back to article Even more warship cuts floated for the Royal Navy

UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has denied that vital British warships may be quietly sold to South American nations as part of the ongoing defence review, according to reports. Helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, already earmarked for sale to Brazil when she is withdrawn from the Royal Navy next year, may be joined by Type …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But...

    Our good buddies, the USA, will help us if we ever get into trouble, surely!?

    Except those times they didn't, like the Falklands

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Except those times they didn't, like the Falklands.

      The US has a long-stated policy of not helping Britain retain or regain it's empire. Roosevelt made it a condition of entering WW2.

      This is why pacific islands the US recaptured were liberated - and why there was an almighty bunfight between the US Navy and Royal Navy after VE day to try and retake as much as possible.

      Something Brexiteers might want to be aware of. In fact, it's far to say that if the US had a mission statement from 1776, it was "dismantle the British Empire".

      I suspect that a "sovereign" Britain will find itself under great US pressure to dump the remains of Empire before they start talking.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: RE: Except those times they didn't, like the Falklands.

        AC seems to still believe Britain is not sovereign to day, nice work Farage, Boris and Mogg. I can guess what else he also still believes.

        Tricky word that "believe" though, I have tried to tell die-hard believers that to believe is not to know and that religions are about believing while science is an attempt to know, but still I believe they don't believe me.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: RE: Except those times they didn't, like the Falklands.

        "The US has a long-stated policy of not helping Britain retain or regain it's empire"

        Source, please. Not opinions. K-thx. Roosevelt making "that" a condition of entering WW2? He was looking for an *EXCUSE* to enter the war! Lend-Lease and supporting things like the Flying Tigers was all part of that. Our Congress must declare war, and so he was doing what he could without them. But yeah, the USA should've declared war against Germany the day they invaded Poland, hindsight being 20:20, and against Japan when they invaded Manchuria. Maybe then, things would've ended a lot quicker...

        I'd really like to see the evidence that suggests that Roosevelt, or USA foreign policy in general, seeks to undermine the British Empire, either in the idea of rebuilding it, or in the idea of dismantling it.

        Some of the attitudes ca 1776 and 1812 might have been like that though. I'll accept that one. But wasn't most of that fixed in the latter half of the 19th century? If you consider the history between England and France over the last many centuries, it hasn't been so nice either, until the mid to late 19th century, anyway. [it's one of the reasons that France helped out during the revolutionary war, and why the USA helped Napoleon by purchasing land on the American continent for such a high price].

        Yeah, some of our histories, long since acted out by people who are all dead, hasn't been so nice. I don't think this kind of thinking is still in play. I'd really need to see some real evidence to believe it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Source, please.

          US foreign policy since 1900 ? Sorry it'll require a bit of reading for you.

          http://american_almanac.tripod.com/lkffdr.htm

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Keith Sware

          Re: Re: like the Falklands. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202588

          Hi Bob, like some of your comments, it’s difficult to accept some of our history, the rights and wrongs of it, history is tricky. Following the money is one strategy to help figure out some of the motivations past / present.

          On another tack - It’s not America’s fault that British politicians are often short sighted (2-4 years) and have little understanding of commercial opportunities in manufacturing or in business in general. If they had a better business sense, then the UK would still be supplying countries around the commonwealth with ships, submarines …

          What is really infuriating is the lack of foresight, thinking and planning in the UK civil service who advise politicians. If the Falkland’s taught the British one thing, it’s that attrition played a major part in winning the Falklands war; 7 warships lost and that’s only the half of it (I’m not forgetting the military lives lost) If the john Note SDR in 1981 had not announced the royal navy reduction of 6 warships, then the invasion by the Military Junta (who were throwing civilians out of herky birds {you call them C130s} – 30 miles out to sea), then the Military Junta invasion would never have taken place, because the UK would not have appeared to have been weak, and would not have appeared to have lost interest in the Falklands.

          The MPs need to learn and understand that warships have a long lead time to design; they have a short life time in the salty corrosive ocean. Russia is deploying one new warship every year, considering the life time in salt water, this leads to a navy of 30 ships, if the jobs are sustained, if the training and education is sustained, if the R & D is sustained and if the commitment and backing is sustained, then the royal navy will have something that’s credible and will to stand up to http://russianships.info/eng/today

          Otherwise the UK has to go cap in hand to others who, I say, politely, cannot always be trusted to act in good time. And this history of, British MPs sending the military to Iraq, Bosnia ,Kosovo ,Sierra Leone Civil War, Afghanistan, Libyan Civil War, Syrian Civil War is a testimony to how short sighted and irresponsible are these 600+ British MPs. Who are more interested in media comments and what’s said on social media, then they should be, in supporting the military to do their job.

          https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202588 Prevent the cuts, please re-post this link, prevent MP group think that cutting assets is sensible or sustainable

        3. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: RE: Except those times they didn't, like the Falklands.

          Source, please. Not opinions. K-thx. Roosevelt making "that" a condition of entering WW2? He was looking for an *EXCUSE* to enter the war! Lend-Lease and supporting things like the Flying Tigers was all part of that.

          Errm... sorry, but there needs to be a bit of correction here. Yes, FDR was trying, hard, to get into the war, USS Reuben James was sunk on 'armed neutrality patrol', a.k.a. convoy escort, off Iceland in October 1941, and the US actually relieved British forces occupying Iceland, allowing those troops to be used elsewhere. But he wasn't trying so hard that he didn't put the screws to HM Gov. The destroyers for bases deal, for example; for 50 clapped-out surplus destroyers FDR got basing rights in numerous British possessions, mostly in the Caribbean. The main airports on many of the small islands in the Eastern Caribbean are ex-USAAF or ex-USN bases. The US _still_ has basing rights on some islands (Antigua, for one, Jamaica for another. The Chinese wanted to build on a certain spot in Jamaica and found out that they couldn't, 'cause Unc Sugar has a lease on it for 99 years starting in 1941... This was a surprise to the Jamaican government, too, as HM Gov had forgotten to tell them at independence, and Unc Sugar hadn't used the place since 1945.). Britain was desperate for anti-submarine ships and took what they could get, but it was by no means a fair trade. Lend-Lease was all very good... but the stuff being lent/leased had to be hauled across the Atlantic and there were a _lot_ of U-boats in the way. The Flying Tigers didn't start operations until _after_ Pearl Harbor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Tigers

          As it was, if it wasn't for the fact that Adolf der Aryan was an idiot, FDR _still_ wouldn't have gotten into the war in Europe after the Japanese hit Hawaii; ol' Dumkopf Dolf went and declared war, making things simple. And the Japanese action was in direct reaction to something FDR had done: he locked off their oil supplies. He told the Japanese that either they got out of China or he'd turn off the oil. They didn't. He did. The nearest oil to Japan was in what was then the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. In order to get to it, the Japanese would have to go right past the American-owned (Dugout Doug MacArthur was running the local army!) Philippines. The Japs were pretty sure that they could grab the oil from the Dutch, no problem. They were also sure that the US Navy would object. The objective of the Pearl Harbor attack was to ensure that there was no more US Navy to object. If Dumkopf Dolf had kept his big yap shut, then the US would have been all in in the Pacific, and Japan would have been really truly cooked... once the Navy was rebuilt. As it was, the US put the main effort into Europe, and Japan was only somewhat cooked.

