The third of four new support tankers to be delivered to the UK has arrived in Cornwall for customisation and trials before entering service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and being deployed on operations with the Royal Navy.

The arrival of RFA Tidesurge comes just weeks after her sister ship, RFA Tidespring, met up at sea with aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time.

The 39,000-tonne tankers can carry up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water in support of Royal Navy operations all over the world.

The detailed customisation work to prepare RFA Tidesurge and her sister ships for operations is being undertaken at the A&P shipyard in Falmouth, sustaining around 300 jobs.

Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb said:

“The arrival of RFA Tidesurge in Cornwall marks another key milestone in the Tide Class programme. Tidesurge will soon join her sister ships in providing the integral support which powers our warships and helps our Royal Navy maintain a truly global presence.”

While in Falmouth RFA Tidesurge will be fitted with UK specific armour, self-defence weaponry and communications systems, with the total UK work content, including A&P, in the Tide Class programme worth around £150 million and sustaining further jobs at 27 UK-based companies.

The customisation work is expected to take around four months after which RFA Tidesurge will begin final sea trials before entering service in Autumn this year.


  1. More great news, it’s been a few weeks of good news so I’m just waiting for the inevitable crushing disappointment

    • Sunlit uplands from here :-).
      Read somewhere but lost the reference that there will be an announcement on the new army wheeled APC soon.

      • ‘Boxer’ it is according to gossip, and I tend to think it’s a foregone conclusion.
        These Tide’s look very impressive and hopefully value for money.

          • @William. Yes, I meant my comment in the context of their Tornado replacement. The Luftwaffe would like F-35s but choosing Typhoon would give them a single type fleet and create badly needed jobs in Wharton and Germany.
            And a Tranche 3 Typhoon with Captor-E, Meteor, Brimstone and Spear 3 is probably all they would need if they eschew first day strike doctrine.

      • Looks like our Gav scored another minor victory today, another £600m for Trident.

        That tally’s exactly with the sum talked about in the PA select committee as being needed.

        Small Print warning though, they said the £600m was needed to re-profile expenditure to best keep it within the lifetime development cost envelope i.e. more now, less later. I suspect therefore, Mr Hammond might want that back later but it does at least smooth cash flow to avoid cuts today.

    • Looking forward to seeing 5th gen stealth fighters and a wide range of helicopters flying from QE escorted by Type 45 and sea ceptor armed 23’s along with an Astute class sub all supported by our RFA including the new tankers.
      That’s a hugely capable carrier group which we haven’t had for decades.
      As we move into the next century the Royal Navy will have a carrier capability unmatched by all but a very small number of naval forces in the world.

  2. Anyone know why Tidesurge was delayed in Antigua for quite some time?

    But yes its all good news at the moment and so it should be. These projects take years to come to fruition and in that time the naysayers have a field day and peddle [email protected] like ‘No Aircraft’ and ”leaking carrier’ which the general public take as fact. But projects are now being delivered and if you look across the 3 Forces there is actually nothing BUT good news.

    People rightly point out manpower shortages but I see that as actually a good sign that we have the kit that needs people rather than we have people with no kit!

    And the better news is there was cross party support in the Commons this week for a big uplift in Defence spending to at least 2.5% and maybe 3% GDP. Fallon made a very informed and telling speech (now he is in the backbenches) and even Labour MPs were adding support.

  3. Let’s hope that all future vessels are made in the UK. We need to create jobs, build up industries and support / create supply chains.

  4. A. Smith know where your coming from but if we’d built them here rather than in a friendly country like R.o.K. We’d have 2 at best rather than 4. We have far better relations withe states like them and Saudi not to mention Japan than with almost any EU state you can mention.

    • Hi Dave, I think that only applies because of our total lack of joined up and long term thinking. I am convinced that a genuine NSS including a bigger RN would enable UK to build all its own ships and we really should do.

    • David – well if you apply the MoD (indeed Government) focus on the price rather than the cost then you are possibly right. But as I will always believe if we pay say £2 Mn to Korea for a ship that is £2 Mn gone forever. However if we paid £3 Mn (say) for the same ship here in the UK that is £3 Mn that is kept here in the UK in wages, NI, Tax, Corporation Tax, Council Tax, fuel, equipment leases, training and everything else that gets recycled WITHIN our economy. It also builds expertise and creates better efficiencies which actually drive down the price. If we never buy here we will never see those benefits

      Just taking labour costs alone a UK ‘price’ could be 40% ‘more expensive’ than a foreign ‘price’ and still ‘cost’ the UK less……

      • Chris old son no matter how you slice your comments above it still ends comes out as nonsense. For example when you bought the computer you use to comment on this site did you shop around to get the best deal? Were you happy with your purchase and think it was good value for the money you exchanged for it?

