Navy Of New Cromer Make Up
The Navy of New Cromer was founded in 1959. The year New Cromer became an independent state. Independence had been talked about as long ago as 1948 and with the British Empire retracting after the Second World War New Cromer was one of the territories Britain was looking at letting go. So in 1950 the British created the Royal Navy Detachment New Cromer. Basically a training school for the future officers of what in 1959 would become the Navy of New Cromer. The first ships ordered were frigates and these were to be built in the UK and would be delivered and handed over to what by then should be a trained Navy in the making in 1959. The Royal Navy would still maintain a presence and this would remain until the RN called home it final ships a handful of patrol and minesweepers in 1980 following another round of cuts to Britain’s armed forces.
For its first ten years the Navy of New Cromer was trained by the RN and together with a number of officers and crew that had served with the RN over the years was moulded into an effective fighting force and by the end of the 1960’s even boasted 2 aircraft carriers. Being an island nation like Great Britain the Navy was seen as the primary defender of state.
All ships are named by the prefix NCNS (New Cromer Naval Ship) as a tradition started in 1968 carriers, Destroyers and Frigates follow a certain naming series, all other classes names are arranged by top official in the New Cromer Ministry of Defence NCMoD. As a former part of the British Empire and then as an independent state but part of the British Commonwealth since 1959, New Cromer as always had strong ties with the UK on defence contracts and a lot of the islands military hardware and indeed roles is tied closely to the UK.
New Cromer does have a large defence company located on the north east of Cromer Bay. New Cromer Defence Systems was founded in 1960 and has been busy license building land vehicles, aircraft and ships. It has a large factory that covers over 4 square miles and is home to New Cromer Defence Systems Naval, New Cromer’s main military ship yard. The yard saw huge investment in the mid 1980’s when the two new CVN’s were being designed and had two huge dry docks built to allow the construction of these two ships. There is also an undercover frigate complex and two smaller dry docks large enough to dock the Oceanic class and Support ships.
New Cromer Defence Systems was bought out by Bae Systems in 1999 becoming Bae Systems New Cromer. Work lately has involved the building of the 2 CVN’s, license building of Hawk and Tucanno Aircraft and lately the License building of the Boeing McDonnell F/A18E,F and G these aircraft are being supplied as kits to be assembled here and are powered by a licence built version of the EJ220. Upgrade and development of the Tornado and Euro Fighter Typhoon Aircraft, and a number of upgrade and refurbishment work for both home and foreign contracts. Future plans should see the F35B license built on the site. The company works closely with its parent company Bae Systems UK as-well as Airbus Industries, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Aircraft Carriers. Named after New Cromer’s Biggest City’s.
The Navy of New Cromer received its first Carriers from 1964 and they comprised two Centaur Class vessels that were part of the Royal Navy’s original order for 8 that was eventually cut to 4, New Cromer received what would have been ships 5 and 6 and funded there completion. Cromer was completed to the same design as Hermes and Victoria to a modified design. Operating an air-wing of Buccaneers, Vixens, Gannets and Wessex Helicopters. Cromer was refitted in 1992 to a similar configuration to Hermes in the 1980’s and operated Harrier GR5/7 till decommissioning in 2002. The refit was forced following delays to two new CVN carriers being designed at the time between New Cromer, The UK, France and The US the Vixens and Buccaneers could not be extended any further and the limited size of carriers severely limited the choice of replacement aircraft. The carrier operated in this configuration for 8 years when she finally bowed out after numerous and regular equipment failures in 2002, she was not scrapped and is currently moored alongside the cruiser Blake at Cromer naval Station. This left New Cromer with just the two Oceanic class LPH's till 2004. Victoria was decommissioned in 1991 following a fire in her hanger severely compromising structural strength she too was planned to have the same conversion as Cromer but following a survey after the fire plans to convert her were dropped.
Two LPH’s were ordered in 1996 based on the UK’s HMS Ocean but with some elements of the Invincible class added to allow them to operate the Harrier GR7/9 this being namely a 12’ Ski Jump this was added as two new CVN carriers were falling further and further into delay,. Named NCNS Oxley and Mexworth, They arrived with the fleet after numerous delays in 2002 and also operated Sea King helicopters and are used as LPH and Marine Attack Carriers. They have recently operated Merlin and V-22 Osprey following modifications to the deck after a small fire on Oxley during initial V-22 testing. They also deploy with the Army’s Chinook and Tiger Helicopters.
In 2006 the Navy finally got the first of its 2 Cromer Class CVN CATOBAR carriers that were ordered in 1991, built by New Cromer Defence Systems and Bae Systems New Cromer, with design help from the United States and France the two new carriers are in the CDG class size range. The carriers had been ordered in 1991 following plans the replace the two Centaur carriers by 1999. However delays and cost over runs delayed there entry into service till 2006. With the Centaur class carriers Victoria and Cromer having been decommissioned in 1991 and 2002 respectively from 2002 to 2006 the Oceanic class were the only carriers available. By 1999 a competition was held for a new aircraft for the Navy, Boeing, Bae and Dassault entered, in the end Boeings F/A18E/F Hornet was selected with AEW and ASW being Helicopter and Tilt Rotor based.
In 2012 an order was placed for 2 ships to replace the 2 Oceanic class vessels, built to merchant standards the 2 ships were only ever meant to last 20 years or so. The 2 new vessels based on a slightly enlarged Cavour will be in service in 2019 with steel cut for the first ship in 2014. able to act as CVS and LPH with vehicle ramps in the stern and port side to allow carriage of vehicle up to the weight of MBT's they are very versatile ships and will be valuable additions to the amphibious assault forces and as additional projectors of airpower along side New Cromer's 2 CVN carriers.
