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Implications of Scottish Independence

This is a discussion on Implications of Scottish Independence within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by StobieWan The SNP have announced they want no part of NATO as it's a nuclear armed alliance. ...


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Old April 17th, 2012   #46
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The SNP have announced they want no part of NATO as it's a nuclear armed alliance. I think you need to go and look at what the SNP has said they'll do in terms of a defence policy and work from that, not simply add up a shopping list of things you'd like.

Too much heavy armour and ground vehicles for a country that has one land border with a friendly, nuclear armed country.
Looking at this Telegraph article, the SNPs stance on NATO could change

Alex Salmond's Trident warning over Nato membership - Telegraph

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A recent survey showed more than half SNP members back joining the alliance. However, they remain virulently opposed to nuclear weapons.
Then there's a very elequent quote from Lord Robertson puts it very well

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“For years the SNP have maintained their irrational opposition to Nato membership but now they want to have their cake and eat it,” he said.

“They want to join the alliance, which has a nuclear dimension, but not to endorse Nato’s doctrine. They want to benefit from the protection of the nuclear umbrella but not have any responsibility for it.”
It does seem like it would be more difficult to oppose nuclear weapons when you join a global nuclear alliance.
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Old October 19th, 2012   #47
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Interesting SNP debate today on a resolution to remain a member of NATO, as long as they achieve a nuclear exit.

The motivation seems purely to reassure voters, rather than any conviction. But it shows how commit the SNP leadership is to win an independence vote (as if we need more evidencing), they will drop any pervious policy/commitment to win (Repubican...NATO etc). I still hope this will not come about, but Alex Salmond is no protest politican, even if many in his party are.

The line on HMNB Clyde seems to be it will be the home of Scotlands conventional navy. On a similar line, I am sure that the SNP would rather not have any existing RN ships and focus on new low cost construction to occupy its Scottish shipyards.

What would a Scottish Navy look like: OPVs, Auxillary/JSS?
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Old October 19th, 2012   #48
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The entire makeup of an independent Scottish military is a bit of a puzzle because the SNP hasn't really made any solid statements on its defence policy, beyond rejecting nuclear weapons and until now, Nato.

Theoretically, they could ask to forgo some chunk of the national debt if they didn't make a claim on chunks of the existing defence force. Having done that, perhaps buy or lease those unused OPV's that are sitting around after being rejected by the customer til they can build a native OPV design ?

They don't appear to have much in the way of international ambitions so if they wanted to keep defence spending low, then four five license built Navantia BAM's should suffice.
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Old October 19th, 2012   #49
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According to the SNP wing in Moray, an "updated defence policy" (updated in a sense that, it's better than nothing) which is due to be debated this month.

MORAY SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY: SNP Defence Policy Update

It goes on to mention several "key proposals" which are due to be debated

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That the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government should determine defence, security and foreign policy. International relations, security and defence priorities are highlighted including a focus on domestic and offshore protection as well as the challenges of Scotland's northern European region. The SNP reiterates its commitment to international law and the United Nations.


An SNP government should allocate an increased budget to conventional defence in Scotland compared to the UK but will make substantial savings by ending support for nuclear weapons which will be withdrawn from Scotland.
A professional defence force of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel, including restored Scottish infantry regiments will increase the current conventional footprint in Scotland. All military bases will remain in operation with Faslane becoming a major conventional naval base and home to Joint Forces Headquarters. Lossiemouth and Leuchars will both operate air force capabilities.

Scotland will inherit its international treaty obligations including those with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and will remain a member, subject to agreement on withdrawal of Trident from Scotland.
Seems like a better quality of info than we've had previously. The results of this debate should interest me.

Personally I expect a fleet of OPVs, but if it stays in NATO wouldn't it have to contribute towards peacekeeping ops etc?

Last edited by RobWilliams; October 19th, 2012 at 01:26 PM. Reason: removed Stobies quote, no need.
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Old October 19th, 2012   #50
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According to the SNP wing in Moray, an "updated defence policy" (updated in a sense that, it's better than nothing) which is due to be debated this month.

