A British aircraft carrier has led warships from Britain, America, Canada, The Netherlands, Japan and New Zealand into the disputed South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation rights in the face of Chinese claims on the region.

China previously issued a warning to the UK’s Carrier Strike Group not to carry out any “improper acts” as it entered the South China Sea for the first time earlier this year. The pro-government Global Times, which is seen as a mouthpiece for the ruling Chinese Communist Party, said:

“The People’s Liberation Army Navy is at a high state of combat readiness China has been closely monitoring the progress of the Carrier Strike Group, which is currently sailing through the South China Sea en route to Japan. It has also accused Britain of “still living in its colonial days.”

China claims almost all of the 1.3 million-square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory, and it has denounced the presence of foreign warships there as the root of tensions in the region.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group.

Who’s in the fleet?

China say that its claim to the sea is based both on the Law of the Sea Convention and its so-called ‘nine-dash’ line. This line extends for 2,000 kilometers from the Chinese mainland, encompassing over half of the sea. However in an historic decision in 2016, the international tribunal in The Hague ruled against part of China’s claims to the sea.

The US, UK and Australia routinely conduct freedom of navigation operations (or FONOPs) to challenge what Washington calls “attempts by coastal states to unlawfully restrict access to the seas”.

Territorial claims in the South China Sea

Both the US and UK have angered China previously by carrying out ‘Freedom of Navigation Patrols’ in the South China Sea to assert rights to freedom of navigation. For more on why the Carrier Group is in the disputed region, follow the link below.

Why was a British carrier group in the South China Sea?

Chinese defence spokesman Tan Kefei was quoted in the South China Morning Post as saying:

“The Chinese side believes that the South China Sea should not become a sea of great power rivalry dominated by weapons and warships. The real source of militarisation in the South China Sea comes from countries outside this region sending their warships thousands of kilometres from home to flex muscles. The Chinese military will take necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interest as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth sailing with her Carrier Strike Group.

Back at the start of the month, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told MPs that “It’s absolutely right we exercise and defend the rights, and we do so from the Ukrainian territorial sea to the South China Sea” after discussions on a British warship sailing through Ukrainian territory claimed by Russia.

What happened last time a British vessel sailed through the South China Sea?

HMS Albion has previously sailed through the South China Sea.

In 2018, assault ship HMS Albion was challenged by a Chinese frigate and two helicopters during freedom of navigation exercise in the South China Sea. Local media report that both sides remained calm during the encounter and the Royal Navy assault ship continued on course despite protests from China.

What is the UK Carrier Strike Group doing?

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the deployed flag ship for Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), a deployment that will see the ship and her escorts sail to the Asia-Pacific and back. The Carrier Strike Group includes ships from the United States Navy, the Dutch Navy, and Marines from the US Marine Corps as well as air assets from 617 Sqn, 820 NAS, 815 NAS and 845 NAS.

The Royal Navy say that the UK’s Carrier Strike Group will visit more than one fifth of the world’s nations. Led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, the task group will visit 40 nations including India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore in a deployment covering 26,000 nautical miles.

“While in the Pacific, ships from the Carrier Strike Group will mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the UK by taking part in Exercise Bersama Lima. Joining HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment are destroyers HMS Diamond and Defender; frigates HMS Richmond and Kent; an Astute-class submarine in support below the waves; and Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ships RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring.

More than 30 aircraft will also embark across the task group including F-35 jets from 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, and the US Marine Corps’ VMFA-211; Wildcat helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron and Merlin helicopters from 820 and 845 Naval Air Squadrons. Royal Marines from 42 Commando will also deploy with the carrier. Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen and American Arleigh Burke destroyer USS The Sullivans are also part of the strike group.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea with a mix of British and American jets.

For analysis on the rationale behind entering the South China Sea, followthe link below.

Right versus might in the South China Sea

 

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Jason M Holmes
Jason M Holmes
5 days ago

Brilliant, that’s some serious firepower, great to see so many nations operating like this, not that it will deter China from its land grabbing, but must make them think twice if we can assemble a show of force like this routinely

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Jason M Holmes

M not so sure, China seems to do what it wants and gets away with it. However they might think twice about taking Taiwan through force but everything else nope won’t bother them.