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: But...

      'Except those times they didn't, like the Falklands'

      Apart from intelligence, missiles, back-filling our NATO commitments, that sort of thing you mean?

      1. Matthew Smith

        Re: But...

        Yes. The US was a great help. The harriers fired the latest sidewinders (It was the sidewinders that made the air cover so deadly to the argies, not the venerable but slow harriers) and the fleet was powered by US supplied oil.

        Now the french engineers working to keep the exocets available, thats another story.

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: But...

        Which missiles would those be? The alpha-ready FIM-92 Stingers given to the SAS (still a lot better than the bloody Blowpipe with its sellotaped fins) or the already-delayed shipment of Sidewinders that was 'hurried up' and then made to look like a special exception, by delivering to Ascension within 48 hours of Maggie getting on the phone to Reagan?

      3. Keith Sware

        https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202588

        Public Lip service that’s all we got from the Americans in the Falklands, a few poor satellite photos of an airfield. If we had put money down and purchased Mk3 stinger missiles, then we would have had real help. I hate to say this, but America is all about the money FIRST. They are always happy to sell kit (to support American jobs), they are even happier when the UK gives up its research and development to favour buying American replacements e.g. Nimrod / Harrier etc. America wanted to be the broker between the UK and Argentina; they were not very keen about pushing the Argentinians off the Falklands though. 3 Falkland Islanders were also killed when our previous friends the Argentinians stabbed the UK in the back; can’t trust anyone on the international stage. Who were helping to service exocets and Etendard fighters – the French although they denied it at the time, but their technicians working in Argentina were found out after-the-fact.

        https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202588 Prevent the cuts, please re-post this link, prevent MP group think that cutting assets is sensible or sustainable

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: But...

        'I think the whole world should have sided with the Argentinians on this one'

        What by giving territory it didn't have a claim to*, to an aggressor country against the wishes of the population of that territory? That couldn't possibly send the wrong message...

        *The Falklands have never been under Argentine jurisdiction, being on the same continental shelf isn't really much of a claim.

        1. JLV Silver badge

          Re: But...

          not to mention that the islands were invaded by the then miltary Junta, whose performance was probably a big factor in them losing power a few years later.

          Not a cuddly lot, those.

          In fact, I really struggle to see what claim Argentina has, given that the only time their ancestors had anything to do with the islands, it was pre-Bolivar, ie it was Spain doing it.

          But when you have a tinpot govt, looking at you, oh Kirchners, what fun external issues are.

          p.s. this whole QE + F35 thingy is really starting to look like a Chinese military planner's wet dream, innit? Given thats the only adversary remotely justifying that white elephant. shoehorn your opponents spending in unproductive directions, straight outta Sun Tzu.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But...

          Unless you are the Australian government trying to steal the oil from the impoverished East Timor.

          Essentially, the fields being on the same continental shelf is the Australian government's argument as to why it should control the fields. Seriously.

        3. Keith Sware

          You need to learn some history - https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202588

          There are only British grave stones in the Falklands before the Falklands war because no Argentinian has ever stepped onto the Falkland’s and lived there before the war.

          Now there were 3 convicts who escaped from Patagonia (why do I say Patagonia? Well because the country called Argentina did not exist), they murdered one local British subject and stole food, the navy captured two of the murderers and hung them (one was never found – presumed died).

          How do I know this, because it is part of the history of Charles Darwin and Captain Fitzroy who sailed HMS Beagle and charted the Falklands and Patagonia (did I say Patagonia, yes that’s right, that’s the place where according to Charles Darwin, the mass genocide took place by murdering civilians in Patagonia who slaughtered many of the native population). So when did Argentina come into existence – it was after the mass Germicide and Charles Darwin did see and did write about it.

          The take home for you is, that apart from the fact that Port Stanley is approx. 400 miles away from Argentina, it’s not really credible for a country to lay claim to a piece of someone else’s territory that was owned before that country was ever born! The UK has owned the Falklands over a 100 years before Argentina came into existence and has fought and conquered Spanish and German and Argentinian attempts to steal it (conquered and won and paid the price in blood to keep the Falklands).

          https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202588 Prevent the cuts, please re-post this link, prevent MP group think that cutting assets is sensible or sustainable

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But...

        You do realise that this "colony" overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining British?

        "On a turnout of 91.94%, an overwhelming 99.8% voted to remain a British territory, with only three votes against."

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: You do realise that this "colony" overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining British?

          *shrug*

          So ?

          What about the people of Diego Garcia who wanted to stay in the homes they'd had for generations ? They got told to get fucked. In fact they were evicted and told to get fucked.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: You do realise that this "colony" overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining British?

            'What about the people of Diego Garcia who wanted to stay in the homes they'd had for generations ? '

            I've always thought that was shameful, but your argument seems to be that because we've done the wrong thing on one occasion, we shouldn't do the right thing on another. Which is the opposite of what I'd like to see happen.

            1. Tom Samplonius

              Re: You do realise that this "colony" overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining British?

              "I've always thought that was shameful, but your argument seems to be that because we've done the wrong thing on one occasion, we shouldn't do the right thing on another. Which is the opposite of what I'd like to see happen."

              Aka the Chewbacca defense. Or Ignoratio Elenchi. Or just plain old just MIssing the Point.

          2. x 7 Silver badge

            Re: You do realise that this "colony" overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining British?

            "What about the people of Diego Garcia who wanted to stay in the homes they'd had for generations ?"

            Not that many generations....they only moved there to service the ships of the East India Company

            Prior to that the islands were uninhabited. They were only ever there as a temporary workforce

          3. JCitizen
            Meh

            Re: You do realise that this "colony" overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining British?

            @JimmyPage ----- There are no real natives to that island, only contract workers. How do we even know if those homes were privately owned? Maybe they were company housing. Yes they were there for generations, but about now they'd be starving because the economy dried up for their only product long ago.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But...

          On a turnout of 91.94%, an overwhelming 99.8% voted to remain a British territory, with only three votes against.

          Soviet-style electoral (ROFL) process, maybe ?

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: But...

            'Soviet-style electoral (ROFL) process, maybe ?'

            Depends, did international observers declare Soviet elections free and fair?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: But...

              Depends, did international observers declare Soviet elections free and fair?

              Of course - many times. Just not all international observers.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: But...

          "You do realise that this "colony" overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining British?"

          And also worth noting there was no native population to be subjugated or ousted. The place was uninhabited apart from a few short lived temporary occupations until Britain moved in permanently and, as someone pointed out further down, before Argentina existed as a State.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Except those times they didn't, like the Falklands"

      Not to worry, by flogging these to the Brazillians (the other great regional power in the area) the UK addresses the mistake it made flogging off the aircraft carrier to the Argentinians pre 1982.

      And it puts some spare cash in the Treasury bank account should they need to bung the British electorate a "sweetener" or two to get the "right" (or far right if like Jakob Rees Mogg) decision in the next election.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: But...

