For the first time ever in the modern era, the Royal Navy has no active supply ships and currently depends entirely on allies for the replenishment of stores, including ammunition, at sea.

The Royal Navy has witnessed its active store ship count drop from four in 2009 to none today.

These ships provide food, spare parts, and ammunition and are key to maintaining the operational effectiveness of deployed Royal Navy vessels. The absence of these ships poses a considerable logistical hurdle, making the Royal Navy heavily dependent on either land-based supplies or support from allied nations.

As of today, RFA Fort Victoria is currently the UK’s only vessel capable of providing solid stores logistic support to the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. In a year, she is capable of conducting around 44 replenishments at sea, transferring 27,000 tonnes of fuel and 350 tonnes of ammo, as well as food and spares. The problem? She’s laid up with a skeleton crew.

The lack of stores ships has immediate and significant implications for the UK’s ability to project power globally. Historically, the capability to operate task groups or aircraft carriers independently at a distance has been a hallmark of the UK’s status as a global power.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, the distant horizon at least.

Originally, the replacement of Fort Victoria with the first of a new class of Fleet Solid Support Ships was projected for around 2028. In July 2022, Rear-Admiral Paul Marshall, the Senior Responsible Officer for this project, informed the House of Commons Defence Committee of plans for the lead ship to enter service in 2028. However, the Ministry of Defence later revised this timeline, indicating that operational readiness for the first ship would be delayed until 2031.

Consequently, the MoD plans to extend the service of Fort Victoria to bridge this transitional period. Despite these challenges, there is optimism with the planned introduction of up to three new hulls beginning in 2031. These ships are expected to replace the ageing Fort Victoria and rejuvenate the RN’s logistical capabilities.

It’s important to note, however, that the Tide class tankers remain in service. These vessels are crucial for their role in fuel transfer, providing the fleet with the necessary fuel supply for extended operations. While they perform a vital function, their capabilities are distinct from those of the store ships, which carry a broader range of supplies, including food, spare parts, and munitions, as outlined above.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_782417)
5 months ago

I realise that RFA are usually civilian crewed but doesn’t the Royal Navy have reservists they can call up ?

Chris
Chris (@guest_782436)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

The entire service is wiped out. Pay is lower than a corner shop and the conditions are terrible. Who would be dumb enough to sign up for this job today? Work at boots instead, make more money.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker (@guest_782532)
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Are you sure.
Day one in the navy your on £18,500
26 weeks on its £23,500
Leading rating is on £36,000.
Even the RFA lowest is £15,000. There loads of scales in the RFA so most are paid more obviously

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg (@guest_782539)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Think you might be a little behind on modern salaries post a good few years of wage inflaton. £23k would barely keep you fed

monkey spanker
monkey spanker (@guest_782577)
5 months ago

A minimum wage job is much less than that. Someone I know does 28 hours a week on. £11.11 an hour and gets £1,100 a month.
I agree that it’s hard to live off that amount. Starting salary is probably around an unskilled job. £23,000 is a good wage after 6 Months training.
The recruiters need to put the benefits front and centre. Learn a skills/qualifications that will help you throughout work life. Cheap rent/bills/food etc. pension and so on.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_782657)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Hi but 11.10 an hour is a salary of 23k a year. The problem is as alway the level tax and national insurance paid on wages which are in reality only enough if you get the whole wage. We really need to be seeing income tax and national insurance thresholds raised a lot more..there is a valid argument to say that the minimum wage, income tax and NI thresholds should be close together. With greater weight on higher wages..but without the cliff edges ( maybe very low rates for anything under the min wage) and the 20% tax started at… Read more »

Chris
Chris (@guest_782764)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

You’re crazy if you think 23,000 is a good wage. The Americans pay the same role 50,000+. If you work at a corner shop, you sleep in your own bed, go to the pub in the evening. The RFA is deployed for 3-6 months straight. Not even remotely adequate.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker (@guest_782578)
5 months ago

Folks on benefits must be stuffed. At. £310 a month for universal credit

John Rampton
John Rampton (@guest_799470)
3 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Thats why so many use food banks. Jeremy Hunt is very cood at pretending he is helping people but in reality he has shifted much of the tax burden to the lowest paid. By not raising tax thresholds above 12.5k for years now, the fiscal drag means people are paying far more tax plus rent and fuel even on minimum wage. Its a tory war on the poor, with no money for ships!

