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Edward Andrews

Nothing to see then move along, there is absolutely nothing to see


As per the article, this is a failure of governance particularly the MoD. All the SSns wouldn’t be in port at the same time unless there was some problem.

We should not be relying on 30 year old platforms no matter how exquisitely built. Technology moves on and so should hull and systems design. These boats primary function is to protect our deterrent, which is a non negotiable necessity.

Tim Uk

The admiralty , mod , bae and the last few PM’s and Defence ministers should be hauled before parliament.

We could have had a fleet of 12 astutes and 12 arleigh burkes rammed to the gills with cruise / anti ship weapons and aegis bmd instead we have 6 destroyers that need major work and with only anti air capability , a few functioning subs at best and the gin palace carrier that wont be a fighting ship till till at least the mid 20’s and then will be void of enough escorts.

The idiocy is criminal, heads and penisons should be cut.


Scrap the carriers and F 35,it’s never too late to back out of a bad idea. The navy won’t be get itself back into balance until they’re gone or defence spending increases by 300%


Don’t be silly the carriers are paid for and the planes will arrive in time. Running costs for these ships have been thought through to keep them in line with the previous carriers. We actually pay Bae to build the subs slower than they can. We pay a premium for less ! That’s what happens when bean counters run defence.


The planes will arrive in time! Please tell me where you get your drugs. My uneducated guess 5 years late and 300% over budget. Also with ’90’% capability.


Gerry please read my comment again I said ‘in time’ and not ‘On time’ for the ships we have built. These have been deliberately built slowly costing an extra billion or so in the process thanks to our wonderful political leaders. As for the planes we could have used harriers and transitioned to the f35 over time but again the political elite scuppered that idea. I don’t actually think I made any observation about either the cost or capability of the f35 and you seem to be an expert but there is no real alternative aircraft now whatever you or I think. My point was about waste and scrapping ships we have just spent billions building would not seem a good idea and would just add to the long list of bad MOD decisions. Anyway back to the drugs


A good article cheers.

Paying the price for not building subs between completion of Trafalgar and start of Astute.
Programmes were cancelled with the lose of construction skills also .

We should have had a class of improved Trafalgar batch 2 as a stepping stone to Astute.

This would have retained construction skills lowered the average age of the sub fleet and give us a more operationally sustainable fleet.

David Graham

Absolutely true. The RN is paying the price for the delay between the completion of the Vanguard class SSBNs and the beginning of the Astute programme [January 2001]. By then, the workforce at Barrow had fallen from over 13,000 to circa 3,000. The loss was of skilled trades, and engineers and constructors with submarine construction experience. What were these people supposed to do? Sit about twiddling their thumbs while the MoD and Government agonised over design and contract. The last SSN [Triumph] completed in 1991, so it was a decade since a boat was built, and well over two decades since the T boats were designed. The rest is history, including General Dynamic Electric Boat Division having to rescue the programme in 2003.


Totally agree .
I hope these mistakes are not repeated after Astute and Dreadnought construction is done.
Now is the time to be planning for follow on future sub construction .


The idea that we should be planning ahead to the time after the Dreadnaught class is ridiculous. The MoD are a specialist short term organisation and proud of it.
They have spent years ensuring there is no coherent long term vision. Their proud plan is to continue to destroy the defence manufacturing base block by block and they are succeeding beyond the most pessimistic projections. That is why they are now actively working to ensure their hands aren’t tied by any long term planning for ordering RN ships especially any being built by contractors other than their preferred supplier.


Remove harpoon and Sea Skua the RN have a serious gap that simply can’t be filled by SSNs. Top brass should be ashamed that they are letting RN get into this state, on their watch. Year of the navy is in danger turning into year of a 3rd class NAVY that is inferior to that of Italy, Spain, Turkey and simply couldn’t stand up to a SLAVA or UDALOY


Taiwan could wipe the floor with the RN if this continues…they build their own ships now and their own ASHMs 😉

Mike Moore

I think there is definfitely a problem.

But first, the press is merely a very dubious propaganda agency and nothing they write is worth considering.

