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The Royal Navy: what's needed for the future?

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
If Mr Page served only 11 yrs in, I'd be astonished if he was ever exposed in any meaningful way to the workings of the MoD and the CS (lucky him) which would render much of his analysis invalid. As MM says, you may well agree with many of his sentiments about the way MoD works (who doesn't?), but that does not mean his arguments and solutions have any validity at all.

IIRC he advocates replacing surface combatants (which according to him exist only to provide drives for certain branches) with a few helicopter carriers, which demonstrates pretty breathtaking ignorance of what constitutes balanced naval capabilities, let alone of what helicopters and surface ships can and cannot do. As an example, try working out LLOA against an SSN (or modern K for that matter) without some form of wide area sensor (which helos most definitely do not provide).

MoD procurement is certainly FUBAR, but this is principally due to a combination of the following :

1. Nowhere near enough money to compensate for the spending "holiday" of the last 15 years or so, coupled with operating way above the MoDs own planning assumptions for nearly a decade.
2. Inability of central staff and ABW to turn what they know they need (and can afford) into a specification that can be contracted against - often aided and abetted by snake-oil salesmen peddling "systems engineering practices" or other tools that may not be right for the particular application, but promise perfection and the Holy Grail of perfectly auditable performance delivery from initial idea to delivery.
3. Inability of MoD to undertake (or contract for an independent) credible cost estimate for a kit programme - and to be fair to industry, inability to understand that changing your spec (or your programme timescale) means changing the cost.

It is most certainly not down to senior officer, single service or CS vested interests, although I'm sure there is still a residual effect from these, it is pretty negligible. If Mr Page could crack the three problems identified above, he might get some form of recognition.
 

Jay_Nine

Midshipman
My sincere apologies for the delay, gentlemen (and ladies, if any have posted... well, it's sometimes hard to tell due to the anonymity online)... problems with some uni work, and a few kinks needed ironing out of the manuscript of The High Cliff (Book One) so I've been a bit busy.

Concerning Lewis Page:

I've read his book out of the library and read his document 'Cost-Effective Defence', and after careful consideration I decided I disagreed with most of his viewpoints and opinions. He writes in an extremely persuasive manner and his style is extremely inviting to the average civilian reader, laying things out in a simple fashion that easily draws them in. So far as I can tell, it would seem that Page is simply trying to earn a living, and that at least some of the opinions he expresses are probably not what he genuinely feels, although his frustration with BAe is quite understandable. If he were to write (or has already written) anything on the subject of explosive ordnance disposal, I would be most inclined to accept it as authoritative as this was his primary area of expertise: beyond that... *shrugs*

Personally, I do believe that an independent RAF is a useful institution, whilst also maintaining that the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm are also useful institutions, all three of which are well worth keeping. Each has its own specialisations, its own particular capabilities, and I feel that these justify the continued operation of these three branches. However, I do appreciate that this is an issue upon which there is considerable debate, and accept that there are others who feel differently on the subject.

Getting back on track...

Concerning the American next-generation AMRAAMs: do we need the design specifications? (I accept that maybe there's a good reason why we may wish to modify the missiles in the future, and if so, fair enough... it's just I don't know what it is at the moment.) If we were to offer to invest in developing and purchasing the next-generation AMRAAM, might the Americans then be more inclined to make the sale to us? (Sorry if that's not a particularly good idea, I'm just trying to come up with a solution and it's pretty hit and miss.)

Concerning the F-35B... MM, NaB and Oil Slick: it sounds as if purchasing a third CVF (unless the French pull out when theirs is almost complete, allowing us to snap it up, hopefully more cheaply than the pair we've currently got on order) would be very difficult and rather impractical. Could we get away with purchasing two or three Wasp-class LHDs modified to serve as... well, I suppose they could be described as escort carriers?

As far as I'm aware, the big problem with us purchasing only two CVFs is that every so often, one will have to go into refit, leaving us with only one conventional carrier available for operations over as much as a year. (Or more, if something goes wrong.) But if we had two or three modified Wasps on the strength, could they stand in temporarily, with the option of having a Wasp or two to support the CVFs when both CVFs are on operations? Or would we be better off looking overseas for a third conventional carrier?

