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T31 should never have been signed off. A ninth T26 would have been the better option.

The navy is as small as it get really now. It isn’t a balance fleet.

We are where we are.

In 15 years time the RCN **, RAN, and Marina Militare will have better and more balance fleets. Japan and RoK navies will be superior in many ways.

One of our country’s greatest assets destroyed by third rate politicians and poor leadership within.

Can’t think of anything more to say.

** Submarines being the only issue as six/seven new-ish SSN’s trumps 4 old SSK’s…….but…..

Last edited 3 years ago by X
Robert Anderson

You can’t honestly state that Canada will have a balanced Navy. Sure there will be 15 frigates, but it lacks support vessels, destroyers, mine clearance vessels, submarines, you know the types of vessels you need for BALANCE!



Try Robert to be broader in your thinking. It might hurt the first few times. But please try.

Last edited 3 years ago by X

Actually I’ve heard they won’t be buying all 15 type 26 frigates.

John Fedup

Given junior’s deficits, 15 CSC ships will absolutely be less than 15!


If Canada does in fact end up with 15 (or 10), it should be remembered that they were intended to replace both the recently (Canada’s version of recently) retired destroyers & the current frigates. The T26 is a big frigate. It is more than capable of being an ASW frigate & AAW destroyer. It is the size & weight of a flight 1 AB destroyer & is capable of significantly higher missile load out than currently if required (though no detail on what may be lost to do so). The CSC & Hunter versions are intended to have AAW destroyer class radars. Though you only have to look at aT31 to see what a government can turn what is a high end AAW heavy frigate into. It’s all a case of if they can hold their nerve (the Canadian govt that is).


Also Robert, Canada does have 4 submarines, just out of refit after buying them from us, and they seem Good. Nad Canada does have one new huge support vessel “asterix” it’s the largest in its fleet.


The point is not what Canada will or will not have…the point is what the once great RN will not have.

Trevor H

Canada is balanced for the north Atlantic.


canada alls has the North Pacific and north W east passage and arctic


The fleet lacks depth, without a doubt, but where is the lack of balance that isn’t already being addressed? More importantly, how on Earth would buying one frigate instead of 5 light frigates be better for addressing that?

We have usable capability across the board, with only a couple of noticeable gaps, that can be sustained anywhere in the world. You say the Japanese and Korean navies are better for their needs, but they certainly aren’t balanced. They’ve got big escort and conventional submarine forces but no proper capital ships and few auxiliaries, meaning no real offensive capability.


Exactly, and it’s not like we will be needing the type 26 anti submarine capability or even anti air, what war can we see happening with that caoqbilty needed? Our diplomats do such a great job we will only need our ships for patrol, anti piracy and anti drugs…


Japan is currently converting two LHD’s to F35B carriers. Korea has announced plans to build similar. They are filling in the blanks. As to auxiliaries, you are forgetting that the opposition is right next door (as in English Channel & closer next door). UK is not looking to fight France, Netherlands or Germany (if it did it would have a bigger army). SK has a massive army with top notch equipment. But then, it shares a land border with one of the most despotic regimes around.

Balanced is a relative term. While SK’s SSK’s still have a way to go, Japan has some of the best heavy SSK’s out there & quite a few of them. Only Australia & Netherlands have comparable submarines. Finland is artillery heavy. Sweden is aircraft heavy. Switzerland does not have much of a navy. Does this make it unbalanced?


Assault ships with jump jets aren’t really proper capital ships, in the same sense that battlecruisers were not ships of the line. They can fill the role, but don’t compare to pure design.

You’re actually explaining the point I’m making. X is praising Japan and South Korea for supposedly having balanced fleets, but they don’t. They have fleets built around their specific needs.

Likewise, the Royal Navy is geared almost entirely for global ops. It has proportionally far more large platforms and auxiliaries, because that’s what it needs. Even our future “light” frigates are big expeditionary ships. The balance is there, we just need more ships of basically all classes.


Except if you have capital ships with only two squadrons of planes. The number of available F-35’s will seemingly always be a joke.


Japan ssk like all its vessels and entire armed force is a police force with no land attack or cruise missile. They are primarily asw and mine sweeping. South korea could nuetralize every japanese fighter and naval vessel within 24 hours. No airfields , no bases, no ports and no refuwling. Even Sk new ssk have 6 vertical launch for domestic cruise missile.

David Barry

As to the Japanese, I suggest they are balanced based on the circa 70 y.o mandate… JMSDF, clue in their name. However, that is changing.


With a reported cost of £2bn for 5 Type 31’s including government equipment and construction infrastructure at Rosyth, we could have instead had 2 Type 26 and £300m left over to put hangars on the last 3 Rivers. I’d argue that’s a far better investment than the Type 31 which is an OPV disguised as a frigate




We’d also not have had those new T26s until 2038 and 2040.

Meanwhile, we’d have a bunch of barely armed OPVs with hangars for a helicopter fleet that’s already short of numbers. What benefit are those exactly?

T31 is not only going to give us new escorts faster, it’s supporting a competitor to BAE, which will drive down prices, and opened a practical route to an expanded frigate fleet with T32.


Why would we wait until 2036? I assume that as the MOD paid for it then the intellectual property rights to the T26 design belong to them. If we cancel T31 then why can Rosyth not build the 2 additional T26?


T26 is a private design by BAES, hence why it’s BAES that’s been competing for the Canadian and Australian programmes.

The only way to get T26s faster is going to be negotiating a quicker build rate for the Batch 2 ships, which obviously does nothing to fill the gap in ships faster and would cost more money.

Even if T26s were allowed to be built at Rosyth, until the T31 programme there weren’t actually the facilities in place to build complete frigates, so you’d have to pay for that T31 frigate factory for just two frigates

David Broome

Bae will be moving onto the type-4xx. I just cannot believe why some are relitigating a common sense decision like the Type-31.

John Clark

I agree with Callum, the T31 has the all important displacement to add equipment. Hopefully the T32 will be an up-armed T31, with the 31’s being properly fitted out in time. It’s an excellent base design for an affordable GP Frigate and pushing escort numbers back to 24.

A political decision has been made that we only require 8 ASW frigates, this is obviously flawed thinking, it’s patiently bloody obvious we need at least 12.

With this in mind however, the planned 5 T26 GP Frigates were massively over specified for General duties, a real waste of money.

A huge amount of money has been spent on T26 noise reduction and the needed ASW handling, ie, tight turns at speed and coming to stop quickly, plus many other expense dedicated ASW design features etc.

13 were only being ordered originally as a political sop to the Scottish in the first place, many doubt they ever actually intended to build 13….

