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A Matthews

Your interesting article has no mention of the Reserves and their part in the Future Navy and how SDSR affects their future ?


“The actual minimum number of additional personnel the RN believes it needs to operate effectively is much lower. ” Evidence?


its amazing to think, hms dreadnought(the worlds first battleship was built in portsmouth in 1 year its an idictment of how the shipbuilding has been allowed to die, those hard working dockies of yesteryear would have had the Q.E andP.O.W built and in service well before now


“Three ships have now completed a 9-month deployment and the feedback has been mostly very positive. ” Evidence (for the feedback, rather than of 3 ships deploying)?


“It must be remembered that it is unlikely both carriers will be operated simultaneously and the non-operational ship will have periods with much-reduced manning.” These periods will be the exception, not the norm… unless you have evidence to the contrary?


“The decision to release 300 officers in exchange for 600 new ratings was made in advance of the SDSR, another intelligent measure that will add to strength but does not demand additional funds.” Maybe. But what 300 man years of Officers’/WOs’ work per annum is no longer required?


“The manpower crisis peaked last year…” Evidence? A slight reduction in VO rate this year is not necessarily strong evidence of this; how can you tell long term trend from short term perturbation?


@Fightingsailor Thanks for valid points. On the first 2 questions the information comes from reliable sources within the RN itself. If you canvas sailors, you will get a mixed reaction on 9 month deployments but overall families are more concerned about having certainty in planning than the total length of time away. In the past the RN has chopped and changed programmes causing constant upheaval and family stress. It is the older more experienced sailors (who tend to have their own families) that the RN absolutely must retain.
The announcement that HMS PoW would be retained (made by David Cameron October 2014) offered “continuous carrier capability” i.e. 1 available to deploy and 1 in refit, training or reserve. That still requires more manpower overall but the non-operational carrier has lower manning needs and obviously not full air group. These plans are still fluid and maybe the RN will manage to get both carriers to sea together on occasions but that is not the assumption at present.
It has been well known that the RN was slightly top-heavy for a while and I tend to trust them if they say they can cope and are willing to trade 300 officers for 600 rates.
We can’t be totally certain that VO levels have peaked obviously but all the evidence suggest the underlying causes are being tackled and progress has been made. When the civilian jobs market is buoyant as it is now VO will always be higher than ideal but expect to see it fall slightly in the next few years.


Your ‘Sources’ are remarkably ‘on message’ and, of course, must therefore be entirely correct! The skeptic in me would like to see the evidence to support the narrative.


Hi fighting sailor
Seems to me that you have been given a good overview, instead of pushing for ‘more evidence’ you could always just dig into some data yourself to satisfy your curiosity , but chatting to the guys and girls work best i think, as what has been said regarding retentions of people and an upswing in morale chimes which what i see and a feel from former full time colleagues and within the RNR. Alot of what is written comes from an emotive stand point, so can be quite hard to quantify.
happy to discuss further oppo


Positive feedback on 9 month deployments is certainly not what I’ve heard from the serving matelots I’ve spoken to. Do your sources happen to be officers by any chance?
Ratings are already hearing the classsic lines ” you can’t be spared” and ” you can have your leave when you get back” and being left to rack up vast amounts of leave.


This is by far the most positive article I have seen on this website. What a difference a review makes. The British Navy guards the freedom of us all!

Ex cpouw

I totally disagree with most people being happy with the 9 month deployments I have not heard one good word and even some after being away for 9 months drafted to another ship to fill a gap and going away again. It will take many years to reach a manning that should be acceptable it does not help that we are a can do navy and a lot of people just get on and do it instead of raising the problem


I totally agree with you bud, the Andrew constantlycomes out with all the so called initiatives however, as with topmast and pfs they are always based on manpower levels that they want to have or plan to have and not what actually does have.
They need to swallow their egos and compete properly in the jobs market like everyone else by being realistic about what it can sustain, stop trying to keep up with the joneses(the yanks!) and put manpower first it obviously can’t do it with pay so conditions and qualifications are its best bet (nvqs are pants) properly recognized ones spaced out over a reasonable period will aid retention not hamper it as some idiots think.
Above all good fair systems and conditions are what the navy needs , I think you’ll agree the top brass need to get out of the ivory towers and speak directly to the lads.

shark bait

Can you please clarify, is the 400 extra sailors provided by the SDSR on top of the plan to swap 300 officers for 600 rating?
Including the resources freed up by ocean it will stand at around 1,000 extra sailors available to be reassigned, in which instance man power will still be tight, but should be feasible to run the current fleet ambitions.