Adm West and Lewis Page on Today 23/1/07

#1
I just heard a really good interview between these yeo on Radio 4's Today Programme. I haven't got a link yet but check out the Today website later.
 
#2
Some parts of it was frustrating, but it was good to see the new carriers getting the attention they deserve by the media. I would have preferred to see the Admiral spelling out clearly that they will not just be RN ships but explaining how valuable they will be for the Army and RAF as well. The problem is that the public do need this explaining in very simple terms!!
 
#4
It made me late for work (note; must mend car aerial)! Stumpy is right; the more public airing the matter gets, the better. It's a pity that Adml West wasn't able to expand on the future none Tribal threats. I think that would have successfully put that nobber Page on the back foot. Former Lt Page's supercilious tone really winds me up. Perhaps a good reminder that I was never cut out for Flag rank!
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#6
That man Page is an arse of the highest order. He was invited by the interviewer to make the case that the Navy needs more money, and he farted on about how extra money wouldn't make any difference because it would all be wasted on a replacement for Trident.
 
#7
P-O-L

Having just listened to the interview and with no knowledge of either parties I found the Admiral very defensive and filled up a large part of the interview with Politicians speak to avoid the question "are Type 45's good value".

From what I have read and seen the Type 45 seems a very specialized Air Defence platform based on an assumption that we will have to protect a large Aircraft Carrier which in the current climate is unlikely to ever be built. The Type 45 is not relay a fit weapon platform for the type of deployments currently being undertaken nor does it have the ability to adapt.

At my most cynical I would say the Admiralty wanted Type 45 for the same reasons we got lumbered with the County Class back in the 60's. They wanted big pretty ships to show we were still in business as a Navy using the basis of Carrier protection to get them, it also helped their ego's. The Defence Industry, aka the City, loved it, (more profit in a Rolls Royce than a Mini.

My opinion Lt.Page 1 Admiral didn't

Nutty
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#8
So what happens when we get the carriers and we don't have the escorts to defend them? I accept, and Adm West did also, that we may in future be better off with more basic ships that we can upgrade as we go along.

The following exchange from the House of Lords last week:

18 Jan 2007

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty’s Government:

When the Royal Navy future carrier demonstration phase is expected to complete, and when the main investment decision is expected to be taken.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): My Lords, I have made clear to the Aircraft Carrier Alliance that time is now critical. I am looking to get a robust, affordable deal negotiated quickly to allow a main investment decision to be taken as soon as possible.

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, will the Minister quash strong rumours coming out of the MoD that these continual delays in signing a full contract are just the first step towards cancelling the carriers? Despite the Prime Minister’s commitment to spend more on defence, we heard at Question Time yesterday that he is only one of a number of contributors to the debate on the Comprehensive Spending Review. As the Chancellor is no friend of the Armed Forces and we are fighting two wars on a peace-time budget, will the Minister give those serving in the Royal Navy some hope that the carriers will not be sacrificed to pay for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Lord Drayson: My Lords, I am happy to give the noble Lord that assurance. He should consider the rumours quashed.

Lord Craig of Radley: My Lords, it is now two years or more since the Royal Navy Sea Harrier force was withdrawn. The date of introduction of the new carriers looks like slipping even further to the right. Is the Minister satisfied that the Royal Navy will have air crew and engineers in sufficient numbers and of sufficient expertise to man aircraft for these new aircraft carriers?

Lord Drayson: Yes, my Lords; I am happy to give the noble and gallant Lord that assurance. I do not accept that the dates for the introduction of the new aircraft carriers have moved to the right. I am happy to reiterate the central importance of the carrier strike capability—the combination of the aircraft and the ships—to the country’s future defence posture. It is set out clearly in the Strategic Defence Review and it remains the case.

Lord Garden: My Lords, can the Minister tell us roughly what proportion of the cost of the overall carrier programme he expects to be committed at the main gate? Might it be prudent—I choose my words carefully—perhaps to accept that we have had so much slippage already that he may want to wait until a new Prime Minister is in the chair?

Lord Drayson: My Lords, I think I can be absolutely clear to the House on this point. As I said, the aircraft carriers are central to the defence posture. In the defence budget as a whole there is a budget for the replacement of the aircraft carriers. The key issue now is reaching agreement with industry on the price and the delivery of the carriers. As I said in my Answer, I am pushing very hard to reach an agreement that will deliver the carriers to cost and to time. For that to happen there needs to be consolidation in the industry. I am very pleased to see that that is now starting to happen. I am pleased also to see the progress we have made in the collaboration with France. We now have a common design for both the French and the British aircraft carriers which has been agreed and has involved no delay to the British aircraft carrier project, and at no increase in cost. That is an important achievement.

...

Lord Stewartby: My Lords, without in any way wishing to suggest that the specification for the new carriers should fall short of meeting the operational requirement, may I ask the Minister to bear in mind that, over the years, the biggest contributor to delay and cost overruns in major procurement projects has been the constant tweaking of the technical requirements?

Lord Drayson: My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely right. Industry made clear to me last year that unless the Navy could clearly close off the specification by the end of last March, it would not be able to meet the timescales we are looking for. I was very pleased and, in fact, impressed that the Royal Navy was able to meet that target.

...

Lord Roberts of Conwy: My Lords, welcome as the collaboration with France in the design of these vessels is, will any contract entered into by the French Government have a bearing on any contract that the British Government might enter into?

