Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP Member of Parliament for West Dunbartonshire, had been seeking assurance that the work to build the new ships will stay in the United Kingdom. Assurance was not forthcoming.

Docherty-Hughes asked:

“The Fleet Solid Support Ships have the ability to use skills and create work across yards not currently involved in the Type 26 or 31. Will the Under-Secretary assure me that he will maximise that public delivery by taking it across and then keeping it within the UK?”

James Heappey, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, responded:

“In November, the Secretary of State agreed that the Fleet Solid Support Ship competition should be stopped as it had become clear that a value-for-money solution could not be reached. The Department is now considering the most appropriate way forward.”

The competition to build up to three Fleet Solid Support Ships was suspended last year as a ‘value for money solution could not be reached’.

A Minister said at the time:

“The decision to stop the Fleet Solid Support ship competition was taken because it had become clear that a value for money solution could not be reached. The Ministry of Defence is currently assessing the options, and as part of this process will review the requirement and any procurement strategy. It is not possible to provide any further details until this work has been completed.”

Andy Netherwood, an individual that served 26 years in the Royal Air Force with operational tours flying the C-130 and C-17 as well as staff tours in Strategy, Policy & Plans, Capability Development and on the Directing Staff at the UK Defence Academy, offered some clarification on what the above statement likely means. He told me:

“Review the requirement’ probably doesn’t mean abandoning the buy entirely. More likely it’s value engineering i.e. asking if the MoD could get the price down by removing certain user requirements.”

Competing for the work was a British consortium consisting of companies Babcock, BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce (forming Team UK) and international bidders Fincantieri (Italy), Navantia (Spain), Japan Marine United Corporation, and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (South Korea).

Fincantieri and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering had already withdrawn, according to the Financial Times.

This left only Team UK, Navantia and Japan Marine United Corporation.

The Ministry of Defence earlier said in a statement:

“It is clear that the current approach will not deliver the requirement. We are now considering the most appropriate way forward for the procurement project.”

The UK Defence Journal believes this work should stay in the UK.

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farouk

SNP:
“Look we hate anything to do with London and we demand to take our own independent path away from whitehall. So regards that once in a generation vote we had the other year and lost, well we are going to have another one in which to break away from the jackboot of the English. Oh BTW, why haven’t you given our Scottish dockyards that order for Fleet Solid Support Ships . I mean we are part of the union.

Ron

Well said, even if we do keep the build in the UK who says anything about them being built in Scotland from my understanding the Scotish yards have their books full for the next 10 years.

Colin

It’s the SNP, they will be demanding the Ferguson’s yard get the work so that they can up the cost to cover the massive black hole that has been caused by the ferry disaster.

Martin

The Ferguson yard builds ferry’s, these ships would not fit at Ferguson and the SNP has never asked such a thing.

expat

But blocks could be built their, but I’m with Collin the Ferguson Marine debacle is the Scottish governments making (Current Scottish Government is the SNP). The SNP have said countless times that they don’t need orders from UK and Scottish yards can stand on their own, well they now run a yard and can prove a point. There’s still no clarity that state loans to FM have breached EU competition rules, the irony when the SNP is pushing for a referendum because they are leaving the EU against their will doesn’t escape me.

Martin

Funny enough not the MP for west dumbartonshire just some random bigot called Farouk. With T31 T26 yards in Scotland are full until well in to the 2030’s and with dreadnaught SSBN yards in England are full also which is probably the main reason the ship will go to a foreign yard in the end because I doubt anyone is going to trust such a large job to the few remaining yards in England and Northern Ireland that have not built a complicated vessel in decades (not counting boaty mc boat face) but let’s not let any of that get… Read more »

RobW

The UKDJ is run by a Scot I believe. It isn’t anti Scottish ranting but rather directed at the SNP.

Daniele Mandelli

Yes, I guessed as such. As George owns the UKDJ and, we guess, is a Scot, then there will be a fairly common theme of Scottish based articles.

geoff

Well said RobW, and Martin-although I am a Unionist of Scottish/Ulster Scots extraction, I have ScotNat friends whose opinions I respect. It is just that a lot of what comes out of the mouths of some SNP politicians is much of the fork-tongued variety as is the often thinly disguised anti-English sentiment.

