back to article Royal Navy destroyer leaves Middle East due to propeller problems

A Type 45 destroyer has been recalled to Britain with propeller problems, leaving the Royal Navy's traditional "east of Suez" deployment without proper warship cover. As revealed in The Times, HMS Diamond is on her way back to the UK after a propeller problem proved too much for the ship's crew to repair on their own. The …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    I knew it was a mistake

    To abandon sail

    Number of glorious victories over the foreigners won in the age of sail > age of gas turbine

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: I knew it was a mistake

      ...not to take out the Extended Warranty.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: I knew it was a mistake

      There was a young nudist from Belfast,

      Who liked travel by means that were long past.

      'til to his dismay,

      Whilst out sailing one day,

      His rowlocks got caught on the mast.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: I knew it was a mistake

      ..leaving the Royal Navy's traditional "east of Suez" deployment without proper warship cover.

      Upon my word. Are they really saying that the steamship passenger routes between Bombay and Suez are now unprotected by the Royal Navy? That is an absolute disgrace and I shall make my protest known at the highest levels of HM Admiralty, The Daily Telegraph and that sound Nigel Farage chappie as soon as possible.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: I knew it was a mistake

        Or rather the routes used by the gas carriers from Qatar to the U.K. Aren't being watched over.

        If that traffic were stopped we're in for a chilly winter here in Blighty.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I knew it was a mistake

          If that traffic were stopped we're in for a chilly winter here in Blighty.

          No problem - we have a reliable supply from that Putin chap

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: I knew it was a mistake

            No No No! You have a reliable supply of LNG from Centrica!

            The Polish Oil and Gas Company Group (PGNiG) has signed a five-year contract for LNG supply sourced from Sabine Pass LNG Terminal, USA, with Centrica LNG Company Limited (Centrica).

            And apparently the price is quite a bit higher than Poland would pay for Russian gas. But if you wondered what your old British Gas bills were funding, there's an answer. Expect new bill increases due to the 'rising cost of oil & gas'.

            But aside from that digression, like the article mentioned the destroyers and frigates are there to help protect the flow of commerce, because the UK & Europe relies on shipping for a lot more than just oil and gas. Like maybe spare parts for the Type 45. Which might get distrupted if we carry on doing the 'Axis of Evil' thing, have a go at Iran and they start mining the Gulf(s) and threatening shipping.. Which would be back to the good'ol days of the tanker wars. If there's a two-fer against both Iran and the Norks, there'd likely be some hazards to navigation. But at least this time, the Atlantic convoys should be relatively safe.

        2. Bryan Hall

          Re: I knew it was a mistake

          Pull the navy out of the middle east and just buy American gas. Problem solved.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: I knew it was a mistake

        and that sound Nigel Farage

        What sound? Hopefully the sound of pips squeezed..

    4. Steve 114
      Pirate

      Re: I knew it was a mistake

      My gg,,, grandfather commanded an RN ship which 'burned the pirates out of the gulf' using nothing but sail and cannon, and some impressive Marines. He got paid extra, to compensate for no valuable 'prizes' available for capture during the cruise. He is NOT 'turning in his grave' as it is in a nice green churchyard near Portsmouth, with his wife, and we've checked. But I can tell you he'd be VERY disappointed.

    5. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: I knew it was a mistake

      I guess that's what you call screwed!

  2. codejunky Silver badge

    Really!

    "The withdrawal of the destroyer reveals the wider problem that lack of funding, and all the knock-on effects that causes, has on the Royal Navy."

    This is where I do miss Lewis. I would expect to hear of the useless frigates, Euro-fighters, F35-B and 2 half arsed carriers sucking up the budget. I cant imagine he would be suggesting a lack of funding, only a lack of it going to the right things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really!

      Would it be followed by a Buy USA, then us being screwed over by the Yanks?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Really!

        @ Lost all faith...

        "Would it be followed by a Buy USA, then us being screwed over by the Yanks?"

        Yes and no. We buy what works and cheaper and with none of the stupidity that usually goes with our projects.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Really!

          Would it be followed by a Buy USA

          Thanksgiving over here on the left pond - to be followed tomorrow by insane buying frenzy friday.

          Apparently the big sale item this year is guns - expecting a Hilary victory the gun makers massively boosted stocks hoping for panic buying by patriots worried about the "guberment takin mah guns"

          One benefit of a Trump victory is that gun sales are way down - so lots of inventory - so lots of deals.

