RFA Fort Victoria, the UK’s only vessel capable of providing solid stores logistic support to the Carrier Strike Group has been non-operational since late 2021 with mechanical and crewing issues putting a question mark over her future.
Fort Vic returned to the UK from the CSG21 deployment in mid-December 2021. She had served as a key component of the group, conducting 44 replenishments at Sea, transferring 27,000 tonnes of fuel and 350 tonnes of ammunition, food and spares. She also hosted three Merlin Mk4 helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron and conducted 635 deck landings.
After de-storing at Crombie, she off-loaded oil at Loch Striven and returned to Plymouth in January 2022, spending 4 months alongside until heading to Birkenhead to begin refit in May 2022. On completion of refit at Cammell Laird, she left the Mersey in December and returned to Plymouth. At the time, the RN stated the ship was “looking forward to a jam-packed 2023” and her Captain said she would be “…supporting the Carrier Strike Group 23 deployment”. She remained in Devonport for another 4 months until April 2023 when she left South Yard and then swung around a buoy in Plymouth Sound until 15th May when she sailed for Portland.
The MoD now has to pay expensive fees to keep ships in Portland harbour (a facility it once owned) so long stays in the Dorset port are avoided when possible. Fort Vic will likely soon be on her way to Leith Docks where she will retain a skeleton crew and be used for training at least until the end of this year. The 2022 refit does not seem to have resolved the significant defects which are believed to include the compressors. (The pneumatic systems are an important aspect of a ship, providing high-pressure air for various functions which include starting the main and auxiliary engines, valve control and many other operations.)
Launched in 1990 and having served across the globe, it is not surprising it is becoming a struggle to keep this old ship going. Although Fort Vic has had regular maintenance, spending a good proportion of her life in Cammell Laird shipyard, an accumulation of age-related defects cannot all be blamed on the contractor. As the ship enters her fourth decade, spares may no longer be in production and the alternatives are to either get very expensive bespoke replacements made or make do with refurbishing old parts. The replacement Fleet Solid Support ships were finally ordered in January but the years of delays now leave the RFA in a familiar trap. Either they are forced to spend very significant and scarce funds on new items of equipment for a vessel that may only be in service for another few years or cut their losses and scrap the vessel.
In light of the escalating shortage of RFA personnel, opting to lay up a ship that demands a crew of approximately 100 is also an appealing choice for planners trying to staff the rest of the fleet. Between October 2021 and October 2022, the number of RFA sailors declined from 1,840 to 1,750, a loss of nearly 5% from a workforce that was already overstretched. At the same time, the RFA is also having to generate new crews for RFA Proteus and RFA Stirling Castle.
Government has now formally announced that the Carrier Strike Group will deploy to the Asia-Pacific region in 2025. A solid support ship is especially critical to that deployment and repairs to Fort Vic are the most likely option, whatever the cost. The RN would not comment on the current status of the ship but says “RFA Fort Victoria is due to enter a pre-planned refit next year.”
In the meantime, HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Carrier Strike Group is theoretically at high readiness, prepared to be sent to hotspots anywhere in the globe at short notice. For the foreseeable future, Fort Vic will not be available to support CSG deployments, planned or otherwise and there is no opportunity for RN warships to practice solid stores replenishment without assistance from allies.
If it becomes obvious the ship cannot be affordably sustained until around 2028 when the first new FSS should be ready, then either there will be a major gap in capability or the RFA may consider trying to lease a temporary replacement. One of the T-AKE dry cargo replenishment ships operated by the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command would be the most likely candidate. This assumes the US would be willing to lease a vessel from its already stretched support fleet. Not insurmountable, but it would also require the RFA to operate another vessel with completely unfamiliar equipment, ammunition storage and handling arrangements.
Putting off the replacement of naval vessels for short-term savings, results in old ships staggering on with patchy availability while becoming a money pit that absorbs resources needed elsewhere. The result of decades of cuts and detrimental in-year budget cycles, this is a lesson that the MoD is continually unable to apply to its long-term planning.
