back to article UK warships to have less firepower than 19th century equivalents as missiles withdrawn

Royal Navy warships will be less capable of fighting enemy vessels than they were in the 19th century as Britain’s Harpoon anti-ship missile will be withdrawn in two years – with no replacement in sight. The news that the elderly Harpoon Block 1C system will be withdrawn by 2018 was broken by military analyst publication IHS …

  1. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Ancient Greek option.

    Couldn't they just put a big bronze ram on the front?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ancient Greek option.

      Greek Fire I hear is all the rage

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Ancient Greek option.

      "Couldn't they just put a big bronze ram on the front?"

      When I saw your headline I thought you were going to suggest a really big concave mirror. It works is the sun's shining.

    3. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Ancient Greek option.

      and maybe dust down the plans for Archimedes' heat ray like the 'Merkins have been working on

    4. kmac499

      Re: Ancient Greek option.

      Could be a option on the Type 45's, ( the electrtic boats that regularly pop their RCDs)

      All we need to do is cut a few holes in the side for the oars to pop out of... (see Exxon Valdez in Waterworld)

  2. Matthew Smith

    Right decision

    Ship killing has been performed by aircraft and submarines ever since Task Force Z in 1941. The warships are right to concentrate entirely on defence. It takes a lot of ordnance to fend off a mach 5 missile.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Right decision

      That'd soon be the mythical F35's and whatever they have by way of the Vanguard submarine fleet these days (or its replacement, presuming that survives similar fun and games)?

      It's all becoming rather a farce...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right decision

        I thought V boats were the ones with Trident... not much good in a ship defence role.

        S&T or the newer A class were/are hunter/killers.

        IIRC of course and AC because, well, reasons.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Right decision

      "Ship killing has been performed by aircraft and submarines ever since Task Force Z in 1941"

      Doesn't that assume that the ship you're trying to kill can defend itself against other ships?

    3. Ol' Grumpy

      Re: Right decision

      Ship killing has been performed by aircraft and submarines ever since Task Force Z in 1941. The warships are right to concentrate entirely on defence. It takes a lot of ordnance to fend off a mach 5 missile.

      Playing devils advocate - why would you deploy a ship to the fleet if all it can do is defend itself? I get it in the case of the Air Defence Destroyers but Frigates are supposed to be general purpose aren't they?

      1. Matthew Smith

        Re: Right decision

        Because its defending the carrier / container ships?

        1. fajensen Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Right decision

          Or maybe, just putting it out there as a craaazy theory, having a ship with the role as "bullet-sponge" is defending thousands of career-orientated leadership in the management and logistics train?

        2. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Right decision

          "Because its defending the carrier / container ships?"

          Didn't work well for the Atlantic Conveyer.

          Or HMS Sheffield, HMS Glasgow or HMS Coventry come to that.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Right decision

            Scharnhorst was killed by surface vessels. One of them is still available: HMS Belfast. Maybe it could be recommissioned to add its twelve 6" guns to the Royal Navy's firepower

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Right decision

      "Ship killing has been performed by aircraft and submarines"

      We have seven 'Fleet' submarines (ie attack subs), of which I doubt all seven will be operational at once, and no aircraft carriers or aircraft to go on them.

      The whole point of warships being armed with anti-ship missiles was so that that they could go back to the ship killing they've not been doing since 1941, with the mach-5 missiles you mention.

    5. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Right decision

      Do these ships *always* operate within air coverage? Think about operating, say, just outside the coasts of Libya and being attacked by some surface units - what do yo do? Call airplanes from Cyprus or Malta? And in the Persian Gulf?

      But maybe this another "littoral warfare" idea - the same that crippled the US Navy combat capability...

    6. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Right decision

      Ship killing has been performed by aircraft and submarines

      Really? You need to find your hot air valve and deflate yourself a bit.

      So the Israeli's INS Eliat never sunk right? Oh, that was a HMS once too, right? The battle of Latakia gulf never happened either, right? The battle of Baltim never happened, right? The battle of Tartus never happened, right? INS Hanit has never ever been hit by anything, right? And the whole development of Gabriel mark 1, 2, 3 and 4 was never ever justified.

      That is the middle east. Shall we move a bit further and continue?

      So, the Indian navy never ever sunk Khaibar (again, an ex-HMS). Never damaged any other Pakistani ships either, right?

      Or let's look at good old Harpoon, right. It has MORE kills when launched from missile boats (because of Iran using it in the Iran/Iraq war) than from the air.

      If anything, in terms of effectiveness and hit ratio ship-to-ship missiles when used have proved to be significantly more effective than air-to-ship ones. Their range nowdays is such that there is bugger all difference between them launched by ship or air - the stand-off distance is in the hundreds of miles.

  3. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    FAIL

    A worrying trend?

    So first we have aircraft carriers without aircraft, now we have combat warships without offensive weapons. We seem to be following a worrying trend here...

    What next - broomsticks instead of guns for the army? Paper planes for the air force? A particularly detailed dictionary of harsh words and empty threats for the UK diplomatic corps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A worrying trend?

      What next - broomsticks instead of guns for the army? Paper planes for the air force?

      I think we're already there. The RAF are having to fly strike (=bombing) missions with the Typhoon, exclusively designed as a fighter, there's no maritime patrol capability. The army have had all manner of equipment issues for year and years.

      Returning to the RN, you have to remember this is only the latest part in a very long running saga where our "warships" are not only fewer and fewer in number, but for the most part carry fewer and fewer weapons. Your average RN frigate isn't a match for an Israeli gunboat that has the same displacement as an RN offshore patrol vessel, and that's before Harpoon is withdrawn.

      We have an energy policy designed by Greenpeace, and now we have a defence policy designed by the Peace Pledge Union. There really needs to be a public enquiry into how our military have been shat on by successive governments, followed by the public drowning of the guilty (because we probably don't have enough bullets to shoot them).

      1. codejunky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: A worrying trend?

        @ Ledswinger

        "We have an energy policy designed by Greenpeace, and now we have a defence policy designed by the Peace Pledge Union."

        While it is all serious and worrying I wish I could upvote you more than once for giving me a good laugh.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A worrying trend?

        " followed by the public drowning of the guilty"

        While I applaud the idea, can't help wondering if the afore-mentioned Greenpeace would have a problem with MPs / etc being drowned ... all that toxic waste in the oceans, seas, rivers and duck ponds ..

      3. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Re: A worrying trend?

        'and now we have a defence policy designed by the Peace Pledge Union'

        Slight correction - we have a defence policy designed to deliver as much taxpayer money as possible to BAe as quickly as possible without expecting anything in return. Truly, it's selfless.

      4. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: A worrying trend?

        "We have an energy policy designed by Greenpeace, and now we have a defence policy designed by the Peace Pledge Union"

        I think you'll find that defence policy is designed by BAE Systems, who don't have an anti-ship missile in their catalogue...

