It has been reported that while assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark have been saved, at least two Type 23 frigates will have to be axed.

The Sunday Times has reported that at least two Type 23 frigates will have to be axed. Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Sutton and Devonport, was quoted as saying:

“We need to be aware there are capability gaps in our armed forces. We can cope if there is a plan to cover those. We are still in the same place we were months ago on cuts to the Royal Marines and the amphibious ships.

This is yet more speculation about the cuts. Because the government can’t agree on how much to spend on defence, it has pushed these decisions into the long grass, and that continues to erode confidence.We need a fully funded and capable military. That means no more cuts and proper decisions about base-porting.”

An MoD spokesperson said in a statement:

“The Prime Minister, Chancellor and Defence Secretary will continue to work closely throughout the next phase of the Modernising Defence Programme and will keep the House updated as decisions are made. We will be in a position to share more detailed conclusions over the Autumn.”

218 COMMENTS

      • I think most cuts to the Armed Forces in recent times have occurred under Tory Governments!
        I also recall them castigating Gordon Brown when he finally started to equip the Army in Afghanistan with sufficient armoured vehicles.
        Let’s hope Sec of State for defence is successful. Would not like to see the likes of the F35A or B farce repeated again as cover for other cuts or inaction.

        • yep we now have a Army that equipped to deal with a small hard to find enemy in a desert environment. the army no longer has a pool of vehicles it owns but draws them from the lease pool. now only buys specialist equipment direct. all goes back to corrupt companies ripping off the UKgov By bidding low and then charging for changes. off the shelf purchases of existing equipment stop this just some high wanker will allways want Blue rather than green……

    • pity the public can’t take an axe to the amount of ‘taxpayer money’ dependent politicians there are and do away with some constituencies.

    • should have done it years ago. as a platform, a river could, if armed fully be classed as a corvette/light frigate its interesting to see the sigma corvette of the moroccan navy specs; just 10 meters longer 6 knots faster, 20 more crew, yet comes with two, triple torpedo tubes, two quad missile launchers, a 76mm main gun. if the u.k did this with the rivers redesignate them as corvettes of if configured as light asw frigates, which most countries would. , the fleet could, in say 7 or 8 months be 9 ships better off would be nice to see maybe a batch 2 type 21 revisited.

  1. Strap in lads, it can (and probably will) get much worse…

    Scenario 1: a messy EU withdrawal tilts the UK economy into recession. The Tories, reluctant to increase borrowing to any significant degree, decide to tighten expenditures to match dwindling revenues. Guess what’ll be prioritised for the chopping block?

    Scenario 2: the same messy withdrawal happens, but the Tories are so unpopular that Corbyn etc get into Downing St. They may be willing to borrow more, but would anyone truly expect them not to slash defence at the first opportunity?

    Dark days ahead

    • Because its 2% of GDP any drop in GDP reduces the budget. Both parties can still claim they meet their manifesto pledges of 2%, after all politicians never lie.

    • (Chris H) Ross – I am sure it was just forgetfulness but you left out Scenario 3: TM come back with a Trade Deal and the UK prospers as never before. Snap election and she wins hands down

      And actually Scenario 2 will never happen after today’s Labour Conference was told that Labour will ignore the wishes of millions of Labour Leave voters across the country and support another Referendum. TM only lost her majority in 2017 because of barely 1,750 votes spread over a dozen constituencies. Both parties had Brexit in their Manifestos so that was a neutral but some 120 Labour MPs represent Constituencies where 60%+ voted Leave. Another 41 are in ‘Probable Leave’ Constituencies. Doesn’t need too many dischuffed Labour voters to not vote in protest and May walks back into No 10 with a huge majority.

      In addition many ‘undecideds’ will be frightened off by McDonnells Marxist vision of a destroyed UK economy and will vote Tory to keep Corbyn out.

      throw in about 50 Labour MPs who will lose because of the Jewish vote (like Barnet) and the numbers fall rapidly

      I suspect whenever the next election happens Labour with Corbyn leading will be decimated. Michael Foot wrote what was called the longest political suicide note in history. Well Corbyn may yet beat that …. The UK does not do extreme Left Wing politics. We saw what happened in Liverpool and some dumb Labour shadow minister reminded the world this week about Militant Tendency and we can all see its rebirth in Momentum.

      The Tories will be in power for another 10 years so our Navy is (comparatively) safe. Or was that ‘Scenario 4’?

      • Chris, I appreciate the reply. I take the odd point you make, but with all respect, I just can’t be bothered checking numbers etc. Just off the top of my head however, your “Jewish vote”/labour MP numbers, and I’ll take as kind a reading of that as possible here, don’t make sense. My view of Brexit, as of the morning after the vote, has been something along the lines of “fair enough, let’s get on with it and do the best we can as a country”. Just one point though…you do not leave trade deals of this magnitude and become richer, at the *very least* in the short to medium term, which will inevitably impact on the defence/RN budget (which is the only economic measure that matters on this thread here). Maybe your prosperity scenario will run true over the long run, I have no idea.

        As an aside, I don’t know how intensely people on this forum kept up with the Scottish referendum debate stuff in 2014, but I honestly can’t stress enough how similar the arguments, mindset etc is between Scottish independence advocates and Brexit advocates. Read into that what you want. Imo, you’ve got some strong points, but when it comes to aggregate economic cost/benefit, GDP/c arguments, you’re just miles off the mark. This take back control stuff is all very well and good, but we’re supposed to be advocating for a strong UKAF/RN, which requires cold hard cash, strong growth performance and stable exchange rates, among other things

        • Dear Ross. With all due respect, this eu is not a trade deal, but a despotic empire that has become more controlling and us more subservient over the years since 1973 or 1975 and especially in the 2000s, it uses this market to promote its real agenda which is political dominance and control over us. The direct cost of eu is not this contribution in which we get money back to further eu promotion, but around 60-70 billions pounds year. Direct and indirect costs are said to be around 10% of our GNP/GDP (cap, cfp, regs curruption etc.. Milne cost too far and later papers) which for this benifit we have a 97 billion pounds trade deficit in goods with eu (services are different as I think? the rules differ and eu , member Countries have certain protections over service or financial services in which the UK is strong at bringing this down to a still eye-watering 60-70 billion pounds deficit. The mindset between Scottish and Brexit advocates? Scottish independence is not really independence as it wants to be subservient to this eu empire, while BREXIT really wants independence and Sovereign status (you cannot be a bit Sovereign as you cannot be a little bit dead) as any normal Country. Scotland has most of its business within the UK, while most of UK business is within the UK (80%) with eu business accounting for around 8%? We are this horrid eu empire’s biggest export market. Milne, Minogue, Batten, Dartmouth, Civitas etc…

        • Remainers in Cabinet will try everything to keep Chequers because it is the vehicle for their defence giveaway.
          Losing defence to the EU gives Remainers a “U-bend route for the UK to come back fully under EU authority in future,” as Lieutenant-General Riley observed.

        • Also, do not forget. In the past, when asked if Britain left this muck (eu), eec ec commissioners in the past said Britain would leave with a free trade deal and no problem. How all that has changed and how this is being ignored because of the doctrine and, mentality of old-fashioned empire thought and of new age imperialists who love this eu.

          • The cost of this eu directly and indirectly in terms of Queen Elizabeth carriers priced correctly (i.e. 2.5 billion pounds now) is around 22 Queen Elizabeths. Hows that! Plus, in the worst case senario, business still continues. Does anybody think we lose 8% of our economy? Would this eu despotic empire want that too?

          • Another leaver descending into ranting about an “evil empire” and ignoring the reality of the damage leaving the EU will do to us.

            How can we be the EU biggest market export when we are part of the EU? someone didnt think this through, maybe if the Leavers in Govt actually stood up for once and didnt run and hide becuase they know what a mess they have made, arguging over Chequers is irrelevant as its all down to the EU to decide to agree with whatever the UK puts forward.

            And as for ” Scenario 3: TM come back with a Trade Deal and the UK prospers as never before” – best laugh Ive had all week

    • comrade corbyn and his commie gang are the most dangerous people in britain it’ll be goodbye f 35, goodbye,prince of wales, type 31, won’t happen. type 26 will be at least 8 years late. so sad.

  2. Aircraft carrier with no escorts
    Wow thats a first for any nation
    And dont say we will be defended by the US when we go to sea thats not the point
    I myself would rather have escorts and anfibs ships anytime as the yanks have all the carriers and firepower
    Be honest with yourselves we will never go into a battle by ourselves will we
    I was in the last battle we had by ourselves and to be honest we were lucky then and our navy was a lot bigger then and it wasnt a first rate nation we fought then was it
    Just see what the Russians are getting and also the Chinese
    And dont say that the Russian gear is outclassed by the wests
    Would anyone like to put it to the test ? No i dont think so

    • It’s not the carriers that will be without escorts, it’s British deployments abroad that will suffer. We’ve lost a lot of relevance abroad due to the constant withdrawal back to home waters. Started with the disbandment of the Eastern Fleet and the withdrawal from East of Suez, continued with the end of British anti-piracy ops in the around Africa, and if we lose any more escorts then our role in standing NATO deployments will be degraded as well.

