UK Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

now noticed the blog post
The state of the Royal Navy submarine flotilla and UK ASW capability
November 15, 2017
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Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott was Captain of HMS Splendid during the Falklands War and Flag Officer Submarines from 1993-1996. In this article, he examines the state of the submarine flotilla and the RN’s ability to counter a growing Russian submarine threat.

At a meeting of the Commons Defence Select Committee this week there were some strong words from General Sir Richard Barrons who made the accusation that a lack of money and policy of denial have left the Armed Forces not fit for purpose and at risk of “institutional failure.” At the same meeting the former First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas stated that “the country’s ability to hunt Russian submarines was inadequate.” That is an understatement.

The Submarine Flotilla is in a difficult place at the moment. The Flotilla moved everyone to Faslane but kept the Submarine School at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall (good planning that). The four Vanguard submarines have been joined by the SSNs from Devonport and the Flotilla HQ moved from Northwood now under Rear Admiral Submarines – why did we change from Flag Officer Submarines? West Dunbartonshire and the SNP are very hostile to the Navy and the Leader of the Opposition wants to scrap Trident despite supporting it being Labour party policy. We are struggling with the rump (3) of the Trafalgar class and insufficient Astute class (just 3 operational). Now we have the scandal of the Captain and Executive Officer of HMS Vigilant being relieved due to inappropriate behaviour involving female crew members. How can you have women in submarines when the Navy has a no-touch rule is beyond me. Recruitment is poor and the challenge of recruiting and training nuclear engineer officers is still proving difficult.

Veteran submariners are dismayed at the current state of the Flotilla and what is a proud history. This year in June nearly all the living Submarine Qualified Commanding Officers got together to celebrate 100 years of the Perisher and there was considerable chatter about the current state of the Flotilla and Government commitment to it. This is supposed to be the ‘Year of the Royal Navy’ but apart from HMS Queen Elizabeth, I can’t see it. Of course, there is jam tomorrow in the form of the four Dreadnought Trident submarines with a £31bn budget with £10bn contingency fund to build the successor submarines to the Vanguard class. This is good news, but the building rate of the Astute class is dreadfully slow and seven is just not enough. We need twelve at least and quickly but where is the political will?

While numbers and capability has been reduced to dangerous levels recruiting is a big challenge and the cuts of 2010 have left their mark. The strength of the Royal Navy in September 2017 was 22,470 plus 6,620 Royal Marines – a total of 29,420.

The submarine service in September 2017 had 840 officers and 3170 ratings making a total of 4,010. This is depressingly small. Despite these figures, submariners remain as stoical as ever. Jerry Hendrix in the National Review stated in May 2017 that “The Russian Bear has emerged from a long hibernation to threaten American and NATO interests with highly capable submarines in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. But neither the United States nor its allies are prepared to meet the Kremlin’s challenge.” And he argued that NATO had to strengthen its ASW equipment, skills, sensors and platforms.

The Anti-Submarine Warfare [ASW] capability of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force is at an all-time low. Just 20 years ago we were the best in the world and admired by NATO nations, the USA and the Russians. What has happened is a loss of assets and a complete failure by Government and the Ministry of Defence to realise the importance of this defence capability.

ASW is not just a legacy of the Cold War when submarine, towed array frigates with helicopters and maritime air all ensured that Russian submarines never got the upper hand. In 1993 as Chief of Staff to Flag Officer Submarines I visited Severomorsk and met with the Commander of the Northern Fleet who admitted to me that the Royal Navy’s ASW capability was much better and a real challenge for them.

Some would say that the submarine threat has reduced significantly since the end of the Cold War but today Russia is expanding its submarine force again and is choosing to test our resolve by deploying into the Atlantic, and further afield together with Russian Bear MPAs and threatening our shores and making efforts to track our Trident submarines as they leave their Faslane base.

Despite protests from Governments and NATO the chilling fact is that the organisations, relationships, intelligence, and capabilities that once supported a strong ASW network in the North Atlantic no longer exist. NATO, and the UK, are in a bad place with regard to Russia’s underwater resurgence. “Two things have happened” naval historian Norman Polmar has said. “One, their submarines are quieter, and two, we have dismantled a large portion of our ASW capabilities.” Developing an effective ASW capability requires the marrying of several layers of capability. Each layer has a particular function, contributing to the overall effectiveness of the UK’s ASW performance. And this includes systems and skills.

We have lost the Nimrod MPA which was so good, SOSUS has gone, Towed array frigates like the Batch 2 Type 22 have been sold for small sums to other nations. The air gap is filled at the tactical level by the Royal Navy’s Merlin HM1 ASW helicopter and its AQS-950 dipping sonar. Required to prosecute a submerged target quickly, Merlin operates from its host platform, a Type 23 frigate. The Royal Navy will have 30 Merlins, scheduled to stay in service until 2029. What is far from clear is if and for how long these numbers can survive sustained spending cuts.