We have to spend our money smarter, the T31(hopefully T32) is a step in that direction in my opinion.

David Broome

Are you mad? 1 type 26 and three 30mm equipped Rivers in exchange for 5 large new Type-31s with major growth potential! What will these rivers fly given wildcat under a cloud? Let alone top weight allowance on a 90m hull.


Canadian frigate is in trouble Parliamentary Budget Office estimate

+4 Billion(with tax) per frigate and supposedly only at sea in 2031.
Alternatives presented by PBO with 3 Type26+ 12FREMM and 3 Type 26+12 Type 31.

John Fedup

Note that the proposed savings over the 30-35 year timeframe are minimal compared to the massive one year deficit that our moron PM is responsible for. Even the least expensive option (all T31e) would provide a savings of about 35 billion (if you believe a PBO report) over 30 plus years so a billion per year saving with a huge decrease in capability. Idiot junior has a deficit of 300 billion in a single year! He has had deficits every year since becoming PM.


Are you sure about that value. Seems almost impossible.

John Fedup

I assume you mean his deficit value for the last 12 months. Yes, the $300 billion number has been floating around for sometime now with minimal denial from junior. Basically he’s is trying to buy the next election with huge COVID support payments along with really stupid political purchases (example, $5 billion pipeline project in Western Canada to appease Alberta). Virtually nobody in that province would vote for him no matter what he does.



John Clark

You are quite right John, Boris should have not supported anyone during the Covid crisis and saved money ….. We would had collapsed businesses left right and centre and many millions unimployed, but a lower deficit …..hmmm

John Fedup

A great deal of this deficit spending wasn’t applicable to many businesses that should have received some. Even worse, many claims for support were fraudulent and there has been minimal audits.


March 2021, surely.

David Currie

My eyes sadden from when I I was a boy of 16 joininging the military we had a good navy we had a large army and the airforce were great now sad to say if it comes to conflict we could not stand our round in a pub no money and week at the liberal knees . From a soldier of army maritime signing off REGIMENT was 17 port reg RCT

Last edited 3 years ago by David Currie

And here’s me disappointed by the Royal Navy, but that’s fine in comparison to canadas. But Britain had the arrest most powerfully Navy with over 600 destroyers not that long ago. And 30+ frigates and destroyers was a low in the 90s, now we have 19! I hope we get back to 24, that seems a fair number for the navy, both Korea and Japan have roughly that number


The major issue here is not so much the scrapping of T23’s – as the article says Monmouth is already laid up so the RN wouldn’t be losing much in getting rid of her (although if she’s already never destined to go through LIFEX not much will be saved either). The other frigates mentioned are 2-4 years from their planned retirement dates so scrapping them would only bring the inevitable frigate gap a few years forwards.

The bigger problems are that yet again we will hear how these are short-term reductions and the RN will have to make do with inadequate numbers all in the name of ‘jam tomorrow’ which we all know never then materializes.

On top of that any reduction in fleet numbers seemingly goes completely against all of Boris’s talk of a maritime strategy, biggest navy in Europe, 24 surface ships etc etc. Can’t say i’m at all surprised at idea of a government being so duplicitous and illiterate in it’s aims – but it’ll be disappointing to see nonetheless.

Reductions in hardware and manpower can be valid if there is a sound plan for reorganization and future strategy behind it – but sadly time and time again we see the MoD salami slice equipment, people and training in a desperate attempt to balance the books until their successors have to make yet more tough decisions as the procurement cycle spins out of control again in a few years time.

The UK has one of the biggest defence budgets in the world – it’s not a lack of cash that’s the problem, it’s how it’s spent. Until we see root and branch reform to tackle waste and bad procurement practices the MoD will be a black hole that no amount of extra billions will fix.

John Clark

I certainly agree with you re procurement Challenger, but now additional money is available, they really need to get T26, T31, T32 moving.

After T32 is underway, they will need to move forward with a T45 replacement too, so plenty to keep warship ship building busy!

Moving the Frigate and Destroyer force back to 24 with unmanned systems of various sorts backing them up as force multipliers and we will have something quite special.

The new realities of our post BREXIT stance will mean an increased spotlight on the RN, as protecting our lines of supply and trading partners will be vital. I’m all for new technology and unmanned systems will without doubt come of age in the next 10 years, especially anti submarine and SSN support, imagine an Astute on patrol with a couple of armed loyal wingmen drones.


It’s crazy how we are allready thinking of a type 45 replacement….

Trevor H

It’s hard at the moment to know what an AA destroyer needs to be.


Well a well armed anti air destroyer. I would prefer a multi role destroyer though for the RN like South Korea And Japan have.

David Broome

Absolutely not. HMS London is due in service in 2038 when HMS Daring will be 29-years in commission. Ordering a follow-on build ensures a hotline that with new designs, automation and weapon systems could lower acquisition cost in real terms. The alternatives are build gaps and a need to recruit/train or make work programmes that lead to quality issues eg the Rivers (make work) to Astute (quality).


I remember working in defence procurement years ago as a summer temp – the wastage was apparent to me even then, at 17.

On one occasion the senior grades in our very top-heavy section all went on a 4-night team building exercise to a 4 star country club for the week. At the time this was quite enjoyable for me as the office was quiet and I could get on with revising for my university exams (they having left me no work to do, despite my actually having asked for some several times….).

I looked up the cost of staying at the country club and worked out a rough estimate for overall cost for the team, including transport, catering etc. which ran to nearly £10 000 if memory serves. When the team returned I asked one of them how the trip was and they replied “yea it was alright”. Basically we lost ~300-400 person-hours of work and around ten grand of taxpayers money for nothing on a project that was already behind schedule.

Also couldn’t help noticing the physical state of many of the senior naval officers(not all, I hasten to add) who would frequent the place (broadly speaking, Commodores and upwards) – many of them had their commuting and second-home-near-work mortgage costs covered by the MoD, despite earning salaries and pensions that would make one’s eyes water. Few of them appeared to be the kind of people which, perhaps being unkind, seemed physically able to fight a war tomorrow if they were called upon to do so and I thought set a less than impressive example to the civilian work force, let alone more junior ranks whom they came into contact with. I remember one anecdote at the time which was that we had more admirals than frigates in our navy. Some cut backs can start there if needs be.

This was quite a while ago so I do not know how things are today or whether my experience was representative of the whole, but still, I do remember noting the absence of ‘lean’ officers and I at least drew some comfort from that by thinking that someone somewhere had sensibly deployed all our fighting fit officers on active warships whilst the..erm…less fighting fit ones were safely deployed behind a desk and frequenting the bar at lunch time. Apologies if this sounds unkind, but perception matters, and it certainly did not inspire me at 17 to take up a career in the navy (I was seriously considering RAF at the time, but changed direction a few years later).


