Article: Seaforth World Naval Review 2014 ed Conrad Waters


Lantern Swinger
Book Reviewer
Seaforth World Naval Review 2014

Seaforth World Naval Review 2014 (ISBN-978-1-84832-182-3)
Seaforth are a specialist naval and maritime publisher who have been responsible for a lot of attractive and authoritative works in the field. Their products are always handsomely illustrated and well-written by experts at the top of their game. The Seaforth World Naval Review was started in 2009 and represented a change of targets, with Seaforth seeking to apply their talents to challenging the established naval reviews. The result is an affordable alternative to established subscription-only reviews which delivers comparable levels of analysis and insight. To remain affordable and to not end up the same size as the ‘Times Atlas of the World’ Seaforth have to be selective in their choice of subjects, but in my opinion the Review has gone from strength to strength and is becoming the Naval equivalent of the Motor Sports annual ‘Autocourse,’ a yearly, highly anticipated, readable and authoritative addition to the bookshelf.
There are several highlights for the 2014 edition for me. Firstly, a highly perceptive study of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). I can remember when the Clark administration made some hard decisions which deprived the Air Force of their fast jets and the RNZN of the Leander-class ‘Canterbury.’ As this article shows with clarity, the RNZN is now in a far more sustainable place and instead of fighting to maintain complex, ageing assets designed for another battlespace, is now well-equipped to safeguard home waters and to deploy a compact task group for expeditionary operations. It will be interesting to see how they continue to develop their amphibious capability and their ability to slot into Australian Defence Force operations when the occasion demands.
There is a good overview of the new Japanese ‘HYUGA’ class DDH or through-deck destroyer. This is an alarmingly capable hybrid of destroyer and aircraft carrier, and is a vivid illustration of how tensions in the Pacific Rim over territories and resources are fuelling a new naval arms race in the region.
The article on the new Danish ‘Ivar Huidfeldt’ class of frigate shows that a destroyer or frigate has to be a true multi-role platform. Instead of being optimised for Anti-Submarine Warfare in the North Atlantic, the ‘Huidfeldt’ class has much longer range to support counter-piracy and humanitarian duties out of area. The Danes have had to make some hard choices given their available budget and the report is candid about this.
The German Type 212 conventional submarine is also profiled. This is powered by the now mature Stirling Cycle Air-Independent Propulsion system, linked to hyper-efficient batteries. AIP is a game-changer, which will give non-nuclear submarine operators a potent little submarine for coastal defence and special forces delivery missions.
Seaforth World Naval Review 2014 is a snip at the price, and remains an excellent example of insightful open-source intelligence. British Naval debate today can sometimes be a repetitive and insular affair. SWNR stands as a good antidote and an excellent means of finding new subjects to inject into the debate, with hardly a mention of a Sea Harrier or the Falklands to be found anywhere within its pages. 5 out of 5 anchors.
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