrier capability and aircraft were scrapped as part of the defence reviews. There should have been a maintenance in capability. If so the QE would be already operating, but with harriers and awiting trials with the F35.

Ian

Exactly. Forget about all the growing budget bollocks. Its about the ongoing and knock-on consequences of 30% defence cuts in 2010.

don

Shame the Typhoon couldn’t be navalised, like Rafaele….

Brian

According to the Typhoon manufacturers website a navalised variant is quite possible and the Indian navy expressed initial interest. This subject appears a ‘holy cow’ subject as far as the MOD is concerned and this government appears to be wedded to under equipping our massive carriers with hugely expensive aircraft that may yet prove not it or purpose. Surely some consideration of a second aircraft type has merit, as no US carrier relies on one aircraft type as far as I am aware!

Steve R

Makes a change, historically, right back to 1966 it’s been the Navy taking the hits in favour of the Army and RAF.

bigdog

you moron

Adrian

I’ve been surprised to see this site talk so positively about the Type 31 programme. Eight Type 26 plus five Type 31 does not represent like-for-like replacement of the thirteen Type 23s – does it? From the moment this was announced, it was clear that the UK was moving from six destroyers (Type 45) and thirteen frigates, to six destroyers, eight frigates, and (in effect) five corvettes. This site has generally presented a realistic picture, but has talked about the Type 31 as though it offered a real possibility of a larger RN in the future, while seeming to play down what is surely a serious loss of real capability.

NavyLookout

The basic T31 concept was a very good idea – get a grip on spiralling warship costs and the BAES Monopoly. Unfortunately the £250M price cap that is has been set is probably now too low to deliver a credible frigate. (Initial speculation had put a price at around £350-400M) Further articles on the T31 coming soon.

Grubbie

It’s obviously nonsense to order a with the primary specification of price. I fear that we are just going to get oversized and over armed OPVs.

Challenger

Most would agree that block building and breaking the Clyde monopoly is a good thing….or at least intriguing enough to be wort a try.
£250 million a pop is ridiculous though, especially if we want to compete with the contemporary French and German designs. If they insist on a fixed price we could well end up seeing a corvette with a 76mm gun, a few Sea Ceptor and not much else. Useful as a force multiplier if we also had 24+ frigates and destroyers, but next to useless (in fact very dangerous) if they are expected to fill the gaps in the carrier group and face any real threat. Around £400 million is clearly the worldwide lower price for a credible frigate which can do local air defence and anti submarine ops.
Part of me still thinks we should go down the T26 batch 2 route to spread the program costs and help to push it for export given that the market is saturated with light frigates and plenty of countries will be looking for larger more capable vessels, of which there isn’t quite the same amount of choice. Could even still block build them in other parts of the UK to help grow the industry.
The unit price for the T26 would surely come down a bit if we had 14 on order and then a hot production line going.

Ian

A most excellent article with which I agree every word.
I would only add;
1) This is a crisis caused by successive parties of all three colours (Lib Dems were more than complicit in SDSR2010) and one that a change in governing parties would not currently resolve.
2) The well intention-ed 2% NATO target has been a disaster for UK defence. Originally designed to shame other European NATO member to up their game (notably Germany / France) it has backfired for UK armed forces. It has allowed successive Governments to hide behind & truthfully compare themselves as better than others rather than look to what UK needs are. The sooner it is removed the better.
3) Trump hasn’t helped. Originally he did, but he’s become so bellicose that he’s lost power on things which actually matter.
4) Successive UK governments obsession with looking good internationally through ever larger foreign aid budgets which have international rules on how it’s deployed and not in our interests are at the expense of fixing the roof at home. It’s metropolitan middle class virtue signalling and needs some thing to shake the cosy cross party consensus. Most people are not against Aid but if there’s no more money for the navy, police, schools, public sector pay rises etc then there shouldn’t also be more money for the Aid budget.
5) There is too little distinction on the minds of the public between having defence capability and the deployment of forces. Deployment is entirely political and rightly subject to scrutiny. Lack of capability means political choices are reduced and security threatened. I would like to see more made of this distinction by politicians and media.
Meanwhile, our people continue to do great work day in day out and thank goodness for that.