Subsequent to writing this article further details have come to light. Fort Victoria is in Leith being maintained by a small crew and could be called upon to support an unplanned CSG deployment, although this would require taking crews from other RFA vessels that currently have higher priority. She is mechanically fairly sound and the planned refit work next year is primarily to bring firefighting and munitions handling safety equipment up to increasingly stringent modern standards. It is planned she will regenerate and deploy on exercise Steadfast Defender and with HMS Prince of Wales and the Carrier Strike Group deployment to the Asia Pacific in 2025.
Almost as if scrapping Fort George in 2010 was a colossally short sighted and irrational decision!!!
The fact that Fort Vic has spent all that time at Cammell Laird but is still needing a refit next year says it all. This is where kicking the can on a replacement multiple times and flogging an asset to death gets you!
Believe the CSG is due to deploy to the Eastern Med this summer and autumn but I guess they can make do without her by using Souda Bay for pit stops or flying high priority stuff out from Akrotiri.
Even with the Waves laid up it’s a bit head scratching to see how the RFA will be able to man the existing fleet as well as the 3 FSS, 2 MROSS, Stirling Castle and any other MCM mother-ships procured.
Well that’s what you get for letting Civil Servants who are tied to a poxy desk, Fort George should bever have been scrapped!!!! And why did they not look into the design of the new French Solid Support Ships or use the plans for the US Lewis & Clarke SUpport ships? surely if they work use the designs!!! Also do the MOD ask the people who work on ships what they think and have any ideas for future designs? MOD needs to be completely scrapped and an enquiry needs to be set up and look at how much money is wasted.
There are no ‘French Solid Support Ships’….
The French vessels are derivatives of the Italian Vulcano Class…
They’re AOR’s doing fueling and stores…
As Oilers they’re significantly inferior to the Tides…
As Solid Stores they’re massively inferior to FSS…
And doing both they’re also no-where close to Fort Vic….
I do not think you can blame the civil service for what are ultimately political decisions. Some minister must have signed off on scrapping and purchasing… yes we should have saved money and bought off the shelf. We also could have got a faster build if we had new ships not built is Scotland, they probably would be less expensive too.
I am amazed how much time it takes to build T26 and other military ships in the UK were France/Spain appear to be able to build a 140,000t cruise liner in just a few years…
You are right about scrapping Fort George. Its almost as if someone wanted to make the Carriers fail. Then again the Treasury is addicted to gross errors by scrapping useful stuff on decommissioning.
We should build them a ship of fools for their own pleasure so they can ….. each other and not people doing a proper job.
Didn’t both fort ships require a double hull to be installed for transporting oil. If we kept them both they would likely both be out of action. The fact is they should have been replaced by now had it not been for running the mod on a shoe string for the last decade.
Fort George was in better material state, but needed a refit. The new Forts also needed more crew than the old Forts.
But be in no doubt, the people who developed the cut options in 2010 were not just civil servants. The RN was intimately involved in that decision as well.
“ the Treasury asked the MoD to draw up options for a 10–20% real-terms cut in its budget. The final amount was a 7.7% reduction over four years.”
Jolly good then , Treasury only ‘asked’ for the cuts and it was up to the RN to choose the victims for summary execution.
That’s how Treasuries work. Back then the government budget deficit was £150M and likely to rise had the one-eyed financial genius’ plans been followed. Have a think how the markets would have behaved had that not been addressed. Liz Truss found out.
Once you ring-fence health-spending and pensions, plus edumacation, the pain has to come somewhere. What is striking is that at the time, disaster was predicted in terms of the number of CS jobs cut across government, but that “disaster” did not occur. However, we’re still living beyond our means – so-called “austerity” was nothing of the sort and benefits have been wiped out by the support demanded for C-19 and the energy crisis.