      Reading into what that headline is saying though, it makes no mention of changes to ship acquisitions, just current ships that in some cases should’ve already been retired. If retiring some escorts “early” in order to sustain capability as a short term measure is the price we have to pay, it’s a price worth paying. New T26s and T31s coming online will eventually fill those slots, the same can’t be said about the LPDs that are due replacement in 2028

      • that last paragraph is something i have been reading for two decades of cuts.

        we have not seen one increase in numbers during that time. not one. It has just been a constant loss of capability in the promise of things being turned around somewhere down the line. And then we have an election and all of that slate is wiped clean by the new government and we are back to square one; taking away the bones from the skeleton crew we currently call our Armed Forces.

    • you forgot to say, no planes the u.s has 8 ships in reserve on hold for donation elsewhere, why not ask our biggest ally if we could have them? google the naval inactive ships register, THAT’S where we should be shopping also google AMARG inventory (the aircraft maintenance and regeneration group facility, and see where our air shopping could be done 24 nations still effectively operate the f 16, well there are over —-450 f-16’s and f 15’s in storage for future regeneration also two b1 lancers that could give the R.A.F a bomber command again.8 jinxed astutes costing 112 billion or 114___14 gotland class conventional submarines at 100 million?gotland? google small swedish sub sink u.s supercarrier.nuclear submarines? total waste of money

    • a lot of the trouble comes from poor decision making, i’d say one of the worst, apart from the f 35, the u.s has 5 ships on hold in reserve at the naval inactive ships facility(google it) we should be making moves for them, at least they are already built.the u.s is retiring a ticondaroga air defence cruiser per year, there’s 5 in reserve. astutes at 1.4 billion each the average conventional like say, the gotland class come in at 100 million 1 astute or 14 gotlands(the swedish submarine that eluded an entire u.s carrier screen getting into a position for a simulated 4 torpedo attack on the reagan there are 2 b1b lancer nuclear bomb deliveral aircraft in reserve at AMARG WITH 400 F 15’S AND F-16’S google amarg inventory and see where the u.k should be shopping. the proposed f 35 order of 138 should be slashed to say, 125 and the savings ploughed into the fleet. river class ships. one of the new sigma corvettes armed to the teeth are just 10 meters longer than a river has 20 more crew, yet carries a 76mm main gun, two triple torpedo tube two quad anti air launchers, and exocet. why can’t we do that to the rivers? they should have been armed to warship level, redesignated, light frigates or corvettes. adding those to front line register would present a significant rise, along with the american cast offs a d a couple of ticonderoga cruisers as defense for the Q.E i’ve a dread that P.O.W will be offered or sold to france, who are desperate for a replacement for the de gaulle. or swap her for a mistral ideas of course, but a bit more sensible approach to increasing the fleet size, without breaking the bank. would go a long way towards pleasing armchair admirals like us!

  3. I don’t understand this. We are apparently getting 8 T26s and at least 5 T31s. Unless we are now saying that this will not happen what is the point of cutting the T23s? I might be clutching at straws but perhaps it is to do with the transfer of kit from them to the T26s. Bet it’s not mind.

      • Exactly Daniele. The age old strategy. Government thinking goes as follows…

        We announced T31 a while ago with the promise that it could increase escort numbers.

        Hmmm. We now want to cut defence spending even further so it’s going to be tricky increasing numbers from the current 19. What to do?

        I know, let’s cut the current escort numbers to 17, wait a few years until everyone who doesn’t pay close attention (i.e. most of the public) forget that we had 19 only a few years earlier, and then in a blaze of totally artificial glory announce that with 5 T31 orders now confirmed (or maybe even cut to 4 because that would still do it) the T31 project is indeed delivering an increase in total escort numbers, up from 17 up to 18 (or 19 depending on how many T31 get built).

        Job done. Joe public hoodwinked yet again.

      • This problem lies at the feet (of clay) of the PM Teresa May. Already the defence budget is by the standards of many years less than 2%. It seems these politicians must be held to account legally for any future Naval or military losses that may result from their underfunding the RN and defence in general.

    • cancel the 26’6s commit to 10 type 31’s. buy 2nd hand, everyone else does the u.s is putting the rim 116 combined anti air/ ciws @ 800,000 each onto their new carriers same size as a phalanx and no doubt more expensive sea ceptor (cost unknown or disclosed).

    • the u.s routinely operate ships for far longer than the u.k the type 42 could have given 5 more years per ship. i know, because i was on one

      • Very likely. Quite clever actually (careful, you could be in danger of landing a job in politics). It gives a headline figure of 20 escorts hence delivering on the tease delivered at the T31 announcement of a potential increase in escort numbers but getting there by trading 2 T26 for 3 T31. If T31 really does come in at £250m a pop then a definite cost reduction, crew-requirement-wise maybe not so much though.

        How bad that outcome would be will all hinge on exactly what the RN-spec T31 ends up looking like. If cost really is capped at £250m each I can’t say that I’m hugely optimistic though.

        • I still hope just 12 high end escorts can do the job as long as they are not frittered away in singleton roles and concentrated with the CBG or an amphibious group. 3 groups of 4. 1 ready. 1 training. 1 refit or other tasks. Is this even possible???

          All other roles a mix of T31 River2 and RFA motherships.

      • mine? no type 31’sits all a political gamble and won’t happe ,just like 12 type 45’s 13 type 26’6,2 carriers operational. not until the planes arrive i’d like to see the u.k cancel the number of 138 to say 90 and let the yanks know that the u.k is not a mug, and that unless the us plane builders pull their fingers out, the u.s can count the loss in custom

      • why are the carrier and albions not included in the numbers? if the bulwark and albion had the weaponry they have more than enough room for.and should have.

    • most of them are in refit or maintenance including lancaster which was left to rot in pompey harbour for 12 months, and only now has been pulled in for refit alongside poor dauntless

  4. If this happens then I assume that these are ships otherwise laid up in port due to lack of crews. If so, they are unusable anyway so why let them decay and earn a bit of money to boot? However if this Brexit mis-adventure does go through then RN must expand to support our dreams. Of course, lack of growth due to Brexit-thingy puts budgets under strain which is why we don’t crew properly anyway. Save ourselves a whole load of grief by keeping the economy strong and staying in EU. Might have more money to better fund HM forces too

    • Oh god Julian1 don’t open that can of worms here again.

      We had a vote.
      Biggest vote in this nations history apparently.
      That vote was fully endorsed by parliament itself.
      The result of that vote was leave.
      By a majority.
      That is democracy.
      If we can just end up ignoring democracy like that I fully expect:

      Civil War.
      Parliament burned to the ground.
      Anarchy.
      All future general elections ignored.

      Because what is the bloody point if elected politicians fail to carry out the wishes of the electorate who put them there!!!!!?

      This country is supposed to have the mother of all parliaments not acting like a banana republic!

      Rant over.
      Calm restored.

      • maybe, that was the decision from 2 years ago but that doesn’t make it sane or right
        government has wasted 2 years in negotiations and to achieve what? just think the good things that could have been done in this time and the extra growth we could get in coming years.
        instead the outlook is bleak yet people still want to go ahead. I will never, ever understand why.

        mark my words it will be reversed at some point as all countries will need to belong to a bloc

        • You either accept democracy or you don’t. Country voted to leave the EU, ergo we are leaving the EU. The government can either sieze the opportunity and make the best they can of it or just drag their feet and make a fudge of it. Most of the country would rather that the government made brexit a success. No point hoping we are going to stay in, the debate has moved on. Will be interesting to see its impact on our armed forces. Interesting times ahead.

        • Julian your are right about politicians not getting on with it and that has been the overriding comments from ordinary people for the last 18 months or so. However, you miss the fundamental point about BREXIT that goes to very core of what democracy is all about – The recognition that the will of the majority prevails.
          Everything else you have written is just your opinion on what might have been just like everyone else’s. I suspect you thought we should have joined the euro, you would have been in good company with many senior business leaders, trade unionists, economists and politicians vehemently stating we would suffer if we didn’t join. If only we had listened just imagine how much stronger our economy would be now and how low our unemployment!

        • So a cabinet and Civil Service full to the rafters with remainers is “negotiating”our withdrawal from the EU as if that was ever going to work in the UKs favour.

