Operation Kipion is just one of a plethora of British commitments to the Persian Gulf over the decades.

From the years as the ‘British Lake’ to the 1971 withdrawal, the region was never fully forgotten by Britain. As tensions grow, British historical involvement and current military presence in the Persian Gulf are once again sources of discussion.

The British presence in the Persian Gulf has its origins in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. During this period, interests were primarily commercial and represented mainly through sporadic British merchants. As the relevance of the British territories in the Indian subcontinent expanded and became a crucial part of the imperial system of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century, Britain’s interests in the region increased.

During the Napoleonic Wars, piracy led mainly by the Al-Qasimi, was a significant problem. As Britain’s trade with India increased, the losses to raids and sacks were demanding measures from the British Government in India. A military expedition was sent in 1809, which force the Al-Qasimi to cease attacks on British vessels.  Despite its success, the Campaign of 1809 effect was short-lived. Having many commitments during the Napoleonic Wars, most ships were needed elsewhere.

UK Typhoons arrive in Qatar for joint exercises.

In 1819, a new expedition headed by the Royal Navy was sent to the region. It crushed the Qasimi confederation and resulted in the ‘General Maritime Treaty of 1820’, formally named ‘General Treaty for the Cessation of Plunder and Piracy by Land and Sea, Dated February 5, 1820’. This treaty cemented the base of British policy in the Persian Gulf. Until as late as the 1870s, agreements between Britain and regional sheikdoms were primarily concerned with the elimination of piracy and slave trade.

The nature of these treaties would change with the ‘Exclusivity Agreements’ of the 1880s and early 1890s. By these decades, Britain was already a long-established power in the Gulf, and its interventions were felt mainly when military conflicts emerged between the sheikdoms and threatened to eliminate British allies in the region. One example of British involvement, which led to an early case of Exclusivity Agreement, was the threats to Bahrain in the 1850s and 1860s.

During these years, the possibility of Bahrain being dominated by the Ottomans, Persians or the Wahhabis was a major concern. Eventually, the Ruler of Bahrain, Muhammad bin Khalifa (1843–68), decided for military action against the Wahhabis. Britain opposed the move fearing further instability in the area and secretly proposed to defend the Sheikdom in case of external aggression. When the Ruler refused, Britain sent the Royal Navy to intervene and blockade his fleet, forcing him to call off his military campaign. Considering Bahrain a strategic partner, the British Government proposed to protect the Sheikdom in exchange for Bahrain not to engage in ‘persecution of war, piracy and slavery at sea’. Bahrain accepted the terms, and in 1861 an agreement was celebrated between the two governments. Further treaties were signed in 1880 and 1892 placing foreign relations and the defence of Bahrain in British control.

The ‘Perpetual Truce of Peace and Friendship’ of 1861 and the further two treaties had the same general pattern of the Exclusive Agreement firmed with the ‘Trucial States’ in 1892. The Agreement had three main points. Firstly, it bounded the regional rulers not to enter into ‘any agreement or correspondence with any Power other than the British Government’.

British ships Blyth, Ledbury and Cardigan Bay alongside in Qatar.

Secondly, it prohibited the Rulers to consent residence within their territories to agents of any other government without British authorisation. Lastly, the sheikdoms were not allowed to ‘cede, sell, mortgage or otherwise give for occupation’ any part of their territories, save to the British Government. Effectively, the Exclusive Agreement put the foreign policy of the sheikdoms of the ‘Trucial States’ under British control as it had done with Bahrain throughout the two previous decades.

Therefore, in the second half of the nineteenth century, Britain was adding ‘protected’ territories to its security umbrella. These British Protectorates were a result of a tendency of the small Arab Sheikdoms siding with Britain since 1820. Having British protection and subsides the Rulers had no concerns that an external or internal force would topple them without British approval. Furthermore, the 1890s treaties were a direct response to the increasing commercial interests in the Persian Gulf, especially in the Trucial States, of other nations, including Germany and France. The proximity of the Gulf sheikdoms towards British India and the Suez Canal influenced the governments in Calcutta and London to create a ‘safe zone’ in the Gulf.

Thus, at least partially, the British policy in the region was a reflection of the imperial concern of ‘keeping open the lines of communication’ between British India and the UK by avoiding the interference of other Great Power in the area. Ultimately, the result was that at the beginning of the Great War, Bahrain, Kuwait, the Trucial States and Muscat and Oman were – with varying degrees – de facto British Protectorates. In 1916, Qatar would officially join the group. It was during this context of an increased British shift from commercial to strategic interests that the Arabian side of the Gulf would discovery the resource that would transform the region.

HMS Shoreham with a Qatari patrol boat and tanker.

Oil was discovered in Bahrain in the early 1930s after years of failed attempts to gather resources to search elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. The first oil well of Bahrain was also the first of the Arabian side of the Gulf; oil spurted from this well in October 1931. In the following years, reserves were found in Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Even though the production in the Protectorates was relatively small if compared to the biggest producer and exporter of the period (the United States), it was essential to Britain. It contributed to easy its dependency on petroleum imports from outside the Empire.

During the interwar years, especially in the 1920s, antagonists to British power in the Gulf were defeated or were incapable of checking Britain in the region. Germany and its fleet were no longer threats to British commercial and strategic interests. The Ottoman Empire was dismembered, and Iraq, Jordan and the Palestine mandates were under British rule. The Russians, although allies until 1917, were engulfed in civil war leaving more space for Britain in the region. Comparable to the 1880s and 1890s, in the 1920s and early 1930s the Persian Gulf was again a ‘British Lake’. However, Britain’s unique position in the Gulf would suffer from the challenge posed by the Second World War and the subsequent economic problems caused by an enormous war effort.

In the 1930s, although the Royal Navy had access to ports protected by the UK, locations with infrastructure for large vessels could only be found in Basra or further away in Aden and Bombay. The need for a permanent and adequate base led to an agreement with Bahrain in 1934.

A naval base was to be built as part of the port at Mina Salman. HMS Jufair opened in 1935 and became the Royal Navy’s main base in the region. The Italian Air Force bombed the facilities during the Second World War as part of an unsuccessful effort to cut-off one of the British sources of oil in the Gulf.

HMS Duncan in the Gulf on a previous deployment.