The RN made the actual choices.
The ‘one-eyed financial genius’ I enjoyed this.
In 2010 with the carriers still some way off (and a battle needed to keep both – which the RN did well to keep), I am sure FSS looked like a reasonable thing to hold fire on.
The RN is in the best state of the three forces because they did make choices and had a strategic goal (CSG) which they made sacrifices to maintain (size of the fleet and RM). Contrast to the army which has just tried to maintain a bunch of cap badges….
Has it occurred to you that the RN is in the best shape because whilst the other two services were fighting two wars, the RN was examining the future? (yes I know there was a RN/RM rotation in HERRICK and TELIC – I was there for both.)
The Army for example went into Op ENTIRETY – it’s entire effort being put towards campaign success on HERRICK. That included structures, platform and equipment procurement and training. As a result, long term decisions were put on hold- and then the political rug pulled from under them by the pull-out.
And the Army has not just been trying to maintain cap badges – in fact it has been actively trying to shed them, but the politicians refused to allow it (Cameron – no more cap badges will go! SNP – We want the Black Watch back!)
The Army regimental system is also just a recruiting thing now, it doesn’t affect operational or to an extent even manning decisions. It’s now a regular occurrence for example for Majors to command outside of their original regiment – unheard of even 15 years ago.
What a mess.
Man power is the key. I think RN and RFA shall NOT think much about increasing the hull number. For example, how are they going to man the 3 FSSS to come?
Disband Argus for sure, saying one of the FSSS is her replacement.
And, RFA might be required to cut more hulls. I’m afraid yet another Bay will go. MHC OSV has come, MROSS(1) has come, their crew size is not large, but not negligible. As the MHC OSV “can be said to be replacing a Bay (on paper), now used for MCMV supprt in the gulf”, I’m afraid it is in danger.
RN/RFA must realize that without significant uplift in man-power money (which is huge), “larger fleet” is just a mirage. Before investing on any of T32, RN/RFA shall invest on man-power cost. IF not, it will just procuring “ship-without-a-crew”, many ship in extended readiness.
so depressing but has been obvious for years…
This is all true, but presents a huge political challenge for HMG.
If you pay more to attract staff for the RFA how do you justify refusing to pay more to attract staff the NHS needs? Which do you think the average voter has more interest in, proper NHS staffing or RFA staffing.
It is all about choices but Nurses offered 5% plus a one off lump sum and RFA 2.95%.
NHS pay is £1.25bn + per week so a £10k pay rise for the entire RFA is only £17m per annum.
That wouldn’t register as a rounding error on the MOD wage bill.
We just spent in excess of £100m on a funeral for the richest woman in Britain (bless her).
At Christmas we had low paid military personnel covering for better paid civil servants whilst they striked.
You have to know when someone is taking the pi$$ out of you and the best thing the lower ranks of the military can do is what the matelots did at Invergorden in 1931.
It’s not directly about the financial cost f paying the RFA more it’s about the political optics.
To make an impact you would need to raise RFA pay rates 20% ish. The about the same as what the government says is an unreasonable claim by the nursing unions. There in lies the problem, two organisations with manpower problems one big but with widespread public support one almost unknown.
It is just a re-grading exercise to bring it into line with current merchant navy norms…..
It’s just a regrading to bring Nurses pay into line with private hospitals.
Given as you say the RFA is “almost unknown” I don’t think politics really come into it.
Unfortunately, I think the fault lies with those at the top within the MOD who are sorely out of touch and quite obviously comfortable themselves.
It is easy to blame the Treasury and I do like our current defence secretary but rates of pay are scandalous and coupled with poor housing and unsocial working requirements you can see why retention is so poor.
i am certainly no militant union rep but I would tell the RFA crews to strike until they get a rise in line with other offers to those in the public sector.
Pay the RFA more and you can be sure the health unions will let everyone know about it.
