HMS Prince of Wales Rosyth

Dry docking the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers – what are the options?

The two Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers will require dry-docking periodically throughout their lives. The dry docks at Portsmouth and Devonport naval bases are not large enough to accommodate them so the RN must choose between a very limited selection of other UK facilities. Here we examine some of the options.

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RSS Sir David Attenborough Cammell Laird

Can British shipbuilding be revived?

At one time British shipbuilding dominated the world. As late as the 1950s, a quarter of all ships sailing the seven seas were built in Britain. Now, sixty years later, that figure is less than 1%. In this guest article, Will Green argues greater government intervention could improve this situation.

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A relief for the submarine service – HMS Victorious does not need nuclear refuelling

In March 2014 the MoD admitted there was a minor concern about the integrity of the nuclear reactors which power Vanguard class submarines. As a precaution, HMS Vanguard currently in refit at Devonport has been given a second new reactor core. This week the government quietly announced that technical assessments have now concluded this procedure will not be necessary for the other three boats.  

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Float out of Irish Naval Service OPV Appledore shipyard

Another Royal Navy supplier goes under – the closure of Appledore shipyard

Unable to follow up their success building OPVs for export, and with no other orders forthcoming, last week Babcock made the sad announcement that the Appledore shipyard will close in March 2019. Here we examine the background and potential impacts of this decision.

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HMS Richmond enters Frigate Refit Complex

New engines for the Royal Navy’s Type 23 Frigates

Originally designed with a service life of around 18 years, the RN’s Type 23 Frigates will now have to serve for around 30 years. All 13 frigates are undergoing life extension (LIFEX) refits and an important component of these upgrades is the Power Generation Machinery Upgrade (PGMU) to replace the ships’ four diesel generator sets.

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Type 26 Frigate, Plymouth Sound

Will the Type 26 frigates be based in Devonport?

On 6th June, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard opened a Westminster Hall Parliamentary debate on the base-porting of Type 26 frigates. A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the future of Devonport and the MoD is under pressure to make an early decision on the basing arrangements for the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates.

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Arrowhead 140 Type 31e Frigate

Babcock announces new Arrowhead 140 design for the Type 31e frigate competition

Today Babcock unveiled the Arrowhead 140, a revised design as their candidate for the Type 31e frigate competition. This new concept reduces some of the potential programme risks as it is based on the Iver Huitfeldt hull form, currently in-service with the Royal Danish Navy.

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Ex-Royal Navy nuclear submarines await disposal in Rosyth

The painfully slow process of dismantling ex-Royal Navy nuclear submarines

There are currently 20 former Royal Navy nuclear submarines awaiting disposal in Rosyth and Devonport. They do not represent a great hazard but maintaining them safely while they await dismantling is a growing drain on the defence budget. Nuclear submarines are arguably Britain’s most important defence assets but the failure to promptly deal with their legacy has been a national scandal. Although there has been discussion and consultation going back years, only recently has there been action to actually start the disposal process.

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