Britain’s economic problems marked the decades after the conflict. Its position in the world stage as the ‘hegemonic power’ disappeared. The country was supplanted by the United States and the Soviet Union, although it remained as a ‘superpower’ until the Suez Crisis in 1956. Britain’s economic weakness contributed to its disengagement from regions once in the heart of the Empire. Firstly, the totality of Indian subcontinent received its independence in 1947-1948. After Suez, the decolonisation process was applied to the British colonies in Africa.

Within this context, the Government in London would soon review its presence in the Persian Gulf. One of the main reasons that prompted Britain towards the Gulf was the protection of the lines of communication with India and other possession ‘East of Suez’. In the early 1960s, India was an independent country, the Suez Canal was nationalised, and other relevant territories were also sovereign nations or heading towards independence. Furthermore, Britain was facing severe budget issues. So, the cost-effectiveness of the maintenance of an empire in the Persian Gulf to safeguard Britain’s interests in the area was strongly questioned. In January 1968, the decision to withdraw from the region was formally announced by the British Government.

British tanks in Oman on exercise last year.

The termination of the British protection over the Trucial States, Bahrain and Qatar meant that Britain would cease to be a territorial power in the region; Kuwait and Muscat and Oman received their independence in the early 1960s. In December 1971, the British protectorates achieved independence. Meanwhile, the permanent Royal Navy presence in Bahrain ended. The HMS Jufair naval base was closed, and the entire facility was immediately taken by the United States, which had a small presence there since the Second World War.

The 1971 ‘withdrawal’ of the Gulf and other regions ‘East of Suez’ was not the end of the British presence. Despite the end of the protectorates and the closure of the naval base at Mina Salman, Britain maintained a regular naval deployment to the area. In 1980, tensions between Iraq and Iran resulted in the costly Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). In response to an increasingly dangerous regional scene, Britain formally established a naval formation, the Armilla Patrol. Designated to carry on patrol duties to ensure the rights of freedom of navigation and the flow of oil and trade, Armilla Patrol was constituted mainly by mine countermeasures vessels. Destroyers and frigates transiting the area for operations in neighbouring regions regularly reinforced the operation.

The Patrol would last for 31 years, from 1980 to 2011. It was more than three decades of keeping a British military presence in the Gulf ‘24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year’. It is worth mentioning that during the Falklands War, British vessels were relieved by the Royal New Zealand Navy freeing more ships for service in the South Atlantic. Later, the British involvement in the invasion of Iraq would see the number of British vessels in the Persian Gulf rise to over 30, including auxiliaries.

In 2011, the ongoing ‘Operation Kipion’ replaced the Armilla Patrol. The objectives of Kipion were no different from its predecessor as the 2011 changes were mostly of nomenclature. According to the Royal Navy, Kipion is the continuation of the UK ‘long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean’. Its commitments to ‘promoting peace and stability in the region, as well as ensuring the safe flow of oil and trade’ were the same objectives that the Armilla Patrol pursued during its existence.

Currently, the British naval presence is represented by a Type 23 Frigate (HMS Montrose), two Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessels (HMS Ledbury and HMS Middleton), two Sandown-class minehunters (HMS Bangor and HMS Blyth), and one Bay-class landing ship dock (RFA Cardigan Bay). A Type 45 Destroyer, HMS Duncan is en route to the region to take over from HMS Montrose. Near-future deployments include RFA Wave Knight and HMS Kent.

HMS Dragon in the Gulf.

However, Op. Kipion would witness a new British approach towards the Persian Gulf and the Middle East as a whole. In the decade before the Armilla Patrol, Britain was in the aftermath of its territorial retreat from the Empire. Throughout the world, British military bases were being handed back to the recently independent nations, and the scenario in the Gulf was no different. Although Britain maintained a deployment in the region to defend its interests, considerations for greater involvement ‘East of Suez’ meet no relevant support in London after the 1971 withdrawal. Within this context, the 1981 Defence White Paper aiming to reduce the Government’s expenditure contributed to a policy less centred on amphibious and expeditionary operations.

After roughly four decades since the withdrawal, Britain would embark on a new approach. In December 2014, the British and Bahraini governments announced that the Royal Navy would re-establish a permanent naval base east of Suez at the Mina Salman Port. The construction for the new HMS Jufair or ‘Mina Salman Port Facility’ began in later November 2015, with costs of £15 million paid mainly by the Bahraini Government. According to the then Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, the naval base was planned to ensure ‘Britain’s sustained presence east of Suez’ and to work close to British allies to ‘reinforce stability’ in the area.

RFA Cardigan Bay leads minehunters in the Gulf.

Beyond that, HMS Jufair would allow more prolonged and more numerous deployments to the Gulf. As stated by the Royal Navy, ‘Bahrain offers much-improved facilities over the existing jetty and warehouses, better support for any British warship operating in the region – up to the new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers – and provide welcome relief for crews of the four RN minehunters based in Bahrain’. Concerning the support for the Queen Elizabeth carriers, the Ministry of Defence declares that the carriers will be able to utilise HMS Jufair’s facilities. However, ‘due to drought constraints’ the two vessels will have to anchor in the vicinity and will not berth directly alongside the port itself.

In April 2018, the Naval Support Facility was officially opened and immediately became the hub of the Royal Navy’s operations in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The base in Bahrain was the first new overseas establishment of the Royal Navy in half a century. More than a symbolic move, the base is a display that the UK is committed to its regional allies in the Gulf and the increased protection of shipments passing the Strait of Ormuz. It also indicates that the UK is willing to regain ground in the region as the United States slowly shifts its attention to the Indo-Pacific.

The decision to open a military base in Bahrain was followed by an agreement with another relevant British partner in the area. Geographically, the Sultanate of Oman is strategically near the entrance of the Persian Gulf, and its exclave of Musandam is located on the south part of the Strait of Hormuz, giving Oman partial control of the narrow passage. Moreover, Oman’s location allows a military base that can sustain the projection of power into the Indian Ocean – alongside the facilities at Diego Garcia, in British Indian Ocean Territory -, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

Therefore, in 2016 the British and Omani governments announced that an agreement was reached between the two countries for the development of the Duqm Port complex and eventually the establishment of a British naval facility. One year later, in mid-2017, during an official meeting between the then British Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, and his Omani counterpart, the signing of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding and Services Agreement’ secured the use of facilities at Duqm ahead of the completion of a new ‘UK Joint Logistics Support Base’ (UKJLSB) at the port. The maritime base will become the first British base in the country since 1977 when the RAF bases at the Masirah Island and Salalah were handed back to the Omani forces.

