HMS Ocean enteres Devonport for the final time

Reflecting on the demise of HMS Ocean

HMS Ocean made her final entry into Devonport today and will be alongside until decommissioned in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen on 31st March. The impending loss of HMS Ocean has been known about for very a long time and has attracted considerable comment and opposition.

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Russian Kilo class submarine Krasnodar in the English Channel

Understanding and responding to the Russian naval threat

Russian naval activity is now at its highest levels since the Cold War. This threat posed to Britain and NATO is often counter-balanced by those who say that the Russian Navy is actually in decline, hampered by budget problems and shipyards struggling to deliver new vessels. With the head of the British Army publicly admitting this week that we are ill-matched to counter the Russian threat on land, it is also instructive to consider what threat they pose at sea.

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Type 31e frigate Arrowhead concept

Should the Type 31e frigate be reclassified as a corvette?

Plymouth MP, Luke Pollard, suggested last week in Parliament that “the debate around the Type 31e Frigate could be resolved simply if we renamed if from a frigate to a corvette“. This proposal is unlikely to be welcomed by the Navy, the MoD or industrial partners but does raises questions about the Type 31’s capabilities and results from the general confusion over how surface combatants are to be classified.

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Babcock Arrowhead concept for Type 31e frigate

Diverse consortium formed to bid for Type 31e frigate contract

Babcock Marine has announced the formation of a consortium of shipbuilders and designers who will bid for the Type 31e Frigate. Design and construction of the 5 Royal Navy ships is worth around £1.25 Billion but a major goal of the programme is to attract export orders.

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RFA Tidespring conducts first RAS with HMS Sutherland

“The year of the Royal Navy” – a review of 2017

On 1st January 2017 the MoD published a press release that proclaimed it would be “the year of the Royal Navy”. Ministers may have come to regret such a bold statement but it certainly helped shine a spotlight on the service during turbulent times. Here we review some of the highlights and some of the difficulties the RN has experienced this year. 

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HMS Bulwark

10 reasons the Royal Navy needs to keep HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark

Government is seriously considering axing HMS Albion and Bulwark, severely curtailing UK amphibious capability. Recent reports suggest the new defence secretary is resisting the cuts and is in a battle with the Treasury for new funding. If the Treasury needs reminding, speaking before the House of Commons Defence Select Committee this week, the former First Sea Lord Admiral Zambellas said: “Nobody in the world of complex warfare thinks a reduction in sophisticated amphibiosity is a good idea”. The LPDs (Landing Platform, Dock) Albion and Bulwark are the key ships needed for credible amphibious capability.

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Devonport Naval Base

Will Devonport naval base survive the next round of cuts to the Royal Navy?

There are strong indications that the RN is going to be forced to axe HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark and cut between 1,000 – 1,500 Royal Marines. There are even suggestions that some of the Type 23 frigates maybe decommissioned early. The loss of these assets, together with the planned disposal of HMS Ocean casts a long shadow over Plymouth and the future of Devonport Naval Base.

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Michael Fallon Resigns

Michael Fallon resigns as defence secretary – implications for the Royal Navy

After more than three years as Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Cathel Fallon KCB has resigned amidst allegations about his personal conduct. He admitted his standards “fallen short” of those expected by the UK military.

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