UK defence issues and the odd container or two

About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

261 Comments

  1. ArmChairCivvy

    There was this one-man review of Cyprus bases, but never saw anything published.

    What, other than a few planes and two boats will be left when
    2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment (2 R ANGLIAN) to move from Cyprus to RAF Cottesmore in Rutland in July 2012.

    2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS) to move from Cyprus to Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright in July 2013.

    … or is part of this just normal rotation?

  2. ArmChairCivvy

    Thought so. Perhaps with A-stan winding down (??) the over-the-horizon reserve will be withdrawn
    - I wouldn’t, if you compare an available bn to what can presently be put on amphibs

  3. ArmChairCivvy

    The news piece (15 Sept)covering the nomination of the first Commander of JFC included this line
    “Decisions on the initial composition of the JFC and location of the headquarters are expected in October.”
    - have I missed something? Or still in the “works”?

  4. jedibeeftrix

    “The MOD will publish a fully funded and balanced ten-year Equipment Plan by September 2011, and the National Audit Office will conduct an affordability audit of this; the first of its kind.”

    Has this actually arrived yet?

  5. Chris.B.

    IMPORTANT!!! READ!!!!

    Sorry, I was just hoping that would catch people’s attention ;)

    Anyway, something quite significant has taken place. Kim Jong-Il has popped his clogs in North Korea.

    Most analysts agree that the North Koreans knew this was coming, hence the introduction of his son to the world and the measures taken to gradually transfer power to him. But there’s still a risk that a power struggle could kick off, or that the son could press for a minor military incident in order to assert his authority, so naturally the South Koreans are getting nervous and have put their armed forces on alert.

  6. Chris.B.

    Just to update this quickly, western reporters on the ground in PyongYang are reporting gunfire and large troop movements. “Somethings not right” reported one experienced journalist.

  7. Chris.B.

    Should have checked that more closely. In all cases above those reporters were relying on source information from inside North Korea, so it may or may not be good, and is completely unverifiable for now.

  8. ArmChairCivvy

    Away from North Korea… Osprey has been in a gunfight for the first time:
    “The Osprey wasn’t supposed to enter combat so lightly armed. Many other large rotorcraft have guns installed on their side doors in addition to a gun on the rear ramp, allowing them to lay down suppressive fire over a much wider arc. But the Osprey’s rotating nacelles block the sides, making door guns impossible and leaving it with just the ramp gun. To compensate, BAE Systems designed a plug-in belly turret fitted with a .30-caliber mini-gun. A crew chief controls the turret from a console inside the cabin. But the turret is heavy and unwieldy, and most squadrons opt not to use it.”
    - I was suggesting this kit for Merlin CSARing
    - Looks like Osprey SCAR credentials were only on paper (Speed, range…)for that particular role (or plenty of other aircraft, which then to match the speed would have to be fixed wing)

  9. All Politicians are the Same

    ACC

    A CSAR package generally has a lot of other AC in it. During OUP a CSAR package may have included, dependent who was on station at the time. 2 x AV8B from Kearsage or Garibaldi, 2 Pave hawks from Ocean or merlin from Gabladi backed up by a C2 asset, AWacs, Sea Kinf, merlin and possibly AH 64D.

  10. jedibeeftrix

    @ Admin

    re. site design

    We really need the recent articles widget that used to sit in the top-right of the page, for there are too many global categories requiring far too much ‘effort’ to check for new content.

  11. ArmChairCivvy

    RE ” need the recent articles widget that used to sit in the top-right of the page, for there are too many global categories requiring far too much ‘effort’ to check for new content.”
    - at least a “quick fix” by having the forum open-thread comments/contributions show up on the “Comments” page? Otherwise those forum pages will become the preserve of the dedicated (and even then wading through them is tedious, as Jedi pointed out)

  12. DominicJ

    Can we have a “hot topics” tab, to go with “recent posts” and “recent comments”?

    Please sir, I want some more

  13. Topman

    TD could we have the time stamp back for the comments both the little box and the comments page?

  14. Think Defence

    Haven’t fell of the end of the world by the way, just a bit busy with other things and om currently overseas.

    Just finished the last couple of posts in the bridging series and then I think its back on the the Future of series

    Sorry for the delays

  15. x

    You haven’t missed much. Me and Chris B(AE) have weaponised Phil and flogged him to the Saudis. But apart form its been quiet. :)

  16. Chris.B.

    Japan deal in the works. As soon as we crack the harpoon situation.