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: A worrying trend?

      > What next - broomsticks instead of guns for the army?

      Dad's Army classic...

      Mainwaring to Pike: "When I told you to improvise a weapon by tying a bread knife to a broom handle, I didn't expect you to leave the brush on!"

      <mutters> "Stupid boy."

    3. Michael Parris

      Re: A worrying trend?

      At least one the broomsticks would be useful to sweep up the sand that the SA80 collects on patrols

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the Royal Navy find itself with a historic low of 17 usable frigates and destroyers,

    Maybe because they are less relevant in modern warfare perhaps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the Royal Navy find itself with a historic low of 17 usable frigates and destroyers,

      Maybe because they are less relevant in modern warfare perhaps?

      That depends on what you plan to do with them. Seems we have neither the quantity or quality to keep Russian submarines out of our territorial waters, nor any aircraft to assist.

    2. Bob Wheeler

      Re: "the Royal Navy find itself with a historic low of 17 usable frigates and destroyers,

      Perhaps that is one ship per Admiral?

      1. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: "the Royal Navy find itself with a historic low of 17 usable frigates and destroyers,

        "Perhaps that is one ship per Admiral?"

        It's actually more than two admirals per ship!

  5. Emmeran

    At 25 rounds per minute and a 30k range that 4.5in gun more than outguns anything prior to the Korean war, including the battleships. Regardless, expect drones to replace long range fire and forget missiles for most heavy hitting needs; and if you really need to you can kill it with a tomahawk from forever away.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Um, no. A modern 4.5 inch gun or even the 5 inch guns on American ships definitely does not outgun or outrange a WW2 battleship. They are probably more than enough to deal with Somalian pirates or Iranian speedboats though.

      This is kind of embarrassing. Not the same service or even the same reality, but the words of one of the space marines from "Aliens" comes to mind: "What are we supposed to use? Harsh language?"

      1. rh587 Bronze badge

        Um, no. A modern 4.5 inch gun or even the 5 inch guns on American ships definitely does not outgun or outrange a WW2 battleship.

        The guns on HMS Dreadnought topped out at 22km. And that's assuming they hit what they were aiming at.

        A modern MkVIII will go from 28km.

        Now, the 15-inchers on the Bismarck would do it (~36km), as would the RN's 14in MkVII (~33km), but the MkVIIs would only fire 2rounds per minute, and the Bismarck's 15-inch guns could do 2.5rpm.

        The MkVIII will manage 25rpm.

        So what we're looking at is low-rate-of-fire with old targeting tech and all defence provided by armour, compared with high-rate-of-fire, state-of-the-art radar and sophisticated defensive armaments to shoot down incoming shells. Funnily enough, this is why ships carry fewer guns these days!

        In an extreme-range engagement I'd probably take my chances on the ship which can lay down 10 times more ordnance in the first couple of minutes and use it's defensive weaponry to eliminate the incoming, subsonic shells.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          "The guns on HMS Dreadnought topped out at 22km. And that's assuming they hit what they were aiming at."

          Whilst they might out gun a Dreadnought, I would not want to be anywhere near the target receiving the attention of a Dreadnought's 12-inch guns...

          Personally, given the main role of the RN seems to be psychological power projection, it might better achieve it's intent by commissioning some new WWI warships - as they certainly looked menacing.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          The problems starts when you get fired at with supersonic anti-ship missiles fired by other ships you can't target.

          And who said WWII shells were subsonic? Just look at the speed of the 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun shells.

          Actually the heavy guns and battle ships were made useless by planes fist and missiles later. In a gun-only fight.... also, rate of fire is nice, but depends on how many rounds you carry, and how much damage they do.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "Actually the heavy guns and battle ships were made useless by planes fist and missiles later"

            ISTR a documentary from 25 years ago about battleships making that point.

            That same documentary pointed out that going to high rates of fire meant that smaller guns (and therefore smaller ships) could be used and that had serious knock on effects with maneuverability, etc, meaning less armour was necessary (The size of these boats is more determined by their ammunition capacity than anything else), with missile defence forming active armour meaning even less static armour.

            The same documentary ALSO pointed out that due to changing engagement modes since the end of WW2, the primary use of 4.5" autocannons is for onshore bombardment, not engaging other ships. Think of them as a howitzer with a _very_ large and versatile ammunition store and devastating accuracy thanks to their gyrostabilised mounts and not getting knocked off target by recoil.

            (A related documentary went into machine gun development, pointing out that a single modern footsoldier has more firepower than an entire regiment of 200 years ago.)

            Aircraft carriers and support groups have pretty much been rendered obsolete by landbased antishipping ballistic missiles coming in at mach10+ - China's DF21-D and DF-24s being a case in point. As with Battleships it will probably take 40 years before militaries notice.

            1. El_Fev

              "Aircraft carriers and support groups have pretty much been rendered obsolete by landbased antishipping ballistic missiles coming in at mach10+ - China's DF21-D and DF-24s being a case in point. As with Battleships it will probably take 40 years before militaries notice."

              Seeing as these have never been tested or shown to have worked, I wouldn't be crapping my pants if I was you, these missiles are up there with their 5th generation fighter!

        3. Mooseman Bronze badge

          but one hit from the Bismarck would make a mess of the destroyer. I'm sure it would soak up 28 4.5" shells a minute all day.

        4. Wilfthebison

          Don't forget Rodney

          HMS Rodney, the ship that sank the Bismark, fired a broadside of over 8 Tonnes every 45 seconds at a range of 22 miles. The first Battleship fitted with Radio Direction and radar range finding, I think your type 45 would in for a whopin. Although it would be able to run away....

          The Nelson class had only one serious defect, being hopellely too slow, but at 23knotts they were as fast as that white elephant of all white elephants HMS Queen Elizabeth.

          Oh and Rodney had an operational aircraft, a Shagbat. Catapult launched no less.

          More than the Queen Elizabeth can boast

    2. Joe User
      Thumb Down

      You're delusional

      Emmeran: At 25 rounds per minute and a 30k range that 4.5in gun more than outguns anything prior to the Korean war, including the battleships.

      Seriously? Let me dust off the USS Iowa and see how your pea shooter fairs against nine 16-inch (406mm) guns with a range of 23.4 nautical miles (40 kilometers)....

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa-class_battleship#/media/File:Uss_iowa_bb-61_pr.jpg

      1. SeymourHolz

        Re: You're delusional

        8" and above guns were made for gunfire support missions ('shore bombardment'); they are virtually useless for any sort of anti-ship mission. Range isn't relevant; they don't have the fire-control system for it. That 4.5" gun would be dropping sniper-shots into the bridge of that old dreadnaught while performing basic evasive maneuvers that would avoid any sort of targeting by the big guns.

