The base has a dry dock facility which could support the UK’s two new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

The Defence Secretary has announced a further £23.8 million investment in the UK logistics hub at Duqm port, as part of a visit to Oman and Qatar to discuss shared security challenges and future collaboration.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“The long standing friendships between the UK and the Gulf states are more important than ever. With shared defence and security interests, it is vital we work together for both regional and global stability. Our trade links are just as strong, too – from cotton to aerospace.

Whether tackling Daesh, or making our streets in the UK safer thanks to our intelligence networks, these are hugely valuable relationships that I am pleased to be able to renew this week.”

The UK and many of the Gulf states work closely together on counter-terrorism, sharing information and resources to tackle violent extremism.

The port was used in 2018 for Exercise Saif Sareea 3 and the expansion will further support British Army training in Oman, say the MoD.

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This commitment underlines the UK’s determination to become a global naval power once more. Other bases are likely to be enhanced as increased support for British flagged vessels across the oceans ensues. On reflection, the moment the UK decided to have a second vote on EU membership, the emphasis on global naval protection was bound to follow. I’m sure we will see permanent overseas stationing of principle naval vessels too, as demand increases through new trade deals. Ultimately, this could indicate where the lions share of defence spending may focus? In the 90’s and 2000s, the Army and Airforce got… Read more »

David Barry

Maurice, wish and aspiration will come up against the hard reality of COVID19 and Brexit.

I share your dreams, I doubt it will happen unless there is a major u-turn on NHS funding and social care provision and a realization that we are all responsible for our own health. With that thought in mind should the Govt go the route of America, THEN, funds could be released for the Royal Navy.


Sorry, are you suggesting we get rid of the NHS and replace it with private insurance? If so are you being sarcastic?


That model works really well in The Netherlands – much much better quality service from the private medical providers here rather than the communist style NHS.


The NHS is not communist! Are the police and fire service also communist? The Netherlands health system is not better. It is also universal healthcare although only basic healthcare is covered. We should care about each other and so the NHS is fantastic as everyone gets care if they can afford it or not. That is how our human society should be! If you think the NHS is communist then you seem to forget that the Netherlands system is far more like Chinas than the NHS is…

David Flandry

Can anyone dispute that the NHS is socialist?


Absolutely, yes! The NHS is ‘humanist’ in both form and function. A socialist government initiated its formation, true. We, the majority of people who have worked in it and developed it over decades, have moved away from mere politics, to providing a non-partisan service to all … even socialists!


Bevan’s mother was a Merhodist and his gather a Baptist. He rejected his Christian upbringing. The NHS is the biggest soulless Welsh Chapel in the world…with all that implies…know what I mean; nod nod wink wink.

David Flandry

There is no such thing as humanist economics.

Sceptical Richard

Yes it is, and long may it survive! So in your book I suppose anything in the public sector is socialist/communist? Including the armed forces, police and security services I suppose. You can be socialist, a social democrat, a liberal or a green and still believe in strong defence and security for the nation. Don’t conflate these issues, they are separate.


Oh no I hope the comment section on this website isn’t going to turn into the daily mail one. I only go to the comments section there to have a laugh at the far right wing nutters.


Plenty of those on here Jonny. It is the profound ignorance of some of the posts that gets me!


Many other nations have a better service but UK is indoctrinated into believing the NHS is the envy of the world. It is not and no other nation has copied it.


It may not be the best,but it is significantly better than an insurance based system such as the U.S.A. Plenty of evidence on the internet of that.


It comes top of most health service lists! It sometimes comes lower for particular things but overall it is one of the best in the world! That does not mean it can’t improve and become better but it does not mean we need to scrap it for private healthcare… I mean in the US people have to sell their houses and live in tents in order to get cancer treatments! I know which service I prefer…


Great response Lee 1! Yes, we could be much more effective in terms of managing the NHS than we are. However, the concept of health care, free at the point of delivery is both noble and reflective of a society that really cares about its people. There really are some absolute wankers on this site!

