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So I got bored again and it being exactly a year since I completed this TL I thought I'd thrash out some more. Therefore I've drawn up an order of battle of the modern Royal Navy of this ATL as it would appear on the day of the visit to EAGLE in the last chapter. I'll knock together a second one when I have the time covering the organisation of this alternate worlds RFA, Fleet Air Arm and Royal Marines.
Enjoy

Flash
 
Appendix 1
The Royal Navy in 2022

It has now been 40 years since the Falklands Conflict took place. The conflict and the Royal Navy’s legendary exploits have become the defining feature of the RN’s history in the latter half of the 20th Century and in many ways continues to cast its shadow over naval warfare well into the 21st Century. For better or worse the Falklands War also holds the distinction of being the last peer to peer naval war to have taken place in the modern era.
The post Second World War period marked a period of decline for the RN with its fleet shrinking at an ever accelerating rate as well as its fall from its previous status of the world’s premier navy. Most historians regard the years immediately before the Falklands Conflict as the low point for both the Royal Navy and Britain in general.
The infamous Nott review while arguably merely finishing off the job started 15 years before in the 1966 Defence Review would have seen the RN give up many capabilities such as fleet carriers and amphibious warfare as well as its status as a true blue water fleet instead becoming little more than a costal defence force.
Britain itself in this period was suffering from its image as “the sick man of Europe” afflicted by “the British disease”. The country had lost its Empire and with it its superpower status, had a stagnating economy and industrial relations that were strained often to the point of outright violence and an ongoing problem with sectarian violence and terrorism in Northern Ireland that was spilling over onto the mainland.

The Falklands represented a turning point in the fortunes of both Britain and her navy. The nation regained its confidence and began to turn its fortunes around. The Royal Navy having been able to demonstrate its value to the British Government saw the end of its period of decline and was the recipient of some much needed political and financial investment. The rest as they say is history.

The Royal Navy that sailed to the South Atlantic in 1982 was unarguably a shadow its former self. Some might say that the RN of today is a shadow of its Falklands era self. While this is certainly true in terms of the number of ships and sailors that it possesses it is without a doubt a vastly more capable and versatile force. Since the Falklands the RN has risen to every challenge thrown at it whatever they may be and overcome every adversary.

The modern RN is built around providing four core capabilities:
1. Carrier Strike which is provided by the pair of aircraft carrier battle groups comprising of a significant part of the surface fleet and the majority of the Fleet Air Arm’s focus. In practise usually only one carrier battle group is operational owing to ship availability and the desire to free up vessels for other taskings.

2. Continuous At Sea Deterrence or CASD which represents the United Kingdom’s nuclear capability. The RN’s fleet of SSBN’s have maintained an unbroken, unending cycle of deterrent patrols for well over 50 years under the aptly named Operation RELENTLESS ready to deal unimaginable destruction upon the United Kingdom’s enemies should it ever become necessary. By being ready at all times to fight a nuclear war at the push of a button the aim is to ensure that such a thing never occurs.

3. Littoral Stike is the RN’s ability to put forces ashore on foreign shores wherever in the world it may be needed. This comprises the RN’s fleet of amphibious capable ships and most importantly the Royal Marines.

4. Maritime Security and Engagement. This one is loosely defined as a catch all for all other tasks not involving capital ships or major capabilities. From ASTUTE class SSN’s hunting Russian Submarines in the Barents Sea through to individual frigates and destroyers on station in far flung part of the globe protecting the UK’s sea lanes by conducting anti piracy operations and deterring hostile states such as Iran and all the way down to equally the important roles of the OPV’s and other small ships protecting the UK’s coastline and enforcing the law within her territorial waters and everything in between.

The past 12 months for the RN have been marked by the twin challenges of operating against the backdrop of the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic and the 2021 Defence Review being published.
Like almost every single other organisation in the world the British Armed Forces were caught by surprise in the face of a sudden global pandemic. Once again when called upon the Armed Forces rose to the challenge. Under the Operation RESCRIPT the RN along with the British Army and RAF provided crucial support to the governments efforts to deal with the outbreak by providing tens of thousands of personnel to various tasks such as maintaining critical national infrastructure, setting up temporary hospitals and running covid testing and later vaccination centres. As well as RESCRIPT the Armed Forces were also running a similar operation dubbed BROADSHARE to tackle the pandemic in the United Kingdoms overseas territories around the world. The RN has had to do all this and simultaneously try to deal with the effects of occasional outbreaks amongst its own personnel while continuing to meet its standing commitments and keeping on sending its ships out to sea.