          Could be a good time for the defence secretary to pop over to Best Buy and stock up. I don't know who is doing the best door-crasher-deal on F35s

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Really!

      This is where I do miss Lewis

      He is biased. He would not give you the real option which "financially constrained" countries do when facing a budget shortfall and a numerically superior enemy.

      An example would be this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_22_missile_boat

      or this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantul-class_corvette

      And build a hell of a lot of them (develop the missiles for them too). Chinese have 80 or so Type 22s in active service at the moment. Russians have an even larger number of small corvette/missile boat/frigate class ships with comparable parameters (Taranntul is just one example - they have 5-7 classes of ship of that type in active service).

      The issue with the Royal navy is that it has delusions of grandeur and is attempting to build grand fleets for which it has no budget. Fleets centered around large capital ships to project POWER somewhere around the world. The result is that it has no fleets at all.

      All other European countries have gotten over that long ago - after WW2 and have evolved their naval power accordingly. If you look at your average German, Dutch, etc frigate or corvette it is armed to the teeth beyond what is carried by a small task force consisting of a British destroyer and a couple of frigates. They fit it in a half of the displacement or less and cost one quarter or less. No wonder that some defense publications refuse to class them as corvettes and frigates and try to class them as full destroyers (despite their measly 3k tons displacement).

      The reason for the difference is simple - as the Danish foreign minister said: "There are two types of countries in Europe: ones that are small and ones that are yet to realize it".

      It is about time UK realized that and adjusted its naval (and overall military strategy) to fit its budget and actual financial capabilities. If it does not, it is only a matter of time until one of the many local conflicts around the world will provide a very rude awakening.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Really!

        @ Voland's right hand

        "He is biased. He would not give you the real option which "financially constrained" countries do when facing a budget shortfall and a numerically superior enemy."

        Yes he is biased. He seems to acknowledge it too. An interesting amount of his book concerns the price paid by us vs others who made similar purchases. Interestingly his argument was to keep our budget but to have far more and far better. An interesting section of that being the SA80 which sucked until we gave it to others to solve and then it became tolerable. The machine gun apparently made a great low power sniper rifle but was almost incapable of being an LMG so the MOD blew the money and then had to buy what the americans use (because it worked) the Minimi.

        We have 2 aircraft carriers too short to launch aircraft from. They require vertical takeoff aircraft and so the aircraft are more expensive and harder to maintain. We have lots of higher up commanding officers who do not need to be there apparently. If we are so small why do we have so many paper pushers? Uniformed or not? Why do we insist on paying BAE to provide over budget and under spec equipment instead of buying what works? Why buy the eurofighter which sucks, then pay more to modify them in this country further to do a job they are not designed for? Why make our own cruise missile which is less capable and more expensive when there is one available to buy?

        "There are two types of countries in Europe: ones that are small and ones that are yet to realize it"

        I do agree with this. We dont need to waste money like the US, USSR or the EU. We can instead live within our means which can be aircraft carriers, a solid army, trident, better aircraft both combat and transport. Instead of buying Apache helicopters but not the software because we want jobs here (who couldnt do it anyway) we can instead buy what works and so put more money to the people fighting.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Less is more?

    There's a continual trend for fewer, more expensive defence assets. 12 Type 42 replaced by 6 Type 45, that sort of thing. The new things are bigger, and way more capable. But sadly, not capable enough to be 2 places at once. I've often wondered if more, shitter assets are the way to go.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Less is more?

      Or a compromise. Do we need state of the art warfighting ships to deter a group of Somali's armed with a couple of AK47's?

      Recent decades have shown us that we need to be able to fight, eg: the Falklands war, contribute to multilateral invasions of places like Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq*, protect shipping lanes, rescue smuggled people sinking in the Med, provide assistance to natural disasters, deter Russian aggression, etc.

      * I'm talking capability, not whether we should have done it or not

      A one-size fits all armed forces isn't going to fit all requirements.

      ( We also need to be able to invade France when the time comes. The time will come, obviously. )

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Less is more?

        "( We also need to be able to invade France when the time comes. The time will come, obviously. )"

        I'm rather hoping that they will invade us to restore order and get rid of a dysfunctional government post-Brexit, as the Dutch did in 1688.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Less is more?

          I'm rather hoping that they will invade us to restore order and get rid of a dysfunctional government post-Brexit, as the Dutch did in 1688.

