Babcock Arrowhead concept for Type 31e frigate

Diverse consortium formed to bid for Type 31e frigate contract

Babcock Marine has announced the formation of a consortium of shipbuilders and designers who will bid for the Type 31e Frigate. Design and construction of the 5 Royal Navy ships is worth around £1.25 Billion but a major goal of the programme is to attract export orders.

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Repenishment at Sea. Heavy Jackstay Transfer

Why the Fleet Solid Support ships should be built in the UK

In a previous article we discussed the importance of the Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships to the future of the RN. Here we focus more on the industrial aspects of the project and look at why building these ships in the UK is the only sensible way forward.

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RFA Tidespring conducts first RAS with HMS Sutherland

“The year of the Royal Navy” – a review of 2017

On 1st January 2017 the MoD published a press release that proclaimed it would be “the year of the Royal Navy”. Ministers may have come to regret such a bold statement but it certainly helped shine a spotlight on the service during turbulent times. Here we review some of the highlights and some of the difficulties the RN has experienced this year. 

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Listening to the ocean – the secretive enablers in the underwater battle

Critical in the ongoing battle to detect hostile submarines is a little-known network of ocean sensors that support the more visible deployment of frigates and maritime patrol aircraft. Here we examine the history and development of this network, a key to UK maritime power.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth alongside in Portsmouth

HMS Queen Elizabeth – a large and convenient media target

“Navy’s new £3.1Bn aircraft carrier is leaking” screams the front-page headline in today’s Sun newspaper, The Daily Express then helpfully adds to the hysteria by claiming “the ship is sinking”. The simple facts of this rather routine occurrence is that a leaking stern seal on one of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s propeller shafts was discovered during sea trials and is allowing small amounts of water into the ship.

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Dreadnought class submarine Faslane

The Dreadnought class submarine in focus

The programme to construct the 4 submarines that will replace the Vanguard class boats, will soon become the largest defence project in the UK. Ballistic missile submarines are some of the most sensitive and closely guarded defence assets and there is understandably limited information about them in the public domain. At this early stage in the construction programme, we look at what is known about the Dreadnought project.

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Sailors aborad HMS Queen Elizabeth practice drills for the commissioning ceremony

HMS Queen Elizabeth prepares for commissioning into the Royal Navy

Today HMS Queen Elizabeth formally commissions in the presence of the ship’s sponsor, Her Majesty the Queen. This ceremony marks the transition from being a ship to a warship as she becomes part of the Royal Navy, serving in the fleet potentially for 50 years. The Queen will arrive by royal train at Portsmouth Harbour and be taken by car to the ship which is alongside at Princess Royal Jetty. The ceremony will be held in the vast aircraft hangar with a reception for around 3,700 people including the ship’s company, their families and many invited guests.

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Argentine Submarine ARA San Juan

Reflecting on the sad loss of Argentine submarine ARA San Juan

Argentine submarine ARA San Juan has disappeared while on routine patrol and was last heard from on 15th November. After reporting technical problems, she failed to make contact again and by the 17th, the Argentine Navy announced she was missing and had begun a search operation.

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Dreadnought class Trident nuclear submarine

Has the time come to the move the cost of Trident replacement out of the MoD budget?

On 29th July 2010 the then Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the MoD would have to fund the capital costs of replacing the Vanguard class submarines (Successor) from within its own core equipment procurement budget, instead of from the Treasury Reserve as had been expected. Defence Minister at the time, Liam Fox argued strongly that funding Successor from within the MoD would be hugely damaging to the rest of defence. He lost his argument with Osborne, but time has proved him right about the consequences.

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HMS Diamond

Type 45 Destroyer issues continue – HMS Diamond breaks down on Gulf deployment

Today the Times correctly reported that HMS Diamond has had to abort her Gulf deployment and return to home for repairs. The defect concerns the propellor but is not directly related to the engine issues that have been the primary cause of Type 45 destroyer woes. Unfortunately,  the problem cannot be rectified by dry docking in Bahrain or Gibraltar and requires the attention of specialists in Portsmouth.

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