The Royal Navy Discussions and Updates

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yeah, it'd have needed rather more thrust. Didn't they have to pull Jags out of Afghanistan in summer? Too hot, too high?
I think they were rotated out in the normal order in favour of Harrier but I do recall they weren't happy with hot and high. Good light strike aircraft overall and they did sterling work in service.

Looking at the history of the Jaguar M in French trials, there were a number of issues to the extent I'd have been dusting off Bucc.

So, not, not fancying a marinised Jaguar,
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The UK National Audit Office has released its report on the RN Carrier Strike Group and it doesn't make for good reading, Here’s why Britain is struggling to form a fully effective carrier strike group. The Crowsnest radar system is 18 months behind schedule, the dry store replenishment ships acquisition is now 3 years behind schedule and the latest design competition has been cancelled because the MOD can't decide it will be a UK vendors only or an all comers competition. Also the NAO has doubts about future funding for the acquisition. Plus the UK may not upgrade all of its current 48 F-35B with the Block 4 upgrade package because of cost, British Government Says It Might Pass On $27M Upgrade For Some Of Its F-35s. It has also been suggested that the UK may not acquire all of the 138 aircraft that it originally agreed to acquire.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
One really has to wonder how the UK is going to be able to make this right given the enormous budgetary pressures that will likely occur due to COVID and Brexit. For the solid support ships, perhaps some kind of conversion on a commercial vessel (like Asterix) might be a short to medium term solution. As for Crowsnest....steam along with a USN carrier that has Hawkeyes?:(

Can the UK really afford strike carrier groups AND SSBNs? If not both, then which one?
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
One really has to wonder how the UK is going to be able to make this right given the enormous budgetary pressures that will likely occur due to COVID and Brexit. For the solid support ships, perhaps some kind of conversion on a commercial vessel (like Asterix) might be a short to medium term solution. As for Crowsnest....steam along with a USN carrier that has Hawkeyes?:(

Can the UK really afford strike carrier groups AND SSBNs? If not both, then which one?
That's the interesting question now. Is the UK ego writing cheques that its body can't cash? They still think of themselves as a world power, but in reality, they are now a middling European power, probably on par with the French, but maybe not. COVID-19 is going to kill their economy and they will have to make some hard choices.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I do wonder which problem has the worst long term consequences for the UK, COVID or Brexit? WRT to COVID, without a vaccine, it won’t only be the UK economy that gets killed.
 

ngatimozart

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Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I do wonder which problem has the worst long term consequences for the UK, COVID or Brexit? WRT to COVID, without a vaccine, it won’t only be the UK economy that gets killed.
Yep that's true if there is no vaccine. I actually think that COVID-19 AND Brexit combined will be worse than one or the other at its worst could have been, and the UK economic wellbeing after Brexit was going to be dodgy at best for the first few years. The impression that I get from the pro Brexit side is that it's all going to be nice and rosey with UK Inc getting all these trade agreements and it'll be just like the old days. Well British stuff isn't as good as they think it is and it's expensive. So I think that they are going to be in for a very rude awakening.

This will definitely impact upon UK defence and some hard choices will have to be made. If it was me, I would sell both CVs and concentrate upon my SSBN & SSN fleet. The nuclear deterrent is the UK's best defence asset. I would also forget about the Pacific pivot because they no longer are a Pacific power. They should concentrate upon Europe. They are a regional power at best.

That's my half pennies worth.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Your solution is probably best and I feel submarine numbers for most navies should be larger due to advances in hypersonic missiles. If the CVs were CATOBAR, selling or sharing them with the EU might have been an option. Other than the USN, who could afford to operate them with F-35Bs? Perhaps if the price was right, Japan could, and if the price was really low.....Australia?;)
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yep that's true if there is no vaccine. I actually think that COVID-19 AND Brexit combined will be worse than one or the other at its worst could have been, and the UK economic wellbeing after Brexit was going to be dodgy at best for the first few years. The impression that I get from the pro Brexit side is that it's all going to be nice and rosey with UK Inc getting all these trade agreements and it'll be just like the old days. Well British stuff isn't as good as they think it is and it's expensive. So I think that they are going to be in for a very rude awakening.