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_782576)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

A shift leader at Tesco can earn around 29k before overtime and allowances..that’s more that a staff nurse with 5 years experience or Able rated seaperson. A customer service assistant at Tesco earns up to 22k before allowances..that way more than the initial pay and around the same as an able ratings starting pay..it’s the same as you would get for being a porter or health care assistant in the NHS…( I know which one I would do). a Tesco delivery driver can get 24.5k before allowances,, which is the same sort of pay as an associate practitioner or dental… Read more »

Simon
Simon (@guest_782629)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

How many people work in Tesco full time thought ? A lot of people on the tills tend to work 16 hours a week ( something to do with employment rights maybe?) or part time at least. an NHS pension is far more generous ( although you do have to pay quite a bit in) and general terms and conditions ( sick leave etc) are better in the NHS. There is also the issue of dealing with the general public ( again you might get part of that in the NHS)

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_782671)
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon

To be honest yes some terms and conditions are better, but the actual working conditions in a lot of places are killers…constant nigh shifts..70hour weeks…violence abuse, knowing your harming people but being able to do nothing…I would sometimes come off a 77 hour week ( 7 11 hour night shifts in a row) a physical and mental wreck ..dealing with death, ( I have now at the end of my career a whole host of dead people in my head..stack baked beans or see pictures for ever of over a thousand people die in horrible ways) pain, risk of violence,… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Jonathan
Tom
Tom (@guest_782675)
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon

The NHS pays in 23.6% of your gross salary while you pay in 10.3%

The NHS salary is very generous.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_782698)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

It’s a bit of an odd one as actually the NHS pension does not exist..the government pays the bill and takes all the money..so essentially the NHS pension is a tax on the employee and a tax on the employer for a promise of a pension…their is no pot and all money left over goes back to the treasury in year..so also the staff contribution varies…last year I paid 13.5% of my salary. Employers pay 14.6% and the government pays 6%..but any money left over each year goes back to the government..in a big rebate..which in most years is around… Read more »

TR
TR (@guest_782940)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

The government changes the conditions on the NHS pension every few years by the time anyone starting now gets to collect it it will likely be worthless.

John Rampton
John Rampton (@guest_799471)
3 months ago
Reply to  TR

And very many will die first after having worked all their lives paying for it.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_785211)
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon

Many sailors leave the RN without a clue what they are going to do with themselves. The RFA is not a subj oft spoken about maybe a lot of it down to not raising the profile of the organisation. It’s not a career you ever hear about.

Is

Tom
Tom (@guest_782672)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I do 4 nights a week at Tesco , 30hrs a week and I earned £24,000 last year . Based on the South Coast, get a location of 80p a hour on top of the basic £11.02 plus £25/shift premiums x 4 and extra £1.25 a hour for BH .

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_782678)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Retail is a good employer to be honest..most undervalued and underrated. Wages are also very competitive..most of the big retailers value their staff ( I have heard some that don’t).

Tom
Tom (@guest_782686)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Tesco staff get free eye tests , access to a excellent dental plan , life insurance of 5 times there gross salary, 20% discount the week before xmas and 10% at other times , free flu jab , and the colleague discount cars is excellent for getting free entry into things like alton towers , lego land ,howletts animal Park, great mobile deals .
Lots of Tesco staff have been with the company for years because of the benefits.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_782703)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

My old employer was also very good, pension was actually better than NHS one at the time, free health insurance, accident insurance, share options, 20% discount, free Christmas party, Christmas bonus overtime pay. never once in the NHS have I had: Christmas bonus Christmas party as a thank-you health insurance or accident insurance never have I been paid overtime ( even when in the pandemic I was regularly doing double my hours). quite frankly the NHS struggles to even say Thankyou most of the time..and generally spends most of its time trying to get you to do more and more… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P (@guest_782611)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Pay is part of the problem but most people don’t join the forces to become millionaires, especially when you’re 18 or so. One problem the forces have is now trying to recruit slightly older folk (from necessity I suspect as they do like the young and easily mouldable) is that these older people will have gone up a rung or two on their professional ladder and can’t afford to take a drop in pay, especially if they have families, mortgages etc so for practical reasons won’t join, even if they want to. Not sure how they can square that particular… Read more »

AJP1960
AJP1960 (@guest_782760)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

And accomodation on ship is covered, as is food. Ashore I think it’s heavily discounted so its unfair to compare salaries against civvy wages

Peter Rawnsley
Peter Rawnsley (@guest_782911)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

You speak from experience

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_782487)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Hmmm…apparent that a significant percentage of MoD’s issues and travails are associated w/ funding shortfalls. Wonder whether the MoD and HMG’s Treasury should consult the Great Pumpkin for a new battle plan (ala Snoopy v. Red Baron) and go on the offensive, instead of maintaining a defensive crouch. How? Simples. The UK seizes whatever proportion of the $300B in frozen Orc assets over which it has control (not certain of the total, but it would be significant, given that London is a major banking center). The MoD is then reimbursed for all involuntarily contributed funding to UKR from 2014 to… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_782489)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Remaining…🙄

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_782497)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

…would occur…🙄

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_782737)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

In case any are curious, would propose this same plan to US government, but consider the federal government to be so dysfunctional at this point that the effort would be futile. 🙄

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_782754)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Its not actually a bad idea. Cant see anyone in UK/Europe/US having the big brass ones to even attempt it. Probably upset some largely irrelevant woke types though, so unfortunately wont be considered!

