Subscribe
Notify of
guest

120 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
stephen ball

When does the defence paper get released for a 2.5% defence budget?

Hugo

2.5 percent isn’t a guaranteed thing yet. Especially with the upcoming election.

stephen ball

I think labour will carry on with a 2.5% budget, They guaranteed it. It a low amount but it’s an increase.

3 weeks ago labour commit to 2.5% if they win election
Labour vows to increase defence spending to 2.5% – YouTube

Hugo

Didn’t he say “as soon as resources allow”?
Not trying to argue but Labour has already said they think cutting civil servants to pay for this funding increase is a bad idea, so I imagine that clause would be relevant because how exactly are we supposed to pay for an increase

https://www.ft.com/content/71e2c1c4-d037-4c90-8de0-ed287a7d6604

I was able to read that article once but now it’s locked, but jist is Labour haven’t established how they’re going to pay for it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Hugo
AlexS

In the country of Sir Humphrey Appleby you still need to learn politics?

A budget do not means that is really spent and what is in defence budget can be “augmented” with a lot of non defence spending.
Expect a part of defence budget to pay for Labour Woke Educational Complex.

Will

@AlexS: Yes indeed.

Ben

As opposed to Tory mate’s super yachts?

Theoden

As opposed to Labour mates super yachts ? We’ll know when we see the manifestos. Whether they’re ‘aspirations’ or ‘commitments’

Duker

2019 manifesto from the Tories
Continue to exceed the Nato target of 2% of GDP on defence and increase the defence budget by at least 0.5% above inflation throughout the parliament.

However Ukraine aid is counted as defence spending. 15% Israels defence budget is US money

Theoden

Ukraine aid is counted as part of MoD budget but the money comes from the Treasury’s emergency reserve not the MoD.

chris de pole

Cut the woke nonsense, Labour as more committed to defence than the Tories, and considering they’ve already come up with at least one simple way of boosting GDP, namely alignment on vetenary standards, which means the SME food exporters, can get back to doing the good business they did in the single market. Which means higher GDP, which means more funds for the military.

The tories have knocked GDP by 4% because of their moronic hard brexit, which means the defence budget took a 4% hit in real terms. So even if Labour took longer to move to 2.5%, the uptick in GDP would increase funds in real-terms.

AlexS

Since when it is nonsense? billions and time which is money too are being spent in woke or to be more precise neo-Marxist ideology that Labour supports. Children are being educating in that autodestructive ideology. Do you think this political indoctrination will not have serious productivity implications of UK? i am not even going into civilizational ones.

Duker

How does labour create Conservatives spending on things you dont agree with. Billions you say ?

Duker

Thats debunked once the revised GDP figures were released after the pandemic messed the monthly/quarterly ‘preliminary’ figures
https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/gdp-revisions-show-uk-economy-almost-2-larger-than-thought/

Your maths knowledge is lacking . GDP growth is an index not a hard number itself
The tories have knocked GDP by 4% …….. which means the defence budget took a 4% hit in real terms
The defence budget has fluctuations anyway , its never based exactly on a gross GDP figure. Nor do EU members GDP numbers rise/fall in lock step , sometimes smaller nations have substantial jumps . Denmark for instance due to the phenomenal success of Ozempic, or Ireland with foreign global businesses revenue farming from elsewhere for tax reasons- who knew the Irish created so much software they have the IP rights.

Jon

Not this side of an election. The plans are smoke and mirrors. If you think cutting MOD Civil Servants (paid for from the MOD budget) is a way to increase the MOD budget, I need to introduce you to a Nigerian prince of my acquaintance. It’s just rearranging deck chairs, taking from MOD to give back to MOD.

The 2.5% Mr Sunak would take us to wouldn’t really be 2.5% any more than the current 2.3% is really 2.3%. Increasing a headline number by adding things into the MOD budget which aren’t UK Defence spending and would have been spent anyway won’t help us out of the UK Defence cuts spiral. Looking at the numbers (backloaded £75bn over what we were spending before the announcement in absolute terms, over a period of 7 years), it’ll be almost entirely eaten away by inflation and GDP increases. We’ll keep above the 2% target as defined by NATO and the rest will be fudged.

