Pipeline and Cable Security - Help is at Hand
When a survey vessel eventually dives its tethered remote control vehicle (ROV) to inspect the breaches in the Nord Stream 1 & 2 pipelines, it will confirm if the explosions came from within or without the pipes themselves. The offshore oil and gas industry used to regularly inspect their subsea pipelines, for structural integrity, by flying a tethered ROV along them, with the survey vessel following at a short distance. That operation was, in part, replaced by an intelligent drone that was swum along the inside of the pipe to measure wall thickness as it proceeded. It is standard practice to push a plug along the inside of the pipe to prove a clear run as a part of the pipeline commissioning procedure, and these plugs are known as pigs. The wall measuring plugs are known as intelligent pigs. It is not beyond the realms of imagination that an intelligent pig could actually be a suicidal explosive variant. This form of attack would only apply of course where an aggressor has control of one end of the pipeline, particularly the end from which the flow starts. Where an attack would have to be made with an externally applied munition, help is at hand from the civilian sector. The various offshore service companies own many seabed operations vessels which operate large work class ROVs, possessing sonar and underwater cameras, that are capable of continuously flying the pipes and with their manipulators pulling away, into clear water, any explosive or suspicious item. These vessels and their crews are for hire on the open market and working with naval assets, to monitor submarine activity, they will provide the ability to inspect, guard and, to a point, safeguard our seabed pipelines and communication cables. The Royal Navy actually possesses such a vessel, laid up and awaiting sale or disposal. RFA Diligence is in fact a former civilian dive support and ROV operating vessel, previously employed in the offshore oil and gas industry. Maybe the MOD should recommission this 41 year old vessel, while they consider purchasing existing, but more modern, commercial vessels to replace her?
Chairman, Defence UK.
2nd October 2022
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace promises that the UK Defence budget will be increased to £52bn in order to 'grow the Armed Forces' in response to Russian aggression. We welcome the Secretary of State's comments today (25 September) but we remain concerned about the timescale for implementing increases in the budget and rebuilding the strength and capabilities of Britain's Forces.
We agree that priority must be given to meeting the threat from Russia, but the dangers to national and international security from China and other rogue states must not be ignored; nor should the continued threat from radical Islamists. We await further details from the MOD on how our Armed Forces and their capabilities are to be expanded.
Andrew Smith Director, Defence UK
25th September 2022
London Bridge is down
The call sign that reverberated around all UK government departments, on Thursday 8th September 2022, activated contingency plans that had been in existence for at least two decades and which culminated in the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. At the pinnacle of that process were the UK's armed forces, which co-ordinated seamlessly with many other government departments, to provide a spectacle the likes of which the world has rarely seen. It was very easy while watching those service men and women, resplendent in their ceremonial uniforms and displaying disciplined precision, to forget that away from the streets of London, they are trained and prepared, to stand into danger in the defence of this country and its ideals. Many of the 6,000 military personnel who were involved in that funeral procession had been recalled from deployments abroad, where they switched instantly from an active operational stance to a ceremonial one; such is the ability of our Army, Navy and Air Force. Contingency planning is the Modus Operandi for the UK's armed forces. They have planned and they train to step in and give advice or take control in situations where civil authorities may be overwhelmed. Natural calamities and the Covid Pandemic are proof of that. They are the thread of steel that runs through British Society; a thread that has been drawn thin almost to breaking point by many years of government underfunding. Should that thread break, this country will be much the poorer for its loss.
(Chairman: Defence UK)
her majesty queen elizabeth II
We mourn the passing of Her Majesty The Queen who, throughout her 70 year long reign, embodied the values and traditions of Britishness, and who exemplified the core military values of loyalty, duty and service. As head of Britain's Armed Forces we could not have had a more inspiring and dedicated Sovereign. She will be greatly missed by all serving and retired members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force, and the wider 'Defence family'. We were proud to serve The Queen and will always value and cherish the long years of dutiful service that The Queen gave to our country - a tradition of service which is upheld by her son and heir, our new King.