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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 Australia will want to home build - they've just stepped up enough yard capacity to take ...


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Old October 21st, 2012   #61
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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.
I remember reading something really early on that was talking about if Brazil bought say 6 (completely plucked the figure out of the air as i can't remember), then something like 2 would be built in the UK with Brazilian technicians working on the project and then production would be transferred to Brazil - or at least the hull + superstructure is being built + will be kitted out in Brazil - the same sort of deal that they're doing with the Scorpenes so I don't reckon that'd be hard to see happening. With Australia, yeah, I know it was a pipe-dream but who doesn't have 'em eh?

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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"
Very true, wouldn't be surprised if they ballooned the numbers of OPVs required just to keep it going on that little bit more. There's only roughly 2 years between the independence vote + Scottish 2016 general election so something like 7 - 8 OPVs (maybe up to 10? - IIRC Norway's up close to 15 OPVs but operates frigates etc too) should easily be enough to fill up those yards for 2 years i think (Not great on OPV build rates to be honest) but after that, it's a downhill spiral.

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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.
Need it to be cheap, quick to get up front and simple to use + operate. It'd be all they need considering they're not expecting to go to somewhere 'hot' with their ships. Although that causes issues of if they did take a Type 23 then sooner or later they'd need to replaced, i'd be prepared to bet that it'd be put out as either Scotland not being able to even afford to replace a token force of frigates or not being able to indiginously do their own thing. Not to mention that I wouldn't be surprised if it was casually mentioned that the SNP were be happy to accept the UK's "leftovers" rather than new kit.

Can't see how in hell they could demand anything else, no way they'll get a Type 45 - wouldn't let them have it and don't need it.

Better not demand a share in Type 26, although I can't see how?
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Old October 21st, 2012   #62
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Hey Rob.....

You need to remember that the RN is the British Navy...not the English Navy. A Scottish govt wont touch the subs, carriers or heavy lift units....they don't want or need them. As for the rest...It may simply be a question of entitlement to a share...irrespective of type and vintage.

I would suspect that over time an investment in contemporary maritime patrol aircraft will allow the effective use of what limited surface vessels are at the disposal of the Scottish authorities.

Such capabilities must include a contempoary ASW capability, even in very limited numbers, otherwise the inner and outer Hebrides may become the forward staging post of choice for Russia's revamped sub fleets..

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Old October 21st, 2012   #63
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A lot of it depends on Scotland's independent force structure - I suspect that in an attempt to get through with a balanced budget and every appearance of financial probity, the actual activity will consist of pinning old cap badges on units with no expeditionary capability, and concentrate on protecting that large EEZ.

So, spend as little money as necessary on appealing to that SNP voting base by providing the cosy frame of jobs for Scotland and every appearance of security.

It'd be cheap and easy to do.

In terms of my referring to them being awkward, they could just put in a blanket request for a pro rata chunk of the defence kit available, irrespective of utility, so ask for some of the AAR, the C17 fleet, one and a bit Frigates etc. Technically, that'd be entirely fair, but bloody minded. Some of the stuff we've plenty of - take as many Cr2 as you like for instance - we've 900 with barely 200 in operation - same with AS90. Splitting frigates and auxiliaries however ? Scotland needs a sustainable force and they can't economically run a tiny fleet of capital ships, the spares chain, maintenance overhead, crew costs etc, none of it square with the facts.

If they walked away with the Tranche 1' Tiffies, with the proviso they were reworked for Meteor, signed an agreement to chip in for some of the Voyager running costs to allow them to tank from that fleet, and in return we agreed to provide support etc, then they'd have the nucleus of a capable QRA capability, which we'd benefit from in England and we may well provide RAF pilots and crew on secondment for that purpose.

I don't think we'd want to keep any of the Scots bases open however - better to leave that with the Scots, as they've already committed to keeping both bases open under an independent Scotland.

Faslane..well, bluntly, we should play hardball, if they want us to clear the SSBN fleet and arsenal south of the border, bring the lot back. That'd leave 'em with Faslane as a conventional base for a handful of OPV's.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #64
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Hey Rob.....

You need to remember that the RN is the British Navy...not the English Navy. A Scottish govt wont touch the subs, carriers or heavy lift units....they don't want or need them. As for the rest...It may simply be a question of entitlement to a share...irrespective of type and vintage.
You mean that I need to remember my own words?