sisyphus

I have written several drafts of emails expressing my anger at the situation of never ending cuts and reducing the fleet … only to think why bother, no one cares, no one listens, and delete them.
Even the Luvvy left must acknowledge the utility of HMS Ocean and RFA Mounts Bay in support of the excellent work by personnel from the Armed Services in responding to the disaster befalling on the Carribean. It must occur to someone in government that if we sell off HMS Ocean next year that this will seriously curtail a similar response next hurricane season.
The infuriating artificial ‘rules’ created by suits in meetings that allegedly prevent funds from the’Foreign Aid’ budget, need to be ignored, in order that the Royal Navy, as a first responder to such HADR events, has the necessary tools for the job, in this case HMS Ocean’s life to be extended to at least when the carriers are operational, plus a suitable ‘hospital’ ship should be funded, to cover its build, manning and operational costs, to deliver presence at times like the ‘hurricane’ season and all the support equipment needed to deal with such events (ask Think Defence for a list of requirements if they need advice …)

Paul

It has been stated on this site (I can’t remember who said it) that there is an underlying problem with HMS Ocean that came to light earlier in her service and that she is clapped out. Not withstanding the recent refit if she has these issues, why are we contemplating selling her to a country we want to do more business with (a target customer for the T31e?). Why are we not talking to them about buying a new ship based on the Royal Navy’s requirement to replace HMS Ocean, the requirement is there, just not acknowledged by the MOD. Assuming that one ship each is required, it would half the development costs if nothing else.

Fedaykin

There were underlying issues with Ocean earlier in her life but by in large they were ironed out, I wouldn’t call her clapped out but she is well used. There is no reason why she could be operated for another fifteen years but each refit will be more expensive. The underlying issue being spares sourcing.
She was designed with a theoretical service life of twenty years and she is being paid off spot on for that target. Her crew are needed for HMS Prince of Wales and other vessels anyway.
That all being said Brazil look keen to buy her, when you consider their situation it is a VERY good idea not only for Brazil Navy but also UK PLc.
Selling Ocean to Brazil gets them out of a bind, their carrier Sao Paulo is truly clapped out and dangerous to operate. The cost of further refitting her was too much for their defence budget especially when they have other priorities including a Nuclear Submarine program. So Brazil has been forced to pay her off. Now the plan by Brazil was to in about ten to fifteen years build their own CATOBAR carrier, with the Nuclear Submarine program especially taking up funds they can’t pull that forward. Ocean coming up for sale on the cheap gets them out of a bind, whilst they won’t be able to operate their Skyhawk jets off her it will allow them to keep a toe in the carrier game until they are in the position to start building their new CATOBAR carrier. Brazil plans to operate its carrier fighters from a land base until they build their new carrier. Ironically they have expressed prior interest in buying a vessel like Ocean so this is a happy coincidence. HMS Ocean whilst heavily used is in a vastly better material state than the Sao Paulo and far easier to maintain. The Brazilian defence budget is not in the right place to buy a new LPH off us and goes against their own plans to start building larger combat vessels.
It is huge opportunity for UK PLc, Brazil plans to bring in an international partner to help design their new carrier and update their shipyards in advance build processes. Selling them a more modern British Helicopter carrier surplus to requirements and also taking the opportunity to show off our new QE class to them puts us in a good position to get that job.

Darren Riche-Webber

I think a 15-2o year fatigue hull lifespan was given because Vickers Kavearner could put in a lower bid, compared to the higher quality longer life Swan Hunters bid.

DylanJay

HMS Ocean was only built to last 20 years. So yeah she is ‘clapped out’ im surprised she lasted this long to be perfectly honest

Michael

And to think that the American Iwo Jima and Tarawa class ships of the same class as Ocean serve 35-40 years before they are paid up. Amazing.

Mark

Not really if memory serves me correctly she was built on merchant ship ethos and as such cost the same as a type 23 frigate. She is slow but still a useful vessel which if we had the manpower I’m sure the navy would want to keep
If she is sold to Brazil I’m sure they will run her for the next 15 years or so but at what cost on maintenance?
The RN do need a replacement which they probably won’t get

Steve R

One item for concern is the relative inbalance between RFA and RN numbers. A ‘near future’ fleet of 2 carriers, 19 escorts and 1 active assault ship, supported by 4 Tide class, 2 Wave class and 3 solid stores ships. Getting close to 50% ! Even worse, in conflict those replenishment ships would need escorting, further depleting numbers of vessels available for combat. That’s not to say the fleet support is not vital – no ‘out of area’ ops would be possible without it – but as the Government obviously views the RFA as part of the ‘expanding Royal Navy’ isn’t it time the balance was redressed in favour of front line strength? How about this for a deal: Discard Argus, Scott, Dilligance (still technically ‘on the books’ I understand) and a couple of MCM, but keep Ocean, which has proved her utility and versatility in recent months, and build 8 Type 31 rather than 5? An tik the Government would go for that?