    And I cant believe the Chick-Phil-A gag didn’t get a better response. I know it’s a fairly obscure reference to a less well known American Fast Food chain, but c’mon!

  17. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Jedi,

    Thanks for the Nordic link (even though the headline was bigger than the actual story). Basically the proposal was about Nordic-wide incident management (including shooting down rogue airplanes or boarding suspect ships)as the area overall is huge and it is all done on a national basis now, ie. a good deal of it double.

    Not to forget that there already is deep co-operation
    - at the procurement level, including keeping the manufacturing of basic munitions going
    - at the EU BGs level(ireland remembered their Norse roots and joined!)
    - and in ISAF the Finnish-Swedish contingent being practically one

    Alex Salmond has made these “Nordic” noises about defence, but has not given them any concrete content.
    - Scotland independent or not, there should be the same kind of incident management joint area as proposed by the Swedes for the Nordic area
    - the other potential members have so many assets available that the effect on the availability of RN resources elsewhere can only be beneficial (not that there would be many, other than the protection of off-shore assets, in the area today)

  18. Topman

    Redundacies announced today 1000 in the RAF, 3000 in the army and 300 in the rn. People have the next couple of months to apply. Looks like it will be the last round for the rn and the raf.

  19. Think Defence

    Just a quick heads up for everyone

    Have decided to moderate comments a little more closely

    This place is starting to become an unpleasant place and I am not going to allow that to happen after all the hard work I have and continue to put in.

    As you might have seen from some of my recent comments, patience is starting wear thin

    Fair warning and all that

  20. jackstaff

    James,

    Very nice piece. Have you read much Richard Overy? Not just his “Why The Allies Won” but some of the follow-on work. Think you’d enjoy it.

    PS,
    You and x’s cross-talk in the Typhoon/Rafale thread ref: groceries (important to a war footing, in an academic bit of a past life I did some Public Record Office grunt work on rationing and commodity controls) made me pine for Waitrose, wallet-buggering though it is. Out here in the northwest corner of North America it looks like a wet spring, but hopefully that’ll bring in the wine grapes over our north-facing fence like last year so I can start a second batch of Chateau des Mademoiselles (what else do you call your private label when you have four daughters?)

  21. Think Defence

    Was that in the SDSR McZ, can’t remember.

    I can imagine that is going to be one gigantic database even though it is only for a year.

    Big brother is here

    Sven from Defense and Freedom takes a big interest in these issues

  22. ArmChairCivvy

    The only limit is the size of storage as mentioned
    - already years ago the mob operators were placed under obligation to store who called whom (and from what “cell” mind you)
    - and the records were to be kept for 10 years! You can throw away your book keeping records after 7

  23. ArmChairCivvy

    Just when the EU privacy initiative gets to grips with Google and Facebook who have done this, from foreign soil, “And the huge databases could also be used by internet service providers, particularly to work out which advertising to target at users.
    Broadband firms including BT came up with a scheme almost three years ago to target advertising, but it did not get off the ground.”
    for years, we then follow the UAE and Indonesia who thought (and got a lot critique for it)that it was not OK for a foreign comms provider to give terrorists an instant and encrypted communication channel on their soil, without their sovereignty extending to the servers where encryption can be undone… on the need-to-know basis; obviously there is a cost to it

    BTW, I hadn’t realised the 10 year mandatory retention period had fallen flat on its face (there is still a period for which those records are kept)

  24. Observer

    TD, no worries about Big Brother. :)

    There was an idea for this in Singapore, extending to even phone conversations, and it is still ongoing, but one thing people found out very fast is that a few million people spamming and talking equals to a massive case of info-overload. No living person could possible go through that mess to extract anything meaningful for future plans. You could talk about blowing up the US embassy and it’ll probably get lost in the background mess.

    What these records are good for, and the only reason we’re still keeping them, is forensics. You can’t get future plans out of that mess, but once something happens, you can backtrack on a specific trail and ignore the rest to reconstruct events.

    So, no Big Brother, more like CSI-Post Disaster Reconstruction.

  25. James

    Sad news, not just for the Red Arrows but more importantly, for the impact that 2011 clearly had on one of their pilots.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9121679/Female-Red-Arrows-pilot-moves-to-ground-role.html

    I think that the services have made tremendous steps in personnel welfare in the last ten years, not just in provision of medical services and post-care, but also and importantly in a corporate recognition that people involved in very high stress roles need relief. It’s all very different from the “stiff upper lip and carry on attitude” that was widely prevalent through my service.

