The new ‘National Flagship’ is to cost £250m and be “in the water by 2024 or 2025″.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was speaking at the National Flagship Engagement Day for industry where he stated:

“Our ambition is for something special, not just a cutting-edge ship, but a truly national flagship. A floating embassy to promote the UK’s diplomatic and trading interests in coastal capitals around the world: hosting high level negotiations, trade shows, summits and other diplomatic talks. A prestigious showcase for UK skills and expertise. Designed to incorporate leading technologies in power, propulsion and practice. Making the most of digital systems and autonomy to support its crew from the Royal Navy. The greenest ship of its kind, environmentally and ecologically advanced, maximising the use of sustainable fuels and materials.

The source for a legacy of regional and national regeneration. Creating more apprenticeships and opening-up more opportunities for a new generation to develop highly skilled, exciting and varied careers in shipbuilding. As such our new National Flagship will be the ‘jewel in the crown’ of our upcoming National Shipbuilding Strategy. Now, that may sound whimsical or an exaggeration, but I want to be clear – this is not just a flag ship but a flagship project to showcase to the country and the world just what British shipbuilding is capable of – innovative design, competitive build, quality service.

Underlining our intention to be the country of choice for specialist commercial vessels, yachts and naval vessels, and what we intend to do with this ship. And encouraging more nations to seek out that made-in-Britain stamp. What I want this ship to be is at the vanguard of the 21st Century Shipping technology. British made. A British led design, built by British hands. It is our chance to inspire and to showcase to the world our skills and people, generating jobs and opportunities across our British shipyards.

There has been a lot of reporting around this ship. Not all of it accurate. So let me set out our basic aims. Subject to working through bids, competition and technology, I aim to commission the ship for between £200 and £250 million on a firm price. The competition will run until the end of October. I hope to announce the winners in December. To begin construction in a British shipyard as early as next year and have a ship in the water by 2024 or 2025.”

More details also emerged recently about how the new ‘National Flagship’ will operate. According to a ‘Prior Information Notice’ regarding the upcoming tendering process to design and build the vessel, the Ministry of Defence say:

The vessel will be used to host high level trade negotiations and trade shows and will sail all over the world promoting British interests. A typical six month itinerary for the flagship might include docking at a port in a country where a British Prime Ministerial visit is taking place to accommodate parallel discussions between British and local businesses, hosting trade fairs to sell British products to an emerging market and providing the venue for an international ministerial summit or major trade negotiations between the UK and another government.”

You can read more at the link below.

More details released on role of the ‘National Flagship’

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
160 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Absolutely. Let’s hope the sale of Ultra is blocked ( as that of Cobham should have been).
I would be ( slightly) more impressed with the aim of showcasing British shipbuilding if we hadn’t just ordered 5 frigates of Danish design with German engines, Swedish guns and Dutch CMS. That was an opportunity missed.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Indeed. I have written to my MP concerning Ultra. These companies are UK crown industrial jewels.
I am sanguine about Arrowhead. These days a Patrol or GP frigate is a commodity. You buy on price. T26 and T45 successor are the circus acts and will be designed and built in the UK.

Dave12
Dave12
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

That’s actually a good decision .

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Can’t argue with that.  👍 

Derek
Derek
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I can. Paul’s first sentence is completely wrong whereas the second is completely correct. In my opinion. 🙂

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Derek

Agree!

maurice10
maurice10
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Yes, get it done and dusted.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The irony is the waste of money could be used to promote the money well spent.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

I will be used to encourage investments, but realistically those investments would have happened anyway. I can’t see it bringing in 250m plus operating costs of new investments into the UK.

Businesses don’t make decisions to invest in another country based on fancy ships, they do it based on tax breaks and promises of government funds, well on top of non governmental influcence of pure profit they would get from the expansion.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

If you believe the unions 60% is returned to the treasury for UK built ships. That’s base on tax employees, suppliers, etc the builder all pay. Your right they don’t but how do you generate that pipeline? Businesses need to know they can send an RFT to a UK company and we have that capability. If you’re preferred bidder closing the final deal is the easy part. Getting word out that our businesses are serious contenders is much harder. I’ve been involved in large tenders and believe me get on the list to compete us the hardest part. Yeah we… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