        Was it designed and built in the UK???

        Have a read of Bastiat’s Broken Window Theory you might find it instructive.

        • I don’t think it’s nonsense at all Bill. Joined up industrial strategy should be a core duty of Govt. With a larger RN and a steady drumbeat of orders via a NSS the UK could compete on all levels.

          • OK Ian given the number of times an Industrial Strategy has been introduced in the UK can you name the ones that have worked?? Upper Clyde Ship Builders were part of an Industrial Strategy where are they now. British Leyland were part of a Govt Industrial Strategy where are they now I could go on, and on and on. The idea that there exists a clever peleton of ultimately wise individuals in Govt directing and guiding us to some kind of industrial utopia is a proven fallacy. Orders for the RN should be met on the basis of price and quality by competing enterprises that are not directed by civil servants clinging to some so called strategy.

          • Works very well for France and America Bill. So if we’ve got it wrong in the past we should see what there is to learn.

            I’m old enough to remember those times you mention. God forbid they return and I would want no part in bringing them back.

            I do think there is a better way though and if we don’t work to support industry then we won’t have any. The Chinese for example think we’re absolutely mad the way we are so free and easy with national industrial assets.

        • Think you’ve missed the point about keeping the money in the country Bill, makes a big difference, even if the home-grown items are 3 times the cost.

          • AV sorry to say but I dont think I have missed the point the point being ‘keeping the money in the country’ leads to poverty. We have known this since the eighteenth century. As I noted in an earlier post are you richer or poorer using a computer designed in the US and built in Asia?? Are you richer or poorer drinking wine from France, juice from Florida, wearing shoes from Italy or trainers from Indonesia?? Do you want the choice of driving a British car, a Japanese car , a German car, a French car or only have the option of a UK version? Which would n’t be a choice at all really.

            The MoD has to get the best value for money or the option will be a lot less of everything – poverty.

          • Nah you’ve still missed it.
            A national ship building policy is by it’s very nature protectional.
            Doesn’t really matter where you get your tropicana from if capital ships need to be built in the UK.
            I appreciate your thoughts on ‘choice’ but hardly relevant when warships have to be built in the UK.
            (appreciate the Tides didnt though)

        • Bill. I shopped around and got a great computer with many parts made in the UK and it assembled in the UK with much Uk design and intelligence from the UK. It cost a little more but is still a great machine. That aside. People are affected by shop prices, by clothes shoes and food gas bill and council rates and house prices. The cost of a ship does not affect the UK public, they fell no difference be it higher, lower or freeze. Companies can make a profit out of us with a set price accepted by Government and they can go any place in the world to buy steel or whatever at our cost and no account of tax clawback taken into consideration, just to save a few quid in a deal, when the lazy Uk government departments should be doing this, or stipulation a policy. The Parker review asks the government to make sure certain firms who win these contracts invest in people and facilities in the future to remain competitive, rather than see all the profit go to shareholders (buy buy GKN tomorrow, I pray not). Take the Waves tankers. Have there been any problems with this fairly recently UK built ships? They cost around 100 million in 1997 including the UK content (which was not included with the MARS tankers to make them look cheaper 22.5%). So take away the 22.5% you get 77.5 million pounds which is 110 million today’s (2012 tide contract) money or 440 million for 4 Waves for shipbuild, albeit slightly smaller, but cheaper, and you would expect cheaper still with modern practices and South Korean wages being closer to us now. 36% or more of the average Uk workers wage finds it’s way back in UK tax, then as other have added in various forms of tax with VAT too, you can easily come out with a modest 40% average clawback for the UK exchequer. So the waves in today’s money cost 66 million pounds in shipbuild, or 84 million pounds in today’s (2012) money overall net to the UK or MOD or UK Government however you may want to look at it. Those ships built in South Korea were never value for the UK taxpayer from any angle you want to look at it. A tide ship cost 152 million pounds each including UK content, but add 40%, they are 188 million pounds each and 753 million for four ships, add the 160 million pounds UK content gives over 900 million pounds, but minus the 40% if all the UK content is from the UK, you have 849 million quid as the cost. Build and invest (or vice versa, but one needs the other) in the UK! Is the UK government getting it yet?

          • I agree with everything said regarding the 40% claw back. Where the British government does let itself down is that when it buys foreign it does not insist on foreign governments returning the favour. For example the UK building the Tides in Korea and the Korean government purchasing Brimstone from the UK for the same value.

