Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fat Dave

And the obvious conclusion is that the RN has wasted resources in 2 enormous and pointless aircraft carriers.

The money and manpower would have been better used in the generation of more flexible and numerous surface vessels, probably frigates.

Too late now and the UK is now burdened by 2 strategic failures. We could sell them which would be embarrassing but sensible.

David Steeper

Sir. You are aware that this website is called ‘Save the Royal Navy’ ? The clue is in the title. Gutting the RN is not.


Saving it from the lunatics within.

Meirion X

You need to look further afield, maybe in the Treasury or the PM’s office, and even on the Opposition Benches!


I’m not sure that the conclusion is in fact obvious.
The carriers are a welcome resource to ensure future conflict takes place at source, and not on our shores.
Escorting vessels through potential hotpots, such as the Persian Gulf should be the responsibility of individual vessels own nations. In the relatively sheltered waters of the Gulf, corvette size, or even OPV would suffice.
However, I do agree that the state of the UK surface fleet is dire at present, and will prove to be so in the not to distant future.

Meirion X

Fat Dave#
Been over these issues with you before!
You don’t seem to learn at All!
You got a very short memory indeed!
How old are You??

Meirion X

It is not too late to resolve RN short falls with the impending decision to procure type 31 frigates this year, and to factor in armaments for this kind of arena.

Cam Hunter

Yeah but even if we build 5 type 31s we will still only have 19 escorts! We need 10 type 31s or 8 minimum, we did have 16 type 23s not long ago along with type 22s and other frigates and 12 destroyers, before that we have 75 escorts! It’s a dam joke we only have 19! And only 6 destroyers, we managed to man a navy 5x our current size it’s the government that has slowed down and cut recruitment because it’s expensive! We need 50,000 RN personnel minimum along with 100,000 army minimum and 50,000 RAF minimum….. we have a huge economy and are very rich we can afford anything we want.

David Steeper

The solution to Irans behaviour is for Europe, Japan etc to follow the US and clobber them with sanctions. If the current regime in Iran is faced with a choice between maintaining their current ‘Imperial’ foreign policy or their own survival they might just reconsider !

John Clark

It’s a curious move by the Iranian Government, that will without doubt bring yet more hardship and misery on the long suffering Iranian population.

I agree it’s time to really tighten the rope around the neck of that particular regime.
Really tight universal sanctions and perhaps a naval blockade keeping all their naval units in port for the foreseeable future.

The Russians will of course back them to the hilt and try to cause as much trouble as possible, expect rampted up Russian Navy manoeuvres in the area and increased air force deployments to Iran in the near future.

As for Fat Dave’s comments on the QE class Carriers …. If you think we would have had more than the hopelessly inadequate 19 escorts we have now without the Carriers, think again..

19 was regarded as sufficient before the Carrier’s, it’s only now that a spotlight has been shone brightly on our gutted Navy that politicians are making noises to change things.

Only s 3% GDP ringfenced defence budget, will turn this around, significant sustained funding and a 20 year plan to rebuild our Navy ( ships, subs, infrastructure and increased personnel) is what’s required.

Such a plan should be to decide on the size and shape of a RN that’s needed to deploy and sustain a unilateral layered Carrier/ amphibious battle group, with RFA and SSN support, while simultaneously having forward based escorts and deployments elsewhere east of the med.

Sufficient additional SSN capability to keep a close eye on the Russians, Chinese and guard are precious SSBN patrols.

And enough P8’s to keep overwatch over the lot.

Meirion X

I think to procure SSK’s, would make a suitable addition to deploy in the Gulf arena.


Yes, building 16 frigates and 8 diesel patrol subs. would go a long way in halting the decline of the RN.
Selling the Upholders and cancelling the diesel submarine program was very foolish indeed.
Conventional subs. would be very useful in patrolling UK waters and the North Sea, while leaving the higher profile work to the Astutes.


SSKs have sunk US CBGs in war games…the Swedish Gotland class did so let alone the latest German 212 or 214 😉


Brazil are gifting Argentina four of its old Type 209 Tupi class subs. Keeps them in the game I suppose.


