Its military presence in various forms demonstrates the strategic importance of the South China Sea to the UK.
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However, with tensions relating to the South China Sea controversy increasing in the 21st century, gradually the UK came to pay more attention to such maritime disputes. The UK has significant political and economic interests in the Asia Pacific region…. British Foreign and Defense Secretaries have repeatedly stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and a rules-based system in the South China Sea.
Since there is no interruption of navigation for commercial vessels, the British as well as American concern is that China poses a threat to the free movement of Anglo-American military vessels. For example, in September a Royal Navy vessel entered the sea area within 12 nautical miles of the Xisha Islands, i. However, Brexit offers an opportunity for Britain to reengage with the world. She used it to describe the UK, post Brexit, as an open, inclusive, and outward facing free-trading global power, which will play a leading role on the world stage. It is possible that involvement in South China Sea issues can contribute to an increase in British influence in global affairs.
However, doing so by expanding military activities may not be conducive to its vision of Global Britain—rather, negative repercussions might result. Domestically the UK is struggling to deal with the Brexit issue. No matter what road the UK takes towards its relations with the EU, its future policy options relating to the South China Sea will depend on the overall assessment of its own interests: economics, security, and geopolitics. Military activities in the South China Sea are sensitive issues to the region. Such perceptions will have serious repercussions for the UK itself, and negatively affect its promotion of Global Britain in a broader sense.
Ramses Amer and Li Jianwei. By comparison, the Albion -class ships can carry a standard complement of more than Royal Marines, and more than if absolutely necessary, and they also have a well deck to carry more readily launch amphibious vehicles and larger landing craft. As converted roll-on, roll-off ships originally built to commercial standards, they would be more vulnerable to hostile fire and battle damage. With a smaller crew more in line with commercial vessels than warships, dealing with that damage also becomes a major issue.
At present, there is no indication from the concept art that the proposed ship would have anything but the most minimal defenses. Ocean Trader, for instance, is only equipped with machine guns for force protection. Increasingly advanced anti-ship missiles , naval mines , and other threats , which are steadily proliferating even to non-state actors , would pose a serious risk to a similar ship operating in an amphibious assault combat environment.
This is true even inside a larger task force, but especially during more independent operations with minimal or no escorts. As such, there is also a very real question about how realistic the proposal for two new standing, forward-based Littoral Strike Groups actually is for the United Kingdom, especially in light of economic concerns surrounding the impending departure of the country from the European Union. The service has already had difficulty keeping up the availability rates of these ships due to their advancing age and personnel shortages.
At the beginning of the s the Royal Navy was a force designed for the Cold War. The main .. The UK had plans to order FBs for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The financial crisis led to the decision taken in the Strategic. Buy Britain's Future Navy by Nick Childs (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.
Combined with the simple need for routine maintenance, all 13 of the ships are unlikely to be available for deployments at any one time. Without escorts permanently in place, it could be difficult for the United Kingdom to rapidly deploy the FLSS to anywhere but the most low-risk conflict areas around the globe.
This is not much of a concern for a special operations focused mothership, but it is for one tasked with traditional amphibious operations. A typical U. None of this will alleviate the issues of recruitment and retention of sailors to man these ships, either. Even with these issues to contend with, Williamson was right to note the demand for increased amphibious operations capacity in his speech at RUSI. The FLSS concept certainly could help fill in some capacity gaps, at least for certain operational requirements, even though going with a converted commercial ship design for the demanding amphibious operations mission set will inject higher operational risk.
Providing a proper surface combatant escort for these vessels will be key and that won't be easy considering the tasking and availability issues the Royal Navy already is dealing with in regards to its relatively small surface combatant fleet.
Still, letting these ships do some of the lower-end tasks might help free up the Albions, the Royal Navy's new carriers, and other ships for more demanding amphibious missions. When a major amphibious operation is necessary, these converted vessels can augment those vessels and other Royal Navy fighting ships as part of an overall task force that will come with plenty of escort firepower. But it remains to be seen whether the Royal Navy will have the other resources necessary to make the most of the added capabilities these new ships would have to offer.
Then again, there is probably just as much of a case for the Ministry of Defense investing in at least one of these unique vessels for special operations focused missions with amphibious support and disaster relief as secondary functions. The country has some of the finest capabilities in the world in this regard. Pushing those capabilities out to sea on a specially modified, but somewhat affordable mothership seems like an equally attractive proposition.
The War Zone. Royal Navy.
Photos Surface Of Elusive U. David Kozdron. Irving Shipbuilding. Crown Copyright.
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