British Mine Countermeasures Vessels in the Gulf.

According to the British Government, the Joint Logistics Support Base will give Britain ‘a strategically important and permanent base east of Suez, but outside of the Gulf’. Despite being ‘outside of the Gulf’, its location can be used to quickly reinforce the British forces in the neighbouring regions, which include the troops based at HMS Jufair in Bahrain. It worth noting that one of the strategic considerations taken into account was precisely the geographical location of Duqm. Located on the Arabian Sea and near the geopolitically sensible areas, the port is immune to the closure of the Strait of Ormuz. So, the Duqm base would be less affected in case of the threats made by Iran to close the choke-point come into fruition.

The main asset of the new base is its significant infrastructure for British vessels. The Royal Navy will have at its disposal dry dock capability able to accommodate submarines and the Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carriers, the largest warships of the Navy. This dry dock capability for submarines and carriers is going to turn Duqm into the main naval base operated solely by the UK beyond the Suez Canal. Furthermore, the British Government states that the Support Base in Oman will provide Britain ‘a permanent training facility in addition to a key military logistics centre in the Gulf’.

HMS Albion arriving in Oman during Exercise Saif Sareea.

The British Armed Forces tested the UK Joint Logistics Support Base during the ‘Exercise Saif Saree 3’, which was held in Oman in October and November 2018. The Exercise involved 5,500 British personnel of the three branches of the Armed Forces. The agreements with the Sultanate established that the facilities would be supplied by the Oman Drydock Company and Babcock International on a 37-lease. According to the Ministry of Defence, the long lease would make facilities ‘available for use long into the future, allowing the UK to maintain a presence in the region’.

Finally, after the new British bases in Bahrain and Oman, it is worth mentioning the Royal Air Force presence in Qatar. The RAF Al Udeid is an outpost at the Qatari Al Udeid Air Base. The base is shared with the United States Air Force and Qatari Air Force. Since 2006, the airbase is the headquarters for the RAF’s No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group and the UK air operations in the Persian Gulf. The activities include support for Operation Shader and Operation Kipion.

‘Shader’ is the code-name given to Britain’s ongoing military contribution against the Islamic State. Between 2005 and 2009, the airbase was extensively used by the RAF as part of the British participation in the Iraq War, code-named ‘Operation Telic’. Alongside RAF Akrotiri in the British Sovereign Bases Areas in Cyprus, RAF Al Udeid is one of Britain’s most relevant staging points for air operations in the Middle East.

A Typhoon on Operation Shader.

Therefore, considering all that has been exposed, the British presence in the Persian Gulf is centuries old. During the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth, British power in the region was hardly challenged. However, facing economic restraints, Britain was forced to rethink its privileged position ‘East of Suez’ during the late 1960s. The protectorates were replaced by the Royal Navy’s deployment to enforce freedom of navigation and trade in the form of the Armilla Patrol, and the British permanent military facilities were handed back to Bahrain. The scene would change when the UK decided to enhance its presence in the Middle East. The results are two new bases in the area, marking a partial reversion of the policies that led to the 1971 withdrawal.

HMS Montrose is currently in the Persian Gulf.

The agreements with Bahrain and Oman come at a time that the British Government is looking for a way to improve Britain’s capabilities to defend its interests and allies in the area. The the new military facilities give Britain the necessary support to deploy larger forces for more extended periods than before. Another relevant point is the threat posed by Iran to British and American strategic and commercial interests in the region. An increasingly hostile relationship between Iran and the United States might turn the new bases into central assets to British strategy towards an eventual crisis escalation in the Gulf. In this context, HMS Jufair in Bahrain and the Joint Logistics Support Base in Oman have the potential to increase Britain’s readiness to defend its interests and the long-standing regional allies.

British ships at HMS Jufair.

In short, this new network of facilities enables Britain to present a more assertive position than previously displayed. The seizure of at least one the British-flagged tanker in the area only reaffirms the necessity of having adequate overseas infrastructure to support and protect the global interests of a global player.

The seizure also comes at a moment to remind that the effects of years of defence cuts might have gone too far for a minimal budget return. After all, the new bases are complementary to traditional forces.

HMS Montrose, accompanying the Stena Important in the Gulf.

If the British Government is willing to maintain Britain’s status as a global power with capabilities to defend its interests, acknowledging that the Royal Navy – and British forces as a whole – are in need of attention and that the ‘peace dividend’ of the 1990s is over ought to be a start to address the increasing external challenges the country is facing.

119
Leave a Reply

avatar
8 Comment threads
111 Thread replies
26 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
26 Comment authors
BJ Kendall-Dunnthe_marquisGunbusterDaniele MandelliLee1 Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Steve
Guest
Steve

We have a problem of conflicting priorities, we both want to be seen all over the world and want to cut costs at the same time at expensive of sailors and ships. We need to make a decision, either we are a global power and pay for it or we are a regional one and so stop pretending otherwise and pull the navy back to do the regional role properly. Unforuntely we can’t do both, not without significant cost but we will continue to try and so doing both badly and our enemies will know we are over stretched and… Read more »

T.S
Guest

Well the government keep stating ‘global britain’ so they need to put the money where their mouth is.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Need yes, will no.

They will continue to have an isolated ship in each ocean and pretend they are global and effective, hoping that the worst doesn’t happen and we need to get a task force togehter at short notice or need to say escort ships around Iran with only one ship without weeks sailing time.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Doing both badly? How many other true blue water Navies are there around the world? I’d say two, the USA and us, maybe the French, just. We do both extremely well, we can’t keep comparing our asset numbers to the Americans. As the article states correctly, we have 6 vessels permanently stationed in the gulf, and access to our own port facility, that’s 6 vessels and a port more then any other nation except the Americans. Chinese vessels? Zero, Russian? Zero. And we do maintain TLAM capability East of Suez. While we do need more assets and manpower, your review… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Well, by what measure? Having a ship around the world is easy, having enough to make an effective deterrence is another question.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Iran did what they did because one ship, no matter how skilled or powerful is not enough to create a deterrence over a wide area.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Our T23 was less than an hour away from that tanker, an hour closer than any other warship. And even if we had 5 T23’s in the gulf, to have one in the exact right place and time to stop the Iranians is still a long shot. The gulf is large area of water to patrol. And it isn’t easy to deploy one ship around the world, not easy at all.

