HMS Tyne has been reactivated due to issues with the ships that are to replace her and her sisters.

On Monday 21st May 2018, HMS Tyne made what the Royal Navy called her final entry into Portsmouth Dockyard. However, photos taken in Portsmouth recently had shown her once again flying the White Ensign and now a video has shown her sailing once more.

The White Ensign is an ensign flown on commissioned Royal Navy ships and shore establishments. This is despite Tyne sailing into Portsmouth in May flying her paying-off pennant before her scheduled decommissioning.

In May, a Royal Navy spokesman said:

“HMS Tyne has been in service for 15 years and will bow of her active career on Thursday where a formal decommissioning ceremony will take place which will be witnessed by friends and families, official dignitaries and see the ensign lowered for the final time.”

Recently however, we reported that issues with new Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Forth meant that HMS Tyne would not decommission. According to a contact in the fleet earlier in the year:

“As Forth is a long way from being ready and with these new problems, Tyne is being reactivated and the other OPV which was decommissioned is going into refit. Safe to say its all very political and no quick way to solve the issues. The whole OPV Batch 2 project has now been delayed to the quality issues.”

HMS Forth had been found to have more than 100 defects, including electrical and safety issues. Forth was the first of the five new Offshore Patrol Vessels being built to replace the current River Class vessels. The vessels had been ordered to fill a gap in orders after the second carrier and before the Type 26 frigate build started.

Our contact, currently serving in the Royal Navy and involved with the programme told me about the range of issues facing the ship:

“For example bolt heads glued back on (thousands over tightened) high voltage switchboard very dangerous, life rafts failed to launch, wiring sub standard, galley not secured… list is huge. It’s much worse than what they released. 

Captain of the ship and higher rankers had a meeting with BAE, MoD etc. I’m surprised nothing has been said else where with it being first of class. They reckon 3 months to rectify, I reckon much more.”

We were also told by our contact that the entire Batch 2 River class programme has been set back due to this, with the second vessel in the class having supposed to have started sea trials in October last year but is currently still alongside at the BAE yard in Scotstoun, Glasgow.

A BAE spokesman said:

“We are actively supporting the Royal Navy to resolve issues around a limited number of bolt fastenings and the electrical system on HMS Forth. These are unrelated issues and investigations for each are now underway to ensure that we resolve any potential impact and establish the cause. We are committed to delivering equipment that meets rigorous safety and quality standards.”

An MoD spokesman added:

“It is normal for us to work with industry partners to make some rectifications to ships once they have been handed to the Royal Navy BAE Systems is already at work on some areas as we work together to ensure HMS Forth goes on to tackle piracy, safeguard our fishing stocks and protect our coastline.”

HMS Forth had been earmarked to replace half-sister HMS Clyde as the Falkland Islands guardship and is currently alongside in Portsmouth undergoing repair work.


  1. Everyone will be familiar with the famous quality/money/speed triangle where you have to choose one or two corners and try and keep the dot in the middle.Bae seems to have misunderstood the aim of the exercise.

  2. I guess it’s interesting to hear gossip from some unnamed guy in Portsmouth. But hardy reliable.

    I wonder if he’s one of the harbour tour guides. They always know the latest (eyes roll).

  3. Agreed. All we hear is the Clyde this and the Clyde that, Scottish shipbuilding blah blah blah. And then they turn out this complete piece of c***. Will heads roll? At BAE?
    Dont hold your breath!

    • pompey dockyard built the first battleship dreadnought in under a calendar year,using this logic, would it be unreasonable to expect the clyde to produce TWO ships per year?

  4. Shody workmanship. I guess the workers on the Clyde feel they do not have to take pride in their work. Gents you are supposed to be building vessels fit for OUR national, meaning UK navy.
    Does this bode well for type 26 programme?

    • i had a reply from the m.o.d to a question i posed about reverting to conventional submarines i was told there is not enough shipyard capacity or sufficiently skilled yard to undertake such work!i was also that the nation who produced some of the most effective and exportable submarines, the oberon, and upholder classes, apparently the u. k. hid not have the designs for new conventional submarines, this, if nothing else shows how incompetent the administration of the u.k shipbuilding industry has been allowed to whither away. a national disgrace.