        • The EU has proved a disaster. It has removed responsibility and accountability further from the people/voters than at any time since 1642 and the Civil War. There is a large body of political thought in the EU that is an existential
          and destructive threat to the UK.
          For this take the Irish boarder and Gibraltar as the red flags.
          In the 1960’s with the rundown of the Empire the political establisment who had suffered two world wars in their lifetime and been humiliated by Suez in 1956 looked at Europe and envied their strong recovery from WW2 and saw what they thought was a vision for the future.
          Meanwhile UK was suffering from amateurish and technically illiterate management and aggressive Unions; whereas Germany had been reconfigured industrially from the ground up by the postwar settlement and USA Marshall Plan Aid.
          Stronger ties with Europe was not a wrong objective. However the UK is a very different country. It has a much longer Democratic tradition, a completely different legal system, is a Constitutional Monarchy, speaks the World language, has large overseas legacy connections (The Commonwealth), max Naval and Merchant Navy (remember them?) tradition etc, etc.
          For the UK it requires a difference model of link to Europe like Norway, Switzerland etc.
          Just Brussels can’t see that and want a punished and weakened UK.

      • Daniele Mandelli Its not a rant its the truth
        And that stupid guy Starmer say remain should be on the ballot paper if there’s another referendum on give Brussels the ammunition it needs to not give us a deal knowing that there will be another vote with that option
        Starmer the ex DPP No wonder crime is so bad if this is like al the judgements he made as DPP in the past

          • Well. There is an unelected civil servant in the Cabinet Office Europe unit running our brexit strategy on behalf of the PM. An unelected europhile bypassing the Sec of State for Brexit. Not good.

            In fact. This whole affair, voted for in a democratic vote, is being conducted by two groups of unelected officials in the EU and in London. Think about that.

            So yes face palm all you like it’s being sabotaged on a daily basis.

          • Danielle. That’s not how the civil service works. Civil servants offer impartial advice, then provided it’s lawful, executes the minister’s decision. Any fifth column conspiracy theory is nonsense I’m afraid.

      • Don’t you just love the Re Moaners. You Lost now Get Over It and start to Back Your Country or Hop on the Ferry and Let the Majority Of us Get On with It.

        • Don’t you just love the Quitlings. You Won now Stop Moaning about it and start to Back Your Country by supporting a Peoples Vote to stop this utter disaster!

          • “Peoples vote” pure sentimentalist lefty B/S you and your ilk couldn’t give a rats tit about the “people” why don’t you call it by it’s proper name,the Losers vote.

      • We had a vote on a bunch of warnings and promises, why not have another on the actual negotiated deal or the status quo. We live in a parliamentary democracy not a direct democracy.

        • Yes, Why Not . Camoron Misjudged Us and Failed Spectacularly with His Stern Warnings and Cocky Upper Class Arrogance . I hope he Enjoys his Pension and Dinner Speech Royalties. I love the whole Re Moaner Responses, “We Demand another Vote”. Lol. Then We can have another vote, And Another. Heck let’s just Ignore the whole Democratic process and just keep Having Votes until we all get bored. Works for me and the Majority of Voters a Couple of years back but not for you Losers. FFS. Change the Record Mate.

          • The key thing about democracy is there is no limit on it, we PATRIOTS (Remoaner is an inaccurate non-term) have every right in a Democracy to call for another Referendum! Especially when the Leave campaign has been shown to be based upon a bunch of lies!

            GET USED TO IT!

            If we leave the EU on the 29th of March next year, the 30th of March will be DAY ONE of the campaign to Rejoin. You can’t shame or silence us…

          • I agree Fedaykin. Once the UK has left. Then it’s only right that the option to rejoin is there.

            If the leave vote is not honoured that is wrong.

            It can be reversed once we have left and people see actually the roof had not caved in.

            Otherwise. Any new vote must also be ignored by leave voters and another held. And another.

            And so on.

        • (Chris H) – Before DJ removes this Brexit Thread like they did the other one all I will add is that all I ever hear is total negativity and slagging off from Remainers. It gets very personal but thats politics. But we never EVER here of ONE reason why we should have voted to remain in the EU. Even a £9 Mn leaflet from HMG only offered threats, scaremongering and opinions. When HMG tells each of us we will be £4,300 worse off by voting Leave it shows the depths of stupidity offered by the side that thinks this EU is a God Given Gift. if its so damn good why was there no positive campaign and why did they lose?

          As for another vote? Well we had one in ’75 and I voted to remain in the EEC. We were never asked about the EU and just ushered in like lambs to the slaughter. And when were WERE finally asked we said ‘leave’ and only now are we finding the deep treacle of bureaucracy we were landed in. No one told us this in 1994 or whenever did they? So we will leave on March 29th 2019 with or without a deal and NO 3rd vote. WTO holds no fears for us as we already export over 60% and increasing of our goods on those terms. 40% and reducing goes to the EU. Which is NOT a free trade area as some Remainers kid us. we PAY to be in it and that £13 Bn a year Plus is like a 6% tariff on every export we sell there while we charge them nothing. Oh wait no one in Remain mentioned that?

          We are the 9th largest manufacturing country in the world. Aerospace is worth £18 Bn a year to our GDP. We are the world leader in technology and technical sciences. We have a world leading satellite research and manufacturing industry. We have the biggest and most influential financial services sector in the world.

          But we run a £100 Bn a year trade deficit in Goods with the EU. Under WTO if the EU bang us their EU External Tariff of 10% then so will we hit them. £10 Bn straight into the Treasury and a reduction in EU imports. Who suffers from that?

          • “DJ removes this Brexit Thread like they did the other one all I will add is that all I ever hear is total negativity and slagging off from Leavers. It gets very personal but that’s politics.”

            Just corrected your mistake there Chris, as for the rest there was plenty of positive reasons for Remaining in the EU during the referendum campaign unfortunately Leave supporters would invariably say “Why are you talking down the UK, stop with your project fear”.

            Brexit removes our EU citizenship, reduces our influence, makes us all poorer and turns us into a vassal state begging deals off any country that will listen!

            If you think crashing out on WTO terms is good you are deluded! Pretty much all of your diatribe shows a woeful lack of understanding about international trade.

          • In terms of sovereignty, we have complete control of defence, foreign policy and monetary policy while being in. Trade wise, it gives us frictionless access to 500m of the world’s wealthiest consumers, with onward trade deals with 60 other countries. It’s also easier to get a good deal working as a market of 500m and 28 states.

            The commission is appointed by the member states, it answers to the parliament of directly elected representatives and the council of ministers from the member states. Any further integration is agreed by the European council (the head of government of the member states). Ironically the structures, especially the court, mean we get a level playing field in Europe and we can’t face unfair competition or rule breaking.

            We get to travel, study, work and live anywhere in Europe. While our seasonal fruit gets picked by Romanians, our struggling social care sector gets Portuguese nurses, our struggling NHS fully trained Spanish doctors, etc. Immigrants pay taxes that help fund public services and pensions. It is unquestionable that they add to economic growth.

            This century will be led by fully industrialised continental powers like the USA, China, India, EU. Id rather be in one of these camps than out. I’ll take the trade offs. But I appreciate where you’re coming from and leave won. Let’s not blame the EU members for looking after their interests though, as we are doing in looking after ours.

        • Or you could say we had a vote based on 40 years of experience with the EU, seeing terrorists remain here under ECHR rules, our own elected representatives marginalised, David Cameron ignored, and millions of low skilled economic migrants moving to the UK over decades undercutting wages, putting pressure on public services, along with an ageing population, and in some areas not integrating at all causing social tensions. THAT is what people voted on. That is what I voted on. Mine and others minds were made up long ago Anthony!

          But we all have our opinions and my respects to you regardless. No arguments here.

          • Fedaykin
            You called yourself a patriot
            How can that be when you are willing to be taken over and absorbed by others
            Did you hear Trumps speech about being a patriot at the UN today
            America first
            Thats what being a patriot is dont let others tell you what to do

          • Disagree totally with Trump’s view of being a patriot. I live in Trumpland and believe me, it’s vile. The way HE and his base demonstrate their patriotism is ugly, ignorant and intolerant. I hope the UK never goes that way, we moved beyond that 150 yrs ago

          • Was David Cameron’s name mentioned? That triggered my Cameron-Osborne Reaction(the two who started the current cuts in the military services). Osborne, the de facto minister of defense, had a simple program: multiply budget and personnel by 0.8, while Cameron told the service chiefs to shut up and do their jobs.

        • Hi Barry,
          The United Kingdom is based on the concept of shared sovereignty – we’ve been doing it successfully for 300 years. I’m surprised so many people on this forum struggle with the concept.
          It’s been a tenant of British foreign policy to shape Europe in our interests – and we’ve gone to war on many occasions in the past to do so. Fortunately, today, no blood is spilled – and instead we simply engage in tedious argument in the debating chambers of Brussels. Much more preferable!
          Europe has always been a factor in British politics – and the “European problem” is still going to be there after Brexit. However, we’re just about to voluntarily relinquish an important lever of power – and our ability to get things done in our interests will be diminished as a result.
          Patriotism cuts in many different ways.

          • Alan when has the European Parliament ever found in favour of a British objection?

            We have no influence there apart from money.

