Royal Navy

Royal Navy
Logo of the Royal Navy.svg
Founded 1546; 471 years ago (1546) [1]
Country United Kingdom [nb 1]
Branch Her Majesty's Naval Service
Type Navy
Role Naval warfare
Size 33,280 Regular
3,040 Maritime Reserve
7,960 Royal Fleet Reserve [nb 2]
77 commissioned ships [nb 3]
174 aircraft [2]
Part of Ministry of Defence
Naval Staff Offices Whitehall, London, England, UK
Nickname(s) Senior Service
Motto(s) " Si vis pacem, para bellum" ( Latin)
"If you wish for peace, prepare for war"
Colours Red and white         
March " Heart of Oak" About this sound  Play 
Fleet 1 ship of the line
10 submarines
1 amphibious assault ship
2 amphibious transport docks
6 destroyers
13 frigates
4 offshore patrol vessels
15 mine countermeasures vessels
18 fast patrol boats
4 survey ships
1 icebreaker
1 static ship
Website royalnavy.mod.uk
Commanders
Lord High Admiral Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB
Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Ben Key CBE
Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE
Insignia
White Ensign [nb 4]
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Naval Jack [nb 5]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Pennant
Royal Navy commissioning pennant (with outline).svg
Aircraft flown
Attack Wildcat, F-35B Lightning II
Fighter F-35B Lightning II
Patrol Wildcat, Merlin, Sea King
Reconnaissance Wildcat, Merlin, ScanEagle
Trainer Tutor, Hawk
Transport Merlin, Dauphin

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

From the middle decades of the 17th century and through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and later with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century it was the world's most powerful navy until surpassed by the United States Navy during the Second World War. The Royal Navy played a key part in establishing the British Empire as the unmatched world power during the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries. Due to this historical prominence, it is common, even among non-Britons, to refer to it as "the Royal Navy" without qualification.

Following World War I, the Royal Navy was significantly reduced in size, [3] although at the onset of World War II it was still the world's largest. By the end of the war, however, the United States Navy had emerged as the world's largest. During the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines, mostly active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its focus has returned to expeditionary operations around the world and remains one of the world's foremost blue-water navies. [4] [5] [6] However, reductions in naval spending have led to the Royal Navy suffering from multiple problems during the 21st century, including a personnel shortage and a reduction in the number of warships. [7] [8] [9]

The Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships and submarines [10] including an amphibious assault ship, two amphibious transport docks, four ballistic missile submarines (which maintain the UK's nuclear deterrent), six nuclear fleet submarines, six guided missile destroyers, thirteen frigates, 15 mine-countermeasure vessels and 22 patrol vessels. As of 19 March 2016, there are 77 commissioned ships (including submarines) in the Royal Navy, plus 9 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA); there are also five Merchant Navy ships available to the RFA under a private finance initiative. The RFA replenishes Royal Navy warships at sea, and augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship vessels. It also works as a force multiplier for the Royal Navy, often doing patrols that frigates used to do. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is approximately 337,000 tonnes (603,000 tonnes including the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Marines).

The Royal Navy is part of Her Majesty's Naval Service, which also includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom. The Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy operates three bases in the United Kingdom where commissioned ships are based; Portsmouth, Clyde and Devonport, the last being the largest operational naval base in Western Europe.

Role

As the seabourne branch of HM Armed Forces, the RN has various roles. As it stands today, the RN states its 6 major roles as detailed below as umbrella terms.

  • Preventing Conflict - On a global and regional level
  • Providing Security At Sea - To ensure the stability of international trade at sea
  • International Partnerships - To help cement the relationship with the United Kingdom's allies (such as NATO)
  • Maintaining a Readiness To Fight - To protect the United Kingdom's interest across the globe
  • Protecting the Economy - To safe guard vital trade routes to guarantee the United Kingdom's and it's allies' economic prosperity at sea
  • Providing Humanitarian Aid - To deliver a fast and effective response to global catastrophes
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