HMS CHALLENGER - 'The Warship That Never Was'
Thin Pinstriped Line
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1w ago
The story of HMS CHALLENGER remains one of the most unusual of all post war Royal Navy vessels. Born in the late Cold War, she was in the eyes of the public a ‘white elephant’ commissioned and never operationally used and sold after just a few years’ service at the end of the Cold War. She was to the few public that had heard of her, ‘the Warship that never was’. But revealing files in the National Archives tell a story of a ship that was designed to fill a range of highly secretive intelligence support functions and clandestine espionage activity that, had she been successful, would have made ..read more
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Impact of Russian Diplomat Expulsions on Intelligence Operations
Thin Pinstriped Line
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1w ago
  The British Government has confirmed that it is expelling the Russian defence attache, reduce the length of diplomatic visa accreditation for diplomats and remove the diplomatic status of certain Russian Government sites in the UK. This is a significant move and one that reflects the deeply challenging state of Anglo-Russian relations. But why is it so significant and does it really matter? All governments who maintain diplomatic links with other nations will usually have a varied range of facilities at their disposal. There will be a main Embassy / High Commission building, potentially ..read more
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Royal Navy Classified Submarine Missions 1980 - 1994
Thin Pinstriped Line
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1w ago
  The National Archives in Kew is one of the world’s great repositories of information. Acting as the official archive for the British Government, its vast shelves and, literally miles, of storage containing information that in its day was often classified as TOP SECRET, but today is available for any member of the public to read. Kew is somewhere well worth a visit because it gives a chance to see papers handled by great political and military figures and hold them in your own hands, reading the files that tell the stories of how decisions were reached and policies enacted. It is also a ..read more
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Op KEYSTONE - The TOP SECRET Story of The Royal Navy & RAF Mission In the Barents Sea
Thin Pinstriped Line
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2w ago
  At around 2pm on Monday 5th November 1984, at the Phoenix Wharf in Rainham, a small port on the river Thames, an MOD delivery van from the Admiralty Research department at Portland drove up to the Russian merchant ship ‘Ikaterina Belashova’, a freighter owned and operated by the Soviet State Shipping Lines. It was unloaded, and a large crate weighing 1.5tonnes was hoisted aboard. The bill of lading simply stated that the cargo was ‘One Crate, Navigation Buoy’ and was being shipped from the MOD in London to Archangel in the USSR. Shortly afterwards the Belashova slipped her moorings, and ..read more
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Analysis on UK Defence Budget Increase
Thin Pinstriped Line
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3w ago
  The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak MP has announced a significant boost to the defence budget, confirming an additional £75bn spending on Defence over the next five years, ensuring that by 2030, the UK is spending 2.5% of GDP on defence. New defence spending is always to be welcomed, as it provides additional headroom to fund the many spending commitments that the MOD faces and helps reduce the likelihood of cuts being made.  This is, on the face of it, welcome news, but as always, the devil is in the detail. Given this, what is the immediate analysis on this news? The announc ..read more
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The Saga of Norway and the Type 26
Thin Pinstriped Line
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1M ago
  Media reports suggest that the Royal Norwegian Navy may purchase some Type 26 frigates from the UK as part of a wider increase in defence spending. Norway has decided to grow their defence budget and firmly committed sufficient spending to double it in coming years. This will enable the acquisition of additional frigates in the late 2020s and early 2030s to tackle the potential submarine threat from Russia. This is both good news and also poses an interesting challenge as the Royal Navy may be asked to sell one of the hulls under construction direct to Norway to ensure a vessel is in se ..read more
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First Impressions - Impact for UK of Iranian Strikes on Israel
Thin Pinstriped Line
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1M ago
  In a major escalation of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, Iran has launched a significant attack on Israel overnight from 14 – 15 April, firing some 300 drones and missiles towards Israel, of which 99% were shot down. This attack, launched in direct response to the targeting of the Iranian diplomatic facility in Damascus by Israeli forces, which killed several senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) personnel on April 1st. These strikes marked a significant escalation of the previously undeclared but quasi overt conflict between Israel and Iran and will have significan ..read more
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There Will Still Be No Fighting In the War Book (Part 2)
Thin Pinstriped Line
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1M ago
  In part one of this article we looked at the existence of the War Book and the levels of planning that the British Government went to during the Cold War to put in place appropriate measures to ensure the survival of the state. In this part we will look at the disbandment of those measures in the 1990s and the challenges facing Government in seeking to reintroduce them today. At the end of the Cold War British Civil Defence measures and the plans for transition to war were both extremely advanced and also utterly inadequate. On the one hand there had been almost 50 years of continuous r ..read more
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The Price of 'Global Britain' .
Thin Pinstriped Line
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2M ago
  The MOD is apparently the “Ministry of Debauchery” with overpaid and underworked ‘woke’ officials and senior officers gallivanting around the world to luxury hotels, spending hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money on jollies, while our brave boys suffer at home. That’s the latest diatribe from the Telegraph, whose ongoing crusade to fight the deep state forces of waste & woke, wherever they may lurk is now firmly fixed on that bastion of leftwing hippy nirvana that is (checks notes), the British Armed Forces… Alternatively there is perhaps more here than meets the eye? Ac ..read more
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Is The MOD Budget Really Growing? Arguably No.
Thin Pinstriped Line
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2M ago
  Here is a simple question with a very complicated answer. How big is the MOD defence budget for 2024/2025? Depending on which official HMG source you look at, it could be £48.6bn, £52.8bn, £55.6bn or £70bn. It’s a bit confusing to say the least, but its also important due to the growing row over whether defence spending will rise because of the latest budget in the UK. The MOD has stated that the budget is rising (although as noted its unclear by how much) while many commentators believe that it is falling. What on earth is going on? The author has spent many hours going through budget ..read more
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