I don’t see how 60% is vaguely true (combined tax rates are well below that), but it’s unions jobs to protect their workers, so you can’t blame them for inflating numbers. But even if it was true that’s still 100m going to a vanity project, which could have paid for a load of extra sailors or another t31. I agree on the trade side, but you don’t need a fancy ship for that, after all that is the job of the embassies around the world. All you need to do is hire a fancy location and setup a wine/dine business… Read more »

expat
expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Basic tax is 20% and VAT is 20%, Fuel, beer etc are taxed at higher rates. Then you’ve go council tax, departure tax etc. Lets be honest there’s not much that’s not taxed. But I agree 60% is high. I did go to an embassy event in Kuwait and I wouldn’t go to one again. They just didn’t have the facilities to do what you need to do, most of the time spent was with other UK business staff having and beer and a chat. I don’t see this as any worse a punt than the 580m we wasted on… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  expat

No disagreement on it benefiting the workers, but I would guess there would be much better ways to spend public money if you just wanted to employee some people. I just can’t see it adding any value to trade at all, and they are pulling 250m from the navy. If they had designed the vessel to have a secondary purpose for war fighting, hospital ship or troop movement, then it would make sense for the navy to pay for it, but military purposes don’t appear to be on the requirement list.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Agree on both

George Parker
George Parker
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Agreed on both counts.

Darren hall
Darren hall
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Why?

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Darren hall

Vanity projects will not save the country. A sensible industrial strategy which respects and leverages the talents of our people just might.

expat
expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Hmm some would argue some of greatest engineering projects started life as vanity projects, Going to the moon for example or trying to cross the Atlantic in record time, formula 1 a whole industry based on vanity, there is no other purpose to f1 than seeing who can lap quickest. Brunel himself could have been accused of vanity, SS great Britain was a first with revolutionary propeller and hull. Quoting the article as below why do you think achieving the below is vanity, sounds like the type of problem you throw at a modern day Brunel. The greenest ship of… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  expat

I think Brunel’s ships were maybe vanity projects…extending the GWR railway across the Atlantic. Not sure they were a great commercial success. I would be happy to reserve judgement on the new ‘national’ yacht if it really turns out to be a showcase for advanced green technogies. But I am not hopeful. I suspect it’s a desperate Boris idea to recover our imperial past. Why else would we have trashed Europe in favour of the ‘Indo Pacific’. I hear Nigel Farage is our unofficial trade ambassador to India. His tagline is he wants to show them how they can make… Read more »

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

SS Great Britain wasn’t a commercial success but it fundamentally changed ship design so in an engineering perspective it was innovative and forward thinking. Let’s hope we set the bar high with this a demonstrate something cutting edge.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

Well we can agree on that. Brunel’s father was French of course. He was educated in France. Perhaps that’s how he inherited his ambition for grand projéts.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  expat

If business want to speculate to accumulate then let them build their new SS Great Britain, I’m all for government helping industry but is syphoning a quarter of a billion plus out of the Defence budget the way to do it ???

Maybe we should start an F1 team too, kind of like the gladiator pits in Rome, it can keep the prols amused, on the telly I mean, you wouldn’t want the ghastly oiks actually at the events.  😉 

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Granted the likes of BAe have the resources to invest but Cammell Liard and other yards are probably closer to Sheffield Forge Masters. Not about to go bust but not making enough to make step up their game and invest. UK yards haven’t built a commercial vessel in decades the world knows we can build Naval ships and research vessels. HMG could fund a cruise ship I suppose then flog it or lease it. But that would probably come under scrutiny from the wto. I’m not interested in the politics but helping British industry is of interest.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

Probably a moot point now but I’m guessing Industry wasn’t consulted on what they fancied for the 250 million (plus).

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I doubt it but if it must be defence procurement to avoid wto rules and to be something that’s demonstrates a different skill set there’s limited options. The debacle at Ferguson Marina hasn’t shown UK shipbuilding in a good light for commercial vessels. Sir Richard Attenborough was late and CL made a loss of 38m probably because it was the first build CL had done for some time. You learn from your mistakes as they say we do need a variety of vessel types to give industry the experience and hopefully complete commercially.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The Government want to invest in British companies and then provide them with a platform to sell their products. Sounds like a plan to me. Better than doing nothing.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mark B
Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

I hope you are right. Well see what happens to Ultra To quote Ghostbusters, I love this plan, I’m glad to be a part of it…whatever it is 🙂

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

250mil, going by some quick Internet searches, should result in a super yacht disacing north of 10,000t.
If that’s the case we should be getting a decent sized ship that hopefully can have some secondary mission characteristics designed in.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Unfortunately not, I don’t believe any secondary missions are being considered or designed in Dern….