If there was a new spending plan, that would become too obvious. This HoC research paper is the best official document I know of since the announcement.

researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8175/CBP-8175.pdf

Sjb1968

Jon, sadly you are totally correct and that goes for both major parties.

Theoden

The plan is to reduce civil service numbers across Govt to pre covid levels. This will overwhelmingly impact the Dept of Health. But ok let’s assume it will be the civil servants at the MoD who face the brunt. Since MoD civil servants pay and allowances come out of the MoD budget how would cutting their numbers and cost not positively effect the other areas of MoD spending ? 2.5% of GDP would mean exactly that. Since inflation and growth make up GDP growth how would inflation reduce the amount of that 2.5% of GDP ? Higher inflation would logically mean higher GDP in headline numbers at least. What changes to the definition of Defence spending are you expecting to be introduced ?

Jon

I said cutting MOD civil servants wouldn’t pay for a GDP budget increase to 2.5% or any other number. You can’t increase the budget by shifting stuff around within it.

I’m also happy to explain how it wouldn’t help the front line, but that’s a very different point. Most of MOD work isn’t done by civil servants. It’s overseen by civil servants and done by external consultants, contractors and via other industry relationships. You cut the civil servants and two things happen. First, the ability of civil servants to oversee drops (as it did when Lord Cameron tried the same trick in 2010). MOD ceases to be an intelligent customer and money is mispent on redos as they try to get things right by iteration and correction. Second, work that had been done by civil servants now has to be done by contractors (sometimes the very same people recently encouraged to go with significant sweetners by MOD). Contactors are considerably more expensive than civil servants and the cost per person rises. The extra money comes out of front-line expenditure. That’s how it doesn’t positively affect the front line.

Next, stop thinking of the MOD civil service just as a bunch of useless pen-pushers in Whitehall. For example the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are MOD civil servants. Want to cut them? Or the people from Defence Digital who frustrate Russian and Chinese proposals to reassign NATO-used spectrum to civilian bands instead of say naval radars? Shall we let them go, or might people care if switching on Sampson fried the circuits of their new mobile phones? Then can we get rid of the people who wargame, perhaps hypersonic vs supersonic vs subsonic anti-ship missiles, because we don’t need evidence based decision making there, right? Or the people in DSTL who even if I knew what they did I couldn’t tell you. Would you get shut of them without even knowing what they do?

However, the civil service will do as they are told and will make the cuts.

2.5% of GDP would mean exactly that. Since inflation and growth make up GDP growth how would inflation reduce the amount of that 2.5% of GDP

It wouldn’t. Quite the opposite. It would mean that Mr Sunak’s fully costed £75bn won’t cover the required increase to GDP. You ask what extra do I think they’ll add next. Operational expenditure is an obvious big one. It doesn’t add to UK defence capability and has never been included in the numbers. Ukraine expenditure, was originally treated like operational budget and paid out of central funding and has now been added to the MOD headline figure. So I reckon the rest of operational will follow. There will also be more of the UK security budget moved under MOD. Then there’s Overseas Aid. However, it really doesn’t matter what they add. The point is when the budgetted amount of £75bn (at least £60bn of which will be needed just to stand still) isn’t enough to hit 2.5%, I believe more real money will not be found. Just more fudge by redefining what is in the headline numbers.

I can’t prove this is what will happen and maybe I am wrong; it’s in a hypothetical future where Mr Sunak wins another election, but it’s what Lord Cameron did in the past, Mr Sunak has just done again, and I can’t see why anyone would think it would be different next time.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jon
Supportive Bloke

On that I totally agreed.

Sunak was doing a Frank Wiesel [Yes, Minister].

Some civil servants are not the best. But most are hard working and not that well paid on the lower rungs.

There are some massive programs going forwards and experience is golden in dealing with this projects which are now being accelerated. You cannot accelerate projects but cutting staffing levels……

Theoden

You’re confusing the importance of the ‘£75bn’ and 2.5% of GDP numbers. The important number is 2.5%.
Two scenarios
GDP £2,000bn x Inflation 3% + Growth 1% = £2,080bn x 2.5% = £52bn
GDP £2,000bn x Inflation 4% + Growth 1% = £2,100bn x 2.5% = £52.5bn
On Civil Service numbers all we know is the ‘aspiration/ commitment’ to reduce numbers to pre-covid totals. We don’t know which Govt Depts that will impact or which parts of those Depts will see reductions. In other words we know next to nothing.