One of the main features of the Covid-19 Pandemic is perhaps the most unusual General Election in recent history. Most people will remember the Governments half hearted attempts to postpone the 2020 General Election due to the potential for further spreading the virus. Despite pretty much every other election that had been due to take place in 2020 being postponed until at least the next year as even the government recognised that trying to put off the General Election and in effect grant itself another year in power presented a terrible image to the electorate and could even be considered as dangerous for democracy. Such a thing obviously never had a chance of occurring without at least a supermajority in parliament. A combination of the Governments own half hearted support for the proposal combined with the potential for the opposition to rip them to shreds meant that the potential postponement of the election amounted to little more than an interesting but hot tempered debate that would take place everywhere except the House of Commons. As a result, many of us remember filling out one of the record breaking number of postal votes or visiting socially distanced polling stations.
As expected, once the election was over the next round of the now regular cycle of Defence Reviews got underway.

Though as you will see below on paper the RN has a very impressive order of battle it is not without its issues. The latest Defence Review has sought to address these challenges but is not itself without criticism.

The RN has in recent years often been described as a “hollowed out” force with too much money spent on big ticket procurement projects and not enough on the things that keep everything running such as maintenance and spare parts and maintaining sufficient manning levels. This has often resulted in ships being “placed in reduced readiness reserve” or “allocated to harbour training duties” or worryingly frequently “Lean manned”.
As well as these issues much of the RN’s hardware is getting on in years and has been worked pretty hard. Given how long defence procurement projects take to come to fruition it is often necessary to start thinking about the need to replace hardware over a decade in advance.
Perhaps the RN’s biggest challenge in recent years is the fundamental change in the strategic environment that it operates in. For the best part of the first two decades of the 21st Century the British Armed Forces found themselves focused on fighting the War of Terror. This involved a focus on counter insurgency in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan and force structures being reconfigured to lighter and more mobile forces. This often came at the expense of heavier and more conventional forces such as the British Army’s armoured regiments becoming effectively vehicle borne infantry. Many core skills and conventional warfighting capabilities ended up slowly dying out due to priorities being elsewhere.
In recent years the threat posed resurgent and increasingly belligerent Russia and the unprecedented rise of China’s military power has seen the focus switch back to conventional peer to peer warfare in a high technology environment and traditional state on state warfare.
The Defence Review (which reported in 2021) is intended to reequip and reorganise the British Armed Forces to allow them to meet the challenges they now face in this new environment.

While many in the RN especially can be quite rightly pleased with the outcome of the review it is not without fault. The main criticism of this review focuses on its affordability. A significant number of very expensive new and ongoing programmes will have to be funded at the same time causing many to suspect that tough decisions will have to be made in future regarding priorities and that not all aspects of the equipment plan will become a reality. This is despite the Governments recent promise of a significant cash injection into the British defence budget (the most significant increase in decades).
All the same the next few years promise to be a very good time for the British defence industry reminiscent of the warship building boom on the late 1980s and early 1990’s.

Overall, the future for the RN and British Armed Forces in general is looking a lot brighter than it has in previous years.



Manpower

The Royal Navy has an official authorised strength of 42,000 officers and ratings. In addition to this are just over 4,500 members of the Royal Naval Reserve, 9000 members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and over 8000 Royal Marines.
In practise the RN and RM have both for some years now been well below their authorised strengths for a number of reasons. This has resulted in quite a few headaches and difficult decisions for the RN who have been struggling to find enough manpower to crew all of their ships.
For example, of the RN’s pair of aircraft carriers and pair of assault ships it has only been possible in recent years to operate two of them owing partly to financial constraints but also the lack of sufficient personnel to crew all of the ships. Even on other ships its not unknown for billets to be left unfilled or for ships to spend periods “Lean Manned” (where ships that have a relatively quiet immediate programme have reduced crews).

The Royal Marines have always had difficulties not in just getting enough suitable candidates into the recruiting offices but actually getting enough of them through the legendarily tough training course which on average has an over 50% dropout rate!