Ian

The numbers of support ships is a function of the lack of escorts but it does illustrate the escort crisis very well. Not buying the proposed solution though 🙂

Steve R

Ian
Maybe not, but the Caribbean crisis may just make them reconsider about Ocean, and I think the other RFA’s named are probably doomed anyway. Type 31e may not be the ideal solution, but it’s the only game in town! Let’s hope the RN has got something up its sleeve. The Type 26 started off at 5000t and grew, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see the ‘31 come in at around 4500, which at least would give SOME room for growth and the figure of 8 (+ 8 x T26) actually works out when considering the number of Type 23’s (13) for cross decking equipment (excluding main gun) plus 3 additional ship sets announced for the first Type 26’s

Ginn

Not as simple just to discard HMS Scott if you understand the work she does. I’m currently drafted to her and from the top down, nothing is being said about her being sold, in fact far from it

Doug

I hope someone does think about Ocean and what she has done of late, we are not a “Blue Water” navy anymore!

Geoffrey Hicking

This will only show my arrogance, but I tried writing an article arguing for a larger navy some months ago. More type 26s and type 31s. You may laugh at that know-nothing comment. If a snowflake like me says it, then there must be something wrong with it. That is NOT to disrespect the expertise of others here. If you call for more type 26s, then that is born out your knowledge, NOT the utterly disgusting fantasy fleet idiocies I adhered to. Please understand that I am sincere on that.
I thought that improving procurement might improve the numbers situation. I wrote some utter rubbish about ‘innovation centres’ (referred to in some RAND Corporation studies) and different departments talking to each other more to save time and money. I thought that with some research, I could be useful.
The article was badly written and badly thought-out. Nonetheless, the prominent magazine rejected it over the phone with such a bored voice I thought the editor simply did not care about the forces. In a magazine dedicated to ‘Defending Western Civilisation’.
Then there are the R.N friends that just smile and say that there are ‘golden opportunities’ to improve the navy, whilst remaining (seemingly genuinely) positive. The civil servants that patiently explain that there is absolutely no money left, and there will be even less in the future. Everything is fine, they say. Every argument I’ve posited for increasing money/numbers has been demolished expertly, with the patience reserved for little snowflake manchildren such as myself.
It just feels like watching a limb being slowly hacked away, decade in, decade out, and it feels like there is no hope for defence whatsoever. It cannot go on, yet it must. If I agree with you, the ex-civil servant bloggers prove me wrong. If I agree with them, you prove me wrong. Posting anything will rightly invite accusations of fantasy fleet.
Yes, I know this sounds like utter rubbish. Please do not take this for some ironic rant. Text never conveys emotions properly. I’m sure that there is a solution that my little mind has missed. I can’t see it and it is incredibly frustrating. I have yelled at others to cover for my inadequacies, and I am sorry both for that and my initial arrogance in thinking I could learn something. I am pretty much the worthless generation personified. Fedaykin, you have every right to blast away everything I have written here. I’m actually rather desperate that you do- some people simply need maturity hammered in to them.
I’m sorry.

Ian

Time for a lie down

Geoffrey Hicking

I don’t understand.

Chaffers

Civil servants with their seemingly endless and well documented cock ups accusing others of playing fantasy fleets. Lol
If they ordered ships without propellers they’d have their excuses lined up, no one would be at fault or to blame and they’d still get their pensions.
I mean, if they had a worldwide reputation for efficiency and far sighted decisions it would be one thing. In fact the MoD has been a national joke for most of my life.

Geoffrey Hicking

It just feels like everyone is right about something in some way to some degree. Allowing people in the shipyards to talk to navy personnel more, having a cut off for design changes, making sure the price doesn’t rise past a certain point seemed sensible. The MoD has made some alarming mistakes, yes, and RUSI, RAND, and others have a point about what could be improved.
However, we should take into account the fact that the MoD has ordered some very good kit. Sea-Ceptor, the Type 45s… If we’re going to castigate them for failing to control costs, can we perhaps praise them for getting the right kit? They seem to be aiming for better technology, and despite the computer software catastrophe that was the Astute SSN design process, they have tried to improve the procurement process since 1997. John Parker was brought in recently, and despite the RUSI’s carefully voiced doubts, some of his recommendations might be adopted.
Things could be better, but they could be really, really, worse. Look at the procurement program of any non-Western country for reference. if all we do is talk civil servants down, then how can we expect the best and the brightest to go into the MoD? We hate politicians, journalists, lazy public sector workers, lazy private sector workers, managers that don’t sort productivity, heck, even the telegraph comments thread moans about ‘weak’ servicemen and women. Enough! Let’s stop being bitter about everything, or we’ll spiral into nihilism.
(and yes, that is hypocritical of me and shows my hubris. I almost don’t care anymore)