(3 Ex RN Cruisers retained there RN names bar the HMS being replaced by NCNS)
The 1961 Helicopter Cruiser design or Courage Class Through Deck Cruiser, Commissioned in 1971, 3 of these ships were planned, they would provide ASW capabilities and as escorts for New Cromer's 2 Centaur Class carriers. Ships 2 and 3 were cancelled shortly after the first was started due to budgetary constraints meaning NCNS Courage was a unique vessel. The design stems from a RN helicopter cruiser study from 1961 that was not pursued in the UK but New Cromer’s showed considerable interest. The ships were the first large military ships built in New Cromer by the then New Cromer Defence Systems. Electronics and weapons system sourced from the UK. Construction began in late 1963 and the ship was launched in 1967 and was commissioned the same day NCNS Victoria also arrived with the fleet in 1969 the 2 would see there careers somewhat linked till Victoria was decommissioned in 1991. Armed with Sea Slug and a twin 4,5in turret the ship took the place of a County Class destroyer when working with a carrier group but offered much greater ASW capability with up to 6 Helicopters, sea slug was withdrawn in 1994 along with the counties and the aft area of the ship was rebuilt. Other missions which the ship saw regular work included insertion of Marine commandos and Humanitarian aid work. After the fire on NCNS Victoria in 1991 there was consideration to fit the ship with a 12’ ski jump to allow Harriers to be operated as an interim short term solution to New Cromer's carrier problems but these plans were dropped when the Oceanic Class LPH ships were finally ordered with ski jumps to fill in till arrival of the much delayed CVN’s. The ship was retired in 1999 after 30 years hard service and was scrapped in 2002.
New Cromer purchased HMS Lion in 1972 when she was retired by the RN, she was commissioned in 1975 and was the only true cruiser in the navy until the arrival of Blake in 1983. her main roles were fire supports for Marine operations and as a fleet flag ship, she was also used by the navy as a show of colours during any diplomatic visits to foreign ports, she was retired in 1987 and became a source of spares for Blake.
To bolster the abilities of the Marines in 1983 the Navy bought the mothballed HMS Blake from the UK at the time the navy was going to also buy HMS Tiger too but out of the two ships blake was seen as being in a better condition. The Cruiser had had some work carried out on it by the RN in 1982 as there was rumblings about re activating the two ships for the Falklands War, the war ended before the ships could be readied and both ships were again mothballed and awaiting disposal. With the Centaur class carriers only being able to operate a small conventional air-wing and by now almost exclusively operating as a two ship formation, the idea was to off-load some of the rotary wing assets to a large Helicopter cruiser to free up space on the Carriers.
The Deal was complete in late 1983 with Blake selected over Tiger on condition, Tiger was scrapped and any spare parts shipped to New Cromer, Blake was made sea worthy in the UK before travelling under tow to New Cromer for refit. She became operational as NCNS Blake in 1986. Later that year she was involved in a collision with a USN Destroyer whilst on her first deployment during a training exercise with the RN, USN and Italian Navy. Extensive damage was caused to the ships port side which resulted in 6 months out of action whilst undergoing repairs. the opportunity was taken to give her a moderate electronics and defensive upgrade. She recommissioned in late 1987.
She would serve as a Flag ship, Commando Cruiser, ASW Cruiser and after having a small hospital fitted in 1994 as a causality reception vessel. She was decommissioned in 2008 when NCNS Eggerton Bay and Hexford Bay were deemed operational with there much more advanced facilities. She is currently Moored alongside the Centaur Class Carrier Cromer in Cromer Naval station, both ships are planned to become museum ships and there owners the National History Foundation New Cromer are currently raising funds for there cosmetic restoration.
2 amphibious warfare ships built to a modified Albion design entered service in 2004 they were built in the UK and have most of what the UK's HMS Albion has but has a number of modification unique to New Cromer's requirements Phalanx in place of Goal keeper, a large hangar, hanging points on the side for Mexi-Floats and the side access door is a larger version of the door fitted to the Bay Class. Named NCNS Delnor and NCNS Halifax. The ships are used as an amphibious assault ships, ASW platforms for ASW Helicopters, Humanitarian aid missions, a fleet flag ships and as a support ships for both mine hunting operations and as support ships for smaller vessels involved in anti piracy and smuggling operations. They have a large rear dock capable of holding a number of landing craft and/or two large hover craft and a large vehicle deck, normally deployed with 4 LCU Mk10 (internal) and 4 LCVP Mk5 (divats). alternatively they can hold 2 LCAC (internal) and 4 LCVP Mk5 (divats). being an island nation amphibious capability's are important to the operation of the armed forces hence the large investment in the Oceanic Class, Bay Class and Albion Class vessels.
Destroyers. Named after Southern Ocean Birds.
Being a key ally east of Suez to the UK, New Cromer has since 1960 tried to field a Destroyer force of at least 4 ships, in 1964 it received the first of 5 County Class destroyers, built in the UK to the Batch 1 design and equipped with Sea Slug Mk1 anti-aircraft missiles. These were replaced in 1966 with Sea Slug Mk2 which provided a limited anti-ship capability, also in 1970 the Sea Slug Mk3N was introduced cancelled by the UK but continued by New Cromer these carried a modified US W44 warhead and were envisaged to take out large bomber formations (China being the feared foe due to poor relations) or fleets of ships it is believed each ship routinely carried 4 warheads stored on board while deployed but this has never been officially agreed or denied. In 1975 the ships were refitted and the B turret was replaced buy 4 Exocet launch boxes giving the ships a similar appearance to the UK’s Batch 2 vessels. They provided protection for New Cromer’s carriers up till 1990 and were decommissioned from 1990 (NCNS Bongo was decommissioned in 1987 following a major fire) with the last leaving the fleet in 1994.
