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If Lord Nelson knew the state of our Navy, he would turn in his grave!


Before any of his great Victories Nelson became arguably the greatest proponent of amphibious warfare since the Elizabethans in the 1580’s. He fully understood the dynamic between sea and land forces. If he were alive today he would doubtless understand the wider dynamic of Maritime Air and Submarine warfare.


Correction, If Lord Nelson knew the state of our Navy, he would dig his grave even deeper.


The UK would need too invest several hundred billion pounds on the military today.. And this investment can’t be put out over 20 years.. Build Ships too military standards with a service life of 30-40 years that have room for expansion and modernization and can carry significant amount of missiles and defensive systems. They’ll find it’s cheaper in the long run too spend 1B on a fully armed and capable ship that will last 40 years then 300 m for one that will last 15-20 if lucky. It’s time to stop taking people for fools.. Give the people what they want and deserve, which is their money’s worth.. New leadership is needed, someone who’s more interested in doing what is right then gaining political votes from immigrants who know nothing, and care nothing about the Royal Navy, and the armed forces in order too stay in power.. They are not the ones who are gonna save your asses when the shit hits the storm.. Mark my words..


I agree but people I talk to don’t seem to care. The Navy is just a relic of our imperial past. We don’t need a Navy. Peoples attitudes are just appalling.

Kevin Garrigan

Them people will be the 1st to call out tho the Navy if we are Attack Remember the last the last two WW1 and 2 navy safe’d us i no we hard RAF Battle of Britain i appreciate the Sacrifice of them young Chaps. But Navy were they all over the 7 sea the Germany navy with out they big ships were no march for our British Royal navy we should be that navy Again .

Will O

Those that don’t support the Royal Navy tend not to support the best interests of the UK anyway, the overwhelming majority I speak to thankfully do.


I think thst Russia and China are taking similar stances in the Arctic and China sea. Look at how many armed icebreakers Russia has.
I agree totaly with a comitment to assist Norway. The political stance of Norway and the UK should be in alignment. By showing military support for them they may be more inclined to do business with us. Hell we could even allow Norweigen pilots to fly on our carriers and our pilots could try thier F35A.
I think that politicaly this would be an excelent move for the post brexit era.
Any thoughts?

Geoffrey Hicking

In the event of a conventional conflict, what would be an acceptable casualty rate for the RN?


It would depend on the conflict as to what would be politically acceptable.
ie. For counter piracy or drug smuggling operations the loss of a frigate would probably be deemed unacceptable. However if the UK was facing a credible threat to its existence; think invasion fleet or a nuclear missile armed sub in the North sea; then 100% casualty would be considred acceptable if it countered the threat.
As for conventional conflict, it comes down to what the government thinks the general public will accept. Losing even one of the new carriers might be deemed acceptable to protect a friendly nation. Historicaly the loss of capitol ships (I am thinking of the Hood here) has actualy bolstered public opinion against the aggressor nation and given the government more leeway to risk men and ships.
Unrealistic I know, but our military is for unknown events.


In the Falklands war, the RN lost 4 surface combatants, 2 destroyers and 2 frigates. In todays RN, that would be 20% of the fleet. As Tommy said below, the “acceptable” rate would depend on the magnitude of the threat.


I think the answer to your question would be: one ship, then scarpper!


The RN is in the worst shape of the three services. It is spread so thin one crack will shatter the entire edifice. It’s made worse by the long lead times in modern capitol ship building. It is the one service I genuinely think needs to be put in immediate emergency special measures to begin rebuilding numbers of ships, subs and personnel.


As was said of Admiral Jellicoe he could lose the war (WW1) in an afternoon. The survivorbility of our individual ships given their scarcity and protection of merchant convoys and task groups needs an urgent upgrade. I would like to see better layers of self defence applied to our major warships and bases.


I think the glaringly obvious weakness with our ships is the lack of offensive as well as defensive armament. The Russian Navy like Hitler’s fleet in the last war are all well served with numerous offensive weapon systems built into their designs. Many of their ships are now showing their age but are capable of causing us many problems. As for numbers we seem to assume that other NATO members will be at our side in a crisis to make up the difference. The lessons of world war 2 should remind us not to rely on some nations who have become pacifist in their outlook and will shrink from the prospect of war. God knows we have many here who will protest and stab our forces in the back.

