Navy Ships – Invincible-class aircraft carrier

The Invincible class is a class of light aircraft carrier operated by the British Royal Navy. Three ships were constructed, HMS Invincible, HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal. The vessels were built as aviation-capable anti-submarine warfare (ASW) platforms to counter the Cold War North Atlantic Soviet submarine threat, and initially embarked Sea Harrier aircraft and Sea King HAS.1 anti-submarine helicopters. With the cancellation of CVA-01, the three ships became the replacements for the Audacious and Centaur classes, and the Royal Navy’s sole class of aircraft carrier.

Invincible was decommissioned in 2005 and put in reserve in a low state of readiness. She was sold to a Turkish scrapyard in February 2011, and left Portsmouth under tow on 24 March 2011. Pursuant to the Strategic Defence and Security Review, 2010, Ark Royal followed, decommissioning on 13 March 2011. This leaves Illustrious as the sole remaining operational ship, serving as a helicopter carrier since 2011. The three vessels have seen service in a number of locations, including the South Atlantic during the Falklands War, the Adriatic during the Bosnian War, and in the Middle East for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

Navy Ships – Albion class landing platform dock

The Albion class landing platform dock (LPD) is the newest type of amphibious assault vessel in the Royal Navy. The class consists of two vessels, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, ordered in 1996 to replace the ageing Fearless class. Both ships were built by BAE Systems Marine at the former Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd yard in Barrow-in-Furness. Albion was commissioned in 2003 and Bulwarkin 2004.

Each of the ships has a crew of 325 and can accommodate up to 405 troops. Thirty-one large trucks and thirty-six smaller vehicles and main battle tanks can be carried inside the vehicle deck. To disembark troops and vehicles, the vessels are equipped with eight landing craft.

Robotics

Robotics is a branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots  and computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing, these systems can come in any shape and size depending on what you need them for. These technologies deal with automated machines that can take the place of humans, in hazardous or manufacturing processes, or simply just resemble humans. Many of today’s robots are inspired by nature contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics.

The concept and formation of machines that could operate freely dates back to classical times, but research into the functionality and potential uses of robots did not grow considerably until the 20th century. Throughout history, robotics has been often seen to mimic human behaviour, and often manages tasks in a similar fashion. Today, robotics is a rapidly growing field, as we continue to research, design, and build new robots that serve various practical purposes, whether domestically, commercially, or militarily. Many robots do jobs that are hazardous to people such as defusing bombs, exploring shipwrecks, and mines. The US has started researching into creating a type of robot that can work along side humans in the Armed Forces, by helping in the field.

What do you think of this new development and whether you believe it will work well?

Navy Ships – Assault ships

The four ships which form the core of the Royal Navy’s amphibious fleet are helicopter carriers HMS Illustrious and Ocean and assault ships HMS Albion and Bulwark – the latter is also Britain’s flagship. With the exception of Portsmouth-based Illustrious, the amphibious force – which deploys as part of the UK’s Response Force Task Group – is concentrated in Devonport, close to many of the Royal Marines’ assault and raiding units, and the commandos’ training centre in Lympstone.

 

 

 

Royal Navy Ships

In total there are 79 commissioned ships in the navy. 19 of the commissioned vessels are major surface combatants (6 guided missile destroyers and 13 frigates) and 11 are nuclear powered submarines (4 ballistic missile submarines and 7 fleet submarines). In addition the Navy possesses an aircraft carrier, a helicopter carrier and 2 landing platform docks.

The 19 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are not included in this list or above figures; additionally there are the minor vessels (tugs, etc) of the (now privatised) Marine Services, and training vessels based at the various shore establishments.

Stay tuned for more information on each of the ships….

ELC Funding

The MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELC) is an initiative to promote lifelong learning amongst members of the Armed Forces. The ELC scheme provides financial support in the form of a single up-front payment in each of a maximum of three separate financial years. You are reminded that ELC funding is only available for pursuit of higher level learning i.e. for courses that result in a nationally recognised qualification at Level three or above on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (England and Wales), a Level six or above on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) or, if pursued overseas, an approved international equivalent qualification.

As such you must ensure that you are able to demonstrate the level of the course to your Education Staff / Single Service Representative when asking them to authorise your claim.

There are several stages to the ELC process. Full information is set out in Joint Service Publications (JSP) 898 Part 4, Chapter 3 – The Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme: The Sponsorship of Service Personnel for Personal Development. Have a look at the claim procedure flow chart Annex A to the JSP.

