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SAFEGUARD OF THE SEAS REDUCED TO J.A.M. NAVY

JAM NAVY 1
Commentary

The First Sea Lord in a rallying call to the Navy and the nation asks that the Royal Navy should be judged on action not commentary (by which he means analysis of the fleet’s current condition not generated by the Service itself or the Ministry of Defence). Well, as one of the principal commentators on the UK naval scene - someone who loves the RN and understands completely its importance to the security and prosperity of the nation - Odin says let’s hope that the Navy is not soon judged in action. For, across a series of defence cuts, culminating in the disastrous SDSR 2010, decisions have been taken to balance the books regardless of the need to maintain Britain’s defence.

The Navy is in dire straits and it is only due to apathy or ignorance of naval matters by the majority of newspapers and other media organisations that the damage has been done without much interest beyond the naval community. Those chickens are coming home to roost and even media organisations with, shall we say, no Naval Intellect at all are realising something is seriously wrong.

RUSSIA MOVES TO SECURE ITS GLOBAL FLANKS

RUSSIA MOVES 1
Analysis

Two occupied territories seized by Russia from the defeated powers at the close of WW2 are at the centre of new tensions. Bastion and Bal Anti-Ship Missile (ASM) systems have been deployed to the Kurile Islands off the northern tip of Japan. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Kaliningrad enclave - already stuffed full of military hardware and host to the major naval base and warship construction yard at Baltiysk - has in recent weeks also received Bastion batteries.

The land-based missiles move was preceded by a decision to switch cruise missile-armed Russian Navy warships from the Black Sea Fleet (BSF) to the Baltic. In late October the Serpukhov and Zelenyy Dol reached Baltiysk. Both Buyan M Class corvettes, they are armed with Kalibr-NK land-attack missiles, a type of weapon used by Russian vessels to attack targets in Syria on more than one occasion. Kalibr also has an anti-shipping capability.

News Digest

Latest

The lead vessel of Italy’s FREMM frigate class, Carlo Bergamini, was the first ship of her kind to fire an Aster 30 missile during a test on the Quirra missile range.

The test was undertaken as part of a programme to qualify the Surface Anti Air - Extended Self Defence (SAAM ESD) combat management system that is mated with the Aster missile.

News Digest

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The French Navy strike carrier FNS Charles De Gaulle returned to the fray against ISIL as a coalition of forces gathered for a big assault on the last major bastion of the terrorist group in Iraq.

After a break of several months back in Toulon, for the crew and her embarked aviators to get some leave and the ship to receive maintenance, the nuclear-powered Marine Nationale flagship plus escort group returned to the eastern Mediterranean.

WHY THE RN DOESN’T NEED A ROYAL YACHT DUTY

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Commentary

Back in the day who among those who had the honour of sailing aboard warships in company with the Royal Yacht Britannia could not but admire her beauty and feel huge pride at being chosen to protect the Sovereign. But that was then and this is now. The Royal Navy of today is a shadow of its former self. Twenty or so years ago it had enough warships and people to handle the supreme honour of riding shotgun on Britannia.

In 1992 the Royal Navy had 13 destroyers and 37 frigates and 63,000 personnel. Today the RN has 17 operational destroyers and frigates, just over half the number of people and is struggling already to find enough people and ships to handle present and future tasks.

‘FOURTH BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC’ IS REALLY VERSION 3.1

RUSSIAN MISSILE LAUNCH
Analysis

On the evening of September 17, 1939, the elderly British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous was leading a submarine-hunting group in waters to the south west of Ireland. She was following a flawed tactic of searching out U-boats, rather than avoiding the risk to such a precious fleet asset by letting the enemy’s submarines reveal themselves while making attacks on convoys of merchant ships. Escort vessels could then, hopefully, attack and destroy them. However, there were not enough escort ships or anti-submarine specialists to always provide convoy cover.

Prior to the war the British possessed fatal belief in Asdic (sonar). They thought it neutralised U-boats, by leaving them no hiding place while submerged, so it was not necessary to have so many destroyers, hence the shortfall in escort numbers.