….apologies – I was 19 at the time, not 17.

Something Different

It may seem different to junior members of the team but such team building exercises can be useful as a different environment can help facilitate a change of insight and help breakdown barriers which naturally occur within teams. There is a reason why the private sector uses the technique extensively.

Also, I beg to differ on the need to cull admirals. Remember you need senior people in any organisation to lead on important areas such as HR, procurement, finance, strategy etc. For the military to be effective these back office functions need to have people of sufficient clout and experience to enable the bits that go bang to function correctly. Moreover, if sufficient and effective governance and leadership is to be practiced then flag rank officers cannot be overburdened with more responsibilities for the sake of keeping to an arbitrary number of posts dictated by keeping under the number of ships in commission.It has to be remembered that a a type 26 frigate is around the same size as an interwar cruiser (that comparison becomes more stark if the ship’s armour is removed from the equation) and almost 3 times the size of a Leander. This partly explains why the ratio of flag officers to ships has increased over the years as more capability is invested in fewer platforms. I wonder if we compared the ratio of admirals to ship tonnage if the picture looks different.

Also, there is a need to ensure the there is career progression for mid ranking experienced and talented officers otherwise they will leave (at least in normal economic times) for the private sector. It’s analogous to why the UK’s military on paper has less tanks, planes, ships etc than some comparators but the investment in force multipliers and logistics allows it, in practice, to project meaningful force around the globe.

Trevor H

No. The number of escorts is going up.


Official line may be 24 escorts but the combined frigate programs won’t bear enough fruit to get that number into service until the 2030’s.

We already know there will be a frigate gap in the mid-late 2020’s and if the rumours in this article are correct it’ll be dropping down to more like 15 even sooner than planned.

My point is a lot can happen to commitments and promises in 10 years and the normal trend is to cut assets today with the promise of rectifying it tomorrow which rarely materialises.

Meirion X

At least 2 T23(GP)s should have their lives extended, Lancaster and Iron Duke, of only recently have had LIFEX, or being completed, until the arrival of the T31s.
Maybe Argyll could do another year as well.
It is a time bomb ticking away for the next Gov!

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
criss whicker

Just my opinion but it seems once again excuses to reduce the fleet further with a promise of more later,
only later never comes, but if it is true that we are still giving millions to the EU towards PESCO, then this should be scrapped and the money given to the navy for more ships not less,
still, sooner or later, we will see if they were needed , or very much missed.
just my humble opinion.

Trevor H

All this sort of moaning is getting boring.

criss whicker

Moaning. yes your right, all those who are abt to die should never moan, just shut up and get on with it ,

still, who would ever reply if one does not moan,
boring yes, but energetic, no.


You don know the UK and US complained about not being allowed to bid for PESCO projects? Also the UK isn’t part of PESCO anyway.

criss whicker

hi mark, you may well be right,
but according this this story some think not,
i was mearly interested in that if we are out [as you say ]
then if its true we are still paying, then i should stop and the money given to our own navy,
but feel free to read the page, i may well have got it wrong,, im not an expert and it was only an opinion.

Brexit news: UK helping EU with bloc ‘militarisation strategy ‘Brexit without the exit!’ | Politics | News |


You maybe want to read your linked article again. UK is not a part of PESCO in any way but the UK but the geographical position of the UK is indeed still the same, so UK will always work closely with other European states together.


Interesting that a counter point to this never got posted…

criss whicker

Perhaps in time.


The navy may face some difficult choices and unwelcome reductions but it has done well compared to the other services. The RAF has substantial airlift capabilities but it’s combat power is pathetic with< 150 Typhoons to cover both air defence and air strike. The army is in a dreadful state with too few troops and equipment that has not been kept up to date. A budget of 2% that now includes pensions( reasonable) intelligence services and the nuclear deterrent is simply not enough. No amount of ingenious rearranging will make it so. So what is to be done?
1. Recognise that we don't need 2 fast jet carriers. Buy enough F35bs for one and use the second as an LPH only.
2. Retire Albion and Bulwark without replacement.
3. Buy new FSS only for single carrier operation.
4. Buy 50/60 new Typhoons to restore some RAF strength with reduced F35 all RN.
5. Refurbish Ch2 and AS90 without major upgrade and in decent numbers.
6. Scrap the Warrior upgrade and use the best hulls as APCs.
7. Use a combination of Ajax and Ares instead of Warrior.
8. Recognise that Strike is in essence a light formation and make it all wheeled with Boxer and other retained wheeled vehicles such as Jackal/Coyote. Increase firepower with LIMAWS and ground launched Brimstone.
9. To cover the frigate gap, uparm the River 2 vessels with some surface to air and anti ship missiles: CAMM and Sea Brimstone.
10. Speed up the Type 26 programme ( type 31 already looks ambitious).
These suggestions make the equipment budget affordable. They make best use of what we already have, address the RN manning problems and don't involve major new and unaffordable programmes.


I understand the point you are making, but robbing Peter to pay Paul is how the defence community got into this mess. The reality is that the defence budget needs to be greater than 2% so that all 3 services get the funding they need.

While I dont agree with points 1 and 2, 3 is already the state of affairs. The RFA’s capability to support has been decimated faster than the RN has been reduced and they realistically can only support 1 deployed carrier strike group, and only then by cutting back maintenance and other duties they do to support the armed forces.

9 is a tricky balance to add weapons, you need to add people to operate and maintain (where will they live/come from), adding capability also adds capital and through life costs, retrofitting it can often be greater in the long term than buying it new so may not be advisable.

10 not just type 26, but 31 and 32, while at the same time replacing and expanding (back to where it was at a minimum in the 80s) the capability of the auxiliary fleet.


I agree of course that 2% is too small, even if well spent. But, assuming there will be no increase, I have played around with options using publicly available costs. The RN warship plan is contracted- FSS remains to be decided. So we know more or less what the RN will be in 2030.
But we have no idea what the army will be or what equipment it will have. Most major systems need renewal.
The RAF seems to have no future plan, apart from Tempest,, and is too small even for effective home defence.
What I have suggested gets us to around 2030. By then we need to have designed and planned:
* New MBT and SP gun
* New MCM mothership ( River2 hull could do)
* New heavy anti- ship missile
* Typhoon successor
A lot of other kit will be due for replacement including much of the helicopter fleet but new designs probably not needed.
It is worth remembering that Britain, even during the Cold War, when defence took 10% of GDP,only ever had one aircraft carrier with supersonic jets. The ambition to run 2 was always likely to cause problems, and it has.