MORAY SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY: SNP Defence Policy Update

It goes on to mention several "key proposals" which are due to be debated



Seems like a better quality of info than we've had previously. The results of this debate should interest me.

Personally I expect a fleet of OPVs, but if it stays in NATO wouldn't it have to contribute towards peacekeeping ops etc?
The date has just finished with a yes vote for the leadership on a move to NATO membership. Some speakers where pretty explicit this was just to get votes. Its all based on a non nuclear Scotland, so if they don't get that they can just say sorry we can't stay in NATO...but we tried!

All the talk was of partnership with the likes of Norway/Denmark....but they really aspire to be Eire.

4-6 OPV based on the Knud Rasmussen class maybe slightly bigger with a hanger longer range and maybe a couple of updated Absalon class would be a good independent fleet?
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Old October 20th, 2012   #51
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Scottish forces will definitely need long range patrol capability to cover a relatively massive economic marine zone and fast nimble helicopter capability with capacity to carry several troops to underpin defence of the hundreds of offshore oil and gas facilities ...many of which are hundreds of miles offshore.
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Old October 20th, 2012   #52
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Scottish forces will definitely need long range patrol capability to cover a relatively massive economic marine zone and fast nimble helicopter capability with capacity to carry several troops to underpin defence of the hundreds of offshore oil and gas facilities ...many of which are hundreds of miles offshore.
Just like Ireland, a brace of military lift utility helos + a pair of CN-235 in MPA config. Add that with a healthy mix of OPVs and IMO they're good to go.

About NATO, I reckon there's going to be some serious demands made to let NATO membership go ahead. Things like if you want to join a nuclear alliance then you agree to nuclear weapons + therefore SSBNs will remain based at Faslane.

Of all the people who're probably most dubious of the vote will be those working around Rosyth + Goven etc. They'll know that they will lose contracts from the UK + they could easily lose their livelihood, there's only so much maratime defence contracts Scotland could give those shipyards.
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Old October 20th, 2012   #53
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Just like Ireland, a brace of military lift utility helos + a pair of CN-235 in MPA config. Add that with a healthy mix of OPVs and IMO they're good to go.

About NATO, I reckon there's going to be some serious demands made to let NATO membership go ahead. Things like if you want to join a nuclear alliance then you agree to nuclear weapons + therefore SSBNs will remain based at Faslane.

Of all the people who're probably most dubious of the vote will be those working around Rosyth + Goven etc. They'll know that they will lose contracts from the UK + they could easily lose their livelihood, there's only so much maratime defence contracts Scotland could give those shipyards.
The SNP has no interest or desire to be in NATO, the vote yesterday was just to win votes, some of the speakers in favour were very open on this. As soon as NATO say you have to be nuclear they will say "ok we tried we can't" The vote was conditional on not being nuclear.

I think the workers of Rosyth & Govan could be courted in a simlar manner with promises of new orders for OPV/JSS, they will have almost finished the CVFs and there might be a gap between Type 26 numbers, particularly now some idiot has agreed to build the RFAs abroad. There would be an irony if the SNP built a JSS/Auxillary in Scotland and the RN builds them in South Korea....no greater case for independence! I suspect the extra £500m on Scottish defence, is to give headroom to to win over Rosyth & Govan and the other defence sites.

The shop steward at Clyde spoke very positively about Clyde as a conventional naval based.

The RN could move the subs to Devonport with ease, the problem would be drydocking the CVF, but there could be a silver lining even with this, in a new national shipbuilding facility/expansion as Barrow?
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Old October 20th, 2012   #54
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Scottish forces will definitely need long range patrol capability to cover a relatively massive economic marine zone and fast nimble helicopter capability with capacity to carry several troops to underpin defence of the hundreds of offshore oil and gas facilities ...many of which are hundreds of miles offshore.
.

