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A "European Army" is now a real possibility

This is a discussion on A "European Army" is now a real possibility within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; There's a very healthy opportunity to create a shared capability for air to air refuelling, border security and air lift, ...


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Old September 23rd, 2012   #31
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There's a very healthy opportunity to create a shared capability for air to air refuelling, border security and air lift, as well as AEW - those are all things we can jointly agree on, already co-operate on and have some duplication of effort already.

In the same sense that we already share AEW aircraft as NATO assets, does it really make sense for every nation individually to procure, support, maintain and crew an MPA for instance?

I know we're all twitchy about the idea of a European *army* but a European defence policy and defence force might be a *good* thing ?
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Old September 23rd, 2012   #32
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I know we're all twitchy about the idea of a European *army* but a European defence policy and defence force might be a *good* thing ?
This is where I believe we could actually benefit Europe, especially in terms of naval forces.

Imagine if all the larger EU countries had designated RTFG (Response force task group) like the RN ready to rapidly deploy. That'd truely be an awesome piece of muscle.

I for one am VERY keen to develop the RN-MN relationship with the plan of being able to deploy a French/UK task force. Imagine that, a QE and CdG with all associated escorts and subs. . . .*drool*
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Old September 23rd, 2012   #33
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Deciding on which products the unified forces will use is going to be not just an exercise in national pride, but about retaining jobs.

For example: There are 4 major tank manufacturers in the EU (Germany, France, the UK, and Poland), which one gets to survive?

The decisions will probably be made by political horse trading, not by capabilities.
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Old September 23rd, 2012   #34
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Three - the UK closed the only tank manufacturing facility we own a year or so ago - we're running too few (far too few) tanks to justify retaining the capability for domestic demand.

In fact, it's been argued that re-gunning CR2 would be more expensive than scrapping the lot and buying some second hand Leos.

That leaves the French and the Germans in any serious kind of competition and my money is on ze Germans. No urgency on that one as every one in Europe has enough tanks or too many.

In fact, we've already done this gag for aircraft - all those countries used to have aircraft manufacturers, now the lot is put together in bits with contracts placed for sensors, engines etc. with one assembly line, and a workshare for the involved parties. I suspect that's your model right there.

Let's stick with the things that Europe/Nato doesn't have enough of or suffers from duplication - AAR, airlift, MPA.
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Old September 23rd, 2012   #35
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Personally, i think the EU would run quite well if simply every member simply contributed 0.2% of their population and 1.0% of their GDP to a joint European Defense Force - EDC-style in major units, i.e. a level of national brigade contributions and upwards. That gives us a solid one-million-man army with a $175 billion budget - a force that keeps us in the #2 spot worldwide capability-wise.

With current planned force structures, that pretty much gives a balanced number sheet to most EU members (with in a few cases, such as Germany, significant additional spending that can be channeled into domestic military-related R&D sponsoring or low-personnel, high-cost assets such as strategic recon), while e.g. the UK and France would still both be able to maintain about 100,000 men and about $35 billion in budget for their nuclear assets and global reach LOA. Poland for example could also keep room for an extra division (25,000 men, $4 billion) that they can waste on their precious US missile shield cooperation.

Only a handful countries, mostly the smaller NATO protectorates in New Europe (and, notably, foremost, Ireland), would have to raise their forces "a bit" to match that demand.
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Old September 23rd, 2012   #36
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Hi guys, kind of a fresh voice on these forums so don’t assume i don’t know what i’m on about! Haha. Basically this is an area of study I focused on for my dissertation last year at university. Primarily, can the EU ever maintain and expand an armed forces in the three spectrums: Naval, Air and Land. I mean i don’t want to come across as bias but this report took me the best part of 2 months to do so I do have facts and webpages, testimonials etc. If anyone wants to read them! Like some of you have said the EU’s 3 major powers are probably the major stumbling block for a universal military indeed this is the case, the political wrangling between each country will prevent any action against one’s interest. Therefore, the call for a properEU president not like Van Rompuy, militarily makes sense. However one avenue explored by RUSI and Janes (i kind of stole the idea) is an EU pool of critical assets: each member state forfeit certain assets to be commanded by an EU force, under the overarching rule of the President. Leaving the command of assets with an executive body enables the EU to act unilaterally and thus prevent certain countries sitting a fight out: Germany in Libya. Whilst to many this would seem a forfeit of sovereignity, however member states could still hold onto many of their own assets and be able to act independently of one another.

One of the groupings envisaged was a naval pooling of Frigates (these are the ones I used in my dissertation) obviously not all the countries but still an example of it.

UK Type 23 3
France La Fayerre 3
Spain Alvaro De bazan 1
Germany Brandenburg 2
Holland - DDe zeven Provincien 1
Italy - Maestrale 2
Denmark – Absalon 1

The numbers are the contributions. You can already see the size of a Frigate force 13 Frigates. Equal to the Royal Navy’s. Although certain countries contribute less, relatively forces remain similar relative to one another.

Obviously, the stumbling point for this is crews to operate, retaining command of the vessel etc. We contacted Baroness Ashton’s office, regarding budgeting for future military forces, and the aide reply (probably not too reliable but interesting) was
“We have theoretically budgeted for the maintenance, operation and ultimate purchase of assets from our member states, though this power has not been exercised as of yet, we are looking at ways of implementing this within the framework of the Lisbon Treaty’s future amendments.”

