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U.K. Selects Next Admiral to Lead Royal Navy

Vice Adm. Tony Radakin. Royal Navy Photo

LONDON — A Royal Navy officer who lead U.S./U.K. efforts to rebuild the Iraqi navy following the 2003 invasion is to be appointed to the top job in Britain’s ‘senior service.’

Vice Adm. Tony Radakin will be promoted to full admiral and assume the post of First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff in 2019, succeeding Adm. Sir Philip Jones.

Radakin, a former frigate captain, was appointed commanding officer of the coalition’s Iraqi Naval Transition Team in 2006 and, four years later, of Combined Task Force Iraqi Maritime (CTF IM).

In addition to its leading role in the regeneration of Iraq’s post-Saddam navy, CTF IM was also involved in protecting the country’s territorial waters and oil terminals and wider security duties in the northern Persian Gulf.

Having received a Bronze Star for his leadership in Iraq, Radakin was in 2012 appointed Director of Force Development at the U.K. Ministry of Defence, Commander U.K. Maritime Forces in 2014 and Chief of Staff, U.K. Joint Forces Command, in 2016. He became Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff in March.

Royal Navy Vice Adm.Tony Radakin, commodore of Task Force Iraqi Maritime, speaks to sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane (DDG-77) in 2010. US Navy Photo

Sea-going roles earlier in his career included security duties in the Falkland Islands, NATO embargo operations in the Adriatic, escort missions during the Iran-Iraq ‘tanker war’, and counter-smuggling in Hong Kong and the Caribbean.

Radakin studied law at, earned masters in international relations and defense studies, and graduated from various U.S. military courses.

Meanwhile, another Royal Navy officer, Vice Adm. Timothy Fraser, will become deputy head of Britain’s armed forces when he takes up his appointment as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

Fraser is a former destroyer captain and former commanding officer of the light aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious who also served under the Commander US Fifth Fleet as the Deputy Commander of the Combined Maritime Forces.

Britain’s defense secretary, Gavin Williamson, described the two new appointees as “transformational leaders” for “challenging times” on the global stage.

  • Centaurus

    At least he didn’t get promoted to “Master and Commander”

    • muzzleloader

      Great movie.

  • Desplanes

    Poor guy.

    “Hey, we need you to protect the UK, help NATO, patrol the Gulf, watch the Falklands, deter China and patrol for pirates with 22 surface ships. Uh yeah, good luck with that.”

    • Ctrot

      What a sad situation. But at least the UK has “free” healthcare.

      • El_Sid

        …and the second biggest defence budget in NATO, and one of a very few countries to be over the NATO target spending. If you want to do that kind of bitching, see Germany….

        • David Flandry

          The UK met the 2% mark only by some creative financing. Having said that, the Royal Navy is still the second largest in NATO. They do wonders with the budget the government allows them.

    • muzzleloader

      Actually 20. One type 45 DDG and one type 23 FFG are in caretaker status, stripped of much equipment and manned with skeleton crews.

      • Desplanes

        Yes, I was being optimistic for the future with 2 CVs, 6 DDGs and 14 FFGs…

        • El_Sid

          And the gators (but only 13 Type 23s). And perhaps the most significant part of the RN is the one underneath the water…

          But a number of those roles are being performed by OPVs – and in the Gulf perhaps the greatest threat is being handled by MCM ships.

  • Marcd30319

    Looks like admirals Tony Radakin and Timothy Fraser are the right persons at the right time for the Royal Navy with the two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers coming on line and moving ahead on the Dreadnought-class boomers. Now what the RN needs is a replacement LPH-type commander carrier for the HMS Ocean to ho with their Albion-class landing platform dock ships.

    • El_Sid

      An Ocean replacement would be lovely but isn’t going to happen with current budgets. Prince of Wales has been designated to flex into that role, in a similar fashion to the LHA’s of the USN.

      The real priority for new procurement that hasn’t been signed yet is the replacements for the Fort solid stores ships – a bluewater navy sails on its stomach.

      • tom dolan

        Those ships are useful if they retain the Royal Marines as anything larger then a ceremonial force.

      • muzzleloader

        The arrival of the 4 Tide class tankers is good news.

      • Marcd30319

        Hopefully the tenders for the MARS Solid Support Ships will be issued soon.

      • Rob C.

        I doubt they will have the money to do so. With Dreadnought Class SSBNs slowly coming entering production with Prince of Wales coming online. The Royal Navy needs bigger budget if they want meet their commitments. The carriers are lovely thing when they got money to use them.

        • El_Sid

          No – the current evidence is that the RN would rather lose escorts than risk the Solid Support Ships, they really are a critical (if unfashionable) part of the story.

          As an aside, the second SSBN has just been named – HMS Valiant. There’s got to be a Warspite coming….