When the inhabitants of Scotland voted three months ago to remain part of the United Kingdom, their decision preserved not only a 307-year-old union with England and Wales but also two sites of crucial strategic importance. Read More
The U.K. Royal Navy plans to relocate two Trafalgar-class nuclear attack boats (SSN) from the Southern England to the service’s primary submarine base in Scotland, the U.K. Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced last week. Read More
The U.K. Ministry of Defense (MoD) has placed an order with Lockheed Martin for the first four production F-35B Lighting II fighters for the Royal Air Force with options for up to 14 aircraft, Lockheed announced on Monday morning. Read More
The heart of the United Kingdom’s nuclear submarine enterprise could be cut out if Scotland leaves the U.K. in Thursday’s referendum on Scottish independence, British leaders have warned repeatedly over the last several months.
Scots voting “Yes” for independence say they’re happy to see the subs go. Read More
Punk rock is no stranger violent politics. From decrying statist militarism to embracing revolutionary upheaval to reveling in the nihilistic specter of nuclear war, the genre has a lot to say about conflict. Read More
The U.K. Ministry of Defense has published the first images of it’s next-generation nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) — Successor-class as well as announced 79 million pounds ($129 million) in new contract awards. Read More
BAE Systems will close its shipyard operations in Portsmouth, U.K. in 2014 ending a tradition of 500 years of shipbuilding in region, the company announced on Wednesday. Read More
The death of Admiral John “Sandy” Woodward, Royal Navy, at age 81 on 4 August 2013 witnessed the passing of the Royal Navy’s most distinguished fighting admiral since World War II. He became the right rear admiral in the right place at the right time when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982. His whole career had prepared him for the daunting responsibility of retaking the islands, roughly 8,000 miles from the British Isles. Read More
Proceedings, December 2012
In early November the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) returned home to Norfolk, Virginia, to prepare for her December 2012 inactivation. Her final deployment lasted seven and a half months, during which time she steamed nearly 90,000 miles throughout the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Arabian Sea.
This marks the 25th homecoming for the nation’s first and longest-serving nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Built by Newport News Shipbuilding, the Enterprise was laid down early in 1958, launched in September 1961, and commissioned on 25 November 1962. She has participated in every major U.S. conflict since the Cuban Missile Crisis. She is 1,088 feet long, has a beam of 248 feet, and a full-load displacement of more than 93,000 tons. The Enterprise is not due to be replaced in service until around 2015, when the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) joins the Fleet.
Proceedings, Oct. 2012
In August, the Royal Navy released details of its next surface combatant, the Type 26, a modular ship. Announced plans are to build 13 of these vessels to replace the surviving 13 Type 23 frigates. All were intended primarily for antisubmarine warfare (ASW); the Type 23s were conceived as minimum towed-array ships to work in the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) Gap mainly in support of maritime patrol aircraft. With the end of the Cold War, this mission disappeared, and the Type 23s found themselves carrying out a wide variety of peacetime missions, such as drug interdiction in the Caribbean and anti-piracy work off Somalia. An incidental effect of the change from harsh GIUK waters to calmer ones is that the ships’ hulls have lasted far longer than expected. (Cynics may suspect that the ships’ longevity is really the consequence of successive governments’ reluctance to buy replacements on a timely basis.)
Comparing the Type 26 to the U.S. Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) shows how wide a range the concept of modularity covers. The Type 26 is a 5,500-ton frigate that can be built in one of at least two versions. In appearance it is a scaled-down Type 45 destroyer with the same sort of tower foremast, in this case topped by the Artisan three-dimensional radar rather than the big Sampson of the Type 45. The Type 26 was conceived as part of a long-running project to design a Future Surface Combatant, which was originally to have been built in three versions of varying capability (and cost).
The Type 26 is apparently the ASW variant, presumably a direct replacement for the current Type 23, with much the same systems as the projected modernized Type 23. They include the Sea Centor vertically launched suface-to-air missile (replacing the current Seawolf) and the Type 2087 low-frequency active-passive sonar (towed pinger plus array plus medium-frequency bow array). Sea Centor is an active-radar-guided derivative of the current British short-range air-to-air missile, also known as CAMMS (Common Modular Missile System). It uses an uplink for mid-course guidance. The ship will have a single gun, either the 4.5-inch currently standard in the Royal Navy, or perhaps a derivative of the U.S. 5-inch/62 (BAE owns United Defense, which makes the U.S. gun). There may be provision for a more powerful gun; in the past BAE has advertised a 155-mm gun within the footprint of its 4.5 inch.