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.

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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.

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RFA Argus, Freetown, Sierra Leone

The Royal Navy – prime force for delivery of emergency aid and disaster relief

The size of the Britain’s £11Bn overseas aid budget is becoming increasingly controversial at a time when we are cutting defence spending and trying to reduce national debt. There are good reasons for wealthier nations to help the poorest in the world but whether these hand-outs create lasting peace and prosperity is questionable. There is however, a clear moral imperative when natural disasters occur to assist our fellow man struggling for their very survival. This important and frequently required humanitarian aid mission is often forgotten in political discussions around the size and shape of the navy.

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Putin and submarine

Is Britain prepared for the naval challenges of a new Cold War?

In December 2014 Russia quietly signaled what maybe called the start of Cold War II when it issued a new military doctrine which lists NATO as its “main threat”. President Putin, a former KGB officer is determined to return Russia to the superpower status of the Soviet Union. Communist dogma may have gone but it has been replaced by nationalist expansionism and paranoia used to justify a military renaissance. Western nations are feeling this growing power by increasing numbers of Russian ships, aircraft and submarines to probing defences and even entering territorial waters.

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Future Royal Navy

The big picture for the Royal Navy leading up to the 2015 SDSR

This guest post by the DefenceSynergia (DS) RN Editorial Team looks at the history of cuts, compromise and decline experienced by the RN in recent times and hopes for better strategy and policy to inform the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

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Govan shipbuilding yard

Contraction & consolidation – relying on a single shipyard for warship construction

Lack of warship orders and the Government’s ‘lassiez faire’ attitude is damaging the industrial base that the navy will need in the long term. This is clear to see in the likely consolidation of all Royal Navy warship construction on a single site.

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