          I think I'd rather prefer that it was the Norwegians and Danish like it was in the 900's (minus the looting, rape and pillage of course).

          Bring back Danelaw!

      2. Long John Brass Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Less is more?

        Do we need state of the art warfighting ships to deter a group of Somali's armed with a couple of AK47's?

        The UK govt could always ask the NZ govt for some help. We don't have much of a navy but have some pretty awesome rowboats. Maybe in exchange you guys could buy some of our lamb, butter etc?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Less is more?

          "The UK govt could always ask the NZ govt for some help."

          Wouldn't be the first time : In 1982 the RNZN picked up the duties of the Armilla Patrol, while the RN went to the South Atlantic.

        2. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

          Re: Less is more?

          We do buy your lamb.

          Strangely, it is usually cheaper in the UK than in NZ. Go figure.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Less is more?

        "Do we need state of the art warfighting ships to deter a group of Somali's armed with a couple of AK47's?"

        Of course we do. Those, AND a proper no-skimping-allowed (£hundreds of billions) next generation nukular deterrent. That's what proper deterrence is about.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb71YBLCqYU

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Less is more?

          Oh here we go. A "We don't need trident because of terrorism" nutcase.

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Less is more?

        We also need to be able to invade France when the time comes. The time will come, obviously

        Indeed. However, given how well it turned out last time[1] I suspect that the Scilly Isles might be a better target.

        [1] Won the military battle, lost the political process..

    2. NBCanuck

      Re: Less is more?

      Agree.

      I hope we don't have to face the lesson learned in the Arthur C. Clark short story "Superiority"

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superiority_(short_story)

      The reality of this happening today first reared its head to me years ago when I heard a story about a multi-million dollar jet taken down by a low-tech rocket launcher.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Less is more?

        "The reality of this happening today first reared its head to me years ago when I heard a story about a multi-million dollar jet taken down by a low-tech rocket launcher."

        Happened when the Royal Navy sank the Bismark too. High tech ship, sank by low-tech/WW1 aircraft.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Less is more?

          Calling a Swordfish a WW1 aircraft is slightly mean. While it was pretty much obsolescent by the time the war started it was designed in the 1930s and was reasonably state of the art when it first went into service. Given that there was top speed at which a torpedo could be dropped at, slow wasn't necessarily such a disadvantage. The US Dauntless monoplane was of a similar era, and looked more modern but didn't fare any better against fast WW2 monoplane fighters.

          1. James O'Shea Silver badge

            Re: Less is more?

            "Calling a Swordfish a WW1 aircraft is slightly mean. While it was pretty much obsolescent by the time the war started it was designed in the 1930s and was reasonably state of the art when it first went into service. Given that there was top speed at which a torpedo could be dropped at, slow wasn't necessarily such a disadvantage. The US Dauntless monoplane was of a similar era, and looked more modern but didn't fare any better against fast WW2 monoplane fighters."

            The Douglas SBD Dauntless did quite well. The Fairey Swordfish was the #1 killer, or at least wounder, of battleships in the Med and the Atlantic. At Taranto, Swordfish sank the Italian battlefleet, and Swordfish crippled Bismarck out in the Atlantic. The Dauntless was the #1 killer of carriers in the Pacific; they killed four carriers at Midway and hurt or finished off others later on. The Swordfish was replaced by first the Albacore, sort of a Swordfish with an enclosed cockpit.which was so bad that it was re-replaced by the Swordfish, and then by the Barracuda, The Dauntless was replaced by the SB2C Helldiver, the second Curtis design to be named 'Helldiver'. The first Helldiver, the SBC, a biplane, was quite popular. The second was not. The crews had all sorts of names for the SB2C, of which 'Big-Assed Beast' was the most complimentary. They wanted their SBDs back. (Note for those unfamiliar with USN terminology, u\which lasted until Congress forced them to use something less cryptic: 'SB' meant 'Scout Bomber', 'C' or 'D' was for the maker, Curtiss or Douglas, and a number would indicate how many designs that maker had had accepted. 'F4F' was a fighter, 4th design, by Grumman, as 'G' had been given to another vendor. This meant that the F4U Corsair fighter was the 4th fighter designed bu Chance-Vought; the FG was the same fighter, built by Goodyear to Chance-Vought designs.) The SBD Dauntless was slower than the SB2C Helldiver, wasn't as well armed, couldn't go as far, couldn't carry as big a bomb load... and was loved where the SB2C was at best tolerated.