Daniele Mandelli

Good to see you, H. I’d noticed you’d not been around for some weeks. Hope all well?


Thanks Danielle…..yes, I’m taking more of a back seat these days. Some posts are really beyond the pale….I would have thought that the NHS, with all its problems, could be a unifying theme for this nation. To write it off as an example of centralised socialist thinking is somewhat unfair. I trust that you are keeping well!

Daniele Mandelli

I quite agree. It needs reform I feel, as it seems no matter how much money is thrown at it shortages and problems remain.

However, that should NEVER include any form of privatisation. The concept of a NHS is something the nation should be proud.

I suspect one major hot potato is that it has become so politicised any attempt at major change is such an issue governments avoid it and just carry on as we go. Which ultimately solves nothing.

Mark B

Well said

Bill Kenny

Definitely not one of the best in the developed world, unfortunately it lags far behind other developed countries in terms of its performance in key areas. Other Western European countries who do not employ the inefficient UK model have far better health outcomes. That situation is not likely to change in the near term whilst the service is regarded by some at least as a kind of secular religion.


The NHS is an amazing institution, filled mostly with dedicated people who work hard and go over and above whats required. However it needs to be firstly, stopped being used as a political tool by all parties to slap each other with, secondly, its current operating model needs to be modernised and process simplified, and thirdly, we all need to stop thinking of it as the holy grail, which cannot be changed or tinkered with…in its current form, financialy its horrendously inefficient and certainly not value for money. The concept is sound, I dont think private healthcare is the way,… Read more »


There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the NHS is far from being “horrendously inefficient” and in fact represents very good value for money. Much of the cause of the present performance issues in a variety of areas in the NHS can be put down to the fact that the budget was frozen (or ring-fenced in cuddlier language) for over 10 years from 2009 onwards and that the social care system has taken a hammering. Inflation in general and medical inflation in particular sadly has not stood still, leading to lack of investment and 100,000 vacancies which seemingly… Read more »


I believe this is not due to COVID but Brexit, and the need to trade over a broader field of international markets, whether we want to or not. I mentioned it was now the Navy’s turn to get extended finance, over and above other national budget issues. You mentioned my dreams, when in fact it is happening as we speak, the protection of goods of national importance on the high seas, will not make way for other services, be it NHS or Social Security. If push comes to shove, additional taxes will be sought to meet RN requirements and possibly… Read more »


I agree dreams and aspirations will not interact well with reality. While Bojo can prance around talking a big game I have no doubt the Prime minister Dominic Cummings is well advanced in preparing all the required defence cuts that were in the offing even before the COVID crisis. Now they have a new way around the NATO 2% target by just simply lying about it and saying that we do meet it. International Treaty Obligations mean nothing to these people.


I’m not to sure on Growth, and the Royal Navy had a far bigger fleet in the 90s and 20s?, But all three services have had and will continue to have large investment, But only to replace what we had so not much growth. The army will hopefully get new vehicles and upgrades, RAFs new p8s, Protector drones New Apaches and F35b, the royal navys new carriers frigates, opvs and Nuclear submarines. So we will have some great kit even if it lacks numbers. However I would love to see more money spent on the Royal Navy to increase the… Read more »


I seriously hope the RAF doesn’t get new Apaches.


“Tripling” a “base” the size of a flea bite in the Middle East is hardly a step towards making the Royal Navy a global power. There is no money and more, importantly, absolutely no will in either the political or media establishments of the UK to do so. The UK is a middle level power that has neither the resources nor the will to be anything else. That’s reality.


I don’t know on what grounds not protecting international shipping routes is against the will of politicians or media? Puzzling stuff pkcasimir?

Daniele Mandelli



I remember you! You’re that troll account that i meant to ignore!


