F-35 HMS Queen Elizabeth

First trials of F-35 aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth begin this autumn

In late August HMS Queen Elizabeth will leave Portsmouth for her Westlant 18 trip. The ship will be away for around four months and, although not an operational deployment, this will be her longest and most demanding period at sea so far. The centrepiece of the deployment will be the fixed-wing First of Class Trials (FOCT) with F-35Bs touching down on her deck for the first time. In this article we look at the preparation and plans for the flying trials.

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Positive signs for Royal Navy Submarine manpower

This week the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee was examining the Submarine Nuclear Enterprise. The session primarily dealt with finance and planning for the Dreadnought programme but the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Tony Radakin also gave evidence about submarine manning issues. Lack of suitably experienced and qualified personnel for the submarine service has been a problem for almost a decade but there are some signs of improvement.

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HMS Richmond enters Frigate Refit Complex

New engines for the Royal Navy’s Type 23 Frigates

Originally designed with a service life of around 18 years, the RN’s Type 23 Frigates will now have to serve for around 30 years. All 13 frigates are undergoing life extension (LIFEX) refits and an important component of these upgrades is the Power Generation Machinery Upgrade (PGMU) to replace the ships’ four diesel generator sets.

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Trident submarine approaches Faslane

Scottish nationalism continues to cast a shadow over the Royal Navy

At the SNP conference last weekend, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted she was “more certain than ever before” of achieving her dream of Scottish Independence. For now she urged members to focus on “winning the argument” rather than pushing too soon for another vote. Here we look at how Nicola’s ‘dream’ would actually be a nightmare for UK security as a whole. The RN would arguably be the single British institution to suffer most, with both its main submarine base and shipyards under threat.

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Type 26 Frigate, Plymouth Sound

Will the Type 26 frigates be based in Devonport?

On 6th June, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard opened a Westminster Hall Parliamentary debate on the base-porting of Type 26 frigates. A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the future of Devonport and the MoD is under pressure to make an early decision on the basing arrangements for the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates.

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HMS Iron Duke and HMS St Albans

Bahrain or bust – Type 23 frigate to be permanently based in the Gulf

This week the Defence Secretary announced a Type 23 frigate will be permanently ‘forward deployed’ in Bahrain. This presence in the Gulf region and the global reach of the fleet, is certainly an asset to Britain but is the expanding portfolio of demands on the Navy workable and sustainable?

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Australian SEA 5000 competition climax- can the Type 26 frigate achieve export success?

Sometime in June, the Australian government will announce which of the three contenders has won the competition for the programme to construct 9 anti-submarine frigates. Should BAE Systems’ bid be successful, it would be the most significant naval export success for the UK for decades with benefits for the Royal Navy.

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RFA Fort Victoria refit at Cammel Laird

RFA Fort Victoria modified to support the aircraft carriers

RFA Fort Victoria is currently mid-way through a major refit at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead. The usual maintenance and machinery overhauls are being conducted but she is also being modified to provide solid stores replenishment to the aircraft carriers.

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Type 26 Frigate

Why will the Royal Navy not have its first Type 26 frigate operational until 2027?

Defence Procurement Minister, Guto Bebb stated in Parliament on 23rd April that the first Type 26 frigate, HMS Glasgow is due to be accepted from the builders in the summer of 2025. Eighteen months of further trials and training should see her become operational in 2027. Here we ask why the navy must tolerate such a leisurely eight-year construction schedule.
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