They were replace by 4 Type 42 Destroyers the reduction in 1 hull was apparently offset by the capability increase in the new ships, although it should be noted the Sea Dart also had very limited Anti-ship capability leading New Cromer to design its own Anti-Ship missile able to use the same Launcher the Sea Arrow. It was in 1985 that the UK was approached about the purchase of 4 Type 42 Destroyers, making New Cromer the 2nd export customer after Argentina for the type, 4 ships to a slightly altered Batch 3 design were delivered from 1987 to 1991, the changes included more strengthening and a few minor alterations and became Batch 4, the 4 ships are among the hardest worked of all of New Cromer’s navy and have been used heavily on anti-piracy patrols off the East Africa coast for which the ships received minor refits loosing there torpedo launchers for 2 RIBs.
Plans for new air defence destroyers were announced in 2000, 6 vessels were planned and talks began with the UK government over a Type 45 derivative in 2002. New Cromer’s requirement includes the aster 15 and 30 missiles SCALP naval and Harpoon. Preliminary design studies began in 2003 an order for 1 ship was placed and steel cut on what was dubbed type 47 in 2008 after an almost 66% increase in cost a decision was then made in 2011 to cancel the remaining 5 ships not of which had been begun after the 90% completion of the first ship. Instead 4 ships were ordered in 2011 these ships basically the same as the UK’s Type 45 but equipped with the full 64 cell A70 VLS the UK ships are fitted for but not with. Instead the UK opted for 48 cell A50 VLS. The single Type 47 will commission in 2014 and the first of 4 Type 45 are expected from the beginning of 2015 a fifth vessel was added in 2014 due to ever increasing commitments the navy is having to fulfil. The single Type 47 named NCNS Diligent will become the fleet admirals flagship its main saving grace is a 80% parts commonality with the type 45’s.
Frigates. Named after Sharks and Whales found in the Southern Ocean.
After independence in 1959 New Cromer was dependent on Britain’s RN for its protection, it gained its own navy in 1960 and it having close ties with the UK ordered its ships from there at the time the RN was receiving the Type 12 Whitby Class frigates 11 of these were ordered and built and were the backbone of the fleet until 1985 when the new Type 21’s entered service the last leaving the fleet in 1991, 3 Type 81 Tribals were also order and the last of these was withdrawn in 1995.
New Cromer’s frigate force is a currently made up of 14 hulls.
The backbone of the fleet is 6 Type 21 Batch 2 frigates ordered from Vosper Thorneycroft UK in 1983 they are built to an enlarged improved design. Armed with the venerable 4.5in mod 0 gun, Harpoon ASM, Seawolf AAM, torpedoes and Ikara. Delivered from 1985 they were commissioned in 1986. To increase the effectiveness of AA protection and to allow the final retirement of the last Whitby’s.
4 Ex RN Type 12l Leander Class frigates, Charybdis, Jupiter, Scylla and Hermione joined the fleet in 1991, 1994, 1995 and 1995 respectively all were RN Seawolf conversions and received extensive but controversially costly refits before being commissioned. Their purchase was highly controversial as the ship were fairly old and needed a costly refit, also apart from 20mm guns they were all missile armament. And to top this of they had Exocet and as the Navy was already using two different types of anti-ship missile already Harpoon and Sea Arrow adding a Third was seen as a costly enterprise.
In 2012 4 Ex RN Type 22 Batch 3 frigates were purchased and refitted at Devonport Dockyard UK and entered commission in 2013. This was the third attempt at purchasing second hand type 22’s and New Cromer had lost out on the batch 1’s in the 1990’s the batch 2’s in the early 2000’s and finally secured these in 2013. Originally these were supposed to see the retirement of the Type 12l Leander's, as this along with the Type 42’s loosing Sea Arrow was supposed to save cost and reduce the navy to just 1 ASM, Harpoon. However increases in anti-piracy work saw the Leander's retained. Although the Exocet boxes remain the Navy has removed its Exocets from service and the Leander's are mainly used for patrol duties.
New Cromer announced it was working with the UK as part of the GCS Type 26 programme with a view to buy 10 hulls, these would replace the type 21 from 2018. The 4 Leander class frigates are due to retire by 2014/5 these are to be replaced by 4 OPV’s larger and more capable than the River class but not as large as a frigate and are based on a Bae Corvette design from 2003.
4 new ships delivered in 2009 based on the RN new River class OPV HMS Clyde. 3 more are in the process of commissioning and will become operational within 2014. These will also help reduce the workload on the Type 12l Leander's to which serviceability is becoming shocking.
4 larger OPV’s or Corvettes as they are classified are due to enter service in 2014/5 are to replace the Leander class frigates, based on a Bae design sold to Malaysia in the 2000’s they are more capable than the Rivers Named as Neptune class they are armed with a 76mm gun, 2x 20mm guns, 2 twin Harpoon launchers and CAMM quad pack missiles in a 2x4 Sylver A43 VLS system as well as the ability to operate a Lynx Helicopter with a retractable hangar and 2 Armed RIB boats for anti pirate work. They also are fitted to allow a Phalanx gun to be rapidly installed for other duties were CIWS may become a necessity. Being built at Bae Systems New Cromer, the first two are nearly complete as of May 2014 with boats 3 and 4 laid down in July 2014.
A further 6 Neptune class Batch 2 were ordered in 2014 and are equipped with US mk38 guns and will be used as patrol ships in and around the Gulf Areas and as oil field protection vessels. they are due to enter service fro 2017 and won't replace any existing vessels but provide additional assets in what is proving to be a more and more unstable area.