Meirion X

The last time Britain spent 10% of its GNP on defence was in 1953. The Royal Navy had over 300 ships in service at the time, and 1 new fleet carrier, and 2nd in service by 1955, and 8 light carriers(under 30Kt).


The ambition to run 2 was not a problem, it was government policy to phase our carriers out that was the problem. Eagle was in better material state than Ark Royal and we had the manpower to crew her and jets to put on her. She only went because of good old blind politics.

Meirion X

All 48 F-35Bs procured will be delivered by 2025. Any more proposed, would come after that date.

So a 2nd carrier could be deployed with the 207Squ(OCU), in home waters/GIUK, for periods of sea training and ASW exercises.


The supposed increase in defence spending comes from funny money generated by the Bank of England, so the increase in defence spending was never real as the printed money will work it’s way through the economy and raise prices for everything. Further cuts were always inevitable.

Seems wasteful keeping Type 23 frigates going for so long beyond their life but don’t really understand some of the other aspects of the review. What’s the point of having expensive aircraft carriers and fast jets if you lack an adequate mine removal ability? An enemy could simply place mines around your ports to cripple you whereas a 1940s confrontation between aircraft carrier battle groups is extremely unrealistic and unlikely based on current technology. Basically the entire Navy is now being centred around an aircraft carrier battle group as there is little available for anything else.

Why spend so much money designing three classes of frigate when the actual number of each to be purchased is so small? Better off spending the money building a decent number of one class rather than wasting so much in design fees.

Need to end the fixation with buying the most expensive and biggest version of everything loaded up with every new and complicated technology. Regardless of how big and “capable” something is it can’t be in two places at once. The F35 should really be described as the jet that ate Britain’s military.


The increase in defence spending, along with a lot of the pandemic financing is not “funny money”. It’s money generated through the sale of gilts (government bonds) which are seen as safe investments by investors in turbulent times. During the peak of the pandemic last year the return on some gilts were so low that investors were effectively paying the government to hold their money. Even after the pandemic is over, interest rates are likely to stay close to zero for years if not decades to come.

You wonder why build different classes of frigate? Simply put, the RN can buy several general-purpose T31’s for the price of the specialist anti-submarine T26.
Nobody knows what the T32 is, but a good chance it’s a refinement of the T31, perhaps more specialist in nature – eg acting as a mothership to mine-hunting unmanned vessels…

The RN has been procuring new unmanned mine hunting and clearing systems and this is undoubtedly where the future lies. It frees up having to crew as many dedicated mine-hunting vessels and consequently puts fewer navy personnel at risk.
(Which blows away you “enemy could just mine the ports” argument.)

Inevitably your post is rounded off by attacking the most advanced weapon system possessed by the UK’s armed forces, the F35B. I assume you’d like to bring Harriers or Swordfish out of retirement?

Trevor H

Good points

Trevor H

Don’t know where your economics come from. The govt has been borrowing money since WW2.


Type 45 should have been a cruiser sized ship to replace both T42 and T23/22. It was a mistake.

It is a shame that we are not building our T26 to the same specs as the RAN and RCN versions.

John Clark

The T45 is light Cruiser size X, they are very large vessels.

Ships of this size aren’t exactly the best for ASW, too big, the T26 is as big as you want to go.

We do need to make the most of the T45’s though, by landing the Astor15’s and quad packing Sea Ceptor into the vacant silos, especially if ER variants can be procured.

We could increase the Astor 30 load out and have a mix of 90 plus missiles. That’s some serious firepower!

A couple of T45’s with this load out guarding a carrier task group (mixed with a couple of T26’s) and nothing is getting anywhere close in a shooting war, the best part of 300 capable SAM’s!

Something Different

Most modern escorts are in effect cruisers by size and to some extent role. Outside of FAC and corvettes gone are the days of packs of capital killing small ships trying to punch above their wait. In terms of RN destroyers the County Class set that properly in motion although the Darings had already straddled the size between WWII destroyer and a light (albeit very light) cruiser. The Type 22 did the same for frigates by pushing up dimensions and capabilities compared to Type 21 and Leanders.

Meirion X

Are You really Harrod by the way?

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
Phillip Johnson

‘Save the Royal Navy published a refit report on the T23 around 2 years ago. I will repeat it in part here:

HMS Richmond (Age 25)
Richmond entered the FRC in August 2017 and is the first frigate to receive the new engines. She is scheduled to be handed back to the RN in July, although the work is behind schedule. It will now be very challenging for Babcock to meet this deadline, perhaps unsurprising as lessons are learned with the first ship to undergo such a big upgrade..

HMS Lancaster (Age 28)
Lancaster completed her last major refit in 2012 and after active service, was placed in ‘reduced readiness’ in 2016. She was towed from Portsmouth to Devonport in March 2017 and began her LIFEX refit soon after. She is due to be floated out of the FRC in mid-February 2019.

HMS Portland (Age 19)
After more than a year in reduced readiness in Devonport, Portland began her LIFEX in February 2018. Despite a minor fire onboard in September 2018, she is just behind HMS Lancaster in terms of progress and will leave the FRC soon.

Somerset (Age 24)
Somerset began preparing for LIFEX refit in September 2018 but only recently entered FRC and will be out of service until sometime in 2020.

Iron Duke (Age 27)
After being laid up in Portsmouth in 2017, the Iron Duck was towed from Portsmouth to Devonport in mid January. She is reported to be in very poor condition and will require extensive work to complete LIFEX.  

The point to be made is that the RN really hasn’t had a 19 strong surface combatant for a long term and it will be a long time before it gets back to 19. Probably somewhere in the 2030’s, which politically means anything could happen.
Accelerate the T26’s and face reality. Do not waste more money on very old ships, even if it means revealing the real strength of the RN in the short term.
The other comments that I will make are:

  1. That the planned Littoral combat ships will end up replacing the Bay class, 2 for 3.
  2. Bulwark and Albion should survive simply because they are a big politically useful hull that isn’t either a carrier or a surface combatant.
  3. The batch 2 Rivers will take over much of the MCM role using USV’s and UUV’s

And who does the work the B2 Rivers should be doing? And do you think large drones might need upperworks especially tailored for their handling and maintenance?

‘Any hull will do’ shows a similar lack of understanding seen in the MoD(N) today.

Phillip Johnson
  1. The only essential role of the B2’s have is the Falklands guard ship. The rest is optional. With the Brexit deal the need for 3 B1’s in home waters is limited so 1 could fill the West Indies guard ship role.
  2. Upper works? The ever present ISO shipping container fits the bill . The B2’s were designed to take containers either side of the funnel fitted as and when needed.