Tony
Tony
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hide a a couple of strike-length Mk41 VLS under the swimming pool and have Tomahawks pop out like Thunderbird 1.

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony

Royal Navy’s new Q ship perhaps?

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony

I like it Tony, how about a mast that depresses and turns into a 5″gun too!

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

One thing the last year of observing miltwitter has taught me is never rely completely on OS.
At any rate even if it just has a ramp and a big exhibition space it’ll still be able to do some decent sealift if it comes in at supernatural like weights.

Angus
Angus
1 month ago

One important question. As the RN are already short of sailors, just where is the crew coming from? Multi role, well all RN ships can do something other than their main role as the HMY past did on many occasions, saving British Citizens when needed and of course close by. Yes with that cash and of course some from UK Industry (they get to benefit after all) we should have a goodly sized vessel similar in size to the RSS Sir R’A’. Lets wait and see what comes out in Oct?

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

Navy recruitment is actually really good right now and to be fair has been for the last few years. MCM’s going unmanned and Type 26 and 31 will need much smaller crews than 23’s. Famous last words but crewing is not the biggest objection to this ship.

Angus
Angus
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Never send it was an objection but we have been short for some time and we now have two large flat tops to man and forward deploying ships means for most you need double crews so the RN is very much short of sailors (having recently just left the Fleet) Those in already have a much higher separation than the Army and do not get me going about the light blue jobs, ALL 3 services should be the same and certainly not at the minimum but more towards the high end of the RN 2 years in 3 not 4… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

From the horses mouth. Thank you for that. I know what you mean about the light blues but nothing seems to change. I’ve heard it said that a global Navy will be a big plus for recruiting but from what you say it might not be so good for retention. The best I can offer is to encourage you to talk about it here and on other sites. Maybe some one will hear you who can do something about it or at least bend their ear. Sorry that’s the best I can offer you.

Dave Ham
Dave Ham
1 month ago

Covid bounce back loans that will never be repayed have been passed off as “well its money going round the economy” , so as the nation is printing money anyway, even if this is a white elephant, at least some UK shipyard and workers gets gainfully employed and suppliers get contracts.
Arguable schemes such as cadets, Princes Trust might get use, even as a scheme to get struggling veterans up the ladder back to some form of normality.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave Ham

Yep a shipyard and it’s workers are going to have a better xmas than otherwise. That’s the only plus I can see with it.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Plus the upside they can show they can build something other than a warship. Let’s hope it leads to uk getting more commercial ship orders.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Does anyone actually believe it will stay within those budget/time figures?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

Hi Mark,

If you had asked that question before the T31 programme I would have said not a chance. However, the structure of the T31 contract suggests that the MoD is getting tough on price and time slips, even to the extent of placing contracted limits on it’s own staff from meddling with the build, i.e. there is a term in the contract that prevents changes once build starts.

So if a similar approach is taken them there is a chance that they could achieve their target.

Cheerc CR

Dan
Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Wasn’t the first T31 supposed to be in service by 2023? I don’t think they have even cut first steel yet, have they?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan

Delays on the government side meant that was not possible, however, recent anouncements suggest all of the ships will be completed by 2028 (if I remember rightly), which is pretty good going.

Cheers CR

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan

First Steel is planned to be cut this summer.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Given that its only in the MOD budget to avoid having to go for an international tender, I”m doubtful about how much control they will be exerting, I’d imagine FCO and Trade (or whatever its called now) will be involving themselves as well.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

Do they have to compky with those rules about international tender now we have left the EU. Surely HMG can now just order whatever the hell they like and stuff EU shipyards if they complain.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

It was never limited to the EU, it’s international, as evidenced by the RFA hulls being made in South Korea. The UK signed up to the Agreement after Brexit as an independent nation, hence why the games now by sticking it into the Defence budget. Also the EU yards never complained, think most of them wondered why the UK didnt make more use of the Defence Clause in the first place, but thats domestic UK issues.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

It’s the WTO.you need to be wary.of. US and EU fought for years over state aid for Boeing and Airbus which lead to tariffs on other goods. Placing a profitable order with a UK yard for commercial vessel could be deemed state aid. The WTO generally considers defence a sovereign issue. My view is this order look like it will allow a yard to unskilled outside of defence and in new tech and win commercial orders.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Got to say CR, and I accept my cynicism but this isn’t be built for the Mob, this is for BoJo and Co. and as we’ve seen in other areas, normal rules don’t exactly apply to them. Can expect the T32’s to be more or less on budget but I predict this will be exempt the new ‘austere’ contracts. Hope I’m wrong.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Let’s hope a certain person isn’t doing the interior design again.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Yeah, that’ll be a budget buster.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Damn, I’d forgotten about her  🙄 

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

 😎  Andy I tend to agree… That was my first reaction and it still is to some extent. However, if they do come up with a proper and viable plan to make it pay for itself then perhaps it is a good idea. Having said that, a conference room on a ship is probably just the same, if smaller, than a conference room in a good hotel…

So it will need to be more than just a floating conference centre.