New Cromer didn’t order its first vessels designed for mine hunting and sweeping until the 1980’s. As until it found itself becoming more involved in NATO and UN activities. The RN had maintained a number of its own Patrol vessels and Mine sweepers at Cromer Naval station since 1959 and it was following the UK removing this capability in 1980 that New Cromer looked at purchasing its own assets.
8 Ships 4 based on the UK’s Hunt class delivered in the late 1980’s, 4 based on the UK’s Sandown Class delivered in the early to mid-1990’s. Together they provide a full spectrum of Hunting, Sweeping and Disposal they are also accompanied by either a Fort class or Bay class mother ship with Ariel sweeping capability provided by Merlin Helicopters.
New Cromer Operates 3 EX RN Churchill class SSN attack submarines, bought in 1991-93 and given full but costly overhauls, theses replaced 6 Oberon Class SSK’s in service since 1968 but were in need of replacement by the early 90’s. New Cromer was considering an order for 4 Upholder class vessels for delivery in 1994 but decided to go Nuclear. Talks had been underway for a purchase of Trafalgar based boats in the mid 1980’s but no price could be agreed. 4 Astute class SSN will replace these from 2017 and will be built as a direct follow on to the RN vessels. New Cromer added a fifth vessel to the order in 2014 and all 5 shall be in service by 2021, the vessels will be armed with torpedo's, Sub Harpoon until a anti ship version of Scalp Naval is available and Sub Scalp Naval in both conventional and Nuclear options.
There are also 2 ships of a modified Resolution Class they were built from 1969 in the UK and at first were armed with 16 Polaris A3 missiles each these were converted to Trident 1 in 1982. In 2006 along with new improved Reactor cores the ships were modified to combined SSBN/SSGN with 8 of their missile tubes converted to launch Scalp Naval Cruise Missiles and the added ability to fire the sub Harpoon missile from the torpedo tube. They still retain 8 Trident 1 missiles. These ships are due to decommission in 2017 and will be replaced by the Astute class thus ending New Cromer’s ballistic missile era. New Cromer will then rely on Air Launched nuclear armed Cruise missiles used by the Navy and Air Force.
2 fleet tankers based on the RN Wave class were the first RAS ships the New Cromer navy received in 2005 giving for the first time true independent blue water capability without relying on UK or US ships on UN and NATO operations. The Ex RN supply ship Fort George joined the fleet in 2012/3 and not only is used for supplying combatants is used as a support ship for Minesweepers. 4 new ships ordered in 2011 based on the RN Mars AEGIR 18 tankers were delivered to New Cromer in January and March 2014 with full commissioning is expected in late 2014......
The navy also operate 2 ships based on the RN Bay Class LSD’s built in 2006 these too have secondary roles as Mine sweeper support vessels, disaster relief ships and can be equipped with a modular hospital on part of the flight deck to be used as hospital ships. these can also deploy with Mexi-Float rafts hung on the side and 2 LCVP Mk5 or 1 LCU Mk10 in there well decks.
A number of carriers operate from new Cromer using a variety of types of vessel, New Cromer has two major shipping Companies and various other small operators, Cromer Lines is a Ferry/Cruise company operating routes all over the world some of it smaller ferries are built locally other larger ships are sourced from abroad. Cromer Seaways is a freight shipping company and deals in containers, raw minerals etc. and operates a range of vessels from small coastal freighters to bulk carriers and medium to large container ships smaller ships up to 150meters can be built locally but larger vessels use established builder in S. Korea and Japan.
BNFL a British company has a port on New Cromer and operates a single vessel which transports new and used Nuclear Fuel and Waste to and From New Cromer and the UK (New Cromer has been 65% dependent on Nuclear power since 1990 when the last of its current 18 Reactors went online all are built to the British AGR design the remaining 35% comes from Coal and Gas but Wind and Wave is being considered for the future along with the replacement of current Nuclear facilities with newer ones). New Cromer has a HLNW repository run by The New Cromer Atomic Energy Establishment (NCAEE) and BNFL and both British and New Cromer waste is held as well as waste from other countries for a price.
Gulf Sea Ways is a fishing company that operate a number of deep sea fishing vessels out to a range of 250miles. New Cromer has to its east and north east large offshore oil fields and these are operated by BP from a port on the east coast of New Cromer, several Drilling Platforms and Rigs are serviced by a fleet of vessels operated by BP from its port most locally built. An Offshore wind farm consisting of 46 turbines to the north built in 2007 is services by a ship owned by Air Power NC, this ship is able to drill foundations, lay cables, erect the turbines and service them and was built locally. a second vessel is under construction as plans for Upto 600 wind turbines have been put forward over the net 3 decades.
New Cromer Air Force
The Air-Force of New Cromer was founded in 1954 five years prior to independence it was initially formed when the interim government of New Cromer was given the go ahead by Great Britain to buy its own aircraft and begin to set up its own air force following discussion regarding independence when talks began back in 1949. The RAF had maintained a presence on New Cromer since the end of the Second World War. 6 air bases had been built during the war and had been used by RAF bomber, fighter and maritime aircraft to protect shipping in and out of New Cromer and as a base for long range sorties into Africa and as a stopping off point for forces heading East. At the end of the Second World War the RAF had around 12 squadrons operating off of New Cromer as part of its Middle and Far East Air force. They included Lancaster later Lincoln bombers, Spitfire and later Tempest fighters, Mosquito reconnaissance planes and a number of other types.
By 1950 the first jets began to arrive in the RAF squadrons. The RAF had reduced its number of squadrons to 6 and moth balled 2 airfields by 1953. These 2 airfields became training bases for the fledgling air force of New Cromer in 1954. The first jets to arrive for the RAF were Gloster Meteor and Dehaviland Vampire fighters by 1952 the first Canberra bombers had arrived. Great Britain supplied 22 Canberra bombers and more than 50 Hawker Hunter fighters to New Cromer in 1957. RAF maintained a presence on New Cromer till 1971 when the last of the RAF’s 4 airbases transferred to the Air force of New Cromer.
