Brexit impacts - union flag

Brexit – possible impacts on the Royal Navy

On the 23rd of June 2016 the United Kingdom voted by a narrow margin of 51.9-48.1% to leave the European Union and while much has changed, much remains the same. The day after “Brexit” Britain continues to move 95% of its traded goods by sea and imports 40% of its food from overseas. Offshore wind, tidal and North Sea oil and gas will continue to play a crucial part in powering the lives of millions of Britons. The maritime world remains as vital to national life as ever, as it has through centuries past and will continue to be for centuries to come. While our economic fortunes may wax and wane the UK’s dependence on the sea is eternal and unchanging.

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RFA Lyme Bay and Mount Bay - Gibraltar

Flat out: The Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 2016

Following on from the 2015 article about the stretched Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service, this is an update on current operations. Like the naval service, manpower shortages, tight budgets and industrial issues, together with ever-increasing demand for its services are creating a perfect storm of pressure on the RFA.

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Sea Ceptor point defence missile

How vulnerable is the Royal Navy’s surface fleet to a new generation of weapons?

In an earlier article we considered how the RN needs more weaponry to sink enemy warships. At the same time, the development of an increasingly dangerous new generation of weapons for use against surface ships is evolving. The RN is currently completing the design of the Type 26 and beginning the design of the Type 31 Frigates. It is vital that these 2 platforms are equipped to successfully resist these new threats. There are six emerging weapon categories that are of particular concern; hypersonic missiles, ballistic missiles, cavitating torpedoes, rail guns, lasers and UAVs. In this article we will focus on the missile threat.

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Return to the Arctic, another task for the threadbare submarine force

Two Royal Navy submarine officers recently participated in the US Navy’s ICEX 2016. Two American attack submarines (SSNs) navigated under the Arctic ice and surfaced where a camp was established on an ice floe. Shortly after the exercise concluded it was announced that an RN Trafalgar class submarine will conduct under-ice operations in the Arctic in the near future. Although a strategically wise decision, this is another pressure on the RN’s stretched SSN fleet which numbers just 7 boats.

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F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter

Have the armchair F-35 critics got it all wrong?

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (Lightning II) programme has been one of the most controversial defence projects of all time. The decision to abandon CATOBAR for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers means their credibility rests largely with the effectiveness of the F-35B Lighting II. Born in the internet age where critics can spread negativity in a few clicks, (guilty your honour) the overwhelming public and media perception of the F-35 is of an expensive disaster. Those who dare to champion the aircraft, or are at least willing to give it a chance are ignored, written off as establishment stooges or seen as part of a sinister conspiracy.

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Is the Royal Navy surface fleet losing the ability to sink other warships?

In the immediate post-Cold War era the focus of naval operations changed from conventional open-ocean warfare towards maritime security, coastal operations and amphibious warfare. The possibility that fleets of warships might again have to slog it out against each other on the high seas seemed increasingly unlikely and even rather old-fashioned. Geopolitical changes manifest in the revival of the Russian Navy and the rapidly growing Chinese military are now driving western navies to seriously re-think their ability to sink warships.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives Portsmouth

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival in Portsmouth will be well worth celebrating

The largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth will arrive in Portsmouth in early 2017. It will be a very significant day for the Royal Navy and the First Sea Lord has called on Portsmouth the make it “a day to remember”.

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Trident Successor Submarine

Taking down the arguments against Trident

The case for Trident – disposing of common arguments against renewing Britain’s nuclear weapons capability and the Royal Navy’s Successor submarines.

In 2016 Parliament approved the construction of 4 replacement of ‘Successor’ ballistic missile submarines for the Royal Navy. Despite majority public support, a very vocal minority opposes British nuclear weapons and the subject continues to be hotly debated.

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