If the Wasp-class escort carrier idea is worth looking into... well, do you know (or can you make informed guesses - well, you're certainly better informed than me :)), even vaguely speaking, what that might add to the price of a normal Wasp? (I mean, would it double it, treble it, barely affect it... just an approximation will do nicely.) And what sort of air group might they be able to support? Could we at least get most of a squadron of F-35Bs and a pair of EV-22s aboard? (I'm guessing that that's the minimum number of airframes needed to be able to avoid anything too untoward happening to our forces.)

I know it's not much, but if we still have one CVF fully loaded with aircraft available as well, or if we can send in three modified Wasps, might we be able to get away with using these ships and their air groups as a substitute for a third conventional carrier?

(Hopefully we'd make sure to order three proper carriers when the time comes to replace the CVFs... assuming, of course, that we're not using craft that resemble the Starship Enterprise by then, or had to go back to using coal-powered ships. :) Although in the latter scenario, I suppose we could still have carriers operating balloons or zeppelins or something like that...)

Please let me know if this idea is complete and utter codswallop. :)

Following on from the escort carrier suggestion: if we were to purchase modified Wasps, would we need to purchase some F-35Cs as well for use aboard the CVFs and from land bases? Or would we be better off just getting F-35Bs? And if we exclusively operated the F-35B model and bought a couple of escort carriers, would we need to expand the present F-35B order?

Concerning BAe: what if someone were to take them over, change the way things worked there - sackings, hiring fresh blood, adopting a more competitive/businesslike attitude, that sort of thing? Could that improve things over there to a point where... well, where we don't get drastically shortchanged at every turn? (To put it extremely mildly.) I know, it probably won't happen for real, but it's fiction for a good reason... :) (The book's meant to be a look at how we should try to change if at all possible.)

THis might sound a bit daft, but here goes anyhow: given that the concept of The Lion Awakens involves a vast defence budget increase, shake ups, that sort of thing, if there were enough funds to go around, would more Typhoons be useful? Could an extra couple of squadrons come in handy?

Many thanks, everyone, :)

Jay
 
NaB

Certainly the equipment budget shortfall against the operational demand has made things a lot worse than they should have been, mind you I am not saying that giving them a shed load of cash is the total pancea, but a better balance between demand and available cash would help a lot.

Smart procurement helped a bit but it still needs to get deaper into into expressing the problem not the solution. Mind you there are some who are at least aware of some of the shortcomings and that is a step forward. Mind you having worked with US contractors we have a lot to learn, both about running an equipment programme well and about how to stop Johnny Foreigner ripping us off.

I would suggest that rather than not being able to set good estimates at the begining of a project the problem is more one of picking a number too soon and setting that in stone rather than building up a proper cost picture and properly trading cost against capability when you have control. I think they do understand changes do cost but the system is too unwieldy to do anything else.

Change in both the MOD and Civil Service is not easy and you will find many who resist, I remember as smart procurement was being introduce an staff officer in OR proudly telling me he had rewritten the requirement in Smart Procurement speak so that he still got the kit he really wanted and could in the past have specified in and Cardinal Points Spec.

What is certain though that neither will Mr Pages rants solve the problems nor his suggestions make anything any better.
 

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
I don't disagree Maxi. The trouble with Smart procurement is that the process has become the dominant factor, rather than the objective. As you're probably well aware, hordes of acquisitions specialists and requirementalists roam the corridors of MB and ABW confusing the TLB holders with grand sweeping visions of painless procurement if only you apply Sun Tzu's unpublished work - "S0d the Art of war, lend yourself to requirementalism and surely victory will follow". Cue vast reams of OA, URDs, SRDs, DOORS databases and constantly changing specifications as the planning assumptions change while all this mentalism is undertaken(see MARS IPT for details).

As for cost estimating, fully agree they need to get a grip of what the ongoing effect of capability / spec change is - appropriate to the stage they're at. When they don't you get all eth shenanigans with CVF, as explained here...

http://www.navy-net.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=12000/postdays=0/postorder=asc/start=0.html

The trouble is they have no independent idea of what ship acquisition costs actually are, which is half their problem. I once sat in a meeting with a fella from PFG who blithely suggested that 42 MILLION manhours was reasonable provision to build 6 fleet tankers. When I suggested that 10% of that might be a more reasonable figure, there was a distinct sense of humour failure, followed by onset of NIH syndrome. If they can't get in the ballpark from the off, they have no chance of delivering a cost-effective programme.

The imminent manpower cuts in DE&S are really going to help that as well.
 