  5. According to Wikipedia she was reactivated on 25th July. I have a pic of her on 24th and she looked ready to go.

  6. What makes me laugh is the mod paid well over the odds for ships the didn’t want or need how can shipbuilders expect more contracts after this clueing bolt heads on this is just blatant dishonest way of working and their complaining about not getting the rfa solid stores ships in my opinion they should cancel the type 26 builds and give the contract tjo another builder

  7. What is the general feeling as to the cause of this? incompetence? Corner cutting? Or perhaps even something more scandalous and corrupt than that?
    Its breathtaking that someone thought that they might get away with these mistakes, particularly if the gluing on of bolt heads is true.
    I’m not into this England vs. Scotland shipbuilding thing, I see us all as the UK but this does not put the Clyde in a good light. It will be even worse if it turns out to be a systemic problem running from shop floor to the board room.

    • i would like to know how many bolts were glued on. 1 or 2 and who cares, it happens that you get a worker under pressure that cuts corners to get a job done when something goes wrong like a bolt breaking. If lots then it’s a different story. It makes the headlines since it’s an easy to understand fault but doesn’t mean it was a big issue.

      The overall build quality is a problem however. Yes you expect issues with 1 of kind but what level of issues are being hidden with the first of kind QE and let’s face it, PoW is close to being finished so too late to fix issues if being kept quiet.

      • Indeed. As you say the numbers of bodges are relevant and important. It has to be realised too that the customer, or the end user, whatever you want to call them often has so much time and money (and reputation if they project managed themselves) invested in such big ventures, and as such don’t like to admit serious failings. Even if they aren’t culpable themselves.

        • Sorry Steve and Slaine, I strongly disagree.
          Are we now saying that gluing even one damaged bolt head on a warship is okay?
          I personally don’t think so.
          When someones life is risked because a company justifies it as being public money, they need to cease being a government supplier.
          Even one bodge is unacceptable, and in a complex piece of kit, operated in extreme situations, nearly everything can become safety critical.

          • I agree. Any contractor who takes advantage as Bae seems to have done should be excluded from future work. This was a scandal from the beginning. Meaning these were as others have said, the most expensive under capable OPV in the World.

            Bae should lose all their surface ship contracts and I mean this. They should concentrate on Submarines and get them right.

            The work can be moved to the East coast after POW finished. Build a new yard there.

  8. This is why all the commercial ship yards went bust and why all merchant ships are built in the far east South Korea/Japan/China.

  9. Maybe the Royal Navy should be asking the USCG if the can buy into the NSC. I would think the NCS would fit the Royal Navy for Presence and Maritime security missions.

    • The Legend / Bertholf class are lovely ships; they are the ideal patrol frigate. In a balanced and properly funded Royal Navy they would make sense. But we don’t have that and I don’t think we will have. The Legends are expensive ships, more expensive than our T31 budget by some margine. If we had the funding for say 6 it would make more sense to buy a couple more T26.

      A better buy would be something like the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Holland class. These would come in at about £130 million-ish per copy. At 3750 tonnes they are large than Leanders. Perhaps a bit slow, but heck apart from that a very balanced design.

      • I think the Holland class is an excellent ship, its Radar and EW suite is a bit overkill for an OPV so could be switched for something cheaper and still be far superior to the R2 for around the same price.
        A stretched version to include 32 VLS Sea Ceptor and more multi-mission space to meet the £250mm target for type 31 would also be nice.

        • The radar ‘mast’ can be lifted off. For me the main issue would be compatibility with RN’s current systems.

          I am not a fan of ‘multi-mission spaces’ I think they are a fudge.

          The only reason I would stretch it would be to increase speed. But if you were to do that you might as well choose one of Damen’s Sigma designs. The Holland is designed for lumpy water which suits the RN. And it has been successfully deployed to the Caribbean

          • True the multi mission space seems to be about fitting on containers for aid etc when we have the Bay class for that sort of activity and could ideally be paid from from the FA budget.
            I actually forgot the Holland class had that hatch at the back for more boats. I know they are more expensive than the R2’s but they seriously beat the piss out of them in terms of quality.
            A genuinely well thought out design I would happily swap our 5 R2’s for 4 Holland class OPV’s even if they are built in the Netherlands.

