With a number of new ships to be welcomed into the fleet this year, marking the first significant investment in a generation, 2017 is set to be the year of the Navy.
Heralding the start of a new era of maritime power, new aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, patrol vessels and aircraft will all be delivered into service during 2017. All this follows a significant year for the Navy, which saw it involved in some 22 operations at home and abroad, responding to Russian activity in close waters, supporting EU and NATO operations in the Mediterranean and Aegean and leading a US Navy task force in the Gulf fighting Daesh. The Navy saw some 8,325 sailors and Royal Marines involved in operations at the peak of activity, and this pace will continue through the beginning of the year with a third of the Royal Navy’s front-line strength on global operations.
Paying tribute to the thousands of personnel involved in the Navy and its recent key operations, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “We are investing billions in growing the Royal Navy for the first time in a generation with new aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, patrol vessels and aircraft all on their way. 2017 is the start of a new era of maritime power, projecting Britain’s influence globally and delivering security at home.”
And of course 2017 will see delivery of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s biggest ever warship. She will sail from Rosyth in summer to her new home in Portsmouth following sea trials.
Work also continues on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister, due to be named the HMS Prince of Wales this autumn, which will enter the water for the first time in the summer. Spring will see the first of the Navy’s five next-generation patrol ships (HMS Forth) begin sea trials while Scotland’s shipyards will continue to be busy with production of eight Type 26 frigates at the Clyde shipyard in Glasgow underway. In Cumbria, workers are laying the keel for the seventh Astute-class submarine, following the commissioning phase of the fourth sub and construction continues on the fifth and sixth, HMS Anson and HMS Agamemnon.
Protection for the new carriers will come in the form of the multi-million pound Crowsnest early-warning system for helicopters, which will undergo the design and manufacture phase.
Further afield, the first of four Tide-class tankers, RFA Tidespring will arrive from South Korea in the spring to undergo UK customisation work; while a permanent Royal Navy base East of Suez, will be opened –the first in nearly half a century.
Operations will continue for the Navy, assisting operations in the Gulf, working with NATO partners in operations in Norway and the numerous frigates, Minehunters survey and patrol ships of the Royal Navy and support ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will continue to protect UK interests across the globe.
Images: CGI HMS Queen Elizabeth © Crown Copyright
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