Jon

I’m trying to say what is important isn’t the 2.5% that will be the MOD budget. It’s what proportion of our GDP is spent on the sustainment of UK conventional defence, be that the military or the civil service, intelligence, kinetic, EW or grey zone. The measure shouldn’t include pensions for retirees. It shouldn’t include money for Ukraine. It shouldn’t include Navy propping up anti-migrant Home Office operations. Perhaps controversially, I think we also need a measure than excludes spend on CASD. If we ever use our nuclear missiles we have failed in so many ways, so we need conventional deterrence and conventional warfighting capabilities.

At the moment the amount we are spending on sustaining UK conventional defence is probably around 1.6% of GDP. So maybe of the 2.3% government claims we are spending on Defence, 0.7% of GDP is going on “other things”. Increasing the amount spent on “other things” will not increase our practical ability to deter or fight conventionally (including grey zone). We also have to better balance the amount spent on a military for the future and what is spent to ensure we can fight tonight.

chris de pole

The algorithm is incorrect, inflation works in opposition to growth. inflation impacts the cost of stuff, so if for example your costs were 2B in year 1 and inflation is 4% then in year 2, costs increase to 2,08B. If at at the same time your budget of £2Bn, increases because the economy grows by 1%, the budget has grown to 2.02B, but as your costs have gone up to 2.08B, you’ve actually got 0.06Bn less buying power.

Duker

GDP growth numbers are normally given excluding inflation. ie 2% GDP increase and 3% inflation means the actual increase in total GDP is 5% (approx)

Last edited 2 months ago by Duker
Jon

It seems as though operational spend has already been added. I should have been watching more closely.

“NATO-qualifying spending is made up of the core MOD budget plus additional funding provided to MOD for military operations, its support to Ukraine and drawdown of contingency. Additional NATO-qualifying spending sits outside the MOD budget and includes parts of the Single Intelligence Account, Armed Forces pensions and the Integrated Security Fund. In 2024-25, the MOD Total DEL is forecast to be £57.1bn, which includes £3bn for Ukraine. This compares to a forecast final MOD Total DEL budget of £54.2bn in 2023-24, including £2.3bn of support for Ukraine. NATO-qualifying spend in 2024-25 in total is forecast to be £64.6bn.”

Defending Britain, Apr 2024

Jon

I’m a little surprised nobody has commented on this. Adding operations to the mix is a disasterous decision given we effectively have a fixed GDP percentage budget. It means when money is being spent on war, it’s no longer extra, no matter what central reserve it comes out of in the short term. An equivalent reduction will come from the money that’s used to sustain capability.

chris de pole

Higher inflation means stuff costs more, so if you are increasing the defence budget by 2.5%, but inflation is running at closer to say 4%, you in real terms have less cash to spend on defence

AlexS

Higher inflation means stuff costs more, so if you are increasing the defence budget by 2.5%, but inflation is running at closer to say 4%, you in real terms have less cash to spend on defence

You seem to not know what 2.5% means in this situation. There is no increase of 2.5%.
The defence GDP value will increase to 2.5% of GDP.

Louis

The 2.5% is spending that qualifies for NATO spending. The Government aren’t fiddling with numbers any more than every other country in NATO.

The proposed cuts to the civil service are much more than just the MOD. Much needed anyway, it’s a win win. Of course it isn’t a viable long term strategy.

Jon

The idea that every country counts NATO-qualifying spending the same is a myth. Each government asserts what it thinks is NATO qualifying depending how it interprets the loose NATO guidlines. SIPRI has us at 2.1% last year, 2023, and it went down again this year, whereas HMG has us at over 2.3%. I reckon the core spend on UK conventional is probably below 1.6% this year, so much has been added that isn’t core conventional defence. Have a look at HMG’s own definition of what goes in which I posted earlier.

I think our government are fiddling more than other countries, but it doesn’t matter either way. I don’t get a vote in those other countries and don’t get to hold them to account. I live here, I vote here, I bitch here. While it may not be very British to make a fuss, somebody needs to.

Louis

Of course there is a standard between all countries, otherwise the 2% is meaningless..

