Next week the government will finally announce the results of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the process by which the armed forces and their plans for the future will be brought into line with the amount of money available to pay for them. So, what's the state of play? The outlines of the situation are plain …
Pity BAe didn't run coal mines - then maggie, and successive Labour and Tory governments could have subsidised them to the tune of a million quid/job.
@yet ANother Anonymous coward
"Pity BAe didn't run coal mines - then maggie, and successive Labour and Tory governments could have subsidised them to the tune of a million quid/job."
Well at one time they ran what was left of BL, after Maggies merry men had bunged them a £63m "Sweetner," which was a nice bit of icing on top of what they got when they off loaded it to BMW. Their pitch was they wanted to be like Saab, but they were s£$t at running a car company (it could be argued they are s£$t at running a defense con-tractors but that would imply that running such a company has something to do with making products).
Ar superiority in Afghanistan ?
>'Sure, you need to win control of the skies before you can use a Reaper: but that's why we have fighters "
So is the Euro fighter upto the Taliban's air force or do we need to buy F35s to counter the threat of rebel alliance X-wings?
Air superiority anywhere?
I'm surprised Lewis hasn't taken the argument to its logical conclusion - cancel the RAF altogether. What's the point in having an entire - astronomically expensive - service branch that no longer has any real mission? Its fighters don't have the range to get where they can be useful and they no longer have an aircraft capable of bombing Port Stanley. Let the Navy, with its mobile airfields, take care of air cover, and let the Army take care of the Reapers. I suppose for sentiment's sake one could keep a few squadrons of fighters in Britain, for air shows and the like.
The idea of abolishing the air force was mooted a few years ago here in the US, where the Navy and Army are practically self-sufficient in air power and the USAF is truly redundant. I was disappointed it didn't go any further.
Couldn't agree more
Unfortunately though, we British have a tough time letting go. There are far too many that see the RAF as a sacred cow, so I doubt it will disappear anytime soon. It's duties can very easily be taken over by Army and Navy, and while the accomplishments of the RAF should never be forgotten, it's largely becoming irrelevant in todays combat requirements.
British Air Defence
As far as I am concerned the RAF should be an British Air Defence organisation only.
Defending Blighty's shores against Tupolevs and other Russian bombers. Leave the ground support to the Army (with a unified command structure) and the the Navy for foreign force projection.
I suppose the RAF could also operate as air defence for air bases and escort in situations where that is needed (Army aircraft operate ground support, RAF are base defence and escort the ground pounders)
Couldn't agreee more.
The RAF are, as you pointed out, a completely redundant and expensive white elephant. Shutting them down would make perfect sense, and only 2 problems would need solving.
(1) What do we do with all the useless eurofighters?
(2) Who would run the red arrows?
"Gordon Brown was well known for using navy shipbuilding to channel pork into his political strongholds in Scotland."
As opposed to the previous Tory administration who used to channel it to their own stongholds in Devenport (for example)
"Gordon Brown was well known for using navy shipbuilding to channel pork into his political strongholds in Scotland."
It's been 20-30 years since there were any other yards in the country that could build large-ish ships . So where else could the navy's contracts go apart from the two BAe yards on the Clyde? Any pork Brown channelled couldn't really go anywhere else. And BTW that pork has been going on since at least the Victorian era: before Brown's parents were born. For example, there were Beattie's dreadnoughts before WW1. Or the "loans" to Cunard for building the Queen Mary and Elizabeth in the 1930s. And so on.
Maybe Lewis would like the Germans or Koreans to build the Navy's ships. For one thing we might get stuff which actually works as well as being delivered on time and on budget. That would give BAe a long overdue and well-deserved kicking. Though obviously it would be bad news for the Clyde yards and everyone working there. But who gives a shit about them?
"Though obviously it would be bad news for the Clyde yards and everyone working there. But who gives a shit about them?"
I give a shit about them, but I fail to see why the MoD needs to spend vast amounts of cash for stuff that doesn't work, because these shipbuilders cannot produce decent stuff on time and on budget. If they did that, maybe they wouldn't have to rely on MoD pork.
I saw some guy purporting to be an aviation expert saying "the army loves Tornado". Uhuh. Much like you'd love mortars if that's all you had.
As someone who's worked on the crap, the only people you can say "love Tornado" are the maintenance depots in the UK.
Really. Make it end now.