    I very much hope all ends well.

  26. Think Defence

    Just in case anyone was wondering I have decided not to do anything on todays bad news, the Warrior or going over the 400 casualties.

    I have seen today that much stuff pontificating about why we should withdraw from Afghanistan, how crap Army vehicles are, what the ‘answer’ is to IED’s and how the milestone means we should do this or that.

    Frankly, I find the bandwagon jumping, trotting out long since prepared commentary that was ready for when we went over 400 and the general look at me look at me theme rather shabby and distasteful

    Just a personal opinion but it would be good for many journalists and tweeters to just remain silent on the subject for a day or two, remember what it is they are talking about.

  27. Phil

    Shame on those that just can’t resist the opportunity to make a point long enough for even these chaps to make it back to Bastion.

    They were big boys in a war zone. They hit a bloody massive bomb of some kind. They didn’t stand a chance and they died.

    I just hope they didn’t know what hit them.

    The Grief Ghouls disgust me. A destroyed family is not news. Grief and despair and agony is not news.

  28. Peter Elliott

    How do I contact you TD? I looked on the page headed contact but there doesn’t seem to be anything there. Is there an offical inbox I can email to?

    >if you wan’t to say something just contact us or leave a comment.

  29. x

    The most attractive uniformed lady I have ever seen was a Danish sailor. She was very blonde and had very blue eyes and was gangway sentry on the Absalon. What brought her to my attention wasn’t her beauty but the rather pathetic attempts of three booties trying to trap her. She feigned rather unconvincingly a complete lack of understanding of the English language. It went on for about 15 minutes before they gave up. I do who they regrouped and had another attempt if for no other reason than the honour of the Corps.

    Portugal has some nice lady sailors too…..

  30. Chris.B.

    Sorry to Hijack the thread but I guess this is as good a place as any to post it.

    Clashes have been reported along the border between Sudan and Southern Sudan. Nothing major yet, just the odd exchanges along what is basically an unofficial and highly disputed border.

    One to keep an eye on though. Africa here we come!!

  31. x

    TD needs an Open Thread for world security issues so they don’t detract from more serious issues. :)

  32. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Chris B,

    Guess what “Clashes have been reported along the border between Sudan and Southern Sudan”
    - I posted my first article about that in 1967. and was labelled a war-monger!
    - the ones who did that never (had) understood that there had been a war going on for a decade already

    … I wonder when the knowledge about oil entered the equation, as for ‘who is backing whom’?

  33. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi x,

    RE “an Open Thread for world security issues so they don’t detract from more serious issues. :)

    have been calling for more of a geopolitical orientation before, but some linked sites do it quite well
    - jedi
    - Sir Humphrey,

    So..oo, linking might be the answer, to draw in a broader crowd?

  34. jackstaff

    Gibsnag,

    1) Love the handle.

    2) Wizard.

    PE both 29/3 and 2/4,

    A very interesting template and (2/4) well, perhaps…

  35. jackstaff

    Gibsnag again,

    I fully expect ACC to challenge me to an online match at this new game, given the scenario’s a hobby-horse of mine (so long as they add a Baltic expansion pack so he can vex the Baltic Fleet with mines and Haminas, and show off just how much sisu the Merivoimat still has ….)

  36. Observer

    The “what warship are you” quiz made me laugh.

    e) DISPATCH THE PLANES. Wait, what was the question?
    :)

  37. Gibsnag

    @jackstaff I suspect that if the base game does well, they’ll be adding lots of new units, scenarios and areas to the game. I’m just wondering how long it’ll take for someone to write a Falklands mod…

    @Observer Yeah, the devs have a pretty good sense of humour, check out the release trailer: http://youtu.be/MElc-0XqoSw

  38. Jackstaff

    Gibsnag ref: game mods,

    Lots to come I agree. (I’d like to see Observer help gin up a SE Asia mod centered on the locals.) A Falklands mod? About nine and a half minutes I should think. And since it’s 2030 that means a chance to face off with the perfidious Argies in their Evil Nuclear Powered Death Ray Catamarans….

  39. Gibsnag

    @Jackstaff The Baltic is mapped in the game, just fought a small skirmish with an Absalon, Visby and Hamina. Very good fun, and it should be relatively easy to add more baltic area ships. I think that a few German ships are in the game as well.

  40. Chris.B.

    They reckoned at one point the development cost for the whole thing would be £10 billion.

