Statement on Shipbuilding by Stuart Andrew, Under Secretary of State

October 18, 2018 – “I would like to thank all hon. and right hon. Members, my predecessor, the hon. Member for Aberconwy, (Guto Bebb) and the Minister for Defence People and Veterans (the Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood) for their contribution to the Opposition Day debate on Defence Industry and Shipbuilding which took place on 11 July 2018. The passionate and constructive comments of Members clearly demonstrated this House’s support for shipbuilding. “Naval shipbuilding has a particularly important place in our defence industry. As a maritime nation, our prosperity as well…

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New £1bn Deal to Support Navy Operations Will Support Over 700 British Jobs for a Decade, Defence Minister Announces

October 7, 2018 – Defence Minister Stuart Andrew has announced that new contracts expected to be worth over £1bn have been signed with British firms to support military ships for the next decade. The contracts, which will secure over 700 jobs at shipyards across the country, will support the UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships and the Royal Navy’s Survey and Hydrographic Fleet. The deal covers 17 ships and will improve how spares, repairs and maintenance work are carried out. The successful companies will work on the ships at dockyards around…

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Surge in Action as RFA Tidesurge begins trials

October 3, 2018 – On a fine autumn day, the third of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new tankers heads to sea to begin military trials. RFA Tidesurge – one of four Tide-class ships built to support the new carriers and their battle groups – has already proven her seakeeping abilities courtesy of a lengthy delivery voyage from the builder’s yard in South Korea all the way round to Falmouth. There, A&P turned a tanker into a military tanker courtesy of comms kit, computer systems, defensive weaponry and the like –…

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F-35Bs Join Forces with British Aircraft Carrier to Make History

October 2, 2018 – This week the first F-35 Lightning fighter jets landed on the deck of the United Kingdom’s new aircraft carrier making history and marking the beginning of more than half-a-century of ‘Carrier Strike’ operations. Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and Royal Air Force Sq. Ldr. Andy Edgell, both test pilots at the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., were the first pilots to land the stealth F-35 Lightning fighter jets on board the carrier, demonstrating the formidable force HMS Queen Elizabeth and…

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Sea King Helicopters: Asbestos

September 12, 2018 – The Ministry of Defence (MOD) are currently making a thorough investigation into whether some sea king helicopters contain asbestos. Veterans may have seen media reports about asbestos being found in some sea King helicopters. The MOD is undertaking a thorough investigation of this and any advice to veterans will be published here when available. In the meantime, the following information may be useful. asbestos is fire resistant and was widely used in the 20th century as an insulating material in boilers, pipework etc and notably in building construction…

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British-armed F-35B Lightning jet takes to the skies

Britain’s new stealth fighter jet, the F-35B Lightning, has carried out its first trials armed with UK-built weapons, showcasing the major role that the UK plays in the supersonic aircraft and bringing it a step closer to operations on the frontline. Defence Minister Stuart Andrew revealed that a British F-35 Lightning jet reached the landmark milestone whilst he was on a visit to the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) in Wales. The Welsh site is set to become a global repair hub for the cutting-edge aircraft, providing crucial maintenance,…

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Lightning pilots ramp up training for HMS Queen Elizabeth debut

August 22, 2018 – Ramping up training ahead of debuting on Britain’s new carrier, ex-Fleet Air Arm pilot Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson takes off from a replica ski jump in an F-35B. Four test pilots are getting in last-minute training ready to take their specially-modified stealth fighters aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth next month. They’ll conduct around 500 landings and take-offs on the 900ft deck of the future flagship – the first time the Portsmouth-based warship has hosted fast jets. She’s about to strike out across the Atlantic – another first – after…

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Gosport Oil Fuel Depot redevelopment

Information about the project to redevelop Gosport Oil Fuel Depot, how it will affect the local area and who to contact to make an enquiry. Contents Oil Fuel Depots Gosport Oil Fuel Depot Site redevelopment Work to be carried out Project timescales Noise and disruption management Traffic management Site security Community Relations Team Related information Oil Fuel Depots The Oil & Pipelines Agency (OPA) is responsible for 6 Naval Oil Fuel Depots in the UK. It works on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence. It is a statutory public corporation sponsored by…