Steve
Steve
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

It will be interesting to see if China really have a desire to take Taiwan or if it’s just words to appease the hardcore in the party. We are reaching the point where they could realistically achieve it, without the US being able to stop them, as I very much doubt the US has any desire to go to all out war with China considering the damage it would do to their own economy and even if they did try and help, operating that far from the US would seriously restrict the forces they could deploy, especially if the Chinese… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I think that tipping point of not being able to stop China from retaking Taiwan in a very bloody invasion and subjugation is around 2030 with current military expansion. They need 5-6 fleet carriers and a host of better submarines. Currently US and allies underwater capabilities far exceed China’s. Then look at warship missile load out and again not until 2030s with many more type 55 destroyers and type 54 frigates does China reach any sort of localised parity with USN. The US will not fight alone. Japan, possibly South Korea, definitely Australia, possibly New Zealand and possibly the UK… Read more »

Steve
Steve
5 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Would they need carriers for it, they have a number of air base in the region across the islands, I just don’t know what the ranges are Vs land based bombers/fighters. I get the meaniful influence point, but the US economy is so heavily reliant on cheap Chinese factories/labor and not something that could be reversed in decades, and so the pain involved in taking on China probably would prevent the US taking any action other than words. Additionally is Taiwan worth it. The west generally only goes to war when there is something in it for them. Saying that… Read more »

George Parker
George Parker
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve

That is why a new SEATO is needed, with major military commitment and a first use of nuclear weapons policy. Based on a modified NATO framework.

Steve
Steve
3 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

I don’t think the UK should be getting involved with any military treaties in Asia. We should not be getting our hands tied to help out in a region that has no direct secruity implications to the UK.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t get involved defending allies but we should also have the option not to, should things get messy.

Last edited 3 days ago by Steve
George Parker
George Parker
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve

With all due respect Steve, I must disagree on every point. We have tight ties and interests with Asia. Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea for example. A silly percentage of world trade passes through choke points in that region. Some of it heading to and from GB. That is why the CCP want a stranglehold on the South China Sea.

Steve
Steve
3 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

Whilst I don’t disagree, any treaty needs to be mutual and our interests would not always be impacted, no remaining colonies in the region of note. We don’t want or need to be dragged into regional wars, if it’s not in our interest to do so and there for sure will be ones in the medium term. NATO is different it is mutual defense, and was equally formed to defend the UK as any NATO member.

If we decide to enter the wsr, that is a different matter but shouldn’t be a treaty issue.

Last edited 3 days ago by Steve
George Parker
George Parker
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Our future interests lie with the Anglosphere, not our regional neighbours. In other words the Five Eyes. I would add India to that group too as a vitally important future partner. The worlds largest democracy and constantly threatened by the CCP chi-coms. South East Asia is therefore just as important to us as the North Atlantic and Europe. Make no mistake, in the modern world the CCP are the biggest threat to our way of life since the Axis of WWII. A binding treaty such as NATO, with guaranteed mutual defence – including first use of nuclear weapons. Is the… Read more »

Steve
Steve
2 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

I get the need to pull back China but let’s face it, we can’t do it without destroying our economy and the same applies for all of the west. Unlike the cold war with Russia or Iran/north Korea etc, the wests ecomony is fully interwined with China and not really the rest of South east Asia (the full region combined doesn’t come close to the trade we do with China). Is this right, clearly not, but we need to solve the economic problem (build factories/accept massive price increases for everything/etc) before we can seriously push back China and realistically when… Read more »

George Parker
George Parker
2 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve, what you say makes perfect sense. You are correct to emphasise that the economies of the world are intertwined with that of CCP China, by design. US started it in the hope that westernising mainland China would end communism. That failed but it did show some initial promise. Our integrated economies can be viewed as the CCP’s greatest strength (See your points, very well presented.) However, it can also be viewed as their greatest weakness if handled correctly. Therein lies the key. The USSR fell after being placed under great pressure from all sides. From it’s own long suffering… Read more »