This will definitely impact upon UK defence and some hard choices will have to be made. If it was me, I would sell both CVs and concentrate upon my SSBN & SSN fleet. The nuclear deterrent is the UK's best defence asset. I would also forget about the Pacific pivot because they no longer are a Pacific power. They should concentrate upon Europe. They are a regional power at best.

That's my half pennies worth.

I would tend to disagree - the UK still has the ability to support a useful force at a distance of several thousand miles and has a useful "kick in the door" capacity that is only shared by maybe a half dozen countries and outmatched by maybe two or perhaps three.

There's little point in focusing on Europe as a point of influence because there's very little we can do as a country to make a meaningful impact - all of the things we've built up that are relatively novel aren't very useful a land war in the heart of the old world. There's a reason the RN puts little time into NATO taskings - they're usually off elsewhere operating at distances that a number of European navies would find difficult to support.

Add to that, we're still the preferred dance partner of the US due to our proven ability to drop right into a US formation and network effectively.


As for the deterrent - it's useless at most levels of combat - I think we should have it and maintain it (now, more than ever, given POTUS's uh..I dunno how to phrase this and not be political..um..well, let's just say the US appears to have a slightly more inward looking stance.)

However, as a military factor, I think the ability to support ships, aircraft and troops at long distances without much external assistance is significant.

We *could* recast ourselves as a regional power but right now, we're hanging on to the "reach out and touch" capabilities.

Bringing two carriers to the table also makes us "partner of choice" in any international coalition - that's a very big lever to apply to weighty problems.

Even the US, with it's huge carrier force are looking at the UK and really expressing interest in working alongside a UK CSG because it takes a bit of pressure off their stretched forces. Yes, absolutely, the UK CSG isn't a patch on a USN one but you know what, it's still enough of a threat to make a lot of people quite nervous if it showed up off shore.


That's my 2c worth.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I would tend to disagree - the UK still has the ability to support a useful force at a distance of several thousand miles and has a useful "kick in the door" capacity that is only shared by maybe a half dozen countries and outmatched by maybe two or perhaps three.

There's little point in focusing on Europe as a point of influence because there's very little we can do as a country to make a meaningful impact - all of the things we've built up that are relatively novel aren't very useful a land war in the heart of the old world. There's a reason the RN puts little time into NATO taskings - they're usually off elsewhere operating at distances that a number of European navies would find difficult to support.

Add to that, we're still the preferred dance partner of the US due to our proven ability to drop right into a US formation and network effectively.


As for the deterrent - it's useless at most levels of combat - I think we should have it and maintain it (now, more than ever, given POTUS's uh..I dunno how to phrase this and not be political..um..well, let's just say the US appears to have a slightly more inward looking stance.)

However, as a military factor, I think the ability to support ships, aircraft and troops at long distances without much external assistance is significant.

We *could* recast ourselves as a regional power but right now, we're hanging on to the "reach out and touch" capabilities.

Bringing two carriers to the table also makes us "partner of choice" in any international coalition - that's a very big lever to apply to weighty problems.

Even the US, with it's huge carrier force are looking at the UK and really expressing interest in working alongside a UK CSG because it takes a bit of pressure off their stretched forces. Yes, absolutely, the UK CSG isn't a patch on a USN one but you know what, it's still enough of a threat to make a lot of people quite nervous if it showed up off shore.


That's my 2c worth.
An interesting take Stobie.
I would add another dimension.
The balance between the armed forces doesn’t reflect your views. The UK is spending around 2% GDP on Defence but too much is going to Army and not enough to Maritime (RAF/RN)
To project power and create worldwide influence and partner with the USN you can’t do it with an Army focused on continental Europe and you can’t do it by underfunding and downgrading the Amphibious forces/Commando.
Even the RAF lacks deployable reach and is balanced toward home defence and seem unwilling to fully embrace RN deployments. (See debate on service conditions for deployed RAF personnel).

Time to wind down the Battle of Britain mentality and once again embrace the Nelsonian spirit.
 

t68

Well-Known Member
Yep that's true if there is no vaccine. I actually think that COVID-19 AND Brexit combined will be worse than one or the other at its worst could have been, and the UK economic wellbeing after Brexit was going to be dodgy at best for the first few years. The impression that I get from the pro Brexit side is that it's all going to be nice and rosey with UK Inc getting all these trade agreements and it'll be just like the old days. Well British stuff isn't as good as they think it is and it's expensive. So I think that they are going to be in for a very rude awakening.

