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The Royal Navy has got itself into a financial pickle. Because of military promises (made by politicians) all of which now have to be answered by the Royal Navy. The situation is such that it is just eating away at the military budget. With Trident, Aircraft carriers, Hunter Killer subs and F35 aircraft that cost more than most ships. You have T45’s that need rebuilding with new engines plus the new T26 Frigates. So you have lots of promises made  plus lots of money being spent the result of which is destroying the Army and the Royal Air Force.

Perhaps it is time for some constructive thinking and flexible solutions.

 

1) HMS Ocean.  The talk is of de-commissioning but  the Navy loathes that idea however, something has to give. So why not move this ship from the Department of Defence to the Department for Overseas Aid as a mobile floating storage unit ready to go and assist countries that have suffered natural disasters.  With a skeleton crew on board and minimal maintenance, this ship could be kept at sea fully loaded. Then in times of emergency military and aid personnel could be flown out to the nearest point of embarkation greatly reducing the cost of keeping this ship as a useful unit if the need arrives.

 

2) Aircraft Carriers.

 The Middle East and Persian Gulf is an area full of problems, conflict and hatred.  Perhaps the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia could be offered a military package? say a carrier armed with the latest F35’s with a destroyer plus two frigates to patrol the waters most at threat. They’re already built and ready to go as a direct response to Iran’s Republican guards.  And just the cost of manning and running these mighty ships plus a small subsidy could work for all parties. Then perhaps a similar offer could be made to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Borneo, plus also Indonesia to cover the Anderman sea, Straits, South China sea and Celebes sea to look after their territorial interests. The ships will still be Royal Naval  vessels but being paid for by allied friends who have similar political  interests.

 

This would take a massive burden from the navy and ease the military budget. I know what people will say we are not mercenaries being paid to fight other people’s wars. But today you need some reality, financial reality, Britain cannot afford to be all things like the USA but we do have a commercial commodity and that is military and naval expertise. People who know how to fight and how to put ships to sea and man them.
Senior officers and Politicians need to look at life as it is, not how they would like it to be or indeed was in the glorious past. If you want to operate at the top table it costs, so somebody else can put up the money and Britain can put up the equipment and men plus it makes money available for equipment in other Arms.

©Michael Douglas Bosc

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The RNLI have always been at the top of my list both charitable and bravery. These are men and now women who give their time, risk their lives for those of us daft enough to go to sea in small ships, regardless of where we are in the world. I say this as a Yacht/Ocean Master, who for over 20yrs spent his time messing around on the sea in boats.  We had many adventures, but the most memorable one was when we came back from the Solent through the Loo Chanel. This is a particularly nasty piece of water, a deep narrow channel between sand/rocky banks and in certain conditions very very rough and unpleasant. This was such a day.

You approach the channel between two bouys Street and Boulder, this is the inside deep water channel going East. This particular day the wind was around  a force7 very rough waves forming troughs so that you slid down one side and climbed up the other, not a very nice place to be, but having no other option there we were heading for the marina and home.  Things were beginning to get a little worrying as at times the waves were giving us a bath, so at one time discussions were underway as whether to call on the Selsea Lifeboat which we could see quite clearly. Suddenly my wife spotted something ‘yellow’ standing near the Boat House.

Someone was watching us dressed in yellow oil skins against the driving rain. Standing there letting us know they had seen us in case we needed their help.  At this point I knew we were safe and would make it back without much trouble, just the sight of that loan man standing in the rain watching (and nothing will convince me otherwise) gave us the resolve to carry on. Needless to say we eventually arrived back tired and wet, but I have never forgotten that incident. Perhaps we should not have tried to sail back I don’t know, but what I DO know is that the men and women of the RNLI are amongst the most reassuring people I know.

Thank you for just being there.

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