Do what the MN did sack all the bits and employ Filipinos and Indians. That will solve the wage problem
If they did the £10k thing, the RN would empty.
Can’t see them sacrificing another Bay anytime soon…..they are way too useful!
Sadly think the Waves are very unlikely to return to active service and will be sold. Agree that if manpower continues to be scarce then Argus will be next for the chopping block, probably like Diligence shortly after she’s had an expensive refit!
I realise there are various issues to overcome or work out but at what point does it become more viable to just fold the RFA into the RN? The RFA vessels have gradually become more ‘fighty’ and expected to go into harms way and it’s how many other navies seem to operate rather than having 2 seperate services.
Navy people spend a lot less of their time at sea the RFA. To replace 1,700 RFA you would probably need 4/5k extra RN people. That’s a huge ask for a force thats continually struggled to recruit and retain people.
Fort Vic’s crew for the 1st FSS.
Argus’s for the 2nd FSS.
None for the 3rd FSS.
This was the original situation. Now, Fort Vic cannot provide enough crew for the 1st FSS. And, anyway, still the 3rd FSSS are not manned.
If not sacrificing one Bay-class, RFA needs to sacrifice one Tide to fill the gap for the 1st FSSS. And still, there is not enough crew for the 3rd FSSS.
So, in conclusion, Argus and Fort Vic must go, but still the 2nd FSSS is only partly manned, and the 3rd FSSS (or a Bay or a Tide) will be in extended readiness.
The waves were a white elephant in the beginning anyway. So many issues right from build. I did a carribean trip on knight and it was a shambles. Can’t imagine any of the new ships are any better
Very, very unlikely that the Bays will go. They are looking to extend the out of service date on them. They are some of the most cost effective and biggest Operational Capability delivers the RN/RFA operates.
Having only a single ship for replenishment is a clear single-point of failure for the CSG.
It was utter madness to both:
• scrap RFA Fort George
• delay the FSS procurement
Either one of these on its own might have been ok, though far from perfect. But both together has resulted in this farcical situation.
So is she in such a bad way that she cannot actually sail to support the carriers at all?
Maybe: maybe not.
It could be a periodic recertification issue.
I’m dubious that swapping out compressors is a big deal as man is compressors don’t cost big money.
The more likely thing is that there was no CSG to support then the crew was moved elsewhere.
There are lots of, very big and expensive. moving parts here.
The argument in the article is a bit simplistic TBH.
It seems to be OK to spend £Bn’s on ships but not raise RFA manpower rates……some very faulty non commercial thinking there.
How do you raise RFA pay rates and at the same time refuse to do the same in the other parts of the public sector with manpower problems? Answers on a postcard please to the First Lord of the Treasury, 10 Downing Street, London.
Compressor replacement, if this is a part of the problem, could be a supply chain issue. If they tried to repair the existing ones for a while, have now given up and face a long wait to get new ones.
To be honest if it’s anything like the Army and Airforce, if they need that ship sailing in a week. It would be. There’s a lot of red tape in peace time that goes right out the window in war. Just look at the A400. It has one of the worst readiness rates of any modern aircraft however, during op pitting not a single one stopped flying even after one suffered a fault which would have usually grounded it for weeks.
That is very, very true.
In time of war jury rig solutions are OK.
In peace time it is the rule book 100%.
Should have kept recruiting from the Merchant Navy pool. Oh I forgot, we haven’t got a Merchant Navy either now have we. What a joke.
Not that they’d want to join, heard from a couple that the RFA are cheapskates that …. people over. In my experience I can’t disagree.
Worked on many compressors and you could easily overhaul one in less than a days work.
What if the parts are no longer available? There are very very few merchant ships of her age still in service so little to no demand for parts for systems of that vintage.
She used to have a sister ship – oh wait she was scrapped!
Cameron, Clegg and Osborne.