Steve
Guest
Steve

How many UK flagged and owned ships are there in the gulf, my money is only a few, since most ships are flagged in tax havens. With a few more frigates we could have been a lot closer than an hour away.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Not to mention it’s criminal that the wildcat is currently so underarmed. A bunch of torpedo’s and something for anti helicopter warfare being carried and the topic could have been reversed and the wildcat scared them off.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

It’s all so easy from the comfort of your home isn’t it? We should be doing this this and this, the reality is very different, the RN out performs all other peer navies, it’s easy to say we should have done this or that after the event.

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

I would take the thin pinstriped line with a pinch of salt, if I were you…

Cam
Guest
Cam

We should fly back (c17) the two wildcats we took out of the region not long ago, they would be perfect for patrolling a larger area.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Two weeks ago 6 UK flagged tankers were in the GULF today there is one, and that’s in IRAN, the rest fled the gulf.

Steve
Guest
Steve

This is my point 6 or even 10 could easily be defended with 3-4 frigates but that is around half the number we have available globally right now.

Cam
Guest
Cam

3 or 4 frigates to protect 6 or 10 tankers lol, that’s hilarious ?, no way we would ever do that..and we have no tankers in the gulf now anyway, ps don’t tell Boris that, we need more frigates built for situations like this……

Steve
Guest
Steve

Not really hilarious, its about show of power/deterrence.

We must have known the second that we ceased the oil tanker off gib that Iran would retaliate or attempt to, we should have put assets in the region to compensate for that risk. We are not talking a perm station but at least until the tanker issues were resolved and normality resumed.

I think there is a general underestimation to how important a show of strength is to create a deterrence against doing something stupid.

Alan Garner
Guest
Alan Garner

Britain is trying to maintain the illusion of a global presence but, despite the undoubted quality of RN assets, it simply doesn’t have the numbers to sustain a credible force anywhere, never mind everywhere. It’s pointless comparing Britain to other countries because those countries aren’t necessarily pursuing the same foreign policies in the areas HMG want the RN to operate in. To say that because Britain can put one frigate in an ocean that another nation can’t is a feeble argument supporting a dangerous policy. There are roughly 30 or so British flagged merchant ships passing through those straits per… Read more »

geoff
Guest
geoff

Some good points Robert. Also I wonder why at least some of the MCM’s are not pressed into escort duties alongside Montrose. One would hope the likeliehood of an exchange of fire is fairly low and these vessels have some basic armament-certainly enough to deal with the threat of the Iranians small ships in a worse case scenario. In addition they are capable ‘eyes and ears’. as for East of Suez, I remember a Tory MP lamenting the fact that we “only” had two carriers East of Suez in the 60’s. The other memory of those years was those iconic… Read more »

Cam
Guest
Cam

Aren’t half of our mines also patrol boats anyway.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Well said Robert. A lot of time is spent here bemoaning what we don’t have, I’ve done it myself on plenty of occasions and in my view it’s appropriate to do that, but it is definitely also worth taking the time now and then to remember the good things that we do have; the above is a very good reminder of that.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Seconded. I agree with Robert on this.

One ship per ocean is far better than none per ocean.

If necessary others can be diverted from other tasks. It happened in the Falklands.

I want T31 asap so we can have more ships for presence duties and the T26 45 QEC as a permanent task group in reserve, assigned to NATO, or wherever, that can be sent anywhere.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Hopefully with Boris in charge now we get more than 5 type 31s m8

Cam
Guest
Cam

How can the Chinese not deploy a carrier and few escorts west of suez? Isn’t it just choice (and politics), I’m sure they could, they have a far bigger defence budget and fleet than Britain m8, maybe they aren’t experts at long range battle groups for long periods but I’m sure they could if they want Robert. Maybe politics plays a bigger role here, but we will see Chinese carrier battle groups in the Mediterranean or mid Atlantic in the future for sure, but their attention is on the South China Sea and Pacific just now.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

The key to a blue water Navy, like the RN, is how our vessels are supported when a long way from home. We have the RFA for that, they are our fuel stations, food supply, aviation fuel and weapons resupply. As well as extensive arrangements in place to move personal around the world, and also maintance facilities . Other countries don’t have that ability. And that is key to forward deploying warships around the world, and sustaining them over a period of many months.

Lee1
Guest
Lee1

it is a question of logistics support. It is not easy to sustain a presence far from home which is why there are barely any nations capable of doing so. The UK is one that can. Even Russia struggles with this and has done for pretty much its entire history. There was a time when many thought Russia was going to take India. Those in the know though understood that despite its huge resources and massive armies, it could not fight a sustained war with a reasonable modern enemy abroad. Britain could and so Russia never wanted to get into… Read more »

BJ Kendall-Dunn
Guest
BJ Kendall-Dunn

No maybe the answer today,tomorrow is another matter.

Herodotus
Guest

I share your view on this….what exactly should our role be? We can’t allow past glories to influence contemporary circumstances. Whilst there is a world need for the sort of role that Britain can supply, do we have the financial resources to underpin it and achieve our other goals? A difficult choice has to be made and, no doubt, there will be a lot of protests along the way.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Agree Herodotus but the Royal Navy has been such a powerful symbol and presence around the globe for literally centuries that it is difficult to let go! When you think of it none of the other EU 27 have all but a passing interest outside of Europe with the exception of the French. The relics and echoes of Empire are still very real. In addition we have 16 territories scattered over the Seven Seas not to mention the ‘Anglosphere’ and Commonwealth so there is some rationale for preserving some sort of worldwide presence and, although the USA has largely taken… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Agree Geoff.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

That is why I argue for more T31 type ships. We have the financial resources for more of those. And that is also why, having been sceptical for many years, I now agree with the overseas aid budget, and its critical role in soft power, which links to the sort of flag waving that more RN ships oversees could provide. You don’t need a T26 for convoy escort, chasing pirates, smugglers, sanction busters, and doing port visits trying to maintain goodwill, good relations, trade possibilities, and all the other diplomacy stuff. We need ships. So get lots more cheaper ones… Read more »

George Amery
Guest
George Amery

Hi folks,
Yes fully agree with Daniele on this matter. As mentioned before sometimes a wake up call is required to enable the politicians to get their heads around the fact they are to blame for the cuts in the UK defense budget over the decades. Of course we need to ensure we have the balance. Our interests need protecting around the globe. The pace to become more energy self sufficient must also be factored in the case for security. The we can inform the likes of Iran to get stuffed.