Airborne

“Random bigot” aka chip shop Martin!

BB85

I agree H&W has not built a ‘complicated’ ship in decades, but Rosyth hadn’t built an aircraft carrier ever and managed to do a decent job of it. From what I understand Nevantia have already sent their people to Belfast to size up if they can build the ships there. It won’t be hard for them to move their contractors to Belfast to build the ship using welders from across the UK. Most of these people already know they have to travel for their work so I don’t see it being that big of an issue so long as the… Read more »

Martin

If you read what he actually said he asked if they would be built in the UK and not Scotland, don’t let facts get the the way of your little nationalist rant though.

farouk

Martin wrote: “”If you read what he actually said he asked if they would be built in the UK and not Scotland, don’t let facts get the the way of your little nationalist rant though.” Maybe you should have a word with Mary Hen, who we all know isn’t the leader of a nationalist party from last nov: Nicola Sturgeon insists frigates will still be built in independent Scotland “Royal Navy frigates would still be built in an independent Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. Responding to a question by Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser, Ms Sturgeon… Read more »

Andy P

Farouk, he has a point mate, a member of the Westminster parliament asked if they were going to be built in the UK. You’ve kind of picked the ball up and ran with it.

I’m sure he would want the ships built in Scottish yards, same as the MP’s of other areas with ship building would want it built in theirs. Well done on pushing a preheld view though.

farouk

Andy,
I have to disagree, all we hear from the SNP is how they want nothing to do with England and instead want to align with the EU. I’m fine with that, but if they got their wish would they see any of their new mates actually build naval ships in Scotland. of course not.

Andy P

Farouk, that’s a different discussion (and one we regularly have on here). I don’t doubt that there was some agenda behind the question, even if it was just to try and embarrass the government about the possibility of these being built abroad. All politicians play these games. He’s not said ‘Scotland’, he’s said ‘UK’ and you’ve drawn your own conclusions. Fair enough I guess but its no surprise that others will flag up that you’ve joined some dots that maybe weren’t there.

farouk

Andy,
I have no problem with that. Just sick to death of all these shirt buttons finding some excuse in which to paint themselves as victims of the so called nasty white racist English and so I have no problem going out of my way and shoving a mirror in their faces.

Andy P

I’m no fan of the SNP, quite the reverse and am happy to see their ideology get picked apart.

I do get a bit fed up when so many of the threads on here end up going over the same discussion though, even when its not directly part of the article. In this case the mere mention of an SNP MP is enough to ‘trigger’ a fair few on here, even though that part was largely irrelevant, we’d be discussing RFA’s if it had been an MP of any other party.

geoff

I think he either just said the UK to appear evenhanded or what he meant was Scotland as part of the UK currently

Andy P

Ah well then Geoff, if you think it then that MUST be what he was on about. Fair do’s, open season on the SNP and all things Jock then, have at it.

Pity, there’s some interesting chat about RFA’s going on.

geoff

Not my desire to be part of open season on SNP and especially on Jock, Andy. It is just that the simple truth is that the UK is what the SNP wish to destroy so why should one of their MP’s care whether the rump UK got any shipbuilding work or no?

Martin

In the 2014 referendum the British Government made a promise that frigates would continue to be built on the Clyde so it’s entirely legitimate for the first minister of Scotland to ask such questions but that’s got zero to do with FSS and as I said the member for west dumbartonshire never mentioned Scotland. Given he is the only MP to my knowledge that has every worked in a shipyard it’s not surprising he asks a lot of questions about ships and it’s got nothing to do with the SNP or Scottish independence.

farouk

In the 2014 referendum, the SNP stated they would abide for the once in a generation vote. Now the SNP are saying well actually that vote doesn’t count. On that note the French, Italians Germans and Spanish have full order books from the rest of the world regards naval shipbuilding, Maybe the SNP could ask the EU to divert some of those orders to Scotland, especially after the former leader of the EU expressed his desire for Scotland to leave the UK over the weekend and rejoin the rest of Europe politically.