The years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic saw record high employment rates in the UK which naturally made things difficult for the RN who had to compete in a much smaller jobs market. This situation was not helped by a somewhat ill advised and poorly executed (And hastily abandoned) attempt at contracting out the RN’s recruiting efforts to a private contractor.
As well as difficulties in recruitment the RN has also been struggling with retention. This is particularly felt in the technical branches as the RN finds itself unable to match the rates of pay in the private sector causing a steady stream of experienced personnel being lured away to other employers.

Interestingly the situation for the Royal Naval Reserve has been the complete opposite. Due to a lack of regular manpower the RN has frequently found itself having to call upon its reservists meaning that they are spending a lot more time at sea than they could have hoped to have done in previous years. This and a very successful scheme to encourage regular RN personnel in the process of leaving the service to join the RNR has had a massive impact on the organisation in terms of recruitment, morale, professionalism and job satisfaction.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused economic turmoil with many people either furloughed or losing their jobs entirely. This has seen the pool of potential recruits and interest in joining the Armed Forces skyrocket while the numbers leaving the service has dropped of significantly. The RN has been taking advantage of the situation to get as many new recruits through the gates as possible and now for the first time in a good few years actually looks like it can finally fill all of its billets.
As well as the ratings initial training base at HMS RALEIGH being completely full the RN has even started conducting Phase 1 recruit training at HMS COLLINGWOOD and even training ratings alongside officer cadets at BRNC Dartmouth as it struggles to absorb this surge of new recruits.

For now the RN’s manpower worries appear to have been solved. If demand to join continues at its recent level it is likely that the RN will push for an increase in its authorised strength to allow for a reserve pool of full time manpower which would allow for personnel to spend more time ashore and hopefully help with retention.
How many of these new recruits will decide to make the RN their career compared to how many decide to leave after their four year minimum return of service will decide whether the RN has finally solved its manning issues or merely bought itself a brief respite.



Note: Ships appearing in Italics have yet to commission.



The Submarine Service

SSBN’s

VANGUARD Class


Name Pennant Commissioned

VANGUARD S28 1992
VICTORIOUS S29 1994
VIGILANT S30 1997
VENGEANCE S31 1999

Displacement: 16,000 tons Dimensions: 150m x 12.8m x 12m Speed: 30knts
Compliment: 135
Armament: 4x 533mm Torpedo Tubes (Spearfish), 16x Trident D5 SLBM’s

These four submarines have formed the UK’s nuclear deterrent capability for almost the last three decades now. In this time the four boats (all based at Faslane) have carried out an unending series of deterrent patrols. The boats are getting on in years and have been worked pretty hard throughout their lives meaning that it is becoming increasingly technically challenging and expensive to maintain them. It has taken extended and expensive overhauls to keep them going in recent years and also to keep them from becoming obsolete and potentially vulnerable to detection by hostile forces.
VANGUARD is expected to serve until 2028 at which point she and her sisters soon after will be replaced by the new DREADNOUGHT class SSBN’s.



DREADNOUGHT Class

Name Pennant Commissioned

DREADNOUGHT S32 2027
KING GEORGE VI S33 2030
LEVIATHAN S34 2032
RETRIBUTION S35 2034


Displacement: 17,200 tons Dimensions: 153.8m x 13m x 12.6m Speed: 30+knts

Compliment: 130

Armament: 4x 533mm Torpedo Tubes (Spearfish), 12x Trident D5 SLBM’s

This new generation of SSBN’s is being built to replace the VANGUARD class and to take over the role of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. With their predecessors rapidly aging the introduction of this new class is taking place somewhat later than the RN would have liked. This is due to parliamentary approval for replacing Britain’s nuclear capabilities and funding to do so having been slow to arrive and also the need to wait for the ASTUTE class SSN build programme to have reached a point where the shipyard in Barrow in Furness had the capacity to begin construction of the new boats. DREADNOUGHT will enter service a year before VANGUARD is due to decommission to allow for the first of class trials and training to take place. This is almost certain to include a live launch of a Trident SLBM. Only once all of these trails have been completed will DREADNOUGHT be able to begin her first deterrence patrol. The other boats of the class will follow at 2-3 year intervals.