Lord Drayson: My Lords, the advantage of the collaboration with France and of the important step forward in the French using the British aircraft carrier design—and we are working very closely together—is the economies of scale which can be achieved in procuring three aircraft carriers rather than two and the sharing of benefits in savings and efficiency between the two countries. So it has an implication in that sense.
 
#9
Nutty said:
The Type 45 is not relay a fit weapon platform for the type of deployments currently being undertaken nor does it have the ability to adapt.
Nutty, I would say the T45 is going back to a generation of warships prior to the cost cutting of the 1970s which are of a size which do allow flexibility and adaptation. these ships are huge, much, much bigger than the T42s they replace. I think they will be great ships (I have heard many good reports about Sampson) and will serve the RN proud over the next 30 years or so.

We should have had 12 though.
 
#10
hammockhead said:
So what happens when we get the carriers and we don't have the escorts to defend them? I accept, and Adm West did also, that we may in future be better off with more basic ships that we can upgrade as we go along.
We have never been that good at cutting our cloth to suit our pockets when it comes to ship design, other than in wartime. Perhaps the only succesful budget warship since WW2 was the Blackwood class, even the Tribals which were supposed to be budget were over priced for their role.
 
#11
hammockhead said:
That man Page is an arse of the highest order. He was invited by the interviewer to make the case that the Navy needs more money, and he farted on about how extra money wouldn't make any difference because it would all be wasted on a replacement for Trident.
H-H

As I have said many times on this and other forums, I agree with Page

Quote "extra money wouldn't make any difference because it would all be wasted on a replacement for Trident."[/quote]

We do not need a replacement but then that is another discussion all together.

Nutty
 
#12
The size of the T45 is only semi-relevant. It is as big as it is for two main reasons, (three if you count the FC role). We have bought a missile system capable of defending a task group (not just CVF) against the most advanced anti-ship missile threats available. That missile requires a big radar at a certain height, which leads to a certain beam / draft combination. The standard of accommodation for the number of people needed to operate that system (and a margin for EMF, LEDETs etc) drives the volume (and hence the length and depth) of the ship. There is also a margin for through-life growth (probably a good thing given recent experience), which again pushes up the size.

Have a look at what the Chinese are selling or indeed what some of the Russian design bureaus have on the open market. If the RN wishes to operate in areas where these threats might be deployed then it needs to be able to defend itself against them - irrespective of whether that's what the fleet is doing today.

If you base the argument on what the fleet has done in the last few years (as that clown Page does) then it's OPV / corvettes all round folks and hang the consequences. Isn't it about 25 years since the last time we nearly came a cropper by designing a fleet around a perceived primary mission and then something completely different came along?

I'm no fan of the detail of the design. It's ugly as sin, the ME fit will be a disaster and some of the design aspects will cause much harsh language from the Buffer. BUT it's not the size of the design that's driving the cost - it's the combat system development costs amortised over a shrinking number of ships.

We could have done better, but we could have done a LOT worse. Oh and we do need more than 6!
 
#13
Adml West did, admittedly, hold the line. Maybe it was that old tightrope act of reality against morale in his old Service. We also know what a vindictive cnut Brown the Humourless can be.

I would be the amongst the first to acknowledge that tasking a Cruiser sized T45 for "peacetime" patrols is akin to using a JCB 535 to plough the turnip patch. What's the alternative? as the ship needed for a big match is not going to spring from thin air. Even if the CVFs never happen, that calibre of mobile Missile Engagement Zone may well be essential to protect commercial shipping in the future. As the man said, we don't know what or where the threat will be in the next 20 or so years; although we could make some good guesses.

With regard to Page, I will admit that he at least makes people think about Defence. Unfortunately he oversimplifies the whole process of requirement setting and Procurement and makes capital of making diligent and well intentioned people look stupid. As in any large organisation, people do daft things from time to time and the aim is minimise those occasions. The Taxpayer likes the simple and sensational, though, and implying that the money is constantly being squandered is not helping the Services.
 
#14
I think the GB public are being short changed by the BBC when they get a ''Defence Expert'' who has no understanding of how government budgeting works, and fails to appreciate that a Carrier without escorts would very quickly become an interesting dive site in a threat environment.

I think that Sarah Montague managed to demonstrate that there is value in informed Defence correspondents and it's unfortunate that she didn't press Page on any of his over-simplification.

In seven minutes Adm West managed to talk reasonably about a complex subject, but I say that from a position of understanding that subject in a way that the majority of listeners probably wouldn't.

What might be more telling is what he didn't say.
 
#15
Karma said:
I think the GB public are being short changed by the BBC when they get a ''Defence Expert'' who has no understanding of how government budgeting works, and fails to appreciate that a Carrier without escorts would very quickly become an interesting dive site in a threat environment.

I think that Sarah Montague managed to demonstrate that there is value in informed Defence correspondents and it's unfortunate that she didn't press Page on any of his over-simplification.

In seven minutes Adm West managed to talk reasonably about a complex subject, but I say that from a position of understanding that subject in a way that the majority of listeners probably wouldn't.

What might be more telling is what he didn't say.
Karma

I really am beginning to suspect you are the PR Mouthpiece for the MOD on this Forum. Attack Page , allude to the fact that the new carriers are just about on the slips. Complain that Page was not pressed hard enough and accuse the BBC of allowing over simplification of the story. Then wind your post up by saying, Admiral West was a reasonable person who gave all the facts with no waffle but does it matter cos the public have no understanding of the subject or problem anyway.

Well the folk on this forum are the public, in case you have not noticed and we do have some inkling of the problems. Yet from you, not a single word on T45's or their possible future role, if any.

Distressed of Tunbridge Wells

Nutty
 

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