Lee1
Guest
Lee1

The Aid budget is essential. You could argue that it could be used better and more effectively but it is essential for our security. Those that argue for it to be scrapped clearly know nothing about world politics. Silent wars have been fought for centuries with these budgets and the likes of Russia and China are experts at using theirs to disrupt the west.

Callum
Guest
Callum

There are benefits to having a presence, no matter how small, in so many different places, but you’re right. We need to step up our defence spending if we want to sustain a global role. Personally, I’d put our focus on the Middle East and Africa. While it’s important to respond to China’s flouting of international law, the US focus there, with the support of several strong allies like Japan and Australia, means our presence in the Pacific would be relatively symbolic. Compare that to Gulf and Africa: it’s even more unstable than the SCS, but the US is actually… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

The problem is we being so spread out means each presence is too small to be any realistic deference. We needed a rethink and be more present but in less locations.

Is anyone even vaguely surprised after trump pulled out the nuc deal that this would happen, why did we not have more assets in the region ready to create an escort. We for sure should have known the moment we decided to take the Iranian ship (which I assume was well planned and not something that happened overnight by surprise)

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
Guest
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

Steve , I’m sorry but you paint a far too pessimistic picture of the RN and our current equipment which unless I’m mistaken both are modern and first class. Could it be better, of course it could ,could the numbers be improved ? again yes but the way you describe things is more private Frazer than reality. It’s the political will that is lacking not the men and women of HM armed forces.

Steve
Guest
Steve

The problem is mass. Ships can’t be in multiple places and neither can crews. Think Falklands and what percentage of the navy was able to join the task force, compared to what couldn’t for various reasons

The US creates a deterence by having a massive carrier strike group, something even at best we won’t be able to do with the QE, due to lack of escorts and jets. Making the UK the perfect proxy for an attack on the US without the risk.

Steve
Guest
Steve

When this tension increased the US sent a carrier strike group, an amphib ship and bombers, we reprositioned a frigate that was already in the region

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Hi Steven, have a read of this article, you may find it interesting. https://thinpinstripedline.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-tyranny-of-maritime-distance-royal.html

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
Guest
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

I get that , nobody is denying any asset can’t be in 2 places at once but technology has improved example the well repeated a single Type-45 is as effective as 5 Type-42’s. Again I’m not sure why you are so negative about things . The QE will have a strike group , the RN are certainly going to be capable of that any carrier only has 3-4 escorts from what I’ve seen. These tasks are all planned well in advance and the 3-4 Type-23/26 and Type-45 that will sail with her will be available . Same with the jets… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Where exactly are the 4-5 ships you talk about going to come from? We don’t have 4-5 ships sitting around waiting to join a the carrier. Something has to give. The problem isn’t the navy it’s their policitcal masters, if you want a ship in every ocean so you can say your a global power, that comes with a risk that you will be incapable of doing much in any of them, and for sure not a deterence. A deterence is a show of overwhelming power and not a carrier with 12 jets on board and 1-2 escorts, which is… Read more »

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Ok Steve. Name one other Navy (not the Americans) who will be able to deploy 12 or 24 5th gen, all aspect stealth, supersonic VSTOL fighters equipped with the most lethal air to air and ground attack weapons and/or Apache’s, Chinooks, Merlins, Wildcats from one of the worlds most advanced aircraft carriers, with a T45 and 2 x T23 and a TLAM armed Astute beneath the waves, and the RFA in support so we can send them to the far side of the world if we have to? And also support a 2nd Amphibious task group. I can’t name any.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Based on how things are panning out, it seems France (ok not stealth), Japan, Italy, India, China, Russia and a number of others.

But my point is 12 jets just don’t look imposing, no matter how capable they might or might not be.

I can’t imagine a war situation where we would actually need a carrier in 2019, but it’s place is a deterence and being mainly empty just isn’t that great of one.

Steve
Guest
Steve

It’s also about where assets are. We can have the most advanced air warfare destroyer but if we are so limited in hulls that they are all in refit/repairs/etc they aren’t much use as a deterence

Right now we need a show of force in the vicinity of Iran to show them they messed with the wrong country but we don’t have the assets available to do so.

Maybe a special forces mission to retake the ship might be that, but it would be insanely risky.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Russia, No way, they have a larger fleet of tugs then operational warships. I agree though, we do need more hulls, I think 25 F/D fleet would be about right, and affordable. But even a small number of F35’s on the QE is still an incredible capability to put where we want around the world. What does Iran have that scares us? A handful of accent F14’s that probably fly about twice a year. And at the moment we don’t need to deploy the fleet over a civvi tanker. Nobody has been killed or shot at. Our diplomatic service will… Read more »

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
Guest
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

Sorry bro but I just don’t agree here, the RN have built the carriers and they are forming the basis of their strategy around them. Everything is planned ,when the carrier deploys it will have escorts with it as I already pointed out a single T45 can do what it would have taken 5 T42 so numbers are no longer the be all and end all. The carrier will undoubtedly sail with a nuke sub as well . So on the basis of having 6 destroyers and 13 frigates and 7 hunter killer subs I’m pretty sure when the flagship… Read more »

dave12
Guest
dave12

I respect your positive view los pollos

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
Guest
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

Cheers amigo, I now understand a little bit better the whole concept and was a little shocked at the 1/3 1/3 1/3 general rule as to how many ships the RN can deploy at once so yes I accept the point about finding 4-5 ships to just deploy at once unless it’s a surge condition for which it cannot be sustained for any length of time. All I was trying to convey was if we needed to in an emergency we can do it however a less than ideal situation all round.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Short term it won’t be a problem as I am sure refits have been planned to ensure the max available hulls when the carriers first come fully operational but a year after that or 5 and things revert to where we are now

Steve
Guest
Steve

I repeat my question, where are these escorts coming from? You need min 2 t45 to provide 365d coverage, since the carrier will block part of the radar coverage. You then need frigates to provide anti sub warfare and there the tech hasn’t really moved forward and so 3 frigates is insufficient but again where are they magically coming from?

