HMS Duncan

HMS Duncan buzzed by 17 Russian jets in the Black Sea

The first part of the Channel 5 documentary “Warship Life at Sea” has just been broadcast and documents HMS Duncan leading a NATO deployment to the Black Sea in the first half of 2018. There have been several TV documentaries showing life on board RN warships made in the last few years but the latest series offers a rare and close-up view of navy delivering at the operational sharp end.

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Why did no Royal Navy submarine launch missiles against Syria?

Contrary to expectations, there has been no announcement that a Royal Navy submarine fired Tomahawk missiles during the operation against Syrian regime targets in the early hours of 14th April. In this brief speculative piece, we look at some of the the possible explanations.

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Royal Navy returns to the Arctic – HMS Trenchant surfaces in the ice

For the first time in a decade, a Royal Navy submarine has operated under the Arctic ice. HMS Trenchant surfaced in the Beaufort Sea this week, joining two US Navy boats exercising submarine warfare skills under the polar ice cap.

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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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HMS Duncan shadows Russian warships

The Royal Navy – quietly getting on with the job

In spite of frequent claims that the Royal Navy is “barely able to defend its own waters”, two of its escorts are shadowing the largest group of Russian warships to pass near to the UK since the end of the Cold War. Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov sailed from the Northern Fleet base of Severomorsk on Saturday accompanied by seven other surface ships and probably at least one submarine.

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Return to the Arctic, another task for the threadbare submarine force

Two Royal Navy submarine officers recently participated in the US Navy’s ICEX 2016. Two American attack submarines (SSNs) navigated under the Arctic ice and surfaced where a camp was established on an ice floe. Shortly after the exercise concluded it was announced that an RN Trafalgar class submarine will conduct under-ice operations in the Arctic in the near future. Although a strategically wise decision, this is another pressure on the RN’s stretched SSN fleet which numbers just 7 boats.

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Putin and submarine

Is Britain prepared for the naval challenges of a new Cold War?

In December 2014 Russia quietly signaled what maybe called the start of Cold War II when it issued a new military doctrine which lists NATO as its “main threat”. President Putin, a former KGB officer is determined to return Russia to the superpower status of the Soviet Union. Communist dogma may have gone but it has been replaced by nationalist expansionism and paranoia used to justify a military renaissance. Western nations are feeling this growing power by increasing numbers of Russian ships, aircraft and submarines to probing defences and even entering territorial waters.

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