      I was in the Navy at the time of the Falkland war. You guys handled it _SO_ well, I think it was more of a 'sit back and wait' approach. It was refreshing to see someone fight back so WILLINGLY against the kind of crap that the Argentinian Junta was trying to pull. Keep in mind, we'd just elected Ron Reagan because of the Iranian Hostage crap, and all of the domestic problems, caused by Carter and the Demo-Rats. There was a lot of 'malaise' and the fog was starting to lift. We in the USA were all VERY tired of piss-ant dictators and 'dog with no teeth' governments making LOTS of noise and pushing everyone else around.

      We should applaud you guys for helping to reverse "all that".

      But yeah UK needs a strong Navy, just like the USA needs a strong Navy. Otherwise, you end up with problems like PIRACY. Oh, wait, that's been happening, hasn't it?

      And there are still some of the same players, piss-ant dictators (Kim 'Fatass' Un) and 'dog with no teeth' governments [Iran] making LOTS of noise and *TRYING* to push everyone else around. Again.

      So ya might want to reconsider some of those budget cuts, and MAYBE cut some "austerity" stuff instead. And cut tax rates. And so on. [we're kinda working on that on this side of the pond right now]

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But...

        Well, I was in the South Atlantic conflict. Things I learned IIRC:

        1) Finding your mum put 3 sets of thermal underwear, 10 pairs of thick socks and a load of Kendall Mint Cake in your kit is a blessing.

        2) Don't try and break the ice in the bottom of a trench you just spent 1 hour digging out of frozen bog - it only makes everything smell of sheepshit.

        3) The weird cracking noises tend to be an enemy sniper firing at you from long distance.

        Don't know anything about whose missiles did what to who or when, apart from seeing poor HMS Sheffield blow up, all that mattered to us was keeping warm, getting warm grub whenever you could and tabbing through the filthiest weather I have ever encountered.

        The Falklanders are welcome to the place.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      So the good ol' USA didn't assist a desperate PM prosecute a colonial war to save her political arse... except when they did. Remember they lent on the exocet manufacturers to break their support contracts to the Argies. If the support was provided, then the RN would have had a much more difficult time getting to Las Malvinas...

      1. Keith Sware

        Re: But...

        I don’t remember the Americans leaning on the exocet manufacturers - sorry, but that’s expletive; the French were denying any involvement - which was not true - the Americans were leaning on / against the British trying to get the UK to agree to not sink Argentinian ships, and to come to a negotiating table, to be chaired by the Americans. There was a period of several weeks where Britain was quite isolated, there was a lot of politics. Behind the scenes France were rubbing their commercial hands at the advertising value of being able to sell a weapon that had been battle tested.

        I remember when HMS Sheffield got hit, it knocked the stuffing out of the whole country, but then, as ship after ship got hit, the country soldiered on and endured and endured and endured

        Meanwhile the Americans had all their best sales people out trying to make a buck

        https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202588 Prevent the cuts, please re-post this link, prevent MP group think that cutting assets is sensible or sustainable

  2. 27escape
    Facepalm

    ah the costs of buying abroad

    Rather than helping out UK ship and airframe builders

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

      Well apart from a handful of tankers no UK yard bid on, all the RN's ships are built in the UK. As for airframes, it's still going to be cheaper buying Apache's from Boeing than Westlands even with the exchange rate change.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

        "As for airframes, it's still going to be cheaper buying Apache's from Boeing than Westlands even with the exchange rate change."

        Except they never take into account the additional tax income, the reduction in unemployment benefits and general benefits of building in your own country vs importing.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

          It's ~£1 Billion less buying direct from the US, you could literally give each AugustaWestlands employee in Yeovil £1 Million and tell them never to turn up for work again and still be better off.

          However, if you insist on paying more for UK based defence products, should that be entirely funded by the MoD? Would it not make more sense for the difference in cost to be funded by central government, otherwise you're preventing the MoD running its budget efficiently, in order to satisfy other departments priorities.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

            "cost to be funded by central government".

            Wow, and the MoD is funded by who, sailors selling Coke on the street, as one US joke went years ago.

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

              'Wow, and the MoD is funded by who, sailors selling Coke on the street, as one US joke went years ago.'

              You appear to have missed my point, the MoD wants to get the best bang for its buck, literally in a lot of cases, however its budget is limited. If the Government forces the MoD's hand over a purchase leading to a more expensive UK sourced option, why should the MoD have its budget plans ruined to support other departments priorities? If it cuts the benefits budget employing UK workers to produce over-priced aircraft then surely the Dept of Work and Pensions should cross-subsidise the MoD a proportion of their saving.

              Otherwise MoD is penalised for being forced to make decisions that benefit another department.

              1. Lars Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

                @SkippyBing, Sorry, as they say sarcasm is not for kids, but as for budgets I have tried to tell my dear wife I have an other budget, still doing well, when it comes to beer and the occasional whisky. What a slow learner she is.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

            "give each AugustaWestlands employee in Yeovil £1 Million ...and still be better off."

            It works similarly with protectionist import tarriffs.

            One example: modems. New Zealand had _one_ domestic manufacturer, so the government put a 20% customs duty on imports.

            The local product was still the most expensive one on the market and ONE of the modem importers paid 5 times more in import duties each year than the local maker's gross reported sales volume. Even the smallest importer was paying more in duties than the local outfit's gross reported revenue.

            The ironic thing is that the local guys actually did have some innovation in their product, but they'd have been thousands of times better off financially by licensing that back to Rockwell at 20c per chip (Rockwell actually offered this and they turned it down) than doggedly insisting on manufacturing locally. Unsurprisingly, they went bust.

          3. JamesPond
            Mushroom

            Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

            The UK could never afford to develop from scratch anything as technologically advanced, cutting edge and costly in R&D as the F35. Therefore if we want this capability we have to either be in the consortium or buy off-the-shelf.

            However given that S.Korea can develop the most versatile destroyer on the sea with anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine capability, you have to ask why we Brits with 100s of years of experience develop a destroyer that is only capable of defending itself from air threats but only has a small number of VLS tubes. Which means we need capable frigates to defend the carriers from sea and submarine threats. Or as others have said, the carriers will have to stay in port.

            1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
              Pirate

              Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

              @jamespond

              The South Koreans used the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class hull and systems and then "nativized" it. So they started with a proven platform.

              1. JamesPond
                Unhappy

                Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

                @Marketing Hack

                Completely agree, so why did the RN either not go down the same route or develop a destroyer that is more than a one-trick-pony? The type 45's can't defend against or attack submarine or surface ships, so not only do the carriers need frigates to protect them, so do the destroyers. And the carriers will have planes with no anti-ship capability at the time of deployment.

            2. Ledswinger Silver badge

              Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

              The UK could never afford to develop from scratch anything as technologically advanced, cutting edge and costly in R&D as the F35.

              Excuse you, Mr JamesPond. Back in the early 1960s, British engineers were working on a design concept for the P1154, which would have been a supersonic version of the Harrier. But for the inevitable fuckwitted defence cuts (the same round that saw TSR-2 scrapped), the morons of the British government wouldn't need the miserable, poorly conceived F35, we'd just need a remake of a third generation P1154.

              If the appalling mismanagement of MoD programmes were controlled, not only could we afford to develop something this advanced, we came fairly close almost half a century ago. Now, somebody will say, ah, but it wasn't a stealth jet, but (ignoring the dubious credentials of "stealth" against modern military radar) who designed the original stealth bomber? I think you'll find that Roy Chadwick has reasonable grounds for that claim without even trying.