SSN’s

ASTUTE Class


Name Pennant Commissioned

ASTUTE S119 2007

AMBUSH S120 2009

ARTFUL S121 2011

AUDACIOUS S122 2013

ANSON S123 2015

AGAMEMNON S124 2017

AGINCOURT S125 2019

AJAX S126 2021

ACHILLIES S127 2023

AVENGER S128 2024


Displacement: 7,800 tons Dimensions: 97m x 11.2m x 9.5m Speed: 30+knts

Compliment: 98

Armament: 4x 533mm Torpedo Tubes (Spearfish, Tomahawk)

The ASTUTE programme can trace its origins back to the SSN20 programme of the 1980’s which was to have replaced the RN’s first generation of SSN’s. This programme was cancelled to allow the then VSEL owned shipyard in Barrow in Furness to focus on the construction of HMS EAGLE. The project was revived in 1994 as the Batch 2 TRAFALGAR Class (B2TC) project with the intention of producing an evolved version of the TRAFALGAR class to replace the SWIFTSURE class SSN’s. The ASTUTE class have become the RN’s sole class of attack submarine and ultimately ended up serving as a replacement for the TRAFALGAR class boats following the 2010 Defence Review that saw the decommissioning of the remaining SWIFTSURE class and the final demise of the RN’s SSK’s with the retirement of the UPHOLDER class and the abandonment of any replacement project.
2010 saw the strength of the Submarine Service endure a rapid and significant decline which has taken over a decade to overcome (The RN was forced to sacrifice older boats still in service to safeguard future ASTUTE class boats). This situation was not helped by the final TRAFALGAR class boats reaching the point where they were too old to carry on and having to be paid off further decreasing the numbers of SSN’s even if only temporarily.
Despite this and following a rather protracted and somewhat painful construction of the first three boats the RN is extremely proud of the fact that it now possesses the most modern and capable fleet of cutting edge SSN’s in the world.

Future SSN

The 2021 Defence Review confirmed that a new class of SSN’s will be built to compliment and ultimately replace the ASTUTE class with the first boat planned to enter service by 2037. Already early design and development work is underway however construction is unlikely to begin until the DREADNOUGHT class programme is nearing completion.



The Surface Fleet

Aircraft Carriers

QUEEN ELIZABETH Class


Name Pennant Commissioned

QUEEN ELIZABETH R08 1994

EAGLE R09 1996

Displacement: 62,500 tons Dimensions: 285m x 68m x 11m Speed: 28 knts

Compliment: 1150 + 600 Air Group Aircraft: Up to 50

Armament: 16x Sea Ceptor SAM’s, 4x Phalanx CIWS, 4x 30mm guns, Martlet Light multirole SSM’s, GPMG/Minigun

The RN’s pair of supercarriers have been the centre piece of its order of battle for over a quarter of a century. These ships are very much children of the Falklands Conflict where the contribution and value of the previous HMS EAGLE convinced the government to order the construction of a new generation of big deck carriers which replaced the 20,000 ton INVINCIBLE class light Harrier carriers. Since commissioning these ships have seen service all around the globe and have seen action in action in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya amongst other places. In recent years only one carrier has been operational as the ships are now approximately half way through their lifespans and have thus been undertaking midlife overhauls in Portsmouth to modernize and allow them to serve for potentially up to another 20 years. Each refit takes just over two years and costs over 1 billion pounds to complete with no areas of the ships left untouched and no system modernized or replaced. HMS EAGLE completed her refit (in reality a near rebuild) earlier this year and HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH is now well into her refit in Falklands Drydock in Portsmouth Dockyard and is expected to return to service in 2024. Once this happens the RN is hoping to be able to once again have two operational carrier battle groups which is something it hasn’t been able to do for some years. This will allow the UK to deploy one group to faraway places such as the Far East while being able to keep another group near to UK waters for any unforeseen circumstance.
The ships can carry an air group of up to 50 aircraft (although 40 is a more common number). This comprises of up to 36 F/A-18 FGR 3/4’s Super Hornet’s spread amongst three squadrons (in peacetime or in UK waters this is usually reduced to two squadrons with a total of 24 aircraft), up to 6 E/A-18 Growler’s for electronic warfare and SEAD, 3 E2-D Hawkeye AEW aircraft, 5+ Merlin HM2/HC4 Helicopters for ASW & CSAR. Other aircraft such as the Goshawk T2 and Wildcat are frequent visitors to the ships.
Part of the ships overhauls has been to enable them to operate the upcoming Lockheed Martin/BAE Thunder 5th Generation combat aircraft which will replace the RN and USN’s Super Hornet’s. The first Thunder is expected to begin trials from the RN’s carriers in 2026.

