Fantasy Fleets

Karma said:
ChiefRyback said:
I think the above fleet (okay, I'll compromise - minus the luxuries of a second LPH, escorts with TLAM and a STOVL CVF instead) is affordable at 2.8% of GDP?

So how exactly would you then fund the manpower? And recruit sufficient numbers?

The 2.8% budget could absorb some of the associated increases in costs; manpower, fuel, onshore storage. Forward-basing could be employed to reduce fuel costs; e.g. the C3 assigned to APT(N) could be based at NS Mayport in Florida, perhaps basing more assets EoS such as jointly with the MN at Reunion, or even Australia.

Recruiting the additional number of personnel (which, for the surface fleet wouldn't be that much more than present - 33 'large' and 'small vessels vs 25 'medium' ships) could be achieved through more funding of the cadet forces etc. I'm not really sure where you're going with this.... I'm not an expert with acute understanding of how the AFCO and cadet forces function, just merely suggesting an end-result fleet taking into account of likely demands on cash, manpower, and logistics.

You'd also need to articulate exactly what it's all supposed to achieve? The RN doesn't exist in isolation and the military in general is merely an instrument of government foreign and security policies.

Absolutely. The CVFs (whether CTOL or STOVL) form the cornerstone of the British military policy as outlined in SDR98 and Delivering Security In A Changing World 2004. These require escorts, and it is unfeasible to operate 30 such vessels on the current shoestring budget. During peacetime, these assets are (mis)used in roles they are not designed for due to lack of appropriate assets, e.g. destroyers in the C'bean or Cornwall in the Gulf. APT(N) could be satisfied by a long-ranged corvette with smaller-calibre gun and a Lynx than a ASW Type 23 sporting Harpoon and SeaWolf. Similarly, in hindsight, (and I don't want to open up this can of worms) the patrol of Shatt-al-Arab could have been met by a command and control vessel (at stand-off range) with smaller craft such as CB90s to search the commercial ships. So I hope that shows the necessity for a tiered Navy, than simply relying on one weight-class of escorts to conduct all duties.

The nature of this tiered approach is taken from the Marine Nationale which operate a core of 20 high-end warships, supplemented by light frigates and avisos. Furthermore, they fully employ forward basing (as mentioned) at Reunion and other overseas departments. In designing the tiered RN, we need to calculate how many high-end escorts are necessary based on likely operations; Delivering Security In A Changing World suggested that the UK would bring specialist units to ‘plug and play’ within a broader coalition. This suits the Type 45 fine as a highly-capable AAW specialist but is limited as we may end up building 8, or worse, 6. As the Type 23 units get older we’ll need to start thinking about replacements but with budgetary constraints, fewer hulls are likely. So the logical course of action is to design a similar ASW specialist which utilizes UUVs and other gadgets. So we have 8 Type 45s and maybe 6(?) ASW C1 units. How does the RN prosecute a high-intensity short-duration conflict similar to the Falklands? It requires ships in sufficient amounts to be on station, on route, and in refit. It then seems opportune to have a third class of high-end general purpose combatants, the C2s.

The idea of the C2s is that they would work under the umbrella of specialist ASW and AAW assets, and so not need to have such capable sensor fits. Predominantly, the function should be to act as another layer of air-defence, ship-defence as well as contribute to a land attack during hot wars, hence Aster 15s, Harpoon and 5†artillery. The other 95% of the time when the C2 is not throwing TLAMs at some country, they would be better suited as multi-purpose cruisers tasked with humanitarian/disaster relief (large water filtration capacity, bladder tanks for storage, mexifloats, capable of deploying helicopters as well as LCVPs or CB90s etc.

So, in conclusion we have our fleet centred around the CVFs with high-end escorts for ‘hot’ wars, as well as cheaper, lighter C3s to dart around doing the peacetime bread n’ butter work of the RN as well as showing the flag to other countries (as the MN often does with their futuristic-looking LaFayettes). Good for Britain Plc. In addition, through careful design of the General Purpose C2, we obtain a large vessel with multirole capability, to straddle the tasks of peacetime humanitarian-type ops (e.g. Op Palliser?) as well as those of providing another sea-control/area-denial asset during hot wars (e.g. Falklands).

Magic_Mushroom said:
Given that there's no money for MASC or the E-3D EAGLE upgrade, I think you can safely forget the E-2Ds as well.


Naturally, cancellation of the E2D is implicit with a STOVL CVF :)


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