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UK Warships
 

North West England's
Shipbuilding

Naval Strategic Plan

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The Naval Strategic Plan – The Next 15 Years (2000) sets out the Royal Navy’s fleet requirements by 2015. The Defence White Paper of December 2003, supports the vision in the Naval Strategic Plan.The main elements of UK MoD’s warship demand over the period 2004-2015 is as follows:

The following pages outline the government's naval ship and submarine programmes and, where appropriate, describe a potential role for Barrow shipyard in helping to deliver each type of vessel.

The Naval Strategic Plan and the Defence Industrial Strategy  are fully supported by KOFAC.

The Royal Navy in the 21st century : Linda Gilroy MP -  a speech to Parliament summarising the Navy's key roles

I want to start by looking at the role of the Royal Navy in the 21st century, and at the threats that it is being configured to face.

Understanding those factors is crucial to understanding the future... Opportunities, as well as challenges, arise from the revolution in British military capabilities and, as ever, there will be a central role for the Royal Navy, which our city has such a proud record in supporting.

In the cold war, the Navy existed principally to counter the threat of Soviet submarines in the Greenland-Faroes-Iceland gap. It does not take a strategic genius to realise that that threat has pretty much gone. There might be concerns about Russia, but they are now of a very different character and scale.

The cold war gave rise to the need for large numbers of anti-submarine frigates, small aircraft carriers carrying anti-submarine helicopters, and deep-water minesweepers optimised for the cold north Atlantic.

The threats of today and tomorrow arise from international terrorism and from rogue or failing states.

These in turn are intertwined with a series of other issues, such as the rise of piracy, the trafficking of drugs and people, and humanitarian disasters. It is perhaps more difficult to articulate the threat now than it was during the cold war or in the first half of the 20th century. Indeed, the uncertainty that now exists in the world is in many ways the danger itself.

Today, the deployment of our armed services most often takes place in coalition alongside the USA and others. Forty other countries are involved in the NATO international security assistance force mission in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. It is against that background that the announcement about the 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers needs to be viewed.

For the Royal Navy, that has meant a transformation from a cold war force to a versatile, multifaceted fleet with a range of capabilities. Out have gone the large numbers of escorts optimised for anti-submarine warfare, and in their place have come larger aircraft carriers, new amphibious ships,—a new generation of nuclear submarines, and the maritime airborne surveillance and control aircraft, which will provide general situational awareness and be able to control the carriers' aircraft. There will also be a fleet of more flexible and agile vessels, in the shape of the future surface combatant.

Today's Navy is making a significant contribution to the present conflicts, in the form of landing forces, artillery bombardment in support of ground forces, the minesweepers that clear Iraqi ports, and naval auxiliaries delivering humanitarian supplies, to name but a few. Even in landlocked Afghanistan, huge numbers of naval personnel—including reservists—are involved.

The Royal Navy is unique among the three services in operating not only at sea, but on the land and in the This country needs a strong Royal Navy as much now as it ever has. In no way is it being sidelined, but it must be tailored to the needs of today and tomorrow.

We need large carriers that can deploy significant numbers of aircraft anywhere in the world they are needed, so as to avoid relying on foreign airfields and the diplomatic implications that that can bring.

We need submarines armed with missiles that can strike deep inland with pinpoint accuracy, that can gather intelligence, or that can land special forces. That is why the Government have equipped all our fleet submarines with Tomahawk and are building a new generation of Astute class submarines.

We need amphibious ships that can carry troops and their equipment and that can deploy them ashore by landing craft, by helicopter or directly onside—or, conversely, evacuate British nationals or foreign civilians from harm's way, as we saw happening two summers ago in Lebanon.

The helicopter carriers, assault ships and landing ships represent a complete modernisation of our entire amphibious flotilla. We need sealift vessels and support ships that can support forces ashore for extended periods of time. That is why the Government will renew the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service through the military afloat reach and sustainability project.

what is really important is having a wide, balanced and flexible range of capabilities.

The Navy has a very positive future, as central to UK defence policy as the other services. The transformation of capabilities to meet modern threats is covered in an excellent article by Dr. Eric Grove in the February 2008 edition of the parliamentary briefing, "Tomorrow's Royal Navy for Tomorrows World". He concludes that when all of this change has worked through:

"It would be hard to deny that such a capability did not make the UK a world power of significance, as one would expect from a country with one of the largest defence budgets in the world. Observers might well then be looking back at the Brown years as those when the seeds were finally laid for a renaissance of British Maritime power and global presence."

First, there is the constant need to ensure that the strategically important nuclear work force is maintained. Skills, expertise and experience must not be allowed to atrophy, or to be lost in the periods between submarine refits.

Secondly, there is the importance of respecting our nuclear covenant. Devonport is currently home to operational nuclear submarines, to those undergoing refit and to those awaiting disposal. The people of Plymouth have always been supportive and understanding of that, but they will not tolerate Devonport without a broader thriving defence sector. Stripping out the fleet base-porting and warship refit work and leaving only submarine work is not acceptable. Apart from the need for such work to maintain the skills base, we must gain positive benefit and local economic prosperity through a broad base of surface ship work”.

 

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"Barrow remains an untapped source of production capability and could... play a significant role in the coming shipbuilding programme."

Source: Rand, page 153 The UK's Naval Shipbuilding Industrial Base (2005), Report to UK MoD

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