Michael Fallon

‘Since the UK mainland has virtually no defence against a potential volley of cruise missiles fired from submarines or bombers the best defence is to be able to strike back in kind. Vastly increasing our stocks of Tomahawks to launch from our SSNs, Type 45s destroyers and Type 26 frigates should be a priority.’
I would have thought the priority and best defence against a volley of cruise missiles would be an integrated air defence system protecting the mainland UK not by lobbing a few TLAM back at a nation that actually has a very capable integrated air defence network.


Indeed an integrated air defence system for the UK would he highly desirable. However the cost of protecting the hundreds of defence sites, power, telecoms & transport infrastructure installations and key buildings with radar and missile batteries would be completely unaffordable. Low flying cruise missiles are especially hard to defend against.


Unless we start somewhere we never will make a fist of it. All three services should take a good hard look at what they will do to defend their key assets. The country itself should start with some sort of coordinated ABM network, which a small territory like UK is actually an advantage.

Michael fallon

The Russian bastion concept is designed to counter this sort of capability and deny access. The Russians know they cannot win a protracted war with NATO and their A2AD capability will eventually be degraded, so their doctrine is short sharp and fast maneuver using overwhelming firepower to dislocate and destroy forces quickly with a core of forces at higher readiness than ours are traditionally.
If we want to deter the Russians then wouldn’t resilience to their initial attempts at dislocation and degradation be more suitable? As our carriers would be the main source of our striking capability would filling our surface fleets silos with the principle weapons of their role so as to protect the carriers be a better use of resources rather than a limited TLAM capability? They know numbers and time are in our advantage in a protracted confrontation, so I think they would hit hard and possibly sooner in the escalation than we would be prepared to do or expect them to.
Would an integrated air defence be completely unaffordable? A cooperative engagement system would go some way in improving our defence what would that cost?
Does it not also raise the question of wether 3 Cdo Bde is capable of defending against any Russian land force in the area as it is presently equipped?

Humpty Dumpty

Totally agree about an IADS. Would also like us to start building diesel-electric AIP subs for home waters defence.

Ian Willis

A refreshingly objective and balanced article on the threat from Russia – apart from the quote from Churchill.
What I don’t understand is that the whole worldwide IT infrastructure from software to hardware was developed by the West and Japan. So surely we have a better hacking capacity than Russia? Why aren’t we hacking their civilian sector like no tomorrow to warn them off?
Russia is a authoritarian state with weak institutions and rampant corruption. So why aren’t we interfering in their political processes and bribing an oligarch or three to bump Putin off and give everyone a break?


I like what you say up to a point. We definitely should be hacking and interfering with Russia, as they do to us, to warn them, and deter them. However, Putin has a lot of cronies behind him that are perhaps even more violent, corrupt and evil than himself, and to bump Putin off would only allow one of these to slide effortlessly into the Presidency and we would be no better off.


UK military never really recovered after WW2. People wanted a National Health Service instead. And highways and bridges. And paid-for university education for the masses, including women. And they still wanted money for cultural niceties such as museums, theater, and other pursuits, long after wealthy patrons could no longer afford to pay for them all. People always ask what happened to the UK as a world military power. The answer is that it’s people decided that they wanted to live in a nice country instead.

David Stephen

There is no point in having a nice country if you can’t defend it.


After 2 World Wars in 20 years its hardly surprising the country was run down and largely bankrupt and as you say the people wanted to live in a nice country and who can have blamed them. However it is hard to find a place to relax as a nation! Competition among nations is more difficult to control at the best of times and we are seeing international lawlessness increasing rapidly in places like Syria, North Korea, South China Sea and with Putin’s Russia. The dangerous thing is Putin beginning to think he might win a short sharp conventional War that turns low level nuclear, if he can keep it that way. Restraint isn’t his strong suit and it has been encouraged by weak rudderless leadership throughout the Western democracies. India, the Gulf and Japan seem to have woken up whereas Western intellectual thought has been living and teaching many dreamy falsehoods.
I just hope the UK can come together in an honest and realistic way and prepare for tests.


The Russian navy is about as much a threat to the Royal Navy as the Royal Navy is to them. In other words, it would be like two lines of decrepide ships passing each other on their way to Turkish or Indian scrap yards.


It is clear you fail to understand economics and strategy.