I nearly choked on hot coffee when he was extolling the "virtues" of Tornado. Iraq "1" showed the total lunacy of RAF tactics with Tornados - the whole reason for the optimistically named "ground attack variant" died when Germany was reunified anyway.
If we didn't have BAe embedded in the MoD then we might have a logical defence plan.
Hell what was wrong with saying "fuck Eurofighter, buy some F16s". It would have made a hell of a lot more sense in that you wouldn't have the stupid maintenance burden of maintaining ancient systems on Tornado (anyone remember "thick-film" modules from Plessey, yep they're still around) and you'd have a far more capable aircraft for the time.
Its all very well saying that we can't afford to develop a modern fighter from scratch ourselves. However we've ended up spending shitloads of money on aircraft designed by multinational committees that end up doing nothing anyone wants without expensive retrofits. Successful aircraft are built & specified by one company/nation and are built for their own needs. We've wasted billions on sub-standard crap which is basically down to BAe and their tentacles inside the MoD.
"anyone remember "thick-film" modules from Plessey, yep they're still around"
BTW I seem to recall that thick film hybrids were (and possibly still are) quite popular for automotive electronics. Mil spec reliability at substantially lower prices (relative to mil grade parts).
Well to be honest...
The MoD are pretty crap at ordering aircraft as well.... Chinook HC3 helicopters..Future Lynx project.
Ah, so that's why all universities have to be privatized: to save an extra 10% of the MoD's budget. At least it means that when you cannot get into university because they all cost £10k+/year, you can join the army instead! Brilliant!
...to people who downvoted my post: What's the point in having an armed forces if in order to keep them you must destroy the things worth saving in the country?
Are lot of universities teaching utterly useless things worth keeping?
The real truth is that the vast majority of degrees are of no use to the country or the person sitting them. I'm not just thinking of the typical media-studies ether, reading English, History and dead languages are just as useless, and as such these “Hobby Courses” should not be paid for by TAX payers any more than an OAP Knitting Club.
There is one thing that I am totally against and that is the current governments idea of making students who get a useful degree pay more than those who don't. I someone chose the spend time getting a degree that is about as much value as a sheet of Andrex, that was their fault. This is probably the worst of all systems as it actually discourages doing useful courses and promotes the useless ones that are favoured by the perpetual students.
Personally I would like to see a return of a proper grant system, but with every course rated as having a value to society. Something like the following:
Grade A 100% grant: Would be all the true sciences, maths, engineering and medicine. All of these courses result in a person that has useful skills that will get them a good job. This in itself means that the grant would be paid back in TAX as they would be in work and probably paying at the higher rates.
Grade B ~50% grant: This would include the other more vocational subjects, but where there is a limited use to the country or a better work+study (aka: apprenticeship) template; These would include courses such as Law, Accountancy, Business and Computing. In most cases these are all things better taught by people who actually do it, rather than the failures who went into education.
Grade C 0% grant: This would include everything that has little to no benefit to the TAX payer. This would include all the dead or living languages and all of the hobbyist degrees.
This is fair not only to the TAX payer but the student, if they can afford to waste time on a useless degree, they should expect to pay for it, as getting it will never pay for itself. Likewise is a student want to do something that is difficult, but potentially very useful they get real help.
If the basic GCSE's were of a reasonable standard to differentiate between the dumb and bright , and 'A' levels for the top 25-30%, then having half of those going to University for a true “higher education” would be ideal. What we have now is moronic liberal/socialist thinking “where every one is equal” meaning all we actually have is “more education”.
PS: I recently saw a GCSE Maths paper for G to C grade students, I couldn't believe how low the standards were, when I showed this to a friend his comment described it perfectly: “This is not testing how smart they, but testing how thick their are”.
I'm going to keep this short as I get very angry when journos get the wrong info.
You mention the black bag full of stuff we get before we deploy that the army failed to issue us?
Eh. No. That black bag is full of stuff the army, and watch my lips here;
We don't get issued it before because we don't need any of it in the UK or anywhere else we train apart from Canada. It's all hot-weather / cold weather gear designed for the extremes of temperatures in Afghan where normal kit doesn't cut the mustard.
We could get issued all of the stuff when you arrive at your Regiment from training, but:
A: It'd cost a fortune
B: You don't need any of it unless you're going to theatre
So, get your facts right.
