Royal Navy Merlin Helicopter on flight deck of HMS Sutherland

The Royal Navy’s Merlin helicopter fleet – bearing a heavy load

Glossy MoD publicity may give the impression the Fleet Air Arm is in rude health with several new types of aircraft coming into service to replace ageing veterans. A new generation of aircraft are indeed being delivered but the actual number of helicopters in RN service will have declined dramatically by 57% (From 194 to 83) in the decade between 2009 and 2019.

Read More
Spanish Warship Gibraltar waters

The cycle of Spanish incursions into Gibraltar waters

Mistral LPH

Why the UK won’t purchase the ex-Russian Mistral assault ships, even though we should

There are many suggesting the RN purchase the 2 ex-Russian Mistral class assault ships from France. The ships which have excellent aviation facilities as well as a floodable dock for landing craft would make superb replacements for HMS Ocean, Albion & Bulwark.

Read More
RFA Fort Victoria

Does the state of the RFA threaten the global reach of the RN?

The civilian ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are a relatively ‘low profile’ part of the surface fleet but they are critical in providing the RN with the ability to stay at sea for extended periods and many other additional capabilities. An examination of the RFA flotilla in 2015 reveals a small and rather threadbare collection of ships. Like the RN it serves, it is doing its best with what it has in anticipation of the arrival of new vessels.

Read More
Black Swan Corvette concept

British Seapower: A New Approach

This is a guest post by Louis Forde – a history graduate from KCL, due to begin studying for a Masters in September. His primary area of research focusses on British colonialism and it’s relationship with the Royal Navy.

Read More
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…

Read More

The RN’s third major humanitarian mission in three years

In a state of civil war and with no clear government to police its borders, migrants can pass easily through Libya to its coast where people traffickers promise to get them into Europe. Migrants have been attempting to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy boats for many years but numbers are rising sharply,

Read More

Parliamentary debate in wake of Trident safety allegations

The Scottish National Party secured a special ‘adjournment debate’ in Parliament on 28th May in the wake of the allegations made by a Royal Navy junior rating who completed one patrol aboard HMS Victorious carrying the nation’s nuclear deterrent. AB William McNeilly claimed to have witnessed multiple security and safety failures.

Read More
Vanguard class SSBN returns to Faslane

Response to claims by RN submariner that “Trident is an accident waiting to happen”

On 17th May the Sunday Herald (Scotland) ran an exclusive based on an authorised ‘report’ written by a junior submariner in which he claimed “Trident is an accident waiting to happen” and the story has since been picked up by media around the world. You can read the original piece in all its rambling glory here.

ET McNeilly, is a very junior rate who served for less than 2 years in the RN and has completed a single deterrent patrol, hardly in a position to pass credible judgement on submarine operations. 

Read More

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.

Read More