This will definitely impact upon UK defence and some hard choices will have to be made. If it was me, I would sell both CVs and concentrate upon my SSBN & SSN fleet. The nuclear deterrent is the UK's best defence asset. I would also forget about the Pacific pivot because they no longer are a Pacific power. They should concentrate upon Europe. They are a regional power at best.

That's my half pennies worth.


If they sold off the CV they would have to replace them with large LHD’s anyway as they have a NATO commitment to NATO/Norway northern flank.

One has to remember it not just NATO what you suggest is abondoning the ability to protect British Overseas Territories from the North/South Atlantic and out to the Indian and Pacfic Oceans plus its commitments to FPDA, while there is no formal treaty like ANZUS with but it’s generally perceived that in times of crises because of the close ties within 5 eyes the major Anglosphere nations
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Selling them off might make a short term solution but in 5+ years the economy should be back on its feet. Better solution for the UK would be to mothball various assets for now. It at least gives them assets ready to be brought back into service when they are back on their feet rather then starting from scratch later on. As we all know it will just cost most in the long run so park them with a maintenance detachment and keep their options open.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
They are going to have to make some hard choices soon and going on recent decisions, they will probably make the wrong choice. I think it's more at the political level where they have grandiose schemes and then use scrooge to fund them. The MOD doesn't help matters much either.

I agree with Assail that they have to decide whether they are a maritime power or a continental power, because they no longer have the luxury of affording to be both. If they want to be a continental power then they must restructure the RN and RAF to reflect that. If they want to be a maritime power, then they must restructure the RAF and reduce the British army to reflect that. The trouble that they have is 1,000 years of history of interfering in continental affairs through the use of the British army and its predecessors. Old habits are hard to break. :cool:
 

Rob c

Active Member
This will definitely impact upon UK defence and some hard choices will have to be made. If it was me, I would sell both CVs and concentrate upon my SSBN & SSN fleet. The nuclear deterrent is the UK's best defence asset. I would also forget about the Pacific pivot because they no longer are a Pacific power. They should concentrate upon Europe. They are a regional power at best.

That's my half pennies worth.

.
,The problem with selling off the CV's is who could afford to buy them and all the associated aircraft and back up ships needed to operate them. Maybe the Chinese could do it and install arrestor wires on them :p . But with the world going into recession I don't see this as a realistic solution.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
,The problem with selling off the CV's is who could afford to buy them and all the associated aircraft and back up ships needed to operate them. Maybe the Chinese could do it and install arrestor wires on them :p . But with the world going into recession I don't see this as a realistic solution.
Well maybe Ron Mark could put a dollar down and pay them off at a dollar a week for the CVs and aircraft. :p
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
An interesting take Stobie.
I would add another dimension.
The balance between the armed forces doesn’t reflect your views. The UK is spending around 2% GDP on Defence but too much is going to Army and not enough to Maritime (RAF/RN)
To project power and create worldwide influence and partner with the USN you can’t do it with an Army focused on continental Europe and you can’t do it by underfunding and downgrading the Amphibious forces/Commando.
Even the RAF lacks deployable reach and is balanced toward home defence and seem unwilling to fully embrace RN deployments. (See debate on service conditions for deployed RAF personnel).

Time to wind down the Battle of Britain mentality and once again embrace the Nelsonian spirit.
I was pointing more at the reach the UK still has - we're just out of a ten year air bridge supporting 10K troops in the field for instance - that's something a surprisingly low number of countries can do - and it's why France for instance, turned to the UK for logistics support in Mali when it turned out they didn't quite have the right mix of transports to do the job.

I can't speak the balance between the services (and wouldn't want to, if I were honest) but right now, the there's some stuff the UK does that's still relatively high tier.

As for the Battle of Britain quip, I'm a bit ticked off about that if I were honest - I'm not and never have been a flag waving nationalist - we do some stuff well, could do better on other items and yes, the post Brexit future is either uncertain or unclear, depending on the semantics you're playing on.

I don't think however, there's much of a sense of focus for the Army in Europe these days however - they've spent the last couple of decades in sunnier climes, the bases and commitments in Europe are gone and as I've said, we've not got much in the overall mix that's going to tip the balance in a land war in Europe. We're not sitting in bases, ready to race for the Fulda gap any more and haven't been for decades.