          • To add. If the estimated contract price is 1 billion, a UK consortia can do this for that price, so it is 600 million net, surely if a South Korean firm/firms can do this, another 40% needs to be taken away for a saving, which means they need to do it for 360 million for 3 Fleet Solid Support Ships that are around 40,000 tons.

        • Bill Soft Lad anyone comparing very large shipbuilding purchases that entail complex manufacturing over many years with buying fruit juice from Asda is the one coming oput with nonsense.

          You make sarcastic comments that totally fails to address the very simple point that we are discussing taxpayer’s money not a family’s shopping basket of goods. And yes I shopped around for the best specification of this Compaq computer thanks. Had there been a British made option I would have actually bought British, As I did when I bought new motorbikes – I bought Triumph. And in cars I bought new ones made here. Its a very simple choice to make but hardly compares with £mega million manufactured ships.

          Can you not comprehend that Taxpayer pounds spent in Korea is lost forever in the Korean economy? or that Taxpayers Pounds spent her is recycled over and over again WITHIN the UK economy? the Government has a duty of care to the Uk economy and should, wherever possible, by funding manufacturing here not abroad. We should be importing jobs not exporting them as we have done since the ’70s. We are as capable as anyone of building superb ships as the two carriers proved. Where it has gone Pete Tong is the way Government assesses ‘price’ rather than cost. Another aspect YOU failed to address.

          So here is a challenge: Is it not true that given Labour costs are some 40% of all costs we could pay 40% more for a ship to be built here and the overall ‘price’ to the taxpayer would be the same? And do you not agree that it is far better to train and employ British people rather than Korean people?

          I know what my answers would be. And as others have commented the Americans and French would too. As would the Koreans…

      • EXACTLY!
        Dosh stays in UK, strategic capability retained/developed. Just have to do the same across the board.

      • Uk labour costs to South Korean labour Costs are not much different now. What the UK lacks is right up to date facilities which up our production rates.

      • Like the boss of Liberty steel says: You might want to build cars in the UK, but there is no point if you have to import steel and other big-ticket items from abroad.

        • From what I understand, the UK steel industry doesn’t / isn’t able to produce the required grades. I am very pro buying British wherever possible, especially when we’re talking public money. But if it isn’t available then we simply have to go elsewhere if we want a quality product. The steel industry complaining about not getting orders is a bit strong when they can’t make what’s being asked for. I realise there is an argument for government investment to improve capability and maintain a modern industry, but you have to expect the manufacturers to invest in their own business and provide most of that cash. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s happened a huge amount.

          • The Uk steel industry has always been able to produce what was needed, but why has this stopped? The quality was there for the carriers and has been there for past nuclear submarines. Tata was in the process of developing a new steel when the French jumped in with a type of steel. We are supposed to be makers of high-quality steel. Manufacturers need certainty and this Government need a longer-term vision. We have all the ability. Liberty Steel is asking for this. Does this UK government have the desire? We did it in the past. But eu rules do hamper us.

    • Last time I looked the UK wasn’t in a military alliance with the ROK, Japan or The KSA but was in one with most of the EU states.

      • Will start with Galileo and work your way back. Russia, Iran etc are our enemies but that doesn’t make the EU our friends. If you don’t believe me ask them (in French ).

  5. And the ‘good news’ keeps on coming. Theresa May at PMQs today announced that the MoD has been given an extra £600 Mn for continued build costs of the new Trident subs. this is in addition to an earlier extra £200 Mn announced by the Chancellor.

    Onwards and Upwards ….

  6. These ships seem pretty fantastic. Where does this place the UK in terms of this type of asset and has there been any discussion about buying a couple more to use for disaster relief?
    They could bring in supplies and have the deck kitted out so they can have tents and medical facilities set-up for evacuations and such. It should be pretty easy to convert to such usage.

    • For disaster relief it would be far better to get the MARS SSS design and build moving forward and then potentially build extra vessels there for disaster relief.

  7. In other news.

    General Carter is promoted from CGS to CDS.

    Yet another General into the role. I thought once it was rotated through all three services.
    Just when the RN needs to be grown an army man is put into the role of CDS.

    • Disappointing – they have gone for the politician (final interview by PM May) and not the warfighter – but I may be a bit bias.
      On a positive note, that is pretty much now the whole senior management team replaced, hopefully all now with a single vested interest – generation of sufficient combat effect to deter the enemy and meet HMG goals.
      Just the Perm Sec to go and we will pretty much have a clean sweep!

    • Sorry to see that and comment; from the Army Board; about how good it was going to be for the Army. Glad to see Britain’s modern Army keeping in step.

