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Nimrod Replacement 2015

We are going to ask you to do something a little different for this video step. Towards the end of the sequence Ross and I discuss the decision of the 2010-15 coalition government to decommission the then current Nimrod maritime patrol fleet and scrap its replacement version. We were filming in November 2015, just before the 2015 Strategic Defence Review was published.

The 2015 Strategic Defence Review

We are going to ask you to do something a little different for this video step. Towards the end of the sequence Ross and I discuss the decision of the 2010-15 coalition government to decommission the then current Nimrod maritime patrol fleet and scrap its replacement version. We were filming in November 2015, just before the 2015 Strategic Defence Review was published.

Nimrod Replacement

We would like you to do some research (suggested reading is listed below) and share your findings and comments on the subject of a Nimrod replacement.

Your question is:

“What did the 2015 Strategic Defence Review recommend with regards a Nimrod replacement in the maritime reconnaissance and patrol role? Do you think it was the correct decision and why?”

Suggested reading

In the video itself we consider the following statements and questions:

  1. As an island nation and NATO member, maritime surveillance during the Cold War must have been a critical role performed by the RAF.
  2. The Nimrod replaced the Shackleton. How effective an aircraft was the Nimrod in its maritime patrol role?
  3. Since 2011 Britain has had no dedicated maritime patrol aircraft – was the decommissioning of the Nimrod without a replacement a mistake?

A Maritime Nation

Britain can accurately be described as a maritime nation. As nuclear missiles could now be launched from submarines, this incurred a new dimension by which Britain was threatened, and so advanced aircraft were required to monitor Britain’s surroundings. Also, once Britain’s nuclear deterrent was transferred to the Royal Navy; aircraft were needed to protect our own submarines. Through the need for maritime surveillance, came a very close working relationship between the Royal Navy and Air Force, and it was their ability to respond in unison that proved to be the greatest advantage.

In regards of the weaponry such aircraft carried, to deal with a potential submarine threat, the most common was the depth charge, which like a conventional bomb would be dropped by an aircraft, but through the water close to a submarine. A nuclear depth charge had the added nuclear warhead attached, also known as a ‘nuclear depth bomb’. The yield of these weapons ranged from 5 to 20 kilotons.

No Nimrod Replacement

The Nimrod was decommissioned in 2010, and nothing has since replaced it. This has caused broad discussions as to Britain’s vulnerability as a maritime nation. The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review, 2015 is a very long read if you were to look at the whole 96 page document, but small sections could prove very interesting, here are a few key extracts:

  • P.7. ‘We will buy nine new Maritime Patrol Aircraft, based in Scotland, to protect our nuclear deterrent, hunt down hostile submarines and enhance our maritime search and rescue’
  • p.24. ‘The Royal Air Force protects our airspace and is ready at all times to intercept rogue aircraft. The Royal Navy protects our waters, and deters terrorist and criminal activity. Our NATO Allies provide us with early warning of approaching ships and aircraft, or deal with them before they reach our territory or airspace, as we do for our Allies’
  • P.34. ‘The UK’s independent nuclear deterrent will remain essential to our security today, and for as long as the global security situation demands’… ‘We are committed to maintaining the minimum amount of destructive power needed to deter any aggressor. This requires us to ensure that our deterrent is not vulnerable to pre-emptive action by potential adversaries.’

Terms

Lockheed P-2 Neptune

  • Maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
  • Loaned from the United States throughout the 1950s.
  • We explored in an earlier step the move to the Shackleton and later the Nimrod aircraft.
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From World War to White Heat: the RAF in the Cold War

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