The Royal Navy in the Indo-Pacific: Why small is sometimes better

Following the ‘tilt’ to the Indo Pacific announced in the Integrated Review last month, the First Sea Lord has confirmed the forward deployment of a Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel to support the UK’s wider regional interests. Some have commented that an OPV is not fit for the task. This talk examines the platform options open to the Royal Navy and supports the case that, at this moment in time, OPVs are the right platform for the task.

René Balletta is this year’s Royal Navy Hudson Fellow and a Visiting Research Fellow with CCW. Commissioned into the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in 1992, René has served the majority of his career at sea in a variety of surface platforms that include frigates, destroyers, amphibious assault ships, aircraft carriers and the Royal Yacht. He has been involved in maritime operations across the globe from the NATO-led naval blockade off the Former-Yugoslavia in 1993, through to anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa in 1996; from support operations to land forces in Afghanistan in 2003, through to sitting on the gunline off Libya in 2011. More recently, he has been using his linguistic skills in France as the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) lead-planning officer for the French Maritime Component Commander during the delivery of the CJEF concept. He graduated from the Ecole de Guerre (the French Advanced Command & Staff Course) in 2017 gaining a French Masters in Management, Command & Strategy and went on to complete his second French Masters in International Relations at the Sorbonne in 2019 whilst working at the French Ministry of Defence. René’s research interests are focused on the development of the Royal Navy’s transformation programme for Forward Presence and how this can assist the delivery of a Global Britain in the 21st Century.