SDSR 2020 – which direction for the Royal Navy?

The new government elected in December 2019 has promised “the biggest review of our defence, security and foreign policy since the end of the Cold War”. In this speculative piece, we examine some of the threats and opportunities for the RN in the coming 2020 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

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A year in review – the Royal Navy in 2019

In broad terms 2019 was a positive year for the Naval Service, building on the successes of 2018. The political turmoil that enveloped Westminster left significant decisions about the future on hold but, apart from events in the Arabian Gulf, it was mostly business as usual.

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Boris Johnson Royal Navy

Election 2019: In search of the Royal Navy’s political friends

Predictably, serious discussion of defence policy has been almost absent from an Election campaign dominated by Brexit and the NHS. Here we analyse the manifesto promises of the main political parties in regards to defence and the RN in particular.
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What does the closure of Harland and Wolff shipyard mean for the Royal Navy?

Having not constructed a warship for 50 years, the announcement that Harland & Wolff in Belfast had gone into administration this week might seem to be of little consequence to the Royal Navy. The company’s involvement in bids for the Type 31e frigate programme had provided a glimmer of hope for the yard’s future and potential re-engagement as a naval supplier. Obviously distressing for the workers in Belfast, but also seen from a wider perspective, the dwindling number of shipyards in the UK cannot be good news for the RN or British sovereign naval construction capability.

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Iran’s illegal seizure of a British tanker – a failure by the Royal Navy or a failure of strategy?

Late in the afternoon of 19th July, in the Straits of Hormuz, Iran sized the unescorted British-owned tanker MV Stena Impero and it remains in their hands. Many have criticised the RN for failure to protect the ship when in fact the blame lies with its political masters.

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HMS Duncan sent to strengthen the slender Royal Navy presence in the Gulf

The Ministry of Defence has announced that HMS Duncan is being sent to join HMS Montrose protecting merchant shipping in the Arabian Gulf. Here we take a look at how events in the Middle East that have placed a spotlight on the strength of Royal Navy.

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MPs debate Carrier Strike strategy amidst rumours HMS Prince of Wales could be mothballed

On 28 February, Robert Courts MP led a Parliamentary debate held in Westminster Hall to “consider carrier strike strategy and its contribution to UK defence”. Here we look at the highlights of this constructive two and a half hour discussion held by a small cross-party group of MPs.

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