    If they can keep it under that it’ll a) be a miracle and b) make BAE very nervous.

  41. x

    £10billion? Up to present £10million, in the video from 18:50 on. If the PM was aware of this he should take a billion off the DFID budget straight away. We are bound to give to the French, sorry EU, or the Yanks as we have always done. :(

  42. All Politicians are the Same

    Cheers x, fascinating and very well explained, even I understood it and as any engineer I have ever served with will tell you, I am not an engineer!

  43. x

    I just hope we don’t throw it away. When you look at what we have lost through government stupidity it can be quite painful. Aircraft industry that was better than the French’s and though small gave the Yank’s a good run. Gone. Blue Streak missile programme which was better than anything that came out of Europe. Gone. (It was our tech that gave the French a start in the launcher field.) Computing. Gone. :(

  44. Chris.B.

    Even just £1 billion a year, if it over runs a little in time it doesn’t matter. The money making return could be massive, even if it’s just for high speed international transport.

  45. Chris.B.

    And you though BAE’s design decisions were sometimes bat shit insane? Smith and Wesson can top that:

  46. x

    They should be kicked out for politicizing the games. And if the IoC won’t do it we should round them up at the airport and throw them out.

    Interesting the Guardian are running with this. Has it shown up on the BBC yet? I suppose if Guardian run it only the right eyes see it. If the BBC ran it the lumpen masses would be enraged.

    What are you doing reading The Guardian? ;)

  47. andyw

    It’s shown up on the BBC, and all the daily rags, it’s even on Solomon’s site. No mention however on any UK blog in TD’s links.

    Hague and Hammond have condemned it too, although neither mention that it was a WW1 memorial that was desecrated.

  48. Mike

    x

    BBC have reported it, also reported that the parent company of those who produced it is British and were just as shocked about it.

  49. All Politicians are the Same

    I saw it elsewhere, but having been out for dinner and still on my fing notebook, I posted the first link that worked on it assuming that if it works on this piece of crap it will work for everyone.

  50. All Politicians are the Same

    Rumours are that company took a white house phone call and not from Hilary!

  51. paul g

    I can shrug off the “brave” twat running round at the first sparrows fart to avoid the locals, however the comment at the end, 100 years ago countries went to war for that.
    Plus the mad trout faced bint has made offical complaints to the UN about antagonism, well excuse me what the chuffin’ hell was that? I agree banned from the games for bringing them into a political dispute (in a very poor taste way as well)

  52. James

    It would be a crying shame if the athlete were to be set upon by a couple of masked hooligans with baseball bats while training on a long run somewhere in Argentina. Broken legs and hockey Olympics don’t mix, even if it is perfectly possible to buy airline tickets by roundabout routes in anonymous names for a couple of lads from Hereford.

  53. x

    @ James re baseball bats

    I was shocked to find out the Yanks play rounders with them.

    Being of a certain age I remember the tickling stick of choice used to be the pickaxe handle or helve. I suppose the pickaxe handle is a victim of us becoming a white collar society.

  54. Think Defence

    The parent company of the advertising agency is WPP

    http://www.wpp.com/wpp/

    http://www.wpp.com/NR/rdonlyres/C57AE669-ED2A-4574-B4F2-CAA8C388DB98/0/wpp_code_of_business_conduct_may10.pdf

    I expect telephone calls are being made and employees are being escorted from the building as we speak

    Have a look at these

    http://en.mercopress.com/2012/05/04/the-plot-behind-the-argentine-olympics-falklands-political-spot

    http://en.mercopress.com/2012/05/03/falkland-islands-reaction-to-argentine-olympic-advert

    http://en.mercopress.com/2012/05/04/falklands-spot-argentina-trying-to-recover-from-some-diplomatic-setbacks-says-hague

    http://en.mercopress.com/2012/05/04/falklands-spot-uk-regrets-argentina-s-attempts-to-exploit-and-politicise-olympic-games

    Personally, I think this is a strategic mistake but the best way to deal with it is ridicule, I am sure there are plenty of creative people who could do a spoof, he looked out of puff after about 2 minutes of running and a few squats on the pub benches.

    I think they will struggle to achieve Gold :)

    Fucking morons

  55. Jackstaff

    X,

    Ref: axe handles, quite right. There’s no need merely to ape an American icon out of sheer me-tooism when there’s a proven, sturdy, industry-certified, time honoured, British solution to hand. Do we need to start something like CAMRA on behalf of local, artisanal GBH done with coshes, foreheads, and axe handles as God and Dinsdale Piranha intended?