This is somewhat off topic, but has been part of a number of discussions on here with regards sovereign UK industrial capacity and suchlike: ARM has apparently just been sold to NVIDIA, once again the government has done nothing to protect high-tech UK companies that lead the world in what they do. There is nothing other than a gentleman’s agreement to keep the company based here, and the products would now be subject to US export controls, which could make things more complicated. Not exactly the course of events that springs to mind when one listens to Boris’ speeches about… Read more »


I agree Joe. I was very sad to see the news today about the nVidia acquisition. Of course the sale to Softbank is what started the rot with ARM but until today I held out at least some hope that it might fall back into UK ownership now that Softbank is selling but sadly not. We had another near miss a few years ago when Pfizer almost bought Astra Zeneca. The UK has a very strong pharmaceutical sector and that is another sector that needs to be protected.


Yes, very disappointing when everyone looks after domestic industry except us.


Now I totally agree with you you can bet there will be no restriction on technology transfer across the pond in the way that we suffer when we buy High Tech US companies. Herman Hauser was pretty livid when it sold out to Softbank I truly despair at what he will think about this even worse development. In every respect we are becoming the 51st State certainly when we have Presidents of the nature of Trump while on the other hand we suffer a Congress thats not inclined to be sympathetic to us so between a rock and a hard… Read more »


Interesting, I thought ARM had been sold off to the Chinese via soft bank. I guess not. Did NVIDIA purchase them then from either the Japanese or Chinese. Also did the UK own any part of ARM through start up or university grants when it started up? I think if the UK has no stake in the company it would be hard to block its sale. Its not like BT or a defense contractors that receives dillions in government money


Ah, I hadn’t realised that ARM uses American tech/IP, although I should have guessed that they do considering America’s lead in the sector.
I think there’s real scope for some protective legislation in place, or at the very least some guiding principles to follow. But we won’t be getting that from a Tory government, even one that is so publicly talking about broadening the UK’s balance sheet away from relying solely on London’s financial services…


What US IP does ARM use? I can guarantee that at the start there was no US IP in there. I worked with Sophie Wilson & Steve Furber, both sat less than 10m away from me. I was one of the first 50 or so people in the world to know about the ARM project and I worked on it in 1985/6/7 which is why I feel pretty close to all this (the best time of my life profession-wise). Certainly the ARM designs are fab-ed by US fabs but I was unaware that any basic design IP was US owned.… Read more »

Glass Half Full

I don’t know if Arm use any US IP, although its possible through one of their acquisitions, but I suspect what Spyinthesky may be thinking off is the US action against suppliers to Huawei. In that case, it was the US threatening trade action against companies that sold to Huawei, regardless of whether products contained US IP or not. Similar to threats against companies selling to Iran after the US pulled out of the nuclear deal. The threat of products being barred from selling into the US is enough to force through US extra territorial will. Aside from the rather… Read more »


Yep. I’ve been boring everybody with the concept of having a UK/Commonwealth centred organization that nurtures and protects strategic national assets, including IP, and ARM is a good example. For instance I think we should limit foreign ownership of critical assets – or at least reduce % percentage. Call it the org Royal Asset Works (RAW) or something, put it above the MoD, and fund through UK Sovereign Wealth fund and various industry grants, to make sure we retain core capabilities, and protect critical new technologies. Else the Uk does its usual and fritters away everything in its usual naivety… Read more »


Yeah, it’s one of the things that frustrates me the most about British governments of both colours of the last 30-40 years.
The thing that gets to me is the huge uproar when Kraft bought Cadbury’s, but there isn’t even a petition about this sale to NVIDIA registered on the government petition’s website…


…unfortunately it goes back much further than 40-years. it’s more of a national “British” characteristic really. We think the best of people and don’t realize the extent to which others gain from our knowledge and resources at our expense. We have no strategic thought at a Government-level. So as a people we are seen as friendly, tolerant, but a bit naive.

Glass Half Full

A lack of govt. petition may change, link below to Hermann Hauser’s open letter.


ARM was created by persons not by the Government, so what moral authority have the Government to struggle or take it over?


It is more difficult, I admit, with pure “private” enterprise, but I would argue there is in certain cases a national strategic interest – and not just for defence purposes, but other reasons such as industrial strategy. Take for example the case of land ownership. Some countries (Denmark) do not allow foreign ownership of land, which is a precious, limited, resource.