I agree with this comment, the Royal Navy in many ways is the primary force of the UK however the politicians seems to have forgotten that. The problem that the politicians seem to have is that for the RN the cost is up front. Let us take the QE carrier at three billion pounds, the complete cost of this ship over her life span could be 20 billion which includes the cost of operation and refit. However when you think that this cost is over a 50 year period then the cost is 0.4 billion per year or calculated at £8 per person per year or the price of a cinema ticket and a hotdog per year.
In all reality what I would like to see is not only an increase in the combat fleet but in the amphibious assault fleet. Keep HMS Albion and Bulwark but build an additional three HMAS Canberra type ships and keep the Bays. This would mean that we can land three Reinforced Armoured Battle Groups, two Commando Assault Groups and a second wave support with the Bays. This would give NATO and Britain much more flexibility. I know that some might see this as wishful thinking but in many ways the Aussies got these ships for approx one billion pounds each. That’s a cost of the three equaling one QE, this should be possible to implement over a ten year build plan. This would release the QE’s for there primary task as carrier strike and the Amphibs would be able to act as support carriers/ASW carriers or humanitarian aid ships depending on the needs of war and peace. At the cost of a cinema ticket and hot dog to every person in the UK per year, I don’t know about you but If the RN asked me for a direct debit to pay for that capability I would.
This would also mean a force structure change to the British Army, with possibly one heavy armoured division and two armoured infantry divisions making the backbone of the British NATO standing force (Europe) whilst the three deployable battle-groups for world wide deployment or rapid response with additional para support and NATO flanking operations. I think the Navy, Army and Royal Marines could live with that.
As for the combat fleet I still think we are missing two or three types of ship, the first is the type 31 frigates, these ships should be the forward deployed RN standing force and be permanently based at Gibraltar, Falklands and the Persian Gulf and need to be equipped for such forward areas, the OPVs (all of them) should be in British waters. For the task groups which would be two CSGs and and Amphib group a class of three Anti-air cruisers should be considered, these can be based of the Type 45 with the Helicopter hanger removed and replaced with VLS for Aster, Standard, VLASROC, Sea Ceptor, Cruise Missiles and the new SSM’s. A full weapons fit of approx 100 missiles. The third and final type of vessel that is missing from the RN but is needed is a class of submarine, air independent conventional to operation in three areas, coastal, UK-Iceland-Greenland Gap and the Med. It would free up the SSNs to act as escort for the Task groups and an SSBN. Deploying Nuclear subs to the Med is stupid, they are to big and in many cases cannot hide. Even in WWII the RN used when possible the smaller subs in the Med as they were more likely to survive.
There is a manning issue in all of the British forces, for the RN these extra ships would be a problem to man however with some careful rethinking it should be possible. My suggestion would be as follows, the Type 31s and the OPVs should have 1.25 crews per ship. The carrier groups should be constantly together e.g. HMS Queen Elizabeth,1x A-A Cruiser, 2x T45, 2xT26 and 1 Astute class would be seen as a single unit, deployed, stood down, refit etc should be done as one unit. This would mean that you need only the crews for 1.25 carrier groups in times of peace. The amphib group would have allocated 1x A-A cruiser, 1xT45, 2xT26 and 1x Astute. This means that the there would always be 1 cruiser 2xT45, 3xT26 and 2xSSN undergoing refit, repair or workup with one T45, T26 and an SSN available for independent ops. The cost of this extra investment 12 billion or 80 billion over 50 years £32 per person or a theater ticket.

Hard Truths

Thank Gods little warmongers like this have no say in the world to which history is rapidly returning, contrary to Fukuyama. I haven’t read a similar sewage in a while. There’s not just a total disregard for terrorism that plagues UK and most NATO countries, there’s also bizarre quotes from Stoltenberg “our values and way of life are in danger because of Russian submarines”. In what way does British and Russian way of life differ? We’re both European countries! If he means political freedom, I’m deeply sorry, but as of late UK stepped it up and also started imprisoning political enemies (Robinson). How about we take care of our internal problems before antagonizing a nuclear power?
Finally how could be the British army outmatched by the Russians? Is Stoltenberg shilling for a little invasion (?), because the period of mexican standoff in Germany ended with disbanding of the BAOR. There’s no ground for a conflict unless we deploy next to the Russian borders, which warmongers would love! The only outcome of this will be a re-appeasement between Trump and Putin that leaves other NATO states in the dust, with more money in the pockets of Lockheed and Raytheon et al.
I won’t even comment on the pathetic conspiracy theorizing about “russian hackers”. Or the sheer idiocy of comparing Putin with Hitler. You’re a total joke.


id also point out ukraine was a US regime change not russian aggression and russia isnt anywhere near mexican border with US unlike nato forces on russias border. that must be russian aggression too.
russia has done its best to kill terrorists in syria though, said terrorists funded by US and UK. another regime change for money attempt.
only real threat to UK since ww2 was falklands. so we blow all our navy budget on offensive weapons [carriers], but its russia thats aggressive.
didnt see russia destroy iraq killing 1 mill+ people or libya creating failed state, all on a lie. but as long as its entirely only russia thats aggressive.


