Aircraft Carriers - HMS Queen elizabeth

SDSR implications for the RN – Aircraft carriers: front & centre of UK defence policy

Although far from perfect, the decisions made in the SDSR appeared to offer something good for all the UK armed forces. At first glance the RAF appearing strongest; retaining its Tranche 1 Typhoons, orders for F-35s and 9 new P-8 Poseidon aircraft.  The Economist breathlessly reported “Spies, special forces and the Royal Air Force are the main winners”. In fact the SDSR was very maritime-centric with the RN the main beneficiary.

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ships company of HMS Somerset, Malta

SDSR implications for the RN – The manpower situation

It is no secret the RN has been struggling with a serious manpower shortage, particularly with technically qualified personnel. The modest increase of 400 people for the RN announced in the SDSR was greeted with disappointment in some quarters and criticism that shiny new kit was being prioritised ahead of the people needed to operate it. Although the RN would undoubtedly benefit from having more people, the true state of its manpower resources is more complex than may appear.

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Frigate design

SDSR implications for the RN – The surface escort conundrum

This is the first in a new series of articles looking in detail at what the recent SDSR announcements may mean for the RN. The navy will get 8 Type 26 frigates and government has affirmed its promise to maintain a surface escort fleet of at least 19 ships. How will this be achieved?

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Why a submarine-based nuclear deterrent is the best choice for the UK

This piece was inspired by a recent click-bait gem that proposes the UK consider joining the US Long-Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) programme with a view to replacing the submarine-launched nuclear deterrent with an air-launched alternative. This kind of proposal rears its ugly head very so often and was even briefly enshrined in UKIP defence policy. Here we will show why submarines are overwhelmingly the best vehicle to carry the UK nuclear deterrent.

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Unmanned Surface Vessel

Unmanned Platforms & the Royal Navy – Part 2 Surface & Underwater Systems

For most navies including the RN, the trend is towards building bigger, more powerful and expensive ‘small combatants’. Unmanned technology offers new possibilities to partially escape this size, cost and complexity spiral. It also can save exposing the crew to danger as well as the cost and size penalty of their accommodation space. 

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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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Type 26 Frigate (or Global Combat Ship)

A critical moment for the Type 26 Frigate programme

Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) Exhibition last week, the First Sea Lord Admiral Zambellas said:

“the Type 26 [Frigate] will form the backbone of the Royal Navy, with a design that has the potential to meet the operational needs of a number of major navies around the world.”
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