    Ref: the commercial, what a bevy of arsepieces. F***ers. Chuck ‘em from the IOC and let ‘em whinge.

    And wrt APATS’ comment and the recent thread on that subject, the Obama administration has no brief for love-ins with the UK but they also want a distinct absence of fuss in the Southern Cone. I expect there will be We Are Not Amused discussions held in Sao Paolo or Brasilia just to make a point.

  56. Jackstaff

    X,

    Forgot about the broken bottles of real ale. And “the point” above was that present-day Argentina is a doddering Brazilian client-state, puffing their chests out on sufferance.

  57. All Politicians are the Same

    Is it time to simply say, yeh you have made a threat we honour it? A mech inf battalion moved early from germany to FI supported by a squadron of 155 and CH2 and the RIC relieved by RAF sqdrn. 4 tiffies become 8 and 4 Apaches.; End of conversation.

  58. x

    @ Jackstaff

    I hadn’t thought of it us having a British alternative. Bloody Yanks subverting our tickling stick industry……. :)

    @ TD

    In another time the BBC’s own comedy programmes would have had a field day with it. Nowadays the BBC is more likely to discuss the PTSD suffered by Argentine conscripts at the hands of the British, not “our”, Army. Of course it will all be Thatcher’s fault.

  59. Chris.B.

    Pick axe handles? Baseball bats? What happened to old fashioned Essex style Crowbars? And I thought you military types were supposed to be tough… ;)

    Seriously, I think banning them from the games and causing a big hoo-har is the worst thing we can do. It’s precisely what they want, to get a massive headline grabbing response that will put their “claims” into the worldwide concious. They want us to be portrayed as the evil empire banning their athletes from attending the Games in order to silence the freedom fighters of the Malvinas etc, etc.

    A quite word to the Olympic committee about it, followed by a strongly worded letter to them if they don’t act, and that should be that. Personally I wouldn’t even allow the government to dignify this charade with a response. Just have ministers say something confidently into the camera about politcising the games being against the rules and *hint* liable to get one excluded from competing.

  60. Simon

    Why not “scrap” the T1 Typhoons to a new “recycling center” in the Falkland Islands?

    When I say “scrap” I mean “cut the night like a razor blade” at Mach 2 – Top Gun style :-)

  61. x

    The Bronze Age hasn’t reached us yet in the extreme North Midlands so we can’t do crowbars.

    We are trying to back engineer one we found just to the north of Brum. But its advanced solid state technology has us stumped.

  62. x

    @ Chris B re strongly worded letter.

    This threatening missive would we use bold, italics, and underlining straight away? Or would there be a staged escalation? I suppose we could really piss them off and not put a stamp on it….

  63. All Politicians are the Same

    Chris b works for everyone apart from the forces why are we always the hornets nest you can poke with impunity?

  64. Chris.B.

    @ X

    You would definitely have to start with normal typeface, upgrade to italic, upgrade to underline, then bold, the start combining them.

    @ APATS

    “Chris b works for everyone apart from the forces why are we always the hornets nest you can poke with impunity?”

    I’ll be honest, that didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  65. Jackstaff

    Chris B.

    We’re happy to support regional cottage industries within the larger whole. Would you perhaps consider Vinnie Jones a grant-in-aid?

    X,

    Well I would hate to see the proper British axe handle go the way of Avro or Ferranti.

    APATS,

    Swap RIC for RAF Regt squadron to MPA just as you said. C2 doesn’t like the soil stability down there, but park 1 RIFLES down there the rest of the year along with a battery of AS90 in Stanley (mobile coastal artillery?) Fly down a Harpoon set for Dauntless, test and prove on active service. If there are twelve FGR4 rated Tiffs in service bung ‘em all down there. Spearhead to do at least one deployment excercise in those six months.

  66. Jackstaff

    Also permanent SSN accompaniment for Dauntless and Clyde. Maybe even deploy the RM company from SFSG as counter-infiltration, there’s berths for them on both ships.

  67. All Politicians are the Same

    Chris B, we should all turn the other cheek to Argentina, forget the losses and the sacrifices made, They continue to prod yet posters on here say, ogh dont annoy anyone one. Why should we bed the only ones allowed to be annoyed?

  68. Chris.B.

    @ APATS

    Argentina wants to provoke a reaction. They want us to get all up in arms about it. They want political attention and they want people to sympathise with them.