Re 1 Even when we were in the EU we needed more that one River on fisheries work. Having a deal is only partially relevant. Unfortunately a small minority of captains both U.K. and EU will break fishing rules if they think they can get away with it.


Protection of the EEZ is optional? We neglect it now with what we have. Odd for somebody who comments on a naval blog to think our seas aren’t worth defending or policing.

You can’t work out of containers. All that shows is your ignorance of the matter at hand.

If you watch you can see some containers in this video……

DPS with degaussing and other ‘stealth’ needs will be required for the mothership too for the optimal solution.

I think you greatly overestimate how intelligent these system are and underestimate how quick they work.


Over estimate how quick they work……..


The B2 Rivers are no use for anything without an embarked helicopter in a hangar. The only contribution HMS Medway made to disaster relief and anti-smuggling operations in rhe Caribbean was to take some nice photos of RFA Argus whose helicopters were actually carrying out the missions.


I agree. I only see them as FP / security assets within the UK home EEZ. And though I like them, I have been aboard all of the B1’s apart from Clyde, and think they are solid ships there are better packages out there at that size. As you point out in the Caribbean without a helicopter no use. And in the Falklands (and even further south on occasion) no use either with no helicopter or ice-strengthening. At home with flight deck you don’t need to have organic manned aircraft.

For home service I would prefer something like the RR Skadi 70 OPV.
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For the Caribbean something like Fassmer 80 OPV (though a small fast frigate would be better.)
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And for the Falklands (and further down) something like the RDN Thetis,

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or the RCN Harry DeWolf class.

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When the RN sold on the first 3 T23 frigates to Chile they were all due refits. We knew at least 6 months ahead of the announcement that we would be going ( HMS Marlborough) because all work on the upcoming refit work package was stopped dead by Abbey Wood. The sale was actually a positive double whammy for the RN. The cost of running the three frigates was immediately removed from the budget and the future cost of the refits was also removed. The vessels when sold then got refits, before moving to the new owners, but the refits where not part of the RNs budget.

I wouldn’t be sure regarding the names of the ones to go. Certain T23s are dead certs to be “retired early” and they are obvious.
One possible option may be for the recently refitted and worked up T23 to be retained to replace Montrose in the Gulf. Montrose will be due a docking period for hull survey on her return from the Gulf and as stated she has worked very hard.
If that doesn’t happen then Montrose may need to dock at a yard in the Middle East to conduct a quick hull survey.

Its all going to come down to Lloyds survey requirements

Mike G

The promise of jam tomorrow is a smoke screen as we have seen in the past. Added to the fitted for but not with it all smoke and mirrors. we cannot trust the politicians with the defence of the country not matter what they say in public. Sad days

Something Different

Well we have got some of the jam in the end. Two carriers and F35s plus P8 shows that not all ‘capability holidays’ are permanent.


2730 tonnes. Bigger than a R2 River. This is what we are looking at for the future MCM. And we will need over 8/9.


I think it more likely the proposed T32 will fill that role. Wouldn’t surprise me if the losing BAE Leander T31 proposal comes back into consideration…: 3-4000 tons, helo and hangar, nice big mission bay, capable self defence, electric drive….


I always thought this was a better option for Type 31. What’s the point of ordering a larger ” upgradeable” vessel when experience shows there is usually no money for an upgrade? Still trying to understand the intention for MCM. Autonomous systems may be quicker and less risky, but they really do need a hefty mothership to operate them.


I liked it too but am happy with Arrowhead. It’s obvious the powers that be wanted to get away from the Clyde. Babcock is creating the frigate factory that BAE always said we ought to have; big sheds, computerised welding etc. All political really. The Leander hull looks to me like a 117m River 2. Just press the enter key on the computer and I’ll bet those apprentices who have just finished the batch 2 OPVs could knock out Leander T32s pretty quickly alongside the T26. As I understand it I think the idea is that in future given a mission bay or in the case of R2 a big deck and a crane, task force frigates will have organic MCM capability.


Leander was too small for the RN which aspires to be and sees itself as a global force.


I am not sure T32 will be. But I think it will be too big to be a dedicated MCM (mini) mothership. Defence for clearance operations will come from other platforms in war.


Another school of thought is that T32 will be something like the Italian San Geogio class; a 8000 ton LHD with x5 to replace the 2 LPDs; perhaps with cats and traps to launch and recover UCAVs.


Retiring those four ships will save £100m a year. A big amount of money to normal people and businesses, but its hardly going to deal with £400bn COVID bill and hardly keeps the NHS in paperclips for a month. There seems to be money for everything else other then defence of the realm…

Trevor H

Ignore the cheap sort at paperclip and count up the ventilators. We certainly need to invest in vaccine technology. Let’s face it China is weaponising drugs and viruses. We need to defend ourselves against other things than bullets.


Undoubtedly true; but in the scheme of things any of these MOD cuts which are in the rumour mill just wont move the dial in terms of what our Government spends….


Didn’t the RN get rid of over 5,000 or more personel Since 2010? Surely that has something to do with ships laid up unscrewed!

Julian adams

I can not see why we did not buy a new updated type 23 instead of a type 31 or 32.
Type 23 is still one of the best frigetts out there. With a little improvements of surface and subsurface steatlh and reduced maning with New technology. Would be a cheaper ship.


Simply because it would not meet current safety and environmental standards. Not to mention poor accommodation standards, obsolete equipment etc. Fixing those means a significantly larger ship.

Would love to see your justification of it being a “cheaper ship” with improvements to surface and subsurface stealth and reduced manning. Do please explain what these are, how they are applied and why they don’t cost much.


It is amazing how far accommodation has advanced in the last 50 years. I wonder what today’s 18yo would make of a ‘Zoo’……..?

Supportive Bloke

When Kent was used as an accommodation ship I got a taste of that!


The Zoo still exists




Iron Duck is in her final docking period (done every 3-4 years), not Lifex, as were Lancaster and Argyll before her.

Were I a betting man – and if the rumour is true (as opposed to an IR “option”), I’d have to say MONM is a goner, ARGL and MTRO to follow and LANC in due course. The Duck would survive until first T31.

That of course assumes they don’t go for one of the ASW ships awaiting Lifex.

Plus side, eight new ships on contract / in build, five more to come with B2 T26. Plus whatever T32 turns out to be in the 30s.

Meirion X

Iron Duke has been in the FCF shed for nearly two years now!
So what have Babcock been doing to her then? A long time for just maintenance then!

