This is a US Navy blog, however, I’m going to wander just a bit afield for this post. I’d like to discuss the Royal Navy, their purpose, and their relationship to the US Navy from a
perspective. I know there are a lot of readers of this blog who hail from the other side of the pond and I both welcome and thank them. I’d also like to challenge them just a bit. US
Despite being a born
citizen, I grew up on stories of US ’s Royal Navy along with the exploits of the US Navy. Nelson, the great fleets of WWI, the sinking of the England , the Bismarck of the Battle Atlantic, and even the Falklands conflict were the stuff of inspiration and pride in our closest ally.
As I move into this discussion, please understand that I am not, by any means, an expert on the Royal Navy. I am not well informed about fleet matters and I’m not intimately familiar with numbers and types of ships or their capabilities. So, please grant me a bit of leeway in this discussion. What you’re going to read is my perception of the state of affairs of the Royal Navy and some of what I’ll say may be incorrect, as a result. Don’t hesitate to challenge my perception. That’s kind of the point of this particular post. So, to get on with it …
|Global Force or Home Waters?|
Moving on … What about the Royal Navy’s relation to the US Navy? If the Royal Navy can’t provide the extent of global coverage it needs, is partnering with the US Navy a solution? While the Royal Navy and the US Navy have a long history of co-operation would it be in each others interests to formally enter a naval partnership? Both organizations have readily identifiable gaps in their capabilities that the other could fill.
The Royal Navy lacks aircraft carriers, amphibious force, and simple numbers of all types of ships. These are all things that the US Navy has. The US Navy, on the other hand, lacks ASW, mine countermeasures, offensive mine warfare, and small patrol vessels. ASW, in particular, is an area the Royal Navy has prided itself on. Could the two navies fill each other’s gaps?
In other words, should the Royal Navy abandon any pretense at maintaining a carrier force and simply allow the
to fill that need? In return, the Royal Navy could focus on ASW which is a capability that the US has allowed to atrophy to the point of embarrassment. And so on with the other capabilities … US
Of course, this approach would require unwavering political support both ways so that each country could trust that the other would respond in time of need. Realistically, though, the two countries have always supported each other and it’s inconceivable that either would allow the other to come to harm so I don’t see this as a major issue. A simple, two-country NATO-ish agreement is all that’s required. The bigger issue is whether either country would admit to, and allow, a permanent shortcoming in their naval force structure. Failure to do so, however, means continued shortcomings whether admitted or not.
Talk to me readers. How do you see things from the other side of the pond?