With all due respect sir, I believe you missed the point:
The contrast was about who was paying for this essential gear which you need for deployment. Previously, when the army was meant to be sorting it out, it didn't happen because they couldn't afford it. Then the treasury started to pay for it from separate funds to the MoD budget, so the gear was issued.
I don't think the author ever suggested that soldiers should be issued with it as soon as they joined their regiment, merely that it was imperative that it was issued eventually.
Not sure that's what he meant
I think he meant that if it had to come out of the normal budget then you wouldn't get it at all - rather the Treasury funds it through the additional RfR2 (btw pretty sure it's "conflict prevention", not "conflict resolution", stupid though that is (first time I saw some Iraq costs put to "Conflict Prevention" I nearly choked - talk about polar opposites)).
To be honest it always seemed fair to me that there was a separate RfR for war fighting since it allows the Ministry to plan its normal activities (eg training) with some predictability and would hopefully help to prevent short term war issues crowding out the basic fundamentals (there is a similar system for capital spend called "urgent operational requirements" which can be submitted to the Treasury outside the normal CDEL (capital departmental expenditure limit) planning). It also make sense given that the decision whether or not to go to war is political and the policiticians should find the money for it.
All that said, I return to the comment that I think you've misunderstood Lewis's point - be grateful to the Treasury for that bag of kit because the MoD have mismanaged their budget for so long that more and more stuff is coming out of UORs and through RfR2 than would otherwise be the case.
Why not charge 10K/year to join the army?
When they used to sell commissions the British army won pretty much everything ( if you call the US war of independence a draw ) so why not try it again?
Because the military isn't an essential/only career any more?
Incredibly few officers would want to join the army if it cost, there are many more attractive careers/professions. As it currently stand the forces have to tempt people to enlist by paying them through university.
You're going to need to explain that one
'if you call the US war of independence a draw'
Britain lost its richest North American colonies, lost most of the battles and handed France a new ally - how on earth does that come out as a draw?
The colonials never managed to invade us :)
Make our own kit
We've done it before and can do it again. We used to have great success in selling lovely expensive stuff to all sorts of people. A few more jobs here in blighty too.
An even better way to save money? Close the bases in Germany, Hike the rent up on all the yank bases in this country, and don't get involved in America's wars.
But I smell a big fat political rat here," we can't afford to defend ourselves any longer, there must be a Euro Army" Like we'll fall for that one like we did with the EEC. Love to see how that vote would have went in the '70s "do you want to be part of a federal superstate?"
"do you want to be part of a federal superstate?"
If it means we can fire the clueless, halfwit career politicians in this country, I'm all for it thanks - it's not like we seem to be fit to govern ourselves in this country any more.
I can already blag my way through in French and German - so what the hell, bring it on.
"Even if you can find an enemy with lots of tanks and artillery to have a fight with, it makes far more sense to simply blast them in safety from the air using precision weapons, than to fight them on their own terms. Tackling enemy tanks using tanks of your own - in these days of all-weather aircraft, airborne radar and guided weapons - is rather like killing rottweilers by getting down on all fours and biting them to death."
Only, it didn't work in Kosovo. The Serbian armour didn't need to concentrate in one place, since it wasn't facing Nato armour. The Serbs deployed decoys, and many of these were hit instead. The armour is the anvil against which the airpower hammer is wielded.
why not get totally radical
Amalgamate all three services into a UK Defence force, have a bonfire of the brass hats & the Sir Humpreys. Then give the military what they need but tolerate no infighting. it seems to work for the Israelis ok.
"it seems to work for the Israelis ok."
With some top up funding from the US I think.
I think Canada also tried it.
Not sure how well it worked out.
But the *very* high number of senior staff does need to be cut down. I wonder if you can make military personnel redundant?
I refer directly to his comment of;
" good old Army was actually the organisation that failed to get him all that kit in the first place."
You will never know what you need 'In the first place' until enough people have been through it and given feedback. So the army I don't think, can be held to blame for that.
So at the start people weren't in desert kit, had the wrong boots, but well, that didn't really stop us, did it? It just doesn't look as neat or make our lives as comfortable as they could be.
Now however it's gone full circle.
The majority of that kit in the black bag is stuff we don't actually need.
A bag will contain things from hydration systems such as a camelbak, through to things like a thermos mug, therma-rest mat, desert coveralls, floppy hat, gloves etc.
