United Kingdom Naval Strategy and International Security in the Twenty-First Century

Authored by: Eric Grove

Routledge Handbook of Naval Strategy and Security

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138840935
eBook ISBN: 9781315732572
Adobe ISBN: 9781317555391

10.4324/9781315732572.ch20

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Abstract

In concluding my book on the Royal Navy since 1815 at the beginning of this century I ended on an optimistic note about the future. 1 The Cold War, and the necessary preoccupation with a continental commitment of ground and air forces to mainland Europe that it entailed, had ended. Although the Royal Navy suffered very serious cuts in the 1990s as part of the ‘peace dividend’ and the other two services, the Army in particular, fought a considerable rearguard action that almost saw the Ocean-class amphibious helicopter transports (LPH) cancelled, the Navy had been able to prove its vital utility in the confused 1990s. Cold War anti-submarine carriers emerged as very useful providers of mobile and responsive air power not subject to the vagaries of host nation support. This was proved both in the Adriatic and in the Gulf. As a ‘sweetener’ in the final ‘Front Line First’ phase of the Major Government’s rather tentative and extended ‘Options for Change’ defence review, British nuclear powered submarines obtained Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, a major expansion of their capabilities and a role that was soon to be proved in action in the Kosovo intervention in 1999.

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