Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Henry Piecrust

Well hopefully they’ll have some sailors left to crew these ships. The catastrophic retention policy especially on the new QE is tragic and the project is haemorrhaging skilled staff at a huge rate. There is no attempt at all to keep them, it’s just “Good luck” and “Goodbye”. The amount spent training these lads is massive and is just being thrown away so that BAE and the like can pick up qualified staff anytime they want. Woeful…


The Daily Telegraph has published an article saying The National Shipbuilding Strategy is toast and there won’t be any Type 31s because there isn’t any money.

Lord Curzon

Told you!

christopher whicker

One word , two letters,

Mike McNamara

Good back grounder to the current status, but much of the Royal Navy’s future relies on this government keeping it’s promised financial commitments.

However, even with all this new kit and as mentioned in other comments, finding enough personnel is going to be the major issue going forward. Granted, more and more automation is being used throughout all new ships – requiring lower crew numbers than before, but this move requires people with much higher skill-sets which appear to be in short supply in the RN.


If there is a shortage of skills it is due to people finding well paid jobs in Civvy street. There is a role therefore for better retaining or recruiting some highly skilled people into a revitalized RNVR. Because folks if the balloon goes up that is where the numbers are coming from.
There is therefore a need to provide a core of warships to train on. The 4 older Rivers are the ideal basis for this. They exist. They are relatively economic to run and with adequate life left to give deep sea training to an efficient and adequate reserve.



Although if they trot out the QE for enough photo ops and keep repeating the same message it will seen like we have 12 carriers. Maybe Fallon is less useless tool and more awesome at the counter intelligence thing or something.

John Carlin

It may be posturing but isn’t President Elect Trump threatening to cancel the F35 Fighters? Also how many will we be getting – taking into account the fall of the £ against the $

Michael Lewis

I very much doubt the F-35 program will be sacked. The US Marine Corps has thier entire tactical aviation future invested in the program, not to mention the USN and USAF. Were the F-35 cancelled the biggest refund in history would be due to all the nations that have invested billions in R+D to the program. I believe Trump is mortified and and angered by the obscene cost over runs and is determined to do something about it.

Farce Multiplier

Most likely outcome is that the F-35a (USAF) and F-35b (USMC) will have their projected total order volumes reduced, whilst the F-35c (USN) will be cancelled in favour of more F/A-18 and investment in the USN’s UCAV programme.

The UK will slowly get a fleet of F-35b but the RAF will have to scrap other perfectly good aircraft (tranche 1 Typhoon, Sentinel ?) in return because it will not have the money to meet the operating costs.

The carriers will, unfortunately, likely be bad for the Royal Navy in the short to medium-term because operating them will further overstretch personnel causing even more to leave the Service.

Michael Lewis

I truly doubt that the F-35 will be axed by the USN. The Super Hornet is an excellent platform, but there are many F-35 proponents in the naval community. Time will tell.
I fully agree with you about the personnel crisis in the RN.
A QE battle group would require half the people in the service.

Billy Donaldson

The government has allowed the Rugby factory to be run down to a handful of men. Who is going to build the next generation of turbines for the for the Trident replacements. Most of the men skilled on these projects have gone!!!


Same problem everywhere…people chose well paid near home jobs. Now, armed forces will always be hampered by this, armed forces are not mercenary forces…what the forces might be doing is recruit in area’s where people are less fortunate to find a decent job and take time to instruct them.They will be more loyal, certainly when they archieve and can serve in ships that look the part. Also, the british have a tradition to something out of a nobody…but no, ” we want high trained young lads who can do before they start”..;seems the preferred choice, not only in the UK. And finally, the Navy should really start making a business of “hyping” itself, that can be done with its the new ships coming on the line…send the carriers up the Thames and get schools to visit them!

David Stephen

Smartest thing I have heard said here in a while. We need to open up the pool of manpower available. We used to take a much more diverse slice of society to sea through conscription,not that we need to go that far. We are also much more likely to retain personnel who like you said will have a deeper sense of loyalty and look towards the navy as a career not a term of service. Your second point is bang on as well. The navy needs to promote itself much better. There was a time when the public knew what the navy did for them but now most people are simply ignorant of the facts. Teaching kids is as good start as any. Some of them will crew CVF and Type 26 in a decade or two.


You can’t focus recruitment in poorer areas that is unPC or something like that.

Recruitment across the board is also clearly run by people who have a very 1960s view of the world. Join the Navy see the world (even though you can jump on the t’internet and book a flight anywhere for dirt cheap) Join the Army make new bessers (even though we have umpteen million social apps and you can make friends with someone in Australia in 30 seconds).

The ones you reel in on the promise of travel figure out very quickly there is almost no capacity for a flag flying tour of somewhere hot and exotic so do there time and leave with a short on marketable skills.

Only thing that would help recruitment would be focusing on skills, training and benefits in poorer areas. Unfortunately there is no money to offer well-rounded training and education so you will leave the services with a very narrow skill set that the civilian sector simply doesn’t want (we pay capita to provide the simple skills that could be taught using even lower paid staff with large company overhead). Any high-end skills we are short of we hope the reality of $30000 of university debt will bring folks into the reserves to fill in as needed and just hope in many cases they have sea legs.

Thankfully once the estate is ‘sorted’ the only service members the public will see will be on TV, that I’m sure will also help recruitment and willingness to pay for defence.

Still keep everyone on he dole that’s somehow works out cheaper than paying for sailors, soldiers and airmen who pump money into the economy. Not to mention the equipment for them that could be built on these shores and the money that could also pump in.

The whole thing is run from the top by career politicians (if they ever served they’ve long since forgotten any lessons from it) who believe they can coast until the retirement or after-dinner speaking gigs kick in and the next lot can deal with it. Fast forward 30 years and here we are, an island that may not be able to guarantee its food supplies if things get heated. It seems also seriously looking at reducing marine strength or asking the other services to lose a regiment or squadron we don’t have enough of either.

Someone has to take the hit and publicly ask “Do we want to protect the Falklands or escort Russian ships through the channel? I need to know now as soon we won’t be able to do both and meet all the other commitments we need to meet to keep NATO on-side”.

Tony Dodd

The carriers are like dodos, flightless! Italy, with less than half the length of coastline that the UK has, can call upon more than 600 coastal naval vessels yet the UK can only call on four. The USMC operates an integrated command structure that delivers more than the UK’s three separate military departments yet the UK has many more senior officers. Our forces’ manpower is top-heavy, full of career desk-pushers interested only in expanding their own empires. It is supported by the MoD, whose record in delivering projects on time, in full and to budget is trounced by every other developed nation.
The UK imports around 2/3rds of its requirement – including food and fuel – yet we do not have enough ships to deliver or to support those delivering. Time to be radical – if we cannot afford to have a sustainable navy then buy ships from elsewhere; after all we are buying APCs from Spain using Swedish steel rather than support our own industries and skills.


It’ll certainly be ‘a year’ of the RN


I dont know why we bother. Our politicians, Civil servants and the Navy have done a great job of turning the Navy into an expensive irrelevance. Not enough crew, not enough ships, not enough firepower. What a farce the RN has become.


When oh when is the RN going to deploy a Guard ship to Gibraltar?

Stephen Fowley

Frigates and destroyers won’t last five minutes in an exchange with a major power, okay for showing the flag and cocktail partys but that’s the extent of their effectiveness. Carriers and subs need financing.