              We have more than enough engineering talent in the UK, we certainly have the money if our government can afford to waste £13bn every year on "foreign aid". But as per this article, it isn't that we can't can't do it, or can;t afford it, the problem is 650 PPE graduates sitting on their flabby, workshy arses at a fully taxpayer funded gentleman's club adjacent to Westminster bridge.

              1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

                Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

                @Ledswinger +1

                British Engineers/P1154... the precursor being the P1127.

                Geek's Guide to Britain -

                Kingston's aviation empire: From industry firsts to Airfix heroes

                Sir Thomas Sopwith's suburban Surrey hub

                "That VTOL aircraft was the Hawker P.1127, which evolved into the Harrier. .... Harriers were also ordered by US forces, normally served by their own defense contractors. "

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/24/geeks_guide_sopwith

                P1127 and Harrier is covered from page 4

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/24/geeks_guide_sopwith/?page=4

              2. x 7 Silver badge

                Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

                The P.1154 was a non-starter

                John Farley has gone on record (on PPRUNE) as stating he would have refused to fly it as he regarded the use of plenum chamber burning as being a deathtrap. It would have effectively required the use of afterburner while hovering and would have melted the aircraft through the reflected heat

            3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

              he UK could never afford to develop from scratch anything as technologically advanced, cutting edge and costly in R&D as the F35.

              No - we'd prefer to make something that works and is fit for purpose..

            4. EnviableOne Bronze badge

              Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

              The other option was BAe would navalise the typhoon or re-engineer the Harrier which based on the numerours cost overuns and software/hardware malfunctions on the F35 project, would have been a decidedly easier and cheaper job.

              Afterall the US attempts at stealth anything have all been white elephants that are bearly useful in a handfull of situations, Rapier can pick up both the F-111 and B-2, the F-22 isnt as capable as the planes it was to replace. The Zumwalt cant stay afloat, and ... are there any that succeeded

        2. JLV Silver badge

          @ MrXavia Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

          >building in your own country vs importing.

          a.k.a autarky, which has a brilliant track record.

          I hate to break it to you, but military hardware is too expensive to develop all in-house these days. We're not just manufacturing ships, rifles, howitzers with 50 year obsolescence cycles. If you add up attack choppers, transport choppers, transport aircrafs, SAMs, AAMs, fighters, tanks, IFVs, you probably end up with about 2 dozen types of weapon systems that each costs a huge amount to develop, require specialized engineering expertise and can easily go irremediably wrong on any given design. That all to produce relatively small unit volumes for each country, thus driving up R&D costs per unit.

          Building it all in-country is a daft undertaking, much as your resident military industrial complex would have you believe otherwise. And in the long term, you are not even doing the workers much of a favor, since the plug will be pulled sooner or later.

          If you lump in the friendly Western countries, like France, UK, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Itally, etc... you could probably have each specialize in 3-4 weapon systems and cross-buy the others. Develop centers of excellence for certain types of systems. Buy from the US as well, when it makes sense.

          Another benefit from not buying all locally is that when your local dudes build a dud, you shop elsewhere. That happens fairly often - it's not uncommon for a weapon system to be unsuitable, so it is important to preserve competition and alternative suppliers, again not something easy to do when you can barely give enough work to your local industry to build one weapon system of each type.

          In the case of the F35, no, it doesn't make sense to buy it, at all. For Apaches, yes, it probably does.

          Simplistic thinking looks good for jobs for the boys, but it doesn't balance a budget or keep soldiers alive during wars. i.e. you need to export your weapon systems to keep their manufacturing viable and not every country can export all its stuff without importing anything (the USA tries). It's gotta be give and take.

          Case in point: Canada's enduring love affair with the Arrow, a plane whose interceptor design was obsoleted about 5-6 years after it would have gone live. Remember the, similar, F106 and F104? no? That's because their mission - intercepting nuke bombers - was superseded by ICBMs. We all love to cry about losing the Arrow, but reality was it wasn't viable.

        3. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: ah the costs of buying abroad

          didn't the USA buy a lot of HARRIER planes too?

          I have a suggestion: COMPETE. Build a better plane. Then we'll buy 'em too, no doubt. Everybody wins.

  3. Tim Jenkins

    "... the fighting teeth of the RN, used to ward off potentially hostile surface ships and submarines alike..."

    Good to know, when we finally track the Taliban Navy to their secret Afghan port.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      It's almost as if tracking the Taliban down in Afghanistan might be mainly one of the other services jobs... Although the Royal Marines helped out a lot in that instance. And the Fleet Air Arm. But that was rather in addition to their nominal role.

    2. JamesPond
      WTF?

      Good to know, when we finally track the Taliban Navy to their secret Afghan port.

      @Tim Jenkins

      So the UK surface fleet hasn't been used to fight sea piracy off the Horn and East Africa? As an island nation dependent upon sea trade, do we not need to protect the sea lanes? A couple of years ago there were reports of Russian submarines off the north coast of Scotland, when we didn't have any surveillance planes of our own (gap now filled by US RC-135W Rivet Joint) we had to ask France to send over one of theirs to help out. So to defend just our own shores and interests we need a strong combined Navy/army/airforce but this govt. seems keen to reduce all the armed services.

      1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Good to know, when we finally track the Taliban Navy to their secret Afghan port.

        So to defend just our own shores and interests we need a strong combined Navy/army/airforce but *ALL* govt. seems keen to reduce all the armed services.

        FTFY ... no charge.

  4. Nick Z

    Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

    It doesn't make sense for UK to arm itself with conventional ships for a possible war with resurgent Russia.

    If war with Russia is expected and planned, then building more and better nuclear weapons makes the most sense.

    Because Russia isn't nearly as strong as NATO countries, including USA, both in conventional weapons and in people. They'll have to start using nuclear weapons almost right away, if they are to have any hope of even a draw in a war with UK and NATO.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

      And why, other than obeying US demands for an aggravated trade war, would we get into a war with Russia? It seems you are doing the famous thing of generals - planning to fight the last [cold] war. But what does Vladimir Vladimirovich get out of attacking the UK? Nuclear war is going to raise fallout which will come round and land on Russia, which can already do without a nuclear winter, thank you very much.

      Much easier to lever the UK out of the EU and then buy a few Brexiters - we already know roughly how much they cost and it isn't even in the millions. But what do they get out of it? Not lots of trade with Europe. Holiday destination? They've got Crimea, Bulgaria and so on for that.

      Russia is only a threat to us so long as they think we might be a useful US asset in a US attack caused by the loss of US power as the petrodollar turns into the petroyuan. Otherwise, why bother?

      1. Nick Z

        Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

        I agree with you that having a Nuclear War makes no sense.

        And conventional war doesn't make sense either. Because conventional war makes weak countries feel so insecure that they might want to get nuclear weapons, just as North Korea has done, for example.

        Countries like UK should be doing more to bring negotiated settlements to various conflicts around the world, rather than support USA in its threats and its wars on other countries.

        Because even conventional wars will eventually lead to nuclear wars one way or another.

        1. 's water music Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

          I agree with you that having a Nuclear War makes no sense.

          And conventional war doesn't make sense either.

          War, huh, yeah, What is it good for?*

          Probably not here all week at this rate.

