Unit History: Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is therefore 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.
After World War II the Royal Navy was replaced by the United States Navy as the world's foremost naval power. During the Cold War it was transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines, mostly active in the GIUK gap. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, its role for the 21st century has returned to focus on global expeditionary operations.
The Royal Navy is a blue-water navy and its ability to project power globally is considered second only to the U.S. Navy. As a prominent blue-water navy it operates an array of technologically sophisticated ships including an aircraft carrier, a helicopter carrier, landing platform docks, ballistic missile submarines, nuclear fleet submarines, guided missile destroyers, frigates, mine counter-measures and patrol vessels. The Royal Navy maintains the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons via its ballistic missile submarines.
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