        • i’m beginning to doubt if the t 31e will ever happen or just be another ‘white elephaNt in the ‘smoke and mirrors halls’ at the M.O.D

      • I would think the NSC that the USCG is using would fit the Royal Navy for it’s presence and Maritime security Missions. On top of that Huntington has plans to up gun the NSC to a Frigate standards that includes 16 cell VLS, SEA RAM, Harpoon or Naval strike Missile, Hull mounted sonar and MK-48 ACAP torpedos. It would be like having a Leander class Frigate for places where you can’t get a DDG.

  10. In any kind of business to business contract, this kind of attempt to deliberately mask and pass off defective work would be called-out for what it is, fraud.
    Hope the RN and MoD are all over BAE’s ass over this… and BAE should be looking to fire those responsible.

    Fingers crossed this pushes F31e towards Babcock.


    • That may be one of the most gushing articles I’ve read in ages, you would think the author/editor would propose marriage to the ship if it was not generally illegal and a bit inappropriate to um “you know” with items owned by a state

  11. A few defects are expected in any complex build, but the expectation is the contractor should find and rectify most of them, hiding flaws ( as we seem to have here) shows a culture of hiding issues, you generally find this in organisations way down the quality improving scale that run on punitive type manage. Worrying indeed if true.

  12. BAe….Bloody Awful Engineering …not much changes.

    The issues with Forth are not just an issue with the spanner wa**kers breaking bolt heads but more importantly the QA Dept that is supposed to act independently of the Production staff to ensure stuff like that does not happen.
    BAe has a whole raft of ISO compliance issues now that could and should affect its shipbuilding business.

    • I now work in manufacturing Gunbuster with the operations/production side of the business and we have quite a significant ongoing contract for defence standard components (sub tier or course) and you’re 100% correct.

      QA departments should operate completely independently of production teams to avoid the pressures of on time delivery weighing on them. Basic 9001 compliance.. if it ain’t right, it gets rejected… the above is shambolic.

      I’d be very interested in seeing the results of someone submitting a FOI request for the full defects list…. and passing on to the Mail! Now there’s a thought!

    • I’m not sure it’s BAe as a company, considering that they are now huge in America and have a substantial presence in a number of other countries. What makes the British arm of the company so poor is an interesting question. I don’t buy that it is the British skilled labour are just worse than their overseas counterparties, as it seems to be more wide spread than a few workers.

      I guess its probably a similar reason that the British built and owner cars had terrible build quality and yet foreign owned but British built have a reputation for quality. What causes this, I have no idea. Power of the unions, causing issues getting rid of underperforming employees maybe.

      • Steve they defecate on us because thanks to their asset stripping their way through the UK defence industry in the 80’s and 90’s they’ve no competition. They haven’t been able to do the same in the US.

      • British built cars had a bad reputation for a number of reasons. One was that the unions basically created a culture of work to rule so no one did anything that they were not explicitly meant to do. If there was a fault and it was not your job to fix it then it would carry on down the production line… Also at Longbridge the unions would effectively just press stop on the production line, go off for few days or weeks then come back and press start… Bodies that were in the wash cycle before being painted were now covered in rust and simply sent along to be painted, some people will have forgot exactly where they were in the process of bolting the cars together and so some bolts were never put in etc…

        The other issue was that after the war the labour gov forcibly removed 250,000 people and much of the car building industry from Birmingham and relocated it around the country. The skilled workforce was then spread thin and the collective knowledge was gradually lost along with increasing the cost of manufacture. This lead to a lowering in quality.

        • Correct Lee, whilst the rest of the world was implementing practices developed by the likes of Demming the unions fought every single change. Only when it was too late did they wake up and change. Foreign ownership came after this change and the unions were weakened, no one in their right mind would have invested before this. I went to one of my company’s US sites in the 80’s, they had robots doing tasks already, in the UK this type of investment had been fought by the unions. Ultimate the UK site closed and work went to Germany, where they were paid more but were more efficient.