Cheers CR

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
1 month ago

Price of a new Type 31. Or maybe using that money to properly equip the 5 planned T31. My 2 cents

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Yeh, an extra £50m per T31 might make a meaningful contribution to capability.

Cheers CR

Karl
Karl
1 month ago

For that amount a lot of help could be given to veterans. Then am I alone in being sick of this government and its virtue signalling?

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Karl

Take your politics elsewhere.

Karl
Karl
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

lol

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Agree Karl and Andrew, it IS a political issue. It is certainly not a defence one, or at least it wouldn’t be if the money, personnel and running costs weren”t being snatched from the defence budget.to no possible gain to defence of the realm. At a time when the RAF is losing 70 aircraft, the army is being cut to two-thirds of its 2010 strength, we can’t afford to arm the T31 properly, etc, etc robbing £250m from the defence budget to pay for an obvious party political ploy is deeply irresponsible bordering on criminal and the defence sec should… Read more »

DJ
DJ
1 month ago

I cannot think why people think this is a waste.
I recall HMY Britannia in Lisbon harbour one time.
All guest aboard were VVIPs of various types, and all keen to be there.
Like other in-the-flesh trade shows, much business was done. Cream on the cake were the Royals, helping to oil the social wheels.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  DJ

Agree. And I will be avoiding this article from now as its the same old moans whenever this subject raises its head. They don’t get it. I do.

Looking forward to seeing it.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

Trouble is HM is quite cool on this as the optics don’t work.

Decommissioning Britannia was stupid – refurbishing it with modern engines would have been a better option.

The value of it was that it was classic ad classy.

Could it be that Britannia #2 will be effectively a T31 hull? It smells like that to me.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago

You are still looking at the ship as a Royal Yacht. It won’t be that. It will undoubtedly host members of the Royal family from time to time to support diplomatic or business activities, where they fly into where the ship is located. We’ll probably never see a “traditional” cruise as of old because of the poor optics.

It won’t be a T31 hull because that is entirely inconsistent with the stated goals for the ship design outlined in the article.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

What is ready to build that fast other than T31 at that price point?

If it is a naval hull then it will get round the various tendering issues.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago

It doesn’t need to be ready to build. Super-yachts in the 100m+ range can be designed and built in 3 years or less, which is consistent with the timelines outlined. The 180m super-yacht Azzam reportedly took one year of design and 3-years to build, but then its the size of a Tico cruiser.

What are the tendering issues you’re referring to?

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

Most super yachts only take 2-3 years to build an enter service, so that’s not unrealistic.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago

Agree more like a floating conference and business centre.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

Well if they get someone like Sunseeker, Jonny Ive or even McLaren to design it’s visual look We just might get something worthwhile, innovative and modern as a first impression but sadly Boris is far more rooted in history to do that I fear so expect something akin to Cleopatras galley.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Designs were submitted 7 years ago to convert Illustrious to a national flag ship.Looks quite innovative to me. I’m not interested in the politics more the job creation and sponsorship of British industries

article-2539398-1AAA298E00000578-927_636x382.jpg
Last edited 1 month ago by Expat
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago

At least that is a more realistic usage argument for this, let’s hope it indeed won’t be a new Royal Yacht by stealth to satisfy the demands of those who have long called for one. If it is to be a positive it needs to work hard in the stated purpose, it just worries me the image portrayed looks far more like a traditional Royal Yacht than it does a true modern innovative vessel, let’s hope the reality is far more persuasive but I fear the traditionalists will get their way and to the world will on sight promote Britain’s… Read more »

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
1 month ago

Fitting HMY Britannia with new engines was neither a practical or cost effective option, that she managed to operate until 1997 was a challenge in itself. The hull was (and is now) utterly worn out and the cuts needed to be made to remove her old steam machinery and replace with Diesels would have been extremely risky to her structural integrity.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago

Me too mate 👍

Nate M
Nate M
1 month ago

what’s to look forward to in this ship? i mean couldn’t we just we this money to fund the tempest programme? or maybe fund the FCASW programme? or just maybe better equip the type 31 i.e. maybe add 24 vls and a sonar? i am no expert but i am pretty sure that 250 million quid could have a better use.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

The problem is those of us getting, by shutting up, don’t give perspective to the moaning.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  DJ

“I cannot think why people think this is a waste.” – probably because they don’t have your experience, demonstrating its value. Also probably because they don’t have sales, marketing and especially brand development/reinforcement experience.