Steve
Steve
2 days ago
Reply to  Steve

For us it’s dangerous, the more the US demonised China, the more it pushes China and Russia into bed together and that can’t be good for European peace.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Just noted your above. This may help:
https://youtu.be/0pP29LikO4M
Trust so

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Why do they need the carriers/SMs to invade Taiwan? China is only 100 miles from Taiwan, well within the range of both shore based land attack cruise missiles and aircraft! You don’t launch an invasion force from SM’s either, their SSN’s might be several generations behind those of the West, but their SSK’s are highly capable of conducting area denial ops.
What the Chinese lack is a amphibious capability to conduct such a large scale invasion, hence why they have been trying various RoRo type ferries during recent exercises.

Gareth
Gareth
5 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

I’m not sure they’d need carriers to invade Taiwan but they might need them to try and intercept US and other nations carrier strike groups that are en route to try and reinforce Taiwan. They would need to blockade the island from reinforcement/resupply by air and sea for as long as the invasion lasts.

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

I don’t think that that is the main purpose of the PRC building carriers, although that is certainly one of the tasks for a carrier. I think that they are being built to project power across the globe just like those in the West – building up towards a true blue water navy. Agree that they would have to blockade Taiwan, but, I think that a combination of their Navy and AF will achieve that along with Land based missile systems. After all, they don’t have to win any sea battles, just stop the West getting into a range where… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

They would need carriers and a capable fleet to hold at bay and enforce area denial to a counter attacking/ intervening fleet.
That said i think US sub surface strength is such that China will be hard pushed containing the USN nuclear submarine fleet.

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Agree totally that the USN would win the underwater war eventually, however, would still disagree ref your point about their need for the carriers to counter the US. Great if they have the capabilities I’m sure, but still tend to think that they can keep a US fleet at arms length using their longer ranged aircraft and long range ASM along with any SSKs the US miss. Just hope that we don’t find out the hard way!!!!

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

We probably couldn’t stop China now, they have enough land based assets and submarines, landing craft ect

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
4 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

“Currently US and allies underwater capabilities far exceed China’s.” 

Not at the moment!

South China Sea: US submarine collides with unknown object
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-58838332

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I prefer to read Janes defence website or Warships IFR. They tend to be better informed than the BBC on defence issues. The US navy and allies submarine fleet is much much more powerful than Chinas now and into 2030s. China has large numbers of submarines but they are loud/ noisey and therefore easily detected, tracked and could be sunk. The QE carrier strike group showed this by easily tracking 3 to 4 reported PLAN submarines that were positioned ahead and to its flanks. You can bet the Astute class with the group had firing solutions on the lot of… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I’m sure the US has no desire, but if China is allowed to take over Taiwan without Taiwanese endorsement, the USA can kiss goodbye to any further meaningful influence. I don’t tend to share an all powerful view of Chinese capability in the face of stern political and military push back.

Let Taiwan continue to arm, and surge western submarine capacity when required, in the first instances of aggression, maybe.

julian1
julian1
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Isn’t the most sensible option to continue surging Taiwan with fighter aircraft, SAMS, ASMs, radar and anti-tank weapons? They could become such a prickly opponent that the Chinese consider it just isn’t worth it? By all accounts the mountainous terrain would make it impossible to subjugate anyway. No need for direct western involvement.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 days ago
Reply to  julian1

I think we’re basically on the same page, Julian. The first instances of aggression would need to be overt, whilst surging western submarine capability subsequent to that would remain essentially covert right up to China crossing the Rubicon i.e. she can back off before any surface manoeuvres are necessary. Not sure lack of Allied moves or terrain issues could replace robust potential/counter.
Just my take, of course.

Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  julian1

To be fair the west isn’t surging them, the west and specifically US defence companies are making huge amount of money selling them gear and so are enjoying the uncertainty.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 days ago
Reply to  julian1

Agree arm Taiwanese defence forces so any invasion becomes a very bloody mess with high casualties for Chinese armed forces.
The Taiwanese are perfectly determined and focussed enough to defend their sovereignty and democratic freedoms.
I think they should declare independence and soverignty.