1.6% is irrelevant. It’s literally meaningless. France, America and the countries with American nukes will all count that towards their defence budget. Most, if not all, count pensions in their defence budget.

You have no idea if our government is fiddling more than other countries.

‘ Retirement pensions made directly by the government to retired military and civilian employees of military departments and for active personnel is included in the NATO defence expenditure definition.’

In which case every single NATO country will include it, as every single NATO country wants to have as big a number as possible.

In fact spending on police forces and coast guards can also count towards defence spending. The US for example with the Coast Guard, or the Italians with the Carabinieri.

Hugo

Let’s not even pretend that’s gonna happen.

Last edited 2 months ago by Hugo
Duker

Yes. Even Thatcher was cutting defence spending when it was last near (4%) that level

AlexS

I suppose these installations will be defended by 3.7″ QF AA guns and 40mm Bofors?….
….I ‘ll grab my coat..

Trevor G

Plus CIWS comprised of octuple pom pom mounts?

Jon

What’s the availability of the two docks south of basin 2: Moon Cove and the Tamar canal outlet? Mostly mud and shingle at low tide from what I can see on the map, they look wide enough and long enough to house new dry docks without disruption to current operations. I’m not sure what’s in the middle; looks like a scrapheap.

I’m not sure why most docks are built off a basin. Perhaps that would make them unsuitable.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jon
Andrew Deacon

It makes life easier for getting them in and out without factoring in the tides. Coming out is somewhat more crucial if there is a problem.

Supportive Bloke

The issues are around timing to get ships in and out if you have tidal influence. That is both tide height and the run of the tide – taken together that is a lot to deal with and allows very small margins.

Really you don’t want to replicate the issues with getting QECs into Rosyth on a wider scale. OK that is to get the QEC into the outer basin that is actually the problem….once you have got her under the bridge that is…..only in the UK would that be considered sensible. As you can predict the dates and times that a QEC will emerge from DD simply by looking at the time tables which would be pretty awful in a conflicted environment.

Otherwise, you are stuck with a short window each day to get a ship in or out of DD.

You really don’t want to rush dry docking and the idea of a ship half in or out of a DD with the tide running depending on a tug not skipping off etc doesn’t bear thinking about.

The outer non tidal basin also allows for insertion into the dry dock carefully over a decent length of time.

Andrew Deacon

“only in the UK”! We’ve had 2 very public failures on both carriers at Pompey. Dry dock there would be much easier to describe as routine maintenance. We’re reaching a point where we’ll have one in refit for several years – last I saw was H&W Belfast for an emergency docking of the other. Alternatively hope failure is well away from Blighty, but that assumes CSG25 or CSG anything can actually happen!

Hugo

No funds for a Portsmouth drydock.

Duker

Thats because its going elsewhere
“clyde-naval-base-to-get-two-new-floating-docks’ says the other blog

Supportive Bloke

Would have made the QEC project even more of a target.

Sine through deck cruiser days spending on anything called a carrier is a very sensitive.

So adding a DD to the QEC program would have attracted a lot of unwanted handwringing attention. The DD would have been cut by Cameron et al.

TBH there will need to be a mitigation in place whilst QEC is in for her pit stop and H&W is full of other things. Although I am unconvinced that H&W should be building in a DD and not in a shed on the hard. If it makes sense to build a shed for 5 x T31 then it makes sense to 4 x a lot bigger. It isn’t exactly dry in Belfast a the weather is probably a tiny bit worse than in Glasgow??

Hugo

You can’t ship lift a whole 40k ton vessel down though. Its gotta be built in segments. Plus a large chunk of the ships are coming from spain so it’s gotta be floated in.

N-a-B

QEC will not get into the build dock in Belfast. There’s this little thing called water depth over the sill that precludes that. Docking in Belfast would be in Belfast dock itself.

You couldn’t put a floating dock in Portsmouth, which means you’d have to start excavating 3 basin and C&D locks and absolutely no-one wants to go down that route.

ATH

Is that for fear of what they’d find after hundreds of years of piecemeal development?

N-a-B

I suspect its for fear of what they’ll find courtesy of the Luftwaffe. Just doing the harbour dredging for QEC fetched up numerous unwelcome items. Going much deeper to put in the required footings is asking for trouble.

Jon

Thank you both for the explanation.