        1. Joe User

          Re: You're delusional

          @SeymourHolz:

          "The large-caliber guns were designed to fire two different conventional 16-inch (406 mm) shells: the armor-piercing Mk. 8 round for anti-ship and anti-structure work, and the Mk. 13 high-explosive round designed for use against unarmored targets and shore bombardment."

          "The Iowas carried ten twin enclosed base ring mounts supporting 5 in/38 caliber Mark 28 Mod 0 guns. [snip] The 5 in/38 cannon functioned as a dual purpose gun; that is, it was able to fire at both surface and air targets with a reasonable degree of success."

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa-class_battleship#Armament

          Not designed for anti-ship use? Ha! That Type 45 destroyer would get squashed like a bug before it ever got within range.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Warships of the late 19th century, such as the RN’s own Edgar-class cruisers ... typically mounted secondary batteries of ten or twelve 6” guns, along with primary batteries of two 9.2” heavy guns, meaning after 2018 the RN's frontline warships would be hopelessly outgunned by century-old designs.

    As I recall, the 9.2" heavies and the 6-inchers had effective firing ranges of 9-13km, compared with the 27km range of the current Mk8 4.5inch gun. Moreover the current Frigates and Destroyers have significantly superior manoeuvrability and stand-off capability (with top speeds of 28-30kn compared to the 20kn of an Edgar-class).

    Given the ability of modern radar to effectively direct that solitary gun and make every shot count, I'll quite happily take the modern ship over the old one every day and pop at them from 3 times their effective range. It's not the size that counts - it's how you use it.

    I also find the comment from Douglas Chapman MP that "we now find that these warships will be left defenceless" to be rather curious. Surely the opposite is true - a plethora of defensive options, but only a couple of offensive options (big gun and a not-quite-ready heli-based missile system).

    Seems to be a storm in a tea-cup. Harpoon will be extended or we'll get some refurbed Block II/II+. In any case, we're not going to have any carriers worth escorting until past 2020 anyway, so no rush! (Oh sure, we'll have carriers, but they're not much use without planes, so where would we escort them to?).

    1. graeme leggett

      Also modern 4.5 inch gun can fire at about a round every other second, the 9.2 inch about one per minute.

      Also, helicopters on Type 45s with their own weapons.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Given the ability of modern radar to effectively direct that solitary gun and make every shot count,

      The gun is a bit of a side show in a proper war, which would be missile based. It is only useful for frightening drug smugglers and pirates, or plastering irregular forces in an onshore barrage. That's not a very big "use case", really. Even against (say) Iranian speed boats, the chances of hitting or damaging them at 27km with a 4.5 gun are next to nil, and even if you do, chances are they've already launched a sea skimmer at you.

      Maybe they will buy and fit a Harpoon upgrade - but given the MoD record on planning and procurement, how much hope do you have of that? I have precisely zero confidence that MoD and government have a clue about ANYTHING. Can you name any government department that under this or the past two governments has shown any evidence of doing a good job, or of knowing its arse from its elbow?

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        The RN had a camera crew on-board a type 45 when in the Caribbean a few years back and managed to capture a drug runner. Since it was Trafalgar day they decided to blow away the presented floating target with the ships weapons. (after offloading the crew and some cargo as sample evidence)

        From about 500 yards they missed it with about half a dozen 4.5" rounds, and failed to sink it with 30mm cannon fire and shots liberally sprayed from a minigun. It was sunk in the end by dragging it in closer, smashing holes in with a hatchet, and finally by just filling it with water from the fire hoses until it sank.

        I'm not entirely sure why people think that modern weapons are a million times more effective than old ones, just because they are new. Chances are that at their extreme range they are going to have the same accuracy problems at an old gun at extreme range.

        Mind you, while the new ships might have less throw weight in shells than a hundred year old ship, the hundred year old warships had problems of their own. Due to faulty fuses the shells were found to break up on contact without exploding in WW1!

        Government spending on military projects does not have a great history.

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    How are we going to protect the Falklands from those Arggie aggressors? Surely we can't leave it just to Jeremy Clarkson?

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      "How are we going to protect the Falklands?"

      By stationing Typhoons down there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A particularly feisty Girl Guide group could probably manage that.

    3. fajensen Silver badge

      Pay Putin to do it? He will probably trade this one favour for another so no money needs to change hands.

    4. Teiwaz Silver badge

      How are we going to protect the Falklands from those Arggie aggressors? Surely we can't leave it just to Jeremy Clarkson?

      - Well as weapons go, he's pretty offensive.

      You want to scare the enemy? Why not a range of Theresa May figureheads

    5. Ashley_Pomeroy

      All we have to do is cut off the island's internet and mobile phone reception. The Falkland Islanders wouldn't notice - they're old-fashioned people who are suspicious of technology. The Argentine occupiers on the other hand would quickly go mad and flee back to Argentina.

  8. S4qFBxkFFg
    Headmaster

    "Douglas Chapman MP of the Scottish Nationalist Party, who sits on the Defence Select Committee..."

    Compared to his previous on Twitter, I commend Mr. Corfield's progress towards getting the party name correct, but he's not quite there yet.

    Note the absence of the "ist": http://www.snp.org/

  9. A. Coatsworth
    Facepalm

    It's only fair that an aircraft carrier with no aircraft is defended by frigates with no defences.

    Luckily the HMS Victoria is technically still in commission... I think it is the heaviest hitter in RN at the moment.

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      I think I saw a PFY oiling a gun mount on HMS Belfast yesterday, could he know something we dont??

      1. Mooseman Bronze badge

        It always amuses me that the main battery on the front end of Belfast points at the houses of parliament. Someone had a sense of humour when the ship was parked up :)

        1. Steve Evans

          @Mooseman - They'd miss it by some 12 miles...

          They're actually aimed at services on the M1...

          http://londonist.com/2015/02/why-do-the-guns-of-hms-belfast-point-at-a-motorway-service-station

    2. JustNiz

      They'll be rolling out HMS Victory next.

      1. Your alien overlord - fear me

        The Mary Rose restoration seems to be nearing completition.....

  10. Roj Blake Silver badge

    No Need to Worry

    I don't know what the fuss is about as modern naval warfare doctrine dictates that long range attacks using carrier-based warplanes are what it's all about.

    So with the RN's impressive carrier fleet we'll be fine.

    What's that you say? No carriers and no planes to put on them?

    OK, we're stuffed.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There really needs to be a public enquiry into how our military have been shat on by successive governments, followed by the public drowning of the guilty (because we probably don't have enough bullets to shoot them).

    We can partially explain it be contrasting with the US of A.

    In USA, republicans are all for sinking quadrillions and dubloonions into military funding.

    The given reason is to "keep Merica strong" or "create jobs" [from defense contractors]. - What it really does is generate campaign funding for politicians.

    Since the UK doesn't have a First Amendment (which can be, and is limited in scope, popular opinion notwithstanding), you can have sensible election laws and rules.