          I remember one case clearly we wanted to film a machine so we could analyse the film and shave time off manufacturing cycle. The union lead walked straight into the Production managers office and threaten a immediate downing of tools!!

          I could never understand how the union thought they were protecting jobs. I guess they though work could never be done some where else.

          • One interesting side note about British Leyland during the seventies, the current Dear Leader of the Labour party Corbyn worked as a trade union organiser for the National Union of Public Employees and Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union. That Union was approached by Tony Benn to produce a Blueprint promoting the idea of the workers controlling British Leyland. Luckily Benn was moved to another department and it didn’t get anywhere!

          • This is still happening in teaching. My wife was head of department at a failing school after being at an outstanding school for many years. The school she came from had resisted all union activities as much as possible so the union had very little influence. One of the successful practices at that school had been the ability for any teacher to go and watch other teachers lessons when they had free periods. This led to various knowledge sharing and promotion of best practices. When my wife suggested this to the new school it was shot down as the union reps all went mental about it, claiming that it was against their rights and that they would strike if it became policy! So the school continued to fail with the worst teachers being those that were the most pro-union.

            I see unions as a very important part of our working life and they can potentially be very useful. However they regularly overstep the mark and the leaders and reps often become power hungry. They are also obviously very biased towards a particular political party so are able to cause issues for other parties regardless of the validity of their complaints or actions.

            In my mind all unions should be politically neutral and should not be giving money to any political party.

          • I agree, I’m not against unions they are there to protect workers and their rights but in the UK they failed employees by not seeing the bigger picture. Look at RnD, its critical that companies spend money on this to ensure the company can compete and have new world beating products. No union has ever called for action if an RnD budget was cut and in many cases would happily had the RnD budget cut if it meant they had shorter hours or more pay. We’ve strayed off topic but not unrelated as to why industries can’t compete or quality is wide of the mark.

      • ISO affects everything they do.
        The same applies to ITAR issues in the past affected them. ITAR cost BAe over 400 mil and they are very very twitchy over anything that has ITAR issues attached to it.

  13. Sorting out sheared bolts can be a nightmare, this is why the builder’s didnt want to do it,but it seems to me that there’s a lot more wrong with this ship.What couldn’t you fix in a whole year?Electrical problems have been mentioned and my money would be on an electrical system redesign and total rewiring.Idon’t think we are getting the whole story about the type 45 either,they don’t seem need very hot conditions or need to get very far out of an English port to suffer a total meltdown. A warship should never totally shut down or any ship in fact.

    • I think this rest with the employees. They overtighten the bolts simple, instead of reporting the problem they had some Loctite handy and stuck the heads back on. Very difficult for QA to track this kind of issue. Probably enough bolts to hold the equipment in benign conditions, These were probably overtightened and would fail if stressed. Visually looked OK.

      Now BAe has TOBA which is supposed to maintain a skilled work force. As a time serve apprentice myself no trained person I have ever worked with would have done this.

      It could be the equipment was fitted by a contractor, in which case the contract should be barred from all government work not just MOD work or pay penalties for all there work to be 100% inspected. Sound harsh but its the only way to stamp out this kind of behaviour.

  14. The quality of the build appears very bad, on the evidence presented the faults identified are serious and costly to rectify.

    The problem appear related to the specific BAE site where the ships were built rather than a company wide issue.

    The not sure how the management at the site can have permitted such poor working practices and procedures to have occurred.

    Why we should have any confidence in them building the type 26?

    An urgent investigation is required to identify the causes and rectify the issues, hopefully name those responsible for this calamity.

    • Agreed. It would be so much better if this had never happened (obviously) but in a perverse way if it was going to happen then thank goodness what seem to be some or all of bad workmanship, bad oversight and/or bad QA procedures came to light on a River B2 (which ironically quite a few people didn’t want) rather than on the first T26 build. At least now we do have the opportunity to do, I hope, an extremely thorough investigation of what went wrong and put procedures/training/staff-replacements in place as necessary to stop it happening again.

