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The 1st sea lord has his head in the sand! He acknowledges removal of harpoon without replacement. The only advanced navy to operate without any anti ship assets. In a challenging world how does he propose to take out anything bigger than a fishing boat. His fleet are at the mercy of any half decent ship. He needs to be sacked and replaced by someone less political.


To be fair, Admiral Jones has only recently taken up his post. However in essence the RN needs to have the few ships it does possess be able to survive and strike. I don’t see these two basics getting anything like the priority they demand.


yet we operate ships like the opv’s, bulwark, albion and the carriers with no credible weaponry even the carriers have nothing, other carriers around the world fitted with anti air capability such as the rim116 system, used by at least 8 nany’s and at just £998,000 is a snip the thai navy has fitted their opv derivative with a 3 inch gun


Politician in a pretty uniform makes a political statement that guarantees pension and future consultancy work, rather than calling out his paymasters and being honest with those he is tasked to protect.

No one is doubting the commitment of sailors or marines. The lack of spine, will, ambition and ability at the top of the Navy, the MOD and the cabinet is another thing.

The government have made no commitment to increase hull numbers after massive cuts beginning in 2010. While the First Sea Lord (why does this title still exist with numbers as they are?) and his predecessor have turned escorts into trainers and reduced RFA numbers with smiles on their faces.

The “promise” of more ships is not a promise to the Navy it’s a carrot on the end of stick for Scottish Nationalists and shipbuilders for 20 years down the road. If the VSO learn to say “we really can’t” or even “No!” maybe, just maybe the career politicians will realize something is broken and try to fix it.

If the cabinet promises a warship and he says OK and sends a survey ship that does make him look great. It doesn’t however hammer home the pressing issues to someone who thinks if it’s grey it must be able to escort a 3 billion pound carrier.

We can afford more hulls, we choose to spend elsewhere, the FSL allows them to make that call by providing the cabinet with a smooth, unchallenged road to failure.

dave simpson

What a bunch ion disrespectful negative Plonkers. The Admiral deserves better. if the Navy is too small its because the politicians and you the voters dot support defence as a higher priority these days. He is right to be upbeat about the key issues he identifies here. but recognises there is much to do to get the escort fleet back to where it should be. Serving officers however senior cannot under the UK constitution go public with there arguments or disquiet with the government. he should not resign but apply his hard won expertise to doing as he states. Anyone here capable enough to replace him? I very much doubt it!! Get ell people… all 3 of our services took hits to save us all going bankrupt and there was much damage done which only now is on course for rectification. But we also kept much that is good and capable with more imminently arriving. Stop blaming serving people for the sins of their political masters and stop being so damn cynical – its cheap and does nothing to help.


I agree with you in most of what you say, however all governments from thatcher through to present day have stripped the forces to the bone. no one is decrying our service personal. They do a very good job. with limited resources. I think you will find that 99.9% of people complaining about the state of the Navy are men and women who have served and sick to the back teeth of seeing what was once a respected service being rubbished by consecutive governments who can not see further than the end of their noses. unfortunately the majority of senior officers through to sea lords. have their hands tied on what they can and can not say, for fear of non promotion, and jeopardizing future pension/ job opportunities.


one big reason for reductions in the budget was as my m.p told me a constant techno snobbishness within the services, wanting this expensive system, not that one, through all this they have vastly overspent the defence budget before even a pencil is bought and even then, the navy and R.A.F will complain its the wrong colour.our forces need to get real.


It is a political statement in response to recent reports by MPs about the lack of hulls. It’s a statement of support for the cabinet.

It helps his position, it helps the current cabinet, it gives shipbuilders and unions some faint glimmer of hope for a future.

It doesn’t help the navy or the people he is tasked to protect.

FSL blames MOD, MOD blames Cabinet, cabinet blames the last government of a different colour, last government blames contractors, contractors blame all of the above so lets all just blame tax payers lack of will and hope no one calls us on it. If any of the actual decision makers took some blame at any point in the game of pass the parcel things may improve but it’s been 30 years of the same thing.

Instead we’ll rinse and repeat and just hope that we don’t end up trying to escort the carrier that we may be able to man and operate with upgunned OPVs.

