Hello and hi. I have mad respect for the Royal Navy. Yes. Yes, I do. According to a recent independent report, Royal Navy ships are being kept in service “well beyond their sell-by-date.” Yikes. This is alarming.
Sir John Parker wrote the independent report titled: An Independent Report to Inform the UK National Shipbuilding Strategy. Oh and by the way, if I have not mentioned it- the report is independent. Sir John also said that new ships were being ordered too late and subsequently creating a “vicious cycle” which were depleting the fleet and wasting taxpayers’ money- as written in his independent report and reported by the BBC. Sir Parker also added that Navy contracts should be shared among various companies across the UK, as this would cut build time and spread prosperity. Erm…not entirely sure if the defense secretary was all that pleased with the findings of this independent report.
Interestingly, Sir John’s warnings echoed those of the Commons defence select committee, last week, who ominously warned that Britain’s defences were at risk and not only that but, there was quite some uncertainty over plans to replace the “woefully low” number of warships. Yikes.
Sir John, who is chairman of mining giant Anglo American was given the oh so not nice task of examining British naval shipbuilding industry and examining in how it could be made sustainable while increasing exports. In brief-that was what his independent report was about. He wrote a report and with a report comes recommendations, this is what he said/recommended what the government should do:
- Oversee the design and specification of Royal Navy ships so they are delivered within a set budget and on time
- Design ships suitable for both the Navy and the export market
- Spread the building of components for new ships across the UK
- Maintain Royal Navy fleet numbers over the next decade by urgently building the Type 31e general purpose frigate
- Use the Type 31e fleet as a lead project to implement the review recommendations
So, post-report, The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones (the head of the Royal Navy) actually welcomed the report’s recommendations about shipbuilding. Further, he added that Sir John (author of the independent report) had recognised the ‘latent potential’ and ‘capacity’ in the wider UK ship building sector. This seems quite the diplomatic answer to the independent report. But it seems like a fair and measured response. Pictured below is The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones.
The First Sea Lord did comment that The Royal Navy now has a “hugely ambitious growth agenda for the first time in generations” -further, The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones – head of the Royal Navy – welcomed the report’s recommendations about shipbuilding, saying Sir John had recognised the “latent potential” and “capacity” in the wider UK ship building sector. The Royal Navy now has an “hugely ambitious growth agenda for the first time in a generations”, he told the BBC, with an increased defence budget and the opportunity to grow the Navy. In full, he commented:
“That is a hugely ambitious and optimistic place to be and I am determined to make sure that right across the nation people recognise that their Navy is ready respond to that and grow in an appropriate way, and I think that is good news,”
In conclusion, the defence secretary indicated that Sir John had provided a “fundamental reappraisal of how we undertake shipbuilding in the UK” and added that while shipbuilding in Scotland was pretty much OK, there were opportunities to widen the base. The government will publish its formal response in the spring.
One last thing…The Royal Navy currently has 19 frigates and destroyers but MP’s have said that that number could drop unless a clear timetable is set out for replacing older vessels.
Ok, one last, last thing…not my usual post, so thanks for reading. That is all.