But the RN in general has been run down over the past 50 years. We need 3 or 4 times the number of surface vessels that we have. They dont need to be as exotic as the current destroyer but they do need to be there and available for deployment as required. We need more dedicated aircraft for the navy (why did we cancel the Harrier? This aircraft is still one of the best sea deployed weapons in the world)..

Politicians spend a lot of time truying to convnce us of the ‘perceived threat’. But they are not qualiified to make that statement. …..and is the PM cleared to receive that security information?


It’s absolutely ridiculous that we have been paying BAE NOT to be build more subs at Barrow when the Royal Navy said for years it had a minimum requirement of 8 SSN’s.

The 10 year gap between the last Trafalgar and first Astute was another disastrous move fueled by a post Cold War illusion of safety. When will the decision makers get it into their heads that the only products of this kind of dithering are inflated costs, a critical loss of skills/experience and our Armed Forces left with increasingly clapped out hardware.

A regular drumbeat of orders is good for the industry, good for cost control and good for our military capability. The fact that the Royal Navy has only received 3 new SSN’s and not a single new frigate since 2002 is a disgrace!


Well said. We need permanant production lines of everything without gaps. One sub build every two years with a reactor life of 24 years will get us 12 sub builds + 12 sub recycles + 288 annual maintenances periods + 12 mid-life refits over those 24 years. Plenty of work for Barrow.

If we had or get a cut-down Trident of 10 tons instead of 60 tons then 8 of them could fit into an Astute with a modified forward weapon handling room and they would still be good enough for 4,000 km with 3 warheads. So that’s 12 Astutes with 8 as SSKs and 4 as SSBNs.

We should also have QEs with Astute reactors, probably 2 each. That makes 16 reactors. Add on a couple more on land plugged into the national grid and used for training and we would have very good economies of scale and cost per unit would probably come down.

The cost of an Astute is quoted at £0.75bn making it less than a £1bn T45 and predicted £1bn T26 and perhaps more useful. If we got sub launched NSM at 400kg then we could hit more targets than just a max of 38 x 2 ton Tomahawks.

Stuart Hodges

Once again all the usual comment concerning RN, spending, designs, lack of this that and whatever. The facts are simple. We spend more than anyone else in Europe on defence and yet get so little. The top heavy military and Whitehall mandarins are to blame. They are all protecting their little empires and cosying up to the yanks. Hard decisions are avoided because of my comments above. Why do we have our capital ships based at Portsmouth which has a narrow harbour entrance hindered by commercial traffic when Devonport is under used and much further away from threats. Sell Portsmouth and use the vast amount of money obtained to buy some of the shelf ships from Japan or Germany. Please get real. The press are right what is going On in Whitehall and Admiralty.


It’s about choices, money isn’t an issue. Build a base in Bahrain or have anti ship capability. Have another frigate or 3 OPVs or fit T45 with anti sub weapons. Spend £10£bn on overseas aid or hollow out the armed forces. It’s called incompetence and no-one has the courage to call it.


You are worried about the vulnerability of Portsmouth but don’t think that relying on others to build our warships is risky?????

Julian Edmonds

Should have kept the diesel-electric boats (sold after just four years service) for UK coastal waters, freeing up the SSNs for missions that really need the range and endurance that nuclear power provides.


A major lack of stability must be the weight of the tons of paperwork posted or hand-carried onto the boats. This must affect the trim? One one occasion after a 15 week trip I was confronted by a snivel servant waving the latest prices for WRNS clothing at me.

Anton Deque

The article is welcome. However, there is a problem with our ships today. They are wearing out and nothing was planned by way of replacement following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. I am told a Type 23 replacement has taken eighteen years to design. Eighteen years! The author correctly cites the role of some anti-defence pressure groups (very influential but a minority) who have a dog in the fight. The media also thrives on bad news; the Daily Mirror goes up in my estimation for it’s article against this trend.

There is a woeful lack of imagination and energy in our national defence planning; top brass, politicians and contractors. No one wants to risk their pension and or gongs. I trace this back even further than some. It began when we decided as a national we would abandon our industrial base and sell insurance instead. nearly forty years ago. I would feel ashamed to look servicemen in the face frankly. We are asking too much from the poor s*ds at the sharp end while others with desks go onwards and upwards.