To pretend politicians make all decisions for the Navy is counterproductive, the Navy gets a budget and someone in a uniform actually chooses whether to replace missiles or to scrap RFA hulls or what gets gapped or closed. Sometimes those uniforms will be correct, sometimes wrong, sometimes making masterstrokes or the best of a bad situation. They will however like all the other cogs in the sputtering machine only own the good and pass the blame for the bad

As with trident renewal we pay the VSO to protect us, that can involve telling us what is needed, the risks of going without and what we can and can’t do.

We don’t want them showing obvious bias to one government over another in public yet he seems to have done the opposite. That’s not a pat on the back act.

Owen Pollard-Rice

Totally agree Dave.


The 1SL has accountability for his budget, and has decided that the safety of his sailors (due to not having anti-ship capabilities) is not that important. I doubt the RAF would scrap missiles in favour of guns, whilst no other decent navy would do so either. To dumb down the RNs capabilities so is incompetence.

Peter Turner

Well said Sir from a ex MN Seaman up the Royal’s good job to all in the RN and RN And RFA I was on tidepool and black rover


Survey ship already doing DD/FF task in Med and has been for 18 months


clyde yards should be reminded how lucky they are to get the contacts which should have gone to harland wolf and birkenhead. they should also be told that TWO SHIPS PER YEAR is their target


defence issues such as the fleet size is never part of an election campaign people on here are NOT PLONKERS its called democracy


the scottish yards should reminded how lucky they are to get the contracts which are just a sop to the unions and the s.n.p i’d have been happier if they’d been told to produce 2 ships per year if pompey built the battleship in under 12 months then if they want longer to build just one, the orders should have gone to harland wolf and birkenhead


When the RFA are increasingly replacing RN ships for tasking then there is a problem. Is the 1SL counting the RFA ships in his count of 30 platforms? Personally I find it difficult to see a MCM or Fishery Protection vessels as ‘warships’.


Ok guys

What’s the thinking on an interim buy of the Norwegian NSM until the new Perseus missile is ready as its a new weapon system and more capable than harpoon and would allow Perseus to be developed at a steady pace as opposed to rushing it and having less capability

Regarding the Size of the fleet…I fell we are at a turning point and with this 31 we can give work to all other English shipyards ( appledore and cammel laird) and leave the 26 with Glasgow

It’s a water shead time and we need to watch carefully that promises are fulfilled as the nation should expect nothing less and political spin needs to be reduced as it does the MOD no favours


Norwegian NSM is being evaluated by the Yanks as is the Block 2+ Harpoon which is being offered at a knock down price according to Wikipedia. Let the Yanks bear the cost of research and evaluation and then buy whatever they decide without wasting money on our own protracted evaluation. In the meantime leave the existing Harpoon’s on their launchers until they run past their ‘best before’ date. That gives some SSM capability instead of ripping the things off and throwing them away.

Steve White

In 2 days time I will have reached 10 years since retiring from the Royal Navy. The problems we have encountered with hardware have been immense and I am so extremely proud of our people, who have that great Royal Navy ethos of keeping it going and maintaining their sense of humour. BZ RN.

William Edmead

First sea lords only develop a critical tone only after they are sipping their sherry and drawing their fat pensions. That is the way of the world and applies equally to army chiefs especially. We can berate previous governments especially Cameron’s but the fact is the RN is not fit for purpose. The Procurement Agency must take a bow here as by and large they are completely useless. 8,000 ton Type 45’s having only 32 silos instead of 48. They are simply too large for what they deliver. Two ridiculously large aircraft carriers that could have been built at half the size and for half the cost for all the aircraft they will ever carry. The French manage with one and with cat and traps. We should have built just one similar vessel for joint operations. Scottish jobs however, yes, there were bits built in England, was far more important. Fat lot of good that did for Labour. Anti-ship capabilities are now being ‘withdrawn’ which disgracefully the FSL finds acceptable. Why do we not have a more effective i.e, a 155m or 6 inch gun on our vessels?
With shore bombardment being it’s primary purpose it would allow the vessel to lay miles further offshore.
The most critical aspect for the future is manpower and a lack of highly skilled senior engineers which has already had a drastic impact. When Cameron tore a gaping hole by firing hundreds of skilled personnel in 2010 the RN has gradually and sometimes literally ground to a halt.
Thanks to the closure of English shipyards by Scottish prime ministers we have a situation where the rabid Scots Nats hold the aces even while trying to break up the country we are trying to protect. Mrs McMerkel will continue to plunder English jobs and we will have to accept our warships being built by a foreign ‘power’. It’s only a matter of time. A promise to replace 13 Type 23’s with a similar number of Type 26’s has already fallen by the wayside. Nobody is ever brought to account for their disastrous management decisions.
Brexit will dominate everything for the 18 months but MP’s cross-party are at last highlighting the parlous state of the RN and the need for ACTION to be taken now.
Don’t hold your breath!