    Since defense spending doesn't generate as much benefit to politicians, it's minimized (especially if you're trying to not raise taxes)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In USA, republicans are all for sinking quadrillions and dubloonions into military funding.

      To be fair, I'm not asking for the (useless) British government to spend significantly more on defence, I'm asking that they get me my money's worth from what they do spend.

      But through poor specification, repeated design changes, lack of forward planning and outright incompetence we design an asset and then because the costs have gone up we buy too few of them. Through an excess of ambition, poor management, poor decision making we end up doing stuff eg like spending £4bn on Nimrod MRA4, and then scrapping the whole lot. Or specifying a modification to the Chinooks we bought, which the MoD's own flight safety people wouldn't permit to be used, even when we were desparate for helos in Afghanistan. Or <insert innumerable defence procurement fuckups here>.

      We do have to cut our cloth according to our means and needs - but that's no excuse for the colossal waste of our military spending, or for its ineffectual outcome.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        nothing new in this the Type 21s were built with NO offence capability apart from the 4.5 gun. they were later refitted with EXOCET which was a hell of a job as they were built with hardly any room for additional kit and were very close to being VERY top heavy!

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "we end up doing stuff eg like spending £4bn on Nimrod MRA4, and then scrapping the whole lot."

        The MRA4 shouldn't have been built in the first place (the RAF wanted other, better, larger sensor trucks) and once the safety deficiencies became insurmountable they should have stopped.

        Finding that the airframes were essentially all one-offs (virtually no interchangable parts) meant that the cost would have at least doubled and it was only then that the handshake agreements between politicians and captains of industry could be reviewed.

        The RAF _could_ have acquired a bunch of A330s and fitted them out with MRA4 avionics for a lot less.

        The big purported advantage of the Comet Airframe (being able to shut down 3 engines inflight and stay on station with one for enhanced endurance) isn't that big a deal considering the small onboard tankage (and it was enhancing that tankage which caused a lot of the safety issues). The small size of the aircraft is emphasised by the fact that of stupid canoe underbody had to be fitted to hold everything needed (reducing range even further - in other words the engine hack was something to keep the aircraft usable)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        For epic military procurement clusterfucks you can't look past the Aus government Seasprite project, which when something like this.

        * Order a bunch of patrol vessels

        * Realise that your very capable fleet of Seahawks are too big to fly off them

        * Flail around for a replacement and hit on buying some second hand US Seasprites, but modernise them

        * Cancel the patrol vessels

        * Keep the Seasprite project even there is now absolutely no need for them

        * Pump billions into trying to make them work going vastly over budget and years behind schedule

        * Eventually cancel the whole thing after a decade of giving vast sums of money to US companies and realising that the things would never fly safely.

        1. billse10

          we didn't lend you some MoD ministers / civil servants, did we?

      4. Dave 15

        we dont

        We do NOT have to cut our cloth, that is why we setup the bank of England so we could fund a navy without having the money to do so.

        If we bought BRITISH planes, British ships, British guns, Britsh lorries, British bullets etc etc etc etc etc then we would have British jobs providing British tax payer income to buy the British made stuff... and then we could sell the British made stuff to others (just like we used to when we made things... for heavens sake we even sold planes to the Americans and ships to the Japs. The main problem with government spending is that they spend all OUR money abroad creating jobs, opportunities and growth in our competitors while starving OUR economy of the money it needs to invest and grow.

        But the other thing we could do is just build the damned thing. For the money we spend redesigning our aircraft carriers we could have built the original AND another one of the new design then decided which was best before we build more of the better one. It is what we used to do. The Nimrod was a stupid decision as was scrapping the Harrier made by stupid people unable to read or remember history. The scrapping of TSR2 also fits the same bill... we scrapped a plane that was better than todays eurofighter in favour of a yankee heap of poop that was later, more expensive and worse in every respect.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's Nigel Farage when you need him the most?

    1. Anon

      Re: Where's Nigel Farage ...

      He might not be happy about having rockets strapped to him and being left outside in all weathers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where's Nigel Farage ...

        "He might not be happy about having rockets strapped to him and being left outside in all weathers."

        i'd be happy to see it though. Does that count?

    2. Slef

      With his nose stuffed up Trumps arse

      1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
        WTF?

        @Slef

        "With his nose stuffed up Trumps arse"

        Almost correct but as Trump is a complete arsehole then I think you'll find Farage's entire head up there. urgh!

        Go here and click back three cartoons to the pussy grab, classic! (can't find a way to have a direct link)

        http://www.independent.co.uk/#gallery

        Need a "I'm going to spew icon" :(

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        But that maybe all he needs

        to get that peerage.

        Well the question was asked in PMQ's today about him getting one.

        I really hope that the PM gives him the Order of the Lead Boot instead

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The "what if..." argument is a good point to bring up in relation to trident - it is as meaningless here as it is for Trident - as AC above points out the defensive capability is not remotely diminished and still a hell of a lot better at offence than anything in the 19C.

    In the current financial climate especially, it is not good policy to spend untold billions of £ on weapons we can't envisage actually using...

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      "In the current financial climate especially, it is not good policy to spend untold billions of £ on weapons we can't envisage actually using..." -- AC

      You make the same mistake as President Elect Trump. We *ARE* using them right now: that is how you use nukes --- you keep them safe, maintained and ready to fire. Actually detonating them is crazy.

    2. Dave 15

      cant envisage

      I can

      When the good old us or a decides it wants our shale gas we may very well need to use them.

      The fact we have them might (only might) stop Putin going too much further than reclaiming most of the old eastern block, but probably would after we nuke Moscow to prove we were serious.

      Of course the other potential enemies... an angry EU or some bunch of islamic state nutters will probably assume we are too chicken to roast a chunk of the world.

      If we HAD an army, navy and airforce we might be able to do something other than blow somewhere into a crater.

  14. Arthur the cat Silver badge
    Trollface

    Paging Monsieur Voltaire

    In this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

    Other than the sub sinking the General Belgrano; have they done anything offensive -- beyond practice firing on exercises and yelling through a loud hailer -- anytime in the last 30 years?

    How much (NHS) money does this pretense of world power cost this nation?

    If the Chinese, Russians, or even India came geared up with purpose, all we could do is issue a strongly worded bloody communiqué anyway.

    Scrap the lot and put the money saved to a useful purpose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

      plenty of RN input in both gulf wars and Afghanistan, sub launched cruise missiles, etc

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

        The Donald's review of those efforts was "Big, Fat, Mistake, Yuuge Mistake" as far as I remember.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

      Other than the sub sinking the General Belgrano; have they done anything offensive

      They have. But not at another navy. Land targets in Afghanistan and the gulf wars.

      Probably for the better too as we are rapidly reaching a situation where only nuclear powers have navies worth considering in a fight. Everyone else has just patrol/missile boats - basically a glorified coast guard.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

      "If the Chinese, Russians, or even India came geared up with purpose, all we could do is issue a strongly worded bloody communiqué anyway."