It’s worth considering the context of those decisions though. The end of the Cold War brought massive downsizing and a renewed focus on rapid response expeditionary forces to put out fires around the globe. A smaller force of bigger, more powerful nuclear boats that can steam pretty much non-stop to a conflict site and require less logistical support was (and arguably still is) preferable to a mixed force that, while offering strength in numbers, was less capable in key criteria. The Upholders role of coastal defence was also no longer really relevant: we had two continents worth of allies and the only states we were concerned about were Middle Eastern.

In the current climate though, I can’t see how any increase in submarine numbers could be acceptably achieved, short of buying German boats


And those German boats are an ingenious design with their fuel cell propulsion. With a small crew of
27, you would think our penny pinching friends at Whitehall would buy into this program like the Italians have. A good 6 or 8 of these boats would be a fabulous addition to the fleet.


Oh they’re definitely a good design, but we don’t have any domestic submarine building capacity available and it would be political suicide for any minister to even suggest we buy German built submarines.


Building these subs under license at Barrow? Is there room in the building hall to accomodate
a small submarine build?


Not possible. Even if there was physical space, you’d be taking workers from the Astute and then Dreadnought builds, both of which are on tight schedules due to the age of the Trafalgar and Vanguard boats


got it

Mike Barter

There would have been if they used the old ship building hall in HMNB Portsmouth.

Cam Hunter

We can build submarines in lots of places in the UK, the Clyde, Tyne, Mersey and the rest all have built submarines in the past and camal laird on the Mersey could build submarines with the right skilled man power put there.


We built up a capability just to build 2 carriers, so it can be done.Shared construction is the only sensible way ahead as with all classes of warships where individual nations can’t afford at least a dozen.
Not popular in these pages owing to vested interests and a fair amount of bad experience with the French.


“Because asymmetric attacks could quickly escalate into something much more serious, it demands a navy equipped for the full range of operations”.

I am not sure here. What does the “full range of operations” mean? “Full-range” means a set of CVTF supported by a few land-based RAF squadrons. Nothing short of it can go “full range of operations” against a well-armed country as Iran.

1: I think assets such as Type-31 Leander or Arrowhead 140 as we see in their web is “spot on”. It has a 57 mm gun and 24 CAMM. This is not much different from T23/26’s 36/48 CAMM (their big main gun or T26’s Mk.41 VLS are almost useless for self defense). As a T31 is 4 times cheaper than a T26, requiring less maintenance cost, fuel, and crew, RN can more easily deploy T31. (as now RN only have T23GP there, they will send her).

2: If the question comes to “if a River B2 OPV can contribute ?”, it is worth discussing. Of course, with their current armament, it is not good. But what if they are up-armed with a 20mm CIWS and ESM with chaff/flare kit? Or, a 57mm gun with newest guided ammo, added to ESM with chaff/flare kit? As 5 River B2 is much cheaper than one T26, and as River B2 can be “at sea” 320 days a year (*1), while an escort nowadays steams only ~90 days a year, sending two or three (or even four) River B2s can be a candidate? (of course, after up-arming).

*1 surely sea-going days will be reduced to some extent after up-arming, because of increased needs for maintenance). But, I guess “5 up-armed River B2″ will still be cheaper (or at least similar in cost) than one T26”.


There are a couple of 40mm turrets on the market, that make little demand on the ship. No multi deck fits. Bofors & the French. Ideal for the Rivers I would have thought. Easy upgunning without having to tear the ships apart.


Are you refering to the Leonardo Twin Fast Forty’s? ? The C model has no deck penetration and is a CIWS as well. The Argentine Admiralante Brown class Destroyer has 4 of them lol They have APFSDS for close encounters


OK, that’s another one. I was thinking of the Bofors & the French one that uses the CT ammo we are using in FRES/Scout/Ajax. None of these penetrate the deck & are “bolt on” items that make little demand on the ship.


The 40mm Bofors l70 fires 3p Programable Proximity fused ammo for putting down Missiles – plus with a seperate 200 round instant switch magazine for APFSDS as the system switches from 3P to said penetrators when the target gets within 1000m


Yes the Thales rapid fire seems like a great option for small vessels. Commonality with the Army too. Also the potential to integrate Starstreak for added commonality/capability.

