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I was just ruefully pondering some of the abuse I have received from Jeremy Corbyn acolytes who seem to have taken umbrage at a comment I made on social media about when this popped up in my inbox to really upset my day.
I have written to my MP about Type 26 delays and the loss of UK shipyards, notably Portsmouth, to build them and been given the usual “talked up” replies about the potency of Type 26 and the QE Carriers.
Platitudes and complacency seem to abound in political circles where the sheer lack of understanding of the threat that any tinpot country with a few submarines, even of doubtful age and efficiency, could pose to the UK which, as I keep reminding them, is an Island off the coast of Europe wholly dependent upon it’s sea lanes.
The Western Approaches are as vulnerable as ever and without a large fleet of ASW frigates and escorts we might as well wave a white flag straight away (hence my despondency at the social media abuse I have suffered as I fear that is what would happen to defence should there ever be a shift to the Left in Government).
I hope others are prompted to write to their MPs using the excellent content of this article to make the case for some real depth and strength to the defence of the realm.
Here’s a thought, Rather than decommission the OPVs why not make them the basis for building up a genuine Reserve. I’m past it but if I were younger the attraction of joining the RNR and actually have a decent ship to work in, maybe on UK Patrol or Protection, would be quite exciting. The RNLI which is almost wholly crewed by volunteers actually run 24 cover at some stations by having volunteer crews serving 12 shifts on a rotating basis. With some imagination so could a new RN Patrol Service. Ah,I’ve hoisted myself on my own petard. “Imagination”. Not much of that in Westminster is there? Great article as ever and well worth the investment of time to read and act upon.


Perhaps they’re relying on our last Battleship the Victory


Don’t forget HMS Warrior, she’s made of iron ?


It’s just Warrior, she’s no longer commissioned.

Harry Nelson

The restored ironclad was renamed HMS Warrior (1860) to avoid confusion with the Northwood Headquarters, commissioned as HMS Warrior in 1963, which was at the time the operational headquarters of the Royal Navy

Tony Rosier

I wouldn’t worry about Corbyn or any of his cronies getting into power that won’t happen. However our current crop of political idiots are doing a fine job of cutting our armed forces. You only have to look at the situation in Hong Kong and between China and the other Pacific states to see that a long range viable naval force might be nessasary if only as a deterrent. The day will come and we won’t be ready unless we sort out the greedy current defence providers and go back to multiple bids.


Prime minister May you have started of as if you mean business but please take into account the countless people who have expert es in these matter the British ex forces members and civilian population are becoming very concerned in ref to false promises made by parliament for once in your time please do not let our forces decay to the point where we will not be able to defend our country and its dependencies and to quote a certain person “To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive and persevere and never give up.”


Again this all very interesting, but shouldn’t something be being said about HMS daring, a ship that is ridden with faults as part of a ship class which constantly breaks down in hot weather being sent on a 9 month gulf deployment?
This is gross negligence and it stinks, yeah lets make our lads and lasses potential sitting ducks in one of the most dangerous parts of the world


Someone, somewhere in the MOD needs to grab the bull by the horns and sort out this sorry mess on procurement within the Royal Navy. I would have thought a figure of say 75 vessels in all would be a line in the sand and anything under would be going below minimum. I know ships are more capable these days but an overall policy of build and commissioning would keep workers off the dole and would pump more money in to local economies. Vision and foresight is required. And parliament should outlaw any more defence cuts in the future. Full stop

Stuart Crow

It should be possible to replace Diligence fairly cheaply from the merchant market. It wouldn’t make any sense to publicise the intention to do this as it would just push the price up.
T45 reliability has been improved to the point where the short-term fix is fine and it is quite a while since one of them was dead in the water. Most newspapers don’t know the difference between a destroyer and the Gosport Ferry, but they all seem to be experts on gas turbines and electric drive. There has been a lot of nonsense talked about T45 lately. See also the Daily Star and the 5″ gun “the size of a toothbrush”.


Except ships without working engines are what?