It will also have your issue desert kit which would be trousers, shirts, under-armour shirts, waterproofs, body armour covers, extra plates if you requested them, new helmets, etc.
People need to be careful about how they categorise this, as the items in the second list were things you would get regardless if there was a black bag or not. I admit, there was less in the second list when I went to Iraq in 2006, but the only real difference was the under-armour shirts hadn't been developed then.
The remainder of the black bag is 'gucci' kit that makes life more comfortable. You don't actually need any of it.
My thermos mug stayed in the UK, as did my thermarest, wool gloves and other random assorted bits and bobs. The British Army and other western armies are renowned for their desire to be comfortable in battle. Most of the stuff we get issued before deployment is kit we don't really need or use but it just makes things a bit easier on us.
I came back in April this year having spent my seven months frontline and operating on my feet. I lived out my bergen which carried my warm kit, a dos bag and a rather sexy one man bivvy tent I bought myself to make my life easier instead of having to strap up a poncho when it was raining.
That was all I and 98 other guys needed out there. Plus a few good books stashed in amongst it all for when it was quiet.
Budgets are being spent in the wrong places time and again and the black bag is a great example. It's like a christmas stocking filled with crap you don't need but well, you've got it now. The people that use that kit the most are the people in places like Bastion. So do we need to supply soldiers that wont leave the gates once with the same kit as we supply a combat arm soldier? I think not.
I have three tours worth of stuff in my room on camp that accumulatively must've cost hundreds to buy, but every time I go I get issued new stuff. Even though I still have the old stuff. Madness.
Anyway, I've lost my point now and I'm rambling. I like the black bag, but it's a waste of money, most of it.
The point of having a military
is, apparently, to "generate jobs", inside and out. Were it otherwise there would be less blatant lying about and lots more things actually achieved. And no, that's not a critique of the people actually doing all the doing.
...will take hits but nothing important...
mainly because they have nothing important to hit any more? the SA80 still doesnt work more than twice out of three, and the rest of the kit is not up to much..
To correct a certain stripling - BAe systems were arguably the most successful managers of the leviathan which was at times British Leyland, Rover, Austin-Rover etc. They presided over the period of the hook up with Honda and the still popular R8 cars - it was only when BMW got hold of the company - did the business equivalent of kicking Honda in the happy sacks - and presiding over some of the most stupid business decisions known to mankind that things really finally started to go to hell in a handbasket. The 'four horsemen of the apocalypse' that followed on after BMW had shredded the business and nicked all the worthwhile IP had little other option than to watch the remains of the company wither - but even then there was some worthy tin coming out of the doors.
The RAF was always going to get hammered - simply because its been in the news as the one spending more than its means for so long and so often the politicians really dont have any other option than to be seen to be clobbering them, Irony is that it would probably have been a better plan to merge the 'air forces' - so we keep a navy and army, but have planes that can do a multitude of roles depending on the weapons and avionics fit for a given mission.
A commonality of airframes would be a better idea than trying to keep 3 - 4 different systems running when really their job can be done with one type of aircraft and different fit-outs. true it means you get a plane that needs to be land and carrier capable, which adds complexity to an extent - but its less complexity than the systems required to run, maintain and support two airframe sets and their spare parts which are essentially doing the same job.
Im still not sure about the navy side of things - it strikes me that all these vaunted 'big ships' with their planes and helicopters and the like - are slow, greedy on fuel, and should it come to a showdown with someone like china pointless anyway since they will be prime targets within the first 30 minutes...
How about 6 mega submarines? expensive and complex, but possible, Think a vessel with nuclear power but running a breeder reactor so it can manufacture its own fuel. think a vessel with separate hangars and systems for maybe 6 F-18 fighters with their assorted load outs and parts etc and a railgun type catapult. think combined gun and missile armament, along with decent sensor suites.
One of those alone is a combination of every single possible requirement - and in the long run it would still work out cheaper to maintain than all of the different hulls, engines, and other kit that is used now in the different classes of vessel in the navy. plus the bigger something is, the less easy it is to destroy it.
Ironically it might save money to spend alot more at one given time, in order to get savings down the road - but the chances of the government at the moment getting that...?
"mainly because they have nothing important to hit any more? the SA80 still doesnt work more than twice out of three, and the rest of the kit is not up to much.."
