New Carriers

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by huffnut_cringe, Mar 23, 2008.

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  1. The (new) Westland affair. Westland, the name at the heart of the Conservative party's 1986 crisis when Michael Heseltine quit the government after his row with Margaret Thatcher over the helicopter maker's future, has risen again at Whitehall to haunt Gordon Brown.

    Whitehall insiders say that the threat to a vital helicopter order for the Yeovil company, now called Augusta Westland, is behind the spate of reports that the chiefs of staff are on the warpath over defence cuts.

    Brown is said to have ordered a fundamental reappraisal of the defence procurement budget in an effort to meet the immediate cost of fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This means that the £1bn order for 70 'future Lynx' helicopters from Yeovil - placed by Paul Drayson before he quit as defence procurement minister last November - could be in jeopardy.

    Defence chiefs believe new helicopters are crucial to the needs of the British military. They say they are far more imporant than two expensive aircraft carriers, priced at £3.9bn and rising, which Tory defence sources say Gordon Brown only wants to go ahead with because he wishes to protect jobs in the shipyards in Rosyth, next door to his own constituency.

    But choppers are the workhorses of frontline troops. British forces in Afghanistan are so short of them that appeals for help in supplying more have gone out to Nato allies across Europe.

    The brass hats have warned Brown that he cannot keep running the armed services at 'hot' for much longer. They need more money for kit and manpower to ease the overstretch. Something has to give, and it should not be the helicopters. If anything has to be cut from the shopping list, they argue, it should be the two hulking carriers destined for a Navy with an uncertain future.

    The "Navy" an uncertain future, anyone agree?

  2. Well you never had a future in the Navy, and neither does your grandson. :thumright:
  3. A silly article, criticising the vital aircraft carriers because they won't be able to immediately help in Afghanistan or Iraq, while defending the Future Lynx which will take several years to arrive, so no help there either.

    It would be better to scrap future Lynx and instead buy off the shelf aircraft for Iraq and Afghanistan now!
  4. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    I wonder if those 'Defence Chiefs' are wearing light blue uniform.....??

    What I find the other services have difficulty in getting thier heads around is the fact that te new carriers will be essentially joint. The RN may well own, paint and of course scrub them out, but they will always operate in the joint context.

    The issue is the same for the SSBN replacement, the RN will be forced to pay up for what is a joint asset, and things like FF/DD replacements, fleet running costs etc will be squeezed as a result and that is where the pain will be felt.
  5. When we start having government ministers that have been in the services we will get joined up thinking. Until then forget it as they just don't care or understand. Most of them have never had a proper job outside of politics so we have no chance.
    I was on the old Victorious when it was scrapped by the Wilson government because of a small fire, the start of the decline.
  6. Does anyone really believe we will see the new aircraft carriers? They cost too much to build, to run and we’re short of manpower now. Where are we going to come up with the crew to man them? The Navy has already stopped the building of several new T45’s. Why? Cost? Manpower? No longer required? New carriers don’t hold your breath.
  7. Yes we will. Why? Because they will largely be built in Brown's backyard, even thought it will cost millions more than building them abroad, but as the missile defence the French version will have does not benefit Scotland then we can do without these essential "luxuries!"
  8. Labour clearly know how to waste money! They strip out the long-term planning of Defence and yet they spend £400 million on Holyrood (Scottish Parliament building).

    I hate to say it, but this country needs a kick up the backside to show how important the fleet is to it!
  9. There is no such thing as an 'off the shelf' aircraft, unless you want to buy some septic secondhand goods from the Arizona desert. No one holds new stock aircraft 'on the shelf' they all have to be made to order so even with an unmodified existing design you will have to wait for the first aircraft of the line and then for enough to train your first new squadron then wait again until you have enough to form your first squadron. The new Lynx is perhaps as near the front line as anything else 'new'.
  10. There are or were "off the shelft aircraft" eg C130, Tincano. Even Uncle Sam's Air Force has bought off the shelf, from us! However such aircraft are relativley rare.
  11. I'm concerned about the skill set, though. Having recently watched flight ops on the HARRY S TRUMAN, that flight deck organisation is a serious investment in skilled and experienced people: enough that it's effectively a separate service branch. When did we last drive a flight deck at anything like that level of sortie generation?

    I'm not saying the RN can't rise to the challenge, but there's going to be rather more involved than transferring crews from Ark and Lusty and simply hoping they'll adapt to the new aircraft and bigger deck.
  12. Off the shelf implies there is stock, no military aircraft manufacturer I am aware of keeps stock, unless it is a cancelled order. New aircraft are new build and that means you wait and wait.