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_782775)
5 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Yes, agree that there are no politicians like Churchill or Roosevelt available to lead in this era. ☹️

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_783103)
5 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Have pondered further on this subject, and have developed a growing suspicion that there are bankers and hedge fund managers who are profiting from the status quo. They would have no interest in disturbing the current equilibrium. Do not have the forensic accounting background/training to ferret out truth/reality, but believe someone, somewhere is realizing a profit from the current situation. Almost guaranteed. Know that there are many lurkers on this site, surely some have knowledge of banking/finance. Any knowledgeable individual willing to advance a hypothesis explaining why the West collectively is not willing to punish Mad Vlad and the Oligarch… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_783075)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Indeed, the problem is that for that to happen we have to admit that Russia is actually our enemy..western nations seem incapable of actually coming out and saying what is “reality” in that there are nation states that actually are our enemies and although we are not at war with them and don’t wish to be..we will use every available means to frustrate them… as our enemies are doing right now to the west…( 3 million Chinese people are employed by the CCP to undertake political warfare against the west).

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_783117)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Holy hell, three million people?!? Demonstrates a feature of command economies.

Would be interested in your response to my hypothesis that there are complicit elements in Western banking/finance that are indirectly supporting Mad Vlad’s attempted hostile takeover of UKR (PLC)?
For that matter, also suspect some complicit financial skullduggery by Western bankers in relation to slimeball ChiCom plots and machinations. Justified concern or unbridled Paranoia? 🤔😳

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_783129)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I would say that in general multi national companies are only guided by profit and nothing else…there is not moral tie to a nation or population..they are simply there to make as much profit as possible..if that involves stabbing the nation or population in the back that they sprang from so be it… Its one of the areas of conflict we are losing. As part of its political warfare planning every Chinese business be it domestic or multinational is first and foremost completely tied to the advancement of china ( and china is the CCP to an extent that would… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Jonathan
FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_783174)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Hmmm ..so, bottom line, the US in particular, and the West more generally, are royally screwed, and the ChiComs didn’t even buy us dinner? 🤔😳😱☹️

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_783179)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Infact the gits made us pay for the dinner that they made and sold to the restaurant.

Gertrude
Gertrude (@guest_782562)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

They wouldn’t have the certification to crew sm.

Mike
Mike (@guest_782798)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

No is the simple answer. You need professional Board of Trade Certificates of Competence gained through the MCA. You also need RN adquals to operate these ships. The RFA is a Hybrid job and few are qualified and certainly not the RN or RNR. If you wish a Fleet Auxiliary you need to pay for it and stop treating it with contempt. HMG need to invest and do it soon otherwise there will not be any support infrastructure.

A.harris
A.harris (@guest_782850)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Short and simple answer to this is bring back National service .leaving school don’t have a job 3yrs service extendable to 5 yrs .20 year old + and out of work the same 3yrs extendable to 5yrs

Simon
Simon (@guest_782420)
5 months ago

scrapping Fort George in the 2010 defence cuts, what a well thought out plan that was !!!

Jim
Jim (@guest_782452)
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon

I’m starting to think the 2010 SDSR was not a defence review at all 🧐

monkey spanker
monkey spanker (@guest_782529)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Starting to think? It was budget cut exercise and this has continued ever since. Defence constantly under inflation rises while defence inflation is much higher than normal inflation.
The only rises recently were to save face with aukus and nuclear stuff.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_782564)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

It wasn’t!! None of them are. They’re about fitting what you can into the budget, not building a force based in the threat.

Nick C
Nick C (@guest_782579)
5 months ago

As you and many others have said here for quite some time!! Any minute now some tw*t in Whitehall will come up with that deathly phrase, “punching above our weight”. At least Shapps is in today’s papers after a speech at Lancaster House saying he reckons we could be at war within 5years. Another deathly phrase “no sh*t Sherlock”

Sjb1968
Sjb1968 (@guest_782597)
5 months ago
Reply to  Nick C

I listened to Shapps being interviewed on the radio yesterday morning and it was embarrassing. His understanding of our military and it’s capabilities was woefully amateur.
His input to that speech was zero.
A junior defence minister was also questioned on another programme over the weekend and he obviously didn’t know the difference between a solid stores ship or tanker.
How can these people be at Cabinet discussing military matters is beyond me.

Last edited 5 months ago by Sjb1968
Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_782582)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

‘There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, the distant horizon at least’ a phrase to warm the cockles of a politician’s heart.

