Royal Air Force Cut Means “Stealthy” Hit on Royal Navy


Categorie: Air, Commonwealth, David Axe, Naval, Royal Navy |

Merlin and sub. Royal Navy photo.


The Royal Navy seemed to escape major cuts in the most recent British defense drawdown. The Senior Service lost just two of its roughly 100 ships: a mine-hunter and a survey vessel. The Royal Air Force, on the other hand, took big hits, losing its Nimrod maritime patrol planes plus some Tornado and Harrier jets.

Now the new British First Sea Lord reveals that the RAF cuts will have a big effect on the Navy. Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope spoke to Warships International Fleet Review magazine. “Let us be clear about the importance of those RAF cuts in terms of maritime impact,” Stanhope said. He explained that the Nimrod force had provided top cover for the Navy’s ballistic-missile submarines, presumably during transit in and out of port.

Now the Navy will have to take up that task with its Merlin helicopters and frigates equipped with the new Sonar 2087. “It means those frigates we have with Sonar 2087 … may not be deployed to the Gulf or the South Atlantic,” Stanhope pointed out. The loss of the Nimrods effectively also means the loss of at least one deployable frigate.

Likewise, the reduction in active Harrier numbers — from around 60 to around 40, unless I’m mistaken — translates into “less embarked time at sea for Joint Force Harrier squadrons,” Stanhope said.

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8 Responses to “Royal Air Force Cut Means “Stealthy” Hit on Royal Navy”

  1. Nate says:

    Tim: our government has many flaws and is pretty Orwellian on occasion, but your mindless homophobia drags this blog down. Your comments would be better left on one of the websites our our country’s fine newspapers, where you’ll find many like-minded people.

    Have you noticed how much debt the country is in? Trimming some of the military fat (hello Trident) is long overdue.

  2. Tim says:

    A drunken rant Mr Nate , so apologies but Brown is still an incompetent liar.

    Re trident , why we can’t buy a few more astute class and load them with a whole bunch of nuke tipped cruise missiles is beyond me.

    Same with the eurofighter , just convert ten or twelve tristars and load them with amramm and use awacs for networking and you could cover the entire UK in terms of strategic air defence.

    We do need the carriers as they will give us a lot of weight with the US and Europe. But the RAF ? Do we need over 200 fighters to protect us from an attack when the only route for that attack would be from the North Sea ?

  3. Andy says:

    Trident (or it’s successor) is never going to go whichever colour government wins power and the reason we don’t use a cruise missile based system is becausese frankly, it doesnt work and couldn’t possible guarantee destruction of the target. It would also tie up a large number of the SSN fleet as much greater numbers of cruise missiles would need to be launched than 1 boat could carry in order to stand even the slightest chance of success.

    10 or 12 tristar would probably give us an operational fleet of 8 or so, maybe less on a given day. What happens if we lose 1 or more of these either by accident, coincidence or hostile action? What happens if it becomes neccesary to deploy tactical aircraft overseas in support of National, NATO or Allies’ interests? Suddenly UK PLC’s airspace is pretty much defenceless. Also, what happens when we decide we need to switch from AAW to Combat Air Support or Tactical Strike? Do you think a Tristar would be capable of this? Whilst i have no great love for the RAF and for the infighting between the services, Typhoon gives us a world class MULTI-ROLE capability that frankly, no other platform in the world could provide for the cost. In fact the only thing that can outperform it at present, is the F22 Raptor and even the USAF has stopped ordering them as they are too expensive!

  4. tim says:

    To be fair Andy I wouldn’t cut the Eurofighter fleet by too much but it just seems that we don’t, if Taranis or another UCAV is deployed, need the numbers planned .Re future strike missions, over the next thirty years they will in all probability be done by the wings on the two carriers.

    As for Eurofighter I guess when you look at its bang for buck, servicability and operational capability its proving a bigger success than the F22.



  5. Prestwick says:

    The problem is that we’re dangerously close to pigeon-holing ourselves back into the “North Sea” role that we seemed to obsess about back in the 1970s and 1980s. Example, we may have two large carriers in the works (maybe) but with barely 6 Type 45 Destroyers and no long term plan to replace the Type 21,22 and 23 Frigates we won’t have enough carrier escorts. The plan seems to be that we’d be able to rely on ships from our NATO allies to cover such a shortfall which obviously points to very dated and obsolete thinking about defending the North Sea from Soviet attack.

    The Falklands happened almost 30 years ago now and we apart from fitting Phalanx and Goalkeeper close defence systems on our ships we haven’t learnt the REAL lessons which was that there will be times when you have to go it alone in War.

  6. [...] Really? Are you on drugs or something? The First Sea Lord appeared to be against losing Nimrod here, and particularly against the axing of MRA4 here. If your question is who killed Nimrod, then you [...]

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