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847 NAS Wildcats’ French mission comes to an end

Naval aviators are almost home after five months in the Far East supporting France’s key Pacific deployment of 2018. Around 30 fliers and ground crew, plus two Wildcat helicopters, from 847 Naval Air Squadron have been embarked on the French assault ship FS Dixmude since February. They’ve been on board throughout the ship’s deployment to the western Pacific Rim – and say the experience has been unforgettable, given the destinations visited and forces they’ve trained with. The final stint of the Jeanne d’Arc 2018 (Joan of Arc) deployment from Singapore…

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HMS Talent to begin operational sea training

The Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine HMS Talent is beginning intensive training to re-join the frontline operational fleet after a major refit. The Trafalgar Class submarine has completed an extensive multi-million pound maintenance period in HM Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth. [smartslider3 slider=76] The successful end of the engineering project was marked by her crew celebrating with the formal ceremony of Ship’s Company Divisions. The tradition of divisions, steeped in history, was overseen by Commodore J Le S Perks, Commodore of the Submarine Flotilla. Submariners were joined by 100 family and…

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Australia passes CTF150 command to Brits

Nineteen boardings, 3.1 tonnes of heroin and 36 tonnes of hashish seized and destroyed, and over $2.7 billion AUD removed from terrorist networks. These numbers highlight the achievements of the Australian-led rotation of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) and their support to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) mission. The Australian-Canadian rotation, deployed since November 2017, completed their successful tour and showed the strength like-minded nations have in combating the trans-national threat of global terrorism. CDRE Mal Wise said he was proud of the achievements made by CTF150 during the past…

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Protecting the Fleet – Thales, BAE Systems and CGI team to offer world-class UK EW force protection to the Royal Navy

Thales, BAE Systems and CGI have announced a strategic teaming agreement that will see the three companies bring together their collective expertise and proven UK industrial capability in Electronic Warfare, in order to respond to the opportunity to partner the UK Ministry of Defence for the second phase of the UK Royal Navy’s Maritime Electronic Warfare Programme (MEWP). MEWP is a significant UK Ministry of Defence procurement programme that aims to provide upgraded electronic warfare capabilities to the UK Royal Navy. State of the art equipment using cutting edge technology will be…

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MBDA Conducts Second Test-Firing of Sea Venom/ANL

MBDA’s  missile has successfully completed its second development firing from a French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA – Direction Générale de l’Armement) Panther test helicopter at Ile Du Levant in southeast France. The firing, which took place on 18 April 2018, highlighted Sea Venom/ANL’s lock on after launch (LOAL) capabilities. It also validated its aptitude for low-altitude, sea-skimming flight, the effectiveness of the data link between the missile and helicopter and Sea Venom/ANL’s autonomous guidance capability, using images from its infrared seeker. UK Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb said, “Sea…

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HMS Ramsey sails to join NATO Task Force

HMS Ramsey sailed from her base port of HMNB Clyde to join the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) on a rare dry and fine morning in Faslane last week. As part of the UK’s commitment to NATO, Ramsey joins SNMCMG1 as part of a multi-national Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Group providing the NATO Response Force Commanders with a fully-integrated MCM capability for operations. This also includes the responsibility for disposal of historical ordnance left over from conflicts in the Northern European maritime region, as well as participation in exercises…

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HMS Queen Elizabeth’s crew finally meet the F-35B

Members of the flying control and flight deck control teams aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), flagship of the Royal Navy’s new class of aircraft carriers, visited Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland this week for their first live peek at the F-35B Lightning II, ahead of the jet’s first trials aboard the ship this fall. On Tuesday, about 20 members of the HMS Queen Elizabeth team witnessed F-35B test aircraft BF-02 and BF-04 taxi, perform two vertical landings apiece, and conduct a couple short takeoffs. The ground reverberated as each…

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