The Royal Navy (RN) is the principal naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Tracing its origins to the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service. From the end of the 17th century until well into the 20th century it was the most powerful navy in the
world, playing a key part in establishing the British Empire as the dominant world power. Due to this historical prominence, it is common – also among non-Britons – to refer to it as "The Royal Navy" without qualification.
Following victory in the First World War the Royal Navy was significantly reduced in
size, although at the onset of the Second World War it was still the largest in the world. By the end of the Second World War the United States Navy had emerged as the world's largest. During the course of the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines, mostly active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union its focus has returned to global expeditionary operations.
The Royal Navy operates a "blue-water" fleet of technologically sophisticated ships including an aircraft carrier (though without fixed-wing aircraft), a helicopter carrier, two landing platform docks, four ballistic missile submarines (which maintain the UK's nuclear deterrent), six nuclear fleet submarines, six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates, 15 mine-countermeasure vessels and 24 patrol vessels. As of July 2012, there were 78 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, plus 19 commissioned ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
(RFA). The RFA primarily serves to replenish Royal Navy warships at sea, and also augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship dock vessels.
The Royal Navy is part of the Naval Service, which also comprises the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Marines Reserve. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an Admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom. The Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy currently operates three bases in the United Kingdom where commissioned ships are based; Portsmouth, Clyde and
Devonport, Plymouth, the latter being the largest operational naval base in Western Europe.
almost a thousand years the modern British Navy continues to
defend the waters of the British Isles into the 21st Century
Branch | Uniforms |
Future | Ship's
Badges and Flags
Royal Navy Today | Capabilities |
Royal Navy's submarine force can strike against ships
and submarines as well as providing support for land
operations. Unseen and unheard submarines can
pinpoint targets up to 1,000 miles away. They are the
UK's strategic nuclear deterrent.
submarines | Fleet
submarines | How
submarines | LR5
submarine rescue system | Submarine
FAQ's | Fishing
boats to aircraft carriers - an extensive guide to
surface ships of the Royal Navy with individual
explanation of the role they play and links to the
homepages of individual ships.
23 Frigates | Type
42 Destoyers | Assault
Ships | Patrol
Countermeasures | Weapon
Ships | The
Royal Navy has fewer ships today, yet its firepower is
far greater than at any time in the past. The Royal Navy
continues to maintain the most important tradition of
striving for the best equipment and dedicated personnel.
Since King Alfred's battle against the Danes in 897
through to the Falklands War of 1982 - from the
impressive Sovereign of the Seas in the Seventeenth
Century to the revolutionary battleship HMS Dreadnought
in the Twentieth, the links pages below offer some of
the famous Naval battles, people and ships from over a
thousands years of history.
of Defence (MOD)
The official web site includes the MOD daily
news web site
Official website of the British Army. www.army.mod.uk
Official website of the Royal Air Force.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary supplies the Royal
Navy with all its food, fuel, ammunitions and
Royal Navy training designed and delivered to
meet the needs of any commercial or government
Have a partnering arrangement with the Naval
Recruiting & Training Agency to market
training to overseas navies, related naval
agencies and industry. www.flagshiptraining.co.uk
MOD On-line Image Database
This site holds a selection of images
from Service and MOD Photographers.
On-line Image Database
Freedom of Information
Mod Publication Scheme and material
released under Freedom of Information
Act 2000. www.foi.mod.uk/
Official Website of the United States Navy.
Royal Australian Navy
Official Website of the Royal Australian Navy.
Official Website of the Royal Canadian Navy.
Royal New Zealand Navy
Official Website of the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Official Website of the Dutch Navy. www.mindef.nl
Official Website of the French Navy.
The largest Maritime Museum in the world.
Currently holds details of Nelson's Tour 2002. www.nmm.ac.uk
Imperial War Museum
The Imperial War Museum is unique in its
coverage of conflicts, especially those
involving Britain and the Commonwealth. www.iwm.org.uk
Museum of Britain’s Senior Service in
Royal Marines Museum
The Royal Marines Museum is dedicated to the
preservation and presentation of all aspects of
Royal Marines history. www.royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk
Fleet Air Arm Museum
One of the largest aviation museums in the
Royal Navy Submarine Museum
Walk on board a real submarine. Discover true
tales of heroism and relive a life under the
Covering some 23,000 square feet, the Museum of
the Royal Dockyard is one of the largest single
museum galleries in Kent. www.worldnavalbase.org.uk
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Live and breathe our nation's heritage through
three of the most important warships ever built.
The Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. www.flagship.org.uk
Royal Naval Association
The Royal Naval Association (RNA) is the
principle organisation for those who have served
Naval Forces. www.royal-naval-association.co.uk
The Royal Marines Band
Blue Band Mag online - includes articles,
details of future concerts and displays,
pictures of the bands in action.
The PRO is the national repository for the
archives of all the government departments.
UK Online is the entry point to UK government
information and services
on the Web.
A site to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the
Royal Naval Reserve.
Fly Navy Heritage
Provides information on all aspects of Fleet Air
Arm heritage and allows donations to be made. www.flynavyheritage.org.uk
Armed Forces Art Society
Tri-service organisation for artists serving,
retired and their spouses. It encourages art in
the Services by organising a major annual
exhibition at The Mall Galleries in London. www.afas.org.uk
Friends of the Royal Navy
A selection of non-official privately developed
websites which look at various aspects of the
past, present and the future Royal Navy.
Royal Navy Net Ring
A campaign brought together to raise
awareness of the UK maritime sector and careers.
The Royal Marines Web Ring
A collection of non-official privately developed
websites designed to provide information on this
Royal Marines Web Ring
War Graves Commission
A vital resource for anyone seeking details
about a wartime casualty from the First World
Commonwealth War Graves
Information about UK submarines past and
present and the men who sail in them.
Marine Society Provides education, libraries
and financial support for the professional
development of seafarers. marine-society
British Forces Post Office
Information on all the BFPO numbers and details
of how to contact service personnel whilst in
Following route of HMS Endurance from
Portsmouth to Antarctica
The Online News of the Royal Navy
Records and Medals
Click here to acquire information on
Service Records for serving or past members of
the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and medals:
RN and RM Service Records & Medals
Ships at Sea
to contact Royal Navy ships at sea and RN/RM
units serving abroad:
Ships at Sea
Sources of Information
Click here for further
information about the Royal Navy from a list
of useful names and addresses or organisations
belonging to, or associated with the Service:
Sources of Information on the Royal Navy
Points of contact for personnel leaving the
forces and for employers looking to employ
ex-service personnel can be found at the
Forces Personnel Resettlement
can be found within the careers
web pages. In addition, there is clear
advice on the nationality and residency
guidelines necessary to join the UK Armed
Forces within the eligibility
career enquiries should be directed towards
the nearest Officer
Career Liaison Centre or Armed
Forces Careers Offices.
you are enquiring of the Royal Navy from
overseas it is better to use the online
contact form. The RN will usually
send details of an advisor in the UK. If
however there is a specific question related
to non UK qualifications or residency rules,
etc. an e-mail enquiry can be made to the