Frank
Frank (@guest_782599)
5 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

A Glimmer of light on the Horizon is akin to there being a light at the end of the tunnel……. except the light in the Tunnel just might be a Train hurtling towards you ! 🙁

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_782429)
5 months ago

Just beggars belief and shows what a state we are in.😡

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_782432)
5 months ago

Right at a time when we need such ships the muddled half-witted planners have got it wrong. The global high seas crisis is only just beginning and the RN is exposed in such a way that lives could be at risk. Someone in the UK Government needs to take a firm grip on our defences, before we start to lose face on commitments made to far and wide countries. The key issue is a Tory government that is more concerned with its survival and what’s going to happen to its MPs when they lose power. In the meantime, defence can… Read more »

Challenger
Challenger (@guest_782435)
5 months ago

Fort Vic will no doubt accompany the CSG on it’s big deployment East of Suez next year but then never sail again. In addition to a major gap in solid stores the Wave’s will almost certainly never put to sea in UK service ever again and none of the 4 Tide class tankers are currently deployed overseas despite all the recent activity. There are clearly a lot of heads in the sand when it comes to RN/RFA recruitment and retention, and quite how they think 3 new stores ships, 1 additional underwater surveillance ship and another 3 MCM motherships will… Read more »

Chris
Chris (@guest_782437)
5 months ago

I must add, it’s amazing that the MOD has 57,000 civilian employees on the payroll. Yet the RFA is quick to fall to zero!

Hugo
Hugo (@guest_782439)
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Well yeh. Going to sea is alot different than a desk job. Can’t send anybody to do it.

Donald
Donald (@guest_782444)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

Messed up pay and pensions,privatised everything, to happy to give billions away,please others,but don’t look after our own,bloody embarrassing for a big nation,went to woke,what a mess

Rob
Rob (@guest_783186)
5 months ago
Reply to  Donald

Big nation? More like big has been.

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_782512)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

Press GanG them all

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago) (@guest_782534)
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris

But somehow the UK has the 4th largest defence budget globally. Something is seriously screwed up. The overall budget is fine but so little capability and capacity for so much money. What price retention bonus payments relative to recruitment and training greenhorns. What about recruitment from Hong Kong, Singapore etc

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_782569)
5 months ago

Because the budget is there primarily to feed their fat cat friends in the UK defence industry. It goes on rhe nuclear stuff, contractors, and multi billion R&D programs like ( AUKUS, Tempest ) where the military get what exactly? Another SSN in the same pitiful numbers years from now and a handful of jets? Regenerating our capacity with required infrastructure is necessary, and my friend ABC here has gone into great and welcome detail. But none of it is directly funding military kit, people or supplies. Just allows that scumbag Sunak to grandstand on the world stage next to… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_782740)
5 months ago

Hi mate, you certain that £2:5 billion is coming from the MoD budget? I can’t find any reference to that, only that it’s going to go towards military kit for the Ukraine.
If it is coming out of the MoD budget, then that’s a big shift from previous donations, and as you say, Why? That budget is already under severe pressure, so would like to think it’s coming from some other magic money tree.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_782752)
5 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hi mate.
I’m not, actually, only what I recall I’d read.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_782757)
5 months ago

Ive tried to delve into this, and have read several accounts, but all I can see is that its going towards military aid for the Ukraine. TBH cant really find where its actually coming from in terms of dept!

pete
pete (@guest_782829)
5 months ago

Ive generally had a career in remote operation high CAPEX intensive industry with stringent performance standards. Spent 7 years with a huge multinational who was overstaffed, process heavy and with a culture focused on managing careers rather than managing the assets and business they were employed to serve. Left to join a smaller leaner entity. Half the assets but 1/10th the employees. Culture was based on careers that relied on performance, being safe, adding value and constant improvement. Every 18 months or so they made 10-15% redundant to ensure they stayed top quartile…and everyone wanted to work for them and… Read more »

Marked
Marked (@guest_782600)
5 months ago

It’s used as a means to siphon money off to industry. Barely disguised corruption if traced from company execs to party donors and the like.

It’s why every cost is so bloated. Like the snowmobiles reported on here last week. The support costs were so high it would be cheaper to replace the whole fleet in 18 months then again 18 months later than pay for the support. Until this changes we will get sweet f a for our money.

And don’t get me started on every study, every proof of concept, every demonstrator that leads to absolutely nothing.

MH
MH (@guest_782890)
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Alot of these jobs may have previously been done by uniformed staff, releasing staff into more appropriate roles, so backfillng at a much cheaper price and then they still get castigated! Not so long ago this was CS 90000+ jobs! You cant have a government department without staff?

Drew murrY
Drew murrY (@guest_782451)
5 months ago

How can we call ourselves a blue water navy without the rfa this beggars belief .enough is enough.

Jim
Jim (@guest_782453)
5 months ago

13 years of Tory cuts, how many times was the FSSS contract rebid because they did not have the money.

Now they expect RFA crews to work for buttons.