I agree about the abuse of process, process is a very good tool when it is correct and used properly, but it can also become the cloak of the weak and feckless, follow process and you are never wrong even if the output is wrong.

I am not sure how the MOD can ever get a truly independant cost of something as the evaluator will either be internal or a contractor of some kind. There are however various cost modelling techniques based on parametric costing schemes which should give good indications based on known industry processes. It is a technique widely used by outr transatlantic cousins both by the customer to check he is not being ripped off, and by the supplier to produce offer prices within the limited time many US programmes allow for bidding.

We have a lot to learn, on both sides of the divide.
 

Magic_Mushroom

War Hero
Jay_Nine said:
...Concerning the American next-generation AMRAAMs: do we need the design specifications? (I accept that maybe there's a good reason why we may wish to modify the missiles in the future, and if so, fair enough... it's just I don't know what it is at the moment.)

Yes, we need to have a fair degree of access to the technology if we wish to support the weapons properly in service and integrate them with UK systems.

Jay_Nine said:
...If we were to offer to invest in developing and purchasing the next-generation AMRAAM, might the Americans then be more inclined to make the sale to us? (Sorry if that's not a particularly good idea, I'm just trying to come up with a solution and it's pretty hit and miss.)

The Spams have no problem selling AMRAAM to us. They'd view further sales as advantageous as it would undermine Meteor. However, it doesn't necessarily secure technology transfer. Exhibit A: F-35.

Jay_Nine said:
...And what sort of air group might [Wasp] be able to support? Could we at least get most of a squadron of F-35Bs and a pair of EV-22s aboard? (I'm guessing that that's the minimum number of airframes needed to be able to avoid anything too untoward happening to our forces.)

As a very rough guess, they'd probably be able to get approx 12 F-35Bs and maybe 5 EV-22s, or a mix thereof. More if the ship didn't embark marines. NaB will be able to give a better idea.

Jay_Nine said:
...I know it's not much, but if we still have one CVF fully loaded with aircraft available as well, or if we can send in three modified Wasps, might we be able to get away with using these ships and their air groups as a substitute for a third conventional carrier?

They are in no way a substitute for a CVF size beasty, but they'd certainly help and in almost all scenarios you would be able to expect land based assets to contribute as well.

Jay_Nine said:
...Following on from the escort carrier suggestion: if we were to purchase modified Wasps, would we need to purchase some F-35Cs as well for use aboard the CVFs and from land bases? Or would we be better off just getting F-35Bs? And if we exclusively operated the F-35B model and bought a couple of escort carriers, would we need to expand the present F-35B order?

A moot point. In a perfect world, we'd buy F-35C for CVF and F-35B for Wasp and land based ops. However, if you mix your force, you raise your support costs and undermine one of the basic tenets of Joint Force Harrier in that it'll migrate to F-35. It would be extremely unlikely that RAF aircrew would be able to retain realistic currency on carrier ops in a cat/trap type. In contrast, it is extremely easy for pilots to quickly gain currency on STOVL deck ops.

Jay_Nine said:
...Concerning BAe: what if someone were to take them over, change the way things worked there - sackings, hiring fresh blood, adopting a more competitive/businesslike attitude, that sort of thing? Could that improve things over there to a point where... well, where we don't get drastically shortchanged at every turn?

Assuming the entire workforce at BWoS were tried for treason and executed in the largest change of management style since Lenin casually mentioned to the Tsar in a St Petersburg vodka bar, 'we'll take it from here Nick', yes.

Jay_Nine said:
...would more Typhoons be useful? Could an extra couple of squadrons come in handy?

Based on the size of your plans yes. I suggest you plan on a Typhoon force with all the bells and whistles planned such as conformal saddle tanks and Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. However, you'd also need to expand most fleets significantly. I would particularly mention a minimum of 40 A330 tankers, 10 SIGINT aircraft, 20 C-17s, 75 C-130Js, 30 medium UAVs (Reaper type things) and an unlimited supply of 'throw away' ultra long endurance (6 months plus) solar powered high altitude UAVs similar to this. These would be used as a pseudo satellite for a variety of ISTAR, C2 and comms relay purposes. Also on my shopping list would be some 'AC-130Js' and a decent Electronic Attack 'EC-130J' variant. these could potentially be reconfigurable ro-ro payloads into the same C-130J.

Oh, and I'll have an Aston Martin DB9 please!!