I am not a fan of up arming the River b2 but the weapons and systems exist off the shelf to create potent little vessels for the littoral. A modern torpedo boat destroyer, the FAC/FIAC destroyer? Cheap, low manpower and perfect for forward deploying. Some modern FAC/corvette designs almost fit the bill. For example;

This is not exactly what I mean but along these lines.


Large frigates such as T26 or the large T45 destroyers are not the solution in this strategic area. What is the solution is a type of boat that the Royal Navy and the US Navy have never really gone in for in the times of peace but have been always urgently required in the times of war, the small fast (missile) boat. The perfect one is from Finland the Hamina class, after there mid-life refit they will have a 40mm gun, two 12.7mm machine guns, 8 SAM Umkhonto IR range 20km,basically a South African Sea Ceptor, 4Gabriel Mk5 SSM, torped 47 and a towed array sonar all on a 250 ton vessel doing 30 knots+.
Have a couple of squadrons of those in the straits acting as escorts


It does make you think about something much cheaper,dosnt it?Type 26 and type 45 are too expensive and few in number to risk in this scenario,never mind carriers.
USN UAVs have demonstrated how useful they are.


The Pegasus class hydrofoil comes to mind ? Swap the 76mm Compact for an 76mm SR Strales and update the design.


Both the Qatari and Omani navies are quite well-equipped with vessels in this class (approximately 10 or so), mainly VT Vita and Super-Vita designs, along with Combattante III as well as the Qahir and Khareef-class corvettes. They also have more than two dozen other patrol boats ranging from 300-1200 tonnes between them.

Captain Nemo

It would be useful to have something like the Mark VI Patrol boat on the books for occasions like these, something we could send out in numbers as the need arises, I think the marines could get behind that.
If they replaced the Archer class with them we’d have something to draw against.
Sorry for the admirals hat, part of my ‘everything fights’ position.

As for the above I have no idea, maybe look for someone who went long on oil last week.


At 15mil Dollars a pop the Mk VI is an expensive luxury. I have worked on them and the crews who run them compare them to Porsche cars. Expensive, complex and somewhat unreliable if not strictly maintained IAW the handbook. They also need a shed load of optional extras that add to the baseline price…

Captain Nemo

It was a poor comparison on their part I think, Porsches are the only supercars you can use as runabouts.
My thinking was that if the marines were to look again at force protection and chose something in that size they could develop and maintain a core capability whilst benefiting from the economies of scale in our using the same type for other tasks, as well as this providing a reserve for them to draw against at times of extreme need.
Possibly a cost effective use of our dollar overall, leveraging a flexible capability where none currently exists, but I respect your expertise and your reservations.
Regards, Nemo.

jon livesey

People are a bit quick to claim that this shows that we “obviously” have the wrong ships. It’s worth thinking that through a bit. In the first place, an attack by a rogue state will almost by definition try to hit you where you are not strong. Any time one attack has some success, it is tempting to say it “proves” something, but what it really proves is that a rogue state will study where you are strong, and try something else. If the West floods the gulf with light craft, the next attack will avoid them and exploit some other opportunity. Conclusion: buy the equipment that is right for the majority of cases and then deal with cases.

Secondly, major warships take five to ten years to build plus enormous infrastructure to do so. You can’t really build them in a hurry, but you can build lighter vessels quickly and use commercial yards to do so, as two World Wars proved.

The West can respond to something like limpet mines fairly quickly, but if a situation blows up with a real capable Navy, we’d look pretty foolish saying “Give us ten years and we can respond to that.”


