· F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter): produced in multiple variants, B for VSTOL and C for CATOBAR, this is the new stealth jet strike/fighter (what used to be called a Fighter Bomber…i.e. could fight its way to the target, drop its bombs and fight its way back) coming into service with the RN for the Fleet Air Arm to fly of the carriers.
· Eurofighter Typhoon: Principle aircraft belonging to the Royal Air Force at the moment, a Cold War inspired Dog-Fighter that was used in conjunction with Tornadoes over Libya to do some limited bombing… although it was the much more venerable Tornadoes which had to aim the weapons.
· NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – Britain’s principle strategic alliance,
· SSK: Diesel Attack Submarine
· SSN: Nuclear Attack Submarine
· LSL: Landing Ship logistics
· Corvette: less than 3000tons warship.
· STUFT: Ships Taken Up From Trade
· LRMP: Long Range Maritime Patrol
· ACA: Auxiliary Combat Aircraft
· Regular training – whilst retention will be a key plank of effectiveness, it will be retention combined with training that will provide the successes: 26 weekends a year plus two fortnight exercises will be a good start, but online courses/simulations, seminars/lectures by veterans & other knowledgeable people, a good technical & strategic service magazine and finally the chance to sign up for a 6 month deployment on a regular ship would all serve to create a far stronger, far more capable and integrated reserve organisation.
· Career structure – the reservists can’t feel that every time a regular retires they have first dibs on any post, it must be felt that the reservists through commitment and hard work can conceivably become unit commander… if it is felt that all that matters is rank in regulars then a lot of great people will be put off, as there are many who would love to serve in the navy but would not want to go regular and would grow frustrated if there was any ‘glass’ ceiling. For example the army maintains a Major General Reserves, who is a reservist officer; in comparison the RN hasn’t had a reserve Rear Admiral since John Grant retired with the RNRs ships in 1960.
· Units must be collocated with regulars units so as to enable them to train together, support each other; however reservists must have their own properly supplied and organised units. Just putting them ad-hoc-ly within units and having them fill in as and when required damages the regular unit as it prevents it from making the case to needing to be properly supplied with regular personnel, and also whilst building closer integration it can also lead to a feeling of insecurities and also can make them feel that they have limited chance of a long term career.
· War fighting - it’s obvious be must never be forgotten the primary role of these personnel is to provide the naval service with the depth of personnel it needs to fight modern wars whilst not pushing numbers of regulars above levels which the government is unwilling to pay for.
· Manning STUFT – including having stand-alone self defence systems they can install quickly. The last is important even if it’s only chaff, flares and jamming gear it would still be useful and instil greater confidence within the merchant crews whilst also serving to free up the escorts to be a little looser as they would be less important to point protection.
· Providing support and fill – as they already do but on a more well supplied basis, with more depth and more training then the RNRs could not just provide personnel fill but also Unit Fill when that is required.
· Aircraft – Helicopters, LRMP and ACA
· Vehicles – Viking APC, 105mm field guns
· Plug ins – Chaff, Flares, Jamming equipment, Communication stations, and CIWS systems
· RN would have a surge number of escorts – the force level required for war fighting, and that required for global presence are different, this is where the reserves come in
· Reserve equipment is a force multiplier as instead of losing a ship or something when it has to go into long term refit, a ship can be pulled out of the reserves and put into action – it could even be beneficial with a special crew put together for its tour of volunteer reservists and regulars so as to increase the proficiency of the reservists.
· Reconnecting with wider society; Sea Blindness is a phrase which comes up all too often, and in many ways is a double edged blade on its user, because it puts the failure to communicate the case not the people who could make it, but those who would listen to it. The first lesson of democracy has always been that whilst everyone may have a voice, everyone doesn’t have to listen. A larger reserve would combat this, would help the naval service to connect with the wider nation in a more understanding and communicative way. This would be accomplished simply by the mixing process, by the chucking together of regulars who spend most of their careers away from home (some underwater with virtually no communication to the outside world for months at a time) with people who speak their language, share their values, but spend most of their lives at home reading papers every day, watching the evening news – better preparing those regulars for when they have to explain the case for the continued existence of the navy.
· Benefits to personnel, if they become a single parent or a parent get ill, then instead of losing them, their experience and the investment made in their training they could transfer to reserve