            If you want an example of a monoplane of around the same vintage as the Swordfish which was less than a good fit for operations against significant fighter opposition, try another Fairey design, the Battle. Fairey Battles were slaughtered in France in 1940 and the survivors withdrawn from frontline service so fast there were sonic booms. The. Swordfish was still in service in 1945, as was the SBD, both for the same reason: their replacements, Barracudas and SB2Cs respectively, were too big and heavy to fly off small escort carriers. One of the last U-boats to be sunk in April 1945 was sunk by rocket fire from a Swordfish. SBDs launched from the escort carriers of Task Group 77.4 against Kurita's battleships off Samar in October 1944. Several were shot down while taking off, as they launched from inside of anti-aircraft gun range, the USN (by which I mean William F. 'Bull' Halsey) having screwed up really badly. The SBDs didn't have any bombs which could damage battleships, as escort carriers where supposed to keep subs away from the rest of the fleet, and Task Force 77 was MacArthur's Navy, there to support Dugout Doug on the shore, so all the bombs on the carriers were for anti-sub or close air support, not ship-killing. They couldn't do much against battleships, including Yamato, the biggest battleship ever, but they tried.

            1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: Less is more? -@James O'Shea

              That's the kind of superior geek post that keeps me visiting the Reg.

              The Swordfish is one of those things that looks bad on paper but, in the complexity of real world conditions, is more successful than you'd think. A lot of our present military kit seems to be the exact reverse.

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: Less is more? -@James O'Shea

                A lot of our present military kit seems to be the exact reverse.

                Hence Heinleins' comment about someone in a high-tech war outfit being finished off by being bashed over the head by a caveman while high-tech guy is trying to read the status indicators on their battlesuit..

            2. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: Less is more?

              'The Fairey Swordfish was the #1 killer, or at least wounder, of battleships in the Med and the Atlantic.'

              I also suspect, although it's hard to get exact figures, that the Swordfish was the most successful aircraft of the war in terms of tonnage of shipping sunk. Certainly 830 NAS alone, operating out of Malta, claimed in excess of 400,000 tonnes of shipping sunk by 1942.

              1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

                Re: Less is more?

                I also suspect, although it's hard to get exact figures, that the Swordfish was the most successful aircraft

                No, the Dauntless clocked more (as a dive bomber). Also, the Junkers based in Norway clocked quite a lot of tonnage against allied convoys. Probably less than the Dauntless or the Swordfish though.

          2. hammarbtyp Silver badge

            Re: Less is more?

            A.k.a Swordfish

            There is a lot of guff talked about with the Swordfish. Yes it had some early successes, but they were only in situations where there was little or no air cover. In situations where they came up against ships covered by an air force, they were pretty well decimated as seen by the Channel dash in 1942.

            Those early successes and the fact that Germany had no maritime aviation of their own hid the major deficiencies we came apparent later. The truth was the Fleet Arm was poorly equipped with poor aircraft, until basically the end of the war when they started buying US kit like the Corsair.

            This is often the way with British forces, who like to pretend that any equipment deficiencies and shortages can be made up with enough supposedly superior training and 'British' grit, when in fact that will only get you so far, and eventually will find you out.

        2. Snapper

          Re: Less is more?

          I see your point, but it wasn't actually sunk by the Swordfish aircraft and their torpedoes, it had it's rudder badly damaged and this fact enabled quite a few of the warships we had then (probably far more than we have now in total), to surround the Bismark and THEY sank her.

          The detail, as always, is far more relevant. Think about it.

        3. John 98

          Re: Less is more?

          The radar on it was not low tech. The Swordfish was regularly sinking ships at night in 1941 - in 1942 the US navy had to admit it had no torpedo bomber which could sink anything in daylight, never mind at night.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Less is more?

      "There's a continual trend for fewer, more expensive defence assets."

      they're probably looking at a number of conflicting issues, political as well as economic, as to why to do it 'that way'. But they're "not wrong" in the approach they've taken [just not IDEAL I would guess].

      I prefer the "more of the less expensive variety" approach, though. It tends to suffer losses with a greater chance of rapid recovery, like the way things were in WW2, ya know?

      Back in WW2, US and UK produced a great deal of fighter aircraft (like P-51s with Merlin engines in them) that were significantly LESS advanced that ME-262s. But the ME-262 was expensive and hard to build.