      The UK can't afford to upset China anyway for reasons too numerous to list fully here e.g. we depend on China for everything from cheap plastic tat to cheaply made consumer and professional electronics, and also for financing (and then building) our next generation nuclear power stations. Not to mention China's seen as a growth market by the masters of the universe in the "financial services" sector.

      Much of Europe can't afford to upset Russia for fear of losing gas supplies.

      On the other hand, we may well soon be finding out definitively whether the US does or doesn't have the final say-so on the UK's use of its "independent" nuclear deterrent.

      1. JustNiz

        Re: When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

        I strongly suspect if we ever actually tried pushing the big red nuclear button, all that would happen would be a screen would pop up asking you to enter your Windows XP CD key, which if entered correctly would then get you a skype session with one of the minor functionaries at the Pentagon (assuming they haven't already outsourced their entire call centre to India).

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

        "If the Chinese, Russians, or even India came geared up with purpose, all we could do is issue a strongly worded bloody communiqué anyway."

        Correct. Peter The Great alone can terminate the entire UK surface fleet without breaking a sweat and without expending all ordnance. Even the older Slava class missile cruisers carry enough missiles to terminate most of the fleet while being able to take out any aircraft carrying counterattacks from UK non-existent aircraft carrier before they get in range. All of their anti-ship missiles are supersonic and with high-G maneuvers in terminal approach.

        Chinese do not yet have anything that heavy hitting, but the Sunburn carrying Sovremennuy class destroyers they bought from Russia can probably knock out half of the UK fleet in one salvo (if the SS-N-22 is as good as as advertised). Their native stock and their fleet aviation is more than capable of finishing the job after that.

        India has 7 guided missile destroyers capable of launching supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles (Brahmos which they developed jointly with Russia). Their first salvo can take nearly all of UK surface fleet, the older native and USSR destroyer stock and the fleet aviation will finish the job after that.

        So you are indeed correct - UK fleet presently is capable of dealing only with banana republics. Any major power will have it for light midnight snack and the only hope of retaliation are the attack submarines and or the "family atomics"

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

          @Voland's right hand: is there no subject that you don't feel qualified to spout crap on?

    4. Dave 15

      Re: When was the last time a RN fired a shot in anger?

      er history was not your strong point was it.

      The navy have been involved in recent conflicts like the gulf and falklands.

      Besides it is a little like having a damned great nuke or gun, it discourages others from being nasty, if the armed forces were in total big and strong enough never to fire a gun in anger then we have a success story! It is when they are weak we have an issue. Had we been strong the Germans would have been stopped before Poland and ww2 would have been a side show for a couple of weeks if at all. Perhaps even ww1 would have been avoided because the stakes were too high.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    seems to me

    to be far too much focus on big ship to ship battles in the commentary, that's not really what they are needed for. The fleet is not going to fight a new battle of Jutland.

    These are for defending other shipping, hobbling pirates, and to project military presence. A ship that can do nothing but defend itself is no better than a very short, movable maginot line that you can wave at on your way past.

    Guns are not infinitely reliable and a single gun, regardless of capability is more than likely to fail, particularly if put under battle stress. Your low radar profile wooden warship is likely to get into range to bring the cannon to bear while someone pours cold buckets of water over the hot 4.5incher.

    In essence the fleet becomes a passenger service with a great deal of intelligence gathering equipment that will be able to identify precisely the combatants firing at it but have to ask them nicely if they wouldn't mind stopping for teatime...

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. maccy

    The reason our navy is hopeless is ...

    ... because the purpose of the defence budget is to keep BAE shareholders happy.

    Actual functioning warships are a low priority.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The reason our navy is hopeless is ...

      ... and we make the best profits on all the shit that doesn't work and has to be reworked for decades after.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The reason our navy is hopeless is ...

      "because the purpose of the defence budget is to keep BAE shareholders happy."

      because the purpose of the defence budget is to keep MoD civil service jobs, BAE shareholders come second, then MP's electoral needs, and only then the interests of the country as a whole.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The reason our navy is hopeless is ...

        I think you've missed out a layer below the MPs. The Navy primarily wants to provide jobs for admirals, then maintain its prestige by having as many capital ships as possible, effectiveness as a fighting force comes some way below those.

        1. Dave 15

          Re: The reason our navy is hopeless is ...

          And how many capital ships? 3, one of which has no aircraft, one which is not even ready for the sea and an old wooden one which no longer has the strength to support its own masts without help and has a huge hole in the side in case someone with a wheelchair wants to visit.

          The other ships are not capital ships they are a mottly collection of destroyers and frigates which as has been made clear have no offensive capability and whose defences are so poor they wont last more than 5 minutes in any real fight. (and would probably have to surrender to any nearby Somali pirates because we would be sued for killing them or the HSE decides that being in range of someone elses gun is dangerous.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The reason our navy is hopeless is ...

            Yep. But that's pretty good. The average number of fixed wing aircraft carriers per country is less than 0.1.

  19. MotionCompensation

    Don't worry

    I'm sure the Americans will help you out. Or Europe. Right? Wait...

  20. Mage Silver badge

    Non-USA options may be better value

    Popeye, Delilah?

    UK, the only country in the world to reach space and abandon it (Bluestreak) and abandon their own Nukes. All to please USA presidents?

    Look at France, ESA (though both UK and Canada are members), CNES, Arianespace. etc.

    1. Brian Morrison
      Thumb Down

      Re: Non-USA options may be better value

      I think you mean BLACK ARROW, it was that with which Prospero was launched.

      Agree with general sentiment though... :(

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Non-USA options may be better value

        Not sure if I meant Black Arrow OR Blue Streak.

        Both part of space program, but Blue Streak more for the missile programme. Many launchers later based on ICBMs.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Arrow

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Streak_(missile)

        Both applicable to the past glories of UK tech before bean counting pen pushers decided it was better to outsource.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Non-USA options may be better value

      "UK, the only country in the world to reach space and abandon it (Bluestreak)"

      Well if you ignore us being amongst the leading countries in satellite technology.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Non-USA options may be better value

        "Well if you ignore us being amongst the leading countries in satellite technology."

        That's _despite_ the UK government, not because of it.

        The government has spent most of the time I've been working in this field trying to shut everything down, but likes to claim glory when anyone manages to succeed despite their efforts.

        Many of the UK's most promising space scientists have ended up working in completely unrelated fields thanks to the pitiful support successive governments have given the area. The ones who stay are so badly underpaid that they're constantly struggling just to survive.

      2. Dave 15

        Re: Non-USA options may be better value

        When was the last time we launched anything into space rather than getting someone else to do it?

    3. Mooseman Bronze badge

      Re: Non-USA options may be better value

      "UK, the only country in the world to reach space and abandon it "

      You could add supersonic flight to that as well.