WOAH is what we thought. Though it makes sense in a way purchasing assets with money gained already from each member states is effectively keeping money within the EU. So not too farfetched. I agree this is quite a lot to swallow so i apologies but i hope you enjoy it and don’t be too harsh on it! I did get a First for it though! Let me know what you guys think!

*I do think though that the quickest way forward though is more frameworks bilaterally: UK and France as an example, as well as industrial cooperation: BAE-EADS.
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Old September 24th, 2012   #37
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UK Type 23 3
France La Fayerre 3
Spain Alvaro De bazan 1
Germany Brandenburg 2
Holland - DDe zeven Provincien 1
Italy - Maestrale 2
Denmark – Absalon 1
The logistics of supporting 6 different vessel designs and weapon fits will be ‘interesting’.

How did you envision there vessels would be deployed, and how many would be available at any given time?
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Old September 24th, 2012   #38
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Actually the idea has some merit.

Really it isn't much more than an extension of NATO. Having greater commonality between members in terms of weapons, training etc should prove to be a lot more efficient.

Modern weapons systems have also become horrendously expensive to the point where often no single nation can afford to develop them.

Even the US has had to seek partners to develop weapons systems such as the F-35.

In the future you might see a much greater expansion of this concept with countries like the US, Canada, Australia and Japan coming aboard to form kind of a western alliance.
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Old September 24th, 2012   #39
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The logistics of supporting 6 different vessel designs and weapon fits will be ‘interesting’.

How did you envision there vessels would be deployed, and how many would be available at any given time?
absolutely right, obviously huge differences would be present, however my study was more based on the nature of "if this was dealt with" as in commonality issues were not an essential part but yeah it would be very "interesting"
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Old September 24th, 2012   #40
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Ermm, SNMG and SNMCMG combine a variety of designs and systems all the time.
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Old September 24th, 2012   #41
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I still prefer the idea of countries like the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy operating their own high readiness task forces - like the RN RTFG - which can operate together during combat operations when called upon but have their own supply chain for their own ships.

IIRC the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy + France have their own replenishment ships/tankers so for them the idea is definitely feasible


UK - Lusty(or Ocean replacement maybe)/QE + Albion/Bulwark
France - CdG/Mistral class
Spain - Juan Carlos I (Or PdA)
Germany - Frigate-based
Italy - Cavor/Garibaldi/San Giorgio

But like the RFTG, the capital ship(s) varies depending on availaility + overseas deployments aren't sacrificed to fill the requirement.

All that with associated Frigates, Destroyers, minehunters, submarines would be an incredibly powerful force and to me would be the best situation for any JETF (Joint European Task Force), can act as one unit in a crisis and still behave indepedently should the need arise.

Slide in an EU-RIMPAC-style event which would be very beneficial for this to work too, could have a JETF ready to rapidly deploy.
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Old September 24th, 2012   #42
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The logistics of supporting 6 different vessel designs and weapon fits will be ‘interesting’.

How did you envision there vessels would be deployed, and how many would be available at any given time?
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Originally Posted by RobWilliams View Post
I still prefer the idea of countries like the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy operating their own high readiness task forces - like the RN RTFG - which can operate together during combat operations when called upon but have their own supply chain for their own ships.

IIRC the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy + France have their own replenishment ships/tankers so for them the idea is definitely feasible


UK - Lusty(or Ocean replacement maybe)/QE + Albion/Bulwark
France - CdG/Mistral class
Spain - Juan Carlos I (Or PdA)
Germany - Frigate-based
Italy - Cavor/Garibaldi/San Giorgio

But like the RFTG, the capital ship(s) varies depending on availaility + overseas deployments aren't sacrificed to fill the requirement.

All that with associated Frigates, Destroyers, minehunters, submarines would be an incredibly powerful force and to me would be the best situation for any JETF (Joint European Task Force), can act as one unit in a crisis and still behave indepedently should the need arise.

Slide in an EU-RIMPAC-style event which would be very beneficial for this to work too, could have a JETF ready to rapidly deploy.


Yes definitely firstly, before any integration happens RIMPAC style exercises are needed to cement common operating criteria. More Corsican Lion exercises are definitely needed.
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Old September 24th, 2012   #43
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Yes definitely firstly, before any integration happens RIMPAC style exercises are needed to cement common operating criteria. More Corsican Lion exercises are definitely needed.
Definitely.

If I was in charge, putting in some sort of annual (or bi-annual) large scale exercises involving all European nations which can contribute would be high up on my list of priorities.

It's nice to have shiney toys but if you can't play well with others then you're sunk.
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Old September 24th, 2012   #44
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Umm, we already have those. Just two weeks ago the German-/Danish-hosted combined DANEX/Northern Coasts maneuver had every single country from the northern half of the European Union participating. And Spain, Italy and France are today kicking off a similar annual exercise in the Baleares for the southern half.
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Old September 24th, 2012   #45
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Umm, we already have those. Just two weeks ago the German-/Danish-hosted combined DANEX/Northern Coasts maneuver had every single country from the northern half of the European Union participating. And Spain, Italy and France are today kicking off a similar annual exercise in the Baleares for the southern half.
Well, from how you've explained it that's not what I meant.

What I meant was a large scale exercise that includes all the nations together, not split into North and South.
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