Future Aircraft Carriers

The QUEEN ELIZABETH class aircraft carriers will be replaced by a new pair of supercarriers with the first ship entering service in the mid 2030’s. This project has been in the works for some time and although this announcement was one of the centrepieces of the Defence Review it merely gave the greenlight to proceed. Much of the preliminary design and development work has already been undertaken. These new supercarriers will be significantly larger than their predecessors (weighing in at 75,000 tons) and carry an air group of around 70 aircraft. Officially the choice of whether to make the ships nuclear powered or stick to gas turbines is still undecided. The ships will be equipped with the EMALS catapult system as opposed to steam catapults.



Amphibious Assault Ships

ALBION Class


Name Pennant Commissioned

ALBION L14 1999

BULWARK L15 2001



Displacement: 23,000 tons Dimensions: 206m x 34m x 6.7m Speed: 26+knts

Compliment: 350 + 250 air group + up to 850 embarked troops

Aircraft: 18

Armament: 3x Phalanx CIWS, 4x 30mm guns, GPMG/Minigun.

The ALBION class replaced the FEARLESS class LPD’s and have been the backbone of the RN’s Amphibious warfare capability for the past two decades. The ships are essentially combined LPH/LPD’s and due to their appearance are often mistaken for light aircraft carriers. The ALBION class’s internal layout is dominated by two large internal spaces. The aircraft hangar which provided space for an air group of 18 helicopters and below that a vehicle deck located just in front of a well deck capable of holding up to 40 vehicles (depending on size) and 4 large LCU Mark 10 landing craft internally. A further 4 smaller LCVP Mark 5 landing craft were held by davits in berthing bays on the ships side along with the ship’s own boats. The air group usually comprises of 12 Merlin HC.4’s from the Commando Helicopter Force and up to 6 other aircraft. These are usually RAF Chinooks or Army Air Corps Apache’s from 656 Squadron which is the AAC’s specialist maritime operations squadron. Both of these ships are based in Devonport.
Since 2010 only one ship has been active with the other one laid up in “extended readiness” and swapping over every few years. This was due to financial and later manpower constraints. Worryingly the Defence Review was rather vague regarding the future of the RN’s amphibious capability beyond committing to maintaining it. Very little detail was included regarding a replacement for the ALBION class. It is likely that with a new generation of supercarriers to begin constructed within the next few years the money and shipyard capacity to replace the ALBION’s will be taken up by this programme instead. With the ALBION’s already too decades old and looking likely to have to soldier on for perhaps even another two the RN would be well advised to maintain the policy of only keeping one ship active in order to extend their service lives.



Destroyers

TYPE 45


Name Pennant Commissioned

DARING D32 2007

DAUNTLESS D33 2007

DIAMOND D34 2008

DRAGON D35 2010

DEFENDER D36 2011

DUNCAN D37 2012

DECOY D38 2013

DEMON D39 2014

DESPATCH D40 2015

DUCHESS D41 2016

DAEDALUS D42 2017

DEVASTATION D43 2018



Displacement: 7,350 tons Dimensions: 152.4m x 21.2m x 5.7m Speed: 30 knts

Compliment: 190 Aircraft: 2x Wildcat or 1x Merlin

Armament: 48x Sea Viper (Aster 15/30) SAM’s, 4.5 or 5 inch Gun, 8x Harpoon or LRASM SSM’s, 2x Phalanx CIWS, 2x 30mm guns, Martlet Light multirole SSM’s, GPMG/Minigun

The 12 examples of the TYPE 45 Destroyers have completely replaced the much smaller TYPE 42’s and now comprise the entirety of the RN’s air defence destroyers. The powerful Type 1045 and 1046 radars make these vessels very powerful air defence ships. No Royal Navy capital ships leaves UK waters without an accompanying TYPE 45. The class are split into two distinct batches of six ships. The Batch 1 ships were initially plagued by propulsion problems caused by intercoolers that were unreliable when the ships were operating in warmer waters. This had resulted in the Batch 1’s having to undergo expensive and technically challenging defect rectification work. As a result of this the Batch 2’s were been built with different machinery including an additional diesel generator. In terms of war fighting capability the main difference between the Batch 1’s and 2’s was the switching of the 4.5 inch naval gun for a 5 inch gun. In the long run it was planned to refit the older TYPE 45’s with the 5 inch gun. The class is currently in the process of having its older Harpoon SSM’s removed and replaced with the new LRASM stealthy SSM. Both missiles are carried in quad launchers in the space forward between the VLS and the superstructure.
The Royal Australian Navy operates three examples of a heavily modified locally built version of the TYPE 45 known as the HOBART class.