No this goes much further back than those three. For a start you are forgetting President Tony Blair and his ambitions to lead an EU equivalent to the US. Or Brown’s eagerness to get votes for jobs. If you try you can all the way back to the immediate post-WW2 period.
At the end of the day there has never ever been a cohesive realistic defence strategy for the UK. Too many vested interests. Too many short sighted stupid politicians. Too many defeatists ready to let the US dictate our foreign policy and German our domestic one.
Somebody at MoD or RN needs to hire a really good marketing firm to start doing TV ads for recruiting. Manpower is scarce and competitive, so they need to make this appealing, whether from an adventure standpoint or a nationalistic standpoint.
Here in the States, the services are finally starting to do some really good ads, hiring Hollywood directors to make things appealing.
Ads are alway a controversial subject in the U.K. Make the in a style that’s very deliberately aimed at 18-25 year olds and web sights and newspapers are full of complaints about “pandering to woke snowflakes” make them “like they did in the ‘80’s” and they don’t work.
The UK has done excellent recruiting ads for decades, far superior to the crap the US Armed Forces served up…
The issue with the RFAis that they are ‘civilian’ mariners….if they are underpaid in comparison to their civilian counterparts they can walk and get far better money elsewhere…
Excuse my ignorance, but how much in solid stores can the QEs carry? How long can they deploy for without solid store resupply? If operating perhaps only a third of full aircraft capacity, does more usable space become available? I assume ammunition has very particular storage requirements but could other stores use spare hangar space?
Perhaps then a better question would be, why deploy a nearly empty QE anyway? That’s the point we have seemed to reach.
A different question to which the answer is largely but not wholly money. A dozen F35s plus a similar number of helicopters would be a significant force though well short of capacity. It looks likely that this size of air wing will be as much as we can do for a number of years so I wondered if the unavailability of Fort Victoria might be less than critical.
A dozen Bravos and a dozen-ish helicopters………
The Italians have also ordered two (perhaps later three) AORs without much fuss too.
I would humbly suggest a dozen Bravos plus a similar number of helicopters is all that will be fielded.
The french carrier CDG normally operates 20- 26 or so Rafales, but like QEC can take more
Why are you mentioning the CdG?
You mentioned the air wing size of Cavour …
Im just pointed out the reality for MN isnt that high either in its air wing in practice , not the 36 or so thats the maximum.
Um. I mention an Italian ship so you think the French air group size is relevant? Um. Ok. Um.
The air group we should be looking at is the ‘normal’ one for the USS Makin Island.
And it is still larger than what we will be able to field. Plus they have E2. E2 is the plane the QE should have been built around.
Ballistic anti -ship missiles as operated by our eastern friends have mostly replaced those Tu-22M bombers launching cruise missiles from just beyond the E-2 radar screen.[Like much of modern life what was once a thing is no longer]
E-2 isnt any good against that sort of system targeted at a carrier, when its the destroyers who now can track and launch against ballistic incoming
But of course you still remember the Falklands as still having relevance, maybe the charge of the Light Brigade too-
Royal Collection trust pic of the Valley of Death
Remember there was this , with emphasis on maritime defence
From the link
‘With the protection of the aircraft carriers in mind, BMD defence has assumed increasing priority for western nations as the Chinese and Russians have the lead in the development of ballistic ‘carrier killer’ weapons. ‘
Of course beyond the ships radar horizon is still important and a medium capability like the helicopter Crowsnest does that.
You were on the record saying that Asia and the PLA Navy is of no interest. So why worry till the PLA starts landing on the Solent.
I still do think that but greater minds than mine think differently- see the next Carrier deployment to Asia is pencilled in for 2025..ish
Of course the russians have moved onto carrier killer ballistic missiles too and still have Oniks
Any idea on a in service date?
You don’t half chuck out some utter tripe…………
Just re read this in light of update. Fort VIC delivered 27000 tons of fuel and 350 tons of solid stores, food, and spares. ammunition. If 350 tons was all that was required during a long deployment, could the QE not carry that additional material? Fuel supply is not a problem with new tankers now in service.