Paul T
Paul T
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I think that if China really wanted to take Taiwan by whatever means ( Politically or Militarily ) in time it will succeed.If it chooses the Military Route the question has to be asked what price it is prepared to pay for that to be a reality.China has no recent Combat Experience of any note to draw conclusions from – maybe the lessons learned from their little foray into Vietnam in 1979 will ultimately prove to be Taiwan’s saviour.

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Vietnam’s quit strong, over 10 million soldiers, amazingly 5 million more than China on paper. Granted that’s millitary and paramilitary.

Last edited 4 days ago by Reaper
Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Unlike the west, I doubt China cares about the deaths to its own forces and/or civi deaths to Taiwan, especially as it controls the media/internet. In that respect it has a huge advantage.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Know you don’t mean to infer, but hope we view the Taiwanese as a little than ‘chinese chequer pieces’. 🙂

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

More than

Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

For sure not. It’s the same as falklands, Argentina will retake the islands the moment it feels like it has enough international support and miltiary might to do so.

Paul T
Paul T
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I’m not so sure about that, maybe 15 – 20 years ago that would be true, now that we’re in the age of the Internet and Social Media people are more aware of what’s going on in the world. Even Russia with it’s Operations in Ukraine found increasing resistance to Military Casualties, with stories of Secret Burials in hidden Cemeteries being reported.

Steve
Steve
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

China is better prepared for it than Russia. They have been working on an internet kill switch for years, a way to totally isolate the country from the outside world. The Chinese gov know that sooner or later they will have their own spring, so many people living in poverty with a country ruled by an ‘in club’, is going to explode into revolution at some point. Hence the great firewall.

George Parker
George Parker
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

The CCP never makes a move without a goal in site and careful preparation. It’s compulsive behaviour. Let them take the initiative at your peril. Their aim is to dominate the world without firing a shot.The Long Game.
If you think Western military are keen to quote Sun Tzu, the PLA take it to the next level. Their military college publishes many doctrinal documents, in Chinese of course. If you manage to find reliable translations they make interesting reading. “Know your enemy.” As they say.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
5 days ago
Reply to  Jason M Holmes

The real message is for those countries who have a nine dash line running through their back garden: stand and you will not stand alone.

This will make it harder for China to continue bullying its neighbours.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
5 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Well said. I’m sure a lot of us are getting sick and tired of the CCPs propaganda, egotistical bullying and sense of entitlement to other countries sovereign territory, resources and denying their right to own self determination. Respect for others is surely two-way, for the big or small. Let’s hope the forces of the freer more democratic world will continually stand up for Taiwan and its people and other countries in similar situations and for international law and order. I think we can say we are on the right side of the fence on this one but the West needs… Read more »

Rob
Rob
5 days ago

That is some fleet. Maybe 200 aircraft? Some submarines too. I think the message will have been received by the CCP.

eclipse
eclipse
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Wonder how many of them are F-35s. QE has 18, and I know the Nimitzes have begun to receive F-35s as well but I’m not sure how many nor whether Reagan and Vinson have any.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Great article in warships IFR about new US carrier air wing components. In essence osprey instead of greyhound. A few more f18G growlers, lose an F18 superhornet squadron so 33 superhornets instead of 44 and add 10 F35Cs. So both these carriers of Nimitz class in theory could have 20 F35Cs onboard.

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Carl Vinson is the first carrier to embark F35C’s, believe she has about 4-8 onboard, believe they are just getting upto speed with operating them.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Nope 1 squadron of 10 F35Cs onboard

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Cheers for the correction.👍

Jason M Holmes
Jason M Holmes
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob

No doubt will just encourage the Chinese to up defence spending even further, seems like a bottomless pit at the moment. I certainly do my best to not buy chinese where possible, lets all do our bit !