The USAF had also had a presence on the island and 2 wings of B29’s were stationed at a USAF base’s at New Bakewell and Hexford over the years these were replaced by B47’s and finally F15’s, F111’s, F117’s and B52’s the last leaving in 1992. Hexford base was at its busiest during the 1991 Gulf war when the US stationed B52, F111, E3 and KC135 aircraft during the war. Hexford base shut down the following year. In 2001 Hexford base was temporarily re opened to support US activity in the Middle East, but the reprieve was short and it was shut down again in 2008 till reopening in 2011 this time for the RAF. New Bakewell base remains active and is the property of the US and is part of the New Bakewell Naval station and is now run by the USN a number of US submarine and surface ships are stationed at the base this base is also used by any visiting foreign ships.
Great Britain's RAF returned to New Cromer in 2011 taking over the USAF's closed Hexford base, the RAF use the base for operations in the Middle East as an option to RAF Acritori in Cyprus. The base has seen increased used recently for Tornado and supply aircraft for operations in Iraq.
The New Cromer Air force
In 1957 the newly formed Air Force consisted of 50 Hawker Hunter fighter/Ground attack aircraft and 22 Canberra bombers. A furthur 50 Hawker Hunter were on order and would be in service before 1960. A number Chipmunk and Jet Provost training aircraft had also been supplied by the RAF. The Air force consisted also of 64 Ex RAF Tempest fighter and 25 Ex RAF DC 3’s. 8 AVRO Shackleton MR Mk3 arrived in 1958 having been ordered in 1957. these were joined in 1964 by 5 Ex RAF Mr. Mk3 that were subsiquently upgraded to phase III before delivery. The Air Force trained alongside the RAF units on the Island and by 1960 was declared operational. At this time having become independent the RAF was withdrawing and the New Cromer Air Force was expanding to fill the void. In 1959 the newly set up Navy having set its sights on operating aircraft carriers having purchased 2 partially complete Centaur class carriers and was funding there completion, had signed a deal to buy 50 Dehaviland Sea Vixen aircraft and 14 Fairy Gannet Aircraft 5 As.4, 5 AEW.3 and 4 COD.4. Also in 1959 the Air force received 3 Beverly transport aircraft from the UK on loan. 1960 saw the retirement of the old Tempest fighters and the Air force received its final 50 Hawker Hunter aircraft. By 1960 the airforce had the Hunter in use as an air defence fighter and as a ground support aircraft, the Canberra as a bomber and would soon acquire a nuclear role, Chipmunk and Jet Provost were the main training aircraft with the Provost a closer equivalent to the Strike master also used in ground support and light attack. Transport was in the hands of the venerable DC.3 and Beverly.
In 1964 talks were underway for the purchase of the Blackburn Buccaneer and both New Cromer's Air force and Navy were interested eventually 108 Buccaneers would serve with both the Navy and Air force. The arrival of the Buccaneer would spell the end for New Cromer’s Canberra bombers, all but a handful being retired by 1967, those that survived were used as high altitude recognisance aircraft and would survive till the mid 80’s having there bomb bay’s converted to carry a ventral camera pack. Also in 1964 Westland Wessex and Wasp helicopters also joined the fleet and by the time the carriers entered service in 1968 having trained aboard RN carriers the Navy was a very competent force.
In 1965 the Government was in talks with Great Britain about a possible future buy of TSR2 aircraft as a replacement for its venerable Canberra aircraft in the long range Nuclear Bomber role the cancellation of the project in the UK put paid to this and New Cromer was forced to look for alternatives the air force showing interest in the US McDonald Douglas F4 Phantom but in the meantime the Buccaneer would take on the air force’s nuclear role, an order was eventually placed for 50 F4C Phantoms in 1966 these would eventually replace the Hunter in the air defence role. Also in 1968 the Air force began to receive the first of eventually 55 C130E aircraft from Lockheed some of these would be delivered as KC130 and would full-fill tanker duties for the short term until a more suitable platform could be found the F4 Phantom required a boom refuelling system and the Hunters, Buccaneers and the Navy’s Vixen hose and drogue. This meant the Phantoms were limited to the own fuel capacity till a suitable type was found. 1968 saw the end of the venerable DC 3’s and 3 Beverly aircraft loaned of the UK since 1959.
The Hawker Hunter aircraft gave way to the McDonald Douglas F4C Phantom from 1969 and eventually 76 were delivered. This would be the start of a long association with the type lasting till 2013… although many of the original C models would be scrapped earlier…. The last remaining Hunters used in the Ground attack role were to soldier on a bit longer however in 1969 an order was placed for 50 Harrier GR1 aircraft and these would arrive from 1972. The Hunter would be completely phased out by 1975…..
The Navy began to receive its first Sea King helicopters in 1970 and a number of the Wessex helicopters were transferred to land based SAR duties. These particular Helicopters would remain in service till 2008 giving way along with their supposed successor the Sea Kings. The Sea kings also replaced the Gannet COD.4 aircraft.
The Air force received more F4E Phantom aircraft in 1974 along with a smaller number of RF4E, these along with the newly delivered Harrier and jointly operated Buccaneers would form the backbone of New Cromer's strike aircraft until 1981 the F4E/RF4E was also tasked with RECCE and Tactical Nuclear strike duties together with both the Harrier and Buccaneer using WE177b Nuclear Bombs. Some F4E/RF4E aircraft would survive till 2013 after modernisation and rebuilds in the late 90’s.
