Sustaining Royal Navy manpower – the greatest challenge

Despite his usual upbeat tone, the First Sea Lord recently admitted the RN still faces manpower challenges. Here we look at some of the serious on-going manpower issues and how they might be addressed. (In this context “manpower” is shorthand for a diverse mix of men and women).

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Babcock Arrowhead

Babcock announces ‘Arrowhead’ – another option for the Type 31 frigate competition

Babcock International has just revealed their concept for the Type 31e Frigate competition. Arrowhead is the latest design to emerge from a British naval design house and will be formally unveiled at DSEI next week. 

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Venari 85 BMT Mine warfare vessels

BMT introduces Venari 85 – candidate for future Royal Navy mine warfare vessel?

Ahead of DSEI 2017 (Defence & Security Equipment International) exhibition in London, BMT Defence Services has launched Venari-85, a new concept for a mine countermeasure (MCM) vessel. The RN is looking at options to replace its current generation of mine warfare and hydrographic vessels and this new design provides an intriguing hybrid for consideration.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth HMS Dragon

Royal Navy aircraft carriers – vulnerable or fit for the fight?

There have been frequent suggestions that aircraft carriers are inherently vulnerable and have been rendered obsolete by a new generation of weaponry. Here we look the range of conventional threats the carriers might face in a high-end conflict and how the RN and the Queen Elizabeth Class are configured to deal with them.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth – are aircraft carriers too expensive?

The arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth was a day for celebration and pride. Beyond the flag waving and excitement, there are many critical voices who question the whole carrier project. Here we address some of the issues about the financial impact of restoring the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier capability.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth twa islands

The reasons HMS Queen Elizabeth has two islands

Many have wondered why HMS Queen Elizabeth has two ‘islands’. Here we consider why she is the first aircraft carrier in the world to adopt this unique arrangement and the benefits it brings.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth and USS George HW Bush

The reasons HMS Queen Elizabeth is not nuclear powered

Many people have wondered why the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers do not have nuclear propulsion like the US Navy’s Nimitz class ships. Here we consider the many good reasons why a conventional, although innovative propulsion system was selected instead.

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f-25 take off HMS Queen Elizabeth

Getting jets to sea – more squadrons, more pilots please

As HMS Queen Elizabeth undergoes initial sea trials there is considerable discussion about her future embarked air group. Amidst endless media and online gibberish about “aircraft carriers with no aircraft” the UK is in fact, building up its fleet of F-35B Lightnings ready to go to sea. Here John Dunbar considers the concerns about the number of jets that will be available to form the Tailored Air Group, and how their efficiency might be maximised.

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Up close with a US super carrier and the pilots fresh from combat operations

The arrival of the USS George HW Bush in British waters to participate in exercise Saxon Warrior with the Royal Navy provided a useful opportunity to meet US naval aviators who have recently completed combat missions against ISIS in the Middle East. Although they are very different, inevitable comparisons will also be made between the Nimitz class CVN and the Queen Elizabeth class CVF, which deserve to be put in perspective.

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Crowsnest Merlin Helicopter Aircraft Carriers

Crowsnest – the strike carrier’s eye in the sky

Crowsnest is the name for the project to provide a new airborne early warning system for the RN. Sea King Mk 7 helicopters operated by 849 Naval Air Squadron currently operate in this role and provide what is now called Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC). They are the last Sea Kings remaining active in UK service but are due to go in 2018, by which time this type will have served for nearly 50 years.

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