Airborne

Spot on Farouk, similar experience but with different Jock Battalion!

John Walker

Maybe Nicola Sturgeon is a couple steps ahead. One could make a plausible case for completing the T26’s in an independent Scotland depending on impact to construction timescales and where any negotiations about the existing UK nuclear deterrent infrastructure in Scotland goes. The future of Faslane and Coulport would seem to be pretty good leverage in that post independence negotiation.

Steve

@farouk. Sturgeon is strictly speaking right. The contract is signed to make the first 3 and so they will be made in Scotland whether they leave the union or not. Whether future orders will is another topic.

Airborne

An SNP crazy froth meister calling someone out by using the term “little nationalist rant”, as the advert says, priceless!

Paul.P

SNP froth meister…love it 😂

mac

Can we just not get this over with and kick them out of the Union?

If they haven’t lost their chippy hatred of the English after 300yrs, they never will, and I’m getting well and truly pissed off with this self entitled, have their cake and eat it mentality of taking the money but at the same time, hating our guts and constantly electing a fifth columnist SNP into power.

If they want to cut their noses off to spite their faces over Brexit, then lets help them.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Consider that the SNP are such incessant England-bashing whingers, whiners and complainers because it suits them to drive a wedge between the actual real people of England and Scotland. The more anti-Scot frustration they can whip up in England, the more at odds the Scots will feel with the UK

RobW

There are a whole host of reasons why Scots vote for the SNP, not just independence. A big reason is the failure of Labour and the Lib Dems to present themselves as viable alternatives to the Tories.

mac

I really don’t care what the reasons are, the fact is they get an extra £10bn+ thrown their way every year, yet still complain ALL THE TIME. There are communities elsewhere in the UK that would benefit from that and would actually f##kin appreciate it. Their education system has turned to crap, their NHS is falling apart, their Police service are a shambles & yet they still put those SNP idiots in power. It’s pretty obvious that there are enough people in Scotland who care more about Indy than anything else to keep them in power, regardless of having a… Read more »

Joe16

From discussion with Scottish friends (both pro- and anti-union), it’s not that simple. Most Scots were pro-remaining in the EU and of all the parties that they could vote for in Scottish parliament, the SNP had the clearest and most reasonable voice when it came to their pro-remain, pro-vote stance. The Tories were pro-Brexit, Labour was as unelectable north of the border as south of it, and the Lib Dems had taken their teenager tantrum stance of cancel Brexit. Also, as somethig of a new development, Holyrood has actually been working and providing positive change in Scotland, and the SNP… Read more »

Lee1

I am not sure they get £10 billion each year. Remember that we just put a government in power in the UK (Scotland was not particularly responsible for that) that lies constantly, is suppressing scrutiny and whose leader has made a career out of making stuff up… Not sure we in England are in a position to criticise too much…

I know a lot of Scottish people and none of them want independence.

Lee1

We could spend that £10 billion on another couple of miles of HS2!

Martin

Best thing to do is move yourself to Scotland vote for independence then we can all be happy and people can stop banging on about the crumbs of building one frigate every two years in Scotland which is a pretty small deal compared to what’s spent at Warton or Barrow anyway.

John Clark

Don’t fall into the SNP’s trap Mac, having lost the last referendum, they switched tactics and started a really rather insidious and hateful campaign to turn British citizens against each other. Why, because they really don’t have anything else to offer but keep screaming ‘Scotland the Brave’ and keep their supporters whipped up in a sort of Nationalist mania, with the vague promise of sunlit uplands ahead…. They have unfortunately been rather successful… They don’t represent many Scots (many of my Scottish friends are deeply uncomfortable by their extremism) , so, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! Re… Read more »

4thwatch

I agree we are needing these ships PDQ. However there needs a follow through with to a proper ship building strategy which can be primed by Navy builds. Therefore I would like to see this particular contract go to the UK Group. In that way the work can be shared out as per the carrier contract without Navantia getting a foot in the door.
Spain is too simply too unreliable with their inability to respect UK Gibraltar sovereignty. Seriously who is to say they would ever actually deliver the ships?