  21. dervheid

    "It’s the same argument that applies to the Trident nuclear deterrent."

    Oh, Do Fuck Off.

  22. cd

    Outsource defense to India like everything else.

    "Thank you for calling, my name is Rick, how can I help defend you today?"

  23. Jemma Silver badge

    I think there's something wrong with our bloody government today, Chatfield!

    Jackie Fisher must be spinning in his grave fast enough to power Rosyth..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Jackie Fisher must be spinning in his grave fast enough to power Rosyth.."

      Sad though it is, you do realise that there are people who will read this and ask "who's she?"

  24. Duffy Moon

    What about that railgun?

    BAE Systems make it, why can't we have them on our ships?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/27/bae_points_electromagnetic_projectile_at_us_army/

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: What about that railgun?

      Do you really want a gun that self-destructs after a half dozen shots?

      1. Duffy Moon

        Re: What about that railgun?

        No, but perhaps we can sell it to possible future enemies?

      2. Dave 15

        Re: What about that railgun?

        Rifled barrels effectively do that already... tank guns etc. In fact even Belfasts guns ended up so worn out that hitting a barn door at 20 paces is about the limit. However I guess they become fine for random shelling even if no longer fit for precision

        The argument for the tank guns being good for about 3 accurate shots was that faced with the russian army the tank was likely to get off 1 of them and no more.

  25. Mystereed

    Not a serious suggestion...

    Why not weld a helicopter on top of the gun turret - you can then point it in the right direction and fire a harpoon missile? Two stones with one bird?

  26. ShortLegs

    Re the "modern, single 4.5" gunned frigate vs the US Iowa class battleship", I know which my money would be on. The battleship.

    Built to take huge amounts of punishment, and keep dishing it out. Upwards of 12" of belt armour. and nine 16" main turret guns each capable of independent targeting, and hitting further than the 4.5" weapon. And lets not forget the Iowa-class had a targeting computer that could utilise radar.

    HMS Pinnypoor fires 25 rounds per minute. But is this sustainable? The delivered gun system had problems in the Falklands. Would the 4.5" rounds be capable of penetrating 12-18" of armour? The Type 23's armour would be as useful as tissue paper against a 16" round from the Iowa, and I'd doubt it would survive more than two hits.

    It's speed may not confer much advantage, as nine 1 ton shells arriving all at once would overcome the 4.5"'s ability to shoot each down (ignoring Sea-Wolf, etc). And a bracketed shot could cause concussion damage to the Type 23. The Iowa could - or try to - fight her way to within 14km, and then bring the secondary armament to bear.

    This is compared with the Iowa-class of WW2-Vietnam. The Type 23 would last as long it took the Harpoon to arrive from the 1986 class refit model.

    Moot points, I know. But the last upgrade to the Type 23/45 (the 155mm / 6" gun) was scrapped due to a budget-cu^H^H^H^H SDR...

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Battleships

      The day of the big-gun battleship ended in WW2 when most of them were sunk by aircraft without ever coming within gun range of the carriers or airbases that launched them. Many of the rest were sunk by submarines. There were only a few times during WWII that battleships engaged each other (I think a sideshow action in Leyte Gulf II was one of them, the real fight was between carrier forces and subs).

      Fall of shot charts of an Iowa class BB at extended range cover an area of a square kilometre or so, and that's with the ship stationary in clear weather and calm seas. A modern shipkiller missile can practically choose which porthole to fly through no matter how much the target dodges.

      http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/bb-61-dnsn8709176_jpg.gif

      BBs are a great way of killing a thousand or so expensively trained personnel to no great effect -- see the General Belgrano (a refurbed WWII American cruiser) as a more recent worked example.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Battleships

        The best use for battleships these days is to "wave the flag" and also for supporting fire. Back just before the first Gulf War, the Marine commander responsible for landing Marines on the beach in Kuwait mused "Where the hell is my gunline?". Nothing available, nothing planned. If the landing had been opposed even moderately, the Marine landing force would have been mince-meat.

        Those ships that have been upgraded can haul and fire an impressive amount of assorted cruise missiles.

        I do think that your frigate could use some offensive weaponry as "a good defense begins with a good offense" even if it's just the weapons. It's not the big boys we need to worry about (Russia or China) but the smaller ones that don't have carriers and massive fleets.

      2. Dave 15

        Re: Battleships

        Not totally true, the gulf war vsn 1 showed a use. However they DO need anti aircraft missile systems (preferably ones that work not the useless things we deployed in the falklands). Perhaps having the ability to fly an offensive version of a drone would also be good... a drone shooting an aircraft down would be fun to see and might allow us to use cheap shells rather than expensive missiles to wreak havoc in the enemies coastal areas (and 20 to 30 miles inland).

      3. Dave 15

        Re: Battleships

        But in truth can a shipkiller missile really kill a well manned big battleship. Last night watched the amount of explosive required to sink a ww2 aircraft carrier (an American one) AFTER they had deliberately flooded half the hull, cut massive holes in the sides, opened all its watertight hatches, removed the pumps, engines and other equipment.... frankly I would every day back a decent ww2 style battleship or aircraft carrier against one of our pathetic little popgun totting frigates because maybe 20 or 30 missles might kill a battleship but the 1 or 2 the frigate has will not

        1. Emmeran

          Re: Battleships

          All you have to do is set the BB on fire. Fire kills the crew, wipes out the electronics (circuits don't do well in extreme heat) and eventually cooks off the ships own munitions.

          Keeping in mind that the newest (American) guns fire GPS & laser guided projectiles and RAP rounds which have ranges up to 100k setting a fire isn't a lot to ask. If you can drop a round through the portal or defeat armor with hyper-kinetic penetraters you soon realize you don't need the "Big Boom" to destroy things any more.

          Battleships are great for a parade these days but their usefulness ends around that point. They are about as useful as the USS Constitution.

        2. Jon Smit

          Re: Battleships

          They were sinking that ship in a specific spot to create a reef and playground for divers. They removed all the equipment to prevent polution. Do I need to point out that those considerations take a backseat in wartime? Many US carriers were taken out by a single bomb, because they were built with wooden deck, unlike British carriers which had armoured decking.

          Frigates and destroyers have been a platform for torpedoes for many years, it's pretty obvious their pop guns are not going have any affect on a battleship, but they are not facing battleships are they.

  27. JustNiz

    Quite seriously, what is the whole point of having a warship at all if nearly all the weapons are entirely defensive?

    This is seems like a great indicator that we need to scrap the entire Royal Navy and save the taxpayer billions by not having to maintain a pointless fleet of surrender yachts.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      And therein is the problem. You can knock down all the missiles, aircraft, even cannon shells you want, but unless you can take out the one firing, you won't win.

    2. David Shaw
      Black Helicopters

      MRV HMNZS Canterbury has a 4.5" gun

      Has just delivered food/water & evacuated ~450 tourists today from a spot of bother on South Island, UK ought to have/keep something MRV around, just-in-case?