What did getting rid of Fort George generate? Next to nothing in the bigger scheme of things.

They seem to think because nurses and other government workers will accept continuous below inflation pay rises that they can get away with it for ever but with the RFA there is stiff competition from the civilian sector.

Louis
Louis (@guest_782478)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Amazingly, the programme to replace the Forts began in 2003 as part of MARS programme, but the first solid support ship will not enter service until 2031. 28 years is an embarrassment.

The USN is in need of more tankers, maybe a deal could be struck swapping the two Waves for a Lewis & Clark.

Chris
Chris (@guest_782767)
5 months ago
Reply to  Louis

Would be difficult to staff. Each L&C have a crew of 150.

TR
TR (@guest_782946)
5 months ago
Reply to  Louis

Standard MOD efficiency.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_782481)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

So what are Labour offering up on defence?

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_782520)
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I think you have to judge what has happened and is happening NOW with the current incumbents more than what may happen.
It is simply pathetic and a sad indictment of their true values.
I for one will not be voting them in again – not this time.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_782572)
5 months ago
Reply to  grizzler

Likewise.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_782571)
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Not a lot. They’re all as bad.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_782741)
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

At a time when the Conservatives are going down the pan, you might have thought that Labour would further turn the screw and issue a raft of proposals for defence, other than the vague tilt back to the NA.
They are strangely silent on defence as well as other areas methinks.

Mike
Mike (@guest_782812)
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Nothing and they started the whole issue of undermining defence with their CND support on the 1980s followed by little investment under Blair and Brown. Even worst was the Healy defence review in 1966 which wrecked a global navy

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_785342)
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

So are you saying stcking with the Tiries & allowing even more insane cuts & delays are ok? If Labour get in & make mistakes in defence we’ll be gunning for them too.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_785353)
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Labour aren’t going to do a better job are they? They will still have the same 50Bn defence budget to play with. We have had no defence pledges from them to go to 2.5% or higher. Defence will be low down the pecking order on the manifesto.

Steve
Steve (@guest_782513)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

The government has got themselves trapped /tied up in hoops over public sector payrises. They tried to make it a election thing, making the public sector seem greedy for wanting inflation increases but failed terribly with the average person supporting the public sector. The government has gone too deep now to back out and so we are in the mess we are. Had sunak had a backbone he would stand up to the extremes in his government and actually govern but nope. There were so many ways out of this mess including windfall taxes on energy companies, lower trade barriers,… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_782585)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

It’s Rearmament, Jim; but not……..

geoff
geoff (@guest_782456)
5 months ago

An overworked phrase but there are no words! The main characters behind this outrage need to be exposed for gross incompetence at least or better still charged with treason! The RN has some wonderful high end assets, up there with the best in the world, but with the vital lower end in every department hollowed out to a shell, leaving the whole top structure heavy and seriously unbalanced.

Frank
Frank (@guest_782464)
5 months ago

Two Tides were in Portland last time I went, plus Stirling Castle which hasn’t move for months…. just how bad is crew issue ?

Jim
Jim (@guest_782465)
5 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Don’t worry frank they are going to change the rules on foreigners serving in the RFA then CAPITA can get a nice big contract and bring in hundreds from abroad working at $1 an hour and changing the MOD £100 an hour.

Frank
Frank (@guest_782470)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Wouldn’t surprise me……… Maybe it’s just co-incidental that the Accommodation Barge is also in Portland !!!!

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_782515)
5 months ago
Reply to  Frank

They’ve all had Sea time as well so they are not Landlubbers bargain can also pay off their debts too those pesky Smugglers

Jack
Jack (@guest_782474)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim

too right!

Jack
Jack (@guest_782473)
5 months ago

Outrageous!

Knight7572
Knight7572 (@guest_782475)
5 months ago

Realistically to fix the problems that the British Armed forces have is going to take major reforms and sustained investment and given the Tories are facing probable electoral annihilation, yeah Labour would have to decide where they stand on defense which they have the chance to fix the problems that we have in this country

Darryl2164
Darryl2164 (@guest_782480)
5 months ago

Can it get any worse , still I suppose with so few ships actually at sea the governments stance would be , ‘well they are not actually needed ‘ .

Micki
Micki (@guest_782484)
5 months ago

They,re scrapping the armed forces, ministry of defence , alias ministry of cuts.

Exroyal.
Exroyal. (@guest_782485)
5 months ago

I am sorry to say but I have been a prophet of doom on defence for years. Finally all my predictions have come true. For those of you that mention Tory cuts please lay the blame at all politicians of all colours. I joined up in 74 and have seen year on year cuts ever since. They dispense with capability you do not need on a day to day basis. Armour, Artillery, Recce, Int, Naval, Air, and manpower. All abilities you can’t get back easily or at pace. In this case it’s the RFA. The ability to RAS is fundamental… Read more »

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_782501)
5 months ago
Reply to  Exroyal.