    I am not aware of the septics buying a UK spec aircraft from us, and equally I wonder just how much our latest C130s have been customised and the tucano was almost completely redesigned to meet UK requirements.
  13. Bob Love can say what he likes, there may well have been liaison with the USN and the French (there has been periodically ever since the CVF project kicked off). That is NOT the same as actually making something happen. The basic problem is not in the IPT and the ACA, which have modelled sortie generation to some excruciating levels of detail, but in the structure of the FAA / JFH. AFAIK, there is no impetus within either FAA or JFH to make this happen and make no mistake - if the squadrons don't embark ready and able to assist the Air Dept in running the deck it'll all go horribly wrong. I don't believe Fleet are doing anything serious about the ships Air Dept (or AE for that matter) either - same outocome.....
  14. to jrwlynch /just read an article called a "crab goes to sea" by Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork/ landing on the Eagle for the first time onboard a Buccaneer in 65 /"as we taxied out of the wires after the arrest i was immediately struck by the precision and skill of the flight deck party as they marshalled us to within inches i marvelled at their professionalism from that day on i have always considered the sight of a fully worked /up deck party on a RN carrier to be one of the most professional military operations i ever witnessed in my entire 36 years of RAF service .Dont think we will ever emulate those days ? :thumright:
  15. In the contect of "off the shelf" for military aircraft I have always understood it to not to mean literally buy one from a shop shelf, but instead to mean buying an aircraft that is already in service. This means that while you have to wait for it to be built, the building process will be straight forward as you are not developing new technology, at great risk and expense.
  16. Well yes but, how much of the original design is obsolete now and needs updating, was the concept of operations the same as yours, do your weapons fit, is their operating philosophy the same, does all their kit work with ours, can we make their software fit in with ours. The reality is there are always risks and expenses whether you start from scratch or try to make do with some one elses kit. The real trick and I am not suggesting we are good at it is to balance the risks and costs to get the capability we need.
  17. Do you seriously think we don't already have such a misalignment?!!!!!! The lack of AAR, ASW/ASuW and medical support alone makes SDR a joke.

    Be careful in placing the E-2C on a pedestal; the Hawkeye is actually a very limited asset. Although the E-2D will address some of those limitations the SKASaC7 will still outperform an E-2D in some key areas. However, that’s fairly academic when there is no money for an E-2D purchase and even sticking the ASaC system on a Merlin airframe is probably unaffordable right now.

    NaB hits on one key point with his comments regarding the support elements required for CVF. I was astounded when I discovered the RN has not until recently even had an N2 branch. N2 and N6 are areas where Fleet have barely scratched the surface. Although there is a very capable SO1 looking at these issues at Fleet, it's essential that the RN and RAF coordinate requirements and manning in these areas as our needs are so similar.

    Silverfox is therefore way off the mark when he disingenuously drags up the tired old mantra that my Service is not in favour of CVF. I believe that the future of our 2 services are inextricably linked because with the carriers. CVF has enormous utility for JCA, J2, J6 and JHC and in my experience the vast majority of us crustaceans can see the need for CVF. I'll admit that many (including myself until NaB convinced me otherwise) were dubious as to why we needed 60K ton designs rather than smaller LPD(H) type ships. However, let's stop sniping and pull together.

    Silverfox is correct that CVF will be a Joint capability and the RAF and RN in particular will be reliant on each other to make it work, especially the support infrastructure afloat.

  18. MM, as usual a great post, but what do the following mean:


    I totally agree that the CVF will be a joint platform, therefore will the RAF and Army provide some of the funding?? Afterall, the RN provides JHC with lots of helicopters! ;)
  19. Not entirely true. When PJHQ stood up the N2 organisation was absorbed into J2, the RN played nice and gave up the organic capability. Only later did the lack of N2 support from J2 become clear and the capability was re-established. That said, it has a long way to go.

    For CVF, I would agree, but it's not intended to be a command platform! That particular bit of intellectual fraud is widely recognised as a method to get the platforms, and sort out making them capable as command platforms later. Farcical in my opinion and it'll just lead to the capability costing more in the longer term.
  20. Don't they teach you anything in the RN?!!!! :thumright: I'm referring to the staff structure abbreviations. Each environment has its own (eg G for the Army, A for the Air Component and N for Naval HQs. J are for Joint appointments). The staff structures are then subdivided as follows:

    1: Admin.
    2: Int.
    3: Current Ops.
    4: Logs.
    5: Plans & policy.
    6: Comms and Information Systems.
    7: Trg.
    8: Civsec/contracts etc (I think. They're blunt anyway).
    9: Legal.

    Hence the int section at an Air HQ would be A2 and together with its G2 and N2 counterparts would contribute to the J2 at a Joint HQ. Likewise your pussers would be N4 and FOST could be considered the mother of all N7 empires.

    I don't see why not. The RAF obviously already contribute to JHC and JFH and I would expect us to remain Customer 1 (ie the primary budget holder) for many aspects of the J2/6 infrastructure required for CVF. Likewise, I'm pretty certain that we stumped up the cash for all the systems to programme RAF, RN and Army EW systems on our various aircraft types. Only in this way could we ensure commonality/interoperability.


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