          *Absolutely nothing

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

        You think anyone is going to use those nukes?

        The more likely outcome is that within the next 10 years all sides (except best Korea) develop the capability to stop missiles with a failure rate of 0.01%. The technology is there, it just needs perfecting.

        Then we can have a good old fashioned war where they thin the herd. History has a funny way of repeating itself.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

          You think anyone is going to use those nukes?

          Ooh sir, sir! I know this one sir. Is the answer "Donald Trump"?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

          The more likely outcome is that within the next 10 years all sides (except best Korea) develop the capability to stop missiles with a failure rate of 0.01%. The technology is there, it just needs perfecting.

          Yeah, the technology was there ever since the Chinese invented the rocket two thousand years ago. Unfortunately, perfecting it seems to be a bit harder than initially anticipated.

        3. JLV Silver badge

          Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

          >stop missiles with a failure rate of 0.01%. The technology is there, it just needs perfecting.

          Hey, I got this bridge for sale. Brilliant business opportunity!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

      If war with Russia is expected and planned, then building more and better nuclear weapons makes the most sense.

      If you expect and plan a war, sooner or later you will get one. It may be interesting to try to plan for dialogue and peace for a change (while naturally retaining an ability to defend yourself if your partners have other ideas).

      Simple considerations of the area, population density, and resource availability would strongly indicate that entering a scorched-earth pissing contest with a country size of Russia is not going to end well.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

      Nick Z,

      Depends on what Russia wants. Mutual nuclear annihilation doesn't appear to be the case.

      However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to. In particular they have an interest in those places with a large Russian-speaking minority left over from Soviet days. And in the case of Putin and some of his cronies a bit of a nostalgia for those days too, when they were big, scary and powerful.

      How much they care about these ex-Soviet citizens and how much they wish to leverage them as an excuse to kick some arse is a matter of opinion. And doesn't really matter anyway, it's the practical upshots of their policies that matters.

      So in Georgia they gave Russian passports to Russian speakers in northern separatist regions - which they then leveraged into an excuse to "defend the interests of their citizens", which then led to them invading. In Ukraine they invaded and annexed Crimea and have poured weapons and volunteers into the Donbass - though so far haven't shown any indication they want to annex that, so much as just generally fuck the place up.

      Now to the important point for us. The Baltic states are all NATO members. They all have large Russian-speaking miniorities. Who in many cases would rather be Russian. We are treaty bound to defend them. That's an area that we, or Russia, may consider the employment of conventional weapons. In Russia's case, if they can conquer the place in a couple of days our only recourse would be nuclear weapons or a full-scale land invasion of Russia (not going to happen) - retaking them amphibiously could be made virtually impossible.

      Hence we'd have to swallow our pride and do no more than impose sanctions. However, if we're serious about carrying out our treaty obligations, we need to do it with conventional weapons - or convince the world that we're willing to launch full on nuclear armageddon in retaliation.

      Hence for nuclear weapons to be considered a credible deterrent for anything other than a direct attack on your own country, you generally need conventional forces as well.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

        So they can annex Chelsea - would we care?

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

          So they can annex Chelsea - would we care?

          Too late -- the oligarchs already own most of it.

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

          "So they can annex Chelsea - would we care?"

          Would we even notice?

      2. Nick Z

        Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

        You could say that western countries are trying to dominate everybody, even countries that are half-way across the world from them.

        Which isn't surprising, given the colonial history of UK and other western countries, including USA.

        Russia is only concerned about Russians who live close to their borders and many of whom have relatives in Russia. While western countries are going around the world and dominating people who have nothing to do with them either either ethnically or culturally.

        I think the EU and UK should've done more to prevent the conflict in Ukraine. Because about 25% of Ukraine's population was ethnic Russians. And even more people there spoke Russian as their first language. But Ukraine's government instituted only one official language and alienated Russians there.

        They set up a situation similar to what used to be in Canada with the French language in Quebec. Quebec almost separated from Canada. And the only reason why they didn't do it is because they got their French language rights.

        This kind of conflicts are entirely predictable. And western countries should be doing more to bring negotiated settlements for such conflicts, rather than fan the flames and take advantage of them for their own purposes.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

          @ Nick Z

          "I think the EU and UK should've done more to prevent the conflict in Ukraine."

          Not sure what the UK could do about it. Ukraine has a problem due to the EU trying to expand toward Russia then putting its tail between its legs when Russia reacts. The leader of the country was kicked out for a more EU leaning one. Of course the hornets nest stirred then became the western worlds problem not just Ukraine.

          1. Nick Z

            Re: Not sure what the UK could do about it.

            UK, USA, and the EU countries routinely use economic sanctions and economic incentives to influence other countries.

            This doesn't always work. But this is something western countries didn't even try to do with Ukraine's government, when Ukraine's government set up this conflict situation in 1991, right after the break up of the Soviet Union.

            Supporting one side against another within a divided country is how western colonialism worked before. That's how western countries were able to colonize other countries with much bigger populations in the past. And to it me it looks like western countries used the same tactic in Ukraine. They took advantage of the conflict there and supported one side against the other.

            The problem with such colonialism in present day and age is that now many countries have nuclear weapons. This isn't the 19th century anymore. This kind of thing can end badly for everybody involved and uninvolved.

            1. JamesPond
              Thumb Down

              Re: Not sure what the UK could do about it.

              @Nick Z

              "when Ukraine's government set up this conflict situation in 1991"....not sure what 'facts' you think you know here.

              In 1991, 90% of the Ukraine population voted for independence from Russia. Therefore this wasn't a divided country at the time.

              In 1994, USA, Russia and UK signed a nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Ukraine to decommission all their nuclear missiles (they had the worlds 3rd largest arsenal at the time). The agreement was based on the written understanding that USA, UK and Russia would guarantee Ukraine's sovereignty and borders.

              Then 20 years later Russia invades Ukraine sovereign territory, annexes Crimea and funds and arms a proxy war in Donbass. The country is now only divided because of Russian propaganda and funding of separatists. I think the only reason Russia doesn't formally invade Ukraine is that it would end up like the 1979 Soviet-Afghan invasion.

              So the lesson is don't believe anything Russia says or writes, believe their actions.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Not sure what the UK could do about it.

                In 1991, 90% of the Ukraine population voted for independence from Russia. Therefore this wasn't a divided country at the time.

                If you poled the entire UK then 90% would be against Scottish or N. Irish independence - doesn't mean the country is totally united

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Not sure what the UK could do about it.

                  "If you poled the entire UK then 90% would be against Scottish or N. Irish independence - doesn't mean the country is totally united"

                  I'm not convinced by that. I think if the Scottish independence vote had been UK wide it might well have been Yes that won.

                2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: Not sure what the UK could do about it.

                  f you poled the entire UK then 90% would be against Scottish or N. Irish independence

                  I very, very much doubt that. I suspect that it would be an age-related even split (older people more in favour of the Union, younger people not so much).

              2. Nick Z

                Re: In 1991, 90% of the Ukraine population voted for independence from Russia...

                This doesn't make sense. Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union, which included 13 other republics, besides Ukraine and Russia.

                Ukraine did not and could not vote for independence from Russia, because it wasn't a part of Russia.

                The Soviet Union itself fell apart as a result of Russia declaring independence from the USSR.