I think the SNP only really wants to do a few UN/international engagements like the Irish, and bring back some great cap badges (for more votes). But if they focused on seaborne logistics for heavy kit or contract hire, they could then build a robust air corps with a few attack helicopters, medium/heavy logistics helicopters and some C295 (logistics and MPA) or C130. They would be better off getting ex UK kit for this cheaper and no opportunity cost in Scottish jobs.
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Old October 20th, 2012   #55
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Speaking broadly, I'm guessing the Scots might be the best place to park the Tranche 1 Typhoons, which the RAF needs to let go if it can - they'd be perfectly capable for Scottish air defence.

Do a deal with the UK for pilot training and so forth in exchange for UK rights to continue to use the training airspaces north of the border ?

Land forces wise, there's a pile of UOR vehicles which will be hard to integrate into the UK forces, but which could fill out the entirety of a Scots Self Defence Force and possibly some international peace keeping force, should Scotland wish to participate in such. They're welcome to as much of the heavy armour and artillery as they like but I can't see any point in taking any - their force structure will be all wrong to use any of it.

Naval ops ? They've got a big EEZ but no international ambitions - and they need to park some ship orders on the Scots yard. I'd suggest a few quick phone calls around to see which military design facilities might be willing to set up something like a design studio in Scotland with some healthy tax breaks - BMT would seem a natural here but there are plenty of choices.


Having done that, as I'd mentioned, maybe snag the Clydes as part of the separation deal, and maybe one the first Type 23's to pay off - the 23 could go straight into refit with a Scots yard to fit it out with new kit to make it a tolerable international contribution to anti piracy or whatever if they wished.

Having done that, take the newly created Scots design capability, knock out something like the Venator in a straight run of about five or six ?

I think they're kidding themselves when they say they want to retain all the existing air bases, and ditto in keeping the Scots yards open for very long after independence however.
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Old October 20th, 2012   #56
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Speaking broadly, I'm guessing the Scots might be the best place to park the Tranche 1 Typhoons, which the RAF needs to let go if it can - they'd be perfectly capable for Scottish air defence.

Do a deal with the UK for pilot training and so forth in exchange for UK rights to continue to use the training airspaces north of the border ?

Land forces wise, there's a pile of UOR vehicles which will be hard to integrate into the UK forces, but which could fill out the entirety of a Scots Self Defence Force and possibly some international peace keeping force, should Scotland wish to participate in such. They're welcome to as much of the heavy armour and artillery as they like but I can't see any point in taking any - their force structure will be all wrong to use any of it.

Naval ops ? They've got a big EEZ but no international ambitions - and they need to park some ship orders on the Scots yard. I'd suggest a few quick phone calls around to see which military design facilities might be willing to set up something like a design studio in Scotland with some healthy tax breaks - BMT would seem a natural here but there are plenty of choices.


Having done that, as I'd mentioned, maybe snag the Clydes as part of the separation deal, and maybe one the first Type 23's to pay off - the 23 could go straight into refit with a Scots yard to fit it out with new kit to make it a tolerable international contribution to anti piracy or whatever if they wished.

Having done that, take the newly created Scots design capability, knock out something like the Venator in a straight run of about five or six ?

I think they're kidding themselves when they say they want to retain all the existing air bases, and ditto in keeping the Scots yards open for very long after independence however.
I can't see the SNP wanting any Typhoon or Type 23, C130J however might be attractive, but I suspect it would be cheaper in the long run to operate a mixed fleet of c12 x C295, for logistics/MPA; they could even fit NSM etc. I think their motivation will be on shipyard workers votes not creating a design capability in Scotland. Designs will be much more likely to of Scandinavian than UK MOD influenced and to be honest that might be much better for them.
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Old October 20th, 2012   #57
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But they can get Tiffy free - they're there, they're built, there's plenty of local support just over the border, the spares chain is around and there are Scottish personnel who can work it - we're not dropping this stuff into a brand new country of whereveria - this is an existing nation.

Tiffy isn't the best choice if you'd just paved the country flat, mind-wiped the population and then given them a fecking big credit card to go buy new stuff - but we're talking about what stuff Scotland would be best placed to use out of the kit that's already been built, in part with taxes raised from Scotland.

