ACNS Letter to The Daily Mail

Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by TattooDog, Feb 5, 2007.

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  1. I note that a letter from ACNS has appeared in the Daily Mail (Letters 5 Feb 07). I can't find a link on the website, but the text of the letter is as follows:

    No claim that 19 RN Ships have been decommissioned and 11 sold since the Falklands conflict (Mail) is complete without mention of the awesome power of the ships that have replaced them.

    The Navy is currently benefiting from a £14 billion investment package - the largest warship building programme in 20 years.

    In the past decade, 28 ships and one submarine have been put into service, including the new helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, two Albion Class amphibious assault ships, four Bay class amphibious logistic support ships and three River Class patrol vessels.

    We look forward to the arrival of new Astute Class attack submarines, Daring class destroyers and two new aircraft carriers - the largest warships ever constructed in the UK.

    The fleet today is designed to meet the demands we face in 2007, not those of 25 years ago. To claim we could not now prevail in a conflict such as the Falklands is wrong.

    The RN has the strength, not least in a greatly enhanced amphibious capability, that sees it well prepared to respond to any emerging threat. anyone who might tangle with today's RN would come off worse.

    R Adm Alan Massey
    Asst Chief to the Naval Staff, MoD

    Although it's good to see a senior officer respond in the press, albeit with Ministerial permission, and would agree with his comments that the climate has changed since 1982, a couple of points should be noted:

    1. Cost is not an indicator of capability - if a weapons programme doubles in cost, it doesn't mean it is twice as effective.

    2. He doesn't say how many Astutes and Darings we will eventually get, nor that we will definitely get the carriers.

    3. I'm trying to figure out the 28 new ships - does this include RFA and P2000? If so, then his figures would seem to add up, but a P2000 (whilst it can perform a vital role) cannot be compared with a T23.

    Edite - Once again, sorry for no electronic link, but you'll have to buy it yourselves! However, he does write a stirring and optimistic letter!
  2. I must confess that when i read it , it made quite a lot of sense and if it is the truth that he is telling us and that we DO get the new Carriers then all is not as bleak as i thought.
  3. But how can 6 x T45 replace 12 x T42. Only if those we are due to fight against - and we dont know who they will be - are no more equipped than we were when we had the old kit. As all of our potential adversaries are upping thier kit levels and quality, surely we need better kit, in the same volumes. Am not advocating an arms race, just that, if we are the only ones cutting back, then it doesnt matter one hairy bollo*k how good the kit is that we get, if we are outgunned then we lose.
    There was an article in today's times by CBFFI saying that we could do the Falklands again. Is he mad. We have so few escorts that we couldnt even deploy down there, we have no carrier borne fighters. The sum is that the argies would smash us.
  4. It all depends on how long they make the existing hulls last really. Even so the arguement that buying fewer more capable ships works is only valid if you only need that capability in no more places than you have new hulls.
  5. He wants to be careful talking about a £14Bn investment package and largest build programme. I stand to be corrected, but there are only 3 Astute boats and four T45 contracted for at the minute, with the last of the Bays being completed. Bits of two other 45s are on contract, but nothing else and it's an open secret that the last two will probably be canned. MARS? No contracts. CVF? Long-lead items only. FSC? No IPT (although one to arrive in the future).

    Meantime 42s age less and less gracefully, 22s run round with significant amounts of lead in the bottom, 23s are currently projected to run on to almost twice their design life. No fleet organic air cover, majority of the tanker fleet about to become "illegal", new "super" lynx apparently unable to afford a datalink FFS!

    While I agree that the original Mail article was mostly gash, the current situation (and I'm talking about on the ground in DLog Fleet as well as DPA)is far from satsifactory. I'm afraid RA Massey's all is well message doesn't quite tally with day to day experience.
  6. All very well stating 14 billion investment but how much of that 14 billion is actual steel and rivets and how much is the overspend figure set aside for the usual MOD and BAE **** ups associated with any supply of kit to any part of the armed forces...!!
  7. What he fails to mention is the complete lack of morale of the current members of the Royal Navy who see their ships taken away, Branches dismantled, training disrupted and ship's programmes constantly changing to ensure today's 'fighting Navy(both ships!)' is at the forefront of world conflict.

    Why not Invest in your People? Jack is really down at the moment and talk of stopping the T45 and Future Carrier is just screwing us up even more.

    IIP, IIP, IIP - no investment then a 20,000 strong Royal Navy will be here a lot sooner than you think!
  8. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    I have a huge amount of respect for RAdm Massey. Having served with him I can vouch he is an earnest thinker and a fine gentleman. The issue is wider, however, and the shrill blast of icy air currently about us regarding Base Port restructuring, training redistributing and the general 'feel' of a depleted fleet doesn't leave Jack with the warm fuzzy feeling that we would, actually, leave an enemy worse off. We had that feeling up to 4 May 1982, and then counted the cost in dead matelots and plastic surgery. Okay, we are all gulty of coming over a tad reactionary and given the chance we'd still have Fountain Lake or Weston Mill stuffed full of Leanders and Counties truth beknown.