TYPE 83

The recent Defence Review announced that the TYPE 45 Destroyers will be replaced by a new class of ship dubbed the TYPE 83. This new class of ship is still very much in the development phase and is expected to enter service sometime in the late 2030’s.



Frigates

TYPE 26


Name Pennant Commissioned

GLASGOW F70 2019

LONDON F71 2021

BIRMINGHAM F72 2022

CARDIF F F73 2024

SHEFFIELD F74 2025

NEWCASTLE F75 2026

COVENTRY F76 2027

EDINBURGH F77 2028

YORK F?? 2030

MANCHESTER F?? 2031

GLOUCESTER F?? 2032

LIVERPOOL F?? 2032

EXETER F?? 2033

SOUTHAMPTON F?? 2034

NOTTINGHAM F?? 2034

NEWCASTLE F?? 2035

CHATHAM F?? 2036

PLYMOUTH F?? 2036




Displacement: 6,900 tons Dimensions: 149.9m x 20.8m x 7.8m Speed: 28+ knts

Compliment: 157 Aircraft: 2x Wildcat or 1x Merlin

Armament: 48x Sea Ceptor SAM’s, 5 inch Gun, 24x VLS cells for LRASM SSM’s/TLAM’s/ASROC, 2x Phalanx CIWS, 2x 30mm guns, Martlet Light multirole SSM’s, GPMG/Minigun

This RN’s newest class of frigate is intended to replace the current ageing fleet of TYPE 23’s. While the originally planned in service date for the first ship was missed by well over four years the RN can once again at least be pleased with the final product of what was an often painful procurement and build process. The TYPE 26’s are the most advanced and modern escort ships afloat in the western world and are primarily optimised for ASW duties. The ships are equipped with cutting edge weapons and sensors such as the Type 997 radar and Type 2087 towed sonar array. Getting sufficient numbers of these ships in service will go a long way to revitalise the UK’s ability to counter the increasingly active Russian submarine fleet. The first three ships of Batch 1 are now in service with construction of the next five ships of Batch 2 well underway. Although it was always expected that Batch 3 and ultimately Batch 4 would only be ordered after a pause to allow for refinements and updates to be worked into the design (which includes quite a lot of spare capacity onboard for new equipment in future) the expected signing of the order for Batch 3 seems to have been delayed for some reason. If the RN doesn’t want the in service dates to slip any further then it needs get whatever is causing this delay resolved as soon as possible.
The TYPE 26 even before GLASGOW entered service had already become a runaway export success that the UK can be very proud of. In Australia a locally built and modified version of the class known as the HUNTER class is being built at BAE’s yard in Osbourne with 9 examples being built for the Royal Australian Navy and a further 2 for the Royal New Zealand Navy. In Canada 15 examples are planned to completely replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s fleet of surface combatants. Known as the CANADA class the first of these ships HMCS ONTARIO is due to be laid down next year. As well as the 18 ships being built for the Royal Navy and 26 being built overseas strong interest has been shown by the Republic of Singapore Navy and Chilean Navy and positive noises coming from others.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that with so many TYPE 26’s in the world the RN may be able to take advantage of economies of scale to allow for an increase in the number it will procure from the current planned total of 18. This would fit in well with the governments stated aim of increasing the RN’s capabilities and strength.

TYPE 23

Name Pennant Commissioned

LANCASTER F229 1992

IRON DUKE F234 1993

MONMOUTH F235 1993

MONTROSE F236 1994

WESTMINSTER F237 1994

NORTHUMBERLAND F238 1994

RICHMOND F239 1995

SOMERSET F82 1996

GRAFTON F80 1997

SUTHERLAND F81 1997

KENT F78 1999

PORTLAND F79 2000

ST ALBANS F83 2001

WESSEX F84 2002

SUFFOLK F88 2003



Displacement: 4,900 tons Dimensions: 133m x 16.1m x 7.3m Speed: 30 knts

Compliment: 185 Aircraft: 2x Wildcat or 1x Merlin

Armament: 32x Sea Ceptor/Sea Wolf SAM’s, 4.5 Gun, 8x Harpoon, 2x Stingray Torpedo Tubes, 2x 30mm guns, Martlet Light multirole SSM’s, GPMG/Minigun

