Replacing Trident could take the UK-US ‘special relationship’ to “new heights”

BBC – UK cooperation with the United States on nuclear weapons has reached “new heights”, with the new warhead for the Trident missile, BBC Newsnight has learned.

There and Back Again: The Fall and Rise of Britain’s ‘East of Suez’ Basing Strategy

War on the Rocks – “You can’t repeat the past,” Nick Carraway cautions in The Great Gatsby. The U.K. government today is flirting with that hypothesis as it reestablishes military bases in the Persian Gulf and farther afield. On a visit to Bahrain as foreign secretary, Boris Johnson declared that “Britain is back East of Suez.” 

Royal Navy Submarine Appears In Gibraltar Equipped With Enhanced Wake Detection System

War Zone – The  U.K. Royal Navy’s Trafalgar class attack submarine HMS Talent has arrived in the British territory of Gibraltar sporting curious new sensors on either side of its sail. We can say with near certainty that these are additions to an existing system designed to detect enemy submarines without the use of sonar that first appeared on the boat in 2019.

UK Royal Navy Declares IOC for Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group Ahead of Spring Deployment

USNI News – The U.K. Royal Navy’s first carrier strike group in 38 years has reached Initial Operating Capability (IOC) ahead of its first operational deployment later this year, the U.K. government announced today.

Four navy ships to help protect fishing waters in case of no-deal Brexit

The Guardian – Four Royal Navy patrol ships will be ready from 1 January to help the UK protect its fishing waters in the event of a no-deal Brexit, in a deployment evoking memories of the “cod wars” in the 1970s.

Britain to send aircraft carrier strike group to waters near Japan

South China Morning Post – The British navy will dispatch an aircraft carrier strike group to waters near Japan as soon as early next year, Japanese government sources said Saturday, in a rare development that comes amid the growing maritime assertiveness of China in the region.

First AH-64E Apaches Arrive In UK, Will Serve As New Carriers’ Other Strike Capability

War Zone – Version 6 offers notable advantages over the initial blocks of AH-64Es and its emphasis on over-water combat is something that the British Army will likely have paid particular attention to. Among official plans for the future air wings of the Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers is a so-called Littoral Manoeuvre setup that combines Apaches with a variety of assault transport and support helicopters. Since it’s also planned for the air wings to be tailored for combinations of Carrier Strike and Littoral Manoeuvre capabilities if required, it’s also possible that the new Apaches will eventually go to sea alongside the F-35B Lightning jet fighter, to provide a two-pronged offensive-oriented air complement. 

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Pledges $32B Military Build-Up

USNI News – Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday committed the British government to an expansion of defense spending that confirms London’s ambitions about improving the Royal Navy through the middle of the century.

The Royal Navy and U.S. Navy Are Embracing Interchangeability: Could It Backfire?

National Interest – James Holmes writes that commanders and their civilian masters on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean should think ahead about how to disentangle their forces in a hurry in case a diplomatic crisis looms. They should mix a trifle of skepticism into their enthusiasm for interchangeability and ask: what if?

The US and UK navies prepare to sign agreement to merge their tech futures

Defense News – The U.S. Navy and British Royal Navy are preparing to more closely align their futures in a whole host of warfare areas, the U.S. chief of naval operationsannounced Tuesday.

Royal Navy officer in charge of 16 nuclear missiles turned up ‘staggering drunk’ and scoffing BBQ chicken

Sun – A Royal Navy officer in charge of 16 nuclear missiles turned up drunk and clutching a bag of grilled chicken. Lt Commander Len Louw was hauled off HMS Vigilant from its temporary base in the US and flown home in disgrace.

(Thanks to Alain)

Royal Navy tests world’s most advanced torpedo against Plymouth warship

Plymouth Herald – The Royal Navy has tested the world’s most advanced torpedo against one of its own warships – and it is now on the cusp of being added to Silent Service’s hunter-killer and nuclear-deterrent submarines’ arsenal.

(Thanks to Alain)

Storm Clouds Gather Over F-35B Lightning As United Kingdom Prepares Defense Review

War Zone – As the United Kingdom prepares its next defense review — the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy — experts close to the program are increasingly talking about a significant cut in the country’s orders for F-35B Lightning jet fighters.

U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs Are About To Go Aboard A British Carrier And They Might Be There To Stay

War Zone – An Anglo-American F-35B force will be the centerpiece of the United Kingdom’s biggest carrier air group for 40 years.

London calling to the faraway north, leads largest NATO task force into the Barents Sea since last Cold War

Barents Observer – More than 1,200 military personnel, four warships and numerous aircraft took part in the four-nation Barents Sea mission led by the British Navy.

U.K. Royal Navy Dispatching Survey Ship to Aid in Lebanon Crisis, CENTCOM Sending Supplies

USNI News – The U.K. Royal Navy plans to send one of its survey vessels to assist Lebanon following a deadly explosion in its capital city’s port.

River-Class Batch 2 OPV ‘HMS Trent’ Commissioned With Royal Navy

Naval News – The River-class Batch 2 offshore patrol vessel (OPV) HMS Trent has been commissioned with the Royal Navy today during a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Stena Line ferry in Irish Sea involved in ‘near miss’ with nuclear submarine

Irish Mirror – A ferry carrying hundreds of passengers narrowly avoided smashing into a British nuclear-powered submarine killing many and sparking a maritime disaster. A ferry officer spotted the nuke sub’s periscope at the last minute and took action to avoid the collision in the Irish Sea two years ago, an investigation has discovered.

(Thanks to Alain)

Here’s why Britain is struggling to form a fully effective carrier strike group

Defense News – Britain’s Royal Navy took delivery of two new aircraft carriers, but a government report on the ships achieving operational capability has laid bare some obstacles toward making a fully effective carrier strike group.

Warning over plans for new Royal Navy aircraft carriers

BBC – Ambitious plans for the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers – each of which cost more than £3bn – will not be met without proper funding, the government spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office highlighted concerns over missing key elements such as aircraft and support ships.

COVID-19 and British Nuclear Deterrence

War on the Rocks – In early April, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson nearly died. Suffering from COVID-19, Johnson spent three nights in the intensive care unit before eventually recovering and being discharged. Without the expert and round-the-clock attention of his medical team, the prime minister later admitted, he may not have survived. Johnson’s stint in an intensive care unit raised a sensitive question related to British national security — with the prime minister incapacitated, who was authorized, if required, to launch the country’s nuclear weapons?