          • Daniele, I know we have an appropriate number of MEPs in the Euro parliament (like Germany & France) – although, as you know, political power is really said to reside in the Council of Ministers.
            In general terms, I would argue Britain has been successful in pursuing its strategic interests … Single Market, Expansion of EU, UK opt-outs. Plus British business & the education sector have been very adept at exploiting commercial opportunities.
            For reasons I appreciate, mass migration has caused a lot of concern – and addressing those concerns is unfinished business. But I’m not convinced Brexit is the best way to go about it.
            The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) gets a fair number of brickbats in the press – but I think it’s a myth that it consistently rules against the UK. I offer this URL up as part of the debate.
            https://rightsinfo.org/infographics/the-14-worst-human-rights-myths/
            “Between 1,500-2,000 claims are brought against the UK each year, and the UK loses around 10 annually”.

          • I should have added the ECHR is not part of the EU – although it is often conflated so in the tabloid press.

    • google naval inactive ships facility, there are so many ships there that we could buy and get good service from the 5 ticondaroga cruisers and a few of the hazard perry frigates would be very welcome. plus they are already built. not eventually will be from the slow moving clyde yards who’s production of ships is slower than the yanks production of f 35’s.

  5. This is pure speculation by a so called “quality” newspaper……I believe that at one time this rag believed the Hitler Diaries were genuine……

  6. The thing we need to fix is the never ending cost overruns. For the last god knows how many years the forces set their budgets on the basis that equipment programmes will come in on budget but they rarely even come close. How can you plan ahead on the assumption that you’ll be spending say £20bn on equipment procurement when you end up actually needing £25 or £30bn. Some make the argument we should be spending more on manpower or something else but until we can have some certainty about what equipment is actually going to cost we’re going to be stuck in a never ending groundhog day.

  7. I know many will be howls with derision but there is some merit to the idea!

    Lets be honest the T23 fleet has struggled with manning in recent years and we have more than one harbour queen due to this. As Humphrey sagely pointed out in a Tweet today the issue is “Manning rather than hulls sic…”

    Whilst recruitment taps have been turned back on it will take time to work through and working up CVF is going to be a heavy draw on people resources for the next few years.

    HMS Argyll and HMS Lancaster are both relatively close to paying off in 2023 and 2024 respectively, they have also not gone through PGMU and never will going on current plans. That makes them orphan sub variants within the fleet and ripe for early disposal and possible sell onto an allied navy.

    Chile that already operates T23 has hinted before they would like more, considering they have their own unique LIFEX program built around different systems this might well be a happy situation for them. Argyll has received the weapons and radar upgrade but not Lancaster as far as I am aware.

    • I agree with your thoughts Fedaykin. My concern is that they don’t stick to the minimum agreed t26 and t31 ships in the future. I think if there was some sort of cast iron commitment (which I very much doubt happening) to building the 8 T26’s and 5 (I’m hoping 6) T31’s, then it seems like a relatively painless solution if they retire 2 T23’s early. We got away with it for the old carriers, chances are we’ll get away with it again, although I’d rather we didn’t keep gambling in this manner as our luck is bound to run out one day. On top of that, there is a risk that HMG will say, we have managed successfully with 17 frigates and destroyers, so this then becomes the new normal.

    • I would not mind them flogging of a couple of hulls, if they have a clear plan on bringing manning back up to levels that will support in a sustainable way 8 T26s and 5 T31s. Concern would be they use it as a justification to perminatly reduce escort numbers.

      A few 10s of million for clapped out hulls and the saves on not refitting them would be useful.

      • sell hms argyll and hms lancaster to us (chile) will be the best posible deal (i hope at least another too, we need 3 frigates), we can upgrade them to our new standar t23 equipment (cms330 trs 4d radar, camm, tass 2087), that money go to RN in hulls and refits, and put that ships in the hands of a historical allied navy operating T23 already (and protecting an important part of the world for RN and NATO). chilean navy is the most powerfull navy in south america and the only one operating full compatibily NATO equipment), we are also partners with others commonwealth nations like canada, australia and new zealand, and UK depend in our help in antartica
        in fact, the dela for the t23 can be a step to another deal selling t31 to chile in the next decade, maybe a wave class and even the albion.

    • i’ve never understood why training establishments don’t all pass out on the same day, a particular ship, most in need should be identified in advance
      and then it can receive a mass draft of crew from all the training establishments
      then it could become operational sooner, rather than wait again for crews

    • or more so commonwealth nations like canada or new zealand. but ‘d certainly go with ore sailors from abroad like we do with the gurkhas

    • Dave selling off POW is not an easy option for politicians. Lots of taxpayers money spent and wasted. Scrap T23s and use crew saved to ensure carriers (which need a bigger crew) are both manned and possibly both LPDs. Forget any military logic this is all do with keeping the political wheels on.

    • Yeah I’m starting to think the same. There really is only one direction the defence budget is heading in without us going to war. I remember Francis Tusa saying a while back about how overstretched the equipment budget is. I wonder how far selling PoW and making a much reduced F35 buy FAA only would go to covering the shortfall. I know the RAF would be pi**ed, but hey ho. There is absolutely zero chance that the treasury are going to bridge the gap to the extent required. Read a few people on here before saying there would be a backbench revolt if the government decided to cut defence further, but that’s contingent on (a) a steady as she goes budget scenario unhindered by any brexit ramifications (which simply won’t happen as things stand) and (b) there being no legitimate chance of Corbyn et al. getting elected (who knows at this rate), in which case I think Tory MPs would quickly close ranks with the government.

      A land governed by morons with potential replacement morons in every direction

      • unfortunately i share your final statement :/

        especially the way everyone acts live giving the people the vote in a referendum is the answer… correct me if i’m wrong but isn’t that why we vote for a government in the first place?? to make decisions over affairs that affect our country in ways that, lets be honest here, most people have no idea about….

        these days it all seems about either party, or personal political career….. wasn’t being a politician supposed to be a public service for the good of the whole country?!? wtf happened to that?!?

        and then they wonder why people are losing faith in politics…..

    • The obvious answer would be to co fund assets from the foreign aid. Seem the government want the MoD to be efficient but not willing to look a bigger efficiencies across departments. Look at the requirements for any new ship for the RN , must be able to stow x or support x number of crew for humanitarian duties. So the requirements are there so why not the funding.

      • for the gov to slash foreign aid, would give comrade corbyn another chance to reinforce his left wing loonie politics. just put right what we have, swallow our pride and buy the odd second hand ship like EVERYONE ELSE DOES. maybe the type 22’s still use by brazil x2 romania x2 chile x2 the pakistan navy are retiring the last type 21’s i the u.k got them dry docked inspected, and maybe get 5 valuable years from some of them.

  8. Afternoon all
    So it begins, the first “leaks” from those within the service(s) with regards to what MDP really means to the front line equipments that are utilised by the men and women we send to fight.
    I don’t think it was ever a secret that the RN couldn’t man all 19 escorts so this news, whilst disappointing will. It be unexpected. 2xGD T23’s will be removed from the fleet but actual deployable assets, those declared as operational to the fleet will not change. What it does do however is release manpower to the fleet allowing potentially more crews to man fewer ships (crew rotation) and give some pinch point trades a bit more time to recover numbers (this is happening slowly but surely).
    What it also means it that the builders of T26 and T31e will have no excuses when it comes to the availability of government furnished equipment – it will be there, ready to be installed.
    Disappointing news, not a surprise if it happens – time to move on and look to the future.

    • born in carlisle, made in the royal navy, if thats the best insentive there is to join, then it shows why we’ve no sailors

  9. As there are 2 ships laid up due to manning short falls it makes no real difference to the current status,no doubt Chili will buy them to go with the 3 they have all ready as they are due to scrap 2 old Dutch ships.Better than getting rid of a whole capability with the LPD’s,where are all the defence supporting torie MP’s supposedly threatening a rebellion?

    • as for the type 31 why not a batch 2 strengthened type 21? small, upgradeable, flexible, lean crewing, popular. and bloody good ships, which could be built far faster than the t 26.

  10. It is still all speculation.

    However. If it does happen it is better than cutting one of the 4 main pillars of the RN.
    Which in my opinion are:

    Carriers and aviation.
    SSN.
    Amphibious ships and RM.
    The RFA.

    With these we have global reach. The attendant escorts and MCMV are the dressing!

    • Interesting…I think I’d put Trident on its own at the top of any list, but after that, the whole of the RN really is just essential. In many cases, different assets are not just complementary, but fully dependent on the others (e.g. various layers of ASW or the multitude of components that together form carrier strike). If the equipment budget is as over-stretched as is suggested, we are getting towards a stage not just where the force is going to get *even thinner* re. numbers, but where we’re going have to start cutting capabilities outright, as is (was?) the case with MPA and carrier strike for much of this past decade

      • Ross of course other parts are vital. I’m not making a case for not having them just key capabilities which IMO enable the UK to power project.

        Trident I did not list. That is a political decision which should not be a weight around the Mods neck. I support Trident by the way.

    • Evening Danielle

      I suspect the wheels are already in motion, this is just another opportunity for Luke Pollard to sound off again without quite understanding what is going on.