      End result: overwhelming numbers with "good" but not "great" tech WON THE WAR over the "superior" tech. Obligatory reference to Arthur C. Clarke's "Superiority".

      Now fast forward to the 21st century, and potential for "see I told you so" by Arthur C. Clarke...

      1. There _IS_ a need to develop new tech. You need at least SOME 'bleeding edge' war machines.

      2. There are ALWAYS problems when you're on the bleeding edge of tech, and fixing a ship usually involves more than just calling out for a repair tech (think drydock).

      3. There should ALSO be a fallback of "traditional tech" you CAN rely on. So rather than sinking the entire budget into a brand new class of ships, you should be upgrading the old ones, too.

      4. There's an implied need to balance the financial, personnel, and political implications of "all of that"

      Back in the 80's I was on a 688-class sub. We had a "fix" for the main engines, that was later "fixed better". We had a 'workaround' for a problem with the shaft and bearings that was eventually "fixed properly". We changed propellers 3 times in the short time I was on the sub (~4 years). Each of those 'fixes' required a month or two in a shipyard drydock. Those are expensive and limited resources. but it DOES reflect the effect of 'bleeding edge' tech, since the 688 class submarine had only been around for a few years at that point.

      Since then, there have been a LOT of 688 class submarines, which ultimately led to 2 newer classes [the most recent of which seems to be designee for lower cost and high reliability].

      Anyway, I expect the Royal Navy has this *kind* of thing in mind and, unfortunately, it might mean some down time for their ships while problems are ironed out. So, for now, some 20+ year old U.S. frigate will probably remain 'on station' while it's getting fixed...

      /me notes that LESS spending on Austerity, and MORE spending on military, means that you buy something that's made in the UK, meaning jobs instead of 'need for austerity', and you ultimately get "a ship" instead of "more hands out begging for more money". You get what you pay for, ya know?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Less is more?

        "MORE spending on military, means that you buy something that's made in the UK, meaning jobs instead of 'need for austerity', and you ultimately get "a ship" instead of "more hands out begging for more money". You get what you pay for, ya know?"

        The numbers in recent years don't support you, though sadly I don't have references to hand.

        However:

        * BAe Systems is a US company. Check the annual report and see where the revenue, profits, and employees are these days.

        * At sites like Warton in Lancashire, many projects had significant numbers of staff imported from the USA, and/or significant quantities of equipment imported from US companies (Boeing, Raytheon, etc). Ask people who used to know the site (it's a shadow of its former self).

        * In terms of cost per high-skill job supported, there are *much* better ways of supporting UK jobs than spending them with military/arms companies. It's been that way for years too, see e.g. the Lucas Aerospace Alternative Corporate Plan in the 1970s:

        "Forty years on, the products put forward by the Combine in their worker’s plan are now mainstream. Two examples (there are numerous others) of this are the production of hybrid power packs by most vehicle manufacturers and the contribution wind turbines, both onshore and offshore, make to our renewable energy needs.

        Meanwhile Lucas Aerospace, as a company in its own right, no longer exists, parts of it having been sold off, while other parts no longer exist. Like other UK-based manufacturing companies, Lucas Aerospace was a victim of poor, unaccountable management, and a sad lack of successive governments’ industrial strategy." from

        http://lucasplan.org.uk/story-of-the-lucas-plan/

  4. TRT Silver badge

    Propellor problems?

    They're screwed.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Propellor problems?

      There is no mention in the article about whether the vessel is returning under its own power or is having to be towed; I suspect the former, in which case the problem cannot be too serious, at least not yet. The latter would simply be too humiliating for words.

      Cavitation damage, I wonder...

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Propellor problems?

        Oh yes, I can imagine it now... Captain calls over to the harbourmaster... "Oi, mate! Can I have a tug?"

        1. Nolveys Silver badge

          Re: Propellor problems?

          "Oi, mate! Can I have a tug?"

          With the prop broken this is clearly a case of seamen having flow issues.

        2. Scroticus Canis
          Pirate

          Re: Captain calls over to the harbourmaster...

          Would that be Harbour Master Bates then?

        3. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Propellor problems?

          "Captain calls over to the harbourmaster... 'Oi, mate! Can I have a tug?'"

          The U.S. Navy has what they call "Sea-going Tugs" (I expect the Royal Navy has them, too).

