The new First Sea Lord and his vision for the Royal Navy’s future

Tony Radakin was appointed First Sea Lord (1SL) and Chief of the Naval Staff in June 2019. He is seen as a reformer who is keen to accelerate change within the Royal Navy. Here we examine the issues he may face in his three-year tenure and what his priorities for the Naval Service may be.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth F35-B launch

Royal Navy aircraft carrier ski jumps – a history

British inventors have been responsible for many of the innovations that have made carrier aviation possible. The ‘ski jump’ was first developed in the 1970s to enable the Sea Harrier jet to launch more safely and efficiently and is a feature of the new QEC aircraft carriers, helping launch the latest generation of jets. Here we look at the history, design and purpose of the ramp.

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What does the closure of Harland and Wolff shipyard mean for the Royal Navy?

Having not constructed a warship for 50 years, the announcement that Harland & Wolff in Belfast had gone into administration this week might seem to be of little consequence to the Royal Navy. The company’s involvement in bids for the Type 31e frigate programme had provided a glimmer of hope for the yard’s future and potential re-engagement as a naval supplier. Obviously distressing for the workers in Belfast, but also seen from a wider perspective, the dwindling number of shipyards in the UK cannot be good news for the RN or British sovereign naval construction capability.

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HMS Vanguard at Devonport

Critical Royal Navy submarine refit running late

The oldest of the Royal Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, HMS Vanguard is currently in Devonport undergoing major refit and refuelling. There are strong indications the project is in trouble and she will be unable to return to service at the start of 2020 as originally scheduled, with knock-on effects for the 3 remaining boats that maintain the nuclear deterrent.

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F-35 Munitions Meteor Brimstone ASRAAM

Munitions handling on the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers

In a previous article, we looked at the new jetty being constructed in Scotland for transferring munitions to and from Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. It is a complex subject but here we make a cursory examination of some of the weapons and their handling arrangements onboard the ships themselves.

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Deterrence theory and the Royal Navy

If there is one ubiquitous military strategy, it’s deterrence. Deterrence is usually spoken of in the context of nuclear weapons. It stirs up old Cold War images of the Cuban Missile Crisis and mutually assured destruction. Deterrence theory, however, is a well-established phenomenon within international relations theory that applies to all military action, not only nuclear weapons. For example, was the current situation in the Arabian Gulf caused by a failure to deter?

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Iran’s illegal seizure of a British tanker – a failure by the Royal Navy or a failure of strategy?

Late in the afternoon of 19th July, in the Straits of Hormuz, Iran sized the unescorted British-owned tanker MV Stena Impero and it remains in their hands. Many have criticised the RN for failure to protect the ship when in fact the blame lies with its political masters.

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HMS Montrose

Chokepoint Charlie – What it’s like to operate a warship in the Strait of Hormuz

You’re the captain of one of Her Majesty’s warships and you’re on patrol in the Strait of Hormuz. The call you’ve been half-looking forward to and half-dreading comes through: there is a tanker under attack and you are to intervene.

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