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Can't see how in hell they could demand anything else [ i.e no justifiable reason for anything else really], no way they'll get a Type 45 - wouldn't let them have it and don't need it.
Considering most of the dicussion is about the Scots wanting a limited defence budget + ANY Type 23 deal being extremely hypothetical, I didn't feel the need to explicitly mention types of vessel the Scot's don't want, preferring to stick to ships they MAY want.

Personally, I thought I was only discussing the Scottish getting hold of some Type 23's (being the only vessel I actually mentioned) and didn't actually mention them wanting or needing anything heavier especially anything as ludicrious as a carrier or an SSN from the UK.

Should also point out i've NEVER said anything other than "The Royal Navy" "The RN" or "The UK" and to say i'm thinking of it in completely false terms like "The English Navy" is an insult to me, frankly
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Old October 21st, 2012   #65
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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.

.

They just don't have any need or desire for Typhoon (hi performance fighter with limited bombing capability?) and the running costs would restrict opportunities for other things even if they are leaving RAF service. There are many other things more attractive to an infantry based force that will also have already been paid for and maybe post 2014 be considered less of a priority . They are much more likely to want helicopters: Lynx, Apache (more relevant attack capability), Merlin even a few Chinooks and some decent artillery. A mixed force of say Say 12 Apache, 12 Lynx, 8 Merlin and say 4 Chinook, and some C130. If they were really cheeky even a C17, but then like the Typhoon I can imagine expensive to run.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #66
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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.
I can't see Type 23/22 going anywhere, the crews alone compared to say the Knud Rasmussen OPV? More likely a short term lease of a couple of the OPVs until local construction. Govan will still be owned by BAE which has access to its own designed small ships (including VT). Agreed the focus is likely to be limited batches of this type and smaller which has been the only real export opportunity. That said the SNP traditionally has been pretty left wing, I could see a mutually agreed nationalisation and a move into civil construction, and niche military. Thinking about it they may actually have a better future without RN dependency, a couple of modest sized cruise liners would replace all the work (if not value) potentially that could be provided by the RN.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #67
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They just don't have any need or desire for Typhoon (hi performance fighter with limited bombing capability?) and the running costs would restrict opportunities for other things even if they are leaving RAF service. There are many other things more attractive to an infantry based force that will also have already been paid for and maybe post 2014 be considered less of a priority . They are much more likely to want helicopters: Lynx, Apache (more relevant attack capability), Merlin even a few Chinooks and some decent artillery. A mixed force of say Say 12 Apache, 12 Lynx, 8 Merlin and say 4 Chinook, and some C130. If they were really cheeky even a C17, but then like the Typhoon I can imagine expensive to run.
So what are they going to use to defend their air space ? Hawk ?

Or nothing ?

I don't think they can do a republic of Ireland thing and get by with a couple of Magisters.

Apache, I can't see as being relevant - they're not going to have the air lift to support international operations so would be reliant on other forces to get places. I suspect they'd trade pretty much all of the helicopter forces to run a two models - a heavy lifter like Chinook and some light utilities. Less models = better. Chinook would also be good for internal stuff like the odd disaster relief etc internally (floods, snow, air crash rescue) If they keep it a simple, and largely homogeneous force, they're keeping costs manageable. Start dialing in tiny penny packets of choppers of all sorts and their overheads will rocket.

1 C17 is like having one walkie talkie. Bloody useless.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #68
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I can't see Type 23/22 going anywhere, the crews alone compared to say the Knud Rasmussen OPV? More likely a short term lease of a couple of the OPVs until local construction.
I agree that running frigates for the Scottish doesn't make any sense long term- but getting a couple of hulls into Scottish yards for refit and into service would get them some work.

I'm just spinning out some possible ideas to fudge around the yards closing - I think there's maybe a year or two of fitout work left to the carriers post 2015 ? If they float, they'll come South of the border for that.

I dunno - it's a tricky puzzle to pull apart - the UK forces as a whole are specced up to do some stuff we want to do, not much of which fits the SNP's brief so far as we know.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #69
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So what are they going to use to defend their air space ? Hawk ?

Or nothing ?