Daniele Mandelli

Before this ends up as another argument concerning the SNP, Indy, and so on, why not keep on topic – the FSS ships.

What user requirements could he mean? And are they justified for the RFA to get 2 ships at a price the MoD are willing to pay?

Also, what comparisons are out there used by other navies? And what is their cost?

Useful to see to compare if MoD is being over charged, again.

Martin

That would be great, actually discussing the FSS instead of the usual nationalist rant.

Nigel Collins

Note the build time, very flexible too!

HNLMS Karel Doorman is a multi-function support ship for amphibious operations of the Royal Netherlands Navy, which is also used by the German Navy. The ship replaced both of the navy’s replenishment oilers: HNLMS Zuiderkruis and HNLMS Amsterdam. Wikipedia
Construction started: 7 June 2011
Launched: 17 October 2012
Length: 205 m
Builder: Damen Schelde Naval ShipbuildingCost: 363 million euro (480 million USD)
Aircraft carried: Up to 6 x NH90 or AS-532 Cougar with blades folded or 2 x CH-47 Chinook with blades spread

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFyIUMFrjj0

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Nigel. For that money build 4! 2 for QEC RAS and 2 for Amphibious use and Argus replacement. I know little of other navies vessels. Does this ship comply with RN requirements? Speed, range, carrying capacity, and so on? And can it RAS a carrier? Because questions need to be asked if our versions cost near billion each going by Julian’s comment below that the budget is 2 Billion. An eye watering sum for 2 or 3 RFA! This “phenomenon” happens all the time in UK defence industry contracts with the MoD. Whether it is HMG fault delaying and… Read more »

Paul.P

Hi Daniele, some of the early concept models looked expensive Swiss army knife designs.

https://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/2013/08/thinking-about-mars-solid-support-ship.html

Daniele Mandelli

Ah UKAFC. An excellent site, Gabriele really knows his onions.
Yes I’d read that article long ago Paul, thank you.
Why not just rebuild a Fort Victoria class to modern spec?

Paul.P

Good question. Definitely the cheapest option; go for a simple like for like design and buy on price. It looks like the RN is asking for more capabilities. A steel beach to replace Ocean? A well deck to replace the Bay we sold? Casualty evacuation and aviation training capabilities to replace Argus?

Daniele Mandelli

Good guesses to my thinking Paul.

Nigel Collins

Build 4, I tend to agree with that idea Daniele! As to whether it can RAS a carrier, being part of NATO I would have thought it would have been a consideration at the time of its design. One for Gunbuster no doubt. Given their flexibility, they could be a far better solution for us rather than just a dedicated Solid Support ship. Going forward, the idea of offering our European allies UK strike brigades in future land-based conflicts would make a great deal of sense, so rethinking our role in NATO and the part we would play should include… Read more »

Supportive Bloke

Isn’t the point where they sit in the civian/merchant spectrum vs war fighting spectrum? If they have well decks and things they do go close to being in harms way so have to be survivable or at least more so that something that simply does RAS/SR out of harms way? If they go in close to be a lilly-pad or Oceanesque entity (a concept that seems odd given what they are carrying – the munitions stocks) then they need to be able to self protect. Sure to produce a hull with some cranes on it shouldn’t cost that much but… Read more »

Lee1

Not sure of your point. We built the Albion class ships in a similar time frame and for less cost.

Nigel Collins

About twice as long, but the point being, we could afford 4 instead of two with a great deal of flexibility built into this design. Purely out of interest, where could we build Solid Support Ships now in the UK within two years? Albion class ships. HMS Albion Ordered: 18 July 1996 Builder: BAE Systems Marine Laid down 23 May 1998 Barrow-in-Furness, England Launched: 9 March 2001 Sponsored by: The Princess Royal Commissioned: 19 June 2003 Refit: Major 2014–2017 Speed: 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h) Range: 8,000 miles (7,000 nmi; 13,000 km) Name: Karel Doorman Namesake: Karel Doorman Builder:… Read more »

Lee1

22 months for Bulwark 16 months for HNLMS Karel Doorman. (That is not 2 times the time) or did you mean the physical length? (Which is still nowhere near double Bulwarks)
£225 million for Bulwark, £307 million for HNLMS Karel Doorman.