No they just send nuclear armed bombers at us and the Scandinavian countrys on a weekly basis.TOTALLY NON AGGRESSIVE RUSSIA that is , you sir are an idiot of the highest order.or dare i say a russian plant

Will O

He’s right about the Iraq war being based on a lie, trouble is, the lie was actually perpetrated by Iran (via a double agent) & the US/UK alliance was daft enough to swallow, perpetuate, spread, & eventually act on the lie. The US/UK fell into the trap of removing Saddam (in itself no bad thing) only to clear the decks for Iran to move in behind, which it wasted no time doing.
He may be right about Russia fighting terrorists, except the Russians backed Iran which has been funding & supporting terrorism all over the Middle East. (In fairness, the West in turn has backed Qatar which has done the same, & Turkey under Erdogan hasn’t exactly been saintly) The tragic thing is the Iran regime has also been oppressing it’s own people (with ten people hanged on the very same day that Iran pleads it’s case at the UNGA). NOBODY should be backing them. Whether it’s Russia doing it, the EU, or our own from the UK, appeasement of that regime is a disgrace.
Whatever one’s views on Russia (& personally I find the habitual hatred directed at Russia/Russians by politicians & the media to be rather distasteful & counterproductive), the UK’s security depends, as it always has, on the security of the seas surrounding it. Russia presents a material challenge to that, even one accepts Putin’s objectives as being peaceful & friendly, someone else will eventually take over who may not be as rational or cool headed or as understanding of the UK (lol).
The UK can’t determine who will rule Russia, but could do much more to secure the North Sea, Norwegian Sea & GIUK gap. When the UK gapped capabilities, such as Nimrod, Russia wasted no time in making the most of it.
Finally our govt. has seen sense & ordered some P8As. A full 10 years too late.
Russia (like China) has around 72 subs & is building more at a pace, particularly concerning being the Oscar/Yasen types.
To which the UK expects to counter with just 7 Astutes (built for the price of 8) & with only 8 ASW T26s planned, which will be tasked with CSG escort anyway.
Is the UK even contesting the seas to the North? It seems to be taking Russian non-aggression rather for granted.
Russia/China may (wisely) prefer not be direct adversaries, but the UK does still need to keep pace, as they have something of a habit of supplying rogue/questionable states which do act with enmity to our interests. The UK has kept pace technologically (the UK is some way ahead), but has failed to keep pace industrially & in terms of numbers & capacity. With the saving of H&W, & let’s hope re-opening of Appledore, at least Boris has got off to a good start.


A limited air defence capability for the UK should be relatively straightforward, quick and inexpensive to achieve.
Just base it on the Type 45 in the same way that the US has the “Aegis ashore” concept.

Kevin Garrigan

Very Good Morning. once some one said we are not building your run the Mail War Ships and yes he was so Right. But What i am saying is this when the last one is built will be 16 years Time, so what am saying is this the Russians have got it Right when they are Building when they have an order for a few ships they Spreed the order around ship yards so you are building more than one at a time. like what we are all am saying is to the Ministry of Defence is we need ships now now or very soon not 16 years down the Road y they did not do it the Russian way i hate saying this i am Proud Brit X Navy .


When everything the submarine fleet does is classified for 75 years or so, it’s really not surprising people don’t think we need armed forces any more.

I do sometimes wonder if Russia etc is stoking and manipulating the woke brigade on anti-imperialistic matters hoping that provokes an internal reaction against our armed forces etc.

That said I think that most naval “enthusiasts” forget that there is more to running a country than spending on the armed forces. There are many demands on the national budget and we just can’t afford to spend 4% of our GDP on defence as Russia does, and what we do spend we have to pay people decent salaries so it doesn’t go as far.

There is also no point comparing the size of navies even to Cold War levels (the threat level is both lower and the complexity of ships and systems has vastly increased) and certainly not back to the 50’s when Britain still had a worldwide empire and we had a mass of ships left over from the WW2 arms race.