Serco tugs assist HMS Queen Elizabeth

Supporting the fleet – Serco services for the Royal Navy

Serco Maritime Services operate the tugs that are commonly seen assisting RN vessels to leave and return to harbour. Serco also provides a diverse range of other marine services, that support warships and submarines. In this article we examine another of the key enablers that the RN could not sail without.

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F-35 over HMS Queen Elizabeth

RAF plan for F-35 split-buy undermines aircraft carrier programme

Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor at Sky News has reported that, behind the scenes, the RAF is arguing hard to split the UK purchase of F-35 aircraft into two variants. The F-35B is the only fixed-wing aircraft able to operate from the new QEC aircraft carriers but it’s no secret that the RAF harbours the ambition to procure F-35As as a direct replacement for its land-based Tornado force.

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Next generation computing technology for the Royal Navy

BAE Systems supply and integrate many of the combat systems currently in service with the RN. Working closely with the navy, the company is funding ‘Project Dragonfly’, a £20 million investment in new technologies to ensure the warships of the future harness the rapid developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

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Why do peacetime naval accidents keep happening?

2017 was an especially bad year for fatal naval accidents. Then last week the Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad collided with an oil tanker and is was run onto rocks in a vain attempt to prevent her sinking. There have always been serious accidents involving warships and submarines during peacetime operations but with the advent of modern navigation technologies, there is some surprise that these incidents keep happening. Here we look briefly at the circumstances of some of the accidents and what might be learned from them.

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A relief for the submarine service – HMS Victorious does not need nuclear refuelling

In March 2014 the MoD admitted there was a minor concern about the integrity of the nuclear reactors which power Vanguard class submarines. As a precaution, HMS Vanguard currently in refit at Devonport has been given a second new reactor core. This week the government quietly announced that technical assessments have now concluded this procedure will not be necessary for the other three boats.  

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Float out of Irish Naval Service OPV Appledore shipyard

Another Royal Navy supplier goes under – the closure of Appledore shipyard

Unable to follow up their success building OPVs for export, and with no other orders forthcoming, last week Babcock made the sad announcement that the Appledore shipyard will close in March 2019. Here we examine the background and potential impacts of this decision.

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Chancellor's budget - good news for defence but don't break out the Champagne

Chancellor’s budget – good news for defence but don’t break out the champagne

Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a former defence secretary, Philip Hammond, announced he would provide the MoD an additional “£1Bn to cover the end of this year and the next”. Any new money for defence is to be welcome and it is right to celebrate rare good news but this modest sum must be seen in the perspective of a bigger financial crisis.

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Costs, controversy and context. Update on the Royal Navy’s new OPVs

Like most warship building projects, the Batch II River class OPVs being built for the Royal Navy have proved to be politically sensitive and controversial. In this article, we will provide some more context and an update on the progress of the five ships.

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The future of Royal Navy mine hunting

The 13 Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessels (MCMV) that remain active are ageing ships but a series of ongoing incremental upgrades will ensure they are able to remain in service into the early 2030s. Here we examine some of the upgrades and a take an overview of the complex plans for the RN’s future mine hunting capability (and attempt to navigate the confusing set of associated acronyms!).

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