Andrew Deacon

So Bulwark still in dry dock. That means not to sea till next year, once they muster a crew, and longer to be fully operational. I’d like to think Albion could be out in months once they’ve found a crew! Leave it too long and nobody will be able to tell you what LPD means, let alone how to run one!

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

I like those artist’s drawings.

AlexS

Should be just a digital effect from a photo.

Last edited 2 months ago by AlexS
Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes. Nice effect though.

AlexS

Indeed. Check “architectural sketch from photo” in youtube, lots interesting effects.

Duker

https://sketchedge.net/en

Does line drawings from photos using AI

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Thank you.

Andrew Deacon

MRSS at Devonport is a real dream! It’s still not clear on RN or RFA flag and 4 current vessels are maintained in Falmouth, with 2 now relocated to India.

Hugo

They’re only temporarily stopping in India, not a permanent forward basing.

SailorBoy

Interesting that there will be a specialist area for loading into the T26 mission bay, that suggests a greater investment in and focus on PODS than had been suggested in the past, a welcome addition.
Also the dock space dedicated to XLUUVs, which indicates, if not tens, but at least a sizable fleet of long-endurance vessels. I really like the idea of hosting the companies within the dockyard itself, saving time hosting long trials periods and letting the Navy get a proper look at what they are buying.
Thank you very much NL for an excellent article.

Jonno

Beats me how we used to support our navy in the first half of 20th century. Perhaps the Mediterranean Fleet was supported solely at Malta and Gibraltar. Perhaps the later could support some of the T31’s.

Hugo

We had more naval bases back then.
Also like had been said the T31s will be based in Devonport. Gibraltar is generally just a pit stop now.

Last edited 2 months ago by Hugo
Mark P

Not sure what facilities the RN had at Chatham?

Supportive Bloke

A lot actually. There were full fabrication facility there…..as well as nuclear work that never had a licence of any kind…..if you look at the photos of how some of the nuclear work was done it was terrifying. It was one of the main reasons it had to close…..it couldn’t really continue doing nuclear as it never should have in the first place.

David Graham

Spot on. I joined my first ship in Chatham in September 1958. Even then the yard was a museum. 3S/M boats were all refitted in Chatham in the early days and you are right; the way it was all done beggars belief.

Sean

Another great article on an important but overlooked area of the RN – but I guess discussing docks isn’t as sexy as comparing gun calibres sizes for some.

Shame so many comments are unrelated to the article and are instead the usual moaning.

Last edited 2 months ago by Sean
stephen ball

I’m talking about funding, these projects cost money.

If defence was to know they were going to get more funding. Some of these project’s might get extra funding.

Sean

The projects in the article are funded, they wouldn’t be announced/ underway if they weren’t.

Unless you have an idea how to increase that available funding then you’re simply, as our cousins down-under say, a ‘whinging pom’.

Hugo

Well it sounds like most the submarine infrastructure is, the rest needs a decision made on it from what i understand. Barring stuff like the T26 Pods area or 11 Dock

Supportive Bloke

It comes back to the issue of it being cheaper to build a DD on non military land rather than demolish and rebuild an existing DD.

N-a-B

I think the clue is in the articles first sentence – “potential” upgrades.

There’s quite a bit of scepticism in the RN/MoD when it comes to Babcock Devonport and what they can and can’t do.

The FRC is the poster boy for that. To make it fit for purpose you’d have to increase the size of 2 basin, which is pretty much a non-starter and why so much is tied to clearing 3 basin of dead SSN.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

I haven’t been to Guzz in an age. I remember that big shed they had for rope work and that large wooden table with six inch nails arranged in squares to make scramble nets.

Will

Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to just build a new class of warship that would fit in the existing, older workspaces? If the old Type 22’s could get in, that would mean a ship of around 4,000 to 4,500 tons. You can fit a lot of firepower on a vessel of that size. Just sayin’.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

comment image

Mogami class are exactly the same length as a T23 (but 20cm greater in the beam.)

comment image

Duker

Not sure about Mogami numbers, as sources are japanese.
beam is usually waterline or widest deck. Which one?
However the japanes navy may have the same limited maintenance dock size but use a deeper draught for their new vessels ?

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes about 3m deeper in draught.

