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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University Royal Navy Unit P2000

The University Royal Navy Units – student yacht club or valuable asset?

The 15 University Royal Navy Units (URNU) provide an opportunity for students to go sea and to broaden their naval understanding. Against a background of constrained funding for the navy, there are some who perceive this as an indulgence of limited value because the URNU does not exist for primarily for recruitment or operational purposes. Here we examine the real value and wider benefits the units offer.

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Type 26 Frigate construction Glasgow

Making sense of the Royal Navy’s frigate building schedule

In an earlier article, we examined the slow build and delivery schedule for the first Type 26 frigates. With this infographic, we attempt to assess how the projected construction schedule fits with the decommissioning of the Type 23 frigates.

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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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