Regards,
MM
 

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
And while we're on the subject, we'd like some surface combatants, lots of fleet train (RFA), a good MCM capability that doesn't necessarily have to either fit in a 20' ISO or take 3 months to get anywhere. AND the people to run it, AND the money to pay them, AND the wharfage to base them, AND the SFA to house them, AND a brick wall to place the Broons against when the time comes. AND a couple of battleships with real armour and real guns to go and play with Imadinnerjacket, AND an increase in sub numbers now that Ivans coming out to play again, AND the tot etc......
 

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
And (on a serious note), forget escort carriers. If you're going to have an escort carrier, work out what it is escorting and the threat against it. That threat is most likely to be submarines, in which case a decent sized helo carrier at Cavour size would do the trick, with a couple of F35 to hack the shad. No need to go for the behemoth that is Wasp or her successors.

As for problems buying a third CVF - given the scale of your existing expenditure there are none! Building it in the timescale required by your book is another question and probably could not be done, but then again, neither could you get any other designs in that timescale. The US shipbuilding industry is [email protected] and is pretty much toppers now building their new amphibs and god help us DDG1000s.

So if new ships are what you want, it's the dog-eaters or our good friends in the PRC you'll have to ask. Can't quite see either of them having too many list X companies though......

Not trying to be deliberately obtuse, but it's a curious mixture of fact and fantasy you're trying to produce here.
 

Samson

Badgeman
Not trying to be deliberately obtuse, but it's a curious mixture of fact and fantasy you're trying to produce here.

Aint that the whole point of fiction? The more curious the better. After all if you're going to have a fictional RN you might as well make it fecking huge :thumright:
 

Jay_Nine

Midshipman
Magic_Mushroom said:
Jay_Nine said:
...Concerning the American next-generation AMRAAMs...

Yes, we need to have a fair degree of access to the technology if we wish to support the weapons properly in service and integrate them with UK systems.

Okay, fair enough - thought I'd best make sure.

Magic_Mushroom said:
The Spams have no problem selling AMRAAM to us. They'd view further sales as advantageous as it would undermine Meteor. However, it doesn't necessarily secure technology transfer. Exhibit A: F-35.

Two questions there:

First, would buying next-generation AMRAAMs necessarily undermine Meteor? I mean, we'd still be buying Meteor as the primary long-range air-to-air missile for the Typhoons, wouldn't we? The next-gen AMRAAMs would be being purchased so we could get the most use out of the F-35s.

Second, maybe I should've checked earlier... but am I right to have assumed that we'll at least eventually get the F-35? Or should alternatives be considered in case it all falls through?

Magic_Mushroom said:
As a very rough guess, they'd probably be able to get approx 12 F-35Bs and maybe 5 EV-22s, or a mix thereof. More if the ship didn't embark marines. NaB will be able to give a better idea.

Okay, thanks for that! :) Erm... why would it need five EV-22s, though?

Magic_Mushroom said:
A moot point. In a perfect world, we'd buy F-35C for CVF and F-35B for Wasp and land based ops. However, if you mix your force, you raise your support costs and undermine one of the basic tenets of Joint Force Harrier in that it'll migrate to F-35. It would be extremely unlikely that RAF aircrew would be able to retain realistic currency on carrier ops in a cat/trap type. In contrast, it is extremely easy for pilots to quickly gain currency on STOVL deck ops.

Okay, one variant only, gotcha.

Magic_Mushroom said:
Assuming the entire workforce at BWoS were tried for treason and executed in the largest change of management style since Lenin casually mentioned to the Tsar in a St Petersburg vodka bar, 'we'll take it from here Nick', yes.

*amused snort* Yeeeeesss... right, okay, I'll need to go back to the drawing board there. *sighs sadly* The only alternatives I can think of are that a new and vastly more efficient British armaments company starts up, corners the market on some relatively small pieces of kit (boots, LTDs, EOD equipment) and then expands outwards to the point where it eventually displaces BAe (or at least their fictional counterpart) completely; competition from mainland European companies causes BAe/counterpart company to rethink their strategy, or... well, to be honest, I can't come up with any others.