The carrier strike group was planned when the navy was larger and it was planned by the navy to guarantee investment in escorts which failed badly.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I think it could be a question of reorganisation and having dedicated assets. There are 6 T45. 2 at all times with carrier group. 2 with amphibious group. 2 in refit. Plus allied contributions. There will be 8 T26. 2 at all times with carrier group. 2 with amphibious group. 2 with readiness group ( FRE and deterrent ) 2 in refit. This is the Reaction force, same as the army set up. Contains the high end. Rotate ships as needed. 1 QEC with CG, other in reserve, or AG if needed. 1 LPD and 2 Bay with AG. 3rd… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Based on that we have more ships assigned than we have operational right now and we give up most standing and training duties like all the NATO ones.

You can’t magic up available assets, there are none now and will still be none when the carriers are ready so something has to give.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Remember we made a big thing in the news about creating a very high readiness task force that would be British and supported by allies but could operate alone and then when it sailed it had zero escorts. Even for a PR event they couldn’t find the escorts.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“Based on that we have more ships assigned than we have operational right now ” Nope. 10 T23/26 or 45 if you count them. Is that not roughly what is available for use now out of 19. “and we give up most standing and training duties like all the NATO ones.” Not really, as the hypothetical Amphibious Group can be dispersed to those tasks and come together for exercises or a yearly deployment. That is 4 escorts. FOST, NATO SMG, port visits, etc. “You can’t magic up available assets” Not magic at all, although I wish. The escorts I list… Read more »

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

The Rivers could be up-guned with ExLS(mini
CAMM), for air defence and Martlet for anti-surface. But remember ExLS can only provide limited air defence, 3 CAMM per unit.

Steve
Guest
Steve

3 should be enough. The threat they are against would be helicopters and they are unlikely to be used in swam because of cost.

We need cheap upgrades to them that can be rushed for minimal costs.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Steve, the carrier does not block radar coverage, as the radars are predominantly looking up over the horizon. When i served on the invincible class, we only ever had 1 x T42 with us, and maybe 1 x T23 and that was for live operations ( op Telic) and major exercises. And the T2087 sonar on the T23’s is a world beating bit of kit. And taskings for vessels is planned years ahead, when the QE deploys in 2021 on her first operational deployment, she will have a T45 and a T23, maybe x 2. Plus a nuclear attack sub… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Basic physics says it will. Yes if you are tracking high targets it’s fine but considering the tactic for taking out navy ships is generally fly as close to the sea as possible, this will not work.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

I think the Navy understands how to do fleet defence Steve.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I am sure the navy does. However what they would like to use for fleet defence and what they can afford to do are different topics.

The US navy considers it needs way more than 2 ships to defend theirs and complains about being over stretched. Do they not know and using too many or is the royal navy too stretched and making do with what it has.

Herodotus
Guest

Funnily enough, I never found anything basic about the radar range equation!

Steve
Guest
Steve

Falkland patrol has already stopped, that ended a couple do years ago after they needed the ship else where.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

You mean APT ( S)

Falklands asset is still there.

If we buy a decent number of T31 it can go back again.

Steve
Guest
Steve

The patrol boat is still there but the standing frigate/destroyer in the region was removed.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Ok… Some good info…Not 100% correct but hey…I speak from the advantage of someone who regularly works with UK and US vessels in BHR The UK base is not HMS JUFAIR, It is the UKNSF(UK Naval Support Facility) Bahrain. The people at UKNSF get very twitchy when its called HMS JUFAIR. Even the sign on the main gate says UKNSF! UKNSF has all of the infrastructure shore side for alongside MCMV support and the T23 support is being stood up. The Jetty next to the NSF has just been upgraded and the Finger jetty at Mina Salman port (Some 300m… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thank you Gunbuster.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

That was an observation I was going to note as well – UKNSF is the correct terminology.

Helions
Guest
Helions

A fine article!

Cheers!

Cam
Guest
Cam

I hope the British ship taken by Iran will stir something up inside Boris and make government increase escort numbers. I also see we are getting 20,000 more police, I was hoping Johnson would also announce the increase in RN And RAF numbers of say Atleast 5,000 each or back to numbers we had before the cuts and maybe just getting the army to it’s targets of 82,000 and 35,000 reserves will do for now, RN and RAF are more important for Britain just now.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Slowly slowly mate.

Lets hope there are discussions behind the scenes to decide just what the Chiefs of Staff prioritise.

I would hope to start with an end to the Capita fiasco, better pay across the board, and gradual increases in RN and RAF personnel.

And forget lots more of the high end fighty stuff like T26, lets have more hulls and more presence. That is more realistic.

If we are going all fantasy fleets then I want more SSN and more Merlin, two critical assets we are short of.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Wouldn’t corvettes be ideal for the RN, less man power ect, I always remember that “black swan”? or something proposed years back in large numbers for the RN

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

I think corvettes might be a good idea in the longer term, however, for the moment our best hope at growing the fleet is T31. I have always argued for this fleet to be ordered in large numbers, my suggestion being 12 for the time being! Daniele is correct to argue for more Merlin airframes – ideally an extra ASW squadron and a dedicated ‘bagger’ squadron, but I’d like to see more Wildcats ordered too. T45’s can carry two but regularly deploy with one, and I’d like to see out platforms used to their full potential. I guess a return… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

The t31 are Corvettes in all but name. Yes they will be bigger than a classic corvette but they will also undergun pretty much all of them on the market. The requirements are effectively a main gun and a ciws with option for missile defence to be added at a later late. Effectively river 2 with a hanger

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

Agree with this analysis.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

I do agree that the Leander version of Type 31 frigate needs some redesigning!
The foredeck(bow area) on the Leander is too cramped, it will always be wet. It needs to be lengthened and space out a few metres. This
would allow more Sea Ceptor or Mk. 41 VLS cells to be fitted in the foredeck area. There is also space in Midship for VLS cells.

