When discussing anything on the future of the armed forces for some reason the Royal Navy (and RFA) always seems to be the most emotive, attract the most polarising single service mentality arguments and many seem to insist that more reductions in the RN will result in the world ending, the nation being unable to feed itself and other various disasters.
Finding impartial argument on the internet or anywhere else is particularly difficult because most discussion usually ends in accusations of the RAF trying to do in the RN/FAA and the quality of the debate seems to end there. There are even campaigning websites devoted to saving the Royal Navy that follow the well trodden line of condemning the Typhoon as a cold war relic, by extension, seeking to maintain or increase spending in one service at the expense of another. They might accuse others of ‘sea blindness’ but aren’t they equally guilty of ‘air blindness’
The Army has lost hundreds of famous regiments with long and proud histories, the RAF has also been significantly reduced in size so in this, the RN is no different. What might be a fair argument and I don’t know if this is factually true is that the RN has certainly been toppled off its previous top spot in the order of things. The nature of conflict has changed and of this means a reduction in the RN greater than in comparison to the other services then this is something that the RN will just have to accept and look beyond their own service issues.
Has the Royal Navy had more than its fair share of embarrassing scandals over the last few, probably not?
For every running aground, massively over budget project, watching pirates take British hostages or iPods the Army and RAF has its own set of scandals, but they seem to sting more with the RN.
Why this is is not certain, maybe it stems from its long and proud history, its role in the pre eminence of England and the British Empire or many other factors, it is the Senior Service after all.
These of course should not be forgotten but we must have a modern and impartial approach.
The Royal Navy actually has a proud tradition of strategic, tactical and and equipment innovation, the realisation that training and discipline were key to fighting efficiency, hygiene, nutrition, accurate mapping, timekeeping and navigation aids, HMS Dreadnought, amphibious warfare, heliborne operations, anti submarine warfare, naval aviation, ASDIC, the switch from sail to coal, HMS Warrior and the Falklands Conflict are all good examples, amongst an ocean of others (see what I did there )
But where is the next HMS Warrior?
The UK is broke; perhaps innovation is the child of austerity but one thing is certain, the Royal Navy needs to face up to the realities of the future.
Readers must not assume that I think we should have 2 gunboats and a tug for a Royal Navy, far from it, but the current plans do not seem sustainable.