Magic_Mushroom said:
... I suggest you plan on a Typhoon force with all the bells and whistles planned such as conformal saddle tanks and Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. However, you'd also need to expand most fleets significantly. I would particularly mention a minimum of 40 A330 tankers, 10 SIGINT aircraft, 20 C-17s, 75 C-130Js, 30 medium UAVs (Reaper type things) and an unlimited supply of 'throw away' ultra long endurance (6 months plus) solar powered high altitude UAVs similar to this. These would be used as a pseudo satellite for a variety of ISTAR, C2 and comms relay purposes. Also on my shopping list would be some 'AC-130Js' and a decent Electronic Attack 'EC-130J' variant. these could potentially be reconfigurable ro-ro payloads into the same C-130J.

Okay... I'm currently planning for an annual defence budget of one hundred billion pounds. Erm... would it be practical to undertake all of these expansions in less than twenty years, still have enough funds left to finance expansions of the Army and Royal Navy, and afford recruitment and retention measures? (My proposals on that score consist of the creation of a better and safer pension scheme, slight pay increase for all other ranks and officers below the rank of lieutenant-colonel, commander or wing commander, annual budget of about four billion reserved exclusively for repairing and building accomodations, and a quota of places for new recruits to be offered by the emergency and intelligence services to forces leavers with eight or nine years' honourable conduct. Please see the beginning of the thread for details of the two military hospitals I'm also proposing - angrydoc was very helpful there.)

Magic_Mushroom said:
Oh, and I'll have an Aston Martin DB9 please!!

Tell you what... how about, if a miracle happens and I end up in the multi-millionaire bracket from my writing (I can but hope, after all... :)), I'll try and arrange for you to at least have a test drive in one? A morning and afternoon bombing around a test track and/or the unsuspecting English highways and byways (depending on your preference) at high speed, with lunch included in the middle? :) And, assuming it doesn't smash my bank balance to tiny pieces, at least try to buy it for you? No guarantees, there... :) but hey, you never know! (Alternatively, would you be interested in a used and disarmed Hawker Hunter?)

Magic_Mushroom said:
Regards,
MM

Many thanks, MM. :)

Jay
 

Jay_Nine

Midshipman
Not_a_boffin said:
...forget escort carriers. If you're going to have an escort carrier, work out what it is escorting and the threat against it. That threat is most likely to be submarines, in which case a decent sized helo carrier at Cavour size would do the trick, with a couple of F35 to hack the shad. No need to go for the behemoth that is Wasp or her successors.

Okay... what sort of heli carriers are we talking about, here? The Spanish ones the Australians are buying? *looks puzzled*

Not_a_boffin said:
As for problems buying a third CVF - given the scale of your existing expenditure there are none! Building it in the timescale required by your book is another question and probably could not be done, but then again, neither could you get any other designs in that timescale. The US shipbuilding industry is [email protected] and is pretty much toppers now building their new amphibs and god help us DDG1000s.

Okay... so, if we were to buy a third CVF, would we still need helicopter carriers? (Sorry: I'm... well, I'm doing everything I can, but I'm starting to get a bit confused about what's possible, what's possible but only if we throw enough cash at it to pay for the Second World War all over again, and what's inadvisible. *looks embarrassed* I'm really sorry about this.)

Not_a_boffin said:
So if new ships are what you want, it's the dog-eaters or our good friends in the PRC you'll have to ask. Can't quite see either of them having too many list X companies though......

Erm... dog-eaters? *looks completely baffled* Do you mean the French? (I only ask on the grounds that they seem to eat anything that moves and can be easily shot.) Or some Oriental country or other? (I vaguely remember hearing that some of that mob regard dogs as a snack... cats too, I believe.)

Not_a_boffin said:
Not trying to be deliberately obtuse, but it's a curious mixture of fact and fantasy you're trying to produce here.

Samson said:
Aint that the whole point of fiction? The more curious the better. After all if you're going to have a fictional RN you might as well make it fecking huge :thumright:

It's... well, the whole idea behind The Lion Awakens is that it's supposed to outline how we could manage defence, what sort of things we could - and, at least in my opinion, ought - to be capable of doing. Every decade since the Second World War has seen at least one round of defence cuts, and a few have seen two. And the way the bunch of communist idiots currently running the country are going, this decade may have the misfortune to witness three rounds of cuts.

For a lot of people in this PC-era where the private lives of pop stars and other unimportant riff-raff are seen as more important than the threat of terrorism, 'imperialism' is a dirty word. For me, it isn't. Obviously, I'm not advocating we go out invading other countries for the fun of it - it's somewhat impolite, and just 'not done'.