Joe, hello, read more on ARM, ARM China, the dangerous Allen WU and the level control on ARM IP that China now exerts.


The “Hub” doesnt own any drydock or jetties. It uses existing facilities belonging to the Omani Drydocks Co or the USN. The investment is probably going to increase infrastructure/buildings on site. For those who have never been to Duqm dont stick it on your bucket list. It is very much a work in progress and you will be very disappointed with it. It is kind of like Jebel Ali in the very early 1980s but instead of a 1 hour drive to Dubai ( there was no superhighway then!) its a 5 hour drive to civilisation in Muscat. Lots of… Read more »


Is there really much prupose in having the two facilities, in Oman and Bahrain then? Other than having a base on each side of the Strait of Hormuz (not sure if that’s the justification)?

Glass Half Full

Seems like two main benefits to me Joe. Deep water and the dry docks are better suited to service the larger RN/RFA vessels. The location primarily addresses the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, more or less centrally between India and the African East Coast/Horn of Africa, for piracy and drug smuggling patrols, while Bahrain focuses on the Gulf and Straight of Hormuz. Bahrain is about 1200-1300 km in from the Gulf of Oman, so its a round trip of 2500-3000 km just for support if vessels don’t need to visit Bahrain. And then there is the strategic benefit of… Read more »


Bahrain has plenty of Dock and jetty capacity. The local dockyard has a 500k tonne capacity Drydock which can take QE and it is constantly in use for tankers etc. It also has a couple of floating docks that can take anything but a carrier sized vessel.

It’s good to have two options. If your in the Gulf and need a dockyard you go to Bahrain… Outside the Gulf you go to Oman.

Glass Half Full

Hi GB. I was basing my comment regarding the larger ships on the last paragraph of George’s article from June linked below. Is this situation changing wrt the carriers? Certainly good to have options.


WASP Class ships have been alongside the wall. Cardigan Bay is regularly using the finger jetty facilities as have ANZACs T23 , T45, OHP, T21, Japaneses, French, Italian and Dutch FF/DD vessels. The USN has yet to put an Arleigh alongside but that will happen soon. (They dont want them to have to go to the container port as they do now.) The new jetty approaches would probably need dredging to take QE. You would also need a Navs with nerves of steel! But its all do-able . QE can still go alongside in the container port which is approx… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Thanks for the details. Appreciate it.

Daniele Mandelli

So a new building for 12 Squadron at Coningsby costs £32.5 million. And this investment is £23.8 million.

What are we getting? A warehouse?

DS comments are correct. Oman and the UK have close ties and the most important facilities are actually intelligence related.


I think the importance is mostly about buying business for ‘Global Britain’ in countries with a lot of loose cash and defence fears, than any great importance in their own right other most like them being a useful stop off point/base for ships flying the flag as they try to interest others in what Global Britain has to offer. Make of that what you will.

Daniele Mandelli

I was thinking more of the historical links between Oman and the UK, reinforced with Oman’s location the primary driver for UK interest, next to Yemen, close to Iran, Indian Ocean, Straights of Hormuz.

Much like the SBA’s of Cyprus. Oman is more than just stop off point for deployed ships and aircraft.

John Clark

Absolutely Daniele, Oman is a key allied country in a key geological position.

Suitably expanded, it provides a basing and repair facilities at the gateway to the Indian and Pacific oceans..

These areas are going to be of critical importance in the decades ahead for Britain.

We will find ourselves having to maintain forces in this area, our trading agreements will come hand in hand with increased defence ties.

Richard B

“UK to triple size of naval support base”. Can anyone describe the UK’s current naval presence at Duqm and what this tripling in size means in practice? How often is it expected that the QEC will actually use the port? – very rarely is probably the right answer. There must be some important details that the MOD is keeping mum about, for example maybe an Astute SSN is going to be forward based there – which would indeed need a substantial investment in facilities.