Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by sweeney, Apr 26, 2007.
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If the UK was literally 'at the heart of Europe' as opposed to being an island nation entirely dependent on maritime trade to put food in the mouths of its citizens, I would completely support the sentiments of this thread.
Without the carriers, we might as well just give up and go home. No force projection means that all three services are just homeland defence, and by homeland I don't include any of our overseas territories, because we sure as hell won't be able to stop anyone taking those.
As in Iraq and Afghanistan, any future conflict is likely to involve boots on the ground. However, we don't want to be bitten on the bum when we don't have the luxury of host nation support, Ã la Falklands, for our troops and aircraft. Therefore, we will need to be able to transport, deliver, protect and sustain troops, armour, vehicles and aircraft for expeditionary warfare. Even when host nation support is available, the environment may not be benign and we would still need to protect the ships carrying the food, fuel, ammo, spares and other stores and equipment needed for prolonged operations. We will never have enough air transport to carry the vast quantities involved. The current focus is on anti-terrorist and counter-insurgency ops but you don't cancel your fire insurance just because you've suffered a couple of burglaries.
Excuse my laziness in offering this quote from the RN website but it's late and I'm tired.
I feel it isn't so much the structure of the navy, which has to be fluid in any case to keep with the times. The new hardware seems to pack the punch on paper. It is the mortar between the bricks that is seriously crumbling. The naval ethic which many of us were raised and many try vainly to uphold is now riven with holes. This has manifested itself in many, many areas, and these holes are starting to join up in places. Whereas the 'old navy' (a term I hate, but it is apt) strives to maintain a sense of pride, bearing and will to succeed in our charges, this is completely washed away with 'new navy' mentalities, largely based upon cash targets and profit. You can have the fiestiset squadrons of sleek messengers of death on the planet, but if your sailors are flabby-attituded and lacking, they are on the ocean bed. You can roll out the biggest bastard floating airport ever seen, but if it spends its like welded to the wall in a constantly fucked state because of some shoddily contracted support package then it is no better than a paint-cat. You can fill the oceans with sleek, silent, deadly U Boats but if they are allowed to moulder while their replacements are titted about with then they may as well be neutrally-buoyant turds in Spithead.
It's all about military ethic. And this costs cash. There is no debate on that, and politicians and their senior military and civil service minions had better get used to it. Defence is a serious financial matter. Pledging to roll ships off the line is no guarantee of cradle to grave success - even less so now the yards are chewing each other's legs off to drive down competitiveness.
Thanks guys for the inputs. Still not overly convinced by the power projection / trade/ british overseas territories (Mexico invading the caymen islands?) argument, but there we are.
I don't see whats all that wrong in principle in an integrated coastal defence program with other NATO/EU members. After all they have as much interest/requirements in maritime trade as we do. But hey ho, I gues sit doesn't really matter that much.
Other than the Dutch, name me one professional mainland EU Navyâ€¦ or come to that, name me one with anythink like a competence in blue water operations. You said it yourself 'coastal defence', that's all they do.
Sweeney, over 95 percent of all Britain's imports and exports (by weight) are shipped by sea. They come from and pass through some pretty unstable parts of the world. That can't be said for any other NATO/EU countries with the possible exception of Eire (EU only) but their interests happen to co-incide with ours. As for relying on European EU/NATO countries to come to our aid, spot the deliberate mistake in the following sentence: "All European EU/NATO countries are pulling their weight in the ongoing UN-sponsored military operations in Afghanistan". I think not!
I did say that oil slick. Thats my point. If it works for them, why shouldn't it work for us? I supose it depends on whether we (that we being whichever set of backstabbing palm greasing wretches are in govt) want to get involved in issues around the globe.
What you need depends on what you want. That is the nub of it. If you decide we should no longer have the capability to support the UN in a significant manner, support other Commonwealth countries, then a jumped up coast guard will probably do, on the other hand to do what we do today you really nead the ability to insert lots of nast armed men onto a beach where some one else doesn't want you. that needs assault ships with organic air cover and the other ships to protect then feed them and fuel them. On top of that the world cannot yet be guaranteed to remain quite as peaceful as it is toady, the cold war has gone but may return, old Putin is getting punchy again for example, this would indicate the possible need for a deterrant and some means to do some sensible convoy protection. Nw all this is not unaffordable, many countries spend more of their GDP on defence than we do, and at the same time care for and educate their populations as well or perhaps better than we do so this is perhaps not all pie in the sky.
Of course the other big thing that can be very dangerous is to prepare to fight the last war, the next one is always different.
Looking back through history one can see that generaly periods where the national ability to operate at sea effectively have been associated with a decline in our overall national well being. Elsewhere some one mentioned the loss of the English dominions in France, which was very much down to the parlous state the navy was in at the time, no navy no france.
all taken on board maxi. Maybe thats really what I was looking for. The EU seems to have both a coherent individual and group strategy. As does the US as does the PLAN. India and Russia are somewhat a little behind but they deffo seem to know where they want to be in the next 5-10 years and are making provision for it.
The UK seems to be at a crossroads.
BTW, Putin is a lovely man.
Your taste in men would appear to be some what suspect, perhaps you should have a chat with AAC.
Mr Putin has just torn up a conventional arms limitation treaty, if that ain't enough justification to say we need more than our current home islands defense capability, I don't know what would!
ahhh. I'm not actually a lord. I'm off to the soviet union next month to watch them/us destroy Andorra. If I say he's rubbish them might not let me in! Yes, I really do support the mighty USSR footy team. Look!
Thats coz the Amerikan government are destabilisng Ukraine, stuffing rockets into europe faster than a fast thing, throwing cash at terrorst movements in the caucasus and supporting Estonian aggression. Torn up? Holy crap I'm suprised they aren't invading!
The Ukraine doesn't need any help from the US to destabilise, being next door to Russia is enough, as for the rockets, what about all the systems the Russiians have sold to Iran and others of that ilk, and of course Russia never gives terrist organisations money now do they, and of course Russian was never agressive towards any of the Baltic states.
I like the way you are thinking comrade!
And your starter for 10, which of our EU 'allies' refused to sell us artillery rounds during the Gulf War because they didn't agree with what we were doing?
erm... france? belgium? all of them? Of course if you are dutch, your starter for 10 would be "which of our EU allies woudln't provide air cover in Bosnia becuase the request was sent using the wrong fax header"? That would be us then.
Anyway it seems the concensus is "carriers? yes please! We'll figure out what to do with them when we've got them".
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