ATH

You can’t with modern standards of crew accommodation. You could build them like in the “olden days” but then you couldn’t get people crew them.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes. The Mogami’s have a complement of 90. About half that of a T23.

Hugo

And a fair bit less than the planned/required crew for T26. Plus gives advantages in upgradablity.

ATH

It would be interesting to see what they have done to get the crew so small. If it includes a helicopter flight it’s a much smaller crew than a T26.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

It carries a Sea Hawk.

AlexS

This usually gives a lot of headaches and issues, French also tried to have 100 sailors + heli crew in FREMMs and were unable to do it. The ship for a start have to work 24H, there are always stuff to fix and repair, stations to man, combat training to do, etc.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Big ship, small crew equals damage control problems.

Rudeboy

Sooner or later you’ll have to bite the bullet and invest though…

Pity no-one thought to make the Frigate facility large enough for the long term…

Hopefully the BAE and Babcock sheds at Govan and Rosyth respectively are being built with the long term in mind….

Even given the colossal size of the DDH at Barrow I reckon if they could go back they’d make it 30% bigger…

Hugo

No one projected Frigates getting to the size of cruisers though. Like the article says it was already large enough for the hefty T22 Batch 3.

Supportive Bloke

A 50 year life is pretty good.

RN was, at the time, obsessed with smaller hulls to keep up fleet numbers.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

This was all back in 1969 when the backbone of the fleet were Leander’s and T12’s.

Look this is plenty room around Cleopatra.

comment image

And look how little there is around Westminster.

comment image

Duker

All modern designs of warships are much beamier and larger displacement than 40 years back
A lot of things changed about what they carry inside the hull.
No more heavy boilers and steam turbines with condensers very low down in the hull. That lost weight means stability is less with the even more superstructure and sensors above deck leading to wider beam instead. Modern gas turbines and medium speed diesels are much lighter.
Narrow hulls are difficult to get around in and compartmentalisation is zoned taking up more space as well as increased personal accommodation standards

Paul Bestwick

However you need to remember that infrastructure is for life and not just for Christmas (ie the current project)

Richard Beedall

“Devonport … is the largest naval support facility in Western Europe.”

Moot point. French publications say exactly the same about the Toulon arsenal!  

The La Spezia Naval Base in Italy isn’t too shabby either. Also Rota in Spain is physically huge, and has a significant number of USN vessels based there.  

Maybe someone with a spare evening could do a comparative analysis of major European naval bases and their facilities (e.g. docks).

Sean

It comes down to how you define “largest”…
• largest land area?
• largest number of servicemen based there?
• largest number of ships home ported there?
• largest number of berths for ships?

Who knows?

Duker

6km of waterfront, 25 tidal berths and 5 basins over an area of 2.6 km².

Sean

Devenport? Toulon? La Spezia, Rota?
Unless you provide figures for all of them – and identifying which you’re giving figures for – then it’s pretty pointless… like most of your posts.

Duker

It’s what Babcock say. Like my comments , backed by evidence

N-a-B

You might just want to check what’s included in those totals. They include 1 basin and the associated jetties, which are essentially worthless and the 6km of waterfront is similar.

Pretty much everything south of the Torpoint ferry is of very limited value.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)

N-a-B

I totally agree with you that all of the “Dockyard” south of the Torpoint ferry is now useless.

However, as this area is now derelict, I believe that this is precisely where the most of the required new naval facilities should now be constructed! (i.e. everything except drydocks)

By using this whole area more effectively, there would be a very simple way of massively expanding both the capacity and capability of the entire Devonport complex.

All one needs these days – for ALL logistical and resupply operations – is one long tidal quayside = so lets provide the RN with one very-long and very simple quayside!
.
This very simple, but large, civil engineering project would be as follows:

  1. Construct one very long, and very straight, line of civil engineering sheet piles. Use some of British Steel’s largest sections.
  2. These new piles should start just south of the Torpoint Ferry and continue in a very straight line – in a generally south-westerly direction – right down to the very western tip of Number 1 jetty (i.e. only stopping just off what is currently the most-western point of the entire dockyard complex).
  3. That puts all of the now-derelict No 1 Jetty; No 1 basin and also the much-smaller derelict Jetty’s Nos 3 to 5 “well inside” the line of this all-new sheet piling / Devonport’s new sea wall.
  4. Then dredge out the harbour bottom just in front of this new sea wall to a depth of, let say, 13m This requires a relatively small area of dredging. (note: depth given below low water mark).
  5. Use all of the sand just dredged out from the outside of the new sea wall to infill the entire land area just created inside the new sea wall.
  6. This sand would be used to level-up the whole area (i.e. infilling all of the existing nooks and crannies’ – right back to the existing foreshore of the South Yard) This process would bury all of the old jetties and wharfs under newly-reclaimed land.
  7. Then, just inside this new seawall, lay new utilities. These would be used to supply shore power, fuel and communications etc to all the docked warships lying up up alongside the new quayside (so large waterpipes, electricity cables, fuel pipelines and (vitally) secure communications cables etc).
  8. Then, over the entire area, lay very large areas of flat concrete hardstanding over the top of the by-now compacted sand (i.e. concreting everywhere between the new sea wall and the existing foreshore)
  9. As the all-new concrete hardstanding just behind this new quayside would be (on average) roughly 100m to 300m wide. (note: only narrower near the Torpoint ferry), this hardstanding would be exceptionally useful for all types of mobile cranes, containers, delivery lorries etc
  10. Thus the brand-new foreshore south of the Torpoint ferry would all become one very-long and very-nice-and-simple naval quayside.
  11. Hey presto, one gains almost an all-new quayside – for fuelling and victualling all warships – which is no less than one 1km (1000m) long overall.
  12. This new 1000m long quay would be suitable for all ships serving in the RN and RFA today.
  13. Finally, as this project can be completed as a one-off civil engineering project – without affecting any of the existing dockyard nor involving any design by any of Babcock cartoonists – it would be remarkably cheap.
  • After all, this type of inherently-very-simple civil engineering project is precisely what hundreds of other commercial ports all around the world have done when their old dock facilities became too small, and thus obsolete……

Regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Sean

It’s what Babcock says about where? Devenport, Toulon? La Spezia, Rota?

So if Babcock says something is true, you automatically believe it?…
In that case it’s time to drop your favourite conspiracy theory
https://www.babcockinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/ESG-Environment-ARA-21.pdf

https://www.babcockinternational.com/news/babcock-science-based-net-zero-target-receives-sbti-validation/

Duker

Its not about ‘believing’, its all commercial puffery. I was just laying out Babcocks claim in its numbers. At least they arent using computer modelling years into the future with something thats an inherently chaotic system like the weather that you believe ‘bell, book and candle’

Dave

With your puffery, I hope ‘bell, book and candle’ happens to you,

Sean

You called it “evidence”, now you’re pushing back on it and calling it “puffery”. Do you change your position by the day, by the hour, or simply when it becomes indefensible?

Yet again you demonstrate your ignorance of the difference between weather and meteorology. Not surprising you consequently don’t understand more complex things such as climate change. But then as a computer scientist, I probably am better placed to evaluate climate models than a Luddite such as yourself.

Last edited 2 months ago by Sean
Magenta

Well … no doubt the russians and the chineese heve done their evening homework, and know more about these bases and other military UK bases than us punters ever will.
… could we ask them?

I recommend reading the History section of HMNB Devonport on Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMNB_Devonport

Fascinating.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)

All

As Supportive Bloke has said in his comments above = this fiasco could only happen in Britain…!

The subject of the “poor infrastructure at Devonport dockyard” was the subject of a many – often quite-scathingly rude – remarks in two separate threads on Navy Lookout a few months back. For example:

  • In a one liner, N-a-B quite seriously proposed knocking down the Frigate refit complex – for one reason, and and one reason only – that our frigates don’t now fit into it!
  • I noted the nuclear submarine facilities at Devonport- a nuclear licenced site – were totally inadequate (which is why sub refits take so long and are so eye-wateringly expensive…)

The fact that Babcock’s £1 billion masterplan plan for total redevelopment of Europe’s largest naval base have all been drawn up their in-house cartoonist sums it up….

Throw these plans in the bin, and start again: properly!

Regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Jon

We still need to fix Type 23s up to about 2031. Plenty of time to decide on that.