Don

This may shed some light on what’s happening.
LONDON ― The British Royal Navy is on a technology drive to rapidly increase capability, but may have to pay the price with the removal of platforms, the First Sea Lord Adm. Philip Jones said in a speech at the DSEI 2017 show Tuesday.
Jones outlined numerous programs to drive capabilities at sea: the introduction of a new compact deployable IT system; hydrographic capability; and plans to accelerate the delivery of future mine countermeasures, and test flights for a remotely piloted helicopter from the deck of a Type 23 frigate next year. It’s all part of a blitz to up the pace of technology introduction in the Royal Navy.
But, he warned, the Royal Navy might have to sacrifice platforms to pay for the technology uplift.
“Are we, for instance, prepared to remove existing platforms from service in order to create the financial and manpower headroom to introduce new systems. which, in time, could deliver truly transformative advances in capability?” he asked the crowd.

Ian

My political masters are cutting the budget again so I do I try and justify the indefensible.
Bloody good effort!

Chaffers

Yep platforms and capabilities get cut, the huge army of civil servants merely gets moved to the private sector where they cost even more.
We should pencil in a single ship for the Royal Navy in 2070 or something and plan for it now. It would have a crew of 3 and require 40,000 civil servants to ‘just about manage’ it.
“Due to our rising defence budget of £3 trillion till 2071 the HMS Entire Royal Navy will be able to leave port for three days rather than two this year.” Defence minister Sir Bob Wobblesh1te said.
“This 50% increase in capability has come about through the tireless work of the civil service and I’m glad to say that there will be no repeat of last year’s capability holiday as the bogroll ordering department has had it’s staff increased considerably. Also the Health and safety oversight ( bathroom appliances disposable paper uses of) committee has a new chairman who I think has a grip on the realities facing a serving member of crew touching cloth”
“The HMS Entire Royal Navy will be the most powerful vessel afloat once BAEs fix the remaining issues, hopefully before it decommissions in 2072. We have agreed a new contract which represents excellent value for taxpayer’s money and I’m pleased to announce now includes propellers and even a watertight hull.”
Asked about the multinational conglomerate CEO’s recent press release which merely said, “Big boys in Tracey Island did it and ran off” Sir Bob seemed circumspect.
“Whilst I’m not going to respond directly due to the commercial sensitivity of the contract everybody knows that he smells and is a noob”
The 1SL meanwhile was upbeat. “This fantastic increase in world beating, punching above our weight, doing more with less, credible warfighting ability represents a new Dawn for the Royal Navy. Initial planning for this extra day of capability has already started and we’ve appointed three new Admirals to consider the ramifications of Tonga attacking the Isle of Wight, preferably around the 17th of July. We also look forward to commissioning her sister ship which, in the extremely unlikely scenario where they don’t sell the bugger first, will enable us to double the fleet number in 2087.”

Don

Does a compact deployable hydrographic capability have the same or better capability than HMS Scott and hence render her redundant?
Not convinced , but if it does then that could release 78 sailors to crew a Frigate and could long term allow for a Frigate to be HMS Scott’s replacement , But all maybe wishful thinking.

Sjb1968

Don I am not convinced as the savings are not real when you have just spent money on refitting a survey ship with the latest sonar etc. A long term plan is required and funding to match. All we are seeing is the prelude to more cuts for our growing navy ! Words fail me

Don

If HMS Scott is retired and her capability is moved to a compact deployable package and this allows for an increase in new build Frigate numbers then I can see the reasoning behind it.
However if HMS Scott is retired with loss of her capabilities and no replacement vessel of whatever type, then that is purely a short sighted cut with loss of another capability for the RN. Any supposed savings if any would be small.
Can the loss of HMS Scott justify what the RN will gain in other,. “capabilities at Sea.”. Not convinced yet.

David Graham

HMS Scott is our only deep water survey ship, providing deep bathymetric capability beyond the continental shelf, and multi-beam sonar allowing world wide mapping of the ocean floor. Militarily, this is of prime importance to nuclear submarine operations. The UK Hydrographic Department is one of three such organisations to provide world wide charts [both electronic and paper] and is of vital importance to global shipping. Do we throw this away to provide what, exactly?
As to the current 1SL; well, there’s a silver toothed PR spokesman for the MoD, if ever I saw one.
RFA Diligence is an important asset [ask any out of area nuclear submariner] which could easily be replaced from commercial sources. With our tiny fleet [1SL is quite content to reduce it further], what happens if we have a situation where battle damage requires to be repaired? Without Stena Seaspread and Stena Inspector [now RFA Diligence], many more ships would have been lost during Corporate in 1982.
General Eisenhower pointed out in 1944 that without proper logistic support all major campaigns would fail. It would be wise to consider that before criticising the now miniscule RFA, who represent the enablers that allow operations to be conducted. Think food, fuel for ships and aircraft, air and general stores, explosives, ammunition and potable water, and bear in mind there are now no RFA support tankers to top up the fleet tankers as and when necessary.