My main objections to our involvement in the Iraq War stem from the huge logistical strain it's placed on our Armed Forces, and the fatigue it's caused in forces personnel - if we'd attempted it with the size of land forces we had in the 1980s and the size of the fleet and air force we had in the 1960s, my only remaining objection would have been that it's not a good idea to go to war in a campaign led by an American politician who may or may not possess an IQ that reaches double figures. I was entirely in favour of Operation Herrick from the outset, and as far as I'm concerned, this country should take a great deal more pride in Operation Palliser than it does at the moment.

When I was in secondary school, I took the History option for my last two years, which included an examination of, among other events, the Cold War. There wasn't a single mention of Malaya, the Suez Crisis, Borneo, the Aden conflict, Oman, or even Britain's participation in the Korean War. Nevertheless, I learned about these conflicts, and a great many more, during this time in my life - but it was in my own time. It was because I was willing to take an interest and satisfy my curiosity. I daresay that most of my peers still have no idea that Britain fought in any conflicts between 1945 and 1982.

This may be over-ambitious of me, but I'd like to at least try to get some people in this country to take an interest and give a damn about the Armed Forces, and to accept that military operations are both necessary and can have extremely positive and beneficial results. The best possible result would, to my mind, be the introduction of reforms and expansions of the Armed Forces in response to popular demand for such programs by the public in response to this book and its successors - better treatment of personnel, better and more equipment, better-planned and better-supported campaigns - the works.

I'm really sorry I sometimes cause you a few problems and uncertainty as to what I'm trying to achieve, particularly MM and NaB... all I can do is beg your forgiveness and patience, as it's the first time I've ever tried this. :)

Many, many thanks everyone, :)

Jay
 

Magic_Mushroom

War Hero
First, would buying next-generation AMRAAMs necessarily undermine Meteor? I mean, we'd still be buying Meteor as the primary long-range air-to-air missile for the Typhoons, wouldn't we? The next-gen AMRAAMs would be being purchased so we could get the most use out of the F-35s.

A difficult question. It's unlikely that F-35 will ever carry Meteor internally so it could be argued you'd not be affecting Meteor sales. However, if such a purchase prevented economic integration on F-35, it could be argued that that may adversely affect sales of the European missile to nations who may be willing to accept external carriage.

Second, maybe I should've checked earlier... but am I right to have assumed that we'll at least eventually get the F-35? Or should alternatives be considered in case it all falls through?

F-35A and C will be made to work, full stop. There is a slight chance that the Senate/USN could kill off the B due to costs but I think the danger of that has passed. The official UK position is that the F-35B is merely the preferred solution to the Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) programme to replace the GR9 in service. There are no realistic options imho. Rafale M is fairly decent but underpowered and politically a non-starter. The FA-18E/F has very nice avionics but is again relatively underpowered and arguably lacks growth potential (Typhoon walks all over it). Finally a navalised Typhoon is a total non starter because of the huge costs of engineering changes for what would be a small production run.

Essentially, it'll be F-35B or C or nothing.

Okay, thanks for that! Erm... why would it need five EV-22s, though?

Okay, say 5 V-22s of whatever variant then. However, 5 EV-22s would allow a single 24 hr orbit to be maintained, or shorter periods of AEW or ground surveillance when combined with land based I2 assets such as AWACS, JSTARS and ASTOR.

Okay... I'm currently planning for an annual defence budget of one hundred billion pounds. Erm... would it be practical to undertake all of these expansions in less than twenty years, still have enough funds left to finance expansions of the Army and Royal Navy, and afford recruitment and retention measures?

I don't know. I'm not a Whitehall warrior! :thumright:

Tell you what... how about, if a miracle happens and I end up in the multi-millionaire bracket from my writing (I can but hope, after all... :)), I'll try and arrange for you to at least have a test drive in one? A morning and afternoon bombing around a test track and/or the unsuspecting English highways and byways (depending on your preference) at high speed, with lunch included in the middle? And, assuming it doesn't smash my bank balance to tiny pieces, at least try to buy it for you? No guarantees, there... but hey, you never know!

Deal! :iroc:

(Alternatively, would you be interested in a used and disarmed Hawker Hunter?)

No, I'll take cash!

Regard,
MM
 

Samson

Badgeman
I daresay that most of my peers still have no idea that Britain fought in any conflicts between 1945 and 1982.

