Royal Navy – conventional deterrent

February 26, 2019

Faced by a Government with foreign and defence policies that want the RN to be everywhere and doing everything, but will not fund those aspirations, they are spreading the jam very thin.  They have committed to the replacement of the nuclear deterrent at the expense of the conventional deterrent.  We have always been clear that faced with making a choice our priority would be for the surface fleet to be adequately provided with aircraft carriers and commando carriers.  The number of vessels to be determined by the extent of their potential operations, which due to the normal rotation programme would require a minimum of three ships for each role.  The further those ships have to travel and the longer they are away from home port, the more ships are required.  This also assumes that there is an additional requirement for commando landing craft carriers.  When those carriers are required to carry out both functions the requirement must be for a minimum of five strike carrier ships;  and even then there must be additional dock landing ships and helicopter carrying ships.  It is not at all clear how the Government is going to achieve its Global Agenda.

We again turn to the reputable Save the Royal Navy website for enlightenment.

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/defence-secretary-delivers-radical-vision-for-royal-navy-posture-but-raises-more-questions-than-answers/

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/development-of-the-queen-elizabeth-class-aircraft-carrier-a-design-history/

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/hms-queen-elizabeth-the-view-from-the-bridge/

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/hms-queen-elizabeth-built-to-survive/

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/hms-prince-of-wales-formally-named-another-step-towards-renewing-aircraft-carrier-capability/

It has taken twenty years to reach the stage we are now at, due to indecisiveness and inability.  The new carriers are central to future RN operations and the rest of submarine and surface fleet must be built around them.  While the ballistic missile boats are an invisible deterrent, a carrier task force is a highly visible deterrent.  They are the capital ships of the RN and as such have been given the names of former battleships and battle cruisers.  The lessons learned from the construction Queen Elizabeth have been applied to the Prince of Wales, resulting in speedier construction.  Ordering another batch of three ships would benefit from efficiencies and reduced cost of construction.  It would be a vital component for a national industrial strategy post Brexit.  None of the main political parties have the will to bring this about.  So, harking back to the 19th Century our aim would be for a modern Naval Defence Act.

Names of past battleships that spring to mind are King George, Queen Mary and Princess Royal.  However, there is a strong public attachment and affection for a long line of previous carriers named Ark Royal.  Choose your pick.

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Elastic Fantastic Royal Navy

January 30, 2019

European Union waters will be severely constrained following Brexit. The vessels of Baltic and Benelux countries will have to transit United Kingdom waters to reach the high seas; or go the long way via the waters of the Faroe Islands, Norway and Iceland.  In peacetime, and with compliance of the rules of innocent passage, this should not be a problem.  In a war scenario the situation will be very different.  Assuming that NATO is not undermined by the new EU army and defence union, it can be anticipated that the only credible threat to the UK mainland would come from the air-force and navy of the Russian Federation.  Because of treaty obligations the UK would be obliged to respond to aggression anywhere against a NATO partner.  In reality the priority for the UK would be to stop the Russian Navy reaching the high seas of the North Atlantic through the Greenland Iceland United Kingdom (GIUK) gap, and the Russian Airforce coming down the coast of Norway in to the North Sea or via the west coast of Ireland.  The next priority would be to deter or oppose an anticipated invasion by the Russian Army across its land border with Norway by the deployment of airborne and amphibious forces.  Given the current state of the UK armed forces this is a big ask, especially for the Royal Navy that is being stretched like an elastic band and in danger of snapping.

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Royal Navy Review

December 31, 2018

Back in 2007 we focused our defence policy on the RN as the priority for an island Nation that is reliant on sea-borne trade and keeping sea-routes open.  This was not intended to be to the detriment of the RAF or Army and implied that defence spending needed to be increased.  The policy proposed an alternative approach for providing a deterrent to nuclear attack and a reassessment of the submarine service.  The decline of the RN was evident and needed to be reversed; and that decline has continued under all governments.  Our solution was for a naval shipbuilding programme and a positive review of the RN amphibious and aircraft-carrier capability.  Last year it seemed that out foresight had been rewarded with the approval of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.  Unfortunately, the Government did not put its money where its mouth is.

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Brexit and the Border

February 25, 2018

So much for the concept that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” as the Brussels Eurocrats blow with the wind.  They are now demanding the December Agreement be framed in a legal binding format before talks can commence on the next phase of Article 50.  Following the 2016 Referendum we warned that they were making the rules up as they went along and so it has proved.  The pity is that May’s Government has allowed them to dictate the whole process in a desperate attempt to get a bespoke trade deal.  Following the 2017 General Election, and her fall from grace, we again warned that she had put Brexit in jeopardy.  Man does not live by trade alone, there are other things that are much more important.  Unfortunately the political class, who are using every trick to undermine the Referendum result, continue to sow the seeds of confusion.  Apparently we did not know what we were voting for in the Heinz Referendum.  According to them there are fifty-seven varieties of Brexit and we must have another referendum to decide which one we want.  We are being nudged towards a second referendum, just as we predicted.

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Bordering on the ridiculous

January 2, 2018

What is a hard border and what is a soft border?  Of all the issues thrown up by the UK exit from the EU the easiest to resolve was and is the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Both territories comprise the Island of Ireland, with its own distinct economy, that is dominated by the agricultural sector on which Great Britain is reliant.  There is a shared history and family links cross the border, extending across the Irish and Celtic Seas to the other Island.  The troubled relations between the two Islands has never been better.  The Good Friday Agreement [aka the 1998 Agreement] that brought peace, also brought the time and space to foster a greater understanding of the other side, to a degree of reconciliation that many could never have imagined.

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Words

December 12, 2017

Words are important, they are what people live by.  “I keep my word” or “My word is my bond” are hallmarks of someone who can be trusted, usually a person who is honest and has integrity.  They say what they think and mean what they say.  They are becoming a rare breed, but they still exist.  In everyday situations promises are kept.  When promises are broken so are reputations that can never be repaired.   Politicians are not noted examples of the breed.  In Parliament their speech is protected by privilege, but they can be held to account because they are recorded in Hansard.

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Hotel California

November 10, 2017

Welcome to the Hotel California.  Such a lovely place, Such a lovely face.

Plenty of room at the Hotel California.  Any time of the year, You can find it here.

They livin’ it up at the Hotel California.  What a nice surprise, Bring your alibis.

And she said, “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”.

“Relax”, said the night man, “We are programmed to receive.

You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave”.

In 1977 the Eagles composed and recorded their most famous hit.  The above abridged lyrics were written in a drug fuelled community with their original meaning a bit hazy.  It is now generally accepted they related to growing up and living in the LA hedonistic culture; and about trying to escape that life-style.

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