Worrying reactor test results have prompted the Ministry of Defence to schedule an unexpected reactor replacement for the UK’s oldest nuclear-armed submarine, at a cost of £120 million. If forensic tests exacerbate these concerns, the financial costs of reactor replacement may not be the UK’s only worry.
China has unilaterally established a national fisheries zone in the international waters of the South China Sea, policed by a newly formed Coastguard. At first glance this seems as an attempt to de-militarise disputes in the region, when in fact it frees up the PLA Navy to pursue their blue water ambitions.
British maritime defence industrial manufacturing capabilities saw a historic transition with the Portsmouth naval yard losing out to Glasgow. This is an important milestone, but it is too simplistic to talk glibly about the resulting strategic shrinkage or the demise of British maritime strength.
Taiwan has had industrial financial viability problems with the construction of new minehunting vessels. These problems are indicative of the difficulties Taipei faces in its indigenous military modernisation efforts aimed at ameliorating its military inferiority vis-à-vis China.
Pictures of what appears to be a test installation of a naval railgun on a PLA Navy landing ship suggest China is moving forward with sea trials of a weapon which can threaten all Western surface assets. At the start of a huge ship-building plan, China is ideally placed to capitalise on this technology.