Ginn

Unfortunately a compact hydrographic boat couldn’t do the job of Scott. She is unique in the world at what she does and she is the size she is, for a reason

jon livesey

OK, so how much more tax are you, personally, willing to pay for a more capable Navy? And how would you suggest persuading the elecctorate to pay along with you? And if the answer is to publish a blog, no, that won’t do it.

Steve R

I keep hearing how ‘hard up’ this country is, but if so, how can we afford to give away billions – equivalent to 2 fully equipped carriers including their air groups- EVERY YEAR! When we have our house in order and the money is deemed surplus, then we can donate it to Overseas Aid. Otherwise remember the old adage ‘Charity begins at home’

Ian

Absolutely agree Steve. If anyone’s on Twitter you can make that point directly to Priti Patel & HMS Ocean as she’s on the mighty O at moment.
Also Jon,
There are many additional choices which could be made and barely touch earned income. Pensions could lose the triple lock and rise with average earnings. Corporation tax has gone past the point of being competitive to undermining the investment to sustain business. 20% CT would do more good than harm to both revenue and perception. Inheritance tax cuts are deeply economically illiterate. NICS are deeply regressive and due a major overhaul.
There’s an easy £25bn in just those few to have a think about priorities with rates barely moving.

Grubbie

I actually wouldn’t mind if most of money wasn’t ripped off and the remainder indirectly supporting corrupt governments and missile programs. Any money handed out in this fashion is bound to be wasted. If we want to help we should stand up to western business interests and make it easier for third world to export. We are probably making things worse.

Geoffrey Hicking

If we sold arms to third world states, then if they squandered our aid on weapons, we’d at least get some of our money back.

Chaffers

“OK, so how much more tax are you, personally, willing to pay for a more capable Navy?”
Quite a bit.

Grubbie

The carriers are the original sin. They have had a devastating effect on the RN.
There’s honesty for you

Ian

The original sin is SDSR2010.
We can argue about whether or not that was the right thing to do and the environment at the time but the carriers are not to blame.

Mark

I agree but we are not alone in cutting navel forces, the mighty US fleet is struggling to meet its requirements without extending tours and cutting processes with devastating effect as we have seen in the Pacific fleet.
If you actually look at other country’s such as France, Japan, Italy etc our fleet is quite comparable. All navies have paid the price of the peace dividend at the end of the Cold War, we should concentrate on how we react to current security risks around the world and how best to ensure our own security. Given that it takes a long time to regain the capability lost over the last 20+ years we need to plan this now
For what it is worth I would like to see a RN fleet with the following numbers by 2030-
2 aircraft carriers
6 destroyers
20 frigates
10 attack subs
1 helicopter carrier
2 landing ships
4 ballistic missile subs
With a bit of investment we should be able to achieve this

Darren Riche-Webber

In a different and better Country by then, all this talk should be history and the Navy bigger than this.

Steve R

The ‘original sin’ is the lack of funding from successive governments which has caused the ‘devastating effect’. How’s that for honesty? The carriers should be the bedrock of our countries defence, something to be proud of, not derided as a waste of money. £6.2bn, spent over 20 years is a pitance considering they have potentially 50 years of service to come! The time has come to stop the penny pinching, raid the bloated Aid budget and start doing defence properly. The World is NOT becoming a safer place!

Bob Scott

Always bear in mind that the Daily Mail (along with its Sunday offshoot) is an ultra-right-wing, shock-horror, sensationalist rag and everything it says should be taken with a very large pinch of salt

Lou

The second aircraft carrier will be sold to India. The plan is for a reduced fleet of 6 destroyers and 6 frigates ultimately (it will not be 8). The sub fleet will remain at 7 until the end of the Astute class, the successors will be be built but likely to be 3.
I’m sorry but everything else is dreaming and there are plenty of dreamers here.

Steve R

Just where did you obtain these pearls of wisdom? Inside track at the Ministry of Defence? Or are you a close relation of Michael Fallon? Or are you just another manic depressive pessimist? Dreaming is all very well, but it sounds like you’re having a nightmare.