Nine new Boeing P-8 Poseidon MPA have been ordered but they are not due until 2020 and they are not enough. Seven planned Astute Class SSNs is just so far off the force levels required that it will be difficult to deploy as we used to between 1970 and 2000. It is simply not enough if it is to be deployed East of Suez and be Tomahawk capable. The Type 26 frigate, the UK’s indigenous variant of the Global Combat Ship concept, will replace the Type 23s as a multi-purpose but primarily ASW platform.

The submarine threat is a significant national security issue, not just a Cold War hangover. The UK remains committed to a minimum independent strategic nuclear deterrent. Whether it is a Russian Akula or another nation’s submarine showing an interest, the single SSN supporting the deterrent is a critical strategic asset. And so is the MPA.

But an effective ASW capability is not just about protecting the deterrent. The oceans remain largely impermeable, where the simple – confirmed or otherwise – presence of a submarine can deny the use of a geographical area (as the Argentinians found out in 1982) because the risk of operating a strategic asset there is too great. Many nations are now investing in submarine capabilities. And these could pose a threat to commercial shipping transiting key maritime choke points around the world, or sea-based logistics chains supporting operations such as in Afghanistan – which a submarine is well placed to expose and exploit.

Apart from spending money on kit we can do more. First write a new UK ASW strategy that considers the Russian submarine threat and capability now and potential for the future. And then plan force levels to match the threat. Secondly, create a new ASW “Centre of Excellence” that can bring NATO’s navies together to create common NATO anti-submarine warfare tactics. And thirdly, technological readiness setting up a NATO standard for encrypted transmission of ASW sensor data.

So, it is high time to take a serious look at the SSN numbers and the UK’s ASW capability and invest heavily in those layers of capability – MPA, Towed array frigates, ASW helicopters, and above all more SSNs. It would be nothing short of dereliction of duty not to do so.


Lieutenant General
Registered Member
Obi Wan Russell please where are based the 7 Replenishments ships right now ?
and i don't see she have received a armament/guns in UK ?

First Tide-class Tanker has sailed into Royal Navy Portsmouth Naval Base

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new tanker RFA Tidespring has sailed into Portsmouth ahead of her dedication ceremony on November 27. The 39,000 tonne tanker will be brought into service with the RFA – the civilian-manned fleet of support vessels which provide fuel, food and stores for Royal Navy warships all over the world.
RFA Tidespring and her three sister ships are flexible, state-of-the-art vessels that will provide key support to the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers.

They are part of the UK government’s £178million equipment plan to provide the Armed Forces with the kit that it needs to provide effective operational support across the globe.

Head of the RFA Commodore Duncan Lamb said: “Tidespring’s arrival in Portsmouth today is an exciting milestone in the history of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She is a tangible demonstration of the success of the MARS Tanker project which is delivering first-class global support for a first-class global navy.”
RFA Tidespring’s Commanding Officer Captain Simon Herbert said: “Sailing the first of class of any ships is an immense privilege and I am extremely proud to be able to bring this highly modern, capable ship into Portsmouth Naval Base today.

“Not only are we the first of the Tide class but we are also the first to sail with HMS Queen Elizabeth once she officially joins the Royal Navy later this year, and that is a huge honour for myself and the ship’s company.”

The Tide Class tankers are replacing the RFA’s current ageing single-hulled tankers. Larger than their predecessors and double hulled, they are an advanced capability specifically designed to provide fuel and water to the carriers. They can also accommodate a Chinook helicopter on their flight decks.

They will also be able to undertake a range of maritime operations such as policing shipping lanes and providing humanitarian relief.

The ships will predominately be based out of Falmouth.
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just a picture from inside of
10 reasons the Royal Navy needs to keep HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark
November 18, 2017
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captioned You can’t do this with a helicopter

asif iqbal

HMS Ocean is on sale to Turkey for £80 million

Convenient since it's actually currently in Turkey taking part in excercise at Aksaz naval base
Nov 6, 2017

noticed in Twitter:
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Yes they are very complex, but why are 4 SSBNs going to cost around 4 x that of 7 Astute class submarines? chart via
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sorta related:
Trident submarine plans facing a ‘perfect storm’ of problems, says MoD report
19th November
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plans for the next generation of Trident submarine reactors are under threat from staff shortages and spending cuts, according to an expert report for the Ministry of Defence.

The report criticises the MoD’s nuclear submarine programme as “introspective”, “somewhat incestuous” and warns it’s facing a “perfect storm” of problems. It also urges the MoD to work more closely with the civil nuclear power industry.

Critics warn that the MoD is putting public safety at risk by cutting corners, and that nuclear defence could be “cross-subsidised” by the civil industry.

