Navy

First Sea Lord Promises 'Rich Decade' Ahead For Royal Navy Expansion

We talked to Admiral Tony Radakin about the Integrated Review and the Navy's role in the UK's future.

With the Integrated Review arriving and promising dramatic change across all of the British Military, we asked the Chief of the Royal Navy what the future will look like for the service.

With the Defence Command Paper being published on Monday, First Sea Lord (1SL) Tony Radakin told Forces News what changes to expect over the next decade.

As part of the Integrated Review, we've seen the Government lay out ambitions to expand the UK's global footprint and we asked the First Sea Lord how the Navy fits into those plans.

The Admiral said this is a very important time for the Navy as significant investment has been made within the service.

"You're seeing some of the investment now come to fruition with the first carrier strike deployment in a few months' time," he said.

"But we're also being invested in our other ships and submarines, so this is a rich decade where seven or eight different classes of ships and submarines are being built."

Anonymous sailors onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth during naming ceremony 040714 CREDIT MOD
Sailors onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth during naming ceremony (Picture: MOD)

Pointing to plans already in place to increase the Navy's tonnage by 50% from 2015 to 2030, 1SL Radakin said he believed this will allow the Navy to increase its presence in the Gulf and Indo-Pacific.

With Russia showing more interest in the Arctic and North Atlantic, the First Sea Lord said the Navy could have a bigger role there too.

"I think with this Secretary of State, he's been very clear to all of us as Chiefs, that we respond to the threats that are out there.

"For me, that is Russian activity in the North Atlantic greater than we've seen over the last 30 years and some of that reaches up into the high north.

"And then we're seeing the world changing with a northern sea route starting to open up over the next 20 years, which halves the time from Europe to Asia.

"So for us as a Navy, we've got to respond to that and we're doing that with our allies as part of NATO and looking to be able to operate further north and then also to be ready for when that northern sea route starts to open up."

The carrier strike group will also set sail for its first full deployment at the end of May, but the First Sea Lord said that those details are yet to be announced.