And also a proper replacement for Harpoon, with total anti- surface capability.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

I do agree that it needs some refinements and I would argue that we do need to think about increasing the budget slightly to make sure they are properly funded. I think we should end the practise of ‘fitted for but not with’ – it should be ‘fitted for and with’!

The latest images showed that BAE had refined it further. Maybe some more changes will be made in the coming months?

Cam
Guest
Cam

I’ve seen some heavily armed corvettes, bugger what they are Called it’s how they are armed and crewed, lots of western frigates could easily pass as destroyers these days, it’s a complex world

Julian
Guest
Julian

Lusty – Since you present the corvette discussion in the context of “longer term” then, as well as questions about how and potential corvette would fit with River B2 & T31 & whether more of those should be built instead, I’ll add in Hunt/Sandown replacements as another consideration in terms of overlap with other vessels. I know it’s only a paper design but if MCM motherships (aka Hunt/Sandown replacements) were to go for something like BMT’s Venari 85 that looks as if it has the potential to be a useful platform in other roles as well especially if we do… Read more »

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

Yes, the MCM replacements are something which will need consideration. The original plan was to replace the Rivers/Echo Class/current MCM vessels with one common hull form. With the River B2 arriving, this has likely meant that the need to include the patrol vessels in the plan will be dropped. I agree we should be looking ahead at this. the MCM vessels have been salami sliced in recent years and their replacements have potentially been overlooked. WIth the autonomous technology coming in, MCM replacements could prove to be credible and useful platforms. On the other hand, the River class could be… Read more »

Herodotus
Guest

I would argue for a proper medium helicopter for the army…something like the AW149, and make it in the UK. The army wildcats could then be redeployed to the Navy!

T.S
Guest

Yes, we need corvettes. The River 2 could be a small corvette and we should build more of these and weaponise them to be the knife fighters of the littorals imo. Give them a 57mm with ciws capability, multiple martlet launchers, couple of 30mm, small bank of seaceptor and something like a pair of camcopter with sea venom. Then up the order of T31 to ten by 2030, and invest in around 6-9 small SSK like the BMT Wyvern. These would free up the Astutes for duties further afield. The other push should be on smaller autonomous platforms to work… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

I do like the idea of up arming the rivers2, but maybe not that far. First we need to get market into service, which I’m sure could be rushed at minimal cost considering how close it is. We then need to find a way to free up some more wildcats to be able to station them on the rivers. Then yeah add the tested marlett launcher to them main gun to give it a bit more range / oomph. Lastly add something like searam or starstreak to give some anti helicopter options. All that should be financially feasible, possibly other… Read more »

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Yes, SSN’s definitely. The Astute is an amazing capability, but 10 of them would be nice. Those are the real assets that scare other Navy’s.

Steve
Guest
Steve

We don’t use our astute correctly. They need to be seen, the news needs to report one seen off Iran one near Falklands etc, and then countries will fear them. With the limited numbers and so much secrecy over the movement, they have very little peace time deterence.

I am not saying report all their positions but from time to time get one photo’edto show they are out there.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

This already happens. In the Syrian standoff a few years back the Astute was “reported” as being in the eastern Med. It certainly was not spotted by accident!

The media is indeed a powerful tool.

Callum
Guest
Callum

When you only have 7 SSNs, it’s far more important that they DON’T be seen and secrecy is maintained. As Daniele said, media “reporting” SSN movements is an important part of their deterrent effect, that they could be within strike range of you is how they deter. That only works if no one actually knows where they really are, otherwise they can call your bluff.

You’re literally suggesting that we do what we’re already doing.

James Whittaker
Guest
James Whittaker
Cam
Guest
Cam

That was a great read.?

Steve
Guest
Steve

My taking of this is we have always hidden behind the special relationship whilst history hasnt taught us that they only ever support their own interests and if ours aren’t aligned the special relationship isn’t there. We need to stop planning around being a part of the US military and start planning around our own interests, even if that means giving up capability to do so.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Great article James. Whilst the world of 2019 is a long way different from the world of WW2 when ships and planes were produced in numbers by the week, the deficiencies in RN escort numbers can be tackled in the short/medium term in various ways. Firstly Boris needs to use some of his youthful enthusiasm to tell the powers that be to stop f****** around and start the Type 31 programme with some Falklands style urgency! Secondly a quicker route to up numbers surely lies in upgrading the Batch 2 OPV’s. If they can be used to shadow Russian assets… Read more »

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

To Geoff,
I posted this morning, of up-gunning the Rivers with ExLS(mini CAMM), to give air defence.
See above.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Thanks Meiron-excellent suggestions

Steve
Guest
Steve

The problem with ExLS is it’s still in design /testing phase and so some time off. The issues are today, we need a simpler solution, like starstreak or searam

Steve
Guest
Steve

I read that merlot had been tested against drones, so maybe it’s the one stop solution for the current problem of scaring off light attack crafts and helicopters.

Callum
Guest
Callum

Mostly solid points, but I’d argue against the retention of the “newest” T23s. The one in, one out situation is currently the BEST case scenario, where escort numbers don’t dip, at which point every T23 is going to have served at least 32 years (HMS Sutherland, one of the newest T23s, is will have served 35 years by the time she retires in 2032!). That’s far in excess of the 19 year planned service life. Ignoring the fact that the T23s are donating a lot of their equipment and thus couldn’t be retained anyway, they’d spend most of their time… Read more »

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

T23 where designed for TAPS in the North Atlantic chasing Soviet subs. As that requirement disappeared they became a lot mor GP. An advantage has been that hull life is a lot better because they have not been battered in the N Atlantic or have had the stree of pulling a tail imparted onto the hull. A lot of hull inserts have been required to replace steel but that is standard for Warships and Commercial ships alike. The T22 was the last warship built for the RN to the old- school Nav Arc standards ( I beams and relatively thick… Read more »

geoff
Guest
geoff

Thanks Callum for the information. It would seem thus that the only way to up the numbers is not only an increase in the order but an acceleration of the programme!

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Are we finally going to see a substantial investment in our armed forces?

Leader of the House Jacob Rees Mogg recently suggested cutting the foreign aid budget in half (7Billion) and spending it on defence, so clearly batting on our side!