  • First you must register to become a Scheme Member and accrue a sufficient amount of service before you can submit a claim
  • Then you must select a relevant course ensuring that it meets the higher level learning criteria (level three or above) and an Approved ELC Provider
  • Thirdly, you must complete and submit an ELC claim, approved by an authorised Education Staff if you are in service or your Single Service Representative if you are out of service.
  • Finally you must complete your Course Evaluation Form via the website. Further claims cannot be processed until evaluation forms are received for all previous courses (even those still underway).

The Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service (ELCAS) provide the administrative support for the ELC Scheme. Education Staff and Single Service Representative are responsible for approval of both ELC Application and Claims.

BFBS – British Forces Broadcasting Services

The Services Sound and Vision Corporation is a registered charity set up to entertain and inform Britain’s Armed Forces around the world. Its mission: To be the preferred provider of entertainment and information to Service personnel and their families worldwide.

Our work makes a considerable contribution to the maintenance of the efficiency and morale of the three Services. Our activities are carried out directly for the Ministry of Defence. Any profits are donated towards Forces’ welfare. The activities carried out by SSVC are:

  • BFBS Radio
  • BFBS Television
  • Combined Services Entertainment
  • SSVC Retail
  • SSVC Forces Cinemas
  • British Defence Film Library

RAF Structure: Part 4

Squadrons

A flying squadron is an aircraft unit which carries out the primary tasks of the RAF. RAF squadrons are somewhat analogous to the regiments of the British Army in that they have histories and traditions going back to their formation, regardless of where they are based, which aircraft they are operating, etc. They can be awarded standards and battle honors for meritorious service. Whilst every squadron is different, most flying squadrons are commanded by a wing commander and, for a fast-jet squadron, have an establishment of around 100 personnel and 12 aircraft.

The term squadron can be used to refer to a sub-unit of an administrative wing or small RAF station, e.g. Air Traffic Control Squadron, Personnel Management Squadron etc. There are also Ground Support Squadrons, e.g. No 2 (Mechanical Transport) Squadron which is located at RAF Wittering. Administrative squadrons are normally commanded by a squadron leader.

Flights

A flight is a sub-division of a squadron. Flying squadrons are often divided into two flights, e.g. “A” and “B”, each under the command of a squadron leader. Administrative squadrons on a station are also divided into flights and these flights are commanded by a junior officer, often a flight lieutenant.

Because of their small size, there are several flying units formed as flights rather than squadrons. For example No. 1435 Flight is based at RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands, maintaining air defense cover with four Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

RAF Structure: Part 3: Wings

A wing is either an operational sub-division of a group or an administrative sub-division of an RAF station.

Independent Wings are a grouping of two or more squadrons, either flying squadrons or ground support squadrons. In former times, numbered flying wings have existed, but recently they have been created only when required. For example during Operation Telic, Tornado GR4 wings were formed to operate from Ali Al Salem and Al Udeid air bases and the Tornado F3 equipped Leuchars Fighter Wing at Prince Sultan Air Base; each of these were made up of aircraft and crews from several squadrons.

On 31 March 2006, the RAF formed nine Expeditionary Air Wings (EAWs) in order to support operations. They were established at the nine main operating bases; RAF Coningsby, RAF Cottesmore, RAF Kinloss, RAF Leeming, RAF Leuchars, RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Lyneham, RAF Marham and RAF Waddington numbered Nos 121, 122, 325, 135, 125, 140, 38, 138 and 34 EAWs respectively. These units are commanded by a Group Captain who is also the parent unit’s Station Commander. The EAW comprises the non-formed unit elements of the station that are required to support a deployed operating base, i.e. the command and control, logistics and administration functions amongst others. They are designed to be flexible and quickly adaptable for differing operations. They are independent of flying squadrons, Air Combat Support Units (ACSU) and Air Combat Service Support Units (ACSSU) who are attached to the EAW depending on the task it has been assigned.

A wing is also an administrative sub-division of an RAF station. Historically, for a flying station these were normally Operations Wing, Engineering Wing and Administration Wing and each wing was commanded by an officer of wing commander rank. Early in the 21st century, the model changed, with Engineering Wing typically being split into Forward Support Wing and Depth Support Wing, while Administration Wing was redesignated Base Support Wing.