      Had this happened on the T26 it would have been an absolutely massive national embarrassment. I think that first River B2, at £116m or however much it cost, has almost earned it’s build price purely on the basis of its part in hopefully avoiding a T26 disaster without even taking the value of the River B2 itself into account!

  15. So will BAe pay for reactivation of Tyne and any other associated costs, its an older ship so running costs would be higher. Commercial organisation would go after suppliers for associated costs of not having the asset.

    • It might cost less to run Tyne as she has 1/2 the crew requirement, 30 instead of 58. In fact we seem to be going from needing 90 crew for 3 OPVs to needing 282 crew for 5 OPVs whilst having a Type 45 and a Type 23 laid up from lack of crew. The only ship class we can get built quickly increases our crew requirements while replacing the Type 23s with smaller crewed ships (26/31) seems to take ever longer. We sometimes really don’t help ourselves.

      • That is very strange. At first I thought you must have seen bad info or misinterpreted something because an increased crew requirement seems so against the general trend of what the RN is trying to do but I see that what you say about crew numbers tallies with the Wikipedia data. For completeness though, the RN reference (reference 6) that the Wikipedia article quotes says…

        “Instead of a crew of around 45, Forth and her sisters will go to sea with 58 souls aboard (although they can operate with just 36 crew…and have space for 70)”

        Still an increase in crewing requirements vs the B1s so still seems profoundly odd to me but that quote does seem to imply that maybe the Wikipedia article is understating the crew that the B1s actually sail with. Then again, maybe that “around 45” figure is just for Clyde and the 3 original B1s are at or close to 30.

        • Hey Julian, my assumption was HMS Clyde was 45 as she is a modified Batch 1 and the other 3 are 30. I could be wrong on that but either way it doesn’t help with manpower. In an ideal world I would want to retain Clyde for FIGS alongside all 5 Batch 2s but that’s only viable if we speed up construction and delivery of Type 26 as well as keeping the timetable for Type 31. More likely though we will end up scrapping Clyde and dropping to 5 OPVs and maybe loosing another Type 23 to manpower in the shorter term, then end up with more crew than needed when the last Type 23 retires. Looking on the bright side maybe we could reactivate the second LPD around 2030 just in time to justify it’s replacement 😏

        • the recent warship series on hms duncan was interesting, when it was said there was insufficient bunk much or manpower shortages which is an overstated issue.

  16. A few emotionally charged comments above…as usual, the answers is probably somewhat dull…

    The government delayed the T26 build leading to a stagnant workforce. TOBA kicked in and we had to build something…anything that we had a semi decent design for and could be built quickly. A modified Batch 2 River was chosen.

    Remember, the BAE design team were busy making the relevant changes to T26 so they had to divert some design engineers to the B2 design changes…probably not the most experienced designers as they were all tied up on T26. and remember, we need the workforce starting pronto to retain skills!

    The B2 build gets underway with a design quickly modified, suppliers scrabbling to get equipment ready and a demoralised workforce bored and tired of being a political football.

    Mistakes then happen, the design’s not perfect and now they need to hurry up and get them finished because the government have approved the T26 design and want them started pronto!!!

    But the first ship wont be ready for a bout 6 years! The Navy needs hulls in the water sharpish and the B2 rivers are no replacements for T23. What we need now is a hurried and cheap design and build for a frigate called T31! yes…that’ll make everything square again.

    I don’t blame Tam or Dave building ships. The recent problems can be heavily attributed to government delays, lack of foresight, cut budgets and political shenanigans!

    Fire away boys!!!

    • No that is pretty much what I have heard, also BAE Systems having been transferring experienced people to Barrow from the Clyde.

      This has two affects:

      1) Those experienced people are not in the Clyde to work on the River batch 2
      2) The workforce is even further demoralised as they are being asked to go live out of a hotel to work at a yard nowhere near their homes

      • You must be joking. Massive subsistence allowances.I suppose you are going to argue that the lads are tried out from all the overtime they’ve managed to organise for themselves and the high levels of sick leave are caused by “stress”.

        • No

          I have spent whole months away from home and family on business work it is no fun whatsoever regardless of the scale of subsistence allowances.