Ditto Type 23 - they have no business needing one given the SNP's "cover eyes, block ears and pretend the world ends at the border" routine - but picking one off that's coming up for decom gets them some refit work asap. And yes, they need the appearance of a design facility or links with one or their ship yards will go away - Scotland does *not* have enough work to keep Roysth employed longer term - to even have the pretence of running the yards on, they need to generate some work from somewhere else - flogging OPV's or whatever they can do.
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Old October 20th, 2012   #58
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Ditto Type 23 - they have no business needing one given the SNP's "cover eyes, block ears and pretend the world ends at the border" routine - but picking one off that's coming up for decom gets them some refit work asap. And yes, they need the appearance of a design facility or links with one or their ship yards will go away - Scotland does *not* have enough work to keep Roysth employed longer term - to even have the pretence of running the yards on, they need to generate some work from somewhere else - flogging OPV's or whatever they can do.
Could easily see this happening, expecially ships with names of Scottish origin like Montrose or Argyll. Would the 'torn out' systems like the radar or Seawolf be given to Scotland too, in this case?

But that raises the issue of those hulls surviving as well as they have from NOT serving in the North Sea and . . well, any of Scotland's coast really! Could that be an issue, slightly worn out hulls having to put up with that sort of treatment? I suppose for "freebies" it wouldn't be so bad, I guess.

Here's something I've been thinking about. Most of the yards in Scotland are BAE owned aren't they? Because IF there's any T26 export sales then there is the potential to shift the work to Scotland for export customers and keep the yards south of the border for internal production in order to not let customers be put off about it.

I wonder because for a potential customer like Australia, the first T-26 will be entering service when they're due to make a decision (2021 - 2024) so isn't there the possibility for BAE to say "Ok, don't worry about waiting for the RN because we have some prime yards who can start ASAP" about it?

Apart from that, don't really see where much work will go Scotland's way.
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Old October 20th, 2012   #59
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Australia will want to home build - they've just stepped up enough yard capacity to take on the Hobarts, if they can trickle feed enough work in the yards direction to keep 'em alive til the Frigate replacement, then whatever they buy in, will be an adapted design, home build affair. And so, as far as I can see, would any other Type 26 customer - Brazil has explicitly said they'd want domestic build, ditto Canada. The list goes on - I don't see any export type 26 work being done in the UK.

Hence my suggestion that whatever the SNP do, they'll build an independence build around getting as much work in their first term as an independent government into Scottish yards. After all, they'd be screwed for re-election otherwise

So, if I were trying to be crafty and wily and stuff, I'd pitch an OPV build to Venator, offer 'em some nice tax breaks to locate at least the front end of a design centre North of the border, slap a "made in Scotland" sticker on a lightly modified Venator, and then pass the malt around, crying "huzzah, we have a natively designed OPV, and we've only just become independent"

Tenner says they won't get into the submarine game, too complicated and expensive even for license built SSK's in the very small numbers that could be afforded. If they're half way sensible, they'll skirt all the complicated issues about auxiliaries and just concentrate on providing four or five reasonably lean grey painted ships, with a gun at the pointy end to "defend Scottish oil" - the press will call them battleships, they can all be launched with great ceremony and everyone will be happy.

Type 23 wise, they could pull a couple out prior to refit and do them their own way if they wished. Seawolf goes end of life 2016 or 2018 - can't remember when, but they'd need something alternative to fit - personally, I'd stick an 11 cell RAM launcher on the front, job done. They could also put in for a couple of the type 22's still tied up - same deal, quick refit, lick of paint, RAM or Barak launcher at the front, and voila, see, us thrifty Scots have proven our engineering skills etc.

Or, they could be total tossers about it and start demanding ships they don't want in order to get concessions elsewhere.
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Old October 20th, 2012   #60
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I wonder because for a potential customer like Australia, the first T-26 will be entering service when they're due to make a decision (2021 - 2024) so isn't there the possibility for BAE to say "Ok, don't worry about waiting for the RN because we have some prime yards who can start ASAP" about it?

Apart from that, don't really see where much work will go Scotland's way.
Australia will use its own shipyards to build the Next Generation Frigate, we need the work too.

But if they can come up with a good price against the Spanish a couple of replenishment oilers could go their way maybe.
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