HMS Vanguard at Devonport

Critical Royal Navy submarine refit running late

The oldest of the Royal Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, HMS Vanguard is currently in Devonport undergoing major refit and refuelling. There are strong indications the project is in trouble and she will be unable to return to service at the start of 2020 as originally scheduled, with knock-on effects for the 3 remaining boats that maintain the nuclear deterrent.

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Deterrence theory and the Royal Navy

If there is one ubiquitous military strategy, it’s deterrence. Deterrence is usually spoken of in the context of nuclear weapons. It stirs up old Cold War images of the Cuban Missile Crisis and mutually assured destruction. Deterrence theory, however, is a well-established phenomenon within international relations theory that applies to all military action, not only nuclear weapons. For example, was the current situation in the Arabian Gulf caused by a failure to deter?

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Royal Navy Vanguard class submarine

Trouble ahead for the UK nuclear programme?

Yesterday the Nuclear Information Service published their report “Trouble ahead risks and rising Costs in the UK nuclear weapons programme”. This is a brief response to some of the points and recommendations made in the report.

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Royal Navy celebrates 50 years of continuous at sea deterrent patrols

2019 is a landmark year in the history of the Royal Navy. For fifty years submarines have conducted Operation Relentless, carrying the UK’s nuclear deterrent to sea. To mark the achievement a series of high-profile public events will be held this year.

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Has the time come to the move the cost of Trident replacement out of the MoD budget?

On 29th July 2010 the then Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the MoD would have to fund the capital costs of replacing the Vanguard class submarines (Successor) from within its own core equipment procurement budget, instead of from the Treasury Reserve as had been expected. Defence Minister at the time, Liam Fox argued strongly that funding Successor from within the MoD would be hugely damaging to the rest of defence. He lost his argument with Osborne, but time has proved him right about the consequences.

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Theresa May aboard HMS Ocean

Can defence issues impact the election debate?

Ironically perhaps, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pacifist stance has caused defence issues to take slightly greater prominence in the election campaign that might be expected. Tories have been quick to seize on Labour’s “weakness” on defence. Although they are right about Corbyn, the Tories are on very shaky ground saddled by their own poor record on defence. The electorate is again largely faced with a choosing between the lesser of two evils. While global threats continue to intensify, the sorry state of UK defence urgently needs to be treated as more than just a sideshow in the pre-election political Punch and Judy.

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Nicola Sturgeon Royal Navy

Nicola Sturgeon has left politics to join the Royal Navy

Today it has emerged that the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party has resigned from public life to pursue a career in the navy. Speaking recently she said, “I’ve been a politician for 30 years but the navy has finally given me a purpose and a chance to turn my life around”.

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