      The drip feeding is beginning though, this is just the start.

      • Evening Lee. Hope you’re well.

        Let’s see. The defence Secretary I have supported so far. I hope he keeps the pressure on.

        I wonder when the RAF and Army leaks will appear.

        The Army already has the carrot ready in a Boxer order pending.

        • Hi Daniele
          Doing good thanks, hope you are well also.
          They will start come through over the next couple of weeks.
          Can the Army sustain 227 CR2 when most of them are “stored”?
          Can the Army sustain the Bulldog fleet when it is no longer used?
          Is AS90 still relevant against an adversary that can outgun and outmanoeuvre it?
          Can the Army recover its headcount after the Capita disaster?
          The RAF are already going about rationalising their fleets.
          Tornado is on its way out.
          Sentinel hasn’t got long left.
          E-3 needs replacing.
          Merlin has gone to the RN
          A cut to the Chinook fleet (60 to 48) without reducing crews might be on the cards.
          Earlier retirement of Puma.

          Lots of areas to “adjust”

          • With just 2 regiments of Tanks left 227 CH2 is an easy cut to make.

            Bulldog is still used by the Armoured Medical Regiments and a few assorted others. Will be replaced by Boxer I guess.
            The HPM Battalions now use Mastiff.

            AS90 is all we have in the Armoured brigades. Better than nothing. Once 6 regiments down to 2. Scandalous. Cut in every review in recent times. I’d be speechless if they cut it again.

            Chinook always escaped cuts. It’s so useful and in demand. A cut here would be hard to take considering we lost the Harrier fleet ( no 3 and 4 ) Squadrons, and Cottesmore to fund extra Chinooks in 2009.

            Puma is indeed vulnerable I fear but there is the support helicopter training facility at Benson so I doubt the base would be lost, just become army like Cottesmore.

            I always wonder how the RAF Regiment keeps escaping.

            Cuts are only acceptable if there are increases in other more important areas to balance.

    • £1.4 billion for 1 astute, when the best conventional submarine the gotland class google small swedish submarine sinks u.s carrier costs just 100 million, one astute or 14 conventionals to join our paltry submarine fleet

      • But can the Gotland class self deploy aroubd the world for months on end and carry our sea denial in the oceans leaving opposing navies at risk?

        SSNs are strategic and used by major powers.

        We’d need an uplift in personnel for starters.

    • ssn’s are dead money, 1.4 billion each when, for the same money you could buy/build 14 conventional gotland typessk boats quantity or quality? we can’t have both can we?

    • the old chestnut of merging the fleet air arm with the R.A.F AND THE MARINES WITH THE PARAS the traditionalists would go ballistic but the air arm and raf makes sense. it might stop much of the squabbling between them for resources that aren’t there anyway its not well known buuth raf had a big role in the ocean fiasco, they complained that too many of their aircrew were needed elsewhere and not on a ship.

  11. If true – and aside from legitimate concern at home – what message is this sending to Uncle Sam? In future conflicts, why should the US Tax Payer help when we CHOOSE to cut our Armed Forces still further – AGAINST the request of Uncle Sam???

    Then we may find ourselves on our own with not a whole lot…..

    Scary times ahead…..

      • Does he?

        Last time I looked POTUS wants to do a free trade deal with the UK. Something our beloved European allies in the EU strangely don’t seem so keen on.

        Also if we stuff uncle Sam there goes 5 Eyes so it’s really not a good idea!

        • yes the u.s have a lot staked on the numbers of f 35’s the u.k actually buys. boeing are up against it they’ve already admitted that a shortfall of 40 odd f 35 produced is shattering their share prices.

  12. If the navy keeps ‘growing’ at this rate, there’ll be little left for Scotland once independence is achieved…………….ha ha ha

    Greetings from the Kremlin!

    • Good evening the Kremlin
      This is London calling
      Good to see the humour is still there TH

      I am sure you will have much to comment on in the next few weeks – we look forward to your balanced arguments and occasional temper

      😀

      • (Chris H) – I doubt Sturgeon could afford an extra OPV judging by how she runs Scotland now and that is with overly generous deficit cover and Barnett Formula.

        But I am sure TH has all the answers for us ..

        • Sturgeon isn’t a multimillionaire so I doubt if she’d be able personally to buy an OPV, but Scotland is fabulously wealthy specially with new gas finds and the oil price over 80 dollars, and could afford at least 2/3rd Denmark’s current fleet, Denmark having 5.7 million population compared to Scotland at 5.4 million, but roughly a 25% higher GDP, but also a defence spending of considerably less as a percentage of GDP – 1.2%, compared to the likely 1.6% to 1.8% for Scotland as a front-line GIS gap, Arctic and Baltic Sea State.

          That makes 4 frigates somewhere between a T31 and a T26, an LDA / LPH 200 metres long capable of carrying 4 or 5 F35-B in future, 4 OPV, 3 inshore patrol vessels, 5 MCMs (optional dependent on Frigate or OPV modules which would mean 1 or 2 extra frigates or OPV), and the usual auxiliaries, training ships and survey vessels (1 or 2 of each), and dredgers, tenders, tugs, pilot vessels plus Scotland itslef already has 3 FPV – and a large capacity for RORO co-operation with some blue sea thinking.

          Thanks for showing an interest.

          • Oh, plus if whatever Independent Scotland’s future Government is politically made up of decided to make it 2% of GDP to be ready for NATO’s 2024 deadline, 4 AIPs over an 8 to 10 year period at roughly £200 to £250 million each from a company in England who’d probably be delighted to get such an order. Built on the Clyde or Rosyth of course.

  13. Hbeaere is an idea to solve the manning problems of the British Armed Forces. With the UK leaving the EU and looking to reset ties with the old Commonwealth states that includes the old colonies in Africa, Americas and Asia, I suggest the UK look to recruit personnel in these Commonwealth member countries. Note that there is a major unemployment problem in many of these countries with millions of University Graduates unable to find work, thus the mass illegal migrations into Europe. Now the UK already recruits soldiers from Nepal, I suggest that the other branches especially the Royal Navy start to look at young University and Polytechnic graduates in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, Asia, the Pacific Islands. Sign up these kids on 10 year contracts with good pension schemes and for those who rise to certain Officer ranks through the talent promise of UK citizenship. You are looking probably at no more than 100-150K people over a 15 year program. Note also that by 2050 Africa is expected to have 50% of the world’s population and thus the EU pivot towards Africa with offers of Free Trade etc. to counter the Chinese current hegemony on the continent. A pro-active UK that stops being xenophobic and insular can reap big economic and cultural rewards in Africa. English speaking Africans tend to generally have warm regards towards the UK. That’s my 2 cents worth of trying to solve the manning problem.

    • The UK, a country that gives billions in aid, supports televised charities with millions more, and is tolerant to the point people have become so fed up with mass migration and want a reduction and sensible controls.

      Xenophobic and insular? Nope.

      It’s like having a lodger in your spare room. It’s no problem. Then the lodger invites his mates. And their mates. And your home is full. Nothing xenophobic about it just common sense and millions have had enough of the EU and free movement.

      As for your other points yes why not? British Army have plenty of Commonwealth soldiers already. Could the RN have a Gurkha ship for example?

      • better still….lets start ‘selective’ conscription again. we have the manpower…not all working. quality? probably not that great in the most part but likely to be some gems in there. I’m guessing we’re probably about 5-10k down with current planned manning levels so we could still be quite selective. why the hell not?

        • I have often wondered about some form of national service again.

          I wouldn’t want the quality of the regulars eroded.

          How would we “select” though? A d from what pool? Would certain be exempt?

          • I would somehow tie it into DWP/job centre activity. I really mean “strong encouragement” rather than try conscription.

            Alternatively wait outside football grounds on a weekend and bundle fans into vans!

    • The RN actively recruits from the commonwealth. There was a promo vid from QE recently showing the commonwealth RN personal on board.
      However, and there always is a however, the jobs they can do are limited to stokers and Loggies and a few other sub branches.
      They cannot do Weapons engineering or ops room due to the UK eyes only classifications or 5 eyes classifications.

      • New Zealanders and Aussies would be 5 eyes cleared I presume being members. I suppose they take more of our people than we take theirs.

        • From the amount of Facebook messages I get from former shipmates who are now living in Aus your not wrong!
          However a number a data feed are UK/US Eyes only ( Gold feed detailing world wide vessel location ) so that is also an issue.
          When this issue came to light I was serving with a CPO Sonar (Passive ) who had security clearance up the ying/yang…however he was born in the Republic of Ireland and held a Eire passport even though he had lived in the uk since 6 months old . He was granted UK nationality in a matter of days.

    • good idea. have you written the defence secretary via your local m.p. with this idea?i write regularly the M.O.D and i do get replies……. eventually

  14. How the hell have we got to this point?

    It’ll be a sad sad day if this goes ahead.

    It makes me ashamed for those in power. What planet are they living on?