Agree , basic pay is the big elephant in the room for recruiting and retention of skilled people. Every other debate about recruitment is just window dressing untill pay resolved. In the 70s and 1982 defence spending gdp was around 5 percent , double what it is today . Bizarely and counter intuitively spending on people is the best bang for buck the armed forces can do .Modernisation new thinking is required but gross miss management from everyone involved in defence, politicians , mod , upper officer command , and increasing privatisation will continue a downward spiral. There is no… Read more »

Exroyal.
Exroyal. (@guest_782514)
5 months ago
Reply to  rst 2001

I think we are pretty much of a mind on this. Some little cuts to save money have far reaching consequences. For example. In my time every major dockyard and there was four at the time, had an AMG. Assisted Maintenance Group. These were made up with all the trades to maintain a warship. Mostly uniform but some dockyard mateys also, they were MOD employees. So a ship would have the services of the AMG for planned maintenance often over a leave period. Sometimes for emergency repairs. On my ship the swapped out the main switchboard over three days. Cutting… Read more »

Louis G
Louis G (@guest_782557)
5 months ago
Reply to  rst 2001

I did the maths a few months ago, IIRC a private in the army is now payed 30% less than they were in 2010, if pay had followed inflation they would be earning well over £30k now.

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_782590)
5 months ago
Reply to  Louis G

That’s a good observation of incentive right there. 30 percent less sums it up

Marked
Marked (@guest_782602)
5 months ago
Reply to  Louis G

It’s not just the army, every government funded role is the same. NHS, police, civil service, the whole lot without exception.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_782598)
5 months ago
Reply to  rst 2001

Except. Pay isn’t the No1 reason people leave.

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_782519)
5 months ago
Reply to  Exroyal.

Joined 76 first pay every fortnight was 15 pounds after tax and food and accomadation fair enough was in training and 16 years old but it was the allure of seeing the world and serving my Country simpler times one could say EX Royal

Exroyal.
Exroyal. (@guest_782567)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommo

Similar story here and definitely simpler times. The world has changed in respects of threats, capability and responses. To say nothing of society in general. With political incompetence and MOD mismanagement the establishment is behind the curve on every issue. I feel sorry for anyone in uniform today. We arguably had the best of it.

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_782596)
5 months ago
Reply to  Exroyal.

Judging by some of the Waistlines I’ve seen the Clubswingers of our day really made us sweat and ache for getting through Kidney hatches just kidding a lot of the old manual work has gone Barr RAS (L) +(S) alot is now Vertrep as well most CIWS are automatic Barr reloading Did miss the old fortnightly pay muster though the Joss was always round the corner “Haircut now” you’ve got money

Paul Gaunt
Paul Gaunt (@guest_782498)
5 months ago

Caused by Conservative, Labour, Conservative, Labour, Conservative, seesaw politics not paying in to our forces enough and constantly cutting back. If they tried keeping up it would they would be keeping creating jobs outside defence. Local towns and Cities would have benefit so much employment and economies.

Phil C
Phil C (@guest_782505)
5 months ago

What makes this even worse is that our heavy reliance on ‘partners’ could also be massively cut when Trump gets back in a leaves NATO and ties a ribbon on Europe for Putin. Who’s F-35s will we pad out our decks with then or who’ll make up the CSG?

TR
TR (@guest_782945)
5 months ago
Reply to  Phil C

I agree we’re hugely over reliant on US support. Looking back over the last century expecting the US to turn up and support you as an ally is not something that can be guaranteed and certainly not for a prolonged period of time.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_782506)
5 months ago

According to the RN website, the Tides can supply solid stores ,food and ammunition, as well as fuel and water. I believe the capability is much smaller than RFA Victoria, but we don’t exactly have many ships at sea needing replenishment.

Ted
Ted (@guest_782511)
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

The only ship capable of resupplying the carrier with ammunition is Fort Victoria. Tide Class are very limited in their ability to replenish solid stores and have absolutely no capacity for munitions so unfortunately the RN website is factually inaccurate.

Gertrude
Gertrude (@guest_782566)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ted

What a shocker. Their website is like a poorly written fantasy novel.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_782666)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ted

I don’t think so. The Tides have both a crane and Chinook capable flight deck to allow VERTREP. As I indicated, the capability is much smaller than Fort Vic but it does exist. The critical weapons on modern warships are missiles, both offensive and defensive. To date, none can be reloaded at sea. For the QEs, the key munition requirements are for the F35s. With the small number of available aircraft compared with the designed maximum, the ships are perfectly capable of carrying enough reloads of Paveway, AMRAAM and ASRAAM. The only other ammunition requirement is for the Phalanx cannon.… Read more »

Ted
Ted (@guest_782679)
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Indeed the Tide Class have cranes, however they are not certified for moving munitions whilst underway. Tide Class also have no defined cargo holds, instead have container points located fwd. The magazine is purely to hold their own stock. No Tide is cleared to hold any kind of missiles of these types and never will, as this is exclusive to FT Victoria only. I can tell you without going into too much detail that a Tide boat as a tanker would never be permitted to hold anything other than small quantities of small arms munitions, that includes 20mm Phalanx rounds.