The other refrain that often surfaces is that “no one else does it”, which overlooks that marketing seeks to make customer interactions differentiating, engaging and memorable in order to increase share of mind. This is especially important for engagement at senior decision maker levels.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago

Or we just think it’s a waste. It’s fine to disagree

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

Absolutely fine to disagree but there are presumably reasons as to why that is? From many of the comments people don’t understand marketing, especially business-to-business marketing. No reason why they should, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t a critical component of doing business.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago

The issue isnt understanding marketing … the issue is at whose expense and for who’s benefit is the marketing being done. The shareholders of what are generally international companies with extended international supply chains….who may just happen to be associated with the UK ! If a mobile venue is required I would much rather see one of the future LCS, with the space they provide and planned to be fwd positioned anyway, to have some readily transportable exhibition packages that allow the short term / periodic use as a trade exhibition site. Such packages can be very high quality and,… Read more »

David
David
1 month ago

Well, as someone who entered a new market and went on to win an export award for creating a terrific business in a foreign country, I think it is a waste of money.

However, as I’ve said before, IF it has to be built, base it on the T31 for commonality of machinery, certain electronics and training.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago

Well my business was branding and design and the problem I have here is that the branding has to be positive and I am simply not confident that this will be for Britain under this leadership or indeed any I have worked under sadly.. If we don’t excel in getting it right we are in danger of being a laughing stock while the world will be more than happy to take the fancy receptions and then go off and buy foreign as usual. I hope I am wrong but my experience of dealing with UK politicians, civil servants and industry… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Certainly a valid concern. The language quoted from Ben Wallace suggests to me though that there is a recognition that producing the marine equivalent of a thatched cottage with Laura Ashley curtains at the windows would be be a failure. Fine if your goal is just marketing traditional legacy, luxury type brands, and tourism but would provide no brand support of STEM and green energy orientated industries.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  DJ

We’re the VVIPs there for the royals or the boat. …I suspect the royals.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  DJ

You mean like Prince Andrew? If so many wheels were being so successfully oiled one has to wonder during that period how this Country progressively fell behind its competitors. As a simple guide those steel output figures are shocking when some 30 years ago the media were trying to talk up British Steel as being one of the leanest most efficient producers in Europe while continental producers were identified as suffering badly from cheap imports. If that’s moaning, well I can only hope that we as a Country and Govt are being more realistic these days and that this will… Read more »

DJ
DJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Burberry shares are currently trading not far off their high, and The Times says the brand is ‘back in fashion with young.’ Red buses are all over the world, long may they ride, my last trip being in BC, Canada. Only committed republicans would turn down tea with the Queen. My experience of HMY Britannia was in the 1990s, not long before she left active duty. Her point was to combine ceremony with trade, which she did with excellence. A new ship with a sharp trade focus should become a UK spearhead, far beyond the nostalgia that some commenters associate… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago

Judging by the posts so far I may be the only one here with a positive attitude on this. £250 million is peanuts for a floating embassy representing British commerce and soft power around the world. The question perhaps is whether the money should come out of the defence budget or the foreign office or trade or be shared? Also apart for the need for a core of experienced crew why not open up opportunities for others to fill specific roles. Duke of Edinburgh medal holders maybe? Moving sideways completely agree with the decision on Ultra. I don.t like nationalisation… Read more »

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I also think it’s great 👍🇬🇧

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Thanks RB. Love the flag!

Nate M
Nate M
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

sharing seems like a good idea but will the clown in charge of our country do it? its a million dollar question or just watching Boris making a decision.

Last edited 1 month ago by Nate M
dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Will Harry and his wife/kids be able to use it? lol

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

Maybe we should keep it away from California

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

The thing is, its not £250 million. You don’t buy a car and assume that there won’t be any further expense. I get the role of the old RY, it had its place but the world has moved on, not least in jet transport which was in its infancy in the 50’s and 60’s. Sensibilities have changed too and its telling that even the royals are reticent about this. I’ve banged on about it before but I’m all ears if anyone has any hard facts on how much this will generate compared to no NY, its not like deals and… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I appreciate what your saying Andy but it’s still value for money. I still see the ship as a floating embassy and they cost hundreds of millions to run and nobody complains about that. Mind you, maybe we should.

