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Subject: Is The UK going backwards in Military Strength?
NotUkOnly    1/21/2006 4:11:03 PM
As an Expat now living in the Usa I look with despair as to what I see is the neglect of the British Armed Services Especially the RN.Does anyone think the Uk is not falling apart militarily or am I just not seeing what the plan is? Comments Please????
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LabRat    Au Contraire!   1/21/2006 11:18:39 PM
You can't believe all you read in newspapers, especially English ones. I would say that the Royal Navy is evolving from a North Atlantic - anti Soviet submarine force - back into a true global navy, with capabilities it has not possessed for decades. Take the new Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers, these new ships will have three times the tonnage of the Invincibles, also, they will contain a far larger airgroup, which will itself possess an infinately greater operational capability compared to current aircraft. And then you will have the new Type 45 destroyers which will protect the new carriers, again, over twice as large as the Type 42's they are replacing, and with a superior operational capability inherent in the Astor Missile System. The Type 22 Class and Type 23 Class frigates will also be replaced with much more capable vessels. The Amphibious Warfare Force is considerably more capable these days with the recent commissioning of the Albion Class LPDs, you also have HMS Ocean. This is in conjunction with the new Bay Class LSD(A)s, this massive capability upgrade to the Amphibious Warfare Force of the Royal Navy will make it the second largest and second most capable navy in the world. All this, and with the new Asute attack subs as well, the RN may be less in numbers, but with more tonnage, it will be more capable than has been in decades. I would say that the RN of 2015 will be vastly superior to the RN of 1985. I could be wrong about all this, but I am a 'glass half full kinda'guy.
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perfectgeneral    RE:Quite the opposite   1/22/2006 9:05:02 AM
Much of what LabRat says is true, but Peter is being robbed to pay for Paul. We are dropping down the naval force league while we prepare this new blue water force. The amphibious capability is there already. We are a specialised nation at present. Our blue water force is outdated compared to amphibious. The old CVS force will be mothballed (one to work alongside Ocean as an LHA until they too retire). Most of the Royal Fleet Auxillary oilers and supply ships need replacing. That project is also on hold until the CVFs and T45s are built. The T23s won't be replaced for some time yet. The MoD are trying to co-ordinate a steady trickle of work after the CVF project to keep military ship building capability viable on a continuous basis. Subsequently the RN will, like painting the Forth Bridge, be an unfinished job from now on.
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Yimmy    RE:Quite the opposite   1/22/2006 11:12:37 AM
"Most of the Royal Fleet Auxillary oilers and supply ships need replacing" True, but didnt we recently comission a few new tankers?
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perfectgeneral    RE:didnt we recently comission a few new tankers?   1/22/2006 1:34:45 PM
Wave class? Here's Beedall on this (MARS): 'The Royal Fleet Auxiliary urgently needs to replace most of its existing tankers in order to meet an amendment to MARPOL regulations (the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 and the Protocol of 1978) that requires tankers to be double hulled. With the exception of the new Wave-class tankers, the RFA has a single hulled tanker fleet which will be become non-compliant with MARPOL from 2010, although a waiver can be claimed for government owned ships The seven Leaf and Rover class tankers provide logistic support to Royal Navy vessels at sea, under current plans their decommissioning dates are as follows: Grey Rover (2006), Gold Rover (2009), Black Rover (2010), Brambleleaf (2009), Orangeleaf (2009), Oakleaf ( 2010) and Bayleaf (2010). It is also necessary to replace the now elderly Fort Series I class of stores and armament ships, Fort Rosalie (due to decommission in 2013) and Fort Austin (2014). The two Fort Series II ships (Fort George and Fort Victoria) are also single hull vessels, they are currently both due to leave service in 2019... ... Current Situation By early 2006, it is hoped to select three potential Integrators who will work with the IPT during part of the Assessment Phase. For the subsequent demonstration and manufacture phase, one of these is likely to act a lead contractor in alliance type arrangements. The main investment decision (Main Gate) and the entry in to the demonstration and manufacture phases is now expected in 2008. In August 2005, the DPA issued an ITT for a MARS Alliance Project Friend, an involved but independent party who support the MARS IPT and the Potential Integrators in creating, maintaining and developing an effective MARS Alliance. The choice appears to be between The Advance Consultancy Ltd and Soma Consulting Ltd. Officially MARS construction work is still expected to begin in 2008 and the target date for the first ships to join the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service is 2010, with the last of class in service by 2020. However senior officials will now only say that the first ship will enter service "early next decade".' Hence: "Most of the Royal Fleet Auxillary oilers and supply ships need replacing" I have heard an idea that these might be able to act as patrol craft too. Maybe that would limit there RFA status to when not armed? I don't know how the crew mix would change either.