I know they are not identical ships but they are similar. Also the Karel Doorman was built in Romania, not sure that would go down well… It is also effectively jointly run with Germany…

Nigel Collins

Purely out of interest, where could we build Solid Support Ships now in the UK within a two-year timeframe?

Personally I couldn’t care where they are built as long as they are.

At the time many people were complaining about the Tide-class tankers being built abroad but that disappeared with their arrival.

Again I stress the point as money seems to be the problem, 4 instead of 2 and flexible in design for the price.

To me, it makes perfect sense.

Lee1

I do agree. However there are a lot of people that refuse to accept ships being built outside of the UK. Possibly because they still think we have an empire and are the biggest superpower on earth. It makes sense to allow the ships to be built abroad if we get them for good prices and in reasonable timescales. high tech ships should be built in the UK but support ships are not so important.

4thwatch

These are high tech ships, not just floating boxes. We need to have our own ship building capabilities. We are an island with the taxpayer footing the bill.

Lee1

No they are not high tech they are support ships. We do have our own shipbuilding capabilities we just struggle for capacity at times and struggle with building cheap and cheerful ships competitively. Better to get the ships for a good price and on time than not get them for years because we do not have the capacity. We are not a superpower with a giant empire anymore and we need to accept that.

Julian

Right now the more pressing question for me is whether it’s going to happen at all given all this dither and delay and the recent suspension of the procurement process (quote in article with my capitalisation – “ ‘Review the requirement’ PROBABLY doesn’t mean abandoning the buy entirely “).

I’m also frustrated about how little we’ve seen on spec – we don’t even know if the budget initially announced (£2bn I think?) is going to build 2 or 3 vessels.

Daniele Mandelli

Is that budget for the build and fitting out or also other costs?

Daniele Mandelli

Confident it will.

Victoria, Rosalie and Austin need replacing. Even if the last two are knackered and out of use much of the time, the QEC group needs FSS.

expat

Good points . A little digging an I found this(see below), the Tides look great value for money to be honest coming in at €4500 per ton. Italy and France will be getting the Vulcano class or similar for around €375m per unit, these are 27,000 ton vessel so circa €13000 per ton so I would think the UK would be looking to bench mark at around that number. Not sure what the proposed tonnage of the various FSS offerings are to be able to se how this number would fit the budget. HNoMS Maud was also great value at… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. UK PLC benefits overall as has been well covered here many times, but MoD does not see the money, just the upfront cost and then has to cut elsewhere to balance the books. If only the benefits could be channelled back to MoD.

expat

Yes but even if it could be channelled back its not that straight forward. I’ll use BAe as an example contractor. The government pays BAe, BAe pays its employees, for starters 3% has to be paid to a pension by the employees the same 3% contribution by BAe, that’s 6% locked up for years. Of course anyone can contribute more to pension so 6% is the minimum. Other benefits like employees spending money so the government get VAT returns are also uncertain, an employee could choose to save not spend locking the money up or go on foreign holiday meaning… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Well explained. Thank you.

Joe16

Thanks for bringing the counter argument in, it’s useful to remember these things are never clear cut. Having said that, other countries somehow do account for this in their budget spending decisions; do you know how, or do they just like to keep it vague and throw the money at it anyway?

expat

I’m not supporting building them overseas just suggesting there’s other ways to look at this. Leonardo UK really could do with SK buying AW159s, SK are in the throws of making a decision on more AW159s, rotary wing build capability is in far worse state than ship building, we’ll still be building ships into the next decade and beyond. So why not do a deal. Other countries European countries are the same as us, there’s political pressure to do this type of work. That doesn’t mean its right. One thing I find odd, if we say we’ll buy a foreign… Read more »

4thwatch

Last Century UK Deliberately built its own deadnaughts in some of the navy yards to give the private yards a run for their money.

4thwatch

Dreadnaughts even!