It’s not for the people on the ship either. Whatever you think Boris and the cabinet aren’t going off on their summer holidays on it. It’s for the VIP’s that are invited as guests. They are the decision makers around the world and impressions count.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Hi Geoffrey, I think most of us doubters know what role its intended for, I can even ‘get’ that some will be impressed by the floating embassy, it has worked in the past. Having said that, if it was so effective you’d have thought that other countries might have jumped on the bandwagon, especially when we left a ‘gap in the market’ for one. The world has changed a lot since the old RY got pensioned off, not just the technology but the way people see things. The Royals seem to have their finger on the pulse on this, they’ve… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

You’re not the only one.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Thank you.

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

I’m pretty sure the £250 million spent will be recouped many times over with slightly tipsy foreign dignitaries signing on the dotted line….

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

If a ship made the difference, every nation would have them for diplomacy… They don’t.

Nate M
Nate M
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

what about landlocked countries?

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

 😀 

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

Well obviously those poor sods have no trade deals with anyone, as Yacht is needed for such deals according the HMG….

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

Nice one Nate…love to have a laugh…

John
John
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

This guy gets it. What is this ship supposed to accomplish? It’s literally just a floating meeting room. What will this allow the UK to do that it wasn’t able to do before, or without it? You realize those without ships will be just as able to go meet with others? In fact, when you go to others country, it’s typically courteous to go to THEIR residence, not pull up in port and wait for them to board your ship. I just don’t get it. This is a toy without much of a purpose.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

There is something quite special about HM & RN that other countries don’t have. It is a bit of magic dust and we should use it.

People want to be schmoozed by our royalty: Britannia was the best ticket in town.

Last edited 1 month ago by Supportive Bloke
Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Sure, if you say so.

David
David
1 month ago

Before the IOTs, maybe.

DJ
DJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

All the more reason for the UK to have one, both as a point of difference, and to reflect our success as a world-wide trading and naval country.

Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
1 month ago

Great for impressing tin pot dictators, but the average billionaire will have a far fancier yacht

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

Not too mention the plain old billionaire dictators.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

Not really. There’s only a few yachts that are more than that on the planet…
Also most yachts can’t host trade shows.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

Waste of money. Build a hospital ship instead if we require soft-power.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Hi Gareth. Like this idea too. I think there were hospital ship concepts “floating” (sorry, pun intended) around as variants of the MRSS, Littoral Strike ships? I wonder if that’s coming to anything?

Bob2
Bob2
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

If hospital ships were effective for disaster relief Oxfam, the Red Cross and MSF would have their own fleets.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Trouble is a hospital ship will cost more to run. Your going to need a helo deployed to make it useful. I agree hospital ship would be a good call but it will cost more and will not return anything back.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

I’m not going to say it’s a waste of money, but I would really like to see the business case for 250m of public money being spent on this. I would just point out that you could get a lovey new mental health hospital in every county in England, with 60mil in Change that you could spend on 12000 hip or knee replacement ops to get 12000 pensioners more able to care for themselves and be pain free. always remember everything you buy has an opportunity cost, so is it better for the county to treat loads more the mental… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The only prob with that argument is a dodgy politician would say the same about Type 26, Tempest or Chally 3.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I think the difference is that defence is what it is, which essentially insurance and risk mitigation that HMG take on behalf of the nation. This ship is essentially an economic stimulus endeavour which therefore needs to evidence that it will make more for the taxpayer that it will cost. Otherwise what’s it for other than a perk for he powerful.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Guess it’s lucky its not coming out of the NHS budget then.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

It’s all coming out the tax base, same money pot. As a lady once said to a nurse there is no magic money tree.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jonathan
Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Not at all. Cancelling the national flag ship won’t buy a single icu bed because its coming out of the Mods pot. The only was it could affect the NHS us by earning us trade deals that’ll increase revenue.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

So what is being cancelled out of the mod plans to make way for this? That would be a clarification worth understanding and debating.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi dern I was using the “what it could buy” as an example of what the cost of the ship needs to balanced against. You can only spend the money once, remember it’s not mod money or nhs its HMG money and we provide it through the tax base.