    • An astonishingly convoluted argument, you seem to be trying to suggest that the cause is not enough work,that they had too much time and money to do a good job.The navy didn’t need hulls in the water sharpish, in fact they didn’t need the B2s at all,they were supposed to be keeping the yard busy.
      Don’t forget that some of us have actually worked at these places,it has to be seen to be believed. Completely rotten throughout.As always the blame starts at the top but the ordinary bods and in particular the unions are responsible for plenty of the mess.

      • Not enough consistent work is a very important factor.

        British yards have been alternating between periods of plenty followed by famine, that has a significant knock through affect on quality. British yards producing vessels over 100 Gross Tons pretty much entirely on military work.

        I was doing some research yesterday about global production of vessels over 100 Gross Tons, if you exclude military and Oil/Gas industry platform work Japan produced in 2017 over 13 million Gross tons of vessels mainly bulk carriers. The UK produced Zero Gross Tons in the same year.

        Japanese yards have the cushion of civilian work meaning their Military Ship businesses are not constantly in a state of famine or sudden plenty. It makes life far more stable for the workforce.

        • Torqueing up of bolts has nothing to do with feast or famine, its something you learn on you first week of the job as after health and safe inductions. Covering up the mistake by gluing the heads back on is shocking.

          Japanese yard have commercial work because they don’t make excuses for this type of shoddy work.

          • Japanese ships are regarded as the best quality you can get but expensive compared to China and Korea.

    • Weren’t these B2 Rivers an ‘off the shelf’ design? How much detailed work there was done who knows? But they certainly weren’t working from a fresh sheet piece of paper. Thinking about it, wasn’t one of the drivers for the scheme, that BAE had a design they could just start building without much ‘hassle’?

      There are better 80m ship designs out there, and I say that as somebody who thinks the B1 Rivers have been very good value. I always enjoyed visiting them.

  17. No one at BAE`Clyde yard ever heard of a torque wrench or do they just cream everything up as tight as it will (or in this case,won`t ) go ?

    • Going on when this was first leaked as an issue the problem was tracked to one person who was a contractor on a fixed term contract.

      Not that should excuse BAE Systems their QA should have picked it up before the vessel was handed over.

  18. Isn’t this old news? I thought this was reported and commented on a while back. The glued-on bolts sound familiar. In any case, for a little more money these ships could have had a deck & hangar for a Wildcat ASW copter, a 57 or 76 mm gun, and a better sensor suite. And coulda woulda shoulda.

    • My guess on the reason they didn’t, is a combination of factors resulting in it not being economical to do so.

      1. contract to keep work in the Clyde
      2. year of navy and desire to publish stories about growing fleet
      3. navy didn’t really need any more OPV as batch1 were good enough for the role
      4. general lack of sailors
      5. 2 carriers announced would go into service

      My guess is the thought process went, ok we need to build more ships on clyde, we could either invest in a new design and have maybe 2 ships or using existing and have 5. In order not to cause more manpower issues, in a period where we have 2 carriers coming in service and avoid further bad news, lets cut the batch1s, so we need at least 4 for a straight replacement and the navy won’t be pushed further with manpower / ships they don’t want. Considering the budget we can’t afford 4-5 new designs, so stuck with existing compromised design.

      How that resulted in bad built quality, no idea.

  19. They should use the same cross checking systems used in the aviation world to ensure safety and quality.

    As has been said, taking the modifications into account, it’s not like the River class is an unknown quantity, no excuse for poor quality work what so ever.

  20. Why did the RN accept delivery when they already knew the ship was seriously defective?Sounds like work has virtually stopped on rest of batch 2 while this is sorted out, what are staff doing?

  21. I wonder why there hasn’t been a call for an enquiry into what went wrong.

    It would appear there is some blame to be had within the Navy for accepting the vessel into service in the first place. There isn’t a lot that can be done about BAe internal quality control, but you would think such serious list of problems should have been spotted much earlier on by the Navy. Surely it must do regular QA assessments during the build, to ensure targets have been met before interim payments made.