You'd be lucky if they knew that much, one of my flatmates, who has a 1st in biomedical science and is now studying to be doctor, did know when didn't have the faintest idea when when World War 1 and 2 had been (not even the century). Just been to see 'Charlie Willson's War', one of the girls who I was with refered to the Soviet invasion of Afganistan as 'some real minor event' ... but then at least she doesn't want to become a doctor .......
 

persona_non_grata

Lantern Swinger
Not_a_boffin said:
And while we're on the subject, we'd like some surface combatants, lots of fleet train (RFA), a good MCM capability that doesn't necessarily have to either fit in a 20' ISO or take 3 months to get anywhere. AND the people to run it, AND the money to pay them, AND the wharfage to base them, AND the SFA to house them, AND a brick wall to place the Broons against when the time comes. AND a couple of battleships with real armour and real guns to go and play with Imadinnerjacket, AND an increase in sub numbers now that Ivans coming out to play again, AND the tot etc......

To go about jumping in rather late in the game why not get some of these? Multi-role, multi-faceted and like a frigate but bigger, or whatever you want it to be. Small crews as well (100) but with accom and messing capabilities (probably very short duration) for around 300.

My tuppence for the time being.

PNG
 

persona_non_grata

Lantern Swinger
Not_a_boffin said:
And while we're on the subject, we'd like some surface combatants, lots of fleet train (RFA), a good MCM capability that doesn't necessarily have to either fit in a 20' ISO or take 3 months to get anywhere. AND the people to run it, AND the money to pay them, AND the wharfage to base them, AND the SFA to house them, AND a brick wall to place the Broons against when the time comes. AND a couple of battleships with real armour and real guns to go and play with Imadinnerjacket, AND an increase in sub numbers now that Ivans coming out to play again, AND the tot etc......



:w00t:

Might need a refit but it'd do.
 

Jay_Nine

Midshipman
Magic_Mushroom said:
A difficult question. It's unlikely that F-35 will ever carry Meteor internally so it could be argued you'd not be affecting Meteor sales. However, if such a purchase prevented economic integration on F-35, it could be argued that that may adversely affect sales of the European missile to nations who may be willing to accept external carriage.

*nods thoughtfully* Okay... well, if Meteor sales fell to nations operating F-35s but not Typhoons, would that be likely to make for a major shortfall in overall Meteor sales? And if it did... well, could we then buy up the Meteors that otherwise wouldn't have any buyers? (Possibly with a discount?) It'd certainly help make sure our Typhoons didn't run short of Meteors...

Alternatively, how likely is it that the next generation AMRAAM design might be better-suited to the needs of both our F-35Bs and our Typhoons? (Just playing devil's advocate to cover all the angles...)


Magic_Mushroom said:
F-35A and C will be made to work, full stop. There is a slight chance that the Senate/USN could kill off the B due to costs but I think the danger of that has passed. The official UK position is that the F-35B is merely the preferred solution to the Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) programme to replace the GR9 in service. There are no realistic options imho. Rafale M is fairly decent but underpowered and politically a non-starter. The FA-18E/F has very nice avionics but is again relatively underpowered and arguably lacks growth potential (Typhoon walks all over it). Finally a navalised Typhoon is a total non starter because of the huge costs of engineering changes for what would be a small production run.

Essentially, it'll be F-35B or C or nothing.

Okay, thanks for that - just making sure. :)


Magic_Mushroom said:
Okay, say 5 V-22s of whatever variant then. However, 5 EV-22s would allow a single 24 hr orbit to be maintained, or shorter periods of AEW or ground surveillance when combined with land based I2 assets such as AWACS, JSTARS and ASTOR.

Ah, I see: sorry, it's just that earlier you said four EV-22s would be a good-sized AEW group to operate from a CVF - I was wondering what a smaller carrier would need a fifth one for. :) No worries!


Magic_Mushroom said:
I don't know. I'm not a Whitehall warrior! :thumright:

Fair 'nough...

One thing about the AC-130Js on your shopping list: if we bought these, would this mean that we'd have more capable fixed-wing gunships than the Americans? (So far as I can tell, their seem to be based on older model C-130s, but I could be wrong.)


Magic_Mushroom said:
Deal! :iroc:

Please note this is only if I can afford the test drive - and possibly the car - for you without ending up homeless as a result... :) (I'll be completely honest - I wouldn't want one myself. I'd be too afraid of it getting pinched or vandalised.)