  8. Good ships, badly needed for QEC CBG.

    A reminder though –

    Grey Rover
    Gold Rover
    Black Rover

    All scrapped, sold, decommissioned, or cut since 2009. A simple search of wikipedia finds the dates.

    Just a reminder with all the excitement of these new Tide Class what they replace, with 4 replacing 7.

    Bigger yes. Double hulled yes. Modern yes. Smaller surface fleet yes.

    Cannot be in 2 places at once. And the RN and RFA needs to be growing, and is if you listen to and read the cobblers coming from HMG and the MoD, aimed at the ignorant masses of the public who know no different or even care.

  9. These should have been built in the U.K., if the facilities are not there invest in them, like other countries do. With the facilities and invaluable experience gained from building these big ships we could have started bidding for cruise ships like other European countries do.
    They literally cannot wait to give British orders to foreign companies, every single time, in every single field. This is not what we want.
    They better make sure the solid support ships are built here.

  10. Not to mention RFA Olna, decommissioned without a replacement. I’d personally advocate a batch two order of four tides, which could be greater geared towards disaster relief (the smaller, Norwegian variant has a large hospital bay), or leased to our allies – I know recently Canada has been in a spot of bother with their support ships. And also, with more Tides, we’ll be future proofing ourselves if we wish to grow (among other things) the frigate fleet.

    As usual, ‘manpower’ will be the issue.

    • In terms of immediate priorities I’d far rather see the SSS part of this MARS program get going. If well designed and built as efficiently (initial wiring issues not withstanding) and cost effectively as the Tides those could be really useful and flexible assets if built in sufficient numbers.

        • I believe there’s three or four variants of the Tide class. The UK purchased the largest, and Norway bought the second largest. The smallest is more comparable to the Rover Class.

          And yes Danielle, I thought as much 0 just thought I’d include the Ol class to further show how much we’ve slipped.

        • The Norwegian one is a bit of a different beast. Same hull and basic design but also a fair bit smaller, has a fairly sophisticated hospital facility with operating theatre, CT scanner etc, and more provision for solid stores. It’s more of a JSS than a pure tanker so costs not really directly comparable.

  11. Buy UK or buy foreign?

    A history usually provides an answer, we the UK decided to procute a licence built version of the AH64 and called it WAH64. Now how many US built AH64 could we purchased for 1 WAH64? The answer is 3. Was that a good deal? I would say not.

    Also we managed to procure the slowest most expensive F4 ever built by insisting on UK built parts used on F4k and F4m variants.

    I am for dynamic UK defence industry but it has to be able to deliver capable and affordable equipment to our forces and for export.

    As for Boxer seeing we were once part of this project it was a terrible error to abandon our participation in 2003 leaving Germany and the Netherlands to pursue the project.

    Looking the multitude of 8*8 armoured vehicles available Boxer is the best of the bunch. It has now been ordered by five nations, including Germany and the Netherlands, and I think the UK will be the sixth. I hope our troops get the quantity required, around 800 should do it.

    • Morning Mike
      Hopefully so, good platform and politically it would be an astute move – investing in European defence with allies that are willing to fight (Dutch) and allies that are good at engineering (Germans).
      Supply chains and logistics would all be a lot simplistic on deployed ops. Let’s see what happens…

  12. “19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water”
    1 cubic metre = 1,000 litres, so that is 19 million litres of fuel, 1.4 million litres of water.

    I would wonder how long the water keeps though, if it has to be freshened up before use. When Mull had a drought because it was far too sunny for Bonnie Scotland (we melt away), they ferried it over via Locahaline-Fishnish, and timed it for the ferry as they had just hours to offload it into the reservoir.

  13. Lots of comments on buying UK or foreign. My view for what its worth is that any individual decision is context dependent but there are generally applicable considerations.
    Firstly there is nothing wrong and everything right about supporting indigenous industry. And not just because of the difficult to account for benefits such as tax revenue and supply chain health etc. Suporting your own is an act of solidarity aka patriotism. Every other country does it. To not do it is perverse and self harming unless we simply do not have the skills or capacity to do the job. France did not create Airbus as the only major rival to Boeing by surrenduring in the competition for the civil airliner market.
    Secondly, short term financial considerations, whether they be government budget or commercial share holder returns should never trump long term investment in people, skills and technology.
    Thirdly, if we do not have the strategic skills we need we should pay to develop them ( as the Australians are doing with radar) or buy them ( as the French have done with aerospace).
    Unless the foreign product is markedly superior the default should be to buy domestic.
    The questions that really need to be answered are why does not government trust UK suppliers to deliver value for money; why do suppliers not trust government to stick by their decisions and why does everyone pretend that you can reconcile short term shareholder interest with longterm national interest ?

