Friday, 5 November 2010

Strategic Defence And Security Review Internal Brief:Royal Navy

The Following is the Royal Navy section of a Royal Air Force internal briefing paper on the Strategic Defence  And Security Review:

"ROYAL NAVY (2.A.3 – 2.A.5, Aircraft Carriers box, 2.D.1, 2.D.6 – 2.D.10, 2.D.18 – 2.D.19)

Key Messages

• The UK will keep a nuclear deterrent based on Trident and continuous at-sea deterrence.

• The Royal Navy will retain significant submarine, surface ship and amphibious capabilities.

• We are radically altering the Carrier programme.

We will build two but only use one routinely,fitted with catapults and arrestor gear and operating the more capable CV variant of the Joint
Strike Fighter.

• The Royal Navy will decrease by about 5,000 personnel to around 30,000 in 2015,but there will be no changes to Royal Marine combat units involved in Afghanistan operations.

Also see briefs on Afghanistan, Trident, Carrier-Strike, Destroyers and Frigates,


1. What are the implications for the size of the Navy?

• We will reduce the Navy by around 5000 personnel to a total of about 30,000 by 2015.

2. Why did you decide to go ahead with building the aircraft carriers?

• There is a strategic requirement.

The Future Aircraft Carriers, together with the Joint Strike Fighter,will provide our Armed Forces with the ability to project expeditionary air power and support amphibious operations over a large portion of the globe without the need to rely on fixed bases provide by other nations.

They offer flexibility and versatility as well as the ability to operate at range from the UK at a time and place of our choosing.

• We will therefore regenerate this capability by around 2020.

This is consistent with the SDSR’s overall approach to holding defence capabilities at different levels of readiness appropriate to strategic context.

3. What will happen to the existing carriers?

• HMS Invincible has recently been withdrawn from service.

HMS Ark Royal will follow next year,three years earlier than previously planned.

We are conducting further detailed study to determine which of HMS Illustrious and HMS Ocean will provide greater capability in the helicopter platform role.

Depending on the results of that work we may also decommission HMS Illustrious.

4. What does this mean for the Fleet Air Arm?

• The Joint Strike Fighter force will be jointly manned by RAF and RN pilots in due course.

• For the moment we will have a maritime force based around Wildcats and Merlin helicopters,capable of locating and attacking enemy forces in both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.

5. Will you reduce the size of the Royal Marines?

• There will be no changes to Royal Marine combat units involved in Afghanistan operations.

But we expect some rationalisation in non-front line personnel.

6. What will be the Navy’s amphibious capability in future?

• In future we will be able to land and sustain a Royal Marine Commando Group (1500 to 1800 personnel), which is consistent with our assessment of the required scale for amphibious landing in future conflicts.

This is about a two-thirds reduction in the size of the force that we will be able to land ashore.

7. Will there be any changes to the Royal Navy submarine flotilla?


Our future nuclear attack submarine flotilla will consist of seven new Astute class submarines,as previously planned.

These will progressively replace the existing Trafalgar class submarines over the next decade.

8. Why are you reducing surface ship numbers?

• We judge that it makes sense to pay off some of our ageing and less efficient frigates in order to preserve limited funds for investment in the new capabilities that are coming into service,such as the new aircraft carriers,the highly advanced Daring class destroyers,Astute class nuclear submarines and the future Type 26 frigates.

9. What about Mine Warfare Vessels?

• We will continue to operate a fleet of 14 Mine Warfare Vessels.

This capability provides a significant level of security and protection of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

In due course we will transition to new multi-roled mine hunter and hydrographic vessels.

10. What ships will be withdrawn from service?

• We will be decommissioning HMS Ark Royal,either HMS Illustrious or HMS Ocean subject to further work to determine which will provide greater capability,four destroyers or frigates and a Bay class amphibious support ship.

We will also be placing either HMS Albion or HMS Bulwark at extended readiness.

We have not yet decided which specific DD/FF or Bay class ships will be decommissioned.

11. What will be the impact on Portsmouth and Plymouth?

• Although the measures set out in the SDSR will require some changes at both locations,
we will have a continuing requirement to sustain both bases.

We have not yet done the work to establish detailed proposals.

We will be working with other Government departments and regional and local authorities as appropriate in the coming months to ensure that any wider impacts on the communities affected are properly identified,addressed and taken into account as necessary.

• In the longer term, the two new carriers will be based in Portsmouth.

12. Will the Navy be able to meet its commitments?

• This is a modern, powerful and capable force and the Navy will still be able to deploy a task force worldwide in support of our national interests.

But inevitably with fewer ships there will have to be some reduction in our current activity.

We have yet to decide which of the nonoperational tasks we are involved in might have to be dropped or gapped.

13. Could you still retake the Falklands if they were lost?

• Our very capable garrison and ability to reinforce rapidly by air means that we do not expect to lose them in the first place.

14. Will there be any changes to tour lengths and intervals?

• We will review how the Armed Forces undertake the tasks of force generation and sustainability.

We need to challenge some of the fundamental assumptions which drive force generation,such as tour lengths and intervals,taking into account the varying pressures on our personnel resulting from widely varying missions to see if we can update our practices and produce greater efficiency. 

The Single Service Chiefs of Staff will begin this review immediately,with a view to completing their work by the spring of 2011.

15. Will the number of senior officers be reduced?

• The Defence Reform Review will look at a range of cross-cutting issues,including whether the current senior rank structure across the Services is appropriate.

16. If you’re reducing the size of the Navy,why are you continuing to recruit?

• We must continue to recruit in many areas even as reductions in numbers progress,avoiding the mistakes of the past that have led to critical skills shortages in some roles,and maintaining a coherent mix of trained and experienced personnel for the future."


coasty said...

why the elimination of the present carrier force as it relates to fixed-wing aircraft. Supporting an expeditionary force with helicopters only is optimistic at best. Expeditionary forces need fixed wing air cover as exhibited during the Falklands conflict. Without the continuity of operational experience and on-going training in carrier operations will make the future of Naval Aviation in the Rayal Navy doubtful at best.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello coasty,

I agree with you.
That is the great question of this defence review.

There are a number of possibilities:

The government has decided the capability will not be needed for 10 years but can be recreated afterwards;

The Prime Minister has been taken in by Royal Air Force claims that it can provide air support on it's own and this is just a charade until the carriers are cancelled in 2015;

The Prime Minister has decided that the French will provide carrier cover as European forces are integrated under the Lisbon Treaty.

This whole thing is far from clear.
The Prime Minister often contradicts what is written in the review it's self.