In 1974 the Airforce ordered 5 KC135 Aircraft, the jets were equipped with centreline Boom refuelling equipment and Wing mounted Hose and Drogue units purchased from the UK. For the first time New Cromer now had the capability to deploy its Phantoms, Buccaneers and Harriers Globally.
In 1975 the first of an eventual 12 Lockheed P3 Orion’s arrived into the Navy’s fleet and took up duties on maritime patrol, fisheries protection, work for the boarder agency and ASW duties. The aircraft were not owned by the Navy and were in fact on a lease lend arrangement with the US. At the time the Government and indeed the Navy had expresses interest in the UK’s Nimrod programme but the cost was to great and the number of aircraft that would have been able to acquire too small to full fill all the needs the Navy wanted. they became operational in 1979 allowing the 7 surviving original Shackletons to be replaced 1 having crashed in 1973 in the Ajuuraan Channel killing all but one crew member, the 5 phase III aircraft surviving till 1981.
Arrival of the first batch of Lynx helicopters for the Navy saw the Gannet AS.4’s bow out in 1980 and the Wasp helicopters began to be phased out, a couple managed to soldier on till 1992 but were mainly assigned to land based training roles.
1979 saw the Air Force beginning to receive the first of eventually 55 F15C Eagles ordered in 1974 to replace the F4C in the Air Defence role from the early 80’s. Some of the newer F4E/RF4E would remain in service with the Air Force till 2013 although most would be replaced by the Tornado in the 80’s. The F15C equipped 3 squadrons plus and OCU from 1983 onwards and would serve with the Air Force till 2008/9 when the Euro Fighter Typhoon FGR4 started to arrive in service…
In 1983 following a tendering competition begun in 1978 that saw the US send two F111’s and the UK two Tornado IDS prototype aircraft to New Cromer in 1979, After the winner of the competition was announced in 1980 the Air force of New Cromer began to receive its first of 74 Panavia Tornado GR1 and later 16 GR1A aircraft these would eventually replace the Buccaneers and some Phantom F4E’s used by the Air force the best examples of the Buccaneer fleet would be transferred fully to the navy whilst not the end of Buccaneer operations for the air force the rundown of the type did begin. 1985 also saw the Canberra’s leave service, Arrival of the Tornado saw Phantom’s fully take over Recognisance duties as they were freed up from the attack duties. The arrival of Tornado GR1A aircraft later saw them completely eradicated by 1989.
in 1986 6 L1011-100 aircraft were purchase from the national airline New Cromer Airways, these were used as transports for troops, aid and other supplies they were designated Tri-Star C.1 and were used extensively in the 1991 and 2001-2003 middle eastern wars as well as humanitarian aid work in Africa and Indonesia. they finally bowed out of use in 2010/11 when the new A330 C.1 arrived.
1987 finally saw the last squadron of Buccaneers used by the air force phased out after the Tornado was now cleared to use the Bae Sea Eagle ASM these were quickly broken up and used as a source of spares for the Navy’s remaining aircraft. This year saw the first AEW variant of the Sea Kings enter service allowing the Gannet AEW.3 to retire.
In 1988 the air force received the first of 66 Harrier GR5’s these replaced the Harrier GR1 operated since 1973. The navy showed a strong interest in the air forces New more capable Harriers and began to consider replacements for it ageing Vixen and Buccaneer aircraft, the Navy had considered the Harrier earlier but the limited capabilities of the original harrier put the Navy off, the new Harrier II was an entirely different beast). At the time the Navy was considering converting it’s 2 carriers Cromer and Victoria to STOVL operation the Navy had been looking for new aircraft for a while but due to the limited size of the Centaur class carriers no suitable replacements had been found only the American Skyhawk and French Etendard IV at a push would possibly work and both were rejected this forced some rather ingenious methods to keep the Vixens flying. Two new nuclear powered carriers were in the process of design but were years from existence, a serious fire following a fuel leak on a Sea King on board Victoria that caused extensive structural problems forcing its decommissioning in 1991 forced this decision more, so eventually only Cromer was rebuilt.
The decision was made in 1991, since the late 70’s the carriers had almost always operated as a pair with one providing CAP and air defence while the other provided an effective strike package, the loss of Victoria meant a single carrier was deemed not to offer and effective air-wing. This left the Navy with only a single carrier until 2002. This was also in part due to continual delays over design to the navy’s two new CVN’s. These being built by New Cromer Defence system and the design hadn't even been finalised on paper by 1990. The fire on Victoria forced the navy to transfer to STOVL operations until 2006 when the first carrier finally entered service.
In 1992 the navy having committed to converting the carrier Cromer to STOVL operation took delivery of 42 additional harrier GR5, Naval Air Station Victoria had a mock-up of Cromer’s Deck painted on one of its auxiliary runways and a 12’ ski hump built. All air force Harrier squadrons were transferred to the air station and became part of the Joint Force Command. One the other hand the 12 P3 Orion’s were transferred from the Navy to the Air Force and the Air Force took over all Maritime patrol duties. Plans had been to repair Victoria’s flight deck and add structural supports in the hangar but this was deemed too expensive and the mock-up was chosen instead Victoria’s Deck Pennant was painted on the Mock up!
The Vixen, and Buccaneer bowed out of Navy use in 1992 following Cromer’s entry into refit before recommissioning in 1994. 1992 also saw the last of the Navy’s Wessex and Wasps replaced by a final batch of Sea king and Lynx helicopters, 6 Wessex helicopters used for SAR duties would remain in service till 2008 and were retired alongside there SeaKing Successors. The Air force began to receive the first of 22 Boeing Chinook helicopters in 1992.