                Basically, there was a coup attempt against Gorbachev. Yeltsin, who was the head of the Russian Republic, took over Kremlin and the Soviet government. He didn't have any authority to rule the country. The heads of the 14 other republics weren't going to recognize his rule. And that's why the whole country fell apart.

                They literally didn't have any central government anymore, after Yeltsin took over Kremlin and arrested the Politburo members. Yeltsin wasn't going to give up his control of Moscow and Russia. And that's why the whole country fell apart.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

            Ukraine ... "Not sure what the UK could do about it"

            - well, we were one of the 3 treaty signatories (with US and Rusia :-) who agreed to protect Ukraine's sovereignty ... so argurably we should have acted just like we did last century with Belgium and Poland.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

              @AC

              "- well, we were one of the 3 treaty signatories (with US and Rusia :-) who agreed to protect Ukraine's sovereignty ... so argurably we should have acted just like we did last century with Belgium and Poland."

              We are in the EU. More to the point the EU doesnt give a hoot about any of our agreements. Hell Cameron got a signed agreement that our contribution wouldnt bail out Greece and that was worthless when the EU did it anyway.

              The UK was sold to the EU. The UK's interests ended at what suited the EU. Even now people still beg to continue it.

          3. Zare

            Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

            "Not sure what the UK could do about it."

            Correct, UK could not have done much. This was mostly messed up by Americans (on purpose). But UK could call them out for their not so honorable play. If Americans allow themselves to work on staffing of government of the closest country to Russia, at their doorstep:

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

            Then they should not complain if Russians try to influence the situation in the country also.

            Imagine the opposite situation. I would say that arguably the closest country to US politically, and at the same time at their doorstep, is Canada. Imagine if Russia would organize a situation where they would be deciding on members of government in Ottawa, less than 1000km from Washington. Can anyone imagine any other reaction from US than immediate invasion and occupation of Canadian parliament. (in case if they had hard evidence like recording of Lavrov from a location in the middle of Ottawa conducting an assembling of Canadian parliament, as opposed to evidence of bought ads from web browsers with Russian settings).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

          They set up a situation similar to what used to be in Canada with the French language in Quebec. Quebec almost separated from Canada. And the only reason why they didn't do it is because they got their French language rights.

          Nick, you may know a lot about Russia and Ukraine, but you don't seem to be very familiar with the Canadian interprovincial politics. In many ways, Canadian provinces are independent states, with very strong local jurisdiction over things like trade, taxation, health care, pensions, business regulations, and even immigration. For example, one very important case in front of the Supreme Court right now concerns the ability of provinces to limit and even fully stop interprovincial trade in certain (fully legal) goods.

          French-language rights are also an important factor - but not the only, or even the most important factor. At this point the province most likely (but not very likely) to leave the union would not be Quebec. It is in fact Alberta - which is about as Anglo-dominated as it could possibly get in Canada.

        3. JLV Silver badge

          Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

          >They set up a situation similar to what used to be in Canada with the French language in Quebec.

          You so don't know what the f*** you are talking about. Quebec has been, like it or not, in Canada for 250 years. That brings expectations, good and bad, on both sides of the equation.

          The USSR exported many ethnic Russians throughout its protectorate states, but these people were injected forcibly into their host countries from the 30s on and the USSR broke up 25 years ago. Treating them fairly is one thing, expecting them to benefit from special privileges granted to longtime resident ethnic groups within a country, like for example Quebecers or Catalans wanting to speak Catalan officially, is quite another.

          The "our unhappy ethnic group in country X" card has been done before. You might have heard of it. 1938 or was that 1939?

          If, and that's NOT the case now, Russia was behaving in good faith, I'd say give them recognition over Crimea, since that's the reverse problem - Stalin should have never gifted it to Ukraine. Make sure the Tatars get treated fairly in that deal, reach agreements re Russian minorities in other Euro countries - use NATO and EU treaties to bind the countries to these agreements and let each go their way. Have NATO stop well short of expanding into new Russia-adjacent countries too.

          But Putin isn't so much into finding reasonable solutions as trying to make himself look good to the people he and his buddies are ripping off.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

            I'd say give them recognition over Crimea, since that's the reverse problem - Stalin should have never gifted it to Ukraine.

            That wasn't Joe the butcher's doing - it was gifted to Ukraine by Nikita the maize-grower.

            You make a number of other good points, but unfortunately it is hard to take them too seriously since you appear to be rather confused about Russian, Ukrainian, and Canadian history. Most of the present-day Ukraine was absorbed into the Russian empire by 1783, with the last remaining bits taken from Poland in 1793. This was about the time the Upper and Lower Canada (which later became Ontario and Quebec) were established as British colonies in 1791. However, they did not become part of the united province of Canada until much later in 1841 and finally joined the Confederation of Canada (which is generaly considered to be the founding of Canada) in 1867.

            All in all, French and English communities were part of Canada (which was Anglo-dominated for most of its history) for about as long as Ukraine was a part of the Russian empire (which was Russian-dominated for most of its history). At least in this respect, the similarities far outweigh the differences.

            1. JLV Silver badge

              Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

              Good points on your end. Fair enough, I thought Crimea was Joe's doing.

              Russia's been expanding for a while, so it is a bit hard to decide what's traditionally theirs vs what's was rightfully returned to its locals after USSR breakup.

              Re Quebec, yes and no. Strictly from a Franco-vs-Anglo POV, I figure that the big change was when France had to cede it after 7 Years War. Canada did not exist as a country for a while yet, so the question of what Quebec was formally attached to seems a bit moot.

              Any territorial disputes arising from recent border modifications are an unholy mess everywhere...

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

              present-day Ukraine was absorbed into the Russian empire

              Even more ironically, the whole Russian empire started off as the Kievian Rus - based in Kiev.. It's from that state that both Russia and Belarus derive their names.

      3. JamesPond
        Pint

        Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

        @I ain't Spartacus

        Totally agree, have a pint on me. If anyone has been watching the BBC 'Army: Behind the New Frontlines' series over the last couple of weeks, it seems plain that the Baltic states feel threatened by Russia.

        It's unlikely that Russia will invade using conventional forces whilst NATO has troops on the ground, but there is still the threat of Russia fermenting turmoil with the indigenous Russian community as per Ukraine.

        Russia has already spread lies about German troops raping Baltic state women when there weren't even any German troops on the ground. So it is clear Russia is already fighting a propaganda war against the Baltic states.

        If we want to keep our NATO commitments, and expect our friends to keep their commitments, we need conventional troops, armour, ships and aircraft to deny Russia the opportunity to attack.

      4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

        The Baltic states are all NATO members. They all have large Russian-speaking miniorities.

        Majorities actually. If memory serves me right - in two out of three, though they have had massive Russian immigration to the rest of the EU so it may a minority now. We will see the next time they run a census.

        So if the principle of self-determination is to be applied... Yeah, I know, ain't such principle - it applies only if we would like to damage someone. Also, the Baltic countries have taken care of this by disenfranchising Russian speakers and keeping them off the voter rolls as an underclass without full rights. So any vote is pre-rigged. Their laws make some very interesting reading and some of the gems in them make you wonder - how the f*** did we allow into the Eu someone who effectively has apartheid style legislation.