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Jason M Holmes

Yeah, we have to stop our company’s manufacturing in China, how about sanctions for building islands and stealing an ocean. Or unlike russia does too much happen in China to sanction them..If we could sanction them and thus force western nations to build elsewhere that would show China…But Money talks and China has bought up so much and so many people it’s probably impossible to do anything that will truly hurt them!!..

Last edited 5 days ago by Reaper
Tams
Tams
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Manufacturing has been moving out of China for several years now regardless of the morals of it. China is getting too expensive (and difficult) to manufacture in.

We need to accelerate the move out though.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Agree reaper. If we withdraw all investment and purchasing of manufacturing from China then we remove the economic means powering their militsry build up. The Western world has been sleep walking into this problem for decades, hungry for cheap labour, no health and safety in manufacturing, not caring about terrible working conditions in Chinese sweetshops. The result is massive budget surpluses that fund their military and vast infrastructure boom. It has to end. I dont buy anything made in China. If a company’s like Amazon and Walmart had a policy to do the same that would be a massive step… Read more »

simon
simon
4 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I would suspect that a lot of the components in the products you buy are made in China, even if the product itself says made in the UK,USA,Germany or wherever (and there are a number of rules that cover saying were something is made that mean only some very minor work need to be done to say it was made somewhere) The company that I work for is the same, we manufacture our product in the UK, but some of the components are made in China and some of the components we buy have process involved in the manufacture carried… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago
Reply to  Jason M Holmes

Yep me too. Refuse to buy anything Chinese….or French.😁

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

French wine isnt to shaby though!

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago

Why don’t we ever see the Astute? Is it even there? Or will that always be far ahead of the carrier, like already scouted or scouting the SC sea, there will be multiple Chinese subs there so would be interesting to know how the Astute’s doing,,also what’s the main difference in capability again between HMS Astute and say Artful? And why do we put up with Chinese Crap? Building islands, blackmailing and threatening allies ect, Money? Trade? Don’t want the Chinese to stop trading with us because they have a huge market? I say screw that the world should unite… Read more »

Jason M Holmes
Jason M Holmes
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

That’s the point, you never see it !

Ron Stateside
Ron Stateside
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Land grabs. Sea grabs. Fish grabs. All to feed a people most responsible for destroying the planet with their emissions. There will likely be plethora of reasons for the world to unite and take on China.

Tams
Tams
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Is it? Isn’t it? What about American or Japanese subs? Sort of the point no?

I guess we’ll never truly know and all the better for it.

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Both UK and USN SSN’s are operating with the CSG, as probably are some Japanese SSK’s. They don’t advertise there positions to all and sundry, sort of defeats the purpose of a SM!!
The only difference capability wise between the A boats is their age, everything else is as is.

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

‘their positions’!!

James
James
5 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Anson will have different capabilities being the first of the updated specs.

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  James

No she won’t have, the updated specs are largely an internal redesign to address the shortcomings of the design of the first three boats.
Sonar/CMS/sensors and weapons wise which are the main flighty bits are all the same.
This type of update programme was the same for both S and T boats, they all had similar capabilities too!

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

I thought Astute was different to the others with some tech.

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Depends on what you mean by ‘some tech’. The vast majority of systems will be the same, perhaps with minor differences in software, but that is easily fixed. It is possible that one might have a standalone system that the others don’t have (Talent has a NAS fit), which would be for evaluation purposes. If said fit was found to be beneficial, then it would probably be retrofitted to the others in due course. If any of them are ‘special fit’ boats, which is a totally separate programme, then they will have some extra tech(sensors) for their specific role. Outside… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Any first of class SSN (Astute) will be the trials boat for that class. She may have some kit initially, but that will be trials kit for the boffins to ‘measure/record data’. It generally gets removed once complete.

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Ahh HMS Astute did get a major capability upgrade in 2014ish bringing it in line with the newer astutes I presume. I remember reading years ago it had some different gear compared to the second Astute, but I can’t find the paper or what it was that was different.

julian1
julian1
5 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

will early boats be reconfigured as per the later boats at refit or is it too much work?