I don't think they can do a republic of Ireland thing and get by with a couple of Magisters.

Apache, I can't see as being relevant - they're not going to have the air lift to support international operations so would be reliant on other forces to get places. I suspect they'd trade pretty much all of the helicopter forces to run a two models - a heavy lifter like Chinook and some light utilities. Less models = better. Chinook would also be good for internal stuff like the odd disaster relief etc internally (floods, snow, air crash rescue) If they keep it a simple, and largely homogeneous force, they're keeping costs manageable. Start dialing in tiny penny packets of choppers of all sorts and their overheads will rocket.

1 C17 is like having one walkie talkie. Bloody useless.
I was not seriously suggestng they go for one of the C17. They have always aspired to follow the same approach as Eire, and I can't see them bothering with high performance fighters to patrol airspace, if they do it at all I suspect it would probably be something like a C295 MPA. I agree less helicopter types would make sense, but Apache would give them a huge capability for the cost and alongside some decent artillery would provide puch significantly above their weight. It would make sense to centre it all round the left capability of a couple of developments of the Absalon Class?
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Old October 21st, 2012   #70
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I was not seriously suggestng they go for one of the C17. They have always aspired to follow the same approach as Eire, and I can't see them bothering with high performance fighters to patrol airspace, if they do it at all I suspect it would probably be something like a C295 MPA. I agree less helicopter types would make sense, but Apache would give them a huge capability for the cost and alongside some decent artillery would provide puch significantly above their weight. It would make sense to centre it all round the left capability of a couple of developments of the Absalon Class?
If you don't think they're likely to procure high performance fighters to patrol their own airspace, what makes them ordering a highly specialised attack helicopter who's primary function is CAS/anti tank a more likely option? At least they'd get more effective use out of fighters patroling airspace, what could Apaches do in peacetime with little to no prospect of actually doing any CAS (or even deploying anywhere remotely dangerous) except look fearsome?

May as well get something with a reasonable attack facility but be designed for light utility + other decent functions like a Wildcat or something. That - to me - seems like a far superiour choice than Apache if the goal is to keep different variants down, a mix of Wildcat + Chinook seems to me to be an effective mix of attack capability, light (?)/heavy utility, SAR + recce without having to go for a very tricked out attack chopper with extremely limited use.

Obviously there are other aircraft that fit the Wildcat's capabilities, but the principle of trying to combine attack/basic utility in decent enough quantities would be the best option.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #71
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If you don't think they're likely to procure high performance fighters to patrol their own airspace, what makes them ordering a highly specialised attack helicopter who's primary function is CAS/anti tank a more likely option? At least they'd get more effective use out of fighters patroling airspace, what could Apaches do in peacetime with little to no prospect of actually doing any CAS (or even deploying anywhere remotely dangerous) except look fearsome?

May as well get something with a reasonable attack facility but be designed for light utility + other decent functions like a Wildcat or something. That - to me - seems like a far superiour choice than Apache if the goal is to keep different variants down, a mix of Wildcat + Chinook seems to me to be an effective mix of attack capability, light (?)/heavy utility, SAR + recce without having to go for a very tricked out attack chopper with extremely limited use.

Obviously there are other aircraft that fit the Wildcat's capabilities, but the principle of trying to combine attack/basic utility in decent enough quantities would be the best option.
I was not suggestng they buy/order new Apache, but it would be my preference to have some over Typhoon. The cost differencial to operate them alone is likely to be significant, pure guess 1 to 6? I agree you are right for the UN missions they are likely to perform a Wildcat would be adequate. But we have seen recently how useful attack helicopters can be.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #72
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I was not suggestng they buy/order new Apache, but it would be my preference to have some over Typhoon. The cost differencial to operate them alone is likely to be significant, pure guess 1 to 6? I agree you are right for the UN missions they are likely to perform a Wildcat would be adequate. But we have seen recently how useful attack helicopters can be.
Yeah for the UK they've been veeeery useful + worth their weight in gold to the blokes on the ground but that's in a 'high' threat environment (in that severe combat is a daily occurance) in which - it appears - the SNP won't actually be using them in which is why I believe that something more GP would be far more cost effective than an Apache.

No idea on operating costs differences, but surely the relative capability the Typhoon offers (in terms of securing sovereign airspace + others) far outstrips the limited and - frankly - nearly pointless capabilities of an Apache + makes it more worthwhile?