  22. “Surely it must do regular QA assessments during the build, to ensure targets have been met before interim payments made.”

    The above point, made by Steve really hits the nail on the head!

    What’s going on here, is the tax payer picking up the tap for this totally avoidable bodge job?

    The aviation industry has had refined quality and safety checks for decades, a complete system of cross checking and accountability, refined over many years…

    Good grief, even the Land Rover plant at Solihull has a similar system in place!

    Yet BAE Systems don’t …. Still why bother, when good old Joe tax payer will pick up the tab no matter what….

    • I certainly hope that the tax payer is not picking up the bill. Although i assume there will be some cost involved in reactivating the old ship, but i assume this should be minimal, although not zero.

    • Back in the day I worked with someone who had worked at Rover when it was a JV: Bae with Honda. The situation was that Honda did more or less everything that went right; and much did. Bae were completely out of their depth.

      Apart from aerospace and 30 years on Bae need to get a grip.

  23. BAE has a reputation for designing and building ‘gold plated’ ships. No doubt the ‘gold plate’ is glued on.

      A common expression of nautical origin meaning to spoil the best part of a
      thing or story. In the old days in Germany, gingerbread was always on sale at
      the country fairs and traditionally was splashed with gilt to make its
      appearance more attractive. From this custom, the gilded and painted carvings
      at the bows, stern and entrance ports of sailing ships of war came to be
      known as “gingerbread work”. To knock the gilt off this gingerbread not only
      incurred the displeasure of the ship’s captain but often, owing to the age
      and condition of the ship, damaged the best part of the vessel.

  24. If it is sabotage or hopefully just poor workmanship then you are putting lives at risk. Hope you can sleep well. Ever take a pride in your work and what your work is going toward or get another job, please

    • China will go after Taiwan at some point, once they feel they can make it costly enough for the US not to contest it. It may not happen militarily in Taiwan no US will not come to there aid they may just decide its better to rejoin China.

      • Interestingly enough expat, I’ve had mixed thoughts along those lines as well, but I’ve come to the conclusion that we would have no choice if we wish to continue as regional hegemon. For a variety of reasons – this poll ( and other studies) shows that the Taiwanese feel strongly about their independence and democracy.

        I believe it would be much harder than the PRC expects to take the island and the sight of a bloody, determined, and unified resistance to an invasion with pleas from the Taiwanese to help them very well could tip the scales in terms of a U.S. intervention decision in such case.

        If we DON’T honor our commitment and take up defense of the island then we will lose all credibility in the region and Japan, S. Korea, the Philippines, and Singapore etc will detach from us and go their own way. It’s a bad situation but we must stand and fight if it occurs or we pass the mantle of hegemon then and there. It’s the ultimate case of “Put your money where your mouth is”…

        The wild card? The political bent of of whatever administration is in power in the U.S. will be the deciding factor.


          • The other question is would the Chinese simply attack Taiwan and attempt to take to fast for American intervention? Thus presenting the US with a fait accompli.
            Or would they try to emulate Japan in spirit and attempt a surprise attack on Yokosuka and Guam? In order to disable as many 7th Fleet and USAF units as possible. Gambling that the US wouldn’t continue the war.

          • The former is the most probable route in that scenario Elliott IMO. Any attack on U.S. territory during a PRC invasion of Taiwan would be seen as a Pearl Harbor level provocation with a corresponding military response.

            Japan would probably join in limited fashion in it’s territorial waters by denying the PRC free access across its SLOCs by bottlenecking the PLAN at the first island chain, conducting ASW and CAP patrols with authorization for release of armaments, and allowing use of its military facilities by the U.S. among other actions. They would probably aid Taiwan as well.

            There would be no question of not fighting in your second scenario. The first? Hard to say but I reassert my opinion that that the PRC would find it far more difficult to take Taiwan than they expect…

            Particularly if there are very high civilian and foreign casualties and massive non military damage being televised to the world. It would send shudders through SE Asia and drive those countries even further into a U.S. orbit




          • I wrote a fairly lengthy response to you Elliot but it’s never appeared so I assume it ran afoul of the PTB.

            Here’s an interesting article on that subject.