Lou

I have found my nightmares come true infinitely more than my dreams when it comes to Royal Navy resources planning from the UK government.

Geoffrey Hicking

“Or are you just another manic depressive pessimist?”
No, he/she is an individual that’s seen everything get cut again and again, and he/she is extrapolating from recent history. Frankly, no outcome seems impossible right now. Building 3 subs to succeed Astute, telling us how capable they are with comments about integrating with the U.S/ Japanese or whatever, and then leaving the production run there. Unlikely perhaps, but not impossible.

Darren Riche-Webber

If the second Carrier was sold to India, there would be a change of government. It would be the biggest symbol of self-inflicted decline made to this Country. The first carrier would be completely overworked and tired in a much shorter time, and in effect turn out to be a far more expensive wound in the longer term.

Geoff Carr

Various governments throughout history have ignored or cut our armed forces after they deem us not to need them only to be fought with their pants down at times of trouble. Then it’s left to the British people to pull their fat out the fire. It’s time it stopped. They keep cutting our services both in armed services and civilian only to ensure that they continue to reap great benefits for them selves . They continue to have great saleries and benefits such as massive expense sheets that they still continue to fiddle claiming more for breakfasts than most of us spend on food all day sometimes all week. They curb pub lick spending by cutting the DWP bill and say it’s for the pub lick good. And, that Drs, Consultants and medical professors are too expensive to take charge of this then pay upwards of £1500 ph each for up to 500 more high end lawyers to make sure that the claims fail. No political party has ever really looked after our RN dating back as far as Elisabeth the first. After Drake. Beat the Amada sailors were starving in their ships. Those ships were rotting at their moorings. The same after Trafalgar when the napolionic war ended the navy was cut to the bone. Every conflict since has gone the same way. Yet the fat cats get fatter telling us times are hard and we must tighten our belts. And. There is no money left due to some one else’s poor performances. Name me one polition that went into politics an impoverished nare do well with good honest intentions and came out the same impoverished nare do well with the same integrity.
Just one. Ever

Steve R

The next Type 26 name is to be announced tomorrow, but why has such a promotional tool for the service been missed? Announce a choice of, say 12 city names, and then put it to a public vote! The top 7 answers are then allocated to the remaining ships (perhaps in order of popularity?) The opportunity to do this was certainly missed with Prince of Wales, which would assuredly have ended up as Ark Royal given a choice, and the raising of public awareness would have been immense.

Grubbie

Same age old predictable response,12 new battlecruisers. You want honesty and realism? No you can’t have any more money.

Steve R

Grubbie
Can you not read? There is no mention in my post of “12 new battlecruisers” (?) but 12 NAMES from which the public would CHOOSE for the REMAINING SEVEN Type 26 !!! If you can’t be bothered to pay attention, at least don’t show your ignorance by making moronic comments.

Grubbie

Note that it wasn’t a reply to your comment.

Steve R

Really? Can’t see any other posts mentioning ‘12’ Of anything

Ted

The Defence budget needs to be 3% of GDP, not 2%. It is high time that at least 50% of the bloated overseas aid budget, large amounts of which goes to nations with missile programmes and advanced jet fighters, is switched to vital British defence

Don

BMT and Babcock’s bid for T31e could have the potential to actually ” Grow the Royal Navy” as we keep hearing about.
Appledore could bid to build and assembly all the blocks of one T31e while at the same time a different yard could be designated for assembly of a second T31e for example Roysth. With blocks being built in assorted yards throughout the UK.
This could allow 2 T31e to be delivered per year while 1 T23 is retired per year.
Escort numbers could be increased by 1 for the first two T31e delivered and by a further 1 (if desired) the following year if five ships built.
This build approach would help meet any export demand and if the T31e is a credible ship would allow for possible earlier retirement of T23 instead of spending money on refit.
It would require the political will to implement this strategy and the resolve to address the manpower issue before T31e starts sea trials.

ATH

I can see two problems with your plan.
1. Fixing the manpower problems will probably take 10 plus years. People need time to gain the experience to move up.
2. Money is very tight in government. People don’t want to vote for parties promising to put up taxes to increase MOD funding.
The result is that the Navy will only grow slowly as manpower is released as new lower crewed ships come into service. The next few weeks may well see one or two T23s scraped to save on refits and allow all the T45s to come back into service.