    If you respond then you’re playing into their hands. Ignoring them is the best thing we can do.

  69. Chris.B.

    So what would you rather do?

    Make a big hurrah about it in the press, have the Prime Minister go on TV and tell the Olympic committee he wants them banned immediately, pass a new edict denying Argentines of any form access to the UK.

    Congratulations, it’ll be on every TV news station from here to Singapore, giving Christina the opportunity to come out on TV and spout her bollocks about how the evil colonial British talk about freedom of speech while suppressing anything that casts them in a bad light, and trying to use their political weight to deny the free and wonderful athletes of Argentina from competing in the games in London, just like the UK stops Argentina from settling on its own home territory etc, and more of her usual bullshit.

    It’d be a media storm that would absolutely play into her hands.

    If you want to send a reinforcement to the Garrison “on regular scheduled exercise” then by all means, but don’t do their political work for them.

  70. ArmChairCivvy

    RE ” “on regular scheduled exercise”
    - wasn’t the regular roulement a clear enough message, the next company being from the Para of Mt. Longdon fame

  71. James

    re pick helves,

    yes, better than baseball bats. I recall as a Trooper in Catterick in early 1984 doing guard duty with one. Nice solid piece of wood (ash? never very good at my wood recognition), with metal head. A bit more meaty than a baseball bat anyway. Also good for herding sheep that get into the barracks through a broken fence, although any professional collie dog would have been laughing at the general ineptness of the barrack guard attempting to round up half a dozen sheep. Keystone Kops.

    I’m pretty sure that the pressure for WPP to sell off their Argie advertising agency subordinate will prove irresistible.

  72. paul g

    pick helves are awesome, late 80′s they found maps of arborfield in an IRA owned car in london. So just in case we doubled the guard so more pick helves and we never got hit, what a secret weapon!!
    @chris b in my earlier comment i should’ve been clearer, it’s only the fucktard that was in the advert that i would like to see taken off the bus, and that decision to be taken independantly by the IOC with no demand from us as he has clearly broken rules on using the games for political means. In the meantime i look forward to the creative minds of the forces doctoring/spoofing that video, even now i can see someone using CGI to place a huge cock underneath matey in the squats on the benches bit outside the pub!!!

  73. James

    I’m just wondering whether a British film crew on a civvy boat might be in position to get a 90 second clip of an SSN sailing by on the surface in front of a clearly identifiable Buenos Aires? Rent the boat in Uruguay just over the water, quick bit of filming, sub dives and is out of reach to Carlos Fandango, and film crew scarper with the turbo engaged.

    I can just see the closing headline: “To protect British territory, we train in foreign waters“, with a fluttering union jack.

  74. wf

    @James: excellent idea. Why not send some Falklands vets to BA in Para/Commando T shirts, have them run in formation past the Presidential Palace for a week, shouting “The Falklands are British, bitch” in Spanish?

  75. Angus McLellan

    Hope I don’t break anything by posting here before TD announces he’s done with the housekeeping. And I also hope that this isn’t covering old ground. I couldn’t find an earlier mention, but that proves nothing.

    The Times has had two reports in the last fortnight (28/4 and 7/5) relating to the mass killing at Batang Kali in now-Malaya by a patrol from the Scots Guards on 12 December 1948. Apparently the reason for this being deemed newsworthy again is that the High Court will be hearing a request to open a formal judicial inquiry into the events this Tuesday.

    The Times stories are easily found if you are willing to money into Mr Murdoch’s pocket. If not, the Observer has a story here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/06/britain-batang-kali-massacre-malaysia and there’s an older – but substantially similar – story from the Daily Mail here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2136559/Ruling-Britains-My-Lai-historic-killings-compared-Vietnam-massacre.html I’d imagine there will be more to come in the next few days, especially if the court orders an inquiry.

  76. John Hartley

    Is it still you TD? Am worried its a hostile take over by PTT. Any way, glad you are back. I was worried I had lost an outlet for my rants. After all, who else would have me?

  77. martin

    Interesting Article today in Telegraph about cap badges.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9250905/Regiments-with-Commonwealth-recruits-face-being-wiped-out.html

    Despite the fact I can’t stand the people he works for Hammond seems to be doing a decent job so far of trying to bring sanity to the MOD. It really seem’s Cameron is a terrible meddelor who see’s the MOD as nothing more than a political football. Now he can no longer use it to beat the last government over the head he is loosing interest. This would be fine if he did not share the same political bias as former labour leaders for bombing people and deploying ground forces.