TR
TR (@guest_782949)
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Putting that stuff in a tanker would not be wise.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_782507)
5 months ago

It’s unbelievably not one vessel available for supplying the RN and other countries can match this with no problem.Yet our politicians still go round smiling .On Sunday morning Lord Cameron on TV said making sure our forces have the right Budget to deal with trouble ,who he kidding 😕

Sjb1968
Sjb1968 (@guest_782613)
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

It was that corrupt idiot who in 2010 signed off the reductions that are now coming back to bite our military across the board. In this instance we scrapped Fort Vics sister ship and kept two older, obsolete Forts, which were not capable of supporting the new carriers. All because Fort George required a refit. Instead she went for scrap and the Aussies got the modern Largs Bay for peanuts. We actually kept the wrong ships. None of this is hindsight because it was spelt out at the time. Personnel numbers were cut via mass redundancies and all 3 services… Read more »

Simon
Simon (@guest_782637)
5 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

How silly does cutting 5000 personnel from the navy look now ( although we cant, be sure they were all sailers) still a massive mistake.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_782875)
5 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Agreed 👍

DC647
DC647 (@guest_782516)
5 months ago

But we’ve got TWO carriers that we can’t protect. They need to suspend the operation of one of the carriers and transfer the crew +300 around the rest of the surface fleet so we can keep both of these essential ships active. Our only capability to deliver 8 tanks, 500+ marines, 4 helos and heavy equipment. They can be used for humanitarian relief, disasters relief and mass evacuation. The air craft carrier can’t be used for any of this because they don’t have the capability, we don’t have the surface ships to protect them. Short sighted move by a defence… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_782521)
5 months ago
Reply to  DC647

He didnt agree to build two carriers though did he merely to curry favour North of the border.

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_782685)
5 months ago
Reply to  grizzler

Totally agree on that keep the Union intact now ships are being built by heavy trade union workers a strike has just been avoided in Glasgow

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_782523)
5 months ago
Reply to  DC647

Ah! Brave post. I think you are right. We can’t afford 2 strike carriers if it means we forgo the LPD’s and the size of the frigate and destroyer fleet we need – 24 minimum is the highest priority budget item. I read that Wallace wanted to lay up one carrier. Worth noting that the US is dealing with the Houthi cruise missles by mounting F-18 CAP patrols from Djibouti.

DC647
DC647 (@guest_782528)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

If they want to save face about laying up one carrier they could use the excuse we are doing a feasibility study into fitting Cats and Traps as laid out in the Royal Ark project. That could take upto 6 months to a year. If its feasible that could lay one up for a few years keeping the excess crew free to man other ships. That could lead to more capable carrier be able to fly other jets than just the f35s.

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_782553)
5 months ago
Reply to  DC647

Agree, where there’s a will there’s a way. If the French could swallow their pride and their obsession with nuclear propulsion an obvious option is for us to fund the conversion to cats and traps with a view to offering it to France for a fair price. Almost new, one owner, low mileage, go faster stripes…throw in a tricolor.

Last edited 5 months ago by Paul.P
Sjb1968
Sjb1968 (@guest_782624)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

It was only ever going to be one active carrier and it will be in 2025 when QE enters refit. The crisis is deeper than that and whilst I understand the logic this is about general underfunding, which leads to poor wages, conditions and career opportunities. You can keep cutting ship numbers but the limit on personnel numbers is set too low so those that can deploy are too frequently away from home. The % unfit to deploy is also high, genuine illness, transitioning, pregnancy, mental health and injury. We live in a PC world and there is a downside.… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_782655)
5 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

I agree with what you say; it helps to parse the separate issues in order to make progress in deciding what to do.
There is no excuse for poor provision of adequate health care for our servicemen and women.
Separate from that is the question of what kind of navy we need in the 21st century.