      I worked on the GWS-25, everything that I thought was classified seems to now be on Wikipedia!

      1. Dave 15

        Re: MRV HMNZS Canterbury has a 4.5" gun

        Could have done that with any ferry or passenger ship, didnt need a gun.

        The gun etc. is useful only when you need to kill someone else, for evacuating tourists or delivering food the gun is just surplus weight and its ammunition wasted space.

        If we are only going to use the navy for such humanitarian things then get some suitable ships for the job.

    3. Dave 15

      Agreed, if i can only defend at some point i will run out of defence and lose. I HAVE to be able to kill the enemy. If not I should stay at home and defend that when they arrive. . Same stupid thinking as when they scrapped the harrier. We had that because we COULD kill things with it! and we could still kill things even after we had no airfields.

  28. chuckrman

    Always an interesting topic regardless of Nation

    I have often wondered why Naval Fire Support (NFS) is often poo poo'd. It seems to me that it is often forgotten and added as nostalgia in the form of a single relatively small caliber gun mount (5" or smaller). I have often thought that there should be a role for NFS appropriate to the planned operating environment. NFS should be a combination of large bunkerbuster calibur types and small secondary types of which are currently the primaries on most ships. They don't need many mounts given what automation can do.As was pointed out by a previous poster, failures happen. Have some redundancy (more than one mount). Keep in mind the enemy can shoot back.

    Additionally, I rather think fighting pirates and similar missions ought to be left to the smaller ships using guns but capable enough to supplement the fleet as escorts. As such should be blue ocean types. Small ship threats can attack a fleet/cargo ship/tanker/etc anytime really. Why not adopt the approach the Somali pirates are using? A mothership (can be the NFS platform) carrying the "coastal types" as interceptors. Your interceptors are basically patrol boats with small (squad/fireteam?) troop levels and the mothership provides any big guns needed should you need to put troops anywhere. No missiles necessary (except maybe CIWS type stuff) as that is the job of the escorts.

    NFS seems to be a capability gap in most of the large navies. Bullets/Shells are *a lot* cheaper than missiles, planes, aviation fuel, and etc.

  29. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Clickbait headline

    "hopelessly outgunned by century-old designs."

    Range, accuracy and rate of fire are relevant too,

    Lets see, 50 guys coming at me with muskets, or even repeater rifles if we're at the middle to back end of the 19thC but I have a modern "minigun" and plenty of ammo Hmmmm....

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Clickbait headline

        "You'll be outflanked and these 50 guys win."

        Ok, maybe not the best analogy, but using your logic, the RN could save money by buying few hundred RIBs and putting two guys in each with an RPG. :-)

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Clickbait headline

      Lets see, 50 guys coming at me with muskets, or even repeater rifles if we're at the middle to back end of the 19thC but I have a modern "minigun" and plenty of ammo Hmmmm....

      If the battery power is by Samsung... you're doomed. Oh,, and don't forget the "golden bb" effect. You might be keeping your head down longer than you think.

    3. Dave 15

      Re: Clickbait headline

      Talk to the accountants, apparently we already send ships to sea with no missiles because it is too expensive to arm them all! As I recollect from reading about WW1 in Lloyd Georges diaries the British army had no ammunition for their guns in WW1 and were restricted to firing 2 or 3 rounds a day... unlike the Germans.

      So, not only out gunned but no ammo for those they have.

      Other than that you are right... the Germans proved that in the trenches.. walk forward with an obsolete rifle and watch the army slaughtered by a machine gun.

  30. Templogin

    Look on the bright side ...

    ...less dead people!

  31. AceRimmer1980
    Pirate

    Re: Block 1C

    Miss.

    6H.

  32. Dave 15

    To be honest

    Between Labour and Conservative...

    We have one aircraft carrier... aka one torpedos worth... with a need for large amounts of oil which we cant get because we cant defend the ships bringing it to us. This aircraft carrier might have a couple of second rate american planes and wont last more than 5 minutes in any conflict. The second aircraft carrier will still be in mothballs and the conflict will be over before it is able to be at sea.

    We have a number of other ships which are pointless whether they have or dont have offensive capability because any time they go anywhere the enemies planes or subs will sink them.

    Anyway, as i recollect the drill for firing the gun involves standing fingers in the ear and shouting bang... which of course only ever worked for Monty Python

    Besides we have an army of 10 people sharing 2 guns and 1 bullet. An airforce with 2 radio controlled planes.

    Pointless the whole lot.

    If I had my way we would have fleets consisting of 2 large and 4 small aircraft carriers flying bucanners from the large and harriers from the small. All would be nuclear powered. They would also have a couple of dozen frigates and destroyers and half a dozen cruisers ALL of the ships would bristle with ship to ground, ship to air and ship to ship missiles and depth charges, torpedos and some proper guns (the old ww2 battleships that the US deployed in the gulf were lobbing tons of high explosive shells practically for free all over the enemy, we can copy that). We would have fleets for the north sea, north atlantic, med, south atlantic, antartic, north pacific, south pacific, gulf, indian ocean. A spare fleet or two and a stack of cruisers, destroyers and frigates for random use. Then we actually have a navy worth the name. Anything less is just a waste of money

  33. jrd

    I have no problem with us deciding we don't need a modern, combat-capable army, navy and air force, but I do have a problem with us having the fourth largest military expenditure in the world and negligible capability in all areas except massive nuclear destruction.

    And, if we're only planning on taking on pirates and third-world militias, what's the problem with our equipment being "obsolete" anyway?

    1. Dave 15

      no problem at all

      This is just stupidity on the part of some bean counters. The harrier was apparently a waste of money... yet the Americans still use it, it was still in active service in Afghanistan and had a very very impressive kill list in the Falklands. Beyond its obvious capability to land and take off from pretty much any ship, field, road, forest, desert it was cheaper than the stupid over bloated yank replacement we are sticking on aircraft carriers that are (at least in theory) big enough to carry a 'normal' plane (aka something like the bucanner), the design was ours and we could just have set to and built another 2 or 3 hundred for less than supporting the development of some horrible cross bread between a jet and hovercraft that the yanks own, build and profit from.

      If I were the queen I wouldn't sign the surveillance bill, I would have every civil servant and mp shot as traitors and start again.

  34. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge
    Devil

    You guys are COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT

    The modern ships' ECM would ELIMINATE the 19th-century ships radar. They would be helpless. As we all know, throughout the entire history of the British navy, it has been unable to have any practical impact on the world without radar. Radar is 100% of combat.

    This is why the F-35 is the best plane in the world. This is why the British navy was a global irrelevance until WWII.

    1. Mooseman Bronze badge

      Re: You guys are COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT

      "The modern ships' ECM would ELIMINATE the 19th-century ships radar. They would be helpless. As we all know, throughout the entire history of the British navy, it has been unable to have any practical impact on the world without radar. Radar is 100% of combat."