Ron

Totally agree, the FSS ships are an important logistic platform for the Carrier Battle Groups. This is one of the reasons why I am concerned, if they hold these ships back will that put one of the two carriers at risk of being sold off. Personally I would like to see the FSS Ships built in the UK but in all honesty I don’t care where the hulls are built as long as they are. The real value of the build is in fit out which could be done here in the UK, the Italians have promised that much of… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

HMG have stated many times that one carrier is operational, one in reserve, which is why we have 2, so one is always available. While it was announced by the PM in 2015 it would be crewed, it still won’t be in CBG mode, we lack the Merlins, escorts, and all the rest for two CBG, so could be used in extremis, put helicopters on it, other nations F35B and escorts, use it for Aviation training, humanitarian, whatever. Having 2 all singing all dancing CBG was never planned for. So I myself don’t see how that threatens one of the… Read more »

Airborne

Do you think this is more to do with not committing to a contract prior to the upcoming SDSR, and then if we see any cuts in the RN, they can then announce “new ships” to soften the blow to those who are unaware of Defence matters! It’s a sad game of illusionist tricks when it comes to Defence procurement. Hope I’m wrong but I don’t trust many politicians with regard to Defence, no matter what political persuasions.

Daniele Mandelli

An old trick mate. We won’t be fooled that’s for sure.

Ron

I wonder if it would be possible to order the FSS ships with another country. From my understanding Canada is looking at a new dry supply ship, France is also looking for a solid support ship, I think Aus is as well. Could we not combine with one of these countries to build not two or three but six or seven. That would surely bring the price down.

expat

I think France have gone in with Italy on a variant of the Vulcano class.

Joe16

Hi Daniele, no idea! I had a brief look, and it’s actually pretty hard to find any technical details of the tender at all. I did find a copy of the contract notice online, but that just covers the generalities- nothing we didn’t really know already. You have to directly contact the MOD contracts department for supporting technical documentation, and I have the feeling they’re not going to give it to me…! I think the most likely object of cost cutting will be in this statement: “The Solid Support ship has to operate and survive against a capable and hostile… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks for the digging Joe! Will have a look. I’m none the wiser on these things as you are, but all seems logical.

Whatever the reductions, we need at least 2, pronto.

Joe16

Yeah, 2 is a minimum, but I’d be astonished if we can’t get 3 for £2billion. Whether we’d be able to crew all 3 is another question, but at least we’d have flexibility for deployment and maintenance.

WeeWill

Big fan of something like the Doorman. Excuse fantasy fleet-ing, but I’d consolidate the Albion, Fort and Bay Class ships, as well as the proposed strike ships, in to a fleet of 8x Doormans as and when the previous need replacing, spreading the cost and creating a drum-beat resembling some kind of build strategy. Rationalising to tankers and ‘everything else’ ships. Although this all depends on Albion Clss being replaced with 2x Mistral or Juan Carlos style LHDs; RN kicks the doors in quick-sharp, RFA follows up with the heavy lift…but that’s for another thread.

Ian

Dominic Cummings could start his investigation into procurement with the FSS contracts

Martin

Not enough headlines on FSS to get Cummings interested. He only gets involved in projects that the daily mail Brand’s a waste of money.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree Ian. Why not if we are paying near 2 billion pounds for 2 RFA!

Paul.P

Looking to remove (expensive) requirements; the well deck perhaps?

Sean

So basically same position as the T31 procurement was in. The MoD have a price tag in mind per ship and none of the proposals matched it. So now they’re reconsidering requirements to give the bidders a chance of hitting the price.

If the work goes to a foreign yard AND the savings allow for another T31 to be ordered then great. Building what is essentially a freighter is a commodity business, awarded purely on cost. We need to focus on specialised builds, like warships, that’s where you generate profits…
and the RN gets another T31 too.

