SECNAV Mabus says destroyers are the backbone of the US Navy’s fleet. Amen to that. So now here’s a thought… the Arleigh Burke class is back in production (Flight III) and they’re a no-nonsense workhorse… exactly the kind of thing that other navies should want… and if, after this so-called forgone conclusion of Scots independence (an’ good luck to ’em with that) then there’s no obligation for the Royal Navy to purchase ships from foreign Scottish yards… so why not by Arleigh Burke DDGs? Six, right off the bat. Scotland can have its independence cake and eat it.
Secretary of the Navy Visits Sailors in Souda Bay
Souda Bay, Greece (NNS) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus visited Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) while the ship was moored in Souda Bay, Greece, Nov. 15.
While aboard, he promoted six Ramage Sailors, presented Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pins to seven others, reenlisted one additional Sailor and briefly toured the ship.
He also held an all-hands call, emphasizing the importance of having the right platforms in the Fleet, the people who serve aboard those platforms and the value of building lasting partnerships.
Mabus then answered questions from the audience and thanked them for their efforts in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.
“I cannot tell you how vital the work that you are doing is,” said Mabus, “not only to our country, but to our partners in the region.”
Mabus also said there is a tremendous demand for Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, like USS Ramage, due to its adaptability to a wide range of missions.
“These DDGs are the backbone of our fleet,” said Mabus. “They provide us with one of the most flexible, one of the most lethal, platforms our Navy has ever had.”
“What these platforms give us, and more importantly what the people aboard these platforms give us, is presence. That’s what the Navy can uniquely provide,” he said. “We’re not just in the right place at the right time, we’re in the right place all the time.”
USS Ramage, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
Mabus’ visit to the ship is part of a multi-nation visit to the U.S. European, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility focused on reinforcing existing partnerships and visiting Sailors and Marines providing forward presence.
Criminal. Bloody criminal.
High politics ends Navy shipbuilding in Portsmouth
What would Nelson have made of it? Before Trafalgar he signalled “England Expects.” But it is the argument over Scotland’s independence that has left ship-building holed below the waterline in the Royal Navy’s headquarter port.
Most people who’ve lobbied hard for Portsmouth now believe the writing is on the wall.
I am told that the announcement has been brought forward to this morning due to leaks in the media.
Everyone expects it to be curtains for shipbuilding. Some wonder whether BAE may also lose some of the maintenance contract for the surface fleet, perhaps to Babcock.
It has become clear that while BAE is keen to work on low-risk ventures like the Type 26 it sees ship services, not ship building, as its future and so it is natural for them to rationalise facilities.
The only good news could be an impending city deal worth at least £100m to help widen the marine industry in Portsmouth, with Rolls Royce Marine, Qinetiq maybe involved. Perhaps private refit work could provide some income at Basin 3.
There have been radical ideas in the past. The Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, is Phillip Hammond’s PPS, a navy reservist and named after a warship, HMS Penelope!
Her ideas outlined in a letter to the Prime Minister included putting Royal Navy crews on commission, “sell what you sail and get a bonus”.
Considerations of the vote on Scottish independence seem to have trumped the hi-tech yard run by BAE in Portsmouth. The move of Vosper Thornycroft from Southampton to Portsmouth meant the kit was amongst the best in the world. But the Clyde carries more weight at the moment.
Nevertheless, the Royal Navy could still do well from new deals with Babcock. Perhaps the two ocean patrol vessels as well as 13 Type 26s – perhaps a permanent replacement for HMS protector or HMS Ocean’s successor.
Even Nelson could not have turned a blind eye to Alex Salmond. But there could still be plenty for Pompey to be proud of.
HMS Montrose is “the most Scottish ship in the fleet” (says so in the press release, so it must be true) which makes you wonder if an independent Scotland (don’t laugh, they’re serious) will ask for Montrose as part of the divorce settlement?
The Queen of the Seas meets the Lord of the Isles – HMS Montrose encounters her civilian cousin
On her travels, she repeatedly passed the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry MV Lord Of The Isles, a car and passenger ferry that operates around the islands of the North West of Scotland.
The Type 23 frigate passes countless ferries throughout the world, but this one was rather more special for the ship, as both vessels share a common link dating back to when they were both launched over 2 decades ago, namely the lady who launched them both – Lady Rifkind.
In the Spring of 1989, The Rt Hon Malcolm Rifkind was the Secretary of State for Scotland, and MP for Edinburgh Pentlands, and his wife Edith was asked to launch the brand new ferry.
Having been built in Port Glasgow for CalMac, the LOTI (as she is affectionately known) has been employed in Scottish seas ever since, on a variety of routes, although she mainly operates from Oban, in Argyll and Bute.
Conversely, although HMS Montrose is the most Scottish ship in the Fleet, she is only able to visit Scottish waters once or twice a year, as she is based in Devonport naval base in the South West of England.
The frigate itself is named after the Duke of Montrose, who takes his title from the ancient town of Montrose in Angus, and – just like the Lord Of The Isles – was built on the Clyde.
In July 1992, and with Malcolm Rifkind having been appointed Secretary of State for Defence three months previously, his wife Edith duly broke the traditional bottle of champagne over the bows of Montrose in Yarrows Shipbuilders to launch the ship, and thus started a relationship with the sailors on board that endures today.
Since Sir Malcolm (as he now is) was elected as the MP for Kensington and Chelsea in 1997, he and Lady Rifkind now divide their time between London and Scotland, but this geographical separation does not prevent the excellent ongoing relationship between HMS Montrose and her sponsor, and Lady Rifkind is still regularly in contact with the ship, as she has been for the past 21 years.
The chance meeting between Lady Rifkind’s two ships was not lost on HMS Montrose’s Commanding Officer, Commander James Parkin, he said:
“When we first encountered the Lord Of The Isles off Lochboisdale, it instantly rang some bells.
“Once I realised our shared connection, I realised how rare it must be for a passenger vessel and a warship to be launched by the same person, and then encounter each other at sea over 20 years later.
“It was wonderful for Montrose to meet her Scottish cousin again, and I was delighted to be able to inform Lady Rifkind of the meeting.
“After we return from our operational deployment in 2014, I look forward our returning to Scottish waters to further cement our connections up here.”