  14. How did Germany get away with building a Type 702 for 445 million dollars? This is 2001 figure, but even in 2013 with Bonn, Just do the conversions and see why Germany circumnavigates its way around eu rules, maybe this may be justified on value for Germany on the money lost and tax lost potential redundancies etc as I say above. They do not feel obliged to give to a pretend lowest face value figure from abroad. Come on Britain snap out of the BS we are fed by the government its creditors and certain vested interests.

  15. Industry? UK? Read the news recently? Gone bust, closed down, flogged off, farewell! And Brexit hasn’t even happened yet!

  16. If you think the UK is going down the drain Peder can I suggest you go with it. Either that or find something sensible to say.

    • Just ignore the troll Geoffrey, it doesn’t even seem to understand the difference between retail and manufacturing. The fact that a few mostly niche high street retailers are closing down would clearly be a concern if the MoD was planning to pop down to the shops and buy a few T26s in its lunch break but somehow I don’t think that’s how we buy RN and RFA vessels nowadays – they are really heavy to carry back from the shops, it’s a nightmare getting them home on the bus, and they never scan properly at the checkout. I think you also have to do that over-18 validation thing to buy a T26 and there’s never a store assistant around to do that when you need them.

  17. Just for Geoffrey Roach:

    March to date:

    Toys R Us to shut all UK stores, resulting in 3,000 job losses

    Prezzo to close almost 100 restaurants with loss of about 500 jobs

    Airbus production cuts put 3,700 jobs at risk

    New Look considers shutting 60 UK stores – 1,000 jobs at risk

    Carillion contracts deal fails, putting 2,500 jobs at risk

    Maplin staff made redundant as hopes of finding buyer fade

    British Gas owner to cut 4,000 jobs blaming price cap and competition

    Your wee country is dying. It’ll soon fall apart. Not going down the drain, going down to toilet!

    • And what country are you from that is so perfect and a shining example of how the UK should operate?

      Russia perhaps? Yeah that’s a paragon of excellence there. *rolls eyes*

    • Morning
      I’ll reply to the above if that’s okay:
      Toys R Us closed down due to change in way people shop. US arm already in administration. Smythes toysop on the other hand are doing very well, they understand the market and have better on line presence.
      Market is well known to be too crowded. Market is going through a rest as people change the way the Done out, it companies cannot keep up with market forces changing they will go out of business.
      Airbus production cut
      This is due to the reduced number of forecast A380 being bought. A320 production going up. U.K. make the wings of most airbus aircraft, wings are the most complex part of an aircraft to make. You cannot just move this production around.
      New Look
      More children are shopping online, multiple apps have now been developed so that teenagers can build their look on the app and the app then seeks out best prices for those clothes and buys them (you seem to be stuck in the 90’s)
      Mapilins – most people go into Maplins see something they like, go on to amazon and price check it and then buy it from there – change in how people now buy things
      Carillion – a legacy of late 90’s and early 2000’s PFI nightmares, company tried to grow too quickly and subsequently failed. Out of the thousands that work for it only a few hundred have been made redundant – any redundancy is bad but the work hasn’t gone anywhere, Carillion are still doing it, maybe in different guises.

      Country is doing not too bad thanks, it is adapting and changing.
      Number in people in work -up
      Growth – up
      Manufacturing – up
      Services -up
      London financial district – No.1 in the world (City AM)
      Ability to coral 14 countries to expel Russians spies – Done

      We may have our problems, but there our problems and we are doing what we do best – dealing with it and moving on

        • Spot on Lee, I think Peder is on the wrong website!

          The business to watch is GKN.
          Very interested to see what happens today at 1pm.
          A massive indicator of UK industrial direction.
          Fingers crossed.

      • Nice post Lee.

        I’d be amazed if you get a response and a continuation of the debate. Once they make their point they vanish if one comes back with relevant data.

        I outed that troll months back in the French Pacific Patrol Boat thread. I was even told off at the time.

        But good reading for the rest of us anyway.

    • Such Patriotism, Pride, and respect for your country.

      Or maybe you’re a troll from elsewhere?

      Second word OFF!!!

  18. I read this morning that the predicted losses in due to brexit have now been halved, it is inevitable some jobs will move to the EU but the number predicted is falling rapidly. FT

    I also read that UK exporters are gearing up.production increased demand. DT

    Whatever the pros and cons of brexit, the outlook is increasingly positive and the many experts who predicted doom and woe are being proved wrong on a daily basis.

