Bargain basement Type 31e – the Lidl frigate or an industrial miracle?

The RN published its outline specification for the Type 31e on 7th September this year. The £250 Million-per-ship price cap that has been set for the project is remarkable. If the project can deliver a credible ship at this price it would be something of a miracle and represent the most affordable western frigate design on the international market. The goals of Type 31e can therefore either be seen as ambitious ‘blue sky thinking’ or compromised and unachievable.

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HMS Sheffield Falklands war

In perspective: the loss of HMS Sheffield

35 years on from the sinking of HMS Sheffield by an Exocet missile, the full and un-redacted Board of Inquiry (BOI) findings have been made public. A heavy-handed piece by Ian Cobain in the Guardian heaps blame on the ship’s operations team and implies results of the inquiry were subject to a sinister cover up .

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HMS Albion in Devonport

Further cuts to the fleet in “the year of the Royal Navy” ?

Recent headlines about possible further body-blows to the Royal Navy are an indication that the terrible state of Ministry of Defence finances is starting to bite. Here we look at what could be cut, what could be the impact on RN capability and the potential political fall out.

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HMS Scott departs Devonport at night

It’s time for an honest conversation about the future of the Royal Navy

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has repeatedly stated that we have a “growing Royal Navy”. The facts do not support this claim and it is simply untrue. Worse still, there are now strong indications of another round of cuts to RN strength.

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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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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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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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