She was the big ship that could — until she couldn’t. In early 1982, Atlantic Conveyer was nothing special: a mere civilian container ship belonging to the Cunard Line company. Then, on April 2, Argentine troops invaded the South Atlantic’s Falkland Islands, long a British territory. The U.K. Royal Navy quickly assembled a task force around two medium aircraft carriers with Harrier jump-jet fighters. The task force include 40 commercial vessels pressed into wartime service, including the 15,000-ton Atlantic Conveyer.
Archived posts with tag ‘Royal Navy’
The U.K.’s October Strategic Defense and Security Review deeply cut the Royal Navy, removing two of three current, small carriers, several amphibious ships and four of 23 escorts. In the wake of the review, we asked readers to imagine their own future Royal Navy, within existing financial restraints. We had done the same for the U.S. Navy some years ago.
Word Bubble 11/7/10
There is no doubt that a fully tooled up carrier battle group sends a clear message but whether that message is heeded is debatable. No doubt, there are examples where the deployment of a large carrier air package has de-escalated a situation but these are very few and far between and mostly from well before the last several decades. If even a U.S. carrier could not deter the Serbs, Saddam or the Taliban then what chance will a [Royal Navy] CVF?
Forty-two thousand fewer troops and civilians, gone. Around a third of all tanks, artillery and fast jets axed. A quarter of naval power, by tonnage, decommissioned early. The U.K. Ministry of Defense on October 19 announced an 8-percent budget reduction meant to help Great Britain erase a roughly 100-billion GBP budget deficit. The navy suffered perhaps the biggest hit. “The role of a Navy is often described as winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas,” naval analyst Eric Wertheim said. “These cuts will have a negative impact on each of these areas.”
As part of government-wide cuts meant to rein in decades of deficit spending, in October the U.K. Ministry of Defense announced an initial 8 percent reduction in its roughly $63 billion annual budget. The Royal Navy will suffer the deepest cuts, with around one-quarter of the fleet — as measured by tonnage — to be decommissioned and future purchases of ships and planes delayed and reduced.
It was an event worthy of the British Royal Navy’s 500-year history. On June 3 at Portsmouth Naval Base, hundreds of dignitaries and citizens gathered to celebrate the commissioning of HMS Dauntless, the second of six high-tech Type 45 destroyers now entering service. A band played, the crew marched in parade and the ship’s captain, Richard Powell, read the traditional “commissioning warrant.” There was even cake.
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.
Future British Frigate Takes Shape
BAE Systems has released the first artist’s impressions of the planned Future Surface Combatant for the Royal Navy. The British government has awarded the U.K. defense contractor a 3.4-million pound contract for initial design work on the vessel, which is intended to replace the existing Type 22 and Type 23 frigates beginning in around a decade.