Recent headlines about possible further body-blows to the Royal Navy are an indication that the terrible state of Ministry of Defence finances is starting to bite. Here we look at what could be cut, what could be the impact on RN capability and the potential political fall out.More
Strategic Defence & Security Review 2015
The 2015 SDSR confirmed the intention to build 3 new solid stores support ships. This kind of logistic support vessel is critical to the global reach of the RN but are low profile and do not get the focus of attention given to warships. Government commitment to build the new ships is positive but entirely lacking in urgency, the first ship will probably not be ready for sea until around 2025.
The was no official announcement but the RN has just lost another important capability. RFA Diligence is a forward repair ship able to provide specialist engineering support to ships and submarines alongside in overseas ports or even at sea. Diligence has been inactive in Birkenhead for over a year and the MoD has just put her up for sale.
The case for Trident – answering common arguments against renewing Britain’s nuclear weapons capability and the Royal Navy’s successor submarines.
In 2016 Parliament approved the construction of 4 replacement of ‘Successor’ ballistic missile submarines for the Royal Navy. Despite majority public support, a very vocal minority opposes British nuclear weapons and the subject continues to be hotly debated.
Although far from perfect, the decisions made in the SDSR appeared to offer something good for all the UK armed forces. At first glance the RAF appearing strongest; retaining its Tranche 1 Typhoons, orders for F-35s and 9 new P-8 Poseidon aircraft. The Economist breathlessly reported “Spies, special forces and the Royal Air Force are the main winners”. In fact the SDSR was very maritime-centric with the RN the main beneficiary.
It is no secret the RN has been struggling with a serious manpower shortage, particularly with technically qualified personnel. The modest increase of 400 people for the RN announced in the SDSR was greeted with disappointment in some quarters and criticism that shiny new kit was being prioritised ahead of the people needed to operate it. Although the RN would undoubtedly benefit from having more people, the true state of its manpower resources is more complex than may appear.More
Judgement on the SDSR announcements made today will very much depend on the lens through which you view it. There maybe plenty of room for improvement, but taken in the context of austerity and the ‘rock bottom’ 2010 review, today’s announcements can be seen as broadly very good news for the RN.More
In 1963 the Royal Navy commissioned 9 Tribal & Leander class frigates – 9 frigates in a single year. Around 50 years later the RN has just 13 frigates in total, has not commissioned a new frigate since 2002 and will not receive another frigate before at least 2024.
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.”