So I’m not saying cancel, I’m saying where is the business case to show it will add value.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Then surely the comparison point should be things the MoD budget would be spent on, not manipulative “nurses and hospitals” talk that you’d see in Red Tops.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

We all like to use examples we work with, I work in what health I can buy for my budgets and if I was give more money that’s what I’d buy. I’m sure the MOD would have stuff they need that £250 million could buy. We don’t need a super rich ship for the ministers and other Folk to drink shampoo on. But we do need lots of other things….so the only reason for this boat is if it makes the British taxpayer money. For that I’d like to see the business case published. Otherwise I vote for that cash… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

Looking forward to see what Displacement she comes out at and design ,I myself don’t have a problem with new yacht if she ends up getting the UK Trade Hopfuly she will pay for herself.But do see the argument for manpower or even extra Frigiter for RN .🇬🇧 😀

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The biggest yachts out there come in at about 15,000t for about 350m£ so, just extrapolating from that, should in theory be a 10,000t displacement ship. Which I’d say is fair if you have a big trade floor in your ship.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

Turn it into a floating classroom, To promote things like our excellence in health care ( the NHS could make so much money supporting the build up of other nations systems), technology sharing etc, use it to promote and educate in solid liberal democratic values. Pop it on the foreign aid budge. Don’t ask the navy to staff it or the MOD to pay for it.

I would still want to see the business case… but.

Mike
Mike
1 month ago

I think it’s a great idea. Useful for diplomacy, business and a host of other functions.

dan
dan
1 month ago

250 million so it will probably end up costing closer to 400million when it’s finally delivered.

Esteban
Esteban
1 month ago

There is a reason no other country on the planet bothers with an anachronism like this. HMY Britannia was decommisioned almost 24 years ago. This whole idea is very last century.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Esteban

Not at all, but everyone will have a specific view on this to suit their political narrative.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago

What a waste of money. Although not as bad as 32 billion spent on track and trace or the 16 billion Hancock wasted buying unsatisfactory and unsafe PPE from his chums companies.
In fact when you put it that way seems the 250 million gor Boris’s holiday yacht is actually good value for money.

James H
James H
1 month ago

This has nothing to do with defence, so shouldn’t be coming out of the budget, plus will it need an escort, where will that come from.
I can be a very proud of being British without needing symbols of past times, like this.
If something was built I’d prefer a revolutionary concept of a ship of the future that showcased British design and build and was a science project, then an expensive vanity project at a time when we spent £8b just paying the interest on our debt for one month.

Derek
Derek
1 month ago
Reply to  James H

Hi James, you clearly didn’t read the article. It is being specifically built to showcase innovative design and engineering solutions. It is also intended to be as green as possible. It is a demonstration of our skills and ingenuity and the centerpiece of our National shipbuilding strategy. A living example of what we can offer and a floating showcase for business and industry.

James H
James H
1 month ago
Reply to  Derek

No i just dont believe all the padding that goes with everything now, where world leading has to be put infront of every sentence now.
If it was going to be a showcase it would come out of the science budget.
Plus the green initiatives are hollow, told this week not to rinse the dishes but the PM went by plane to Cornwall for the G7, so i dont believe anything.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  James H

Why will it need an escort? It is not an aircraft carrier sailing through enemy waters.

James H
James H
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

When the last royal yacht sailed it needed one, if the Prime minister was taking part of the trip on it, it will need some security.

Something Different
Something Different
1 month ago

I was mildly supportive of this venture but now looking at the potential £250m cost to the defence budget I’m not so convinced it’s the best use of those funds. If the business case is strong and return on investment from the trade diplomacy certain, can’t the Government make a commitment that within a certain timeframe the outlay will be refunded back to MOD coffers?

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
1 month ago

Complete waste of money

geoff
geoff
1 month ago

So she will definitely be a Royal Navy vessel manned by uniformed RN sailors? I see her as being in a grey area-not a naval ship nor a small cruise liner but rather a Blue Ensign somewhere in between.