Originally built to replace the LEANDER class the TYPE 23 became the mainstay and following the (arguably premature) retirement of the last TYPE 22’s in 2010 the entirety of the RN’s frigate force. The TYPE 23’s are now themselves being replaced by the much more modern TYPE 26’s. As well as the RN the Chilean Navy operates a pair of British built TYPE 23’s and the Republic of Singapore Navy operates a version of the TYPE 23 known as the FORMIDABLE class with six examples built split between the UK and Singapore.
The TYPE 23’s have served the RN well all over the world and have always given a good account of themselves and despite the age of the design remain capable ships. With the first three TYPE 26’s having now entered service NORFOLK (F230), MARLBOROUGH (F233) and ARGYLL (F231) have now been retired. These ships are now located in Plymouth where they will be stripped for parts before final disposal by undecided means (possibly via SINKEX). Unlike their younger sisters LANCASTER and IRON DUKE did not receive upgrades to equip them with Sea Ceptor SAM’s, Type 997 Radar and the Type 2087 Towed Sonar. This was due to budgetary constraints influencing the judgment that it would not be worth spending the money on ships that had such a limited planned service life remaining. In practise these two ships have been laid up for some time having been “allocated to harbour training duties” owing to manning shortages. This pair will formally decommission by the middle of the decade as more TYPE 26’s enter service.
Already some interest is being shown by players in the second hand warship market in perhaps acquiring ex RN TYPE 23’s when they become available. Chile already operates a pair of class and has historically been a reliable customer for ex RN warships. The Greek Navy is looking for an interim frigate to serve for a few years until they can acquire a newer and more modern design (Britain his heavily marketing the TYPE 26 to the Greeks). The real money is likely to be made by stripping out retired TYPE 23’s and selling off the recovered parts to support ships still in service both with the RN and abroad.



Patrol Vessels

RIVER Class

Batch 1


Name Pennant Commissioned

TYNE P281 2002

SEVERN P282 2003

MERSEY P283 2003



Displacement: 1,677 tons Dimensions: 79.5m x 13.6m x 3.8m Speed: 20+knts

Compliment: 48 Armament: 1x 30mm gun, GPMG/Minigun.

Batch 2

Name Pennant Commissioned

CLYDE P257 2006



Displacement: 1,847 tons Dimensions: 81.5m x 13.5m x 4.2m Speed: 20+knts

Compliment: 36 Aircraft: Flight deck only

Armament: 1x 30mm gun, GPMG/Minigun.

Batch 3

Name Pennant Commissioned

FORTH P222 2018

MEDWAY P223 2019

TRENT P224 2020

TAMAR P225 2020

SPEY P226 2021



Displacement: 2,000 tons Dimensions: 90.5m x 13.5m x 3.8m Speed: 24+knts

Compliment: 36 Aircraft: Flight deck only

Armament: 1x 30mm gun, 2x 20mm gun, Martlet Light multirole SSM’s, GPMG/Minigun.

The RIVER class were originally procured to replace the ISLAND class patrol vessels. The design has been so successful that the design has been updated and upscaled twice now to allow the class to undertake greater duties. The Batch 1’s are primarily found in and around UK home waters where they perform roles such as fishery protection and anti smuggling work. HMS CLYDE is an upscaled version of the Batch 1’s designed specifically for duties as the Falkland Islands patrol ship. In 2015 the government decided to order yet another upscaled batch of the RIVER class to fulfil patrol duties overseas in places such as Gibraltar and the Caribbean. This was in response to the then increasingly belligerent Russia which meant that the RN wanted to free up the frigates and destroyers that had until recently been used for duties such as counter piracy and counter narcotics smuggling that it was felt could be fulfilled just as well by OPV’s. Given the nature of the duties they undertake and the regions they operate in it has been decided to equip the Batch 3’s with Martlet light SSM’s to give them a bit more bite when dealing with the small craft often used by smugglers and pirates. Royal Marines boarding and force protection teams are a common feature aboard these vessels. The RIVER class are all based in Gosport as part of the RN’s Patrol Squadron. Although in practise it is very rare to see any ships other than the Batch 1’s in Gosport as the Batch 3’s are either permanently deployed overseas or undertake multiyear deployments with the crews being rotated. CLYDE has not been in UK home waters in over 15 years now!

The RIVER class is another British built warship that has been successfully exported in one form or another. Brazil, Oman and Thailand operate versions of the type. With the exception of the pair of Thai KRABI class vessels all of the RIVER class were built in Portsmouth.

