RN to trim UAVs, but will at least keep the boomers
It looks like the Brits will keep their SSBN fleet for another generation with MPs voting overwhelmingly in favor of renewing their aging Trident submarine fleet by 471 to 117. Opponents to the renewal of the Faslane, Scotland-based subs came from the Scottish National Party (SNP) and parts of the Labour Party, however new PM Theresa May stressed lawmakers to back Trident, not only to protect Britain from growing threats from Russia and North Korea, but also to protect thousands of jobs in Scotland and elsewhere post-Brexit.
The Brits, along with former WWII Big Five countries U.S., Russia, France and China, are the only operators of SSBNs, and the only other country besides the U.S. to operate Trident SLBMs (D5 variants) from their four 15,900-ton Vanguard -class submarines.
Meanwhile, maritime surveillance capabilities of the British Royal Navy are to experience a setback in 2017 due to budget constraints. Janes has it that the ScanEagle UAS will leave RN service, without being replaced, in November 2017.
Since 2014, ScanEagle flights have operated from the Type 23 frigates HMS Somerset, HMS Northumberland, HMS Kent, HMS Richmond, and HMS St Albans, with HMS Portland now deploying. As well as using the UAS in primary ISR and overwatch roles, the RN has also conducted tactical development to explore the utility of ScanEagle for other tasks such as covert surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, naval gunfire support spotting, and support to Harpoon missile surface engagements.
But don’t worry, the RM is now opening combat roles to females, so there is that.