    But the CNGF/Horizon temporal pause, the cropping of worldwide outstations and the wholesale privatisation and commercialisation of everything from teaching to material support is undermining the whole ethos of our potency. Stand up anyone who actually walks with a swagger these days, safe in the knowledge that the uniform he wears, belongs to a mightier beast called the Royal Navy. We used to be the instrument of our success, not just a by-product of our legacies. And as much as RAdm M makes a convincing argument that this Labour government is committed to progressive investment in maintaining our military capability, the truth is that down here on the coalface it is a simple untruth. We may buld new ships and trumpet loud about our achievements, but to coin the old latin 'Si vis pacem para bellum' (If you wish for peace, prepare for war) we could do a lot more to uphold the virtues and value that have stood us in good stead and kept these shorelines free for 400 years or more. This administration may feel good sending out blue sky messages, but it's existing stock-in-trade is dog-eared, suffering from years of good-idea-syndrome, underinvested and sits amid a swirling whilpool of self-doubt. I conveyed to a senior officer today that it was a positive message that senior staffers are emerging above the parapet to speak their minds (as they should) and it sends a clear message to the workforce that the management is truly behind them. RAdm M's message isn't a counter to that at all, merely a statement to counter clumsy journalism, but no one should be fooled by it's apparent good news inclinations. There's a long way to go until the Navy feels well enough to break into a trot again.

  9. Trouble is the Navy has hardly ever fought it's corner in public or political arenas. Look at how the crabs managed to convince Dennis Healy that they could provide worldwide aircraft cover at anytime, hence the loss of the Ark's replacement. This argument also required a repositioning of Australia to prove their point!!
    The Vulcan mission during the Falklands was purely Crab PR. It was largely ineffectual , due to the the quick repair of the runway, and unsustainable in terms of repetition. I'm not denigrating the people that actually carried out the mission, they deserve all credit for a long and gruelling task in an obsolescent aircraft.
    God help us if it takes loss of lives and ships to make government and the public sit up and take note of this slow castration of a priceless national asset. Unfortunately I think that this has traditionally always been the case.
  10. Adm Massey is talking bollox!

    In his Fleet 'designed to meet the demands we face in 2007'……

    How many T45's are ACTUALLY in service? 0
    How many of the much vaunted carriers are ACTUALLY on the building blocks? 0
    How many Astutes are ACTUALLY in service? 0
    How many fighters does the FAA ACTUALLY have? 0

    His letter is nothing but PR bullcrap from Whitehall…
  11. JABP

    Judged that one bang on JABP, as they would say in Whitehall, "I have not told a lie I have just been economical with the TRUTH"

    Sorry Admiral, but after 10 years of New Labour we now prefer the truth.

  12. Can anyone list the names/classes of the 28 ships that are being so readily quoted not only by ACNS but also by the Government politicians as part of their rebuttal of the charge that the Navy is being underfunded? What I find particularly irritating is that Labour is effectively claiming credit for OCEAN and the LPDs when they were designed and ordered under the previous Conservative administration.
  13. Sorry, his letter doesnt wash with me when I see three type 23s in the Chilean fleet which should at worst be in mothballs in the UK, when I see type 42s already well beyond their expiry date (are they examples of the fleet designed to meet the threat in 2007, Admiral?), no fixed wing Fleet Air Arm assets, the batch 2 type 22s with their intel capabilities about to disappear etc etc. Besides it isnt the threat in 2007 that should worry Admiral Massey its the threat in 2010, 2015....Will Scotland still be in the union or will some FF?DDs be neutral and North of the border? I would love to see a wargame conducted based on his claim about the Falklands. For example, what if Brazil/Venezuela etc decided to intervene on behalf of Argentina before the first carriers come on line...and can we really rely on enough Argentinian bombs to fail to arm next time?

  14. Well… working on a 1996 date we have

    HMS Vengence… Trident Boat

    HMS Kent, Portland, Southerland and St Albans… T23 Frigates

    HMS Bulwark and Albion… LPD's

    HMS Echo, Enterprise and Scott…survey ships.

    HMS Tyne, Mersey, and Severn… Fishery Patrol vessels

    HMS Penzance, Pembroke, Grimsby, Bangor, Ramsey, Blyth, Shoreham… Sandown Class minehunters

    HMS Ranger, Tracker… P2000 training boats

    HMS Sabre, Scimitar… 16 metre Patrol boats

    RFA Mounts Bay and Largs Bay… LSL's

    RFA Wave Knight and Wave Ruler… Fast Fleet Tankers
  15. and OCEAN
  16. Going by this list, the RN have in the last decade rcvd 3 front line fighting ships. Not a very good return for the amount that have been decommissioned.
  17. Doesn't matter how much you spend, if you have more jobs than ships you cannot be everywhere you are needed. An expensive five-fold increase in fighting capability of a typical ship or submarine is useless if you need it in the Falklands, the Gulf and the Adriatic at the same time and the only available hull is in the Carribean on drug ops to support the Home Office!

    Sailors and aquanauts need ships and boats, not political compromises - come on ACNS, lets fight for a navy to be proud of again.
  18. An interesting point was made about privatisation. I went into the UPO at COLLINGRAD which is now called the Admin office, to a sea of civvies woking for Flagship. I wonder how long it will be before Flagship start fighting wars?

    FSL are no better - Fleet Sabotage Limited.
  19. Well the facts speak for themselves, as the Royal Navy gets smaller international sea piracy and terrorism rise to fill the place of the former Grey Funnel Line.

    A former Admiral was in the Papers a few months back talking about this, even the Med is now dangerous for Piracy. Something needs to be done to protect the 90% of British trade that uses the Sea at some point!
  20. The Govt arent interested whatsoever.They are just running down the Navy as they don't want it and instead will rely on the super duper Euro Navy that will take its place!!
    Can't believe how depressing it all is and how different it is from when i left nearly 10 years ago.People were moaning then at how small the fleet was!!

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