  78. Mike W

    Some good news perhaps in the article about Philip Hammond? He does warn that the Armed Forces have been cut “as far as it is prudent to do so.” He also insists that, despite the fact that George Osborne has warned that another two years of austerity is needed to hit targets for reducing the deficit, defence is a department that will be shielded from any further reductions.

    I don’t know whether I am being naively optimistic or clutching at straws or whatever the expression is and people might think that what I am about to say is either bonkers or not even of the slightest importance. However, here goes!

    Mr. Hammond talks of Army reductions, saying “Clearly the Army can’t get smaller by 17 per cent without losing some units”. However, the figures quoted in the article talk about manpower shrinking “from 102,000 to 82,000”.

    Now, by my calculations, if you take away 17 per cent from 102,000, you are left with 84,660. Could it be then that we shall be left with 2,500 more troops than the 82,000 generally bandied about in these discussions? Just a thought but an extra two and a half thousand troops is quite valuable (3 infantry regiments?). Or was Mr Hammond talking in very general figures?

  79. Mike W

    TD

    Thanks for the reply.

    “but you know what they say about politicians!”. Yes, I do. Only too well!

  80. martin

    I doubt Phil the Spread sheet talks in general figures. I am also interested in what they talk about the Armies logistic footprint and tail to teeth ratio. I can’t really figure out if this means that the army will have less infantry and armour and more engineers and logistics or if as Cameron seeks to avoid any political fall out we are going to keep the same numbers of front line forces at the expence of the backbone.

  81. Frenchie

    Yes, an army composed of Hulk, I don’t know if this entering in the budget of Mr. Hammond.

  82. Jackstaff

    TD,

    Welcome back, boss! I had started getting twitchy and started seeing ISO containers where there weren’t any….

    Ali,

    Thunderbirds are go! Always thought SHIELD has done a fair amount of naked R and D theft from their elder British counterparts….

    Martin and Mike W,

    I am on similar grounds to martin’s ready to root for Spreadsheet Phil if he’s actually willing to put the case for why you can’t get any more blood out of the MoD stone than what he’s suggesting (I’m alright with seeing an 85k Army but you really can’t cut below that, I’ve kept bumping against the number in fag-packet maths for a while now.) And since Nick Carter’s report has gone missing (presumably it’s completely unpalatable to the higher ups, who see MoD as an easy source of cuts to keep from either slicing into the “corn dole” that keeps relative peace on the estates so the financial sector can get on with making loadsamoney, or actually try to — horrors — fix the economy) it’s good to see something from his civilian boss on the matter.

  83. Ali

    Ever wondered why numbers are being reduced?

    It’s to create a number of Hulks for the army that are ‘fitted but not fitted with’ with a parachute by BAE…

    Does anyone know what has happened to Carter’s report?

  84. Jackstaff

    Ali,

    Carter has a (generally deserved) reputation for unpalatable honesty in his opinions. I expect offering up a report, whatever it may hold, that isn’t a fudge available to be remolded as needed by the pollies has been, erm, inconvenient. Especially since no one except Spreadsheet Phil seems even to have suggestions on the political side, and the big boss men on the sofa (Dave and George) really don’t give a flying copulation, they’re just juggling budget numbers to make Britain once again a land fit for bankers to live in while saving some social-program sweets to dole out in the election budget down the line.

  85. jedibeeftrix

    Jackstaff – “I’m alright with seeing an 85k Army but you really can’t cut below that, I’ve kept bumping against the number in fag-packet maths for a while now.”

    I can only presume the MoD planners came to the same conclusion eighteen months ago, as for all the horror stories the only consistent number that has been touted is the 82,000-85,000 range.

  86. Simon

    TD,

    I really miss the “comments” page. The RSS feed only shows the commenter and the thread name, not the first bits of the comment. At least, this is the case with Firefox.

    Also, the feedburner RSS page seems to lag quite a bit.

  87. ArmChairCivvy

    0.6% of Canada’as active strength is reservists rotating through Regular units, on a fixed term:

    Primary Reserve Class C are considered equivalent to the Regular Force personnel as they are entitled to equivalent pay, benefits and liability as a Regular Force member.
    ■Primary Reserve Class C is calculated as person year. For example, two Primary Reservists on Class C service for six months would count as one military FTE.

  88. Mike W

    I hope that I have chosen the right post/thread for this and that someone responds!