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_782522)
5 months ago

I would laugh -but of course its not funny.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_782536)
5 months ago
Reply to  grizzler

I’m afraid we have reached a tipping point with the RFA, it is starting to collapse after years of cracking at the seams and has tragically simply stopped operating in any effective manner. I’m afraid there is only one solution to this and that is to disband the RFA and bring it’s core assets into the RN. To achieve this and turn this unholy bloody mess around, there is only one answer, 3% GDP on defence, first step, invest in people! Pay rises all round, various incentive schemes, flexible engagement schemes for reservists, improved pension plans and tax brakes to… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg (@guest_782540)
5 months ago

It may just be by own ignorance of precise terminology, but the title feels incredibly sensationalist. It seems to imply that the entire RFA is inactive, versus the reality which is that it is just one ship from one particular class

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_782807)
5 months ago

Hi fella, yes and no really. Yes in the fact that FT Vic is inactive and will only probably sail on CSG 25 if they get a crew together and are able to keep her running. That in itself places severe restrictions on where the navy can deploy to without having to rely on friendly support. No it’s not an isolated case within the RFA. The Tides haven’t been outside of UK waters for a year or so now. More telling is the fact that we had to rely on a US tanker to support PoW on her Westlant deployment… Read more »

Bob
Bob (@guest_782543)
5 months ago

What a state we are in.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_782563)
5 months ago

Can someone provide the NAMES of the officials, RN Officers, who decided in 2010 getting rid of George was a good thing to do? While keeping the far less capable and older Rosalie and Austin?
At least we’d have had 2 now so one in use, one spare, if it need be.
One of the more imbecilic decisions of 2010, along side getting rid of the Bay.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_782609)
5 months ago

These decisions are made to fill black holes in the budget. Unfortunately, these black holes never seem to get filled as prices go up along with inflation and stagnant defence budgets. And so we have another black hole to fill, hence cuts. I am more optimistic about the future, as you know. But it doesn’t help us much today. We still have the capability most nations don’t, and many we don’t know about at all. And a lot of money is being spent on equipment many who use this site forget about. The Force’s are being transformed. But a lack… Read more »

Simon
Simon (@guest_782622)
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I believe is 2010 the Treasury asked for a 10-20% cut in the defence budget. what happed was about 8%, so there was the equipment black hole and cuts

Lusty
Lusty (@guest_782765)
5 months ago

The most moronic decision of them all, at least from the physical perspective of a deployable asset. From what I have heard, she was a tad… shagged, but certainly repairable. Seems that CSG was a distant priority at the time, which is now coming back to bite us.

Largs as second. We could certainly do with the capacity now.

T22 third. Should have had a long-term plan to replace them.

And of course, the biggest lost was in personnel.

Ron
Ron (@guest_782606)
5 months ago

Underfunded, under cared for, under paid, over worked with the off chance of being shot. Whats not to like! HMG no matter which party should hold their heads in shame. How to fix the situation well there is two possible ways, increase the defence budget or remove the nuclear deterrant, Mod civil servant cost and pension cost from the defence budget. A quick look at some costs, Administration of the MoD £2 billion per year, Civil Servants £3 billion, consultancy £250 million, £13.2 billion set aside for the decommissioning of submarines, cost of the Dreadnought class £31 billion (R&D +… Read more »

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard (@guest_782634)
5 months ago

Whatever the reasons, this is nothing short of criminal neglect

Mikeytee
Mikeytee (@guest_782638)
5 months ago

2010 Defence Review (sic), Surely the most damaging Defence Review ever short of hauling the white flag it was only about cutting costs and equipment and this has been for norm for 40 years plus: the Post Cold War peace dividend was used up decades ago. We are no longer post war but Pre-War and yet our politicians do little except to continually underfund our country’s defences and make promises years down the line of better things to come. It makes no difference who is in power because it’s endemic within our political set-up. It will take only a small,… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_782690)
5 months ago
Reply to  Mikeytee

Si vis pacca parabellum this a dead language term that resounds in today’s modern world and I thought most of the top tier politicians all went to Eaton and other top Public schools where Latin is still taught (seek peace prepare for War )

Barry Larking
Barry Larking (@guest_782662)
5 months ago

One of the architects of this fiasco is presently (this week at least …) the Noble Lord David Cameron of Shanghai, former Prime Minister 2010-2016.

So we are sunk.

Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_782821)
5 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Yep ,I just can’t get me hat on that ‘call me Dave’ is back…How the **** was that allowed to happen….simply un- be-lievable.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_782837)
5 months ago

The craziness #1 is we had two other FSS relics which we sold to Egypt. At lease they floated and had stores provision.
#2 is why we cant find crew to keep the Ft Victoria active and seagoing.

Peter Rawnsley
Peter Rawnsley (@guest_782909)
5 months ago

The government needs to do something about the lack of suppliers to get Ower navy back to full strength

Rob
Rob (@guest_783185)
5 months ago

This is not just unforgivable it’s also completely crazy. Why aren’t heads rolling? Where is the accountability??

john stone
john stone (@guest_784156)
4 months ago

About time we realized because our politicians do not give a damn about the defense of the country and cut the expenditure for years we are no longer a global or even European power. We prance about with nuclear Subs and carriers with no aircraft and so on

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_785207)
4 months ago

Just another ordinary day at the MOD

Micki
Micki (@guest_815818)
1 month ago

The goal is to leave Britain unarmed. Traitors.