“Fitted for, but not with” a crew.
One question has anyone looked into why people are leaving the RFA in droves? Moral I hear is rock bottom which is so sad from when I was in over 25 years ago, the crew bar was the heart beat of the ship and the crew used this space to its full potential. I hear this is not the case any more which is so sad.
When i was in the RFA way back from 69 to 86 they were the best years of my life
I noticed a change after 82 and i eventually left in 86 (but that was for personal reasons)
But over the years i kept in touch with a few who stayed and the changes over the years and through them i heard of the changes
Would i have stayed after 86 that i cant say but i probably would have been sacked as i was a bit outspoken
Agree with you on many points Barry. Enjoyed my time from 70 to 89. Like you left for personal reasons.
Stood by the old Forts in Birkenhead from 2013-2018 when Atlantic Engineering (CL in all but name) provided ‘babysitters’ to assist a very small skeleton RFA crew. The vessels were fired up on a weekly basis and, apart from kicking the engines on air, were ready to go to sea there and then:. Even the RAS rigs were tested! With Barry Layson, I ran the Fort Austin engine from the middle platform on test in 2017 after she’d undergone a refit that year. The Austin and Rosalie were kept in hot readiness for several years until 2018-19 when I finally retired. I wonder what those vessels were like when sold to the Egyptians?
The RFA has suffered low morale and manning problems for several years now. In my time pay was comparable to the top British Shipping lines. It’s a shame that numbers have declined so much that it has become a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul with regards to manning. The MoD should find out what really is bugging the workforce (long hours, B/S, being ignored, lack of promotion, or whatever) and try to remedy the causes of discontent. It was a good job years ago, with plenty of satisfaction. What’s changed, and why?
What’s changed, is the presence of the ever present absentee lawyer.
A key issue is that the RFA pay structure results in people being paid solely based on their ‘rank’. The result is that a Stwd (manual unskilled labour) that washes plates is paid the same as a motorman (engineering rating) or able seafarer (both of which are skilled manual labour). The same occurs in the officer cadre with a third officer logistics who issues pens/pencils and books train tickets being paid the same highly skilled and qualified engineering and deck officers who work antisocial hours and carry significant legal responsbility. Strangely enough there isn’t a shortage in the logistic branch whilst skilled workers are difficult to recruit and retain. Perhaps the pay grades of the RFA should be reassessed to ensure people are based on their skills and responsibility rather than the current communist style approach that values each workers labour equally.
That is my point: the grades no longer reflect qualification.
So a regrading is in order.
It is a modernisation that is well overdue.
An engineer is a very skilled, knowledgable and qualified role.
Ordering supplies less so in the big wide world.
Actually believe it or not it’s much easier to get promoted to PO Stwd where you main role is to issue shoes than it is to get promoted to PO Deck or Engineer. A stwd needs only 4 basic courses e.g ‘food safety’ to be promoted to PO these take no more than 2 weeks in total to complete them all. Compare that to a Deck AB they require 20 seperate mandatory courses taking several months overall to get to the same level.
The officer class is even more pronounced. Logistics officers require only 6 months of training and their starting wage is higher than Deck or Engineering Officers. They require around 2 months of training courses to meet their training requirements to be promoted to 1/O. The basic training for Deck or Engineer Officers takes 3 years to complete and then they have roughly 1 year worth of courses to complete before they considered for promotion to 1/O.
Someone did ask what the pay rates for RFA ranks were . (2021)
A CPO Engineering is £43,911 which is the same as for a CPO Steward
But isnt the difference is the time to reach the rank, and engineering qualified rating would advance far more quickly 5 yrs than the stewards who might take 15 years
The bigger problem would seem to be the pay gap from say lowest Motorman grade 1 at £32,399 to the CPO just another 10k
I get the point, but the lowest MM is £29,526, so theres like a 13K difference. Eitherway, that’s a lot of years to get to that point and whilst it’s not exactly the issue I’m seeing (pay and RNisation tend to be the major issues) it does come up every once and a while.
