Type 45 Destroyer Gas turbine engine problems

Putting the Type 45 propulsion problems in perspective

Amongst informed defence commentators it has been an open secret for several years, but on 29th January a BBC report finally put the engine problems of the Type 45 destroyers into the public eye. The MoD has consistently played down the seriousness of the issue, that had on occasions resulted in total propulsion and electrical failure, leaving ships dead in the water. Even Parliamentary questions were met with vague assurances that “progress was being made”. The media coverage has since been predictably excessive, giving the unfortunate impression that Type 45s are £1Billion cripples. Although these breakdowns have hampered their operation, all the Type 45s have completed major deployments and HMS Defender is currently on a 9-month Gulf and Indian Ocean deployment.

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The Silent Deep - Submarines Polaris

The Silent Deep – Book review

£20.40 (Hardback)  £12.99 (Kindle)

2015 saw the publication of the latest in a string of fascinating titles dealing with the Cold War history of the Royal Navy Submarine Service. Secrets of the Conqueror (2012), Hunter Killers (2013) and Cold War Command (2014) were essentially based on stories told by RN submariners. The Silent Deep, the Royal Navy Submarine Service since 1945 is a lengthy and more encompassing work that tells the political, operational and personal stories of the service from the end of WWII up to the present day.

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771 Naval Air Squadron Sea King Helicopter

Goodbye 771 Naval Air Squadron – UK search & rescue helicopter service goes private

After more than 40 years providing search and rescue (SAR) services across the UK, on 1st January 2016 771 Naval Air Squadron handed on responsibility to private contractor. Until now the MoD and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have operated a 24-hour military and civil helicopter SAR service for the UK using around 40 RN and RAF Sea king Mk5s. 

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SDSR 2015 announcements

SDSR 2015 – putting the Royal Navy back on course

Judgement on the SDSR announcements made today will very much depend on the lens through which you view it. There maybe plenty of room for improvement, but taken in the context of austerity and the ‘rock bottom’ 2010 review, today’s announcements can be seen as broadly very good news for the RN.

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MBDA Aaster-30 Missile Sampson Radar

UK and NATO navies take further small steps in developing ballistic missile defence

NATO warships will gather for Exercise Joint Warrior (JW15-2) in Scottish waters from 5th-16th October 2015. This large biannual event has been running for many years and covers the full spectrum naval operations. This month JW15-2 will introduce a unique component with an at sea demonstration (ASD15) of a ballistic missile interception. Networked sensors aboard several NATO warships will be used to track and destroy an Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle (ARAV) ballistic missile surrogate with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) fired from USS Ross. The exercise is the first of its kind in European waters and will help test and evaluate interoperability between participating warships and provide data for further development.

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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…

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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,

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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