HMS Tyne and HMS Forth in Portsmouth

HMS Tyne returns to service after being paid off in May

In the recent image above HMS Tyne can be seen flying the White Ensign, with HMS Forth under repair in the background. The MoD says HMS Tyne was never formally decommissioned, although this had certainly been the plan. Instead, she held a ‘paying off’ in a ceremony on 23rd May but in an unusual turn of events, the ship is going back into service.

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HMS Medway naming ceremony

One step forward, two steps back – delivering the Royal Navy’s new OPVs

As we reported in April, significant defects have been found aboard HMS Forth which was delivered to the RN in February. Initial assessments were that the problems would be remedied in a couple of weeks but this has not proved to be the case.

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HMS Forth alongside in Portsmouth

Storm in a teacup? A setback for the Royal Navy’s newest ship, HMS Forth

First of the new batch II River class OPVs, HMS Forth was accepted by the Royal Navy in February 2018 and formally commissioned on 13 April. After suffering a major electrical problem, she is currently alongside in Portsmouth without power. Discovery of a small number of missing, stripped and snapped bolts (marine fixings) that secure various items throughout the ship is also being addressed.

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HMS St Albans shadows Russian warships

The case for a 21st Century Royal Navy Home Fleet

John Dunbar argues a re-branded Royal Navy Home Fleet would be understood both politically and publicly and would provide a much stronger basis to argue for the necessary resources to bolster protection of UK waters and economic interests.

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HMS Artful roll out

Will 2017 be “the year of the Royal Navy” ?

On New Years Day the Ministry of Defence stated: “2017 is the year of the navy”. The Defence Secretary said, “2017 is the start of a new era of maritime power, projecting Britain’s influence globally and delivering security at home.” There is no doubt that there will be some very significant milestones in the program to deliver new equipment to the RN and there are many reasons to be positive. But this is just one side of the story. While it is very heartening to see new vessels arrive, this must be seen in the context of the size and strength of the fleet as a whole.

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Offshore Patrol vessel Royal Navy

Improving the capability of a future OPV squadron (Part 2)

This is the second of a two-part article by John Dunbar looking at OPV’s in Royal Navy service. Part 1 considered the way they could be deployed, this article focuses on the ship’s specifications and potential capabilities.

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How OPVs could be important to the future of the RN (Part 1)

This is the first of a two-part article by John Dunbar who suggests a much greater role could be played by offshore patrol vessels in a future Royal Navy force structure. The role of OPVs in the RN has been a long-standing source of controversy, with many seeing the construction of 5 new OPVs as an unnecessary diversion of money and manpower merely to sustain UK shipbuilding. Concerns also persist about the creation of a two-tier Navy with ‘up-gunned’ OPVs cast in the role of faux frigates lacking genuine fighting capability. This has sometimes precluded full consideration of OPV’s potential.

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Type 26 frigate

Post-SDSR optimism disappearing over the horizon

The November 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review appeared to be a broadly positive result for the RN. Although much of what was promised would not materialise until far into the future, there was an end to the perpetual cycle of cuts and some cautious optimism. 9 months on the feel-good factor is evaporating and there is a rising tide of anger amongst those who understand what is happening to the navy. It is increasingly difficult to have confidence that government promises for the long-term will deliver tangible results when they are failing to deliver in the short-term.

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