Magic_Mushroom said:
Regard,
MM

Thanks again, MM, :)

Jay
 

Jay_Nine

Midshipman
persona_non_grata said:
To go about jumping in rather late in the game why not get some of these? Multi-role, multi-faceted and like a frigate but bigger, or whatever you want it to be. Small crews as well (100) but with accom and messing capabilities (probably very short duration) for around 300.

My tuppence for the time being.

PNG

*nods thoughtfully* I've seen mention of the Absalon-class before... the main drawback that I can see is the top speed - only twenty-four knots - whereas our current frigates are listed as being able to make twenty-eight knots quite comfortably. It would seem to fulfil quite a few of NaB's and Oil Slick's criteria - a 5" main gun, sixteen Harpoon Block II SSM and VLS capability that can use ESSM, and whilst it's not a dedicated air defence vessel it looks as if it might be able to at least protect itself...

I think it's certainly a good candidate to consider. I don't know if I'm worrying too much about the relative lack of speed or not, and I'd appreciate some informed commentary with regards to the VLS, whether this design would be flexible enough to accomodate any other missiles we may wish to use, such as Tomahawks... the range sounds very good, twice the distance of a Type 22, but again, I don't know enough about warships to know if that's as important as I believe it to be. (The only ships I've ever been on were ferries to the Isle of Wight and back again. *grins self-deprecatingly*)

It sounds as though they carry enough machineguns to make them very prickly targets for terrorists in speedboats... I don't know how useful the Stingers will be, though, but then I suppose a bit of extra firepower never hurt anybody. (Well... all right, except for whoever the Royal Navy uses it to knock seven bells out of. :) But the enemy's opinion doesn't count.) Given the appearance of the vessels in the photographs, it looks as if they're designed in a vaguely similar way as the Type 45s - to reduce the radar signature. And to cap it all off, they're already designed to carry Merlins - no modifications would be needed there.

The other possible obstacles that I can think of would be the logistics - how difficult and how expensive it might be to procure parts and supplies for them - and how effectively would they be able to hunt submarines? Too, given that I'm working on the assumption that thirty-six surface escorts is the optimum-sized force, would the Absalon-class work best as our only class of surface escort, or would we be better off with, say, four or six as command vessels, with another class making up the bulk of our frigate force?

Finally, if there are any areas that this class of vessel is lacking in, might it be feasible to modify it so that it does meet our requirements, or do we either go with it as is or look elsewhere?

Thanks, PNG, and don't worry about the late entry - welcome! :)

Jay
 

Jay_Nine

Midshipman
Samson said:
I daresay that most of my peers still have no idea that Britain fought in any conflicts between 1945 and 1982.

You'd be lucky if they knew that much, one of my flatmates, who has a 1st in biomedical science and is now studying to be doctor, did know when didn't have the faintest idea when when World War 1 and 2 had been (not even the century). Just been to see 'Charlie Willson's War', one of the girls who I was with refered to the Soviet invasion of Afganistan as 'some real minor event' ... but then at least she doesn't want to become a doctor .......

*winces* My sympathies, Samson... All in all, it makes me despair of my own generation... *shakes head sadly*

Still, that's one of the things I'm trying to accomplish with my writing: get these ignorant idiots to wake up and take an active interest in the things that actually matter, instead of reality television rubbish and the like.

It may prove to be impossible, but *shrugs* you don't know until you try, after all...
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
It's not just pay increases for Cdrs and below - this has been going on for years with differentials steadily eroding. Start with CDS and his responsibilities and compare his salary with equivalent responsibilities in plcs and work down. If you pay peanuts to the brass, you'll only have brass monkeys (to mix metaphors) to pick them up. We are long past the days when Service rank confered social status and the earth shook when an admiral walked past - so we'd better ensure that that loss is compensated in theonly way that seems to matter these days. Mrs Admiral (oops, Lady Admiral) is quite capable at looking at the houses that her husband's successful school chums are living in (let alone holiday pad in Mustique or wherever), without years of separation, and drawing comparisons.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Afterthought - if we had, in the past, retained as more junior officers men with more savvy, brains and business skills would the RN's arguments in the MoD and to politicians have gonebetter than has been the case? Look how Branson is stiffing the Govt over N Rock - sixty billion and counting - think what we could do with a small piece of that.
 
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