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago
Reply to  julian1

It is entirely possible, it will ultimately depend on how much any constraints are impacting on OC. The first three boats will have accepted ‘work arounds’ to deal with any significant shortcomings, with the worst being dealt with as and when it can be accomplished. If any remedial work requires a significant amount of time to sort, then it will be done in one of their docking periods if at all possible, only because that is when contractors will have the most time to sort any issues. Again it will depend on the work package and money. The A boats… Read more »

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hard to believe HMS Astute is more than half way through her life already!! Just 10 years left in her.

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Yes, her core life is expected to last some 25 years, which from commission will take her to 2035 give or take. Long before we reach this point (2030ish) we will either have started construction of SSN(R) hull 1, or will be looking at a refit for her if we want to keep numbers at 7. The only current way to get more then 7 SSNs is to build more of these replacements for the A boats. To me, we should start construction earlier then what will be planned, between Dreadnought hull 2-3 instead of 3-4. It may well happen… Read more »

eclipse
eclipse
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

We should get at least 12 SSNR, hopefully 14, ideally 16. That would allow us to guarantee a sub simultaneously in 4 places permanently. Or we could get a mix of SSNs and SSKs… but we definitely need more than 7.

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Well that is the conundrum for numbers WRT SSN(R). How many do we build/need, two different questions? A more difficult question to answer is is directly linked to this numbers question is ‘what comes after SSN(R)’? Dreadnought hull 1 should be in commission by 2030ish, her core life is expected to last some 35-40 years, so she won’t need replacing until 2065 at the earliest. If SSN(R) hill 1 is in commission by say 2035, that’s 30 years of building the MOD has to find for Barrow if it wants to keep the workforce going! Obviously we don’t know what… Read more »

eclipse
eclipse
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Why would you say the boat 😉 has sailed on SSKs? It would be, most likely, an off the shelf purchase.

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

We build our own warships/submarines, we have no spare capacity to build any more, neither do we have enough qualified workers to set up a production facility at another yard in the UK , it would take years to get started. It will be interesting to see how we end up helping Aus get their nuclear project up and running too, as they are going to need a huge amount of assistance and personal to achieve their aims. Yes. I agree the only way to get some SSKs would be to buy off the shelf from another country -Sweden, Germany… Read more »

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  julian1

I’m Right in thinking Hms Astute only has 10 years left in service?, if we don’t want to refuel her like she was designed not to be. And that means we will barely ever actually have 7 SSNs active at once…

Paul T
Paul T
4 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

That is correct, by the time HMS Agincourt enters service HMS Astute won’t have that many Operational years left in her – hopefully the replacement Class will be a more seamless transition when it starts Production.

James
James
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

So the original boats had shortcomings which Anson will be the first to be updated/upgraded hence will have different capabilities whatever they may be otherwise they wouldnt have been upgraded.

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  James

Morning James, the shortcomings are not specifically equipment related, but more to do with the internal layout of the original design, specifically the front end where the accommodation/messing and command/control areas reside. The A boats are larger then the T boats so have more internal volume, however, the front section has been designed differently. Whereas in earlier classes, the round tube had decks built in with equipment raft mounted, Astutes essentially had a square peg inserted into a round hole and the square box rafted instead. This method has vastly reduced the amount of internal space available for everything that… Read more »

Peregrine16
Peregrine16
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Really interesting, thanks Deep. Do we know how Astute would be refuelled should she need life extension?

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  Peregrine16

She has the same reactor as the Vanguard class SSBNs, currently Vanguard is in Devonport having her reactor re-fuelled to extend her life until the Dreadnoughts come into commission. They are having difficulties with the refit as they weren’t designed to be re-fuelled. I believe that she is currently some 6-8 months behind schedule and counting. Hopefully it will be sorted soon, any lesson learnt could be applied to Astute should she need to be re-fuelled. I think a much simpler solution would be to bring forward the build of SSN(R) if at all possible, thereby not having to go… Read more »

Peregrine16
Peregrine16
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Yes having the SSN(R) following straight on is the best solution. Good news that that project has started. Hopefully the Government has learned the danger of leaving SSN design and build skills to go fallow.

