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Geraldine Lord

We need to strengthen our and air force. The Royal Navy used to rule the seas. The photo shadowing the Russian fleet is reminiscent of the days before world war 2 when the Royal Navy were shadowing the German fleet. These are dangerous times .

Lord Curzon

The National Shipbuilding Strategy is coming out soon.

Michael Watson

It is good news that we are going to have a National Shipbuilding Strategy, however it will be interesting to see if the rate of building warships is going to increase from what it is now and if another ship builder is going to be involved in building our warships instead of just BAE ? Also we seem to be developing a issue of only building up to 6 of any one type of warship? Yes we do start off by saying will something like 12 ships, then later on this often gets cut back.

Tony Rosier

I have been told (not confirmed ) that the US coastguard has more ships than the Royal Navy. I think we need to think very carefully about our armed forces particularly the navy, this is where we differ from the rest of Europe as we are totally dependent on the sea for our trade. We should be able to sustain a fleet equivalent to 20% of the United States fleet. We should be able to afford this it’s a totally achieveable amount. We don’t need a massive Army just a well equipped airborne and marine force capable of rescue or localised action.


Well yeah, the US Coastguard has more ships than the Royal Navy. But what does that mean? Not a lot. The US Coastguards ships are not warships, they are built to civilian standards, are way cheaper than warships, and are very lightly armed (even the best are armed similarly to our OPV’s). When you consider the length of the US Coastline compared the UK’s it shouldn’t be surprising that they have a very large border force.
We don’t have a massive army, we have a very small one, and Airborne forces are over-rated.

Michael Watson

I think the Russian’ s are demonstrating to us they have an aircraft carrier with operational planes and we do not even when HMS Queen Elizabeth is commissioned into the Royal Navy have a credible number of fighter planes on board.
I understand this situation will be the case for at least a few more years yet.
Changing the subject, I am starting to wonder if the 7th Astute submarine will ever be built?
It just seems the UK has a thing of only building up to six vessels and no more.

Michael Watson

Thank you for your constructive reply which gives me more confidence. Question: How do you think the Royal Navy should deal with the Russian Battle cruiser and other missile ships ?


I think the penny-pinchers running the Royal Navy have a habit of building very effective, state-of-the-art ships, but not enough them. It’ll be a dream come true if we actually get two full complements of F-35s for the carriers, and all of those mounting points on the Type 45s are ever actually used. I’m suspicious of these Type 31s as well. I think what the Royal Navy is doing is creating 3 distinct fleets: 2 carrier fleets each with 4 frigates, 2 destroyers, 1 amphibious and 1 carrier, and one home fleet of Ocean and the five Type-31s. We could just about do it with no room for repairs or refit, but it’s clear they’re operating at bare minimum numbers.


Quietly getting on with the job…? Too quietly and with too much financial waste on ship building if you ask me. Here’s an example using the current RFA…
RFA Gold Rover = 16t tonnes, 1974
RFA Fort Rosalie & RFA Fort Austin = 23t tonnes, 1978/9
RFA Argus = 28t tonnes, 1981
RFA Fort Victoria = 34t tonnes, 1994
Point Class x4 = 23t tonnes, 2002
MV Maersk Rapier = 35t tonnes, 2003
RFA Wave Knight & RFA Wave Ruler = 30t tonnes, 2003
Bay-class x3 = 16t tonnes, 2006/7
This is 15 ships with an average of 22t tonnes built every 4 years. If we add on the 4 new Tide Class ships and ignore Gold Rover this makes 18 ships with a life of about 36 years. Is it really too difficult to have one UK shipyard producing and decommissioning one big ship of 25t tonnes or so every 2 years? These ships all do much the same thing so one hull design with say two upperwork designs and a dock or not choice will do. Permanant structure and jobs.
The same can be done with escorts. 24 ships of 5t tonnes each for 24 years of life. That will be one yard building a new ship and doing a major midlife refit of another one every year. Some ships can have Aster and Sampson, some can have CAMM and Type 2087 and some can be cargo spaces and operate like HMS Echo. They can all use the same hull and engines with small design changes every 6 years or so. Ruthless economies of scale and an incentative to not cut back on ship numbers and manpower.

