The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). From the early 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, it was the largest and most powerful navy in the world, playing a key part in establishing the British Empire as the dominant power of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In WWII, the Royal Navy operated almost 600 ships. During the Cold War, it was transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines, mostly active in the North Atlantic Ocean. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, its role for the 21st century has returned to focus on global expeditionary (blue water) operations.
The Royal Navy is a constituent component of the Naval Service, which also comprises the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and associated reserve forces under command. The Naval Service had 38,710 regular personnel as of November 2006.
The Battle of the North Cape, was a naval battle of World War II that occurred on December 26, 1943. Ships of the Royal Navy engaged and sank the German battleship Scharnhorst (pictured) off Norway's North Cape. The outcome of the battle demonstrated the vital importance of radar in modern naval warfare. While Scharnhorst outgunned her opponents—with the exception of HMS Duke of York—the early loss of radar-assisted fire control combined with the problem of inclement weather left her at a significant disadvantage. The battle was the last significant engagement of the Atlantic Campaign, and essentially ended the threat posed by German surface ships.
The battle may also be the northernmost in the history of naval warfare.
HMS Daring is the lead ship of the Type 45 or 'D' Class of air defence destroyer (AAW) being built for the Royal Navy and the seventh to hold that name. Construction began at the BAE Systems Naval Ships yard at Scotstoun on the River Clyde in March 2003. The ship was launched at 14.21 GMT on February 1, 2006. HRH The Countess of Wessex was the ship's sponsor at her launch. As of September 2007 Daring is undergoing the second stage of sea trials. The first phase of sea trials were successfully completed on 14 August 2007. During these trials, Daring reached her design speed of 29 knots in 70 seconds and achieved a speed of 31.5 knots in 120 seconds.
Daring is both the first warship to include e-mail and entertainment systems (including iPod charging points) within the messdecks and the first Royal Navy vessel to include gender-neutral living spaces to accommodate male and female crew members. When fully active the Daring class will be one of the most advanced air-defence warships in the world. The ship's capabilities centre on the SAMPSON Multi Function Radar which can detect targets out to a distance of 400 km (250 miles) and the PAAMS missile system.
Admiral Hood was a youthful, vigorous and active officer whose service in Africa won him the Distinguished Service Order and who was posthuously raised to a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in recognition of his courageous and ultimately fatal service in the Battle of Jutland, during which his ship was constantly engaged from its arrival at the action and caused fatal damage to a German battlecruiser. He has been described as "the beau ideal of a naval officer, spirited in manner, lively of mind, enterprising, courageous, handsome, and youthful in appearance … His lineage was pure Royal Navy, at its most gallant".