Is that 2 out of 3 fired rounds or 2 of 3 weapons. That would seem to be a *staggering* failure rate. About what I have been told HP has for some of its printer cartridges (although the consequences are rather more severe).
"They presided over the period of the hook up with Honda and the still popular R8 cars "
I got the impression the Honda deal (Superplastic forming tech?) was in the works for a long time before they turned up.
"The 'four horsemen of the apocalypse' that followed on after BMW had shredded the business and nicked all the worthwhile IP had little other option than to watch the remains of the company wither - but even then there was some worthy tin coming out of the doors."
You forgot to mention stuff their assorted pension funds with about £20m and behave as "4 Brummies with an overdraft" as IIRC one of them put it. Leaving the Chinese to pick up the pieces.
"A commonality of airframes would be a better idea than trying to keep 3 - 4 different systems running when really their job can be done with one type of aircraft and different fit-outs. true it means you get a plane that needs to be land and carrier capable, which adds complexity to an extent - but its less complexity than the systems required to run, maintain and support two airframe sets and their spare parts which are essentially doing the same job."
The idea that inspired the "Lightweight fighter Programme" of the US in the 1970s. Common aircraft between USAF and Navy. What became the F16 won and has been a major export success. The Navy did not trust the single engine reliability and went with what is the FA 18. the idea is excellent provided you can get over the nursery school mentality of "I want, I want, I want!"
The usual issues seem to be seawater corrosion of certain popular in land based aircraft, tailhooks need to be designed in from the *start* and carrier landings may be up to 20% higher sink rates than land (pitching of the flight deck). All *very* tough to add as retro fits.
"Im still not sure about the navy side of things - it strikes me that all these vaunted 'big ships' with their planes and helicopters and the like - are slow, greedy on fuel, and should it come to a showdown with someone like china pointless anyway since they will be prime targets within the first 30 minutes..."
Despite a 24 hour new cycle political and military things in the real world take *time* to develop (days to weeks) and last a *lot* longer than the news cameras will be around for. Being able to put a large secure base in place (and then move it to somewhere else ) is pretty handy. As for China. A shooting war with them would make *any* carrier fleet irrelevant except possibly the US.
"How about 6 mega submarines? expensive and complex, but possible, Think a vessel with nuclear power but running a breeder reactor so it can manufacture its own fuel. "
A common misconception. Breeders do *not* typically run on their own fuel. They were designed as part of a mixed reactor "fleet"
"think a vessel with separate hangars and systems for maybe 6 F-18 fighters with their assorted load outs and parts etc and a railgun type catapult. think combined gun and missile armament, along with decent sensor suites."
Aircraft carrying submarines have been tried from the 1920's (some in UK service). In the 50's the US tried one for their "Snark" cruise missile (no pop out wings like the Tomahawks). ICBM's proved better than *anything* at any normal air speed with wings (and still are for strategic defense)
BTW making large watertight doors that *stay* watertight at depth is tricky. IIRC the 1920's subs did not work well. They got something like a car ferry deck filled with water.
Subs with hangar decks filled with water crash dive *fast*. I suspect this is one that's still in Gerry Anderson's bottom drawer.
"Ironically it might save money to spend a lot more at one given time, in order to get savings down the road - but the chances of the government at the moment getting that...?"
Historically the UK MoD seems to prefer saving money short term (c3900m on carrier work) and then spend about £2.5Bn to catch up later.
Possibly one of the groups who have studied investment and development costs the most in the area of big projects has been Reaction Engines Ltd with regard to what it would take to get their Skylon concept into the air. Their side comments on patterns of spending in big (Multi billion dollar) projects buried in their various reports has made interesting reading.
Meanwhile over at the Gruniad
Their leak has it that the Harrier force is going to be scrapped to save the Tornado, which would leave the new (mostly pointless) carriers even less useful than planned and save much less money.
Well done Biggles.
@why not get totally radical
It cost a bit more than anyone expected, they had to close the popular kitimat youth program to pay for replacing the badges on all the uniforms.
In theory they saved lots of money by closing bases, except you couldn't close any base in a marginal constituency, or change any unit that had a powerful politician supporting it or anything with a history that would look bad in the press.
And they still ended up having to buy $Bn worth of US aircraft because Canadian parts suppliers had a stake!
Age before beauty?
I can remember the Tornado project from the mid-Seventies. It was a few more years before it entered service, but it does seem as though the RAF want to keep on flying old aeroplanes.