Steve R

Ultimately the one thing all of us should remember is that we live on an island, and as such, are dependant for our existence on free use of the sea. It therefore beggars belief that, as a nation, we cannot support a stronger Navy. In the event of any kind of major conflict, the Army cannot deploy in any meaningful strength unless transported by ship (please, no one mention the channel tunnel!) and the RAF is dependant on ‘friendly’ foreign bases, or massive tanker support, for a handful of strike aircraft with limited payload and time on target (as over Libya) Or, can fly from a carrier! Both services, it can be argued, are also dependant on sea control!
I don’t think any of us expect a US Navy style global fleet, just a reasonable force able to protect/promote our interests around the world. 2 carriers, (24/36 F35 each) 24 escorts, 10 attack subs, and maintain the current amphibious lift, should not beyond our resources and only represents a modest increase on current strength. Relying on the nuclear ‘big stick’ as our only deterrent is folly – a well equipped carrier battle group exerts a considerable ‘presence ‘ and is capable of a graduated response to any threat. Politicians of all colours should beware – the world is definitely not becoming a more friendly place!

Steve R

PS , sorry about the monologue, I know for most of you I’m preaching to the converted – I just needed to unburden myself!

Grubbie

Now you seem to have made my point and drifted off into fantasy land. There is never going to be a well equipped carrier battle group.

John Carlin

I think the time come to wrap up the army navy and airforce into one defence force. Try to save on tap brass overhead. I believe the army has two general for each tank. Also there needs to be swingeing cuts in the MOD. I would go as far as to state that the carriers should be disposed off. After all they were only built to supply Gordon Brown’s constituents with work. Now no one could accuse Gordon of being a friend of the armed forces.

4thwatch

Why would you dispose of the two aircraft carriers as a matter of interest? Is it because you are just following what other ill informed commentators are saying ?
Supposing the next USA administration is isolationist and decides to stop patrolling the seas and securing the sea lanes for free passage for the ships of the world? Who then would prevent a rogue nation from interfering with trade?

Seafare

Why would the US stop patrolling the seas? The US has global commitments and they’re not slowing down any. If to answer your query; building the Gerald Ford class carriers would be a no.
You think the RN could fill the void left by a absent US Navy?
I’m sorry but that’s not doable. Considering what happened in the Caribbean recently. I’d say the RN wouldn’t be stepping in to fill the shoes of the US Navy anytime soon, I’m sorry to say.

4thwatch

The US wont stop so long as there are enough people in Government who are prepared to take on the awesome responsibility. There is a long standing isolationist grouping and this is not disappearing; rather its growing.

Dern

Given that the British Army has historically always been one of the most cavalry light armies in Europe, and that only the RTR and QRH operate tanks, that’s not really a shocker. But hey alarmist talk like that is great if you don’t understand the actual structure or terms being used.
Could the British Army use a more armour heavy force structure? Perhaps, that would be a talk for “Save the British Army.” Certainly 1 Div and the Light Infantry – Support Ratio needs to be sorted, but again that’s not a discussion for here. But at the moment it *is* army doctrine to operate 2 Armoured Regiments and a lot of Light Cav/Recce/Infantry so unless you want to have a discussion about *that* aspect of the military maybe stop the blustering?

David Graham

I am no fan of Gordon Brown, however he must have had a very big constituency, bearing in mind the carrier blocks were built in Portsmouth, the Tyne, the Mersey, and on the Clyde, before being assembled in Rosyth. Gordon Brown’s constituency was Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Don

It is been presented that the replacement of the four River OPVs with five new River Batch 2’s is evidence of growing the Navy.
However that may be too simple a view too take. Crews from the minehunter fleet are being used to help crew the OPV’s so are we seeing a reduction in the minehunter fleet to see a increase in the OPV fleet?
As for the new Batch 2 River’s they have been built to a high standard with a large crane , flight deck, space for iso container’s and the ability to take some battle damage. I would assume these features would allow them to operate in a secondary capacity as a platform to support unmanned vehicles in a mine warfare role.
If we then examine the reduction in the minehunter fleet. A reduction of 3 minehunters in SDR2015 and a further 2 announced recently.
So in these terms we lose five minehunters but gain five OPVs with a secondary role as minehunters. And also we lose the four batch 1 rivers.
So overall I feel this is another cut in ship numbers with the hope unmanned vehicles will service the minehunting capability with the benefit of releasing sailors to crew other vessels.
It keeps coming back to the manpower issue and how the RN can juggle this precious resource to deliver a broad spectrum of capabilities.

paul

Give all the money we spend on supporting the migrants in this country to the royal navy Nelson is turning in his grave and all the other seamenwho made this country GREAT. ONCE

Peter Stratford

Peter,
It’s interesting to see that nobody takes credit for this article.
As an Island nation with little in the way of resources but much in the way of history,are we trying to make ourselves something we don’t need or afford to be?