  15. Perhaps they can get Warrior back into the water to provide escort duties for the Russian warships transiting the Channel. That should put the fear of God into them.

  16. Maybe we should scrap our armed forces and just insist that NATO and the rest of Europe keeps us safe……seems to work for some others.

  17. I don’t get the link to Brexit. The defence cuts were on the cards even before the vote and certainly before the negotiations got anywhere. This is all linked to the mistake of ordering the carrier’s, they are expensive glamour items we just can’t afford, in cost or man power and so cuts had to follow. The whole OPV mess didn’t help, as they have tied up even more sailors, on ships that arent war fighters.

    Please mothball the 2 frigates and don’t sell them off for peanuts. At least mothballed ships can be reactivated if the need calls.

      • It’s a combination of many things. The deterenece is clearly a defence cost and should be in the budget, but equally pensions shouldnt be. Then there is the stupid inflated prices for everything, due to dithering over decisions causing delays and of course the top heavy structure of the services and constant decisions to join questionable wars. Brexit itself I suspect will have a minor impact but probably be used as an excuse by many.

    • while we wait for the t26 buy back the three t23’s chile had? they’ve all had life extension refits and might be of some use

  18. Fuck, I was so optimistic that things were changing for the better, but it now is apparent Williamson has lost. Cuts cuts and more cuts to come. 2nd tier military status coming. The gradual decline of our nation and its standing in the world is reaching the point of no return.
    If it weren’t for all this Brexit shit we might have stood a chance. We voted to leave whilst EU are in the doldrums, since then EU growth is healthy, us stagnant. The upcoming reality will be:
    Carrier strike with few f35s and severe lack of protection.
    Scrapping of challenger 2 upgrade and further reduction in active numbers.
    Warrior scrapped, boxer bought in limited numbers.
    T26 reduced to 6
    T31 delayed / cancelled
    LPD’s not replaced
    Wildcat scrapped
    PoW mothballed
    7th astute scrapped
    Etc etc etc
    We all thought the worst had passed, the next few years will be the darkest of them all. Time to accept the Uk is a frail shadow of Its former self. Time to accept TH was right all along. All hail TH.
    Can’t be arsed to follow something I feel passionate about only to see it destroyed by shortsighted people supporting shortsighted politicians. I’m done. Let’s just roll over and take it up the shitter from any adversary that wants to try it on. 5 years and we will be a total irrelevance in the world order. Last time I take an interest in these matters. Over and fucking out.
    Three cheers for brexit. Fuck me.

  19. Jesus, what more will they cut? This is depressing. Cut the damn overseas aid budget. And reduce Parliament to 400 MPs, cut their staff by 50%.

  20. Let’s just fuck everything off. Just keep the reserve army, light armour only, opvs and a few frigates In uk waters only, one squadron of typhoon to defend northern airspace.
    Sell all amphib, blue water, etc. Fuck it all off and go cap In handle to the French when some one starts on us.
    If you do something you do it properly or not at all. Save the money. Let’s make the Irish armed forces look big. Spend the cash on bumping up the foreign aid budget and give it to Pakistan.

  21. I am going to go counter intuitive on this everyone.

    I dont believe Gavin Williamson has “lost” as this is not a game.
    Defence is about strategy and as long as we end up where we need to be – so be it.
    Everyone is right – governments have a terrible record of sticking to their defence commitments.

    But…

    A huotfeldt class T31 is a very capable vessel even with FFBNW and from a defence point of view this may be acceptable.

    But…

    During th Falklands – MT had to sweet talk RR into supplying us with munitions otherwise we would have run out… Everything has limits.

    On a personal level I find this untenable and will not vote for a party that does not fund defence and law and order adequately.

    I also believe the UKs position on foreign aid is untenable unless certain basic funding for UK services is met, this must be 1.5% for law and order and 2,8% for defence in my opinion with a maximum of 0.7% for foreign aid, equating to a 5% GDP for all 3 with the first 2 taking precedent

    Charity is all well and good but not at the expense of the host nation

  22. Do we really need to be concerned about the threats posed by Russia or China when we have the Conservative and Labour parties doing far more damage to our military’s capabilities? Why not increase the foreign aid budget and give some to them as well, I’m sure JC would be very happy to do so.

  23. Gents and Ladies

    l reside in the “colonies” & am not offay with the UK defensive budget process. Why is the foreign aid budget within the defence budget? I don’t understand the correlation or association?

    Is there an appetite for scrapping the Nuclear SSBN capability? The capex saving on replacement SSBN boats must be substantial. This would afford an expansion of RN escort hulls (type 31 anyone?) Closing Faslane may also save a few bob.

    On the second carrier (PoW), would there be value in an a refit to a commando carrier (like HMS Hermes in the Falklands). The yank LPH/Ds operate F35’s as a mini carrier – also solves the HMS Ocean replacement issue.

    I also struggle with understanding why the RAF purchased so may Typhoon (and potentially F35)? On the surface it seems wasteful, however I’d welcome any insights on this policy.

    Lastly, to Fedaykin’s commentary above. I urge much caution on forcing a second Brexit referendum. The will of the people has been served, that’s modern democracy working. Please respect it- warts and all. Sermon concluded.

  24. Come over to Australia. At least they are building a bigger and better navy. Don’t panic I’m sure the Australian navy can help out when you need it

  25. It’s right to keep up pressure on defence budgets not being cut, but at the same time the important game in town apart from the amphibs and their replacements, is the two carriers and their escorts, which is from a compact but adequate pool of 8 Type 26, corresponding to 8 Type 23. So in theory 5 T23s are redundant in the short term, as long as they’re replaced by suitably kitted but relatively way cheaper, Type 31s in short order – for no nett loss of overall numbers. Add to that all 7 Astutes, which are not just submarines, but very capable warships (though I’d call them warboats). Trident optional.

    • Add to that an INCREASED budget including base / port infrastructure, to speed up maintenance, resupplying, repair, refit and upgrade, and training and working up, and increase spares stocks. The RN really needs to move away from its incredibly old school and out of date, rule of 3 to get 1. In fact it needs to be way less than 2 to 1, and actually achieve more coverage, not less, with less hulls in total.

      In manufacturing it’s called “lean”.

      • Agree dad’s. This is all still speculation.

        We can only man 17 Escorts at present.

        The danger is after when HMG pretend 17 is now the target number.

        They’ve pulled that trick before.

      • Remote basing with rotating crews in BHR will do something to help this . Although my understanding was that one of the T23 named was the one coming to the Mid East.

        • It was you posting about Bahrain was a big factor in me thinking that through. £40 million for the base, not even half the cost of an OPV, yet properly done, able to keep frigates, destroyers at sea having worked up with maybe a relatively minor problem without them having to limp back to the UK.

          Seems to me the MOD / RN do have a grip of economic strategy.

  26. As much as I would like to throttle someone in the Treasury I wonder if something else is going on.
    The Type 31 if everything is to be believed should have the first vessel operational by 2023, which means launched in 2021, equipped and tested by 2022.
    As I also understand it much of the combat outfit is to be supplied by HM Government. So I wonder if with the issues of manning and some budgetary constraints that the MOD have decided to take two of what I hope are the GP T23s out of service to strip them down for components to have a refurbishment for the upcoming T31’s. I do not expect if the story is correct that they will be decommissioned before 2019. With a year needed to strip everything of use out a further 6 months to a year for the refurbishment with a further 6 months -one year for a reinstall in the new T31’s, this would mean that they are ready for 2022 which would be the schedule for the proposed 2023.
    I am not saying that this is what is happening but it is possible that the MoD are using their brains for once.

  27. Personally I think Trident should be cut and that gives the freedom to:
    Increase in the number of Astutes to 10 and buikd 7SSKs.
    Increase the number of T26s to 10 and T31 to 8.
    Order 30 new Merlin HM2 and 30 Ospreys for the RN.( tanker and commando use(
    Reduce F35B to 70 RN only.

    70 F35A for RAF these woukd carry the mininsl nuclear deterrent.
    48 additional Typhhons for RAF reopen Leeming for RAF and leuchars for RN
    5 additional P8
    Have a ballustic missile defence ststem for the UK.
    Replace CH2s with leopards.
    Trident is political but so is everything in defence.

    • You know what, I’m starting to think down this line too. Haven’t completely made my mind up but the extra money could totally transform our conventional military.
      I don’t agree with replacing C2’s with leopards though. Just deactivate what we have in storage and upgrade. Spend the money on more boxers and Ajax but give them some real hitting power that is sorely needed.
      Invest in a small long range nuclear capable bomber force and really invest in Tempest.

      • Rec, TS…agree about trident. It’s a risk going from a platinum deterrent to a silver or bronze but the conventional force structure is so threadbare I think the balance of risk is shifting. A deterrent doesn’t have to be overwhelming to deter, it just needs to be credible. Scrap dreadnought, buy another five astute, put a b61 warhead on a cruise missile. Stick email on all our escorts and let the carrier routinely carry b61 for f35. I don’t know if technically possible but in terms of strategy, I’d prefer credible conventional forces with some nuclear strike capability, in the context of NATO, which all adds up to sufficient deterrence for a medium sized power.