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

Clyde built. Held together with Araldite.

Supportive Bloke

Only the best stick together……


So 4 spare Wildcats for the B2 Rivers then? Just asking….


And some hangers?


Telescopic ones maybe. Actually the R2 being forward based will always be close to a airfield or an RFA for maintenance and repairs.Falklands, Caribbean, Gib, ME, Singapore or Brunei. The Straits of Malaca are only 100 miles long for example. So lily pad deployment for a day or three would be feasible.
A Wildcat – HMG, Martlet and maybe Sea Venom makes a R2 a


I’m disturbed by your suggestion that a Type 31 could become our deployed vessel in the Gulf.

The Type 31 has no ASW capability at all and the Iranians have conventional submarines, mini-submarines and mines.

The Type 31 has no anti-ship missiles and the Iranians have several SSM equipped warships. In any confrontation with one of them a Type 31 would have to withdraw.

And with only 12 SAM’s a Type 31 would quickly be overwhelmed if shooting started given the numbers of Iranian land and ship based SSM’s and aircraft.

The Type 31 is an OPV dressed as a frigate and it would be a ludicrous risk to deploy one independently in anything but the lowest threat environment unless it is part of a task group. The US considers their LCS vessels unsuitable for independent operations other than in low threat environments and they are similarly equipped to the Type 31.

Meirion X


Meirion X

So it looks like Bab’s will get the blame then, even though the MoD set the specs! By the time the first T31 is sent to the Gulf, the decision makers will be long gone though the revolving door!


Exactly. T31 makes little sense. I think the RN have been fielding under armed ships so long they now see it as norm perhaps even a virtue!


I agree. Before the contract was signed, there was a lot of discussion about buyer furnished equipment, either from retired type23s or a pool of 5 spare sets. So my expectation was for a ship with 4.5 inch gun, 24 Seaceptor, and maybe some ASW kit or Harpoon. The proposed armament looks woeful in such a large hull. And we will be operating 3 classes of surface ship with 3 different main guns. Even the combat management system will be different. As configured, what real use are they? Perhaps the deciding factor behind the order was blind panic about a looming escort gap, after faffing around for 3 years.
God help those who sail them in harm’s way.


Harms way?
B1 and B2 T22s where hardly bristling with weapons. Sea wolf and exocet and a helo. In the 3 drafts on them I had during the cold War and Gulf nobody was bothered with it.


I know the batch 1s had no main gun but otherwise they were armed with what were then modern weapons. TheType31 is not being fully armed: no ASW, small main gun, no anti ship missiles, minimal number of SAM missiles.
One problem for the RN is that unlike the army, our ships have only been in life threatening action once in 50 years. No senior officer left has been in combat. So all the navy has really done since 1982 is practice. Once in real action, I imagine the demand for more and better weaponry would displace any concerns about crew comfort.


Modern guns of that era were about willy waving more than being useful. Today a gun with smart ammunition is an essential I say.

The incoming Italian DDX will have a 5in and 3 76mm guns all with smart ammunition. Never mind 2 VLS and a complete ASW outfit.

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That’s a stretch as you well know B1/B2 T22 were going nowhere but the North Atlantic as you well know. And they were adequately armed for the role. Further as for the Gulf they were sent as now because they were the units available in peace time against a less than peer enemy and hiding beyond the USN and USAF. If Iran at the time was as well armed as say Turkey you would have been bothered about it. Other European nations arm their ships, we look to excuse doing without as a virtue. The RN isn’t the clever exception. It is the underfunded (submarines to one side perhaps) poor country cousin.


We have underfunded the SM element also, taking aside the SSBN element we have or will have 7 Astutes when built, that compares very unfavourably with the 12/13 S + T boats we had. With the demise of sub harpoon they also lack a SL AShM. It’s ALL still underfunded.


US subs are getting back their Harpoons to beef up their firepower. A chance for us to do the same?


I imagine it would depend on two things, one is money and the other is if we are keeping harpoon for the surface fleet? Nothing has been said about the Interim missile selection to epuip the 5 T23’s, so perhaps that may but have a bearing on this issue?


Another ‘cock up’ was not building the Astutes with VPM’s so we could parallel USN missile systems.

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Meirion X

The Virginia’s are 18 meters longer than the Astute’s, which is most likely the reason why the MoD did not want further expense to lengthen the Astutes to accommodate VPMs.

Meirion X

The successor to Astute SSN(R)
is to be over 9000 tons, so it looks like 120m, so should accommodate VPM’s.


One said ‘perhaps’. The whole ‘defence sector’ is underfunded. You have to be careful not to get carried away when playing fantasy fleets.

We should, and could afford, run 12/16 SSN’s. And we could find work for 8 large SSK’s and 4 smaller boats for training.


Not playing FF, but we should really have had 8/9 Astutes seeing as MOD has known for a long time that one will be with the CSG!!! We won’t get one now of course, so the only possible increase in SM numbers (given the will/ambition/money) that we would see is if by some miracle we ordered some SSKs – again very unlikely!
Agree with you ref HMG spending money elsewhere as opposed to on defence, unfortunately that’s the world we live in.

Supportive Bloke

The T31 will be unparmed as soon as it comes out of build, Of that I am pretty certain.

The point was to get it out of builders hands at a low fixed costs so Mr RN can say to Mr Treasury “see you can trust me with money”

I’ve sat in plenty of meeting where the Treasury guys and girls are obviously wondering wether to multiply the numbers on the table by 2, 3 or 4.

Babcock are being paid a tad under £1.5Bn for their bit of the program. The other £500m is where things could get quite interesting.

The other issues is one that keeps going round in circles here: what other big shot weapons would you use in the gulf? Really use? I mean you cannot really use an AShM in those tight spaces… might use a pretty basic sonar set…..although given how shallow the water is you could just use electro optical for most of the effect……you are not going through temperature layers on the gulf so the sophistication of sonar needed is going to be limited. Sonar tends to be of mixed utility in shallow water anyway. T31 has a hangar so Cab and UAV use is going to be a reality for ASW. The gun fit on T31 is excellent for self defense and the Sea Ceptor is the weapon of choice – nobody would dare get too close to a Ceptor armed ship in a Cab.

Are we really saying a radar laid 57/40mm with proximity fuses cannot down drones? I don’t think they would be expending Ceptor on those unless they were pretty serious drones of the future.

At the moment I would say Harpoon is bolted onto the T23’s on Gulf duties in the” I have a big stick” category. If the T31 has the stand-in AShM fitted to it how is it much less?


