View Full Version : A quick look at the RN....

19 Jun 05,, 03:58
it is a navy that has a very convoluted force structure history. It has seen many war built ships go into reserve, come back out of reserve, be modernised or upgraded and designations changed. Sources often conflict so getting an accurate snapshot at a specific time can be difficult. But here goes for the surface combatants ie Cruisers/Destroyers/frigates:



12 6" gunned


8 Daring class
8 Battle class( seven more recommissioned 1957-1958 to replace three decommissioned and replace the four Weapon class being converted to radar picket ships)
4 Weapon class
12 C class( 8 more being modernized eventually replacing a like # of the existing ships)


2 Whitby new-build(Destroyer sized, slower and optomised for ASW)
5 Blackwood new-build(Small, austere ASW escorts)
32 War-built destoyer-conversions to ASW escorts-22 expensive but very capable escorts plus 10 limited capability escorts
33 approximate War-built escorts mostly of the Black Swan, Loch and Bay classes

Total 116

The 1960's saw great changes plus great reductions in the force structure.



2 Tiger class 6" gunned and converted to carry four helos


8 County class DDG


25 Leanders(These ships later saw some being modified to carry the Ikara ASW system, Seawolf missle system, Exocet AShm missles, larger helo plus newer radars and sonars. It is an exhausting list of modifcations or none at all to various ships .)
9 Rothesay class
1 Whitby class

The above ship classes share the same basic hull. The main difference was the Leanders added a helo and Seacat point defense AAW missles. These changes were back-fiited into the Rothesay class.

7 Tribal class
3 Leopard class
3 Salisbury class

Total 58

During the next 30 years down-sizing continued:



11 Type 42 class DDG


16 Type 23 class
4 Type 22 class

Total 31

And yet still more reductions:



8 Type 42 class DDG


13 Type 23 class
4 Type 22 class

Total 25

Ill fill in some of the blanks with a little analysis later.

Questions, corrections or comments always welcome.

19 Jun 05,, 15:09
From 1957 to 1963 all the existing 6" gunned cruisers were decommissioned and one class completed:

3 Tiger(which were paid off one each in 1963, 1964 & 1965)

Two of the above were converted to carry helos one recommissioning in 1969 and the other 1972.

Most of the destroyers were paid off during the 1960s the last Cavalier being the last in 1972 with one new class built:

8 County class DDG(two for each Carrier in-service)

The UK had a committent to NATO to maintain aforce of 70 frigates in 1956 as you can see this was the case. The 1960's saw a slow draw-down of this committment.

All the war-built escorts and 1950's destroyer conversions were slowly paid off as the new classes were built:

12 Blackwood(also gone by 1970)
6 Whitby(suffered the same fate in the early 1970's)
4 Leopard
4 Salisbury
9 Rothesay
7 Tribal
26 Leanders

In the 1970s new replacement programs were put in place:

8 Amazon class to replace the 8 ships pf the Leopard/Salisbury classes

14 Type 42 DDG to replace the County DDG and Tribal class frigates

14 Type 22 frigates to replace the Rothesay class plus four to replace two of the Amazon class and two of the Sheffield class lost in the Falklands War.

More later!!!!

19 Jun 05,, 16:50
The Leanders and eventually the Amazon class were to be replaced by a combination of Type 22 & Type 23 frigates.

The RN had hoped to maintain a nominal force of:

14 DDGs Type 42 then replaced by Type 45

26 Type 22 frigates

24 Type 23 frigates

Which was the # of surface combatants extant 1970. As we see this was not to be. Its interesting to note that first 9 Loch class war-built frigates then the 7 Tribal frigates were dual-hatted to be included in the NATO committment plus fill the requirement for duty in the Persian Gulf.

With the reduction in the comittment to 50 frigates for NATO the UK folded the latter requirement nominally into the Type 42 buy. As both Type 22 and 23 frigates have operated in the Persian Gulf operating area.


In the early 50's and the Korean War the six small carriers of the Collossus class were the work horses including as troop transports and trials ships.

Illustrious, Implacable, and Indefatigable served in various training and trials role.

Indomitable served as a Home Fleet carrier.

As first the Eagle large carrier(1952) then the three Centaur class intermediate carriers(1953-1954) and finally the large carrier Ark Royal (1955) came into service the four "I" carriers paid off by 1954. Bulwark was the "flying training" ship in 1956.

So the UK seemed by all appearance to have four Carriers operational requiring two cruiser type ships each. Thus building the 8 County AAW ships.

Of the six Collossus:

Warrior continued as trials ship until used as a HQ ship for the nuclear test program in 1957 then sold to Argentina in 1958.

Ocean and Theseus converted to helo-assault ships during 1954 retiring in 1958.

Vengeance lent to Austrailia in 1952.

Triumph served as a training ship from 1953 until undergoing conversion that lasted for seven years into a repair ship then laid-up.

Glory into reserve 1956.

With the recommissioning of the re-built Victorious in 1958 and the much modified Hermes originally of the Centaur class two of the Centaur class Bulwark(1959) and Albion(1961) were converted to helo-assault ships.