Tams
Tams
5 days ago

I can’t wait for the wolf warriors to make a statement.

I guess we’ll ‘know true death and total destruction’ or something.

Beautiful fleet btw. It’s a shame that an Australian vessel isn’t there, but they were before and are active elsewhere. And good to see New Zealand in there.

Jason M Holmes
Jason M Holmes
5 days ago
Reply to  Tams

When they have 12 type 26’s they’ll have more to spare!

eclipse
eclipse
5 days ago
Reply to  Jason M Holmes

They’ll only have 9, no?

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Yeah 9, 12 including new destroyers.

Mickey
Mickey
5 days ago
Reply to  Tams

Good to see New Zealand and Canada there.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago

That is a powerful fleet deploying for freedom of navigation. Veey clear message of international solidarity. They cant have failed to notice. Strange the Chinese navy didnt sortie to shadow or at least square upto this fleet with both their carriers and their huge escort warship fleet.

eclipse
eclipse
5 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I actually believe they have. While this fleet sailed in together, they were also previously separate (Vinson CSG, Reagan CSG, QE CSG) and might actually be separate now. Some were shadowed briefly by Chinese warships, not sure which ones though. And, China’s main response was sending more and more jets to Taiwanese Air Defence Zones.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 days ago

Maybe a mute point, but I do question the general use of the expression ‘waters claimed by China’. That may just pass in the interim as a description of a straight or geologically formed archipelago, but surely not in the case of virually the entire South China Sea, the status of which having furthermore been re-confirmed in law.

Pete
Pete
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

An interesting read. I’m not a fan of the PRC regime but some interesting issues described…at least as to why they believe they have a claim.

https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/JIPA/Display/Article/2528218/historically-mine-the-potentially-legal-basis-for-chinas-sovereignty-claims-to/

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Thanks, very interesting as you say. The UN position appears to hinge around that organisation’s justification for the section commencing:-
None of the fiercely disputed Spratly Islands, the UN body found, were “capable of generating extended maritime zones …”
though any returning of disputed areas to China post WW2 is an issue.

Pete
Pete
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Indeed Gavin. I thought the discussions at the end about ‘which China’ were particularly interesting. If Taiwan has a potential claim it would explain why the PRC may be interested in bringing the Taiwan issue to a head sooner rather than later.

P

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Surely Taiwan’s move ought only to a chess-block, to show broader ‘origin’ of any considered legal claims by PRC. Taiwan herself has more immediate issues of survival to worry about, and would hardly solely end up with those areas under any circumstances i.e. on her own she’d come to an agreement with all other claimants about resources, or sacrifice the goodwill of everyone. Either way, it’s clear the issue is not going away any time soon, which, baring a Damascene Conversion on the part of PRC, looks regrettably military in outcome. But where to political relations after that from China’s… Read more »

pete
pete
4 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Agree. I cant imagine Taiwan would ever seek control of SCS itself and the hostility that would come with that. …., but if western marine law academics are talking about it it may influence any further international rulings and would spook the PRC. Interesting days

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 days ago
Reply to  pete

Ah so, the only certainty is uncertainty.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
5 days ago

Does anyone here know if the CSG21 is visiting Sydney? The harbour is big enough, the weather is getting warmer and our COVID restrictions are gradually getting lifted. I’d love to see the fleet close up.

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Not visiting OZ atall I believe.

DaveyB
DaveyB
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

I believe HMS Prince of Wales will be visiting in a year or two. It may also include New Zealand?

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

i didn’t know they have said where POW will visit.

DaveyB
DaveyB
4 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

I’ve read it somewhere, I’ll try to find the link.

eclipse
eclipse
4 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I’ve also heard about that. Can’t find the link though either. Anyway, I can’t imagine where PoW would “visit” NZ? They don’t have anywhere big enough for it to go alongside. At best, it would be one of their two frigates sailing out for exercises.

Donaldson
Donaldson
4 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Closest UK CSG got to visiting Australia was HMS Diamond exercising with HMAS Canberra, HMAS Anzac and HMAS Sirius.

