Defending an Island Nation

Blog Post
I’ve heard rumors that the British are starting to get serious about defending their island(s). I’ve heard those same rumors before, but this time they’re different by degree partly because of BREXIT.

The changing nature of advanced surface-to-air missiles has changed the way that the UK’s Royal Air Force trains to fight. Since getting a few feet off the deck can mean an unhappy ending, they train to hug the terrain.  I personally feel as if they need to buy some F-18G electronic warfare aircraft from the US in an attempt to help resolve their vulnerability. 

GR3A Jaguar

GR4 Tornado
Nimrod MR-2
The British did plan to build a replacement for the venerable Hawker Siddeley Nimrod MR2, but the BAE Systems Nimrod MRA4 never made it off the drawing board. The roles intended for the MRA4 are filled by existing assets such as the Type 23 Frigate and the Merlin helicopter. On 23 November 2015, the UK announced its intention to order nine US made Boeing P-8 Poseidon ASW aircraft, as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, effectively replacing the Nimrod.
P-8 Poseidon
Notice that I am not bashing the Royal Navy, which relies on its allies’ good will – to partner with in operations. The Brits will throw in a frigate as a member of an American carrier task force or they will take their turn patrolling shipping lanes against piracy and that’s all useful. But it’s not what they used to do. They rely a lot on helicopters and their three helicopter assault ships, but the ships lack a lot of capacity for offensive action unless one writes of amphibious assault and they can do that so long as nobody with any military capacity is shooting back.
If Great Britain ever wants to be great again, they need to take their status as an island nation seriously and rebuild their capacity for self defense. But that’s just my view.

10 thoughts on “Defending an Island Nation

  1. The Brits do have 'seedcorn crews' for the P-8 working at both Pax River and VP-30 to stay 'current' in ASW and the airplane.

  2. Don't be ridiculous. Why does an island need boats? We have piers instead with pissed up oiks armed with beer bottles.


  3. We're living in strange times of reformation I guess. everyone's assessing what's under the rugs!

  4. I agree with Jules. Island? Navy? Don't be ridiculous.

    But seriously, Europe and the UK included, seem to be gambling that they'll never have to fight a war again, ever. If the US withdraws, who knows, maybe a joint Serb/Albanian strike force could take out Austria, hook up with some angry Poles and drive West through Germany and France. What would stop them? Peace signs?

    In the meanwhile, England doesn't have much army, navy or airforce but it does have the sea. Thank God.

  5. The UK did announce that 2017 was the "Year of the Navy". I realize that there is a move to do SOMETHING and it's clearly not too late, but this is the problem. They scrapped the aircraft carriers in 2011 and many of those people who knew how to run one were made redundant. Building the ship is important but as the Chinese have learned recently, crewing one that actually knows how to run one is all together a different and more important thing. The HMS QE won't be ready for operations until 2019 even though they have built the ship.

    It's why the Royal Navy did so well in the past. There was a naval tradition and the process of apprenticing under able seamen taught the new generation. Much of that is gone and they're almost literally starting from scratch, at least where an aircraft carrier is involved.

  6. "Be courteous and polite to everyone but have a plan to kill them." — Nations forget that simple axiom at their peril.

  7. They don't see the peril. How many invasions has the Fulda Gap seen in centuries past? Hundreds?

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top