The revelation on 24th July that the Type 31e frigate programme had been abruptly halted has given rise to intense and largely inaccurate speculation about why this has happened. Further investigation strongly suggests the hold up is purely a technicality in the bidding procedure, rather than anything more serious.More
In an earlier article, we examined the slow build and delivery schedule for the first Type 26 frigates. With this infographic, we attempt to assess how the projected construction schedule fits with the decommissioning of the Type 23 frigates.
Originally designed with a service life of around 18 years, the RN’s Type 23 Frigates will now have to serve for around 30 years. All 13 frigates are undergoing life extension (LIFEX) refits and an important component of these upgrades is the Power Generation Machinery Upgrade (PGMU) to replace the ships’ four diesel generator sets.
This week the Defence Secretary announced a Type 23 frigate will be permanently ‘forward deployed’ in Bahrain. This presence in the Gulf region and the global reach of the fleet, is certainly an asset to Britain but is the expanding portfolio of demands on the Navy workable and sustainable?
Although recent news for the Navy has been mostly positive, with HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea and orders placed for the Type 26 frigates, a quick look at the status of the escort fleet reveals the stresses that lack of manpower continues to exert.
In spite of frequent claims that the Royal Navy is “barely able to defend its own waters”, two of its escorts are shadowing the largest group of Russian warships to pass near to the UK since the end of the Cold War. Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov sailed from the Northern Fleet base of Severomorsk on Saturday accompanied by seven other surface ships and probably at least one submarine.
The state of warship preservation in the UK is a very mixed. Established naval museums are thriving, benefitting from significant investment while more recent attempts to save naval vessels have failed miserably. Preserving our naval heritage is important as a ‘living history’ to remind us of past sacrifice, endeavour and achievements. Many lessons from Britain’s extraordinary naval history remain applicable to the Royal Navy and the exercise of sea power today.
Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) Exhibition last week, the First Sea Lord Admiral Zambellas said: “the Type 26 [Frigate] will form the backbone of the Royal Navy, with a design that has the potential to meet the operational needs of a number of major navies around the world.”