In 1512, the Scottish Navy launched their largest ship ever, the 57-gun Great Michael. Intended to help lead a fantasized crusade against the Ottoman Empire, the ship weighed in at more than 1,000 tons, embarked a crew and marine detachment of nearly 1500 and boasted the largest caliber naval gun in the history of guns – the massive, 510mm “Mons Meg.” Too expensive to operate, within a decade of her launch she would be left to rot in a French shipyard.
… the security of the country’s oil and gas resources, mainly in the North Sea, plus its fishing grounds and industry and maritime trading routes would be of prime importance.
The report concludes independent Scotland would rely, initially, on a share of assets split from the existing British military as part of the break-up and, later, on off-the-shelf systems purchased abroad. It envisions a naval service with around 2,000 sailors and a surface fleet of up to 20 ships, led by two of the Royal Navy’s current Type 23 destroyers. The bulk of the remainder of the fleet would be composed of offshore patrol boats and minesweepers of either new construction or sourced from the RN.
HMS Montrose – envisioned by the RUSI as the future SNS Montrose (photo: U.S. Navy)
The report goes on to suppose Scotland – despite the Scottish National Party’s anti-NATO outlook – would seek some kind of defense accommodation with the alliance.
According to a January report from the Telegraph, the lack of any suitable non-Scottish facilities for Britain’s Trident submarines would give a post-independence government leverage to take the pick of the litter from the Royal Navy when it came time to divide assets, though, Peter Peacock, a Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) and independence skeptic, doubts the commitment of the SNP to defense. In a letter to the Herald in 2007, he derisively wrote,
I thought that a SNP Scotland would have no need for a navy other than some motor launches as an independent Scotland would be at peace (apart from England) with the entire world. In fact the remaining Scottish infantry regiments could get campaign medals for sentry duty at Edinburgh Castle.
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