The fact of the matter is that we appear to have no coherent naval strategy – just a vague, piecemeal, disconnected and inadequate construction policy. The Naval Staff apparently endorse the traditional mantra of “The Silent Service”. The Directorate of Naval Public Relations would do well to take a leaf out of their RAF opposite numbers who never miss an opportunity to advertise their service to the general public.
There was a time when the worldwide deployment of the Royal Navy served as the hallmark of British excellence. Such a resource will be sadly missed in the post BREXIT international marketplace.
Being short of funds is one thing, but to allow what we have to be frittered away by ill informed, over ambitious politicians is inexcusable. The Treasury knows the cost of everything – but the value of nothing.


I give up your site is called save the royal navy and you trumpet this MOD sponsored drivel. His message is 2 new white elephants which we can’t man and 8 destroyers with dodgey engines is a world class navy. Yeah right just like Switzerland’s.

Daisy Cutter

Sounds like 1SL intends to replace ship-to-ship missile systems with lasers and artificial intelligence.

He’s off his rocker.


Who is he trying to kid? We are in a very bad way and he needs to stand up and say so rather than coming out with a load of propaganda.

Outraged tax payer

No anti ship missiles. There is nothing more to be said about the treachery and incompetence of the heads of the RN. No other modern navy has this ridiculous capability gap. It’s time penisons and reputations of these Sea Lords were put on the line.

Like the other armed forces Chiefs they collude with BAE on big ticket items knowing full well the early cost estimates are way to optimistic then whine and deflect responsibility when the government says we can’t afford the same number and twice the cost.

No anti ship missiles , it’s like the Army sending tanks into battle with no shells.

Heads need to roll.


We all know the media like to sensationalise the critical state of the armed forces, but we also know how the top brass avoid any sort of accountability. How any senior officer in the Navy, ultimately accountable for its effectiveness, can pass off the absence of a credible anti-ship capability as a “difficult decision” is beyond understatement. In fact it’s irresponsible and incompetent. I doubt the hardworking sailors underneath him would be afforded such leniency in their jobs. As he stated, Harpoon was reaching the end of its lifespan and none of the admirals anticipated or planned for a replacement. Ridiculous! Perhaps the chefs at sea can provide the same kind of excuses when they forget to plan for a meal. Maybe the marine engineers could pass off an essential period of maintenance to their replacements. The abstract solutions that he declared might as well have been space guns and flying robots for all the credibility they have. They certainly aren’t going to around to oppose Russian missiles in the near future. It makes no odds whatsover if the Type 45s have the most advanced anti-air capability if they can be taken out by any other credible surface combatant or even a vintage submarine. Perhaps that’s why the US and French navies still maintain their own escorts when the T45s make their headline-grabbing token appearances.

The Type 26 frigates will no doubt be very complex ships. They have to be to mark up the price and prevent the economical procurement of hulls from foreign shipyards. They may secure the jobs of few thousand Scottish shipworkers but ultimately they’ll be too complex and too under-armed to provide any sort of dominance or even reliability. As Stalin said; quantity has its own quality and the government has made NO commitment to the number of hulls envisaged for the future.

As all of his predecessors have done, he has spun a positive narrative to protect the political establishment. And as his predecessors have done, he will no doubt reverse that narrative once he’s retired.


it was not a full on belly laugh, but i a good chuckle att he news of the new u.s destroyer zumwalt breaking down for the SECOND TIME blocking the panama canal with you guessed it propulsion problems


It’s funny until you think when it happens to them they have 50 subs and 50+ escorts to cover it and can just buy another one to permanently tow it or throw a carrier in there if they are willing to gap it with Ocean, CDG.

When it happens to us we could be losing 10+℅ of our available escorts.

We can just hope we are close to port and no one notices until the tug arrives with the jumper cables.

Outraged Tax Payer

More prescient than ever is the Arthur C Clarke piece on superiority. God help us and save us from the MOD, armed forces chiefs and BAE.


If the sailors, airmen and soldiers took the lead from the top brass they’d only become brave and talk a good fight once they’d secured their pensions.


So all spineless all the time then as they would be out the door at 15 years the next time “diffficult” decisions are needed at the top.