48 Facts About Royal Navy


The Royal Navy played a key part in establishing and defending the British Empire, and four Imperial fortress colonies and a string of imperial bases and coaling stations secured the Royal Navy's ability to assert naval superiority globally.

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Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships, submarines, and aircraft, including 2 aircraft carriers, 2 amphibious transport docks, 4 ballistic missile submarines, 6 nuclear fleet submarines, 6 guided missile destroyers, 12 frigates, 11 mine-countermeasure vessels and 26 patrol vessels.

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Royal Navy is part of His Majesty's Naval Service, which includes the Royal Marines.

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The Royal Navy operates from three bases in Britain where commissioned ships and submarines are based: Portsmouth, Clyde and Devonport, the last being the largest operational naval base in Western Europe, as well as two naval air stations, RNAS Yeovilton and RNAS Culdrose where maritime aircraft are based.

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Royal Navy was formally founded in 1546 by Henry VIII though the Kingdom of England and its predecessor states had possessed less-organised naval forces for centuries prior to this.

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The Royal Navy was then used in 1588 to repulse the Spanish Armada.

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The expansion of the Royal Navy would encourage the British colonization of the Americas, with British America becoming a vital source of timber for the Royal Navy.

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The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars saw the Royal Navy reach a peak of efficiency, dominating the navies of all Britain's adversaries, which spent most of the war blockaded in port.

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The Royal Navy still enjoyed a numerical advantage over the former colonists on the Atlantic, blockading the Atlantic seaboard of the United States throughout the war and carrying out various amphibious operations, most notably the Chesapeake campaign.

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Between 1815 and 1914, the Royal Navy saw little serious action, owing to the absence of any opponent strong enough to challenge its dominance, though it did not suffer the drastic cutbacks the various military forces underwent in the period of economic austerity that followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the American War of 1812.

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In 1889, Parliament passed the Naval Defence Act, which formally adopted the 'two-power standard', which stipulated that the Royal Navy should maintain a number of battleships at least equal to the combined strength of the next two largest navies.

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Royal Navy played an historic role in several great global explorations of science and discovery.

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Several of the Royal Navy's voyages ended in disaster such as those of Franklin and Scott.

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Nevertheless, the Royal Navy played an important role in securing the British Isles and the English Channel, notably ferrying the entire British Expeditionary Force to the Western Front without the loss of a single life at the beginning of the war.

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At the start of World War II in 1939, the Royal Navy was still the largest in the world, with over 1, 400 vessels.

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The Royal Navy provided critical cover during Operation Dynamo, the British evacuations from Dunkirk, and as the ultimate deterrent to a German invasion of Britain during the following four months.

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The Royal Navy suffered heavy losses in the first two years of the war.

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The Falklands War however proved a need for the Royal Navy to regain an expeditionary and littoral capability which, with its resources and structure at the time, would prove difficult.

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At the beginning of the 1980s, the Royal Navy was a force focused on blue-water anti-submarine warfare.

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The Royal Navy has a separate diving unit, a special forces unit, the Special Boat Service.

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Type 45 is primarily designed for anti-aircraft and anti-missile warfare and the Royal Navy describe the destroyer's mission as "to shield the Fleet from air attack".

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On 29 July 2022, the Royal Navy christened a new experimental ship, XV Patrick Blackett, which it aims to use as a testbed for autonomous systems.

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Royal Navy operates four Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines displacing nearly 16, 000 tonnes and equipped with Trident II missiles and heavyweight Spearfish torpedoes, with the purpose to carry out Operation Relentless, the United Kingdom's Continuous At Sea Deterrent (CASD).

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Royal Navy Marines are an amphibious, specialised light infantry force of commandos, capable of deploying at short notice in support of His Majesty's Government's military and diplomatic objectives overseas.

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Royal Navy Marines have seen action in a number of wars, often fighting beside the British Army; including in the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, World War I and World War II.

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Royal Navy currently uses three major naval port bases in the UK, each housing its own flotilla of ships and boats ready for service, along with two naval air stations and a support facility base in Bahrain:.

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Current role of the Royal Navy is to protect British interests at home and abroad, executing the foreign and defence policies of His Majesty's Government through the exercise of military effect, diplomatic activities and other activities in support of these objectives.

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The Royal Navy is a key element of the British contribution to NATO, with a number of assets allocated to NATO tasks at any time.

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Royal Navy is currently deployed in different areas of the world, including some standing Royal Navy deployments.

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The Royal Navy is deployed in the Mediterranean as part of standing NATO deployments including mine countermeasures and NATO Maritime Group 2.

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Royal Navy operates a Response Force Task Group, which is poised to respond globally to short-notice tasking across a range of defence activities, such as non-combatant evacuation operations, disaster relief, humanitarian aid or amphibious operations.

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The Royal Navy contributes to the combined maritime forces in the Gulf in support of coalition operations.

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The Royal Navy has been responsible for training the fledgeling Iraqi Navy and securing Iraq's oil terminals following the cessation of hostilities in the country.

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The Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission (Umm Qasr), headed by a Royal Navy captain, has been responsible for the former duty whilst Commander Task Force Iraqi Maritime, a Royal Navy commodore, has been responsible for the latter.

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Royal Navy contributes to standing NATO formations and maintains forces as part of the NATO Response Force.

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From 2015, the Royal Navy re-formed its UK Carrier Strike Group after it was disbanded in 2011 due to the retirement of HMS Ark Royal and Harrier GR9s.

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In 2019, the Royal Navy announced the formation of two Littoral Response Groups as part of a transformation of its amphibious forces.

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Titular head of the Royal Navy is the Lord High Admiral, a position which was held by the Duke of Edinburgh from 2011 until his death in 2021 and since then remains vacant.

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Royal Navy was the first of the three armed forces to combine the personnel and training command, under the Principal Personnel Officer, with the operational and policy command, combining the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief, Fleet and Naval Home Command into a single organisation, Fleet Command, in 2005 and becoming Navy Command in 2008.

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Royal Navy currently operates from three bases in the United Kingdom where commissioned ships are based; Portsmouth, Clyde and Devonport, Plymouth—Devonport is the largest operational naval base in the UK and Western Europe.

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Dockyards of the Royal Navy are harbours where ships are overhauled and refitted.

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Academy where initial training for future Royal Navy officers takes place is Britannia Royal Naval College, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon.

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The Danish Navy uses the term "Royal" incorporated in its official name, but only "Fladen" (Navy) in everyday speech.

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Royal Navy has several formal customs and traditions including the use of ensigns and ships badges.

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Royal Navy ships have several ensigns used when under way and when in port.

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The Royal Navy is featured in The Spy Who Loved Me, when a nuclear ballistic-missile submarine is stolen, and in Tomorrow Never Dies when the media mogul Elliot Carver sinks a Royal Navy warship in an attempt to trigger a war between the UK and People's Republic of China.

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The Royal Navy was the subject of the 1970s BBC television drama series, Warship, and of a five-part documentary, Shipmates, that followed the workings of the Royal Navy day to day.

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BBC Light Programme radio comedy series The Royal Navy Lark featured a fictitious warship and ran from 1959 to 1977.

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