DaveyB
DaveyB
5 days ago

I wonder what would happen if “we” helped set up a scientific research station with the cooperation of the Philippines on the Scarborough Shoals?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
3 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I think the USA presence on Palawan, Antonio Bautista Base is still being extended i.e. if so, just a couple of hundred miles out from the Spratly Islands. Then there would be the US presence at the other bases on Philippine major islands. Concentric encircling.

Richard Beeston
Richard Beeston
5 days ago

I know that Taiwan could be invaded by the CCP and they would be victorious. I thought the CCP were playing the long game by saying Taiwan will eventually be reunited? A long term goal, with no urgency. After an invasion what happens next? The western countries could cut all economic ties with China – stop buying their goods. I know this would cause a worldwide financial crash and recession. They could even blockade their ports. The other choice is appeasement, roll over and let the CCP take what they want without consequences. That would do immense harm to China.… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
5 days ago

Until the west starts making it’s own goods in quantity and stop buying chinese goods made cheap Bejing will carry on doing whatever they think is best for them. yes there ecomony is huge but it is geared to selling cheap mass produced good to the West. ALL our successive goverments have just rolled over and let this happen. People want more all the time, more pay/bigger houses/better cars but don’t want to pay more for it. So they(we) all buy cheap chinese goods, hence our manufacturing base for mass market products has now pretty much gone. If Western comsumers… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by Steve M
Jay R
Jay R
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

The WEST will soon be the second biggest customer of Chinese products. The biggest customer will be the Chinese people who are now “middle class”. The WEST need to realise soon that they are no longer the greatest people on the planet and shouldn’t feel entitled to enact regime change when they don’t like what they see. China has every right to its own destiny, on its own terms. Just like the WEST did and continue to do so. There is not any empirical evidence that communism is any worse than democracy. They are just ideologies. As impressive as the… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by Jay R
Gary
Gary
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Hi Jay R, just a few comments. History does not repeat itself, it does have similar contexts but can have very different outcomes. I agree with you that the Chinese domestic middle classes are the emergent to market. However, no one suggested that the west was “entitled to enact regime change” in China other than you. China is certainly allowed to have its destiny, but destiny is a vague word. Does destiny mean it should be allowed to invade Taiwan? Does it mean that stamping out democracy Hong Kong should be forgotten? Or the destruction of Tibetan culture and the… Read more »

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

China still has vast amounts of peasant farmers and very poor.

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

And those Chinese middle class prefer to buy western goods, clothes, cars ect, they know Chinese quality and products suck, China is trying to build better though.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

I’ve mentioned this in passing previously, but was struck by the comment of a Brit sole trader who has visited China twice lately. He stated matter-of-factly that indigenous crap manufacture was not acceptable to the Chinese consumer.
However, often Western contracts for Chinese export goods stipulated designing products down to a price over quality. Had the ring of ‘Accountancy / Profit Truth’ to it as stated.

Mark
Mark
1 day ago
Reply to  Jay R

Can subs be rearmed at sea? They only carry upto 36 missles so once they have fired them they will have to travel back to safe harbor and re load. An aircraft carrier is a sitting target unless it’s out of harm’s way and protected by its surface escorts.It can stay on station in definitely with resupply ships. Planes can fly thousands of miles with refueling tankers which can be stationed from ground bases and refuelled them selves. It will take a combined CSG of many nations to defend Taiwan should the unthinkable happen. And let’s hope like the Cuban… Read more »

Grant
Grant
4 days ago

If we brought both Albions back to readiness could we cycle our capital ships through the area every six months? I saw Okinawa is the home port of quite a few SAN Antonio LPDs, it would be great to cooperate more.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 days ago

Interestingly the Washington post has today reported that the US has stationed troops in Taiwan leading to calls from China that they should be removed immediately. Forward air controllers Id imagine for air strikes. Or anti invasion training.?

Something Different
Something Different
2 days ago

Interesting that New Zealand sent a ship considering that they haven’t been quite as vocal as Australia regarding their worries about the region

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 day ago

we know who our friends are and understand the importance of doing the right thing.