            Any Pearl Harbor style attack on U.S. territory would trigger a full scale military response by the U.S. Remember, we still preserve the bullet holes in building at Hickam, Wheeler, and Pearl to remind ourselves: “Never again”. Your first scenario is more problematic and goes back to the political question I referred to above…


          • I know it would and I am pretty sure every American knows it would. The question is do the Chinese? Last year th Remember Mao and the Politburo gambled in the Korean War thinking that it would be a quick victory. What he got was a bloody stalemate on the 38th parallel.
            Personally I think if we allow Taiwan to fall, we would be reading about either the fall or some treaty that means the same for Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Within a matter of years at best months at worst. Not to mention Japan in all likelihood acquiring a Nuclear deterrent. So I do not believe we could afford to revoke the independence guarantee. Not unless the USN wants to stop operating west of Guam and North of Australia.

          • That should be “Last year Xi Jinping caused a armed standoff over the Chinese border with India and Bhutan, because he thought he could act without a response from New Delhi. So clearly a gambler.
            I really need to replace my reading glasses.

        • For China its a waiting game, continue to build their armed forces. As China becomes more powerful both militarily and economically Taiwanese opinion may be swayed. When they see that a military conflict would be bloody with little chance of winning and the there is question over who would come to their aid. China economically is strong then Taiwan may feel its the best option, China will initially offer a deal with limited oversight from Beijing.

          China certainly has a long term plan and they have the advantage of a single party rule to be able to make it happen.

          • Very viable scenario expat. China doesn’t have to go through the chaos of conflicting administrations every 4 – 8 years. But one misstep on the part of the unelected and unaccountable CCP could have severe consequences.

            Like a bully who has never really had to fight – The PRC has all the shiny new toys (stolen mostly), a large military, and a great propaganda machine but no warfighting experience ex Vietnam 4 decades ago (which went badly for them).

            One disastrous engagement with the USN or even worse – Japan would have enormous repercussions because, to save face with their citizens, the PRC leadership might be forced to do something they are not ready for or have not thought through.

            Another defeat in the process – or even an extremely badly considered limited strike on the U.S. or Japan for example would lead to a worse case “slippery slope” scenario that they could not back away from. All out accidental wars ala the German Schlieffen Plan – no way to call back the troops or stop the attack – result from this kind of thing.

            They do seem to be trying a more friendly approach with their neighbors to build some soft power though…



  25. So much for the build quality of the Magnificent Clyde workers. The Unions will no doubt blame management if they can get away with it, and then scream for more work citing betrayal if they dont get it . Thank God the Carriers were unit built elsewhere and only assembled in the Clyde.

    • Yep there clearly some big problems, but this will have cost the MoD also and will do for some time to come as they will have to up inspections of the remaining Rivers and T26 until confidence is restored. That’s money the budget doesn’t have.

  26. What is going on with the mini defence review. it feels like Williams is starting fights left right and centre for it seems PR purposes, but not actually getting anywhere. The armed forces need some certainty over budget so that equipment can be ordered and/or replaced.

  27. Issues with HMS Forth” will be resolved within weeks “states BAE systems in post on UK defence journal 2 months ago. How many weeks?

  28. And we wonder why we struggle to get foriegn orders? I hope this is an aberration, but it is disgusting from our main defence contractor. I think we need a public enquiry into UK defence shipbuilding as what we have seems far from value for money or fit for purpose. Too many vested interests in high places which are loyal to their own wealth & not to the good of the country or the services that rely on the kit. We’ve paid over the odds for shoddy equipment for too long.
    If you’re a defence supplier that does the job well, well done & thanks, but the shameless profiteers putting our nation & servicemen at risk should watch out as we’re coming after you one day. Of course our politicians bear a heavy responsibility for this too.

  29. BAEs Built on shafting the British tax payer as quickly and as often as possible. its why all BAEs tenders come with a health warning…..

  30. […] Forth – the lead ship in the second generation of River-class vessels – should be back at sea. Problems with her have kept Forth in Portsmouth throughout the summer of 2018, but following rectifications by BAE, her crew are expected to move back on board in November with […]


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