Brits Test UAVs from 89 foot Vessel

Think Defense is reporting Britain’s DSTL (Defense Science and Technology Laboratory) is contucting trials of UAVs from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Combatant Craft Division’s experimental craft Stiletto.

Three different UAVs were picked for the demonstration and launched from Stiletto’s flight deck, including DRS’ Neptune. DSTL personnel were on board, and observed launch, payload operation, and recovery evolutions near Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Patuxent River

I hope the Coast Guard will look at the results. It appears there is a good possibility of operating UAVs from the Webber Class Fast Response Cutters.

Britain’s New Antarctic Patrol Vessel, HMS Protector

3rd Street Promenade
The British are using unconventional means to provide for their need for a patrol vessel capable of operating in ice including patrols in the vicinity of the Falklands and supporting their Antarctic survey stations. They are taking a three year lease on an existing Norwegian vessel that has been used to support the oil industry. Additional modifications are planned including boats and weapons.
“Completed in 2001 and displacing 4,985 tons, she can act as a polar research ship or subsea support vessel, and has 100 berths.”
HMS Protector is filling an unexpected gap in their capabilities after accidental flooding almost sank the previous ice patrol vessel HMS Endurance in December 2008.

Another Sovereignty Dispute Stand-Off

File:Patrullero "Centinela" (2).JPGAdd another to the list of places where national interests clash over claims to offshore areas. Spain and Britain have had a long running dispute over Gibraltar and the surrounding waters. Despite progress toward “European Unity,” they don’t  seem to be getting along very well. File:HMS Sabre - P285.jpg

May 3, a Spanish patrol vessel, the Atalaya (just a bit larger than a 210, photo of a sistership top left), entered waters claimed by Britain and ordered all anchored merchant shipping to leave. The authorities in Gibraltar sent out HMS Scimitar (illustrated to the right by her sister ship) to enforce their position.

None of the merchant ships weighed anchor and after about an hour and a half the Atalaya left. “Strongly worded note to follow.”

Rather sad to see “HMS Scimitar” as a 52 foot boat when in a previous generation it was one of a class of 67 destroyers.

Changing Naval Balance

For background:

Numbers of course, are not the whole story. The US fleet is, by tonnage, far in excess of any competitor. The relatively strong allied fleets of Japan and South Korea are not included. The US still far outspends most of the rest of the world and most of the top ten navies of the world are our allies.

Still the decline of the Russian (Soviet) Navy and the continued growth of the Chinese Navy are clear. China’s rapidly improving quality including ships comparable to Aegis destroyers is not.

Source: Combat Fleets of the World here.