LCS is unsuitable because the propulsion system doesn’t work and it may take 2+ years to fix. The MCM package is unsat. The crew cannot maintain it and the running pattern is close to that envisioned for the T23 back when it was conceived. The RN binned that rapidly as unsustainable.

Supportive Bloke

Well actually there is a way of making this work and Boris being able to do it with a straight face.

Order the 5/6(?) T32 on the same unalterable terms as the T31 were ordered…..I’m pretty sure these will turn out to be T31 with 155mm gun (the Danish version is designed to take this) and some VLS in place. These are low risk upgrades as the original design had these elements in it. The amounts of money in doing this are actually quite small in MOD terms and there is build capacity in the works as there is the 2nd bay for the export ones…..I don’t think Babcock will care if they are fully up to commercial capacity as their bet on the big shed looks a wise one.

Order the rest of the T26 on unbreakable contract model of QEC…..

At that point I will take his pledge to grow the navy quite seriously and won’t be too bothered about gapping some knackered frigates IF we don’t see the RM capabilities destroyed by mothballing the Albions/Points/Bays.


Was that the proposed 155mm BAe gun?

Supportive Bloke

I don’t think it was the BAE effort, no.

I did see a spec for the IH’s that listed the same gun as on the T26’s a while back.

The Danish versions do have the VLS in place so that is no stretch at all and it is actually a bit odd that we didn’t. OK, the reason was to produce something affordable that Treasury would allow to be ordered.

Supportive Bloke

Sorry I cannot type: I had meant the Mk54 5″ not 6″.

My bad.

Andrew Deacon

Usually these daily fail type articles are testing the water, sadly it seems navy lookout is giving them carte Blanche , perhaps the change of name is more than just a rebrand 🙁

criss whicker

Royal Navy is returning to the Asia-Pacific, the upcoming deployment of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth to the South China Sea,

no doubt the Asia-Pacific nations will be impressed with our return,
makes one proud to be British,

Aussie bloke

If you actually knew anything about Asian regional politics as opposed to being a sarcastic Brit then you would know that many governments in this part of the world are discretely very supportive of this deployment – Japan and Australia openly so. Any passage by international warships that says the South China Sea is not a Chinese lake is a good thing. Capitulate to that the high seas can be annexed and we will all have plenty of time to regret it.

criss whicker

calm down.

The Snowman

If a ship is currently non-operational, past its lifespan, due a refit which will only extend its service by a couple of years, and we can’t crew it any way, then it makes perfect sense to move it on now and save the refit and running costs.

David Barry

Hancock for DefSec, there is a man who lie into your face while laughing and who won.t apologise for breaking the law…

Removing any platform from service will leave this Government open to claims of cuts.

While we have known that some platforms were beyond economic repair, the Govt persisted with their two faced behaviour.

I doubt there will ever be such a small a set of individuals so untrustworthy in such a wonderful country again.

Let’s see what happens with the T32 and remember that as these vessels are promoted as frigates it is also being mooted that they will be MCM motherships – thus even more platforms lost.

Sad state of affairs for the Royal Navy.


No fan of this supposedly Tory government. But poorly thought out cuts accompanied by a zeal for unnecessary intervention go way back. Enshrining foreign aid in law at 0.7% of GDP, when there was no similar protection for defence, was outrageous. The House of Commons is dominated by left wing do-gooders ( Teresa May angry at the modest reduction in foreign aid in the middle of an economic meltdown).
To have any hope of sustaining better forces, we need to do two things:
1. Demonstrate clearly that money is not wasted
2. Build far more of our equipment here to tie jobs to the spend.


The fact Boris has already talked about enhancing and investing in the Royal Navy knowing full well the ordered ships are merely replacements, speaks volumes. They can’t be in two places at once no matter what the capability.

criss whicker

We still have far to few ships, and need a few more.
perhaps they could retain ships until they are replaced ,perhaps this will stop the gaps,

still, I suspect they know what they are doing..

Stephen Rolfe

Why oh why does this continued decline of our naval assets happen. For such a large defence budget, we should have far greater numbers of warships. Something is seriously amiss with our MOD, and it needs sorting out a.s.a.p………and please don’t tell me we are doing things correctly. Other countries get more numbers of decent, high quality equipment out of lower defence budgets!……ps we could do with some leaders who have a positive approach to defence!


It seems to me that the solution to the crewing problem could and should be more sailors rather than fewer ships! In the short term personnel can be freed-up by ‘mothballing’ HMS Prince of Wales until such time as this ship is required to cover for QE when she enters major refit – in the same manner as the LPDs Albion and Bulwark have been rotated in and out of commission for many years.

With so few aircraft (both fixed wing and rotary) and escorts available there is frankly no real operational need for both carriers to be in commission at this time while the requirement for frigates is surely pressing and indeed patently obvious to every one reading this one would think. Of course this will involve certain prominent politicians back tracking on promises made – a cause of some public embarrassment to them perhaps but not a matter of any real importance beyond that.

Last edited 3 years ago by Moonstone
Meirion X

The PoW does Not need to be mothball!
She should be use for training crew for QE in home waters/GIUK, and being deployed with F-35Bs of 207Squ(OCU) for periods of at sea training, and for ASW exercises.

It is also planned to test drones on PoW before 2023.

Do you ever read my previous comments?

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

“Extended readiness “is not the same as mothballing. It allows a vessel to be kept in operating condition and reactivated fairly rapidly when needed. I agree it’s not an immediate option for PoW, because the ship needs to be worked up to full operating capability. But if as I guess, we will only have enough F35s in the next few years for a modest load for one carrier, either extended readiness or a different role looks inevitable for one of them.


The likelihood of the UK needing F35b for a solo mission is very remote. If war does come along we will be with the US and they have lots of F35b.


At some point in the future one won’t be in service it will be in refit.

You seem to have no understanding of how warships are operated.


Rubbish. You seem to have trouble understanding English. Given the newness of the vessels, we are likely to have both available at the same time for some years before either needs an extensive refit. So the point I was clearly making was: given the likelihood of insufficient F35s to give a credible force on both carriers simultaneously, what might we do with the second carrier?
Are we really going to sail a 70000 ton carrier perhaps for years with a handful of helicopters on board?
Have you got the point yet?

David Barry


Or ask

Not a Boffin

Alternatively, stop talking bollocks.


Good to see rational discussion so well expressed.


I understand how navies deploy and work their ships.

You don’t appear to do so.


Do explain what you think I haven’t understood. Just being insulting isn’t very helpful.