Mine Warfare

Hunt Class


Name Pennant Commissioned

LEDBURY M30 1981

CATTISTOCK M31 1982

BROCKLESBY M33 1982

MIDDLETON M34 1984

CHIDDINGFOLD M37 1984

ATHERSTONE M38 1986

HURWORTH M39 1985

QUORN M41 1989



Displacement: 750 tons Dimensions: 60m x 10.5m x 3.4m Speed: 15knts

Compliment: 45 Armament: 1x 30mm gun, GPMG/Minigun.

These vessels have been dependable work horses for the RN for longer than most of the men who now serve on them have been alive. They are constructed from glass reinforced plastic in order to reduce their magnetic signature and keep their draught and wake as shallow as possible. Both of these can mean the difference between life and death when dealing with sea mines. For the past decade the RN has kept a flotilla of mine warfare vessels including the HUNT class permanently deployed in the Persian Gulf in case the Iranians should ever carry out one of their many threats to mine the Straits of Hormuz through which most of the UK’s oil supply transits. In the Gulf War in 1991 the RN and the HUNT class established a reputation for being the best in the business when it came to mine warfare. This is a reputation the RN has been working very hard to keep.

The former HMS BRECON now serves as a static training ship at HMS RALEIGH and for most of the new recruits is the very first warship they ever set foot on. The former BICESTER and BERKELEY were sold to Greece in the early 2000’s and the former COTTESMORE and DULVERTON now serve with the Lithuanian Naval Service.

SANDOWN Class

Name Pennant Commissioned

PENZANCE M106 1998

PEMBROKE M107 1998

GRIMSBY M108 1999

BANGOR M109 1999

RAMSEY M110 2000

BLYTH M111 2001

SHOREHAM M112 2001



Displacement: 600 tons Dimensions: 52.5m x 10.9m x 2.3m Speed: 13knts

Compliment: 34 Armament: 1x 30mm gun, GPMG/Minigun.

Like their HUNT class predecessors these ships are made entirely out of glass reinforced plastic. Apart from those ships on long term deployment in the Gulf all of these ships are based in Faslane. The former HMS CROMER is now a static training ship at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth where inn accordance with tradition she has been renamed HINDOSTAN. The former SANDOWN, INVERNESS and BRIDPORT were sold to the Estonian navy as a result of the 2010 defence cuts. WALNEY also fell victim to financial constraints and remains laid up awaiting disposal. Three examples of the class were sold to the Royal Saudi Navy in the early 90’s.

The RN’s fleet of mine warfare vessels is getting old and various programmes to replace them have repeatedly failed to come to fruition usually owing to higher priority projects soaking up all available money. The RN now intends to introduce some truly remarkable automated systems to replace its fleet of mine warfare ships. While impressive these new systems will still need to be deployed from a ship (or theoretically an aircraft). The Defence Review was unclear as to whether a new class “mother ships” will be constructed for this role meaning that the SANDOWN’s may find they still have some years of service ahead of them in a new role.
 
Only a little... Eh?

If only we had twelve Darings and the carriers with which they could go.

On one hand disarmament and peace is good. But I just wish we could have more cool RN warships - I say this as a Brit :(

As Stalin shrewdly observed, “Quantity has a quality all its own.” Technology has come a long way since he said that, but there is still some truth in it.

@flasheart's Royal Navy actually has the quantity that it can afford some losses (in combat, or whatever) while not affecting operational capability, both of aircraft and escorts . . . our Royal Navy basically has no margin. This matters, too, in wartime, because today's hardware simply cannot be cranked out as quickly as 1943's hardware was, even if the plants are going triple shifts 24/7.
 
As Stalin shrewdly observed, “Quantity has a quality all its own.” Technology has come a long way since he said that, but there is still some truth in it.

@flasheart's Royal Navy actually has the quantity that it can afford some losses (in combat, or whatever) while not affecting operational capability, both of aircraft and escorts . . . our Royal Navy basically has no margin. This matters, too, in wartime, because today's hardware simply cannot be cranked out as quickly as 1943's hardware was, even if the plants are going triple shifts 24/7.
I guess that is important.

Also, if you've got time, could you possibly check out my post about Hiyo and Junyo in the Alternate warships of nations thread? Just wanted to know what your opinion was on it, as an alternate history post.
 
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