          When I was on a sub (back in the 80's), we tied up outboard of a sea-going tug in the Hong Kong harbor. Not only did the tug have better anchors than a sub does, they could also run their fresh-water evaporators in the harbor [regulations kept us from running ours on the sub] for showers and other non-essential water usage. We had to run the reactor for electricity, though, and so it kept a good portion of the crew on the sub for half the time we were there (engine room crew was basically 'split in half' so that we could spend at least SOME time in town). I still had a good amount of time to tour around town and visit the 'China Fleet Club' though... so it worked out pretty well.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Propellor problems?

        not so good vibrations....

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Propellor problems?

        Cavitation damage, I wonder...

        Too many sweeties perhaps? And not brushing regulary?

        (Yes, yes, I know that cavitation is bubble-erosion caused by incorrect design.. surely the RN can design a propeller properly though?)

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Propellor problems?

          surely the RN can design a propeller properly though?

          Er... I think you'll find that Bae Systems did the design.

          And stop calling me Shirley.

          On a more serious note IIRC cavitation can arise if the propellor is turned faster than its maximum design speed, and that might be temperature dependent.

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Propellor problems?

        "Cavitation damage, I wonder..."

        it might also be related to sound signatures. A ship with a definite 'lope" in its propeller sound signature can easily be tracked from a very very long distance away [by a sub with passive sonar, for example].

        Such a problem could also be caused by damage, like part of a blade snapping off, and/or significant fouling by 'something' from fishing nets to floating debris, or one too many RPGs fired at it from small boats filled with ISIS and/or terrorist types...

        "Oops, the towed sonar device's cable got stuck in the screw, fouled it up, and caused some damage" or "we ran over a whale and it damaged one of the screws".

        that kind of thing

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Propellor problems?

          @ bombastic bob: ...it might also be related to sound signatures. A ship with a definite 'lope" in its propeller sound signature can easily be tracked from a very very long distance away

          True, but in this case arguably academic. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/05/british-warships-noisy-russian-submarines-can-hear-100-miles/ for more details. A bit of additional noise from a defective propeller might not make that much difference.

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Propellor problems?

      "They're screwed"

      Only a complete anchor would make puns in a situation like this...

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Propellor problems?

        No one told the contractors is shouldn't be water soluble; about 40% will have fizzed away by the time they reach dock.

  5. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Coat

    Navy Lark Questions (@TRT -:you beat me to it again)

    A propeller problem? Don't we call that a 'screw' up in Navyspeak?

    What can go wrong with a screw? Is it loose on the shaft?

    Blades fell off? It fell off?

    And the crew are unable to repair it? Am I missing something?

    1. DailyLlama

      Re: Navy Lark Questions (@TRT -:you beat me to it again)

      Perhaps it only turns to starboard to counteract Lt Philips' "left hand down a bit" commands...

    2. Sven Coenye
      Coat

      Re: Navy Lark Questions (@TRT -:you beat me to it again)

      What is missing is probably the correct size Allen wrench for the set screw.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Navy Lark Questions (@TRT -:you beat me to it again)

        <correct size Allen wrench^W^W big hammer[1] for</i>

        FTFY.

        [1] If at first you don't succeed, use a bigger hammer..

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Navy Lark Questions (@TRT -:you beat me to it again)

      "And the crew are unable to repair it? Am I missing something?"

      that's why I'm thinking it's some kind of damage that they don't want disclosed. ran over a whale, fouled it up with a classified sonar device that's towed behind the ship on a cable, or they got hit with one too many RPGs, yotta yotta. (or a design flaw for that matter).

      I could tell a 30+ year old submarine sea story about a fouled screw and how we realized it was like that, and why it happened, but I probably shouldn't...

  6. adam payne Silver badge

    It seems to me that they Royal Navy go from one balls up to another.

    Why are we paying through the nose for ships and other equipment that doesn't work.

    1. David Webb

      Why? Because it keeps voters who may or may not swing an election in your favour sweet. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for keeping the ship builders in work whilst they built the new carrier crafts which will be at sea 50% of the time, making sure we keep the skills of people who can build aircraft carriers for us is vitally important! Just a shame we lost the skills of the people to actually deploy the bloody thing.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        making sure we keep the skills of people who can build aircraft carriers for us is vitally important!

        It is only vitally important if you want to build aircraft carriers in the future.

        Which you don't. And can't anyway.

        And man, the new ones are not even nuclear-powered. How ghetto can you get before giving up?