As they are both new both are currently in service. The service is trying to regenerate the capability. So having two crews assigned to the class, even with the shortage of cabs, is a good thing. At some point in the near future one, probably QE, will go into refit. And then both ships will enter a normal cycle of availability. The RN even when there were three Invincible’s only really operated two of them; it was all smoke and mirrors they were never ever operated at the same intensity as the US operate their carriers (for a variety of reasons). The LPD’s are either further back in operational intensity stakes. For me if there was the budget the RN would have purchased new LPD’s to operate with the carriers.
The RN is having an up swing in recruitment. Retention is another issue. Odd as it may sound what ship you work in does make some difference in the decision to stay or go. And I should imagine for some being drafted to a carrier is preferable to an old creaky T23.


No doubt we would all like to see every RN warship fully utilised in a perfect world. Unfortunately this is very far from being a perfect world and in the real world this matter surely boils down to being a question of priorities does it not? Having read various opposing opinions I must say it still seems to this observer of naval affairs that while retaining PoW in full commission – but without any meaningful air group or adequate escort – might rate as a “nice thing to have’ maximising the number of frigates available for day to day fleet tasking is something close to imperative.

I see it argued that the improved living conditions aboard PoW might persuade more sailors to stay in the service than might otherwise occur if they were posted aboard a frigate – where the creature comforts of life are undoubtedly less. I disagree with this – to my way of thinking one of the prime motivations to join the service is – and always has been – to spend time at sea and to ‘see the world’ as the old saying has it. Methinks a young person is far more likely to achieve that ambition aboard a frigate than a aircraft carrier. Truth to tell small ships have always been better postings have they not?

So until I see some persuasive argument as to why it is preferable to devote scarce human resources to the relative luxury of a second carrier, rather than to our alarmingly inadequate escort force, then I must stand by my previously stated opinion.

Thank you.

Last edited 3 years ago by Moonstone

PoW and QE won’t always be in service at the same time. At some point QE will go into refit. And when she comes out of that, which will take 3 to 4 years probably, it will be then time for PoW to go into refit. And so on. There is no expectation that there will be two carriers alongside the wall at Pompey ready to head out at a moments notice. Never ever. It has never been that way.

We don’t really have enough cabs to justify one 70k tonne at the moment. F35b is dripping off the production line. And the RN is running out of helicopters. The sad thing is once again HMG provided half a capability thinking it would have time to add the other half in good time if crisis should arise. Sadly there will be no such luxury. The air group should be at all times 24 F35b, 8 pingers, 4/5 baggers, and a clutch of hacks. It won’t be. As I keep saying here if the balloon does go up the QE’s will find themselves with Gator Navy relieving the LHx of their F35b to provide deck and hangar space for MV22 and CH53x.

As for ship choice I said for some. Some like the big ship navy and some like little ships. There used to be a time when the navy was really big some chose to avoid ships altogether. Youngsters today have different expectations; they always do from the previous ones.


I expect that everyone reading this is well aware that the theory behind ordering two QEC carriers was that at least one ship of this class would always be available – indeed this is common knowledge. Whether this was a wise policy choice all things considered is a question which I do not propose to go into here. Regardless of what may occur in the future it is a matter of indisputable fact that in the ‘here and now’ both carriers are in commission.

Therefore, somewhere in the region of six hundred sailors (enough to crew three Type 23 frigates in theory) are currently assigned to a fleet carrier which the RN would clearly struggle to equip with fleet aviation or even escort adequately. HMS PoW is not expected to be required replace QE in the key carrier strike role for some years to come is she not?

So the situation is that on the one hand we have c600 trained personnel aboard a carrier that lacks any immediate role, while on the other hand the article we are both commenting on speculates we are about to dispose of a number of valuable frigates because (in part at least) we lack the people to crew them. I say the RN needs those frigates more than it needs PoW right now and thus we might with advantage “rob Peter to pay Paul’ here if you understand my meaning.

So hopefully I have outlined above both the problem, and one putative solution to it here. Now it goes without saying that you are at liberty to either accept or reject my proposal – I think I can guess which. But I’m not about to go over the same ground ad infinitum as this would waste time I can hardly afford to spare at my age!

That is all.


You make the point I was trying to address very clearly.

Meirion X

The PoW is expected to embark on its World tour in 2023 with 809Squ(FAA).

Also the PoW is due to flight test F-35Bs, most likely with 207Squ(OCU, and bring over 17Squ(OEU) of 3 test aircraft from the US maybe later this year.

And the QE is due to go into a refit in 2023 as well.
I am not sure yet what new equipment she will receive, maybe

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

Do you think there is any chance of SEARAM being installed. It was tested on a Type 23 a few years back right?

Meirion X

If the T31 procurement process had started in about 2013, RN would have a new frigate nearly ready by now.
Blame the Gov. for that one!

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
Glass Half Full

We have allies, that’s why the current lack of F35Bs and escorts is not the critical issue you assert. The USMC commitment with their F35Bs is an especially powerful force multiplier. What all of our allies, apart from the US and France, do not have is carriers, the UK carriers clearly add significant capability to NATO defence and would also do so with partners in Asia providing escorts.

We are clearly building towards an organic capability in both F35Bs and escorts, but will almost always also be working with allies. We have provided T45 escort to CdG in the past, the US, Belgium and Greece will be providing escorts to CdG on its current deployment. This is how NATO works.


Is this a Tornado or Harrier moment? The big savings happen when you eliminate an entire fleet. According to the Royal Navy web site the RN has 30 Merlin HM2. This should be enough. If it isn’t order a few more new builds. Martlet is only just entering service. Sea Venom is not yet in service. All existing and planned escorts, the RFAs, the River 2s, the LPDs, Echo class are Merlin capable. Fit the new missiles to Merlin and have a single type fleet. Fit the FAA Wildcats with Brimstone and give them to the AAC.


I think Johnson is to be commended for finding the money to modernize the force. However, the state of the destroyer/frigate force has been a joke for a very long time. Imagine, the UK had well over 50 escorts for the Falklands. That was a real navy. The British people and its feeble politicians of all party colors have watched as the RN has devolved into the Royal Flotilla. Yes, the QE battle group will be fairly impressive and will see a highly publicized deployment go well with American help. However, if one looks at what is left of the surface fleet after that task force gets underway one is not encouraged. The rot is very deep. More than that, even with its primary carrier platforms, the RN cannot find the funds for REAL and not obsolete point defense systems like SEARAM. Look at the armament on Gerald Ford and now look at QE and POW. There should be no disparity as far as point defense is concerned. Yes RN subs are still awesome but not nearly enough of them. There is a ton of work to be done. The defense budget has to go up to at least 3% of GNP. This forum should keep the pressure up. Frankly, it should return to its “Save the Royal Navy” moniker because the crisis has only just begun.