BAE Portsmouth Yard

Say no the closure of England’s last complex warship builder

Failure by successive governments to place sufficient and regular orders for warships has caused the Royal Navy to decline but has also resulted in the gradual closure of British shipyards. There are now only the yards in Glasgow, Rosyth and Portsmouth left in the United Kingdom that can build complex surface warships for the RN

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“Admiral, I’ve been asked to invite you to choose which of your arms you would prefer to cut off”

Ahh come in my dear chap. Firstly Admiral I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work, bravery and sacrifices you have made in service of your country. All my colleagues in Parliament would like to say how proud we are of you and all those serving in our wonderful armed forces. I’m sure you’ll have heard by now, but due to the terrible financial mess left by my predecessor we’ve been forced to make some efficiencies. We spent a whole week conducting a very careful analysis and an in-depth review and here on the back of this fag packet is our new national strategy for defence.

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HMS Tyne

The Royal Navy and the growing importance of securing UK home waters

The seas and ports around our coast are vital to our economy and require policing for our safety and to ensure international law, treaties and agreements are upheld. With 17,820 Km of coastline and the world’s 5th largest Exclusive Economic Zone, one of the UK’s greatest natural resources and environmental responsibilities, is the sea. While high-profile controversies about aircraft carriers are important, the RN’s less glamorous but key role in UK maritime protection should not be forgotten.

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The shape of things to come – video of F35B on trials

This is an F35B on shipboard trials, prototype of the aircraft that is now planned to fly from the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers from sometime around 2018.

As a non-aviation specialist, first impressions are that this £100 million contraption looks incredibly complicated, masses of moving parts hydraulics, hinges, doors levers etc all which all must function properly for a safe landing. Surely a huge maintenance challenge and vulnerable to even minor battle damage? When the plane takes off and is ‘cleaned up’ it has a certain 21st century beauty but seems to lack the elegance of the much simpler Harrier. However it does represent an exciting step up in capability if it works as advertised. FLY NAVY!

HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier

The morning after the night before… Making the best of ‘Plan B’

This article was written in May 2012. For more recent articles about the Royal Navy aircraft carrier project click here.

Yesterday came the announcement of a very badly kept secret that the new RN carriers would not now be fitted with catapults and would fly F35B STVOL aircraft. It was a complex issue and we disagree with this decision.

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Government U-turn on carriers means less capability and long-term costs

Today in the much-anticipated new episode of the hilarious black comedy “Carry on Carrier” the government announces it shall reverse its decision to fit at least one aircraft carrier with catapults (EMALS) and angled decks for launching conventional aircraft and revert to the original plan to purchase vertical take-off and landing F35B aircraft.

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Useful web links about the looming decision on aircraft carriers ‘cats and traps’ and F35B or C

As we await the the decision by government on whether the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers currently building will be fitted with ‘cats and traps’, there is much debate and discussion about the issue. Here are a selection of some of the most informative online articles on this complex and politically charged argument.

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An F/A-18E Super Hornet prepares to launch during a test of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)

Failure of political strategy, lack of vision and poor planning leaves the aircraft carrier project facing more problems

It has just been revealed that fitting catapults to the new aircraft carriers has been costed at around 1.8 £Billion and the Minister of Defence considers this ‘unaffordable’. Reverting to the F-35B vertical take-off aircraft is being considered.

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MARS Tanker and Type 45 Destroyer

Good news on Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers lost in controversy

4 badly needed ships

It may be big come-down from the original plans for a 2.5 £Billion programme of 12 ships, but there was some good news on 22nd February for the Royal Navy when it was announced that the MoD had placed an order for 4 new replenishment tankers.

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HMS Dauntless

HMS Dauntless’ routine deployment underlines Britain’s right to defend the Falkland Islands

In 1982 foolish cuts to the Royal Navy by a Conservative government were seen as a green light by the Argentines to invade the Falklands. 2012 is the 30th anniversary of a short but bloody war that had a big impact on British history.

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