Jon, I don’t think people are saying that the navy has the wrong ships it is more that the Royal Navy as well as the US Navy have concentrated on blue water capabilities. In many ways I have the suspicion that it is the issue of politics as politicians would probably cut numbers of the blue water ships if they could get away with it.
To start with a nuclear submarine such as Astute needs deep water, it is a friend is will use this to creep up and then do what it needs to do, even the Med might not be a good place for the SSNs, so would a small coastal submarine be better suited, yes it would. As for a carrier battle group, they really don’t like getting to close to land, you have every thing coming at you, small missile boats in swarms. Just say for example you launch an attack on a carrier group with ten missile boats each with eight missiles. The first problem is due to the restricted space the carrier group cannot maneuver, god I’m not sure but the carrier needs a mile to turn. The likelihood is that five to eight of the ten will be sunk but they have just launched 80 missiles at the group the frigates and destroyers will take out 50-80 % that is a lot of damage done to the group at the cost of 5-8 missile boats. Then you have the coastal defence missile batteries and incoming aircraft. Also launching al those Anti ship missiles at once, the carrier group will just get overwhelmed. Would I as a commanding officer sacrifice 100 men on 5-8 missile boats to take out a carrier group, to right I would. It the same with the T45 they have 48 silos well 80 incoming missiles has just overwhelmed it.
So that is the problem you do not have a carrier group or a large frigate or destroyer in an area where they do not have the freedom to maneuver. That is where the small fast attack boats come in, able to maneuver in confined waters but have the ability to defend themselves, escort valuable assets and to hit back if they must. Will politicians pay for it, I don’t know, will admirals ask for them probably not as they are concerned that the politicians might say yes but at the cost of a couple of the blue water ships. You only have to remember the tricks that the Royal Navy had to go though to get the three Invincible’s, Through Deck Cruisers come to mind for god sake don’t mention aircraft carrier.
So do we have something that could help or reduce the threat yes we do, the P2000 class is designed for 45 knots and armed with a 20mm and two GPMGs. At the moment because of cost cutting they have only the machinery for 25 knots and no 20mm. So re-engine them for there 45knot design and install the 20mm we must have some of those kicking around somewhere and send eight-ten of them down to work out of Oman and Bahrain patrolling the tanker lanes and the overnight anchoring areas, using the sensors of say a T45 in a stand of position basically the old radar picket.

Geoffrey Hicking

In a way I think we’ve kinda planned for coastal warfare by having our allies do that sort of stuff. There are plenty of navies that make use of coastal forces (Israel, India, Northern Europe), we provide the heavy firepower out to sea that they can’t.

The P2000s are supposedly quite capable coastal craft though…

Geoffrey Hicking

The U.S would probably do the majority of convoying. We shouldn’t obsess about that or ship numbers, but focus on the niche stuff like mine clearing. Would more warships help with that? (genuine question)


Not sure as the mines that are being used are limpet mines, so either they are being placed by divers or small craft are coming up alongside and sticking them to the side of the hulls. What would help is better watch keeping on the tankers, maybe night vision cameras or night vision binoculars and possibly search lights for the tankers and the crew. very much the same principles that is implemented for anti piracy.


Geoffrey Hicking – The RN have 4 Minehunters/Minesweepers permanently based in Bahrain for mine clearing operations in the Gulf. However, the latest threat is not the deployment of mines in the Gulf but the fixing of limpet mines to the hulls of ships by divers (think Cockleshell Heroes). Increased dockyard security/patrols are the only means to combat this threat.

Alex Hughes

This is where the argument for corvettes comes in. Cheap, armed to engage FAC’s and when forward deployed, removes the necessity of having a large expensive (somewhat vulnerable) asset like a Destroyer/frigate in the area.
As we don’t operate any, would it be possible to send a number of the Archer class and several OPV’s to the area to patrol the area? Archers for the harbour and approaches and OPV the shipping lanes?

Simon m

I personally think that this strengthens the case for type 31 in order to increase numbers as it is clear we would struggle to respond appropriately to play our part in securing shipping with the current number of escorts. Deploying a supporting shorter ranged corvettes/missile craft is surely more difficult than frigates and destroyers.

I do wonder also if the proposed littoral strike ships and their escorts could play a role (especially with RM commandos and helos on board)….. I guess it depends upon how much cash was made available… For example if escorts translated into small 1-2 ssk such as BMT vidar and 2-3 batch 3 river/all khareef vessels along with the ability to sustain 4 – 6 barracuda + 2 thunder child type vessels. If forward deployed the group may have already been in Bahrain and if a type 31 was also there would have some protection and we would have a considerable force to respond to the situation with …. we can all dream I suppose

Cam Hunter

Just like the 4 mine hunters need the RFA bay class to act as mother ships and support and supply the mines permenantly. We should have kept all 4 bays! We need 4 not 3…..