    2. Lusty Silver badge

      "Royal Navy go from one balls up to another"

      She's still under command and not aground, it's not a "balls up" situation. In fact, I see no reason for any day shapes to be displayed on her return journey ;)

      1. Matthew Glubb

        Restricted Ability to Maneuver

        They may possibly be showing Ball Diamond Ball.

  7. kmac499

    If the crew cannae fix it captain; I'm guessing it's a variable pitch prop that doesn't vary anymore.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      a variable pitch prop that doesn't vary anymore

      Military science - constants aren't and variables won't..

  8. Terry 6 Silver badge

    My guess

    The part is in a sealed unit that so that the ship has to be sent back to the manufacturer for a replacement.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: My guess

      If it's anything like my car the first thing is a "diagnostic test" to tell you in detail what is wrong, and that costs a small fortune itself. Then you have to book the vehicle in again for the work to be done.

      Once they've got the part...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My guess

    No - the contract probably specified that propeller repair would happen in Geneva, engines are taken out and repaired in Bolivia.

    1. John 98

      Re: My guess

      I doubt it's Bolivia - too near the ocean and less chance to screw the taxpayer.

  10. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Manning

    The main problem is manning. The 2010 SDSR set a manning level for the navy which for some reason* bore no relation to the manpower required to utilise the number of ships. Consequently where in the past another vessel could have been deployed to take up the slack they are instead sitting alongside for an extended period before going into refit.

    I'd also say the propeller being damaged may have nothing to do with a technical fault, it may just have hit something, or got something caught round it which damaged a seal. Frustrating though it is not being able to instantly blame BAE.

    *money and Cameron being an arse**.

    **Allegedly he wasn't prepared to endure the outcry if Army regiments were cut so the majority of manpower cuts were applied to the other two services.

  11. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    Interesting article

    Props to El Reg.

    What?

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Sand I guess.

    No one expects sand in the Middle East. Gets us every time.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Sand I guess.

      Indeed. The real reason for the Iran/US conflict is the way that the Iranians successfully deployed low-tech sand against high-tech US helicopters. Defense contractors have never forgiven them.

      1. Semtex451 Silver badge

        Re: Sand I guess.

        Iran/US conflict? Did I miss another war?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Sand I guess.

          Iran/US conflict? Did I miss another war?

          Give it time mate, give it time. The orange baboon will order an invasion to distract from his disasterous tenure as Gibbon-in-chief..

          1. unwarranted triumphalism

            Re: Sand I guess.

            Hillary would have pressed the button by now. Maybe just out of curiosity.

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Sand I guess.

          "Iran/US conflict? Did I miss another war?"

          No, you missed the dictionary definition of conflict. War is not required. Sabre rattling on both sides is sufficient.

          1. Semtex451 Silver badge

            Re: Sand I guess.

            @ Voyna i Mor - "The real reason for the Iran/US conflict is the way that the Iranians successfully deployed low-tech sand against high-tech US helicopters. Defense contractors have never forgiven them."

            Now if you'd said Iraq it would have made more sense.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Sand I guess.

      No one expects sand in the Middle East. Gets us every time.

      Yes, the spice factories keep breaking down.

  13. Brian Allan 1

    Sad! The Royal Navy was ONCE the envy of all global powers; no longer!!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      "No longer" since around 1950.

      I wonder whether the BBC is having lafs at this, as it did with the too-old Russian smoke-belching Puntinesque aircraft carrier that had to be shadowed while impudently transiting the Channel like a Nazi in the night?

  14. mhenriday
    WTF?

    Provocative and cheeky

    «Without a proper destroyer (anti-air) or frigate (anti-submarine) on the scene, the five British naval vessels in the region are at increased risk of, if not an outright attack, something provocative and cheeky – such as when Iran snatched a boat containing more than a dozen British sailors.» Of course, the provocative and cheeky act committed 10 years ago was not 15 personnel from HMS Cornwall searching a merchant vessel off Iran's coast, but rather Iranian forces taking them captive for intruding, as was claimed, intruding on Iranian waters. Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi....

    Henri

  15. unwarranted triumphalism

    Another mess inherited from Labour

    And as usual it's up to the Conservatives to clean it up. Don't forget that if Labout had had their way this country would be left defenceless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another mess inherited from Labour

      "if Labout had had their way this country would be left defenceless."

      The conservatives are allegedly in charge, and right now it seems likely the UK couldn't win a fight outside a pub on a saturday night, let alone something more significant.

