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15.11.10

RNA LogoLetter from General Secretary regarding Carrier Sharing.

The President's letter to The Times 5 November 2010

CARRIER SHARING

The Carrier co-operation element of the treaty with France while good in itself needs far more exploration since it seems unlikely to  achieve the Government’s declared aim of continuous carrier strike capability. The  CHARLES DE GAULLE may be able to launch and recover our Joint Strike Fighter which will be a very different beast to the French RAFALE but what about fully armed in heavy weather on a dark night?. And will  either nation’s Carriers be able to supply the other’s aircraft with weapons to carry out military missions? Just achieving a common and compatible weapons inventory would be far more expensive than the more effective solution of running QUEEN ELIZABETH and PRINCE OF WALES turn and turn about. It sounds more like spin than military practicality.

Yours faithfully,
Vice Admiral John McAnally, National President The Royal Naval Association

22.10.10

HMS Astute runs aground.

HMS Astute

The Royal Navy's newest and largest attack submarine HMS Astute has run aground off Skye, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed. Described as the stealthiest ever built in the UK, the £1bn boat was being put through sea trials and was not armed.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was alerted to the incident at about 0819 BST.

In an ironic twist to the Government's recently anniounced cut program, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency-chartered Anglian Prince was sent from Stornoway on Lewis and tasked to stand by on the scene. The tugs are to be taken out of service in 2011 to save £32m over four-and-a-half years.

HMS Astute was towed free by a tug at about 1800 BST and will be taken to deep water where a survey will be carried out on its rudder.

The journey back to its base at Faslane on the Clyde could take several days. HMS Astute, built by BAE Systems in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, is believed to have been undergoing sea trials as it is not expected to enter service until next year. It ran aground outside the safe sea lane marked on Admiralty charts. The channel that runs underneath the Skye Bridge has red and green buoys known as lateral markers to ensure vessels do not run aground. HMS Astute appeared to be lying in shallow water several hundred metres beyond that safe route.

The Admiralty charts show submerged rocks in the area where the submarine got into difficulty but the Navy said it was grounded on silt.

he Royal Navy said the submarine was operating under its own power after being towed free. It said the vessel would remain overnight in deep water. HMS Astute will be assessed on Saturday to determine whether it can return to Faslane under its own power or if it requires assistance. A Royal Navy spokesman said: "It is a continuous process of assessment of the situation."

18.10.10

HMS Ark Royal to be scrapped indefence review.

HMS Ark RoyalThe Royal Navy's flagship, the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, is to be scrapped early as part of the government's defence review.

The move is part of the price paid by the Royal Navy for the decision to go ahead with two new aircraft carriers. Launched in 1985, the Ark Royal will be decommissioned almost immediately, four years earlier than planned.

Chancellor George Osborne signalled on Sunday that the construction of two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, would go ahead, when he told the BBC it would cost more to cancel the projects than proceed with them.

01.08.10

Two Carriers - Two Years On

It was on 3 July 2008 when Baroness Taylor, then Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, signed contracts with industry to build the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Now just two years later, manufacture is well underway with work taking place at six UK shipyards – Babcock at Appledore and Rosyth, BAES Surface Ships (BAES-SS) at Govan, Portsmouth and A&P Tyne and Cammell Laird at Birkenhead.

It is anticipated that work on the ships will create or sustain between 7,000 and 8,000 jobs at the Tier 1 shipyards in Glasgow, Rosyth, Portsmouth and Devon, with another 2-3,000 jobs in the supply chain.

Many major milestones have been achieved in the last two years, including start of construction at Appledore in late 2008, first cutting of steel, placement of more than 100 material and services sub-contracts worth £1.2 billion, delivery of large equipment items such as propellers, diesel generators and anchors, construction of the dock at Rosyth where the ships will finally be assembled, and subsequent delivery of blocks as they are completed. Today, more than 1.2 million components fill the warehouse for distribution during the build phase.

Full Story here.