Rob

This really shouldn’t surprise anyone. The MOD is basically on a new spending lock down prior to the upcoming SDSR. Anything else would be stupid; what happens if they place the orders only for major changes to be imposed by the SDSR. However it now seems beyond doubt that building RN or RFA ships abroad is uneconomic. Yes they may be produced more cheaply abroad but that doesn’t take into account taxes paid by workers, the maintenance of our strategic shipbuilding capability or our ability to hold on to UK intellectual property rights. As regards our ability to build these… Read more »

Henry Root

One of the problems is that City & Guilds was replaced by NVQ, shifting the onus from government to employer to ensure engineers were ready for employment. This has proved to become a massive issue with engineering firms and ultimately with competitiveness and price. We seem to build like the Space Shuttle. We have a concept, but only have a certain amount of funding, therefore our concept is dumbed down and an affordable replacement is delivered. What’s more important, a better ship or jobs? Successive governments seem to have left us with no choice. Also judging by comments, seems a… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

“Scotland was never conquered by the Romans.”

Julius Agricola might disagree!

Airborne

Correct, the Romans advanced all the way to Itchinhull, and beyond, following the line of the east coast. A line of marching camps prove this. A problem on the continent caused a tactical withdrawal, and the reposting of a legion, plus most of the auxiliaries back across to the continent to address the issues. This left 3 Legions to garrison Britannia, not enough (as was still a bit troublesome at this late date) This, along with the fact that it was decided that the lands north of the Firth were not productive enough to justify an expensive garrison, ensured the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Well well. Something else we have in common, knowledge of Roman Britain. Aware of all that history mate, spot on. Many of the marching camps have been found, often seen from the air. Agricola went up near to present day Inverness I believe, as well as circumnavigating Britain to prove it was indeed an Island, as they suspected. And, some claim, landed in Ireland. But like the Highlands not worth taking. The Scotti would have been defeated if they would only come out and fight. They did at Mons Grapius, and were easily beaten, by Auxillia, not the legions. They… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Correction to my comment, think it was Caledonians or Picts at Mons Grapius, not Scotti?

Alan Reid

Hi Daniele …….. Caledonians at Mons Grapius, or at least that’s what the Romans called the tribe.
But the Picts were essentially the same people, a confederation of northern tribes the Romans were calling Picti (or painted/tattooed people) a few hundred years later. The Picts contested the military expeditions of Septimius Severus in the early 200s.

Daniele Mandelli

Thank you Alan, thought so. And what a bloodbath the Severus campaigns were too.

Airborne

Roman history damn, we have a number of shared interests for sure mate. As for the IX not overly sure, but there was later a number of inscriptions found I believe in Syria? (could be wrong without referring to my material) quite a few years later, attesting to the IX, posted there. So who knows, a great mystery though isn’t it. Although their disappearance could more to do with backing the wrong horse, in Roman politics mate, as well you know, or being disbanded for some real or perceived “lack of moral fiber” issue in battle? However Roman history is… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Yes inscriptions have been found in Syria, attesting to IX’s involvement in the wars in Judea. But they could just relate to one individual, not the formation. Like wise the tiles at Nijmegan, most likely a vexillation of the legion, not the legion itself. As to the possibility of disbandment or dishonour, well it is possible, but again I myself don’t buy it. Legion IX Hispana was one of Romes finest. Not like the Legions XVII, XVIII, and XIX which were lost at Teutorburg which were never reformed due to a mix of superstition, commemoration, and shame. It had been… Read more »

Alan Reid

Really interesting to read, thanks Daniele.
I sometimes wonder if we should have a historical section of this Forum, too. UK Defence posters have done a lot of reading!

Airborne

Mate the subjects you have mentioned we could be here for hours, the Teutorburg disaster, under Varius is such an interesting subjet, and one which i could waffle about all day! The situations and actions in Britannia, from AD43 to the end, massive interest and so fascinating. And having settled in Colchester when i got out, its so natural lol maybe I was part of the XX in a previous life. Have to ask, have you read the Eagle series, by Simon Scarrow, fiction I know but very well written (tho not the last couple of books im sad to… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

No mate, I have not read those.

Likewise. Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, Battle of Watling Street, Sarmatian Auxillia on Hadrians wall possibly being a source for the Arthur myths. Love it.

I blame my Dad, being a Roman. He got me interested.

This is the wrong forum, but could waffle on all day! Respect.