Last week former military chiefs warned that British armed forces were no longer fit for purpose. The army was 20 years out of date, the navy under-funded and the air force at the edge of its engineering capacity, according to General Sir Richard Barrons, who retired last year as commander of joint forces command.

The submarine report was commissioned by the MoD in 2014 after a radiation leak at the Vulcan reactor testing facility near Dounreay in Caithness. The leak forced a £270 million rejig of the refuelling programme for existing Trident submarines based on the Clyde.

But the report has been kept secret since then, until a heavily-censored version was released by the MoD earlier this month under freedom of information law.

It was written by three academics close to the nuclear industry – Professor Robin Grimes from Imperial
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in London, Professor Dame Sue Ion who used to be a director of British Nuclear Fuels Limited, and Professor Andrew Sherry from the
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of Manchester.

They were asked to review plans for a new reactor to power the Dreadnought submarines due to replace the four existing Trident-armed Vanguard submarines in the 2030s. The availability of specialist nuclear staff “appears to be at the bare minimum necessary to deliver the programme”, their report concluded.

“We believe the naval nuclear propulsion programme could soon be facing a perfect storm with an ageing expert community facing competition from a resurgent civil nuclear industry.”

Capability is “sparse”, they warned. They criticised the programme for a “culture of optimism” that assumed success. Research groups were “introspective and closed”, and the programme was viewed as “somewhat incestuous”.

They said that driving down cost was “potentially introducing consequent risks which do not to us appear to have been properly addressed.”

The MoD should, they said, “seek imaginative methods to better engage with the emergent civil new build programme on nuclear matters to the benefit of defence.”

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insisted safety had to be paramount. “It is absolutely clear from this report, and many others we have seen, that the MoD is dangerously trying to cut corners – and that is clearly very worrying,” said the party’s defence spokesperson at Westminster, Stewart McDonald MP.

“I don’t know which is the more alarming, the amount of this report that is redacted or what we actually can read about the continued pressure to find savings in nuclear programmes.”

Dr Phil Johnstone, a nuclear researcher at the University of Sussex, said: “This report reveals that the difficulties experienced by the UK submarine programme are even more serious than was known before.”

There was great pressure “to engineer a cross-subsidy from electricity consumers to cover the huge costs of maintaining the military nuclear industry,” he argued.

His colleague at Sussex University, professor Andy Stirling, added: “Military pressures for secretive support to an uneconomic civil nuclear power industry are not just placing a burden on UK electricity consumers, but are threatening the rigour of public accounting and the accountability of UK democracy.”

Nuclear Information Service, the research group that obtained the report, pointed out that the public were already paying for submarine reactor mishaps. “Plans for the new Dreadnought submarines are based on the assumption that nothing will go wrong,” he said.“This cavalier attitude virtually guarantees that taxpayers will be picking up the bill for the MoD's complacency for decades to come.”

An MoD spokesman said, “The MoD ,of course, faces challenges in this highly-specialised area, which we work to meet,” said a spokesman.

“Our spending is carefully managed so we can rightly focus our rising budget on our priorities to keep the country safe whilst delivering value for money for the taxpayer. Our nuclear programme is fully accountable to ministers and faces regular independent scrutiny.”

He stressed that the MoD’s nuclear programme “absolutely” meets required safety standards. “This has not and will not be compromised and remains our priority,” he said.

None of the three authors of the MoD report responded to requests to comment.
Sep 20, 2017
"The MoD is due to submit a final set of options to Mark Sedwill, the national security adviser in charge of the mini defence review, on November 28."

so let's wait and see ...
Defence review puts 1,000 Marines in firing line to fund navy shortfall
September 20 2017
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now though UK defense review delayed by leadership shakeup
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Completion of
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by the British government is expected to slip as the country’s new defense secretary comes to grips with the issues at hand.

The schedule set out in July when the government formally launched the review envisaged a decision on the way forward by the national security council before Christmas. But that time table looks to have been blown off course by the appointment earlier this month of Gavin Williamson as the new defense secretary, said Stephen Lovegrove, the permanent undersecretary at the Ministry of Defence.

“We may see some slippage, principally because we have a new secretary of state, who … is very conscious some of the decisions which he will be asked to make will be decisions which will last for generations; he feels appropriate responsibility for getting those right,” Lovegrove told a Parliamentary defense select committee hearing. He noted that he had spoken to the new defense secretary the day prior.

Leaks to the media have mainly focused on the
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, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, and 1,000 Royal Marines.

Recent media reports said Williamson had already decided to scrap that option, although Lovegrove was unable to confirm whether the defense secretary had or hadn’t made a decision.

“The final advice to the secretary of state on a particular matter has not been proffered to him. Exactly where he is personally I’m not privy to that,” said the MoD’s top senior servant.

Williamson was appointed defense secretary at the start of the month after Sir Michael Fallon’s unexpected exit from the post following sexual harassment allegations.