    I would hope that people would put aside their differences and make brexit work, but then again I am a dreamer.

    • Spot on. Problem is too many don’t want the UK to work!

      Other nations around the world can be major economies and be totally independent but for some mythical reason this nation with centuries of innovation and maritime trade behind it cannot.

  19. March 2018:

    UK unemployment rises at fastest rate in almost five years
    Official figures reveal 1.47 million out of work as young people struggle to find jobs

    The UK has had it.

    • Peder
      You tease
      PSB Mike’s comment
      However many thanks for giving us an avenue to display facts.
      Pretty sure the thead started off about new RFA’s coming into service 😂

      • Hi Lee, he is just a wind up merchant I usually ignore them but I do like like hard economic data in the public domain.

        As you rightly say this started off about RFA tankers and end up here!!


    The unemployment rate in the UK stood at a 42-year low of 4.3 percent in the three months to January 2018, unchanged from the August to October period and below market expectations of 4.4 percent. The number of unemployed rose by 24,000 while employment increased by 168,000, beating market expectations of a 84,000 gain.

    There were 1.45 million unemployed people, 24,000 more than for August to October 2017 but 127,000 fewer than for a year earlier. The unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, down from 4.7 percent for a year earlier and the joint lowest since 1975.

    There were 32.25 million people in work, 168,000 more than for August to October 2017 and 402,000 more than for a year earlier. The employment rate was 75.3 percent, higher than for a year earlier (74.6 percent) and the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.

    There were 8.72 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive, 158,000 fewer than for a year earlier and the lowest since November 2000 to January 2001. The inactivity rate was 21.2 percent, lower than for a year earlier (21.6 percent) and the joint lowest since comparable records began in 1971.

    Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in the UK in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 2.6 percent excluding bonuses, and by 2.8 percent including bonuses, compared with a year earlier. In real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation), average weekly earnings fell by 0.2 percent excluding bonuses, but were unchanged including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

  21. Peder please tell us which country you’re from as I’m sure we’d all love to compare our ‘doomed’ country to the utopia you live in and learn how to better ourselves in the process.

  22. Peder is a troll folks. Pretty much certainly not a Brit as references to things like “UK Navy” and “your country” would seem to indicate. He/she is taking whatever negatives he can, often out of context, to get ammunition to try and wind people up. Frankly, much as I admire all the effort taken to provide factual counter-arguments, it’s just not worth the effort because no amount of factual information is going to stop this unwelcome visitor spewing out his/her uninformed unsubstantiated rubbish.

    Great looking tankers by the way. Presumably on this drumbeat all 4 are going to be over in the UK by the end of this year although perhaps not all in active service by that time. At 39,000t each that’s 156,000t of tankers vs for instance 53,700t for the French Navy (3 x Durance Class 17,900t tankers according to Wikipedia). Both sean and air tankers seem to be an area where the UK is quite well equipped.

    • Some of it winds me up mate, because I’m patriotic and love my country. But it only winds up so far, and I’m happy to return the snipes and ram back down his or her sad little throat.

      • Enjoy the Troll, let them take the time to write factual inaccuracies – then correct them.
        Those that start to hit out, to troll, bully and intimedate are nervous.
        Why are they nervous? After 15 years of FAFing about we are starting to get our house in order, free from the burden of beauracratic Europe and to get back out there into the world – every now and again “putting a bit of stick about”.
        It’s time to stand up and be counted, every now and again a troll will try and put you down. As the penguin in Madagascar once said:
        “smile and wave boys, smile and wave”

      • I know what you mean Daniele, I feel the same, but I honestly believe that the best way to “ram back” the snipes “down his or her sad little throat” by frustrating and upsetting a troll is to totally ignore them, they really hate that.

        (I confess, I am not always successful at biting my tongue so I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here!)

    • Afternoon
      Yep, we are definitely starting to see the improvements and capabilities in the fleet being improved. More balancing has to take place which is going to disappoint some but a hull along side absorbing resources is of no use to us unless we can man it and arm it.
      3 T23’s are in the firing line, expect to see at least 1 go at the very minimum. Buyers are out there and it is better to sell whilst the vessel is still “ready” like Ocean was than to see it sit along side rotting because it is more important to have 13 frigates and 6 destroyers in the ORBAT.