      The budgets for stuff that matters (trained people, usable tools, etc) have been wasted on big boys toys which are massively overpriced and massively ineffective (just as BoJo's water cannons in London would have been, and now look where he is). Oh yeah, we've also spent a little bit on "supporting" arms sales in the Middle East, arms sales which were about to be the subject of criminal investigations, till Tony Blair (Thatcher's greatest legacy, remember?) personally intervened, perhaps because his faith (in big money, not in the Bible) told him to.

      Let's leave it to the markets, eh? Outsource it all to G4S, eh? They did so well in 2012 with the security for the Olympics. What could possibly go

  16. Dave 15

    Dust off the old plans

    Build half a dozen Invincible style carriers and a 40 or so Harriers each, add to that a few of the type 21s and you know we wold have a cheap but decent navy/

    You could also dust off the plans for Hermes, then if we put the catapults and arrestor wires we can fly 'normal' jets on and off - like the old Buccaneer (after all Hermes did before they messed around with the ski jump thing.

  17. d2

    'Lore of the Sea'

    Methinks, 'tis better to be a limey stuck on the briney, than to be a dozey yank on a destroyer menacing all in its path: http://www.oldsaltblog.com/?s=us+navy+collisions

    http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2017/08/met-enemy-us-will-navy-learn-tragic-collisions/

    http://www.oldsaltblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/fitz2.jpg

    We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us — Will the Navy Learn From Tragic Collisions?

    Posted on August 29, 2017 by Rick Spilman

    Two high tech guided missile destroyers charged with protecting the fleet from incoming missiles somehow failed to avoid collision with two slow-speed commercial vessels. Tragically, seventeen sailors died in the collisions. Some immediately blamed cyber-hacking,  although a Navy investigation has turned up zero evidence to support the claim.  Now, the focus is on more prosaic and avoidable causes — inadequate training, sleep deprivation, and poor ship management.

    The Navy Times put it simply —

    “Maybe today’s Navy is just not very good at driving ships.”

    They write: “The problem is years in the making. Now, the current generation of officers rising into command-level billets lacks the skills, training, education, and experience needed to operate effectively and safely at sea, according to current and former officers interviewed by Navy Times.” ..

    more:

    http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2017/09/us-navy-turns-ais-useful-tool-band-aid/

    US Navy Turns on AIS — Useful Tool, Band-aid, or Both?

    Posted on September 22, 2017 by Rick Spilman

    Following the recent collisions between US Navy destroyers and merchant ships, various internet sites posted the AIS tracks of the collisions. Well, they posted half the AIS tracks anyway.  The merchant ships used AIS while the Navy did not...

    http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2017/11/us-navy-can-never-say-no-culture-promote-accidents/

    Does US Navy Can-Do, Never-Say-No Culture Promote Accidents?

    Posted on November 13, 2017 by Rick Spilman

    The US Navy has rightfully been undertaking a considerable review and revaluation of the problems that led to the recent ship collisions between the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain with commercial vessels, resulting in the deaths of  17 sailors. …

    http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2017/08/destroyer-uss-john-s-mccain-collides-tanker-10-missing-5-injured/

    Destroyer USS John S. McCain Collides with Tanker — 10 Missing, 5 Injured

    Posted on August 21, 2017 by Rick Spilman

    In the second major collision between a US Navy destroyer and a merchant ship in the last three months, the USS John S. McCain was damaged in a collision with a tanker near Singapore. Five sailors were injured and 10 are missing. …

    http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2017/06/uss-fitzgerald-fault-commentary-gcaptains-john-konrad/

    The USS Fitzgerald Is At Fault. This Is Why — Commentary by gCaptain’s John Konrad

    Posted on June 20, 2017 by Rick Spilman

    gCaptain’s Captain John Konrad has a excellent post today that describes in detail why he believes that the destroyerUSS Fitzgerald was at fault in its recent collision with the container ship ACX Crystal.  He suggests a simple rule for avoiding collisions with Navy warships is missing: “If it’s grey stay away.”

    Konrad details the likely communications failures on the Fitzgerald, which are endemic on most Navy ships. He also describes the difference in training and focus of the merchant versus the naval captain, as well as the resources available to and responsibilities of each. And, no, he does not argue that the USS Fitzgerald was solely at fault. As he points out, “Under COLREGS, whenever two ships touch each other, both ships are to blame.”

    more:

    https://gcaptain.com/uss-fitzgerald-fault/

    The USS Fitzgerald Is At Fault. This Is Why  ...

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