From 1994 both Navy Harrier GR5 and Air force Harrier GR5 which both were now in the process of being upgraded to GR7 were being operated from the deck of Cromer. A major deal was struck in 1995 with the UK’s Mod to Deploy a single E3 sentry to New Cromer the RAF rotating the E3 and its crew every 6 months, this deal would run until 2010 when the first of 4 A330 AWAC’s arrived in New Cromer’s inventory.
1996 saw a number of the F4E/RF4E fleet start to go for a full modernisation and rebuild programme that would see them remain in service in the ground support and SEAD role till 2013, having received structural and systematic modifications and strengthening. The arrival of the Typhoon finally ended New Cromer’s 47 year association with the type.
1997 saw the first steel finally cut on the navy's two CVN's the design heavily influenced by the French carrier nearing completion Charles de Gaulle. With help from the UK, France and a little from the US progress was proceeding at a steady pace. By 1999 a tender was put out for the navy’s next generation of fixed wing aircraft to operate off the new carriers due to commission between 2002 and 2006.
In 1999 the air force received its first of 74 Bae Hawk 127 and 44 Shorts Tucanno T1 training aircraft and was able to phase out its Jet Provost and older Chipmunk propeller training aircraft which had served since the mid 1950’s. The first 4 Hawk 127 aircraft were built in the UK but the remaining 70 were sent as kits to Bae System New Cromer for assembly locally, a similar arrangement was used for the Tucanno with Shorts contracting final assembly work out to Bae Systems New Cromer.
The 2000’s saw massive investment into the New Cromer armed forces and a mass modernisation plan was began. The Tornado GR1 force was upgraded to GR4 standard and 60 of the remaining 68 aircraft after losses in accidents etc., were converted and had Storm Shadow and Brimstone missiles integrated. The 16 Tornado GR1A were given overhauls and became GR4A and 16 Squadron assigned as the dedicated RECCE and SEAD unit, the 8 un-modified GR1’s were stored as a spares pool.
In 2001 the Navy, The Air force and Army having been searching for a replacement for its Sea King helicopters all selected the Augusta/Westland Merlin and an order was placed. 2002 saw the arrival of the Navies new Oceanic class LPH’s NCNS Oxley and NCNS Mexworth following the fire on Victoria and navy being left with the single now STOVL Cromer the decision had been taken in 2000 to fit the two LPH with 12` ski jump so that the Harrier could be operated.
2002 saw the first of eventually 52 Merlins of 4 different types began to replace the venerable Sea kings the SAR and AEW aircraft were the last to retire in 2008 this included the last 6 Wessex in service. The air force received the first of 7 Raytheon sentinel aircraft in 2002 and the first of 18 A330 transport aircraft these would eventually replace the 6 Lockheed Tri Star aircraft purchased in 1986 1 of which would be lost in 2004 in an accident.
2003 after subject to further delays the navy selected the Boeing F/A18 E/F and EA18 G as it's future planes with the in service dates of the carriers now slipped to 2006 and 2009. An
order was placed for 62 F/A 18E, 40 F/A 18F and 10 EA 18G. The aircraft are to be supplied in kit form to Bae Systems New Cromer for final assembly and will be powered by the more powerful EJ220 engine currently in development for the Eurofighter Trench 3 aircraft replacing the GE F414 used in the USN variants.
Lessons were being learnt from New Cromer’s involvement in the Balkan’s conflicts of the 90’s and later Afghanistan and Iraq from working alongside the UK and US and these lessons were being quickly applied. In 2004 the first of 8 A319 MPA arrived and began to replace the 12 Lockheed P3 Orion’s these were returned to the US on termination of the lease deal in 2009 minus 1 aircraft lost in an accident involving a mid-air collision with an air force Phantom In 1999 killing both Phantom crew and all 11 on the Orion. Later investigation placed the blame on a newly qualified controller working in the tower at Victoria Naval Air Station who misread radar readings and gave the Phantom crew the wrong altitude in bad weather. The Phantom should have been 2,000ft higher when joining a stack of air-craft waiting to land in the severe fog but due to an error was given the height of a plane the controller wanted them to avoid the two air-craft collided at 10,000ft the P-3 being broken in two and the Phantom losing a wing and tumbling out of the sky. Both air-craft coming down over the New Cromer Straight’s. 12 of the 13 crew were recovered, a memorial to the men and the still missing 13th man was created on a cliff top as close to the crash site as possible.
2006 saw the first of 74 Eurocopter Tiger helicopters delivered and in 2007 the Air force leased 2 RC135’s off the USAF for ISTAR work in Afghanistan, the aircraft also saw use over Africa in Libya and Egypt. In 2008 the arrival of the first of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 and these began to rapidly replace the F15C Eagles (withdrawn by 2010) and eventually the F4E Phantoms the last being withdrawn from service in 2013. Also in 2008 60 of the Jiont force commands 102 surviving Harrier GR7’s were given their final upgrade to see them out until 2019 and were upgraded to the RAF’s GR9a standard. Unlike the RAF examples though all but Storm Shadow has been cleared on these aircraft additional avionic an electronic Upgrades allowing the carriage of ASRAAM.
2006 finally saw the arrival of the first of the long Delayed CVN’s NCNS Cromer, deliveries of the F/A 18’s had proceeded un effected and a number of navy pilots had been transferred to the USN for training. The second carrier NCNS Victoria, arrived in 2008. The final batch of EA 18G’s should be delivered in 2014.
2009 saw NCNS Cromer declared fully operational after 3 years of intensive sea trials, crew training. She would see her first action alongside the French Carrier CDG in Libya in 2011. NCNS Victoria was declared operational in 2011 and both carriers saw action in New Cromer’s involvement in the Egyptian civil war and in aid of Yemen in its civil war. NCNS Victoria happened to be on training duties in the southern ocean off Australia in 2014 when flight MH370 went missing her rotary wing assets helping in the fruitless search.