Whilst the Scots don't want a REALLY expensive defence budget, I doubt they'd like us giving them highly specialised attack helos rather than fast jets IMO.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #73
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I was not seriously suggestng they go for one of the C17. They have always aspired to follow the same approach as Eire, and I can't see them bothering with high performance fighters to patrol airspace, if they do it at all I suspect it would probably be something like a C295 MPA. I agree less helicopter types would make sense, but Apache would give them a huge capability for the cost and alongside some decent artillery would provide puch significantly above their weight. It would make sense to centre it all round the left capability of a couple of developments of the Absalon Class?
Where are they taking all this artillery and attack helicopters ? Are they invading York again ? Because that's about as far as they'll get without spending more money on the logistics end of things - they will need C17 or AM400 at that point.

The SNP have absolutely committed to keeping both airbases open - given we'd have no interest in putting anything on either of 'em, then either they mean "open as a karting centre" or that they'll fly something off of 'em. So, Tiffy for QRA and then something for MPA, at which point, they can say "we have ensured a safe and secure Scotland" - and it's home for back slapping and medals.

EIRE doesn't have a large and distant oil field to defend - Scotland does - so they need fast jets of one sort or another to cover that and something of a helicopter with decent legs and capacity will be required.

No point in thinking about the SNP funding any expeditionary capability right off the bat as they would have to spend a fortune on it - transport air craft, AAR, auxilliaries, the list just blossoms with cost.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #74
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Where are they taking all this artillery and attack helicopters ? Are they invading York again ? Because that's about as far as they'll get without spending more money on the logistics end of things - they will need C17 or AM400 at that point.

The SNP have absolutely committed to keeping both airbases open - given we'd have no interest in putting anything on either of 'em, then either they mean "open as a karting centre" or that they'll fly something off of 'em. So, Tiffy for QRA and then something for MPA, at which point, they can say "we have ensured a safe and secure Scotland" - and it's home for back slapping and medals.

EIRE doesn't have a large and distant oil field to defend - Scotland does - so they need fast jets of one sort or another to cover that and something of a helicopter with decent legs and capacity will be required.

No point in thinking about the SNP funding any expeditionary capability right off the bat as they would have to spend a fortune on it - transport air craft, AAR, auxilliaries, the list just blossoms with cost.
The SNP do seem keen to maintain some form of international capability, but under UN and not NATO control, it was clear in many of their speeches on the NATO debate. Personally I find this a short sighted almost hypocritical position, but it is not just an isolationist.

If you maintain infantry it makes sense to have some way to enable them to do a little more than be targets. For Artillery I was thinking about M777 155mm, not a heavy SPG, a few HIMARS, would provide a top tier capability for comparatively modest cost. What can't be moved round by C130/sea could be moved done with commercial heavy lift aircraft more cost effectively than trying to maintain the capability in-house.

A C295 MPA (particularly if fitted with NSM or Harpoon) would actually be a capability the UK no longer has.
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Old October 21st, 2012   #75
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The SNP do seem keen to maintain some form of international capability, but under UN and not NATO control, it was clear in many of their speeches on the NATO debate. Personally I find this a short sighted almost hypocritical position, but it is not just an isolationist.

If you maintain infantry it makes sense to have some way to enable them to do a little more than be targets. For Artillery I was thinking about M777 155mm, not a heavy SPG, a few HIMARS, would provide a top tier capability for comparatively modest cost. What can't be moved round by C130/sea could be moved done with commercial heavy lift aircraft more cost effectively than trying to maintain the capability in-house.
Is there much call for 155mm artillery batteries for UN peacekeeping missions?

In any case, IIRC there's been nasty cutbacks in the Royal Artillery so I expect there'd be plenty of L118 105mm light guns up for grabs for Scotland pretty cheaply - if such a capability was required.

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A C295 MPA (particularly if fitted with NSM or Harpoon) would actually be a capability the UK no longer has.
I wouldn't bother, may as well stick with the Marte as intergration for it is already being funded by other nations anyway. If I were on a budget (and had no worries about existing air launched ASuW missiles anyway) it'd go for the Marte just to save the cost of footing the bill for intergration alone.
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