Thursday, 23 January 2014
Royal Navy's nuclear submarines after the end of the UK?
Last Thursday I was a guest of the Royal Navy and looking over the construction of our latest nuclear powered hunter/killer submarine, HMS Artful, at the construction docks in Barrow-in-Furness.
It was absolutely fascinating and very impressive to see a submarine the length of a full premier division football pitch, four storeys high, being readied for its launch!
These submarines are enormously impressive and a hugely significant element in the projection of naval sea power. For example, just one of these submarines in the area of the Falklands could be expected to sink the entirety of an Argentinian invasion fleet!
In the course of our meeting I was briefed on the general capability of our latest generation of hunter/killer submarines which would certainly be very frightening to any potential enemy; and also on the principles and the general extent of our submarine based nuclear deterrent.
Equally interesting were my discussions with various crew members on the impact of the breakup of the United Kingdom with the prospect of Scottish independence.
All nuclear submarines are currently based at Faslane, but in the event of Scottish independence they would have to be moved to either Portsmouth or Plymouth. The English members of the crew seemed very happy with that prospect, whereas the one Scot that I spoke to seemed to be rather torn, in particular over the question of which nationality he would choose in the event of Scotland becoming independent. He gulped a bit at the thought of having to choose to be English if he wanted to remain in the Royal Navy!
All agreed that Scottish independence would be extremely good for the economy of Barrow in Furness and of Portsmouth and of Plymouth. It might also lead to a resurgence of the dockyards on Tyneside. It maybe therefore that all those towns and those parts of England that would be likely to benefit from naval warship building and servicing etc., would be prime targets for campaigning support to English independence.
What do you think?