      • There is frustration to come, I agree, and it’s more than potentially losing vessels. At some point there also needs to be extra money put in for, to people outside of the armed forced, no increase in capability and just standing still. That won’t be the case of course but unless terms and conditions are improved and the military made a more attractive option then we will be unable to fill headcount even when it is created. That might be quite a hard sell to numbers 10 & 11 and the general public – “we need an extra however-much to improve employment Ts & Cs and it won’t get you a single extra bullet, ship, soldier, sailor etc but it will put recruitment and retention on a sustainable footing going forward”. It’s a nettle that at some point has to be grasped,

          • I agree with that order and that’s coming from a computer scientist and physicist so a super-nerd when it comes to interest in the technology.

            I’m glad you listed process. The U.K. armed forces has a massively long history of innovation. Some really aggressive, focussed and properly resourced and funded projects to try and come up with innovative ways of increasing availability ratios of various assets could have a big impact if successful, for instance adding 1% to Typhoon availability effectively adds 1 extra aircraft to the operational fleet.

  23. 21st February 2018

    UK unemployment rises at fastest rate in almost five years
    Official figures reveal 1.47 million out of work as young people struggle to find jobs

    The prospect of an interest rate rise before the summer has receded after the number of people out of work in Britain rose at the fastest rate in almost five years.

    Fuelled by an increase in unemployment among young people under the age of 24, the number of jobless rose by 46,000 to stand at 1.47 million in the three months to December, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    The rise in unemployment, which comes after it fell to levels not seen since the mid-1970s, pushed the jobless rate to 4.4% against City forecasts for the level to remain unchanged at 4.3%.

    The worsening picture was emphasised by figures showing a slowdown in the creation of jobs, a fall in the number of hours worked and a dip in productivity growth.

    The Bank of England said this month that the UK economy was beginning to overheat after a sharp rise in inflation and a tightening labour market. In its quarterly inflation report it said an interest rise was only months away if the rising demand for workers, which is reflected in the huge growth in vacancies, continued to force up pay growth.

    Wednesday’s ONS data showed that average weekly earnings excluding bonuses increased by 2.5%, beating City forecasts for the rate of pay growth to stay unchanged at 2.4%. However, this remains below the rate of inflation, meaning workers are yet to see real wage growth.

    Maike Currie, an investment director at fund manager Fidelity International, said: “With the Bank of England increasingly pinning the chances of further interest rate hikes on accelerating pay growth, the prospect of an early rate rise seems unlikely.”

    Compared with inflation, take-home wages were worth 0.3% less in December than the year before.

    The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The great pay squeeze continues. This is the 10th month in a row that real wages have fallen.” Most of the increase in wages over the last year has gone to managerial and professional workers while those on lower incomes have relied on increases in the “national living wage” to boost their living standards.

    On a more upbeat note, the ONS said there was an increase in the number of full-time employees and a decrease in part-time and self-employed work.


    John Hawksworth, the chief economist of accountancy group PwC, said it was encouraging that previously inactive people were seeking work in greater numbers, some of them finding jobs and others still searching and so being classified as unemployed. He said this showed that the rise in unemployment was a spin-off from people entering the jobs market.

    Some analysts said the contradictory signals from the employment figures made it more difficult to predict whether the Bank’s interest rate setting committee would increase rates by 0.25% to 0.75% at its meeting in May.

    John Philpott, the director of the Jobs Economist consultancy, said the economic picture was perplexing because pay had increased at a time when unemployment rose, which is unusual because pay rises tend to come when there are fewer people out of work.

    “It clearly adds to the conundrums facing economists, not least those at the Bank of England when they next consider if and when to raise interest rates,” he said.

    The total number of hours worked fell by 0.3%, while growth in output per hour worked, which is a measure of labour productivity, dipped from 0.9% to 0.8%.

    “In other words, a labour market that struggled to boost pay when getting tighter, just saw pay strengthen when conditions got a bit weaker,” said Philpott. “This pattern is difficult to explain, though may become clearer as more data become available. However, it clearly adds to the conundrums facing economists, not least those at the Bank of England when they next consider if and when to raise interest rates.”

        • LOL. Did you spot the “Advertisment” bit in the middle where presumably there was an inline advert. I wish he/she had included the actual ad, it would probably have been more interesting and informative than all the rest of his crap.

        • LOL! It is textbook. It really is.

          The real worry for me is that Peder and others of its ilk are not Russian but in fact from the extreme, extreme hard left wing. This saddens me that Brits can be so hateful to their own nation.

