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RN General FAQs

Questions

Why does the Navy need a world-wide capability?

What does the Navy do in peacetime?

How many people are there in the Royal Navy?

What is the role of NATO?

What is the role of maritime forces in the 21st Century?

Who actually manages the Royal Navy?

Why do we need Trident as a nuclear deterrent?

How do we manage health and safety in the Royal Navy?

What does the Defence Export Services Organisation do?

What is the Royal Navy's Environmental Strategy?

What was the RN's contribution to the 2003 Iraq conflict (Operation Telic)?

How has the Royal Navy prevented the trafficking of drugs?

Question: Why does the Navy need a world-wide capability?

Answer: The United Kingdom has 13 Overseas Territories and, in the last 15 years alone, the RN has provided direct and immediate support to 6 of them. In addition to this 10 million UK citizens live and work abroad, and the UK also has numerous treaty and other related obligations to provide support and security overseas. Our economy is founded on global trade and we depend on foreign countries for supplies of raw materials, above all oil. The United Kingdom has a responsibility, shared with others, to act as a force for good in the world, combating challenges such as drugs, terrorism and international crime.
A Navy capable of operating world-wide is a crucial element in protecting and securing these political and economic interests. See See Operations.

Question: What does the Navy do in peacetime?

Answer: In peacetime the Navy divides its time between peacetime activities and training for conflict. Peacetime activities include providing a naval presence in the Arabian Gulf, West Indies and South Atlantic, maintaining the national Nuclear Deterrent, Fishery Protection, Search & Rescue cover in UK regions. The Royal Navy is also involved in Defence Diplomacy. This involves visiting and developing contacts with countries that are not NATO members, particularly those in Eastern Europe. The aim of this is to dispel hostility, build or maintain trust and assist in the development of democratically accountable armed forces.
Naval forces also maintain operational capability to conduct a range of contingent tasks at defined readiness states including the allocation of naval forces to specified NATO and UN peacekeeping missions.

Question: How many people are there in the Royal Navy?

Answer: The Royal Navy numbers 37,500 people of which approximately 6,000 are in the Royal Marines.

Question: What is the role of NATO?

Answer: NATO has played a pivotal role in ending the adversarial relationship between East and West and is now responding to huge changes since the end of the Cold War. NATO aims are to:

  • Further adapt the Alliance's political and military structures and develop the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces
  • Reaffirm that the Alliance remains open to the membership of other European countries
  • Launch a major initiative through Partnership for Peace (PfP), inviting Partners to join in new political and military efforts to work alongside the Alliance
  • Intensify efforts against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery
  • Reaffirm commitment to the transatlantic link between Europe, the United States and Canada

Question: What is the role of maritime forces in the 21st Century?

Answer: Maritime forces are extremely flexible instruments of policy, ideally placed and configured to take on the wide range of tasks being generated in the post-Cold War world. This range of tasks extends far beyond the ability to provide traditional military action when required in support of government policy. The conduct of maritime "constabulary" operations, (ie maintaining law and order at sea), is an increasingly important role for navies, and the Royal Navy is widely respected for its experience and expertise in this field. While "military" and "constabulary" tasks involve the ability to deploy force, more general support for the maritime community through the mounting of "benign" operations will also prove to be a prominent role for navies in the coming century.

Question: Who actually manages the Royal Navy?

Answer: First Sea Lord (1SL) is the professional head of the Navy and is responsible to the Secretary of State for the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Service. 1SL exercises this responsibility through membership of the Admiralty Board and chairmanship of the Navy Board.

Question: Why do we need Trident as a nuclear deterrent?

Answer: The UK's independent nuclear deterrent, the 'Trident' force, provides the ultimate guarantee of national security. A credible nuclear deterrent depends upon the ability to threaten an assured and effective response to aggression. The Trident II D5 missile has a range of over 4,000 nautical miles and an accuracy, which can be measured in metres. Each missile is technically capable of delivering up to 12 warheads, enabling a number of different targets to be engaged, and each Vanguard class submarine has 16 missile tubes Along with the Vanguard class SSBNs Trident will help to maintain the effectiveness, invulnerability and credibility of the UK's independent Strategic deterrent well into the 21st century.

Question: How do we manage health and safety in the Royal Navy?

Answer: The Royal Navy is committed to effectively managing risks to the health safety of personnel ashore and afloat. This is achieved by identifying the wide-ranging hazards associated with Naval activity and analysing and controlling the associated risks. All parts of the Royal Navy organisation have a role to play in reducing or eliminating risk. Risk assessment training is carried out across the Royal Navy and is an essential element of an effective risk management strategy.

Question: What does the Defence Export Services Organisation do?

Answer: The mission of the Defence Export Services (not Sales) Organisation is to provide the British Defence Industry with 'the best possible government support for defence exports'. Defence exports are important to the nation in terms of assisting our balance of payments, but more specifically they help to ensure equipment costs for UK forces is reduced and the nation's essential technology base is secured.

Question: What is the Royal Navy's Environmental Strategy?

Answer: The Royal Navy is committed to achieving an environmentally friendly surface flotilla by around 2005. As far as possible, all personnel and employees comply with UK legislation, including international treaties and agreements to which HM Government is a signatory, regarding environmental protection. Crown or Defence exemptions from legislation are only be invoked where it is essential to maintain operational effectiveness. Protecting our Environment.

Question: What was the RN's contribution to the 2003 Iraq conflict (Operation Telic)?

Answer: The Royal Navy played a key role in Operation Telic deploying 3 Commando Brigade and 23 ships and submarines supported by 14 RFAs to the Gulf a total of some 8000 people.
HM ships HMS Ark Royal and HMS Ocean led the Amphibious task group with HM ships Liverpool, Edinburgh, York, Chatham, Marlborough and Richmond providing force protection. Six minesweepers were employed to clear routes to Umm Qasr in Southern Iraq to allow urgently needed humanitarian aid to be delivered. RFA tankers supported the RN ships and additionally 63 commercially chartered ships carried the bulk of the equipment required for the operation. HM submarines supported the coalition firing a number of Tomahawk Cruise missiles.

Question: How has the Royal Navy prevented the trafficking of drugs?

Answer: One Destroyer or Frigate Guardship is present in the Caribbean for much of the year. Much of the time on station is spent, working alongside the US Coastguard, on counter drug operations.