771 Naval Air Squadron Sea King Helicopter

Goodbye 771 Naval Air Squadron – UK search & rescue helicopter service goes private

After more than 40 years providing search and rescue (SAR) services across the UK, on 1st January 2016 771 Naval Air Squadron handed on responsibility to private contractor. Until now the MoD and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have operated a 24-hour military and civil helicopter SAR service for the UK using around 40 RN and RAF Sea king Mk5s. 

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3 Core imperatives

The Royal Navy prepares its case for surviving the coming defence review

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced in Parliament on June 8 that the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) will report “towards the end of this year.” Taking the name of this exercise at face value, an extreme optimist might expect the defence needs of Britain will be carefully considered, and priorities adjusted in accordance with a grand strategy…

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Election ‘shock’ just means more of the same for defence

Contrary to predictions, the 2015 General Election has delivered a small majority for the Conservative party who will continue to govern but are now no longer reliant on Liberal Democrat support. Mr Cameron remains Prime Minister and has quickly re-appointed the same Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary while Michael Fallon will continue as Secretary of State for Defence. Instead of the horse-trading and uncertainties of minority government, this seamless transition means we can make some assumptions about the future defence planning based on Tory pre-election statements.

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CND protest Parliament

In search of the Royal Navy’s political friends (Part 2: minority parties)

Summoning only a handful of MPs between them, the fringe parties have until now had a very limited ability to influence national issues. The absence of a legacy that can be criticised maybe to their advantage but they lack the political inexperience and the gravitas that comes with office. Any judgement of them must therefore be made mainly on their pronouncements, not their actions. The mainstream parties are mainly composed of ‘career politicians’ more concerned with power than ideology, but at least the fringe parties are predominantly ‘conviction politicians’ who actually believe in something. They tend to have stronger and sometimes extreme views on defence matters which must now be scrutinised.

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