That's not the same thing as flying an old design. Look at the C-130 for an instance of a design that was continuously improved and produced. But for the past 50 years, it's maybe been that the British procurement system has never really planned for long-term development and production. So, instead of building new airframes, we've had the fun of the Nimrod program.
We got Canada - they got Florida !
And a big thanks to
Za Nu Labours 'schorced earth' policy of no boom and all bust
The blundering idiots who kindly ordered two aircraft carriers that we really dont need & tied up the contract with all sorts of punitive cancellation clauses.
Things are not looking good for NE Scotland though. With two airbases (RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss) potentially up for closure it is going to really mess up the local economy.
And since Moray is a SNP stronghold and has been so for some time neither Labour or Conservatives are going to lose much sleep over lost voters.
Ok i dont get this, these contracts for new gear seem to cost more because of over runs, so BAE turns around and says hay we screwed up this isnt going to take 2 years its going to be 5 and that wee thing their just jumped up in price by a factor of 1000. and this seems to happen on every project, now the bit i dont get is when we give them a contract why oh why dont we add a simple extra bit. If you bid overruns by more than a year or two you will pay us 10million a year, or something like that, you know give them an incentive to stop fucking about wasteing our money, likewise the cost of parts, excluding the cost of materials changing in price as they always do, if their bid is £2bn then its £2bn +- material price changes, the cost of ore oil etc is widely known, manufacturing costs may change but not in the order of billions of pounds.
i dunno, the whole thing stinks to me, the MOD gets its gear (eventually) BAE or whoever gets to charge whatever they damn well feel like and we get the bill.
Couple of points in some of the comments
no war as been won by air power alone, you need an army, if you have troops on the ground you need armour, air defence may be mute just now but you cant tell what will happen in 15 20 years time, if things do go bad and we have to scramble for new gear its going to cost a lot or we'll simply not be able to fight. I know the world has changed since WW2 but the princable is the same, after the first war, the war to end all wars, we thought we were relitively safe, we neglected our forces, it was only just in the nick of time that we started re armourment when we did, a war now would be over much quicker and yet our ability to rearm would take significantly longer.
Ideal world nothing going to happen but not a single person on this plant can tell me whats going to happen in 20years, in my lifetime so is it not prudent to keep at least one eye on the ball?
The Defence Of Britain
What kind of Threats does Britain face ?
A - Nuclear Ballistic Missiles comning in from any trajectory.
B - Cruise Missiles, nuclear-tipped or not coming from from the sea. Especially the Tu-95 "visits" coming down along the nowegian coast are a clear threath and provocation.
C - Potential amphibious landings from the European continent.
D - Threats to British shipping and lines of communication in choke points like Suez, Aden, the Malakka Strait and the Street of Hormuz.
E - Threats to allies like Estonia, Saudi-Arabia, Oman from powerful neighbours. Note that these threats are no longer clear threats to "Britain".
How to deal with these threats taking into account the current armory:
A - SLBMs and in the future potentially road- or rail-based ballistic missiles as a cheap, indigenious replacement. If the russians can do that, Britain can do it too.
B - Eurofighters combined with upgraded ADV Tornadoes. The latter need the same Radar as the Eurofighter and new missiles. The airframe itself is the best solution to the long-range, supersonic cruise-missile threat exemplified by the Tu95 Bomber and its cruise missile weapons. Swept-Wing Technology allows for long loitering or patrols, combined with supersonic "dashes" to get into the shooting position to intercept the latest russian cruise missiles.
The Eurofighter complements this anti-bomber capability with the most agile fighter of the western world and would fend off any fighters attacking British forces. Both Tornado and Eurofighter could be further upgraded with thrust-vectoring technology developed by MBB/Rockwell in the X-31 project.
An affordable AWACS solution would be the medium-sized Saab ISR aircraft to defend British airspace. A330 MRTT tankers are force-multipliers to keep EFA and Tornado fighters far away from British beaches fueld for sorties of 8 hours and more. The Tornado concept of pilot and WSO makes even longer patrols far norh of Scotland possible, as one crew member can relax while the other one monitors the aircraft.
C - The RAF and the RN have sufficient weapons systems to make such an option virtually impossible. Frigates, Tornado (using the combat-proven Exocet system) and Eurofighter would screen the coasts. In addition to that, British Army tanks would quickly crush any "stealthy" invasion.