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Yimmy    RE:didnt we recently comission a few new tankers?   1/22/2006 1:42:06 PM
The simple answer would be to leave them armed and crewed as they already are, but ensure the new build vessels have hangar space for a couple of Merlins, or up to four Lynx, with their ground crew and armed appropriately. Would make more sense for a "patrol ship".
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perfectgeneral    RE:patrol ship - new tankers   1/22/2006 2:14:14 PM These designs call for one or two merlins, depending on the size of the tanker. I also saw this fast troop transport that made me look twice: I think you are right about helos being the patrol addition, but would they affect the status of the vessel that they fly off? Would it reclassify as a combatant only when the aircraft are parked up?
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Yimmy    RE:patrol ship - new tankers   1/22/2006 2:48:09 PM
"Would it reclassify as a combatant only when the aircraft are parked up?" I think you are nitpicking.... what does it matter? RFA's are legit targets in time of war, whatever title they sail under.
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tiff    RE:Is The UK going backwards in Military Strength?   1/22/2006 2:54:13 PM
Don't take my word for it listen to the outgoing first sea lord Admiral Sir Alan West his unprecedented speech is pretty much loud and clear, the fleet is too small if we wish to remain a global power. There are only 6 firm type 45 orders at the moment and rumour has it that this will not be increased to the 8 planned (warships monthly interpretation of the defence industrial strategy) which had been reduced from a planned 12, further to this the MOD would love to pull out of CVF using JSF as the excuse. 'Options for change' in 1994 still sticks in my throat, the haste with which the government slashed the navy was beyond a joke, we were promised a period of consolidation but it has been non stop ever since then. I recall at that time the talk was that we could not sustain the fleet with less than 50 hulls (frigates and destroyers) well we're currently somewhere less than 30 and rapidly heading toward 23. To be frank I'm also getting a bit tired of this 'jam tomorrow' promise, where is the fleet protection today? All the talk is maintaining the illusion of the fleet in 2015 while shafting us today. What use is a CVF with a few Type 45s and no auxiliaries to back them up (the current generation of RFA cannot support the planned CVF) they can only be in one place at one time. My glass if definetely half empty and rapidly pishing out the crack in the side. "We want thirty (just for starters) and we want them now." Unfortunately defence just doesn't seem to be an issue for the current crop of politicians, not a word at the last general election. None of them will do anything unless people make a fuss.
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Donkey    RE:Is The UK going backwards in Military Strength?   1/22/2006 3:54:08 PM
The thing is guys, who on earth cares about the state of the UK defence forces (except us)? Professional civil servants don't, they can work in any department, politicians know that the electorate don't, £10 billion for 2 new carriers + JSF OR 10 new general hospitals plus staff to run them & politicians don't care. Depending on their colours, they are busy planning tax cuts or social spending programmes. As it stands at present Blair would rather see £19 billion spent on a pointless ID card, Cameron (next Tory leader after him) on rebalancing the tax system & who knows anything about the Libdems? NO party wants to spend on defence, all of them have seen defence as an easy target, and they always have & always will, right up to the point when the barbarians are at the gate. Then across the floor of the commons, all we will get from our leaders is arguments about ‘WHO IMPLEMENTED THE BIGGEST DEFENCE CUTS’ The only MP’s that give an impression of caring about defence are those that have defence industries in their constituencies & the very few MP’s that have served in the military. Donk
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Griffin    RE:Is The UK going backwards in Military Strength?   1/22/2006 5:20:03 PM
What about the cutback to the British Army and the reduction of tanks units and other 'heavies'?
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