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Queen to formally name Royal Navy's biggest ever ship

The Queen will formally name the Royal Navy's biggest ever ship at Rosyth Dockyard in Fife today.

She will smash a bottle of Islay malt whisky against the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during the traditional naming ceremony.

The vessel is the largest ever built for the navy.

The Queen will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh at the event, with Labour leader Ed Miliband and First Minister Alex Salmond - along with his 92-year-old naval veteran father Robert - also due to attend.

The ship and a second vessel, the HMS Prince of Wales, are the largest warships ever built for the navy at a cost of £6.2 billion.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will have 679 permanent crew and capacity for 1,600 crew members when fully operational.

First women officers join Royal Navy submarine fleet

lieutenants Maxine Stiles, Alexandra Olsson and Penny Thackray, Royal Navy. Credit: MoD/Crown Copyright

Three officers have made maritime history by becoming the first female submariners to serve in the Royal Navy.

Lieutenants Maxine Stiles, Alexandra Olsson and Penny Thackray have completed months of specialised training to earn their "Dolphins" - the clasp worn by qualified submariners - becoming the first women in the 110-year history of the Navy's Submarine Service.

For years women were unable to serve on submarines because of possible health risks but, after an independent review found that only pregnant women should not serve, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond lifted the ban in December 2011.

Following the arrival of woman officers, female ratings (non-commissioned personnel) will start training later this year with a view to serving on Vanguard submarines in 2015. Female personnel will also be able to serve on Astute-class submarines from around 2016.

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Royal Navy warship 'monitoring' Russian naval vessel

HMS Dragon, a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer. Credit: MoD

A Royal Navy warship is monitoring the activity of a Russian destroyer as it transits past United Kingdom territorial waters, the Ministry of Defence has said.

HMS Dragon, one of the Royal Navy's newest Type 45 destroyers moved into position last week north of Scotland to be able to respond to the activity of the Russian vessel, Vice Admiral Kulakov, the MoD said on their website.

In what the MoD are calling a "well-established and standard" response, HMS Dragon will track the Russian vessel as she transits south.

British commander: MH370 search 'most challenging''

HMS Echo arrived in the MH370 search area last week to collect data from depths of the sea. Credit: Royal Navy

The commander of the HMS Echo says the search for missing the Malaysia Airlines jet "is the most challenging search I've ever seen".

Royal Navy Commander Phillip Newell told NBC the area being searched had "very difficult oceanographic conditions".

“HMS Echo has world-leading capability in collecting oceanographic and hydrographic data and in my 20 years’ experience with the Royal Navy this is most challenging search I've ever seen,” he said.

HMS Tireless joins Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 search

Royal Navy submarine HMS Tireless. Credit: hris Ison/PA Wire

Royal Navy nuclear submarine HMS Tireless has arrived in the southern Indian Ocean just as survey ship HMS Echo is due to begin its search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight tomorrow.

Rare for MoD to give location of nuclear submarines

Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship has tweeted:

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Royal Navy under 'significant manpower pressure'

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Zambellas, has acknowledged that the Royal Navy is "under significant manpower pressure". He said in a statement:

It is quite true that the Royal Navy is under significant manpower pressure, in key specialist skills to meet today's commitments.

This is a recognised leadership and management challenge that is part and parcel of the Royal Navy's renaissance, and we are working closely within and across defence to meet that challenge, but also to chase the opportunities it offers. But, I do not expect it to throw us off track.

– First Sea Lord Admiral Zambellas

Ex Forces chief: 'Terrible question mark' over Navy

Lord Bramall, who led the Army as Chief of General Staff during the Falklands War and was later promoted to the top military post of Chief of Defence Staff, said there was "a terrible question mark" over whether the required numbers of reservists can be found.

Lord Bramall is a former Chief of Defence Staff. Credit: Tony Harris/PA Archive/Press Association Images

"If you are not going to get the reserves then you should not run down frontline troops as quickly as you intended to do," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

"The logical thing is you do not run them down until you achieve the build-up of reserves but finance is still driving the agenda."

Lord Bramall added: "The Royal Navy does not have enough surface ships to carry out the everyday duties of projecting influence, tackling piracy and all the other things they have to do all over the world.

"The defence cuts have been predominantly driven by finance, and the military has had to make the best of it."

Ex-forces chief: Royal Navy 'doesn't have enough ships'

The Royal Navy does not have enough ships to carry out its "everyday duties", and cuts in the ranks of the Army should be put on hold until more reservists can be recruited, a former head of Britain's armed forces has said.

The Royal Navy Frigate H.M.S. Iron Duke. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Field Marshal Lord Bramall told the Sunday Telegraph that the armed forces were having to "make the best of" reductions that were driven by financial considerations.

His warning came as Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he was "very confident" the Army can reach its target of 30,000 reservists by 2018, despite concerns the recruitment drive has started slowly.

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