Lord Curzon

Tim – wise words. It’s time we had a sensible, efficient strategy for shipbuilding in this country and some vision.


Our Navy is a shadow of its former self, until our government takes the Defense of our country seriously then maybe we should abandon plans for a blue water navy and just concentrate on a few ASW frigates and some fast patrol boats. The first step would be to tell the country that we will buy the best most effective equipment from wherever it comes and not rely on being the ongoing cash cow for BAE.

Edward Andrews

They lie. This is merely propaganda Go to
And if that is too much trouble here is the executive summary e Ministry of Defence (MoD) is embarking on a major modernisation of the Royal Navy’s escort eet. It has undertaken to replace the thirteen existing Type 23 frigates with eight new Type 26 Global Combat Ships and at least ve new General Purpose Frigates, provisionally referred to as the Type 31. At the same time, the Royal Navy’s six Type 45 destroyers are about to undergo a major re t of their engines, a er serious and repeated power failures.
e Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, to be announced shortly, will set out the framework within which these ships will be delivered. Delays to the construction of the Type 26 have had a negative impact on the skills of the shipbuilding workforce, and could have major implications for costs and availability. e National Shipbuilding Strategy must provide industry with the certainty it needs to plan and develop a stable, sustainable and highly skilled workforce. If it is to be more than a statement of aspirations, the Strategy should set out clear, timed production schedules for the delivery of both classes of frigate.
e MoD recently announced that construction of the Type 26 will commence in the summer of 2017. However, that date remains dependent upon a successful conclusion to negotiations on both the design of the ship and the contract with BAES, the main supplier. e MoD must provide greater clarity and detail on the timing of the construction phase, including a clear statement that it has the necessary funds to deliver the programme expeditiously. e importance of this cannot be overstated. e Type 23 frigates will start to come out of service in 2023 at twelve-monthly intervals. If the new frigates are not delivered to that decommissioning timetable, ship numbers will be reduced further from what is already an historic low. e current total of 19 frigates and destroyers—only 17 of which are usable—is already insu cient: to go below that number, even for a transitional period, would be completely unacceptable.
e development of a new General Purpose Frigate o ers the potential both to provide the Royal Navy with a broad range of capabilities and, if su ciently versatile and economical, to increase the number of frigates in the future Fleet. e General Purpose Frigate also o ers the UK the opportunity to re-enter the export market for warships. However, the drive for exports must not come at the cost of those capabilities which the Royal Navy requires. By designing a ‘template’ warship, on a modular basis, with the potential for ‘plug-and-play’ equipment upgrades throughout its working life, the UK has a unique opportunity to halt and reverse the relentless decline in the number of its naval vessels. is opportunity must be seized.
As well as delivering the new frigates, the MoD has been forced to re t the engines of all six Type 45 destroyers. e ships have su ered from serious engine failures as a result of shortcomings in speci cation, design and testing. Blame for those failures can be attributed both to the MoD and its contractors, but the taxpayer will have to foot the bill. e re t of the Type 45 engines should restore con dence in the reliability of the ship but it must be carried out in a way that minimises disruption to the availability of an already depleted number of destroyers.

Michael Watson

I agree with most of the points you have made Edward. I feel our MOD does not seem to understand that we do not have sufficient number of Frigates and Destroyers (19), because of the MOD’s response to the Defense Select Committee report on the RN’s Frigate & Destroyer fleet and causal attitude towards the building of the Type 26 Frigates, their usual reply was, we are spending billions on new ships. Also recently there has been reports that we are phasing out the Harpoon ship to ship missiles from the fleet in 2018, no replacement of this missile for at least 2 years. Lets hope we do not get into a shooting war during this time otherwise all our sailors will have to respond is a single barrel gun? Again all to save some money, do the people who make these decisions, actual comprehend the affect, implications and risks they are taking?