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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HMS Prince of Wales in the LPH role

Why your CVF should not moonlight as your LPH

In part 1 of this article we argued that HMS Ocean (LPH) should be retained and then replaced. If this does not happen the official plan is for the RN to operate the Queen Elizabeth class (QEC) aircraft carriers (CVF) in the LPH role. Here we look at how this might work in practice and why this solution is flawed.

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The campaign to retain, and eventually replace HMS Ocean starts here

Under current plans the RN’s sole helicopter assault ship HMS Ocean, will decommission on 31st March 2018. There will then be a gap in capability for some years but the official plan is for the new Queen Elizabeth class to eventually double as both strike carriers and assault ships. Although this concept is not without precident, in the current circumstances it is fraught with problems, limitations and dangers. Many inside and outside the RN strongly believe the best solution would be to retain HMS Ocean, at least in reserve and then build an affordable replacement vessel.

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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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3 Core imperatives

The Royal Navy prepares its case for surviving the coming defence review

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced in Parliament on June 8 that the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) will report “towards the end of this year.” Taking the name of this exercise at face value, an extreme optimist might expect the defence needs of Britain will be carefully considered, and priorities adjusted in accordance with a grand strategy…

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Future Royal Navy

The big picture for the Royal Navy leading up to the 2015 SDSR

This guest post by the DefenceSynergia (DS) RN Editorial Team looks at the history of cuts, compromise and decline experienced by the RN in recent times and hopes for better strategy and policy to inform the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

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2 Aircraft Carriers

Royal Navy to be allowed to put both aircraft carriers into service

At the close of the NATO summit in Wales this week David Cameron delivered the good news that the Royal Navy will be allowed to retain the second aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales. This was another U-turn, reversing one of the many mistaken decisions of Cameron’s 2010 Defence Review that stated the ship would be mothballed or sold.

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HMS Illustrious enters Portsmouth for the final time

Farewell HMS Illustrious good & faithful servant

On 22nd July HMS Illustrious entered Portsmouth for the final time flying her paying off pennant and formally decommissions on 28th August after 32 years service. The passing of this ship marks a significant moment for the RN. It is always sad when a warship that has served the nation for so long is retired but it also marks the start of a ‘rock bottom’ period. 2014 – 2020 will see the RN in a deep trough of major ‘capability gaps’ mainly stemming from the decisions of the 2010 defence review.

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