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Save the Royal Navy - Defence glossary
Category: Military and Defence > Royal Navy
Date & country: 14/12/2007, UK
Words: 26


Aircraft Carrier
Large flat-topped vessel that can carry aircraft and is the centrepiece of a navy task group. The RN currently has 2 active aircraft carriers (approx 22,000 tons)which carry a mix of vertical take-off Harriers and various helicopters. They are tiny compared to the conventional carriers of the US (approx 95,000 tons) or France which use catapults to…

Astue class submarines
New SSNs being built for the RN by BAe Systems at Barrow. Will probably be amongst the best submarines in the world when they are in service but delayed and expensive build programme has been a problem.

ASW
Common abreviation for Anti-submarine warfare

CIWS
Close In Weapon System. Last ditch defensive weapons for ships against aircraft, missiles, or even sucide bombers in speedboats. Vitally important equipment for any ship in a combat zone. Only automated radar/gattling gun combinations such as the Phalanx or Goalkeeper systems carried by most RN warships are effective against modern missiles. Other …

Destroyer
Traditionally larger than frigates (approx 4-5,000 tons) and usually more associated with air defence, the RN has 8 ageing Type 42 destroyers (Originally a 14 ship class of which HMS Sheffield and HMS Coventry were sunk in the Falklands war).

EH101 Merlin
large, sophisticated and rugged anti-submarine helicopter operated from some frigates, aircraft carriers and some RFAs. With only 44 of these valuable aircraft the RN is short on helicopter numbers.

Fleet Air Arm
The aviation arm of the RN. During its heyday in the 1950s, it numbered many squadrons of fighters, bombers, early warning aircraft and helicopters operating from aircraft carriers. Today it is a shadow of its former self, being a helicopter-only service. The last purely naval fixed-wing aircraft were decomissioned in March 2006.

Frigate
Small to medium sized surface escort ships (approx 4,000 tons) and general 'workhorses' of the fleet. Used to be primarily designed for anti-submarine warfare but are increasingly used in general purpose roles. The RN currently has a total of 17 frigates of in 2 types: Type 22 (batch 3) and Type 23

FSC
Future Surface Combatant. At present there is no design on the drawing board to replace the Type 22 and 23 frigates as they approach the end of their lives in 10-15 years time. The FSC is a vague concept of a modular ship design that can be configured for different mission requirements. The FSC could come in different variants

Harrier GR9
Vertical take-off (or rolling take-off from 'ski-ramp') fixed wing aircraft. Operated from the carriers although have been deployed on the ground in Afganistan recently. The Maritime Strike Wing is the RN element of the Joint Harrier Force based at RAF Cottesmore which operates GR9s. They are excellent for attacking ground targets but very limited …

HMS
Her majesty's ship

LPD
Landing Ship (Dock). The RN has 2 modern LPDs plus 4 new auxiliary LPDs operated by the RFA. Specialist ships designed to land troops on shore quickly using landing craft floated out from a dock in the stern of the ship.

LPD
Landing Ship (Helicopter). The RN has 1 LPH

Lynx MK8
Versitile and small helicopter operated from frigates and destroyers in general purpose role

MARS
Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability. The ridiculous acronym for the programme to replace ageing RFA fleet. May of the RFAs are in need of replacement, particularly the tankers which don't conform to modern double-hull safety standards. The MARS programme looks likely to falter as no money has been allocated to it. The RFA will probably have to…

MCMV
Mine Countermeasures Vessels. Combining mine hunting with mine disposal using sophisticated sonar, divers and remotely operated submersibles. The RN has 2 classes of 'plastic' MCMV

MoD
Ministry of Defence. Government civil service department responsible for the armed forces with a reputation for bureaucracy. Mismanagement of so many defence procurement projects must raise questions about the competence of the MoD. With an army of around 100,000 there is a civil servant for every 2 service personnel!

RFA
Royal Fleet Auxiliary. A vital service that provides support to the RN, allowing ships to stay at sea for extended periods by providing fuel, stores and ammunition. This is transferred at sea by helicopter (VERTRREP

RM
Royal Marines. the RN's soldiers, commando trained and amongst Britain's elite soldiers they are specialists in amphibious operations (landing from ships).

Sea Dart Missile
Medium range anti-aircraft missile carried by Type 42 destroyers. Effective against medium and high atitude targets but would struggle to cope with saturation attacks and has limited use against modern supersonic missiles. Based on 1970s technology its place will be taken by the PAAMS system as the Type 45s come into service.

Sea Wolf Missile
highly effective short-range system for defence against air or missile attack, carried by RN frigates only. Unfortunately not fitted to any other vessels due to budgetary constraints.

SSBN
Nuclear Powered and Nuclear armed submarines. The UK has 4 SSBNs that carry Trident inter-continental nuclear weapons, Based at Faslane in Scotland, one is always on patrol. Commissioned in the 1990s this government is loosely committed to their replacement, for which design and planning will have to start soon.

SSK
Conventional submarines. Usually powered by diesels on the surface which charge batteries that provide power for electric motors when submerged. The time they can stay submerged is limited to the power the batteries can hold. Recent developments in AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) mean some SSKs can stay submerged indefinitely. SSKs are smaller and…

SSN
Nuclear powered attack submarines. Designed primarily to destroy other submarines but are also very effective against surface ships and when carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles, can attack land targets. The number of RN SSNs has dwindled to 9 although they are excellent boats.

Tomahawk Missile
very accurate cruise missile that uses satellite naviagtion to hit land targets up to 1000 miles away from the point of launch. Currently only carried by RN submarines. As a short-sighted cost-saving measure this highly flexible weapon is not being fitted to the Type 45 destroyers.

Torpedo
The RN has 2 types of torpedo in service. The Sting Ray is a fast lightweight and manouverable torpedo designed to be dropped from helicopters and escort ships for use against submarines. The Spearfish is a heavyweight torpedo fired from submarines against ship or submarine targets.