And what is your pay rate?
The RN had the option to buy 3 Lewis & Clarkes at a very good price when they were still in build. But no, ‘buy British.k was the fetish.
Mega-ships. Getting on for 40,000 cubic metres of cargo volume.
The ‘net says it was only a lease of 2 ships but wasnt a goer as they couldnt spare any
Why then not buy or borrow a few from the PLA Navy, LOL
Myth and legend. Right at that time the MARS project team had just had their assessment phase approved and were busy trying to sort their first priority, which was tankers. There was no money whatsoever for solid stores at the time – as the current head of the SDA (who was responsible for afloat support projects at the time) could tell you.
go look at the laughably bad pay scales compared to other MN employers.
If they’d not scrapped Fort George….
I was under the impression that the new MARS tankers had a solid cargo capability – less extensive but still there….
Something like 5% of what’s required – and doesn’t include significant ammunition.
The Tide boats do have some solid cargo space but it is more along the lines of odd pallets jammed in wherever they can (Pipe tunnel is a good example) The Tides do not have a dedicated cargo hold like the Wave boats did for some reason.
I believe the tides can also carry a number of containers on deck.
This is the result of Tory cuts since 2010.
The Tories always look at the financial value rather than practical value.
If something doesn’t make money they’re not interested, it’s surplus to requirement.
The armed forces don’t make money so instinctively they cut back on spending.
It seems to me the RFA should look at its recruitment and look to make the RFA more attractive as a career.
Agreed……but it’s pretty hard to make a 35%+ real term pay decrease since 2012 look attractive. Now some will argue the RFA still get more than the average UK national salary. How many supermarket workers leave their families for 7-8 months per year? Not to mention the increasingly unsettled world we live in means that the risk of armed conflict is very real. When you combine the salary with other issues such as a £3.80 per day onboard food allowance (breakfast, lunch, dinner and teas/coffees) the job isn’t soo attractive. Admittedly if you really like potato’s you’ll get on just fine in the RFA. Also make sure you budget eating out on every Saturday and Sunday evening in Port as the logistics department basically dont bother working. The meals they roll out make single mum dinners look like fine dining.
Very well said, that’s why I left 20 years ago and never looked back
No this goes way back.
Whittle had the same issues and they killed his supersonic engine and the Miles M.52 that was to fly it because they didnt want him involved in ‘new production engine’ work and he and his nationalised Power Jets concern just hold patents and do theoretical work.
Yes. You would think what was a very young field back then wouldn’t have had time to develop a ‘conservative’ outlook.
It will only get worse if Labour come into power. Never forget the Labour defence reviews in the 60s and 70s were the most damaging reviews ever.
All our technological woes started with the 1957 White Paper. But it was the decision by Labour to spend the Marshall AId money on propping up the Empire and not at home on rejuvenating industry and education was where the rot truly began. The UK was managing the Empire and contributing heavily to NATO. The Germans despite their wealth never left Europe and just churned their tax monies through defence. The French decided NATO and ’empire’ were too much and ditched the former. How the French and Germany must have laughed when we wanted to pay to join their club to allow their companies access to our markets on top. The UK was been paying Europe’s bills for most of that post war period. Odd that the UK which was committed across the board with defence came to be they only major European state that didn’t build its own military equipment. Odd that the UK gave up empire while republic France maintained possessions world wide. It’s governments of all colours that have lead us into the mess.
We should have removed our army from Europe when we had enough A-bombs. Joined with the White Commonwealth to create a third power of ‘Western hegemony’. Built up our navy and re-rolled our army along the lines of the USMC and maintained assets to move it.
Our woes started during and the end of the Second World War.
Royal Navy faced massive cuts to ships in build at the end of the war.