      Wut?

      OK, I assume 19th Century was a typo and you meant 20th century? Leaving that aside, the Royal Navy has had no impact anywhere in the world in it's entire history? Really? Please go and read some history books, thankyou.

      1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: You guys are COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT

        I just saw this. 4mths too late, according to the timestamps. Oh well. Just in case you ever read this again:

        ehhhhh...

        Take your tongue. And RAM it. Right in your cheek. ;) And then re-read what I wrote with tongue in cheek. With a laugh. (observe the icon)

        No, 19C was not a typo. And I'm a bit of a student of British naval history. For example, Britain's (semi-accidental) insistence on focussing on fifth rate ships directly led to its economic and then political dominance of the globe (if you think 5th rate's a slag-off: it's not: look it up). Pellew, Cochrane, etc -- these people were legends. And they and their fifth rate like formed the backbone on which the occasional dramatic trumpery like Trafalgar rested and relied. It all kinda collapsed after the introduction of diesel/oil made basic seamanship all too easy, but even then: they gave better than they got in every engagement until they ran out of money.

        Summary: I think you mis-read me.

  35. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge
    Holmes

    In other news...

    Anyone else noticed the spooky similarity of the new Type-45 destroyers and the O.G.R.E.s?

    http://www.goingfaster.com/ogre/histor10.jpg

    http://www.goingfaster.com/ogre/historicart.html

    (http://www.projectrho.com/ogre.html)

    Steve Jackson/Winchell Chung --> psychics.

    Also, best game ever. (http://www.goingfaster.com/ogre/background.html "one of the most addictive and thought provoking war games of all time" --> I unreservedly agree)

  36. Telford dave
    Pirate

    Outsourcing Option

    Aircraft carriers without aircraft, ships without missiles, why don't we just outsource the fleet to Cunard and at least get some cash return.

  37. Jon Smit

    RN Gunnery

    The Royal Navy have a piss poor reputation for their gunnery skills. They fired and missed thousands of times attempting to sink the Bismark, despite it running round in circles at walking pace. They were even worse in WW1 at Jutland. In both cases, the German Navy were far more accurate and effective with their shooting.

    Without missiles they've hopeless as they've no chance of hitting a barn door at 10 feet with their 4.5 inch popguns. The RN must have been quaking when the Russian Armada sailed down the Channel and couple of weeks ago.

    1. Mooseman Bronze badge

      Re: RN Gunnery

      WThe Royal Navy have a piss poor reputation for their gunnery skills. They fired and missed thousands of times attempting to sink the Bismark, despite it running round in circles at walking pace. They were even worse in WW1 at Jutland. In both cases, the German Navy were far more accurate and effective with their shooting"

      Rubbish. They hit the Bismarck and turned it into a floating funeral pyre at long range in bad weather. the Germans did no damage in return. The Hood was sunk earlier but that's a different matter - modern battleship vs WW1 vintage battlecruiser - feel free to look up why those were such a bad idea in long range combat.

      At Jutland the RN ships were blown up due to a poor design, plenty of the German ships were hit. Had the Germans been "far more effective" they would have killed the RN and their fleet would have ruled the seas, instead of scuttling back home, never to be seen again.

      1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: RN Gunnery

        >Rubbish. [...]

        >At Jutland [...]

        quite. both times.

        1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          Re: RN Gunnery

          Possibly worth mentioning that although the current "historian"* consensus is that Jutland was a draw, despite the surprise attack the British navy continued to operate and be a valid force while the German navy did not: it had been destroyed essentially as a force.

          Also:

          >The Royal Navy have a piss poor reputation for their gunnery skills.

          That's bizarre fantasy.

          The Royal Navy historically were always renowned for profoundly better gunnery skills than any other navy. With then-modern technology introducing gunsights and gunnery charts, this edge dropped dramatically, but that wasn't a case of the RN becoming crap, rather a case of everyone else catching up as the basic skill element was eliminated.

          In modern times, the only Western navy I know of with a piss poor reputation is the Americans. Sadly, this is borne out by events. I still shudder when remembering my naval mates recounting the deaths the yanks "suffer"(glory in) during routine joint exercises. "We're not going to beaten by WEATHER!!!! [glug glug glug]"

          .

          * re "historian": none of the current ones have a clue. They appear strongly not to have read any original sources. eg Max Hastings, the proclaimed Churchill historian, declares Churchill drove Gallipoli. Anyone reading original documents knows that actually there were TWO Gallipolis (I speak as an Australian who had the faux-canon shoved down his throat): naval and land. Churchill fought the (solo) land attack as suicidal (this is the one Hastings says Churchill drove), got behind the naval one as commonsense and a brilliant way to allow a nonsuicidal land attack or even (his preference) make it unnecessary. "Interestingly", the British commanders in charge of the naval Gallipoli were even MORE anti-competent than those of the land one. Hence why it has been essentially scrubbed from popular history.

          [Hint: if your entire strategy is to blow the bejasus out of shallow fixed points with capital ships (as fundamentally awesome floating artillery) coming into a massive minefield behind a screen of minesweepers, DO NOT send your minesweepers away as being tewwibly tewwibly declassee. Steam straight in with the capital ships and OH! BANG! SINK! DIE! Twice. On successive days. After having seen what happened yesterday. With maps of the minefields in front of you. With written orders telling you not to do that. In front of you.]

          [Churchill had the same problem with idiot commanders in WWII at Anzio. "No no, we're going to ignore the orders and just sit on the beach."] "Beached whale".

          [Although Anzio WAS that source of that wonderful quote which sums up the Americans at war: "With cheers and cries of triumph, the Americans shot down their third Spitfire of the day."]

          T.E.Lawrence (of Arabia)'s famous book recounts how the Turks (oddly) lauded the Aussies as --despite the spectacularly incompetent British officers' "tactics"-- having destroyed their army. Others mention the same. The simple numbers verify it. Looking at the big picture, including German high command documents, that was actually the key whole-war turning point, as the eastern front was about to turn into a massive rout and swamp west. No Ottomans, no rout, problem. The Aussies turned WWI.

          Similarly, the Kiwis turned the Second World War. Close analysis of the North African Front makes it clear that rather than being an irrelevance (it made no sense at all to me until I got a chance to dig into primary sources written at the time), it was actually crucial to the overall war: was the turning point. Well, reading the regimental diaries of Alamein II makes it painfully clear: NOTHING got achieved, despite 4:1 odds, except where the Kiwis were. The Kiwis broke the back of the defence, to a ludicrous degree, and continued to do so for the rest of the campaign (some truly stomping stories, now ignored). The other efforts (esp.Russia) were solid but could not have happened, would have been irrelevant, if those oil fields (mostly) had been taken.

          New Zealand won WWII.

          </rant>

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019