Developing the Type 31 frigate

Navy Lookout – To some extent, the capability of the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate cannot be fully appreciated without understanding the background to its development. Public perception has perhaps been over-focused on cost and initial armament, obscuring what has been achieved. In this article, we look at the procurement process and design philosophy that underpins the project.

Crowsnest Airborne Surveillance and Control due to achieve Initial Operating Capability in 2023

Navy Lookout – The Merlin helicopters equipped with the Crowsnest ASaC role kit provide are a critical aspect of the carrier strike programme. In this article, we look at how the troubled Crowsnest development project and efforts to bring the system into frontline service have progressed in the last year or so.

Tilting at windmills? UK Defence and the Indo-Pacific

Wavell Room – Far from presenting a binary choice between European and Indo-Pacific theatres, UK Defence’s Integrated Review refresh should seek to harmonise these seemingly divergent approaches.  Understanding the different utility of Naval, Air and Land forces in meeting regional challenges and political goals would go some way to squaring the circle.

How Can the Marines Learn From the Falklands War?

War on the Rocks – The U.S. Marine Corps has made it a priority to address the rise of great-power competition in the Indo-Pacific. British forces in the Falklands operated in a similar manner to how the commandant envisions marines operating in the future: small formations distributed across vast expanses of maritime terrain, relatively limited indirect fire support, and limited traditional close air support. Vertical lift aircraft were critical to enabling British maneuver and logistical sustainment in the South Atlantic. But these aircraft are largely absent from new Marine Corps concepts.

A future vision for the Royal Navy – the Maritime Operating Concept

Navy Lookout – In September 2022 the RN published the Maritime Operating Concept (MarOpC) which essentially lays out a vision of how the RN and other stakeholders in the maritime domain will evolve and develop to meet the challenges of the future. Here we examine aspects of the document and look at some of the questions around taking its ideas and making them a reality.

The Exoskeleton Force: The Royal Navy in the Indo-Pacific Tilt

RUSI – An important feature of the UK’s 2021 Integrated Review was the tilt towards the Indo-Pacific. The announcement that the UK would seek to maintain a forward and persistently engaged presence in the region was of particular significance to the Royal Navy, given the region’s maritime character. The key question for the service to contemplate as it seeks to meet the objectives set by the Integrated Review is how to deliver strategic effect without mass.

BAE Systems unveils the Adaptable Strike Frigate

European Defence Review – During Euronaval 2022 BAE Systems publicly displayed the Adaptable Strike Frigate (ASF) warship concept design. Based on the need for adaptable capacity to enable navies to respond “at the speed of relevance whilst operating at range for extended period,” the ASF has been designed “to embrace system of systems modularity to deliver a mission-ready, digitally enable platform.”

Protecting seabed infrastructure – UK Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance Ship to be in service by 2023

Navy Lookout – Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced that the first Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance Ship (MROSS) will be purchased this year and be operational next year. A second vessel designed specifically for this task will subsequently be constructed in the UK. Here we take a brief look at the context and implications of this project.