“We weren’t expecting a new secretary of state to join us three weeks ago and he clearly wanted to take a little time to get up to speed with the work already done over previous months to see whether that accorded with his own view of where he wanted to take defense….He certainly has strong views about various aspects,” Lovegrove told the committee.

Defense is one of 12 strands of work being conducted across several government departments to update the 2015 strategic defense and security review and balance a MoD budget, which is estimated at being anywhere between £10 and £30 billion over committed during the next 10 years.

Newspaper reports over the weekend said the MoD had asked for more money for defense but Lovegrove denied there had been a formal call for more money.

“I’m not aware at all of a formal request going from the department to the Treasury for more funds,” he said.

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, an ex-defense secretary, unveils his budget for the coming year Nov 21. Whether there will be any more money for defense is unclear.

The government has pledged a small 0.5 percent annual real-term increase in the defense budget until 2022 but that’s nowhere near enough to cure the problems of an armed forces that a top former military office told the defense committee recently was no longer fit for purpose.

The British military are facing capability and program cuts and other reductions to balance the budget. A re-prioritizing of programs is also expected as the MoD recalibrates to counter what it says is an intensifying threat in cyber, space and other areas.

Committee members told Lovegrove and other government witnesses that it was not credible for government officials to come to Parliament and tell lawmakers capabilities are going to be lost on the one hand and talk about the diversity and intensification of the threat on the other.

British defense spending this year stands at nearly £40 billion and the plan is to spend £178 billion on equipment and support over the next 10 years.

The likely outcome of the review on British defense companies is already having an impact here with share prices for companies like BAE Systems, Babcock International and Ultra Electronics weakening ahead of expected program and support cuts.

In a trading statement released Nov 10, Ultra admitted there were “mounting pressures in the funding of U.K. defense program” which has resulted in the U.K. MoD pausing, canceling or delaying numerous programs.
now noticed
UK MoD has still not found full quote of savings
UK defence chiefs have still to identify GBP4 billion (USD5.3 billion) in efficiency savings two years after being set the target in the country's last strategic defence and security review (SDSR) in 2015.

UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Permanent Secretary Stephen Lovegrove said on 21 November that he only had “line of sight of 79%” of his ministry’s 10-year-long programme to find GBP20 billion in savings that can be reinvested in new capabilities.

Speaking to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, Lovegrove provided the most detailed public breakdown of the savings drive yet and revealed that its complexity had created “confusion”.

... and the rest is behind paywall at Jane's
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so I'm wondering what "efficiency savings" are, perhaps
sea-mines Apr 5, 2017
Possible future capability Minelaying
Notes An absurd capability gap, but UK has no existing stock of naval mines
April 4, 2017
Restoring the UK’s maritime patrol aircraft capability (Part 2)
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or AShMs Nov 11, 2016
UK to retire GWS60 Harpoon at end of 2018
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only now I noticed ... it wants me to register to see the rest of the article, but I think I'm seeing enough:
1.33*9100/48 is about 252
Defence chiefs unable to answer questions on jets
October 18 2017
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"The cost of the next generation of fast jets is unknown and Britain has yet to work out how they will talk to other aircraft and remain hidden from the enemy, it was revealed yesterday.

Harriett Baldwin, a defence minister, told a committee of MPs that a programme to deliver the first 48 F-35B Lightning II warplanes, including support and infrastructure, would be £9.1 billion by 2026 but “beyond that obviously we have not gone”. Britain has pledged to buy 138 of the aircraft."
UK destroyer HMS Diamond aborts deployment due to propeller issues
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you don't me to comment do you
Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond is returning home early from a deployment to the Persian Gulf after experiencing propeller problems.

The Type 45 destroyer was forced to leave the gulf despite sailors’ efforts to repair the ship at sea, a Times report on November 23 said.

The problems are reportedly so serious that they cannot be resolved in a dry dock in Bahrain and will require the ship to return to Portsmouth.

Diamond started her deployment in September 2017 and was not expected to return home before May 2018.

Diamond’s propeller issues are not connected to the engine problems previously experienced by Type 45 destroyers while operating in the warmer waters of the gulf.

While this is not the first time for a Type 45 destroyer to break down at sea, it is the first time since 1980 that the Royal Navy has no warship escort in the gulf.

UK has maintained a permanent presence in the Persian Gulf with two escorts deployed to the region. This practice was reduced to keeping a single major warship, either a Type 23 frigate or a Type 45 destroyer, in the region. With HMS Diamond en route home, the UK will now be without a frontline warship in the gulf, east of Suez.

With the other five destroyers in Portsmouth for maintenance or
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repairs, the only RN warship close enough to fill the gap is the HMS Ocean which is on the return leg of her Mediterranean deployment. A deployment which will also be the ship’s
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before it is decommissioned next year.