        We are treaty bound to defend them.

        Actually, we are not. We would be treaty bound to defend them if they are attacked. If they attack someone first, we can and should tell them to fuck off. Which is exactly the case here as they both shipped all of their own ex-USSR manufacture weapons as well as being conduit for other NATO countries doing that during the Chechen wars. They also provided instructors from "ex"-army personnel too (about as ex as Russians in Donbass). This continued after the first war started and they have left a very thick trail of evidence and witnesses doing so as they thought that being NATO members allows them to bear-bait to their heart's content. Anyway you look at this, international law classes what they have done there as an act of aggression so we have the right to tell them to go screw themselves if the Bear decides to pay them a visit. Unfortunately, we will not and they are continuing with the bear baiting too.

      5. Zare

        Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

        "Hence for nuclear weapons to be considered a credible deterrent for anything other than a direct attack on your own country, you generally need conventional forces as well."

        This seems to be a reply to Nick Z post, but he never said that *conventional forces* are not needed. He said two times that *conventional war* makes no sense, which is perfectly reasonable conclusion: as he said, constant threats and attacks (Iraq, Siria, Libia...) demonstrate that a country that wants to feel little bit safer from US needs nuclear weapons. So far no nuclear armed country has been attacked.

        https://theintercept.com/2017/07/29/dan-coats-north-korea-nukes-nuclear-libya-regime-change/

    4. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

      They'll have to start using nuclear weapons almost right away, if they are to have any hope of even a draw in a war with UK and NATO.

      If there's a nuclear exchange where the number of exploding warheads exceeds low double digits, everyone loses.

      1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

        Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

        "where the number of exploding warheads exceeds low double digits"

        When that number is written in binary. We've so far had exactly one "hot" war where nuclear weapons were used(1). And it was the lowest number that can be written in two digits in binary. I'd be quite happy for that number of nuclear-weapon-using hot wars to remain *one* forever, thanks.

        (1) "hot" war specified because nuclear weapons were used in the Cold War, but as bargaining chips and/or implied menaces rather than actually being fired / launched / dropped.

  5. Chrissy

    No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

    With no escorts available, should a hot war kick off then I give HMS Queen Elizabeth about 30 seconds before a sub inserts 3 or 4 torpedoes into her hull.

    She may as well be renamed to "Portsmouth Heliport", as she will never be able to risk leaving dock without escorts, .

    1. Credas Silver badge

      Re: No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

      Quite: in the event of a "serious" war, as opposed to a war of choice far, far away where a carrier might come in handy, I expect all the escorts would be off doing important things like anti-submarine warfare, while the carriers would sit in Portsmouth doing little more than decoy duty.

      The Royal Navy seems increasingly being designed as a single nice-to-have carrier battle group, rather than something for defending the country against existential threats. Weird.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

        while the carriers would sit in Portsmouth doing little more than decoy duty.

        It would have been cheaper just to build another two RAF bases.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

      "She may as well be renamed to "Portsmouth Heliport", as she will never be able to risk leaving dock without escorts,"

      See also WW1 and Battle of Jutland/Skagerrackschlact. After that battle, despite the Germans scoring a tactical victory, they no longer had the strength to force their High Seas Fleet onto the actual High Seas.

      We're in that position alr4eady.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

        "See also WW1 and Battle of Jutland/Skagerrackschlact"

        ... or Argentina post Belgrano.

    3. HereIAmJH
      Joke

      Re: No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

      Might as well stay in port. It doesn't have any airplanes.

    4. Seajay#

      Re: No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

      I think the theory goes like this.

      - Having a ready-to-fight-WW3 navy would be ruinously expensive.

      - Therefore we will have to build most of the warships once the shooting starts

      - Building warships can be a bit slow, so to give ourselves a head start we should make sure that we've built a couple of the longest lead-time ships and that we've got just about enough escort ships around that we have a proven design and proven operating procedures.

      That more or less worked for land forces in WW2, we had a pause after the BEF had been virtually destroyed while we built a new conscript army. However, we had quite a long time to do that (4 years between Dunkirk and D-Day). It's hard to imagine a Britain with no navy holding out for a similar length of time during a modern war while we gear up the shipyards.

    5. JamesPond
      FAIL

      Re: No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

      Quite agree, RN soon won't have any anti-ship or anti-submarine capability, the type 45's have Harpoon but this is old and easily defeated by modern anti-missile defences. Unless we have subs patrolling, Russia could sail her Kirov-class battle cruiser into Portsmouth and sink the carriers without much trouble.

      Maybe we should ask USA if we can buy the USS Iowa, at least we'd have some big guns to defend the carriers with, and with 12" armour, could any modern missile get through?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: No escorts = bye bye HMS QE

        Maybe we should ask USA if we can buy the USS Iowa,

        To sink it across the Portsmouth harbour entrance, keeping Russian subs out that way?

  6. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
    Coat

    I was going to say 'unbelievable'

    But why? USN has already been there.

    We set the example by cutting costs through removal of the FFG-7's AAW capability... only to realize a figlet with no AAW capability is about as useful as a football bat. Supposedly the ships couldn't be upgraded, but that's a rather hollow argument when you look at what the Taiwanese can do with the same hull. The excuse being that LCS - a frigate in all but name - will somehow be better and do more with fewer hulls. LCS? Think of an F-35 that floats, but without weapons and built to commercial spec.

    The OHPs were decent ships but I'd love to have something like the Type 23s. Brits have done some incredible work with these. Sorry to see them go.

    Got to admire the F-35 though! One single program that has metastasized to the point where it bricks the defense establishments of not one but two of the world's greatest navies. If this were an enemy plot it would make more sense.

    Mine's the one with a stiff, 4100 ton hull full of seamen in the pocket.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1966 and all that

    Odd that in 1966, it was decided that the RN could not afford aircraft carriers, but could afford other things. Now, apparently it can afford the carriers but not other stuff. There is an odd symmetry about it. I'm not really sure what the RN is for these days. I occasionally wonder if it would have been cheaper and more effective to upgrade the shit out of the Harrier, and replace the 3 'see through' cruisers like for like.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: 1966 and all that

      The Royal Navy's job is to defend the MoD

      The MoD's job is to defend BAe

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1966 and all that

      It main purpose for a big navy is nostalgia - so some old gentlemen can delude themselves into thinking that the UK is a significant player, rather than the support act for the US. It also allow them to stop thinking about the fact that Angela is the boss of Europe.

  8. x 7 Silver badge

    Always the Tories who cut defence.........

    Its always the Conservatives who cut defence expenditure.

    Remember what kicked off the Falklands war? John Knott and his plan to slash the number of frigates to "around 50"

    That was enough to invite the Argies to attack. Now we're down to around 17 and shrinking...

    Since then every Conservative government has hacked into our defence capability until now there's nothing left. The Russians are pissing themselves laughing at us

  9. lglethal Silver badge
    Facepalm

    WhatI'm picking up from this...

    So the UK will be able to bomb the sh&te out of whatever Country they end up going to war with, but wont actually be able to put any troops on the ground.

    Sounds about right. We can't have squaddies getting into danger and getting killed. It reflects badly on the politicians for getting involved in the war in the first place. Much safer and easier to just bomb the enemy back to the Stone Age. It might not actually DO anything, but it LOOKS like you're doing something. And well that's all the politicians really ask for after all...