Silenet Majority

No of course not. What on earth are you trying to say?
You have inadvertently just covered two of the main reasons why the RN is so vital to the prosperity and security of the UK: 1. we are an island nation, 2. limited domestic resources (apart from money and people). To the uninitiated, this is why we are, along with our myriad national partners, concerned with maintaining the security of the sea ways and the trade that passes through them. Plus, we have cultural, trade, security and financial interests all over the globe.
In our case this is almost everything we export and import. The panic in the markets if this trade was interrupted, combined with the disruption of ‘just in time’ logistics chains and the resultant panic clearance of the supermarket shelves and social unrest that would follow would be devastating even if just for a short time.
Most people on here wish to see that HMG returns to taking defence seriously and resources it appropriately, particularly so as we live in era of massive public spending and waste.
As for history, how tiresome. Properly funding the 2015 SDR would be a good start, or even, shock horror restoring that which was hastily and short-sightedly scrapped after the so called 2010 SDR would be better, better still would be a modern profile of capability and manning equivalent to that of the late 1990s. So, that would be looking back perhaps 25 years into history, hardly a resurrection of an imperial posture now is it?
Economic stability, prosperity and indeed survival are dependent on security, and security is dependent on the military, primarily the navy. One cannot expect to maintain an economy the size of ours and expect others to protect our interests because we are not prepared to divert a paltry % of public expenditure to do it ourselves. If we do not pull our weight, or even cover our arse, then we will lose our economic position and the enormous public expenditure that depends upon it.
All talk of defined savings is nebulous. One of the main reason that the MOD is in crisis is the fact that each round of ‘savings’ generates massive downstream costs, and covering these costs then replicates the crisis at a later date. Save a pound today, spend a few hundred in a year or two, but hey, worry about then when it happens. This is why we spend the money but do not get the expected benefit, for instance spending £millions on complex projects only to pull the plug on them when they are 90% complete to ‘save’ the remaining 10%. This is not a saving, but a 100% waste, just in order to meet an arbitrarily set figure and avoid banging our heads on the ceiling. Imagine trying to run your own finances wondering if every pound you spend on anything may be wasted as whatever you have paid for could be removed as a total loss in the future. You or I would save the money under such circumstances, but the unfortunately the RN is run on a spend it or lose it basis.
No organisation can run efficiently under circumstances where the rug could be pulled from under it at any moment. Stability is required for long term efficiency and productivity and extra money (even if one off) to plug gaps to see that projects are completed and investment in capability is maintained, would work out much cheaper in the long run. For instance why consider making 1000 elite RMs redundant to balance the RN budget when the Army has missed all its recruitment targets? Hardly the holistic view having one defence ministry is meant to provide.

Peter Lever

Many good points already made – my “analysis” is that a weakened government that lacks cohesion and trust amongst the core cabinet members desperately need good professional advice – oh for the days laughingly satirised in “Yes Minister”. As a retired Public Sector professional let me indicate the ways this can be done ranging from “Chinese Book-keeping” to “tell them the full implications but provide solutions” :
1) Chinese Book-keeping – not a real cost-saving device but has political acceptability
a) Fund the capital cost of CASD from the Treasury Reserve – leave the operational costs in the MOD budget.
b) all Humanitarian relief costs involving the military should be charged to DFID’s Overseas Aid Budget (would be VERY popular with the public but still keep the country’s ethical stance).
c) Any large orders for foreign equipment (e.g. F35B aircraft) should not have MOD budgets bearing Exchange Rate risks – this should be borne by the Treasury with the US$/£stg exchange rate fixed at the time of placing the order as it affects the MOD budget.
2) “Tell them the full implications but provide solutions”
a) CASD has implications for seats at the Top Table for international clout especially continued membership of the UN Security Council – Not for debate at this stage as political support exists.
b) Maintaining the carrier force – Projection of Power and effective involvement globally is similar to a) above but also keeps the UK as the leading military power in Europe – important vis-a-vis post Brexit reputation. If the full support vessels needed to maintain an effective Carrier Battle Group are not affordable then the carriers need to be utilised in co-operation with NATO forces or simply the US Navy. The French seem to have accepted this with their diminished carrier strength – better to lose some pride than actually fall over.
c) Amphibious Force capacity – if lost can probably never be re-established so this affects rapid deployment to trouble spots. Manpower costs could involve sacrificing the Royal Marine Commandos completely and having the Army train a group to operate in that capacity PROVIDED the ships are retained (Albion/Bulwark).
d) Radical reduction in top brass – may hurt but the “Combined Services” concept may have to be the way forward – pay specialists at sea more rather than end of career ranks.
Hope this approach finds some favour.

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