    • @rec, this is something that I have been arguing for for some time. Either place the SSBN budget back into the treasury/state budget to scrap the SSBN force all together. Yes its nice to have but with our conventional forces so thin on the ground can we really afford it? I do agree with you mix of conventional forces but I would have one addition, three HMAS Canberra type assault ships each with an reinforced armoured battle-group as replacements for HMS Albion and Bulwark. The F35Bs would have to be increased to 90-100 as the two carriers and servicing requirements means that the 70 you mentioned would not be enough if both are operational at the same time.
      As for a stretched Astute, this I could see as a real possibility a midsection insert circa 90 ft with 5 BAE VPM tubes four with cruise missiles and one for a SBS insertion team. This would mean a launch capability of 28 cruise missiles without affecting the torpedo or anti ship missile capabilities. Effectively it means taking away the SSBN and replacing it with an SSGN. This would give more flexibility to the British forces, reduce the cost on high end assets and increase the threat levels as there will be more that one Astute at sea.
      It will have one more effect, it will stop Scotland moaning about nuclear ICBM missiles.
      If I am right this could be achieve for about 50% of the cost of the SSBN fleet over the 30 year period, so in some ways it is cost effective.

    • rec- another vote for not replacing Vanguard with Dreadnought from me too,but obviously the Elephant in the Room is would our Government of any colour spend the money saved on more conventional forces – think everyone on here knows the answer to that question.Ive always thought that Trident is a Weapons System that we cannot afford to have,but as a Political weapon its one that we cannot afford to be without.As a sidenote I would probably go for replacing C2 with M1 or go Japanese Type 10 rather than go L2.

    • Err, NO!

      Our nuclear deterrent is our greatest strength. If anything it needs expanding to become a traid. And the budget for it should be placed back where it used to be and not eating up resources for our conventional forces.

      • @antidote, I agree if the defence budget can be 2.5% GDP and the nuclear deterrent cost placed back in the budget of the treasury then go for it. I also agree that the SSBN fleet is the most potential weapon that the UK government has. The question is can we afford it or possibly can we not afford it?
        If we look at the needs of the British armed forces then we all agree that they are completely undermanned and under-equipped for the tasks that that governments get them involved in. With a high operational rota people want to leave due to combat and family stress. Equipment is being worn out at a higher rate due to constant action use. If you take a warship it is designed normally for 25-30 years, if it is in constant action it is worn out in five years.
        Also we constantly have to change our equipment purchasing to equip the army for the task that they are involved in. An example is from the heavy tank divisions of the German plain to light highly mobile vehicles for Afghanistan. If now seems that we might need to reequip again with heavy battle tanks for the evolving Russia threat. The same with the navy it developed into an effective anti submarine fleet into a general purpose fleet and now it needs to convert back again.
        This means that we are at the numbers where there is a smaller return on investment. As the order numbers get less the cost goes up, as the cost goes up the orders get less. Can we really now go it alone.
        So what does our Royal Navy need to complete the tasks, what is nice to have and what needs to be rethought.
        Well the future of the RN is to be based on two aircraft carriers and an amphibious assault group.
        For that each group needs its surface and subsurface escorts place replenishment vessels. So for each carrier group it means 2 * T45, 2* T 26, 2* RFAs 1* Astute, for the Amphib group 1* T45, 2* T26, 2* RFAs, 1* Astute.
        That gives that give 1 T45 and 2 T26s for refit and repair, however in peace the RN would only deploy a single Carrier battle group and a part of the Amphib group meaning that full time manning of these vessels would not be needed, on one condition.
        That condition is the area where the UK government has failed completely coastal defence and low to medium threat environments, we send a T45 for drug smuggling patrols or anti piracy patrols yeep a billion pound asset to take on a skiff, talk about a sledge hammer to crack a nut. What we need is an effectively armed OPV to work along side the new T31s, to create combat squadrons each of three vessels with the T31 being the major unit with the major sensors and two OPVs very much alike to the Omani Khareef class. The Archers should also be equipped with its 20mm. If we could have 6 such T31 squadrons we could have one in the Falklands, one for the Caribbean, one at Gib, one in the Indian Ocean and one for the UK with one under going refit. This would mean that the Gib squadron would have a major up grade, the Falklands patrol vessels would return to the UK and we don’t use high end assets for skiff catching. It also means that the waters around the UK would be better defended. Especially with the issues around Brexit. This squadron would work in conjunction with the current 5 OPVs whilst the Archers remain training vessels but are responsible for inshore work (3 mile limit). It also means that the carrier battle-group has a reinforced escort in certain areas such as the Gibraltar straits.
        With a resurgent Russia the RN needs to look at one more issue how to close the Greenland-Iceland-UK Gap. It can be done in one of two ways, first we do not have enough SSNs to do the job and never will so the only other possibility that I see is to rebuild the SOSUS line or to have a fleet of SSKs. Here I am not sure what is the most cost effective but if the decision was made for the SSKs then 10-12 is needed for a patrol line and to work with the Poseidon squadrons. You could say that the US could take on this task but they have their hands full with the Pacific, also the Atlantic is our back yard.
        So how do I see or what would I like to see fleet numbers at, well they would be as follows:-
        2* QE aircraft carriers
        2-3 Amphib assault ships (preferably HMAS Canberra type)each with a reinforced armoured battle-group.
        6 T 45s
        8 T26s
        6 T31s
        12 Khareef type
        5 OPVs
        17 P-2000s
        10 stretched Astutes (5 BAE VPMs 28 cruise missiles) SSGNs
        10-12 SSKs (Soryu type)

        or keep the present down spiral in fleet numbers with the SSBN squadron.

        How to pay for this by scrapping the SSBN cost from the MoD budget. So the question come down to this what does the government, RN and people want a balanced well equipped fleet that can deal with just about everything or a fleet based on a weapon that everyone know when they start being thrown around no one wins. However the cruise missile option means that the RN still has a nuclear capability using a version of the W80 warhead 150kt with a 1,000 mile range. with 10 Astute s each carrying 28 of these it still makes for a bad outcome for the receiver.

        • Thanks for the indepth reply.

          With my limited knowledge, I would have to agree with much of what you say. If a much cheaper nuclear deterrent could be developed then great. But it doesn’t seem anyone in the UK is seriously considering it. Maybe 3 instead of 4 Dreadnought subs? Or would that be unworkable? I presume it is.

          Perceptions in warfare and defence count, and willfully downsizing our nuclear deterrent would be viewed as great weakness and stupidity by our foes.

          To keep the deterrent as it is, we need to produce many more small, but well armed craft, ie like the Russians have done and then reserve the T45s and T26s for carrier duties.

          In the end, we have to first decide what is it that we want to achieve. What’s our long-term goal?

          • @antidote, no problems ; the idea of three instead of four subs again could work but it would probably just increase the cost and possibly mean that for a period of time no SSBN is at sea.
            As for down sizing the nuclear deterrent, yes a cruise missile is smaller than an ICBM but it is more flexible.By the way the bomb on Hiroshima was approx 16kt a w80 as I mentioned can be 150 kt, it is still a big ouch. I also agree that perceptions count in peace time however in times of war what counts is the ability to hit hard and keep hitting. Whilst a SSBN is seen on the international stage as a strategic weapon used by government a cruise missile give tactical flexibility used by field commanders. On the battlefield strategy is nice but to win a battle you need tactics. The other difference with the RN to the Army and or the RAF is simple, to build a tank you need a day, to build a fighter three days to build a ship in wartime three years. So unless you plan for a long war you need to have the ships ready to face a war. The RN should always be ready for that situation in numbers.
            In WW1 we had the Grand fleet, a strategic weapon, when called upon the C-in C had to contend with the issue of losing the war in an afternoon. In WW2 the grand fleet did not exist, the war was cruisers, destroyers and corvettes, yes there was some battleship actions but it was the smaller ship that kept the UK alive. It was a tactical war.
            The modern RN has several tasks to carry out, however the government and in reality the people of this nation do not understand. before I explain the tasks I need to explain the difference, the difference between the RN and the Army or RAF. First and foremost, when a RN ship is deployed even in times of peace it is on active service. It is or should be fully armed and ready to go to war at a moments notice. In fact a Captain has the right to defend the ship without permission. If that means launching a missile then that is what he or she is expected to do. A ship of the RN when deployed cannot just return to base if war is declared, an Army unit on exercise can, a RAF fighter can but a HMS vessel could be a thousand miles from its base so it must be ready.
            So what are the primary tasks of the RN well
            1. To defend the UK
            2. To act as a deterrent against nuclear attack
            3. To protect the convoy lanes in the Atlantic.
            4. Anti submarine patrols.
            5. National force projection
            6. Protection of overseas interests
            Then comes the addition tasks such as anti piracy, anti drugs, international aid, flying the flag etc, etc.
            Can we financially afford all of these, If we stayed in the EU then I would say that the SSBN deterrent should be an EU budget as we are leaving I think that to have the ability to give the big boys a bloody nose with 280 nuclear cruise missiles will make them think twice, but we can afford it whilst increasing the capabilities of the conventional forces.
            However the UK government is to afraid to make the decision as they are afraid to loose the position as the UN security council.
            That is the problem.