Zac Goldsmith (my MP) replied as follows:
Thank you for your email, and for sharing this article with me. I appreciate your concerns of course, and will ensure your message reaches the Defence Secretary for a direct response.
In the meantime, I have copied below the most recent information issued by the Department about their plans in this area.
‘Our national security depends on our economic security, and vice versa. So the first step in keeping our country safe is to ensure our economy is, and remains, strong. Over the last five years the Government has taken the difficult decisions needed to bring down our deficit and restore our economy to strength. In 2010, the total black hole in the defence budget was bigger than the entire defence budget in that year. Now it is back in balance.
Our renewed economic security means that we can now afford to invest further in our national security. This is vital at a time when the threats to our country are growing. This SDSR is a comprehensive plan to back our Armed Forces, counter-terrorism police and intelligence agencies with the resources they need.
The Government plans to invest £178 billion on defence over the next decade. This will include creating two new strike brigades with forces of up to 5,000 personnel each; increasing the size of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force by a total of 700 personnel; renewing the nuclear deterrent; and investing in nine maritime patrol aircraft to protect our nuclear deterrent, hunt down hostile submarines and enhance our maritime search and rescue. The Government will also extend the life of the Typhoon aircraft for 10 more years to 2040, accelerate the F-35 programme by buying 42 jets by 2023 and invest £1.9 billion over five years in cybersecurity.
Our Armed Forces, counter-terrorism police and security services are among the best in the world. Britain’s renewed economic strength, means we can equip them to defeat the terrorist threat and help keep us safe for generations to come.’
Best wishes,
Zac Goldsmith


Thanks for taking the time to contact your MP. The response is bog standard MoD promises of “Jam tomorrow” that does nothing to address the immediate concerns. It will be interesting to see if the Defence Secretary can provide a proper response on each of the 5 problems listed above, although don’t hold your breath!


Dear Navylookout
I have written to my local MP referring them to your article and expressing my deep concerns. I live in a London borough with a Labour MP and copied the Defence Secretary into the email. I will let you know of any response.


Somebody mentioned that someone in the MoD should get their finger out…..won’t ever happen! The MoD is one of the most corrupt departments in the UK government, always has been, cronyism and “The Old School Tie” system is alive and well. Remember the MoD refusing to supply ceramic chest plates for the body armour of British soldiers on active duty in Afghanistan, whilst at the same time giving all its Whitehall staff Herman Miller Aeron chairs (£1000+ each)? So do hold your breaths, anyone. The future of all our Armed Forces will consist of one airman, one sailor and one soldier, all with screens and consoles, bought by the operators at their own expense, controlling unmanned drones. Overseeing them will be dozens of admirals, air marshals and field marshals, all in Whitehall. Happy future, everyone!

Bob Tucker

Remember what Rudyard Kipling said about the Royal Navy. In 1914, 6 weeks before ww1 broke out. The admiralty and the public were saying the RN fleet was not needed .he said “after 35 years of peace, many people think the Royal Navy is an expensive anachronism. The Royal Navy is the price of peace “


Hey, this a friend from across the pond (aka the Atlantic). I know I’m not a Briton, but I would, as an American, my concern over what is happening to your Royal Navy. I’m going to be blunt, we are suffering from a different problem; cost overruns. Our navy is now at around 242 ships, with around 40 in reserve, when it’s estimated by the USN itself we need over 300 active to honor all of our treaty obligations. Several ships that are being built are currently suffering (like the Aircraft Carrier Gerald R. Ford) from cost overruns running into the billions of dollars. So, we cannot bail you out all the time anymore, or as much as you might like, especially when we have bigger concerns, like China and the Middle East drawing away most of our fleet. Please share these facts with your MP’s; it might help change your MoD’s mind.

mike walters

It seems the downsizing of the RN is relentless and cannot be stopped. I left the RN in 1974 and I would not have believed how small it is today. This seems to be a deliberate policy. You have 12 ships today they are replaced by six and salami sliced downwards. There are of course plenty of officers but with so few ships how can they have the experience of officers in the sixties ? Of greater concern is the morale of the sailors when they need to make 5000 redundant 4000 volunteer to leave this must say a lot, it does not happen in the Army or RAF this really needs looking at. There is no reason the UK cannot have a smaller efficient well armed modern navy. The RN is hamstrung by it’s past.