Royal Navy

Guardian and Diplomat

In times of conflict or peace, the Royal Navy is key to the prosperity of Britain and the stability of the high seas. Explore our role on the global stage.

What we do 

We help to stabilise the seas, keeping the maritime trade that’s the lifeblood of the UK economy flowing. We act as a guardian and a diplomat, as a humanitarian force for good, and a peacekeeper on the global stage.

Preventing Conflict

The Royal Navy’s presence on the world stage sends a powerful message. We are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to prevent conflict. By being there when it matters with a credible and potent naval force, we provide reassurance to other nations and stand as a deterrent to would-be aggressors. This influence safeguards the flow of international trade, helping Britain to thrive.

Providing security at sea

A thriving global economy depends on maritime trade – and as an island nation, the UK needs a strong navy to protect its interests on the high seas. Day after day, the Royal Navy keeps a watchful eye over home and international waters, safeguarding its citizens and allies from pirates, terrorists and criminals, and ensuring that vital trade can continue without interruption. More than 950,000 jobs are directly supported by the UK maritime sector, a sector which adds £37.4 billion of gross value to the UK economy. With so much at stake, it’s vital that the Royal Navy strikes a formidable presence on the world stage. In order to keep our maritime trade routes safe, the Royal Navy requires a truly global reach. Our forces deploy right across the world, maintaining a strong presence and forging links with independent territories.

International Partnerships

As an island nation, the UK relies on strong ties with its allies and trading partners around the globe. By defending the seaways that underpin the global economy and representing the UK at home and abroad, the Royal Navy plays a crucial role in strengthening those ties and ensuring the continued prosperity of our nation. Reassuring our allies, the global trade on which Britain relies depends on the cooperation and goodwill of other nations. When tensions arise, we provide reassurance and help to contain situations before they develop. Sharing expertise, resources and knowledge is key to a harmonious global economy. Sometimes we help and train our partners and allies; sometimes they help and train us. This kind of collaboration is central to strengthening the bonds between nations.

Protecting our economy

Maritime trade is essential to the British way of life, with a huge 95% of Britain’s economic activity depending on the oceans. We import goods worth a breathtaking £524 billion every year – including around half of our food and fuel – so freedom of the seas is truly essential to the UK’s continued prosperity and comfort. The majority of maritime trade passes through a handful of global chokepoints. We position our strength to safeguard these vital areas, promising safe passage and encouraging free trade. By being on-hand to act in an instant if necessary, we keep the lifeblood of the UK economy – maritime trade – moving freely.

Providing humanitarian assistance

Whether disasters are human-made or natural, the results are often the same: fractured infrastructure, shortages of food and water, and a lack of essential services like sanitation and electricity. Responding to these life-threatening scenarios is central to our ethos – we have the skills, experience and equipment to make a real difference when it matters most. Providing humanitarian assistance, restoring infrastructure, from frozen tundra to dense jungle, we’re used to getting the job done in challenging conditions. No power? No problem. No water? We'll improvise. Overcoming adverse conditions is all in a day’s work for our teams, so we’re ready and able whether we are re-establishing law and order, restoring water and power, or repairing airstrips, roads and buildings. Providing humanitarian assistance Providing aid and support By combining the brute strength and capability of our fleet with the agility of the Fleet Air Arm’s helicopters, we get aid where it’s needed most, fast. Our capability, tenacity and creativity have made a lifesaving difference in Sri Lanka, Haiti, the Philippines and the Caribbean Islands, getting supplies, skills and support to courageous people facing down disaster.

The Royal Navy Website