Centaur lasted until 1966 when Eagle returned from her 1959-1964 rebuilding.

This was also the year the UK decided not to build replacement carriers.

Ark Royal underwent a major refit from 1967 to 1970.

Victorious paid-off 1968.

In 1971 Hermes paid-off for conversion into a Helo-assault carrier replacing Albion.

Eagle paid-off in 1972.

More later!!!!!!!!

19 Jun 05,, 21:13
Bulwark went into reserve 1976.

Hermes became an ASW carrier 1977.

Ark Royal paid off 1978.

Hermes converted to V/STOL carrier by 1980.

Bulwark recommissioned to relieve Hermes from the Helo-assault role.

First Invincible class light carrier commissioned 1980.

Bulwark decommissioned.

Illustrious light carrier commissioned 1982.

Hermes paid off 1984.

The new Ark Royal light carrier commissioned 1985.

The three light carriers remain in-service with one always in reserve.

With the draw-down to only 25 surface combatants the NATO frigate committment has fallen to 10!!!!!!

Amphibious ships

In addition to the carrier conversions:

Five war-built LST's were in commission 1956 that were paid- off in the early 1960s.

2 Fearless class LPD built 1965 & 1967

6 Sir Lancelot LST 1964-1968(Sir Galahad lost in Falklands War was replaced by a new build in 1987)

1 Ocean LPH built 1999

2 new Albion class LPD built as replacements for the Fearless class 2003 & 2004

The LST's are being replace by new RFA manned ships taht are essentially austere LPD/LSD type ships.


40 War-built in-commission 1956 all gone by 1970

8 Porpoise class SSK built 1958-1961 late 70s began decommissioning

13 Oberon class SSK built 1961-1967

1 Dreadnought class SSN 1963

5 Valiant class SSN 1966-1971

4 Resolution class SSBN 1967-1969

6 Swiftsure SSN 1973-1980

32 Total 1980

7 Trafalger SSN 1983-1991

32 Total 1990

4 Upholder SSK 1989-1993
4 Vanguard SSBN 1993-1999 replacements for the resolution class

16 Total 2000

14 Total 2006

To reduce to 12 total by 2015

19 Jun 05,, 21:16
Great information Rick, thanks :cool:

19 Jun 05,, 23:56
Leander class Mods

8 ships- Ikara Conversion 1972-1976


Twin 4.5" gun mount
Early warning radar


Ikara launcher
Outfitted with two Secat launchers vice one or none

Retained :

VDS sonar
Limbo ASW Mortar
Wasp helo

8 Exocet Conversions 1975-1982 (one canceled to become a training ship)


Twin 4.5" gun mount
Limbo ASW Mortar
VDS sonar


4 Exocet missles
3 Seacat launchers vice one or none
6 ASW torpedo tubes
Lynx helo
STWS-1 torpedo defense system


Early warning radar

5 Seawolf Conversion 1981-1984


Twin 4.5" gun mount
Limbo Mortar
VDS sonar
Seacat missle launcher
Early warning radar


6 rd Seawolf missle launcher
4 Exocet missles
6 ASW torpedo tubes
Lynx helo
New sonar
New radar

Five Leanders were not modified and all were eventually transferred to other nations:

1 New Zealand
2 Pakistan
2 Chile

21 Jun 05,, 01:32
I have come across some better info I think:



6 Blackwood
2 Whitby

23 Jun 05,, 00:58
1976 From my notes taken from Janes about fifteen years ago that I just came across. LOL


2 Sheffield Type 42 class DDG
1 Bristol class DDG
7 County class DDG


4 Amazon class
26 Leander class
9 Rothesay class
2 Whitby class
1 Mermaid class
7 Tribal class
2 Leopard class
4 Salisbury class (Salisbury again active for Fisheries Protection duties)
5 Blackwood class

70 total

23 Jun 05,, 22:31
You may ask as I what replaced the Blackwoods.

Well nominally they were replaced by the seven Isle class and two Castle class OPV's.

23 Jun 05,, 22:34
You may ask as I what replaced the Blackwoods.

Well nominally they were replaced by the seven Isle class and two Castle class OPV's.

You're still waaaay ahead of me on this subject bro :biggrin:

How about your opinion on the current RN Harrier carriers? Their capabilities, past performance etc? (We've already discused my beloved HMS Ocean, so I won't include her )

24 Jun 05,, 00:36
To tell you the truth I never thought about them much.

Better than nothing,

And in the finest British tradition far more capable than a ship of that size has a right to be.

Now without Sea Dart and soon w/o the SHARs very vulnerable to airborne threats.

They can carry nearly a thousand troops but only for a limited time with organic air support.

Great for ASW.

What do you think?

24 Jun 05,, 02:15
A THOUSAND troops?? Good lord, I had no idea they were large enough for that kind of troop accomadations.

You're right about their performance. The seamanship and courage of their crews has been in the finest traditions of Her Majesty's Royal Navy. :)