ï€ Ships. The RN operates 100 vessels, comprising; 2 Aircraft Carriers, 3 Amphibious Assault Ships, 8 Type 42 Destroyers, 17 Frigates (4 Type 22, 13 Type 23), 16 Mine Countermeasure Vessels (8 Hunt, 8 Sandown), 22 Patrol Vessels (4 River class, 18 P2000), 4 Survey Vessels, 1 Ice Patrol Vessel, 4 Trident submarines, 7 Fleet submarines, 4 Landing Vessels, 4 Fleet Tankers, 2 Support Tankers, 4 Replenishment Ships, an Aviation Training/Primary Casualty Reception Centre ship, and a Forward Repair Ship.
ï€ FAA. The Fleet Air Arm operates 161 combat and 2nd line aircraft, comprising 30 Merlin, 21 Mk 3 and 20 Mk 8 Lynx, 11 Mk 5, 10 Mk 7 ASaAC Sea Kings, 12 Hawk and 10 Jetstreams. The RN contributes a further 29 Sea King and 6 Lynx helicopters to the Joint Helicopter Command, and RN aircrew and maintainers are fully integrated across JHC units. Additionally, the Naval Strike Wing, comprising 800 and 801 NAS, operates a combination of 12 Harrier GR7/7A and GR9 variants as part of Joint Force Harrier.
ï€ Personnel. At 1 Oct 08 there was a total strength of 34,320 regular uniformed personnel (trained, untrained and Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS)) against a requirement of 36,090. This comprises of 5,750 RN, 670 RM and 150 FTRS officers, 22,430 Ratings and 5,850 Royal Marines on the trained strength.
ï€ Defence Budget. The total UK Defence Expenditure in 07/08 was Â£37.407Bn. This equates to 7% of the UK governmentâ€™s expenditure, or 2.3% of GDP. (Other Departments share of spend for comparison are: Health 18%, Social Security 23% and Education 10%). Spending by other nations on defence (% GDP in 07) include: Germany 1.3%, Bulgaria 2.3%, France, Turkey & Greece 2.8%, USA 3.8%.
ï€ Importance of the Sea. The sea covers 70.8% of the worldâ€™s surface and two thirds of the worldâ€™s population live within 100 miles of the coast. Over 156 of the 192 member states of the UN are coastal states. The UK has 10,500 miles of coastline and no person in the UK lives more than 80 miles from tidal water.
ï€ World Trade. 90% of the worldâ€™s trade is moved by sea, by over 50,000 merchant ships manned by over a million seafarers. World maritime trade is estimated at over 5 billion tons / year (or US$4 trillion / year). 95% of maritime trade passes through just 9 chokepoints. In the last 40 years, the population of the world has doubled, but maritime trade has quadrupled. Container movements in 2007 were estimated at 140 million TEUs.
- UK Trade. Sea transport was one of the top 5 trade in service export earners for the UK in 2006 and UK registered and owned shipping continues to grow at a rate of 1 million DWT per year, quadrupling the UK fleet in just 7 years. 95% of the UKâ€™s visible trade is reliant on shipping and the UK is 5th largest exporter of goods by value worldwide, exporting more than 25% of everything it produces and as a headline figure, shipping now earns well over Â£1million every hour of every day for the UK economy. 584M tonnes of freight passed through UK ports in 2007, compared to 2M tonnes by air freight â€“ this equates to 18.58 tonnes per second by sea compared to just 63 kilos per second by air.