“Size of Royal Navy’s warship fleet is pathetic, says chairman of defence select committee”
https://news.sky.com/story/size-of-royal-navys-warship-fleet-is-pathetic-says-chairman-of-defence-select-committee-11771371

Herodotus
Guest

JR-M has been spending his time, as Leader of the House, improving the standard of grammar of Commons’ documents. I would estimate, that given the amount of unpleasant material he has produced in the past, that he is an expert when it comes to the use of the colon!

https://www.itv.com/news/2019-07-27/jacob-rees-mogg-style-guide-itv-news/

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Yes I read that – strange that the price to pay for building the Carriers was a reduction from 35 to 32 Escorts,where on earth would the 32 come from ? Keeping the T42 in service minus Sea Dart and the B3 T22’s possibly but surely not economically viable.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“Where on earth would the 32 come from”

What do you mean? 32 was the number after SDSR98 reduced the fleet from 35 to 32, and shortly after to 31.

Additionally, 31 then became 25 in 2004 as the T45 build went down to 8, replacing 11 T42, and 3 T23 were prematurely cut.

25 then became 23 as the T45 build was reduced to 6.

And 23 to 19 with SDSR 2010 and the loss of the T22B3’s.

Although SDSR2010 is widely, and rightly slated, the worst cuts in escort numbers were actually before under Labour 2004 – 2010.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

T22 was an unwise decision under the SDSR 2010, but you are right in saying that Labour were the worst offenders. I can almost live with *some* of what happened in 2010, but selling off a Bay, scrapping Fort George, scrapping four escorts and sacking 5000 personnel is part of the reason why we’re in such a bind now. I can live (to an extent) with the loss of Lusty/Ark and the harriers as we would have needed to regenerate our large carrier capabilities anyway, but even then it was a step too far. The bottom line is that the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Agree Lusty. I too disregard the cut to the carriers, as better was in the pipeline. The T22 cut was unacceptable and the cut of the Bay even worse.

Worst of all of course, the people.

Yes 3 SSS, and at least 8 T31 now, on top of all 8 T26.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

And the RFA cuts! The O’s, the Leafs.

the_marquis
Guest
the_marquis

The FSC programme before its cancellation called for 10 C1 hulls for ASW work and 8 C2 hulls for GP duties. Although this was replaced by the initial order for 13 T26s, the 2015 revision for 8 T26s and 5 T31s means we’ve reverted to the FSC model. In which case, while we’re unlikely to increase the T26 order back up to ten, how about we switch the numbers around, keep at 8 T26s and boost the T31s to 10? I think the trouble is, as you and Daniele have pointed out, there have been a rolling series of cuts… Read more »

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Daniele – you probably put my point over better than I could,but what I meant that when the decision was made to commit to building the Carriers the Escort Fleet was already in a catastrophic downward spiral,and if 32 was the expected total there was simply no way that could have been maintained,as your timetable of SDSR’s highlights.Regards T31,i hope this programme is given some urgency now,but realistically the current Straights of Hormuz crisis would have blown over and be forgotten News before any T31 actually hit the water to contribute to it.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Yeah this is the problem, as soon as it calms down there news will move on.

The MOD needs to use it to try and get the rivers uparmed, that can be done fast, and without a huge cost, plus would have a significant boost to our regional deterrence.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

No worries mate. I didn’t get what you meant but knew you’d no doubt know the details of my rant.

Helions
Guest
Helions
Steve
Guest
Steve

Briefly, its a handover between the two vessels, the frigate is due to go for refit in a couple of weeks.

Helions
Guest
Helions

Two is still not adequate – the rule of 3 should be in force here at a minimum. It’s really distressing to see the great Royal Navy in these straits… HMG will ignore the situation to the great future detriment of the United Kingdom IMHO…

Cheers

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

No Montrose is not going into refit. It has a pre planned alongside maintenance package. The package is not due to start for some time yet. Both ships will be available for tasking for a few months yet. Montrose may go off task now that Duncan is there for a short R&R break. Maintaining Defence watches are a killer for crew efficiency. At a point you need to fall out of them and have a rest/blowout. If you dont efficiency drops off and it wont come back up. 6 on 6 off or 8 on 8 off 4 on 4… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Not what this article states or the news reporting

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/mod-deny-uk-military-escalation-in-the-gulf/

Either way it leaves one active vessel in the region, at a dangerous time.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

Maintenance and refits are two vastly different things. That article states that Montrose does in fact have a maintenance package planned. Every ship requires some attention and you’ll see this occur regularly, whereas a refit will remove a ship from service for an extended period of time – much longer than general maintenance. This is not the case with Montrose. She’ll be available for tasking before the planned period, but you could argue that an R&R break is needed. She will be there whilst Duncan is there and still there when Kent appears, as she is forward deployed until 2022… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I’ve always wished for a really switched on Journalist who knows their stuff defence wise, who could contradict or correct politicians when they make defence announcements.

Too often politicians can make grand announcements and the room takes what they say at face value. Some of the commentators on UKDJ would tear them to shreds.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

AIS is spoofable on warships for obvious security reasons. I was on a certain LPD pretending to be in the english channel whilst we where actually off Brunei!

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

My main critique of that article is that it underplays the loss of submarine numbers. 30 is a more accurate figure than the 16 suggested – a figure which includes a boat which had not yet been commissioned.

Other than that, it’s spot on.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

I think the foreign aid budget of a country, should depend on what the GDP per head of population is, e.g. countries with very high GDP per head like Scandinavia, would be content with spending 0.7% GDP or more on foreign aid.
Countries with a lower GDP per head income, but with still high living costs, e.g. ‘relative poverty’, a fair proportion of the population would Not be content with spending more then 0.5% of GDP on foreign aid.

Lordtemplar
Guest
Lordtemplar

More type 31 needed asap. Affordable and capable of maritime patrols around strategic spots like Gulf, Falklands, etc… keep type 45 and 26 for carrier escort or deployed to support type 31 if needed!

Ron
Guest
Ron

We can all agree that the Royal Navy lacks the hull numbers to carry out the world wide tasks that the British government demands of the service. We can also agree that the MoD lacks the funds to build the hull numbers needed if they were to build 13+ T 26s that will never happen, I wish it could but that would be wishful thinking. The future T45s and T26s will be used for Carrier escort, and Amphibious escort, that leaves the 5 planned for T31s. Even that will not be enough as one will be based in the Falklands,one… Read more »