Babcock’s proposal that the refit centre could be used for submarine dismantling would be an interesting one if it freed up basin 3, but it wouldn’t. It might also be interesting as a workstream if expanded facilities gave us the US, Australian and French submarine dismantling work. My gut feel is that purpose built facilities somewhere else would be better, freeing up space at Devonport for maintaining current ships.

AlexS

In Italy should be Taranto. La Spezia is restricted by the bay and hills around it.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Taranto has that lovely port entrance.

comment image

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

comment image:large

AlexS

As you can see by Google maps, the docks for repairs are all inside the internal bay and that is a big issue.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes. More picturesque than practical without a doubt.

Paul

Italian Navy’s submarines?

AlexS

Yes, modified German design but seems they also bought the IP.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

One Italian and one German…………..

But I don’t the image is real…………

AlexS

They are now expanding on sea side bay coast of Taranto base, because that bridge while it helps protection it is also a choke point plus also limits Italian navy ships beam. You can’t go with a QE to the Taranto support installations inside in the internal bay. If you go Google Maps you can see the new naval station with the Cavour there. Also a new commercial port in northern part of the bay.
WW2 era map from Allied Intelligence.

GSGS_4380_ITALY_TOWN_PLANS_TARANTO_10K_2nd_ed_1943_16
Paul

I guess there is no thought of anti-missile systems being installed?

Sean

You’re expecting those sneaky French to attack?

Peter S

Steel’s cheap and air is free said the admiral. Oh wait a minute….

AlexS

Precisely. and big means also bigger engines etc.

Steve1

When the Frigate Refit Complex was built in the 70’s each dock was stated to have a length of 134m and an effective width of 19.8m.

The article states “The docks were lengthened in the 1980s …”

What are the current dimensions of the docks? Are all 3 the same or is the centre dock (6 dock) longer?

The article also states “They are also too small to take the Type 31 frigates which are almost as beamy as the Type 26.

Is that definite? If a Type 22 B3 fitted the dock should be long enough. With a beam of 19.8m it would certainly be ‘tight‘ but surely that depends on the docking plan/profile of the Type 31?

And how easy would it be to widen the docks – either slightly to accommodate the Type 31 or wider for the Type 26?

N-a-B

You might want to think about something called air draught. Just a thought.. ..

Steve1

I don’t think air draught should affect this, the Type 31 is very close to the Type 23 in this regard. The Type 26 will certainly be more but I think still OK. The height to the centre of the dock roof seems around 50m.
The issue, according to the article, seems to be the width of the dock.

Duker

The picture is worth 1000 words. see those roof support columns

Frigte-Refit-Complex-Devonport-1536x7881
Steve1

Yes, it is certainly tight.
But what prompted me to post was the phrase “effective width of 19.8m” for the docks when first covered.
The word ‘effective‘ implies that a frigate with a beam of 19.8m would fit (otherwise why have the word in the sentence?).
As the Type 31 is often said to have a beam of 19.8m (though I’ve seen 19.75 and 20.4 too) would it be expected to just fit?
And if it is just too tight surely there is enough space to widen the docks slightly to accommodate the Type 31 – the building is 130m wide, 3 docks take 3×19.8m = ~60m so there should be room for some widening.
The Type 26 would then need about a further 1m width in the dock (but a couple of metres more in length compared to a Type 22 B3).

Nigel

Only No.6 Dock was long enough for the Batch 2 & 3 T22’s (also Batch 3 T42’s). The additional length required was achieved by extending into the Basin. A purpose made tent/frame then covered the Aft end of the Flight-Deck with the bottom door panel only being lowered to approximately Hangar Roof height. Don’t forget that additional dock length was required when a Tail-Shaft required removing, and if it had a large flange on it which was the case for CPP Props.
I have wondered however, if additional usable width could be gained by removing the ‘sills’ that run the full length of the Docks, both upper and lower. They are at least a metre wide, so overall two extra metres could be available. They are used for the side docking support beams, but I see no reason why this method couldn’t be replaced by cradles.
Unless of course the “effective width” you mention already takes that into account.

Steve1

Thanks for the info. I’d assumed only 6 Dock was extended (judging by the photos) but it is good to have that confirmed.

Good to hear too that there is a possibility the docks could be widened.

I don’t think support for the Type 31 has been decided yet. Perhaps if Babcock gets it the FRC will be used for that.