  28. The root cause for this possible cut – and actual previous ones over many years – has been the Tory party’s fixation on spending cuts. Time and time again, the Tory party has slashed spending on defense while claiming to be the party that can be relied upon for a strong defense.
    The British people do not vote for defense spending, it’s really that simple. They care more for NHS services, education and services that impact their daily lives.

  29. I wonder if HMS Tyne (Batch 1 River) will remain in service when HMS Forth (Batch 2 River) is back fixed by BAE? Use the River1 for UK waters, and send the R2 out to cover one of the patrol stations vacated by a GP T23? Would save 133 crew according to wikipaedia (58 vs 185).

  30. The RN, from what I read here and elsewhere, does not have the crews to operate all ships. Decommissioning 2 frigates will not save much. Announcing that a frigate has been saved (1 gone) will get good press for MoD. Even better, another T 31e to replace the retired frigate will get plaudits. What will not be said is 1 more T 31e means 1 less T 26 – that is the saving.

  31. We always have to bear in mind that the MoD will benchmark the RN against the French. They have one CVF, 3 LHD, 4 SSBN, 6 SSN, 4 AAW Destroyer/Frigates, 6 ASW Frigates, 5 planned FTI light Frigates replacing 5 La Fayettes and so on. Look familiar?

    • That’s the point…it’s where we are headed. The Sir Humphreys will say the French only need 6 ASW why do you need 8? Not that I agree with it.

  32. Cancel Dreadnought, priced at £8 billion per sub. and replace with new build ‘stretched Astute’ with missile compartment, equipped with new missile, maybe C4. Should be less then £2 billion per sub. Only USA needs trident because of Far East as well as Atlantic.

    • Such a vessel could also form the basis of the next-generation SSN fleet with the Common Missile Compartment used in TLAM mode to host at least 24 TLAM per CMC cell, and in fact I think that might be 7 per tube so actually 28 per cell without using any storage in the torpedo room.

      That seems such an attractive solution that I wonder why it’s not been done. There are lots of smart people with access to costings on every nut and bolt and what is proposed here would actually save money and reduce risk plus Dreadnought has been very politically divisive even for the Tories so it’s not as easy as usual to blame funding and/or politics since this would seem to be an attractive political escape route as well. That all makes me suspect that there is some fundamental flaw in that plan, either constraints that we don’t know about or a fundamental misunderstanding of the various cost equations. If that isn’t the case then why on earth didn’t they proceed with a plan like this?

      P.S. When talking about next-gen Astute I definitely don’t mean the same vessels being deployed on a mixed-role mission, I mean building more than 4 stretched Astutes so that those beyond the 4 being used for the SSBN role could be deployed in SSN roles. That would also create commonality in much of the training and maintenance pathways and drive up build efficiency at Barrow.

      • Definitely too late. My comment was more retrospective musing on “why didn’t we?” rather than a “why don’t we?” suggestion.

        For next-gen SSN though I do hope they will use a CMC module to give dedicated TLAM facilities. There was also mention in the design phase of CMC to include the possibility of a tube hosting special forces equipment (e.g. minisubs) which would give even more flexibility.

        Perhaps the practical option to hope for is, a decade or three down the line, the reverse of what Merion X suggested. Rather than Dreadnought becoming a stretched Astute, perhaps the next class of SSN could leverage the Dreadnought and CMC design costs already expended and be based on a shrunk-down Dreadnought. Since one the most critical characteristics of an SSBN is stealth that might also drag along next-gen soundproofing and other stealth features into the next SSN class. Not that Astute isn’t world-class already as far as stealth goes but I assume that, as a later design and with it being so critical to a SSBN, Dreadnought might well be even quieter than Astute.

  33. The UK cannot afford any further reductions in the escort fleet- Indeed the RN is already dangerously(I would say recklessly) overstreched & under resourced. For a change would it not be better to do something constructive about the RNs manpower problems, like recruiting more engineers & paying staff better to retain those we have? I wonder how many long suffering RN chaps will be pushed over the edge & leave the service at this latest madness. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

  34. What happened to our”growing Navy” , the usual hogwash, As to the statement that the three ministers work together is the usual FlimFlam which says nothing other than the report is true

    • It is growing…a T26 will be nearly twice the tonnage of a T23…

      Its all in the statistics and how the politicians decide to spin them

  35. Let’s face it, the RN will continue to diminish in size and stature whilst maintaining 2 ridiculous aircraft carriers to the detriement of the fleet as a whole. The politicians don’t give a toss starting back with Cameron and Osborne.
    We’re done here and brexit will no doubt seal our relagation to League 1. RN RIP.

  36. Bill the QE carriers are not ridiculous. They are superb ships. The ridiculous issue is the absolute stupidity and sheer folly of our leadership.
    We will be reducing our desperately needed warship numbers further at a time when all our potential peer, near peer and enemies are proliferating their warships and submarine construction.
    I would not mind type 23s being scrapped if they were going to be imminently replaced, but they are not. 5+, years until their replacement.
    If this goes ahead we really are buggered as a nation and can forget all pretence of being a decent major power in NATO. We will be doing exactly what the Europeans are. Prioritising a budget sheet over defence capability. Something no government should do to this level. It is very risky and should be called out in parliament. May and Hammond should we formally warned in all the press by the current service chiefs that the days of further defence cuts have to be behind us and no further cuts can be allowed.
    Cut foreign aid for god’s sake and get type 26 and type 31 built and quickly.

  37. Let’s not forget the headline only states at least two Type 23s could be cut from the RN – what cuts are also planned for the RAF & Army? The sum of all three is the REAL worry!

    May’s recent request for Williamson to provide a definition of a ‘Tier 1’ military, shows she is utterly clueless and as for Corbyn??…… he’d make May look like a Saint!

    I suppose we will have wait a few months but on the face of it, I agree with the sentiment here that the worst is still to come….

    Depressing….

    • This tier business is nonsense. We aren’t anywhere near the yanks, so if we’re talking tiers then we haven’t been tier one since the second world war. Could we win a land, sea or air war with China….nope… we’d be severly out numbered in all three domains. So we can’t be tier two either. Tiers are far too simplistic and take no account of coalitions, geography or economic power.

  38. Morning all
    165 comments about the potential cut of 2 legacy frigates we can neither fully maintain or man.
    Let’s see what happens next week at conference.
    For the first time in an age the Labour Party are selling a utopian vision (fictional and unworkable) that is now setting the agenda putting the government on the back foot. Bold ideas, that don’t have the word Brexit in it will have to come to the fore or else the party is dead. Fraser Nelson has written a good article in the telegraph this morning.
    Let’s see if the SecDef can pull something out of the bag, let’s see if Hammond is really as politically stupid as he seems.
    Remember we have two departments that are run by those that don’t believe in Brexit.
    One is the Treasury
    The other is the Prime Ministers office
    These are the two departments that set the agenda, both are spending all of their time undermining the referendum, regardless of who you voted for.
    Whilst this happens you have policy inertia – nothing happens apart from slow decay – like the removal of 2 T23 frigates from the line or the quiet decommissioning of smaller vessels with no replacement.
    The lesson from this is quite simple:
    If you don’t believe in something you can never sell it
    Never let officials dictate or draft policy (Chequers agreement). Civil Servants are there to implement government policy, not write it. If they feel the need to draft and write policy they should go and get elected.

    • You are all missing the point No one is joining the RN so there is a Manpower shortage no point in building 20 ships if we cannot man half of them. its why they are building automated ships. so you have to solve the manpower before buying them.

      • Lee it’s got nothing to do with belief, what we’re asking for is not possible. It would mean the if the EU. Why can’t you see why EU members won’t give that?

        It’s not a conspiracy, we can’t leave and have the benefits of staying. At least the moggites see that. The only compromise available that doesn’t undermine the good Friday agreement is the Norway option but that undermines the referendum result. Catch 22.

  39. I’m just back from my hols so I’m sorry if I am a bit late taking part but everything I’ve read, good and bad, has been generated by the Sunday Times and a Labour M P . Given the number of times the press has got it wrong and the fact that Labour couldn’t be trusted to row a boat are we not getting a bit carried away.

  40. “And, we continue to invest in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
    Combined…they have a glorious past of seemingly achieving the impossible,
    whether that was seizing the Rock of Gibraltar over 300 years ago…
    or seizing the Al Fawe peninsular more recently in Iraq.
    To deliver the seemingly impossible they need to be able to bring the fight from the sea to the land.
    As such, I am happy to confirm that I am protecting their vital landing platforms, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark”
    Def Sec today at Conference

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