A year in review – the Royal Navy in 2019

In broad terms 2019 was a positive year for the Naval Service, building on the successes of 2018. The political turmoil that enveloped Westminster left significant decisions about the future on hold but, apart from events in the Arabian Gulf, it was mostly business as usual.

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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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HMS Duncan sent to strengthen the slender Royal Navy presence in the Gulf

The Ministry of Defence has announced that HMS Duncan is being sent to join HMS Montrose protecting merchant shipping in the Arabian Gulf. Here we take a look at how events in the Middle East that have placed a spotlight on the strength of Royal Navy.

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The Royal Navy and escalating tensions in the Arabian Gulf

Following a series of attacks on four commercial vessels in the Gulf in May, two more tankers were targeted on 13th June. Here we provide a brief analysis of events and the implications for Royal Navy involvement in the region.

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RFA Cardigan Bay

In focus: The highly versatile Bay class auxiliaries

Like so many defence procurements, the delivery of the Bay Class landing ships was protracted and over-budget. Despite their difficult birth, the three vessels that remain in the fleet today have proved to be great assets to the Naval Service, offering flexibility and value for money in a variety of roles. Here we look at these ships and their history in detail.

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HMS Iron Duke and HMS St Albans

Bahrain or bust – Type 23 frigate to be permanently based in the Gulf

This week the Defence Secretary announced a Type 23 frigate will be permanently ‘forward deployed’ in Bahrain. This presence in the Gulf region and the global reach of the fleet, is certainly an asset to Britain but is the expanding portfolio of demands on the Navy workable and sustainable?

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HMS Diamond

Type 45 Destroyer issues continue – HMS Diamond breaks down on Gulf deployment

Today the Times correctly reported that HMS Diamond has had to abort her Gulf deployment and return to home for repairs. The defect concerns the propellor but is not directly related to the engine issues that have been the primary cause of Type 45 destroyer woes. Unfortunately,  the problem cannot be rectified by dry docking in Bahrain or Gibraltar and requires the attention of specialists in Portsmouth.

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