8 fleet carriers and 8 light carriers cut to 2 and 4 respectively. 9 of 15 cruisers cut, 16/20 Weapon class destroyers, all Gallant class destroyers, half the daring class destroyers and 2/3 battleships were cut. 2/3 of the A class and half of the V class subs were cut.
1966 and the cut of CVA-01 marked the end of large carrier operations.
Woes for the RAF began in 1957. The defence paper then was disastrous. Most fighter projects were cancelled and all companies were told to merge or they wouldn’t be considered for future projects. Fighters were meant to be replaced by air to air missiles but the new one was cancelled.
1966 only worsened the situation with P1154 and TSR2 cut, sealing the nail in the coffin for aircraft industry as replacements for both were American. As it turns out the F111 were cut anyway so the RAFs bomber capability was given up.
Withdrawing east of suez and focusing on BAOR, ASW in North Sea, home defence and nuclear deterrent doomed the Navy, RAF, and Army. It gave us virtually no capabilities that would be needed in a post Cold War world. Who needs an armoured corps and dozens of ASW frigates when the USSR falls?
That is why it is so hard to get back to a decent position on the global stage militarily. Large Cold War armies were only really useful for sitting on the Border, or patrolling the North Sea, as evidenced by the ability to only deploy 2 armoured brigades to the Gulf War.
Tempest needs to be produced ASAP and needs to be Multirole or have multiple versions because of the cancellation of FOAS. Royal Navy and shipbuilding looks to be in a really good place. Only wish would be for more hulls, and of course a lot more helicopters.
Yes. All I will say is that nuclear weapons are actually quite cheap. And Polaris was good for the navy. I n theory they should be what allows us tod do without a standing army. I very much doubt if we didn’t have the SSBN’s we would have the SSN’s. I imagine we would be like Italy or Germany a handful of SSK’s and nothing more.
Yes it is easy see how we could have had a global presence with the RN and RAF ‘interlocking’ with a small but very well equipped and mobile Army being moved about the globe as needed. But no a large heavy army in Europe and an ASW fleet is what we ended up with. My fears are that with the situation in the Ukraine the less than able thinkers will be calling for much the same.
The answer you are looking for was in the numbers .
The 1957 cuts came about because defence including national service was 10% of GDP.
Even around the Falklands it was 4.5% of GDP or so.
Mid 1990s it was 3% and until recently its was 2%
There is no way in the world UK would be going back the 50-60-70s GDP spending on defence. Even the 1995 3% is unobtainable in near future
By comparison the NHS was 6% of GDP in the early 80s , currently its maybe 11%.
So you can see what the choices made were in last 50 yrs
Not odd at all if you know how the world is run there was the British empire which moved on to the greater American empire due to 2 world wars where the powers that be funded both sides which in now intended to move on to the greater Chinese empire which is why they are trying to destroy America and Western Europe with the pandemic and war in Ukraine which is really what it was/is really all about they will fail I suggest you do your own research instead of listening to the msm
That’s other Jon of course. I never reference MSM and disdain conspiracy theories.
Unbelievable…. Ill get into trouble if I describe it further
Subsequent to writing this article further details have come to light. Fort Victoria is in Leith being maintained by a small crew and could be called upon to support an unplanned CSG deployment, although this would require taking crews from other RFA vessels that currently have higher priority. She is mechanically fairly sound and the planned refit work next year is primarily to bring firefighting and munitions handling safety equipment up to increasingly stringent modern standards. It is planned she will regenerate and deploy on exercise Steadfast Defender and with HMS Prince of Wales and the Carrier Strike Group deployment to the Asia Pacific in 2025.”
So the fundamental premise of the original article is actually nonsense that was being spouted off by someone trying to should like they knew what they were talking about but actually didn’t.
The whole element of the ‘compressors’ was the give away as they can be replaced with commercial bits of kit quite quickly and easily.