2010 saw the arrival of the first of 4 A330 AWAC’s aircraft to replace the single aircraft deployed by the RAF since 1995. Also in 2010 New Cromer started to receive the first of an eventual 25 reaper drones the last of which arrived in 2014. 2012 saw the arrival of the first V22 to the Navy delivery of the type proceeded quickly and by 2014 they were in service as transport and tankers for the Navy. The First A330 MRTT was delivered as the C130 and KC130 fleet was slowly wound down. Arrival of the last of these in 2014 saw the KC-135's retired too.
2013 saw the Air-force bid farewell to the McDonald Douglas Phantom. The last squadron No’4 was disbanded and it’s RF4E Phantom’s were removed from service. No’4 squadron reformed 6 months later equipped with Hawk 127 aircraft as a close air support squadron tasked with close air support for Army operations, the Hawks cleared for 500lb bombs, Brimstone missiles etc., have seen increasing use in African conflicts in Mali, Niger and so on often supporting foreign troops too.
Still going on into 2013 more modernisation, as 6 C17 Globemaster III joined the air force along with the Watchkeeper drones. An order was placed for 16 A400M aircraft in late 2013 and these are expected in 2015-16 along with 2 A330 based aircraft to replace the loaned RC135’s. 74 Lynx Wildcats were ordered to replace New Cromer’s original Lynx AH.7 fleet and the eldest of the HAS.3 fleet, the first arriving in 2014 all should be delivered by 2019. 2013 also saw 2 RQ8 fire scout drones trailed aboard one of New Cromer’s type 22 frigates although the project has since been cancelled and the two drones returned to the US.
Talks with Boeing were started in 2014 for 8 AEW V.22 aircraft to replace the Merlin AEW delivered in 2004, the Merlins will be converted to HC.4 transport helicopters when the Osprey AEW are delivered hopefully in 2016. 2014 also saw the F35B selected as replacement for the Harrier and Tornado fleets from 2019. Plans were originally to see 120 F35B to replace the two fleets however cost increases currently put the number at 80 with a further 40 Typhoon FGR4 likely to replace two Tornado squadrons. Tests aboard the LPH’s Mexworth were carried out in the US with the F35B, although these ships are destined to be replaced in 2020 by two ships of a design based on a heavily modified Mistral Class with Ski Jump.
Future planning has seen interest in the Bae Systems Taranis system and this may be selected as a future replacement for the MQ9 Reaper at some time in the future. Upgrades are planned for the Typhoon force with plans to integrate conformal fuel tanks and the Meteor missile from 2015. Meteor, Storm Shadow and Brimstone are also being integrated onto the F/A18E&F fleets.
Personnel levels of New Cromer’s armed forces
The Army of New Cromer was founded in 1949 10 years prior to independence, although New Cromer had provided troops to the British Empire since the late 1800’s. The islands military from the outset has been a conscript Army, Air force and Navy with national service providing the men and women (women since 1978) for the forces. Eligibility is based on age, citizenship, time in the country on residential visa and in some cases people can be exempt depending on qualifications gained in higher education or certain careers are considered as being more important to state than service. Men aged between 17 and 35 are eligible (19 if in higher education and rising to 24 if in university) for women it is 17 to 30, again if higher education is entered or college and university ages rise, pregnant or women with children by the time they are eligible are exempt, women are also not permitted in the front line army but can serve in army logistics, active Air Force or navy units. Certain professions if the person leaves school, college or university are considered more important than service and these people are exempt. For people moving to the country if they are resident in the country for over 5 years and they are below the age limit for service on the fifth anniversary of their arrival are eligible, likewise anyone who gains citizenship who is under the age limit is also eligible unless they work in the health, engineering or banking industries and hold relevant qualifications. Upon leaving the forces most people who have served do leave with a set of useful qualifications to get careers in many occupations.
New Cromer’s army as of 2014 the Army (not including the Navy, Airforce and Marine divisions) is 305,000 strong. Of these 95,000 are considered Regular Army, Regular Army are the professional element of the Army of New Cromer and consist of people who have remained in the army after there 3 years national service has ended and chose a career in the army or people who joined the army before they were conscripted as volunteers or non nationals who have joined the army voluntarily. Personnel who join the Army as volunteers have to commit to 5 years service once they have completed there 6 weeks basic training. After 5 years they are allowed to leave or extend there service by 3, 5 or 8 year extensions the only limit to the number of extensions is they cannot exceed there 55th Men or 50th Women birthday depending on there role. Army pay is considered a very good income with salaries ranging from £25,000 to £55,000 per annum, with sign up to the Regulars is popular. Reservists are paid less approx £19,000 per annum but the wage is still considered a good income while undertaking national service.
140,000 are classed as Reservists and are people currently serving there 3 years national service. Reservists are trained to similar levels as the Regular Army completing the same 6 week basic training coarse and are deployed as such as standard military units when required. On completion of there 3rd and final year of National Service they are given the option to extend and become a regular or leave the army with there gained qualifications. On leaving service they are asked if they want to join the Home Guard or are selected for the Home Guard based on there service records. This means they are added to a list of personnel who can be recalled to active duty in the event of a major situation or emergency. Those who do not put there name down or those not considered return to civilian life.
The Remaining 70,000 are classed as Home Guard and are enlisted men/women who have completed there 3 years national service and have selected to join the Home guard or have been chosen based on there service record. Unlike the Regular or Reservist army who are billeted or barracked the Home Guard live fairly normal civilian lives. They are eligible for re activation if a surge in troop numbers is required (Conscripts are eligible for Re Activation up to 3 years after completing there national service, but these units will only be re activated at times of emergency and very few have been recalled once there service has ended). They are required to attend training on various weekends but are basically civilians the Home Guard