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The launch

    I name this rowing boat...

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: The launch

      HMS Boaty McBoatFace?

  11. W4YBO

    Now I'm hungry...

    "...slashed all of the fat and large chunks of meat from within the MoD, the latest round of defence cuts is digging into the bone: hence the already drumskin-taut Royal Navy..."

    I like that turn-of-phrase, Gareth! Nicely done.

  12. Philip Stott

    Why do they never make the most obvious cuts?

    Last time I checked we had approximately 70K civil servants (or about one per enlisted person) to manage a budget of roughly £30 billion.

    The Israelis make do with about 400 civil servants to manage a budget of about £10 billion.

    It seems we have some 68K civil servants we could cut instead of kit.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      It seems we have some 68K civil servants we could cut instead of kit.

      Because the majority of those civil servants are well paid, live out in suburbia, and more than likely to a man/woman vote tory.

      Plus if you sack them all, BAe wont have a ready pool of 'talent' to recruit from......

      Boris

      Old enough to remember the local tory in 1979 saying "Labour want to close the dockyard and sack all 6 000 workers.. the dockyard will only be safe with the tories in charge"

      1981

      Fuck off the lot of you

      1982.... erm those that have'nt left yet.. could you build up a taskforce for us on the double

      1983 thanks for everything... and heres your P45

  13. RealBigAl

    The current Defence Minister is a believer that Britain is an Aircraft Carrier

    The Conservatives don't believe in the carrier fleet at all. Within days of getting elected Cameron's government tried to cancel one of the vessels, but were so wrapped up in contracts they couldn't save any money. They've then ordered the wrong type of F35 for the carriers ending up with the UK having no useful carrier force until 2020 something, by which time there will be no escort craft left to protect them from subs.

    Historically, with the exception of Churchill who took over in the middle of a disastrous war as a unity PM the Tories have an appalling military record which usually involves defunding the military and starting wars the existing military can't cope with. That stretches all the way back to the 18th century.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: The current Defence Minister is a believer that Britain is an Aircraft Carrier

      Britain being an aircraft carrier fits in well with its post-Brexit name of Airstrip One.

  14. ma1010 Silver badge
    Coat

    Look at the bright side

    The UK's energy problems are solved! Just go down to St. Paul's and locate Lord Admiral Nelson's tomb and hook up a generator because I'm sure he's spinning quite rapidly. In addition, Churchill and many others are also potential power sources.

  15. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Pirate

    Maybe Britain could sell the amphibious transports to Argentina?

    They seem to have some interest in amphibious operations, and I'm sure there is no possibility of an ironic/semi-tragic outcome if the sale goes through.

  16. dmacleo

    aren't the type-23 also able to do littoral/shallow water work where (now) most US ships can't?

    or am I way off base?

    1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

      Type 23 shallow water?

      @dmacleo has a point; the 23s are pretty good platform for littoral work. Especially when the type 997 radars are fully deployed. I dont know much about the new modular anti-air missiles but what Ive read in the trade journals sounds encouraging. Eight Harpoons plus a 4.5in gun, helos, and perhaps some Royal Marines embarked makes for a pretty compelling package.

      Draft is about 7 meters and change, so these will not be doing any brown water work but the weapons and sensors have decent range.

      Type 23 is mainly an ASW platform intended to keep the N Atlantic commerce flowing. At this it is truly exceptional.

      The USN counterpart, LCS, is comparatively unarmed. And vastly, vastly more expensive. Unless you are fighting a girls' primary school LCS will probably need to be defended by DDG-51's, which are definitely not at home in the shallows...

      1. dmacleo

        Re: Type 23 shallow water?

        thanks and sorry I missed reply earlier. I really should look inti it more but time has been a premium.

  17. DougS Silver badge

    I'm jealous

    I wish the US had to make similar cuts to its bloated military, then maybe we wouldn't get in so many conflicts all over the place!

    Hell, we recently (for those who live elsewhere and probably didn't hear) lost four servicemen in Niger. Even members of the armed services committees in the house & senate didn't know we had troops there, presumably acting in some sort of advisory role but no one seems willing to explain exactly what their mission was or how it went wrong.

    If that's not a sign our military is out of control, when those on a committee of the body responsible for oversight don't even know what the hell they're doing, I'm not sure what is!

    1. JCitizen
      Megaphone

      Re: I'm jealous

      I see nothing wrong with the current tactic of denying ISIS wannabes an easy takeover of just another poor nation. There are operations like this all over the world, and it is way smarter than just letting it happen, like Obama did with Syria.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Neoliberal governments are always more interested in making money for their backers than defending anything other than their profits. Hence no proper protection for the air craft carriers and servicing F35's in Turkey.....

  19. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Coat

    "Even more warship cuts floated for the Royal Navy"

    Depending on how the cuts go relative to the watertight compartments, there may still be pieces that float but I wouldn't call them warships.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money makes no sense

    You don't have to sell / scrap a ship just because you can't afford to operate it right now. Leave it in a harbour / dock for a couple of years until you can afford to reactivate it.

    As I understand it, the Marines will be deployed to the QE, but they could still do exercises from static ships at other times. How "active" does a ship have to be to unload some landing craft, and ride them to a beach somewhere?

    1. JCitizen
      Coat

      Re: Money makes no sense

      Not even mentioning that amphibious landings have practically been declared obsolete. It seems Marine doctrine now requires injection of forces using air assets. However, I doubt this ship will have any V-22 Ospreys on board, so some heavy lift helicopters would be nice.

      My coat is on the third hook, thank you very much!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    QE ?

    I didn't realise we had a ship called "Quantitative Easing"!

  22. doug_bostrom

    "The root of the problem here is ..."

    trying to run the country on magical efficiency elves that are expected to substitute for any amount of money diverted to offshore tax dodging schemes.

  23. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    I've said it before

    and no doubt I'll say it again 1924 Washington Naval Treaty was when the British Empire started to fall apart. Allowing other navies (US) to match the RN and limiting the numbers so it was impossible to adequatley man three fleets (Home, Med and Far East.) this left inadequate cover to enforce rule and independances came thick and fast, dropping the net income, so the funds for ship building further.

    After WWII - it had neither the money nor the inclination to re-arm and what was left of the empire disolved

    with the empire disolving, so did the spending power of the government, and followed several strategic defence reviews '57, '66, '75,'81, '90, '94,'98 2003, '05, '10, '15 that have succesivley gutted the remaining resources. its a continuing trend.

    If the '81 review had been earlier, the two landing ships Fearless and Intrepid (recently replaced by Albion and Bulwark) along with our new Aircraft Carrier (Invincible) would all have been sold off and the falklands campaign would not have been possible.

    The escort frigates are getting on a bit now, the T-23s started in '89 and the T-26s have been delayed and decreased by successive reviews, now half of them replaced with th T-31. The T-23 were always ASW focused and worked alongside the T-21 GP frigates, that got retired and never replaced.

    The Type-45 was a patch job done on the attempted NFR-90/Horizon-Class, and as such is not without its problems. It was aready cut from an initial 12 to 8 then 6 ships

    the way things are going, by the time we get F-35 (wether they are Bs or Cs) the QE and PoW will have been sold off too.

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