One interesting thing coming out of the later briefings and exercises however does seem to be a renewed interest in one old theatre no-ones been paying attention to for a while - Norway.

We'll see how that shapes up I guess.

The restructuring of the Royal Marines could get interesting I agree (interesting in the sense of the old Chinese curse)

Right now, they're a self contained mini-army with logistics tail and the ability to land anywhere by air or by sea as a light infantry force with some organic artillery etc. The future structure as suggested seems to be to break that into penny packets of SF-lite forces. That effectively takes a formation out from under JCS however so it may be a "to be reviewed" concept.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Wrt Norway, I see that the US have had troops up there as well learning to be snow bunnies. I think that it's good that they get back to their core training and skills across the board. Running around the sandbox chasing insurgents isn't the same as going up against a peer level enemy who is very well versed in fighting in snow and ice and in the freezing cold, as well as wide open European plains or Russian steppes.

Aren't the Royal Marines the original UK SF? So if they're going back to being Commandos, then it's what they did before the likes of the SAS and SBS were formed. Plus they fought from aboard ships for many centuries.
 

south

Active Member
An interesting blog post on the RN Carrier topic by 'Sir Humphrey' of the Thin Pinstriped Line. BLUF is
Given that what the Royal Navy has become in return for its two carriers, and given how at present this investment has delivered a part time carrier force with a small number of available fast jets, significant spares shortages, reduced escort fleet numbers and a lack of longer term support ships or escort elements, then perhaps the answer to the question ‘was it all worth it’ is ‘no, it was not worth the pain for the gain’ – at least not in the short term.
For mine - the driving factor is the champagne taste on a beer budget:
What we are left with is perhaps the worst of both worlds. An overoptimistic defence and security policy which wants the UK to take on and operate at very high levels of military capability, while at the same time sustaining a domestic defence and aerospace industry. But, there is not enough money to fund everything, and industry does not know what matters most to Government, and where it is prepared to be ruthless and stop something.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Wrt Norway, I see that the US have had troops up there as well learning to be snow bunnies. I think that it's good that they get back to their core training and skills across the board. Running around the sandbox chasing insurgents isn't the same as going up against a peer level enemy who is very well versed in fighting in snow and ice and in the freezing cold, as well as wide open European plains or Russian steppes.

Aren't the Royal Marines the original UK SF? So if they're going back to being Commandos, then it's what they did before the likes of the SAS and SBS were formed. Plus they fought from aboard ships for many centuries.

That's very much the feeling right across the board - there's a very determined attempt to shift the emphasis from chasing down blokes in flip flops waving 40 year old AK's from the back of a bicycle (there is one recorded kill from an Apache of an RPG wielding Jihadi- using a Hellfire)


So, we've got tank crews learning to camo up, bury themselves in the woods, safe from air assets the last ten years or more of opposition have NOT had, that sort of thing.

The Royal Marines have always had a reputation for exercising initiative and being self sustaining - if you have them spread around the globe in penny packets ready to storm merchant ships or raid inshore then that does make a lot of short-notice ops much easier to plan - particularly if the Littoral strike ships are funded and found useful. It's an interesting U turn back to something like their roots possibly.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
An interesting blog post on the RN Carrier topic by 'Sir Humphrey' of the Thin Pinstriped Line. BLUF is

For mine - the driving factor is the champagne taste on a beer budget:

That's the problem - and it's been the problem for thirty or more years - making intelligent decisions based on sensible acceptance of outcomes instead of determinedly placing the work locally irrespective of how the results play out.

I was just going over the Chevaline fiasco with a friend - the USN had decided Polaris was long in the tooth and had a working Poseidon, and given the similarity in the centre sections between US and UK boomers/bombers, they knew to the last cent what it would cost. Instead HMG went with stripping out one of the warheads from the bus and replacing it with some decoys and countermeasures.

The original estimate for Poseidon replacement was something on £280 million, Chevaline was costed out from a purely speculative finger in the air at £230 million and ballooned to over a billion,including having to get the Polaris line re-opened to get fresh stages built.

That pattern of reinventing the wheel isn't something we can afford to keep doing. We do occasionally knock out some good kit but I think it's well past time we had a serious look at what we spend trying to make it locally and perhaps decide that maybe funding more modern apprenticeships or some other more direct industrial offset instead of buying British and getting something that's pretty much what everyone else already got but cost more would be more sensible.
 
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