          The type who:

          Hate their nation.
          Hate the USA and our special relationship with them and the Anglo sphere in general.
          Hate our history, culture, and any suggestion of “nationalism”
          Want to disarm at all costs, especially Nuclear weapons, though strangely are quite happy for others to keep theirs?
          Prioritise State benefits and mass immigration over everything. After all, they need the votes.
          Stereotypically, the Guardian proves popular. That rag that thinks Snowden is a hero, thinks GCHQ are an enemy, are slavishly loyal to the EU over everything, hate the Tories, call everyone with the slightest concern over immigration racist, criticise free speech, and have journalists who call the Union flag divisive and want it removed from Great Britain sports teams.

          Ironically dear Peder himself called me and my family knuckle dragging nationalists for being Brexiteers and indeed UKIP voters. Spare me.

          I’ve been pulled up here by left leaning readers for supposedly lumping all left leaning voters in the same bracket, which is of course nonsense. Many are patriotic, hard working, and value the UK and our military, so I recognise this to anyone reading this. ( Tim recently I recall )

          But boy. These Momentum type extremists always tick the same boxes.

          Regular as clockwork……

          • peder let it slip in another Thread that he is actually Scottish. A Jock. And by the sound of it an SNP Jock as well. A more ignorant, bell – endish bunch of hard left Nationalists you will never wish to meet.

            I picked up some time ago his use of ‘wee military’ but it all came out in an unguarded comment. Such are stupid laid bare ….

      • I thought for a moment it was a brilliant counter argument, saying the same thing with the sentiment reversed. I feared we had uncovered a troll of the highest calibre and that here finally was the proof that the kremlin must be involved.

        Turned out to be a Guardian article….

  24. As of Q1 (the first quarter of) 2015, UK government debt amounted to £1.56 trillion, or 81.58% of total GDP, at which time the annual cost of servicing (paying the interest) the public debt amounted to around £43 billion (which is roughly 3% of GDP or 8% of UK government tax income).

    Yep, the UK is going down the toilet and it will take its wee military with it.

    • peder – so you are rather good at copy / pasting stuff. Well done. But I doubt you could argue the point because you don’t understand a word of it.

      And your continued use of the expression ‘wee military’ means you are either a) Irish or b) Scottish. Either way I wouldn’t be gobbing off about how well or badly the UK is doing because a) the UK is Ireland’s biggest and closest customer and helped bail you mugs out over the Euro or b) you are part of the UK that sadly drags our annual deficit down and therefore our annual debt up by some £15 Bn a year.

      And why are we in such debt? Go ask your Labour friends what happened for the 10 years to 2010…. the Left destroy and the Right have to rebuild. Oh by the way the UK is now running a Surplus for the first time since 2002 when Brown was following Tory spending plans from 1997 / 98. If that is us going down the toilet then the EU is way past the U Bend pal …..

      • I think he’s Irish from this comment on the article about the gunnery tests on QE… “An tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh has bigger guns on its patrol boats!” so just a foreigner who doesn’t like the UK. Frankly that’s OK, he has a right to his opinion although the inaccurate and ill informed little snipes are annoying. Still, I’m far more OK with it coming from a scornful foreigner than from a moaning Brit who thinks everything including his/her own country is rubbish and doesn’t have the character or intelligence to contribute anything positive to their country or to their own situation.

        • Spot on Julian.

          So relieved if Peder is not British.

          If so Peder. Go whistle and enjoy being bitter! You’re entertaining me immensely.

  25. I wonder how many who post here know what it is to be in the armed forces? I wonder how many here have killed in the name of their country? I have. Now I see things differently, all these years later. Time to ditch the arms and start talking peace.

    • Harold
      I would hope that peace is an aspiration for all.
      The world, unfortunately isn’t like that at the moment.
      The world is cyclic, with ego’s out there that choose to try and impose their way of life and their views of society on others.
      People then get scared and want to defend their way of life, deter those who wish to change the way that they go about their day to day lives.
      Ditch the arms? A noble position, something that we should all aim for – but trust needs to be established first with a respect for others and how they choose to live. Until then we live in a race of arms and bravado trying to deter each other with scarier weapons.
      When you face the perceived enemy with weapons raised, tight into the shoulder, the safety catch off and the index finger gently pressing on the trigger who is bravest to drop the weapon and place the safety back on? That’s not just you but the rest of your section, all nervous and all pumped.
      That’s where we are today, but this is not you or me and our section, this is nation states.
      Troubling times Harold and I admire your views, hopefully others will agree – but presently I can’t see it.

    • Harold – yes some of us have and some of us bear the scars. But it is sadly the case that only by being prepared to inflict violence do we avoid others inflicting violence on us. Sadly its human nature and those that would do us harm would see ‘peace talks’ as a sign of weakness which would encourage them and their kind to inflict said violence we all wish to avoid.

      But respect to you and your service Sir but sadly I must gently disagree.


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