Ron Stateside
Ron Stateside
1 month ago

“The vessel will be used to host high level trade negotiations and trade shows and will sail all over the world promoting British interests. A typical six month itinerary for the flagship might include docking at a port in a country where a British Prime Ministerial visit is taking place to accommodate parallel discussions…” It’s a shame commercial planes aren’t available for overseas travel or that countries the UK wishes to cut trade deals with don’t have commercial airports, hotels, and convention centers. It really is a shame I wonder if the RAF could have a full spectrum drone system… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

Let’s give it a chance, as long as the costs are tied in and don’t increase, I don’t see an issue with efforts at promoting trade. However peoples view of this subject will be coloured by their political narrative. I’m sure many would have loved this if it was organised by Corbyn as a Palestinian love boat to support the terrorism trade, other wouldn’t. Give it a go, it seems relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Don’t see this as being a political alignment issue. More like a mini brexit issue where you can see division across multiple groups, sectors, media and otherwise likeminded individuals and even within political parties. Just look at the comments within.

If it’s coming from MOD budget then what will, or has already, been given up or delayed to accommodate this. Identify that and then have the debate.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

Rubbish

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

Great answer, lots of discussion points there! Communication isn’t a strong point then, never mind, keep trying.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

I gave my constructive comments previously perhaps your acceptance of the issue is politically biased, but reality is I don’t know. What I don’t accept is the economic proposition or route by which the proposition is being funded and I am concerned it comes at the expense of a real military capability. That is my concern and I suspect the concern of many on this site.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Thank you Maroon.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Nope I’d consider that a piss poor use of taxpayer money as well. But this boat has no purpose other that to generate trade and investment. Therefore I think the taxpayer should have a chance to see the business case. If there is no clear business case it’s just Jonson wrapping himself in the Union flag while spending scarce resources. I buy stuff for the taxpayer that has a specific need like mental health services, ect and I have to have a clear business case for everything I spend, I even have to bid against other ideas In a best… Read more »

RobW
RobW
1 month ago

I haven’t exactly been a supporter of this but if its going to happen then lets do it properly.

I just hope that having spent £250m on it that Labour don’t just sell it when they get in next. Now that would make it a waste of money.

Phil Tidy
Phil Tidy
1 month ago

It should have a dual-role, with all the communication and planning facilities it should have a role in being a dedicated Command & Control vessel for world-wide disaster relief operations. We already deploy a ship for this during Hurricane Season for British Overseas Territories, this could be a role the new ship takes up for six months of the year, promoting soft power and global reach in genuinely useful foreign aid scenarios. It would also free up a “grey” hull from these duties.

Lord Gudgeon of Trent
Lord Gudgeon of Trent
1 month ago

Call me mad but sort of coming round to this, the old Royal Yacht did “work” all be it greatly enhanced by presence of HRH which I don’t see as such a big deal going forward given the personality of future Royals, But a little bit of Britain that you can park by a country we are looking to have trade deal with would be distinctive. and we need everything we can get post Brexit.

Albion
Albion
1 month ago

Will this not divert much needed shipyard capacity away from warship construction, both home and overseas orders?

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Albion

I think the idea is to expand our shipbuilding capacity. This will help but whether it’s the right way is the argument.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Albion

Currently there are: BAe Govan BAe Scotsun Babcock Rosyth H&W Belfast Cammel Laird H&W Appledore That are capable of building surface warships for the RN. Of those BAe Govan; has orders for Type 26 lasting into the 2030’s (at a slow build rate, to minimize boom/bust cycles. BAe Scotsun; is fitting out the completed Type 26’s into the 2030’s Babcock Rosyth; is building a new Frigate Hall to construct Type 31’s, the build should be completed by 2027. So that leaves 3 yards, currently with no work, and bidding for: 3 Solid Stores Ships 1 National Flagship 3 Multi Role… Read more »

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
1 month ago

Any vessel built will more than likely be based on an existing commercial hull design and be highly automated utilising a mixed Civilian/RN crew. It should be noted that BMT discretely signed an agreement with an experienced Super Yacht Builder and Designer Oceanco based in the Netherlands forming a new subsidiary design company called “Lateral Naval Architects”. This would allow BMT to bid a UK design whilst leveraging Dutch knowhow in Superyacht design and construction.

Flanders Pigeon Murderer
Flanders Pigeon Murderer
1 month ago

I’ve booked Two weeks in August 2025.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago

First half or second ? If it’s the second you’ll be hearing from my lawyer and i’ll be hearing from my missus !

NIC
NIC
1 month ago

I stick by what i have said on the last two articles on this National Flagship . I believe that it should be funded by the Dept of Trade And Industry That it should be crewed by the Merchant Navy and when not in use for trade fairs , It could be used as a training ship for the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy .

peter french
peter french
1 month ago

Sorry I just dont buy it. Its a trinket ostensibly to impress buyers overseas of our capability .They may make a few nice noises but to make sales Sorry