Ron

Much of modern day Southern Scotland was taken by the Romans but I would agree that Scotland especially the Highlands is more Viking than Anglo-Saxon.

Alan Reid

Oliver Cromwell didn’t do a bad job either!
The challenge wasn’t conquering Scotland – but holding it.
Not sure that I would describe Scottish origins as Viking, Ron.
Norwegian DNA is mostly concentrated in Caithness, Orkney and Shetland.
There is a lot of Anglo-Saxon (or Germanic) DNA up the east coast of Scotland – more than many Scots might admit too!
And DNA analysis suggests the Picts are still amongst us!

Ron

Yeep I learnt a lot about Cromwell, I am 50% Scot the other is Taff, North Walian so a real Celt, (not the make belief bought of by the Norman South Walian) as the only grandson of my granda I carry the Chalmers tarten a very loyal family to the Stuarts, so Cromwell is not at the top of my Christmas card list and as for one or two of the highland clans, especially Clan Campbell, well, not really welcome in Grandas house. However, the SNP is really getting me frustrated, the way I see this small Island of ours… Read more »

Alan Reid

Hi Ron, I heartily agreed, we should work together for a better future – and I like your analogy of a family (albeit a bickering one at times!) As regards the conquering of the Picts by the Scots: other than the elites, I believe the population probably wasn’t displaced – more likely it was simply a cultural-takeover. (In the same way that if an archaeologist visited the UK in thousand years time, he might speculate we were “conquered” by another people in the 1950s drinking from Coca-Cola bottles, and listening to Buddy Holly!). Although certainly in Orkney, recent DNA research… Read more »

Ron

I had no idea that parts of West Scotland was Welsh speaking, well something more to and check out in the history books.
I do sometimes wonder what an Archaeologist will make of the UK in a thousand years, then again maybe not.
Have fun folks.

Daniele Mandelli

Thus the Antonnine wall, after Antoninus Pius. Hardly a wall more an earthen berm along most of its length.
Hadrians Wall was not a hard border, trade and Roman expeditions went beyond it regularly until much later in the empire.

Airborne

Correct mate, as Hadrians wall was quite an anomoly, the Eastern half being built in stone immidiatly, as turf was the default setting on inital construction of forts, building etc (aside from granaries). And totaly agree about Hadrians wall, more of a customs post, with small 2-4 section garrisons in milecastles, to extract custom payments and control. The lowlands were traded with more than people realise, in the early years anyway. As a defensive structure it was pretty poor, more of a trip wire for any large scale attacks/raids. Hadrians wall is another totaly fascinating subject.

Daniele Mandelli

Equally fascinating….what was its real name? Not “Hadrian’s Wall”

I believe it was painted white?

Airborne

Yaaaaaaaawn…..

julian1

I do wish our current Government would just commit these orders to UK yards and quickly. Seems England is the only place where there is capacity – perhaps CL. That would fit nicely the “levelling-up” agenda. Stop talking fast and loose re EU trade tariffs and actually commit some real money and do something that will help people and their livlihoods

BIG D

Everyone seems concerned as to were these ships are going to be built & the Scottish independence argument. I’m more concerned as to are they going to be built or is this the government playing at magic – now you see it (poof) now you don’t. With the defence review telling us that we didn’t need them anyway. Another joke at our countries expense…..

Lee1

Well, Given that other reviews they promised are just sham reviews then I would not be surprised. Also the massive money injection into the economy has seemingly turned into a savings exercise after departments have been told to reduce budgets by 5%.

Ron

I am wondering if the Government might be doing or at least thinking about doing something completly diffrent and if it does then for once they would be using their brains. What I am asking myself is is it possible that the ammount of vessels in diffrent variations could be increased. We all agree that the RN needs 2-3 FSS Ships, but there was or possibly still is the talk of two Littoral Strike ships, and there was talk of a hospital/ humanitarian ship possibly even two. The hull forms powerplant would or could be the same with the diffrence… Read more »

Martin West

From what I’m lead to believe there is no space in British ship building yards to build them, sertanly not in Scotland.

WeeWill

You missed Yorkshire. The only viable independent state currently enslaved by the U.K.