D - These problems can be solved without the cooperation of any large, belligerent nation by the EU themselves. Imagine Iran trying to choke the Hormus strait. German submarines would respond by sinking any large vessel in the strait, while French, German, Italian, Spanish and British fighter/bomber aircraft would attack surface targets. Meanwhile, a German-led tank army would be assembled (taking one year or so) in Saudi-Arabia to slash deep into Iran, conquering Teheran in less than one month. If we made it to Stalingrad, Tehran will be a holiday trip. There exist more than 3000 Leopard main battle tanks around the globe and plenty of seasoned tank commanders up to general rank in Europe.
Large armoured attacks against Egypt, Lybia and Somalia would work the same way.
E - The deep-strike capability of the Tornado bomber would be used to hit targets deep in well-defended airspace (e.g. S-400 defended airspace) in support of these allies. The concept of terrain-hugging is still valid against seasoned operators of the latest air-defence systems. Incompetent Arab operators of Russian air defence systems do not make a counterargument. The Tornado loss rates in iraq were as high as expected in a conflict with the warsaw pact. Operating at higher altitude against seasoned russian and NVA radar operators would have been simple suicide.
Where does this leave the aircraft carrier ? It leaves it to large, belligerent nations who want to quickly leash out at supposed or real threats, without much political investment. If there is a problem anywhere, the EU can fix it with a large-scale, common response which will take about one year to deliver the Hammer of 2000 Leopard, Leclerc, Merkava and Challenger tanks attacking simultaneously. During the time of armour build-up, diplomacy can run its course, which is exactly what is required instead of "shooting out of the hip".
"Potential amphibious landings from the European continent."
I'll file that one next to "Joint strike from the Fantastical union of tooth faries and Santa's elves", if that's OK with you - or did you not get the memo about VE day?
I agree about much of the individual kit issue, theatre specific gear goes back a long way, think khaki shorts in N Africa or solar topees in sunny spots in the 19th century.
Re splashing tanks, smart munitions don't have to be launched from expensive aircraft, whether pilot onboard or not. Missiles are much cheaper to launch from the back of a truck and smart things can be fired from guns as well as the dumb stuff which is going to be around for a long time yet for various purposes.
@Lewis et al
Its amazing how so many people seem to know that we will never need tanks , or a deep strike bomber ever again. Hmmm China and Japan Arguing over Islands, Korea, Middle east, and of course the falklands, not to mention the upcoming energy wars.
And even though we had armoured brigades in use in the last decade, well obviously that will be the last time, genuis!
YOU KNOW NOTHING!, those who build for only one threat will be rammed up the backside by another they did not expect, DID WE LEARN NOTHING FROM THE FALKLANDS!!
i was going to disregard your post until you used capitals and started shouting
then you won me over with your sweet talkie talk, you smooth devil you...
We did still win in the Falklands, "genuis".
Getting rid of Harrier would be farcical.
It provides real support in Afghanistan and could operate off the new carriers. There's no sense in having aircraft carriers floating about with no aircraft, and warehouses full of mothballed never to be flown Typhoons.
Someone needs the bollocks to stand up to BAE Systems and sacrifice Typhoon Tranche 3 and it's non existent strike capability and keep Harrier and GR4s airborne.
Come on Dr Fox, show us that you're not an idiot like Hoon.
Madness. Asylum - Lunatics - the - Running...Go on, it's not that hard.
So, our air defence is now gonna be useless, the Navy's talking about scrapping everything to save a couple of aircraft carriers (for which there's practically no bloody aircraft).
Who defends the country?
Looks like the Boy Scouts are up for it. Run by the Girl Guides (Brownies??) in Whitehall. Or Bugger Hall.
Well, we've always got the 'Special Relationship'. This week, anyway.
<< sound of head banging keyboard...>>
Sod it, I may as well have another drink...(hence, Icon)
Interesting procurement statistic
Israel. £9Bn (or is that $). 400 Procurement staff.
MoD £10Bn. 20 000 procurement staff.
Yes it is *highly* unlikely the IDF will *ever* deploy in anything but conditions in the Middle East (which I suspect *can* be more varied that most people think) but *really* 50x bigger to administer a budget 10% bigger?
- Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
- Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
- Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
- Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
- AMD demos 'Berlin' Opteron, world's first heterogeneous system architecture server chip