    I don’t know whether I am late or early with this news. Probably it has been posted and discussed elsewhere.

    I was just browsing earlier and cme across a something that I think might be interesting. Apparently BAE has unveiled a concept for a new 17-tonne tracked reconnaissance vehicle called the CV21. It is very much still in the development phase and I could find only one image but from that, it looks as if it might very well derive from the CVR(T) series.

    It would seem to me that BAE has found a niche in military markets that has not been filled. It could even fill the British Army’s need for a light tracked recce vehicle and eventually FRES SV etc. could be transferred to become a Warrior successor. You could Google it and see what you think. I don’t think it’s on the official BAE site yet.

  89. Hugh

    So, Queen Sofia of Spain (I know, I had to check Wikipedia too) is cancelling her trip to London for celebration’s of HMTQ’s Jubilee because of Gibraltar and because Prince Edward and his missus are visiting Gibraltar for Jubilee celebrations. Admittedly, having those two turn up would be worth a bit of a protest, but it has a slight flavour of that mad Argie woman about it. That, or Spain can’t afford the £30 Ryan Air ticket to send her over.

    So, rather than embarrass HMTQ by leaving a seat empty at the Jubilee dinner, who do we think should be given Queen Sofia’s place – obviously someone who represents the UK’s love of Spain and with an appropriate level of gravitas.

    Andrew Sachs?

  90. x

    @ Hugh

    I don’t know how familiar you are with Spanish border disputes but along with their own two “Gibraltars” on the North Africa they also have trouble with Portugal. They seized Olivenza in 1801 nearly 100 years after we took Gib. It isn’t a small 3 square miles of rock either but a healthy 200 square miles of decent (for the region) farm land. The dispute is only rarely mentioned in diplomatic exchanges between the two states. But it is a prime example of a Spanish state saying one thing and doing another.

  91. Mike W

    I don’t know whether any of you have seen the latest article on defence in today’s “Telegraph”. In it Thomas Harding talks about the latest revelations concerning the future of the British Army. For all I know it might be one more alarmist article about how things might go for the Army but Harding is the Defence Correspondent of the paper and will probably have contacts within the Army and MOD.

    In the article he states that the Army’s infantry will be cut by around five battalions (contrary to what has generally been believed so far i.e. ten or eleven – my words). He goes on to say that a further 17,500 jobs will be cut, predominantly from the Logistics troops, Engineers and Artillery. That will in turn mean that the Army will have to rely for support on private companies, Territorial Army reservists and foreign armies.

    The ides is that the RLC will be cut by at least a third, reducing the force by as much as a third to below 11,000 men. The Engineers and Artillery will be reduced by a third to about 5,000 men each, with the majority of the Artillery’s heavy weapons (AS90 and MLRS?) turned over to the TA.

    Serious criticism has already been made of the move, which military commanders say will create an “unbalanced force” that will rely on a “just in time “ supply tactic for campaigns. Some Logistics officers have described the move as resulting from David Cameron’s attempt to avoid the political consequences of scrapping famous regiments and cap badges. One said that the idea to make the Army top-heavy in infantry was “bonkers” and I completely agree. The loss of Engineers in particular will be felt in combat areas. This is serious and if it is true, we might as well do away with the Army completely! It will be imbalanced in the extreme. Any reductions should have been carried out in proportion.

  92. Think Defence

    Mike, I might be approaching another ‘told you so’ moment, as sad as it is.

    http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/01/multi-role-brigades/

    http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/03/agile-warrior-and-the-future-of-the-british-army/

    Who said this…

    If the CSS functions are going to be sliced in order to preserve historic regiments and the illusion of numbers then this is nothing short of a re run of Options for Change and Frontline First, a reorganisation the Army has been rowing back from constantly since it happened.

  93. Mike W

    You did, TD! You did! (bows in homage). And it looks as if you might be proven absolutely right. I fervently hope, though, that what what was outlined in the “Telegraph” article does not come to pass but fear the worst.

  94. Gareth Jones

    @ Mike W – RE:CV21. Very interesting – “The CV21 has its roots in the CVR(T) family, but MacKenzie said it is a new design for a vehicle that is bigger, longer, heavier and wider than its predecessor.” Could it be related to the Stormer family?

    RE: Army cuts. Surely the logical path would be to retain the specialist support roles/functions as full-time army as they are required in nearly every mission ranging from peace-keeping to peer war and make the infantry TA, with significant training facilities retained if we need to increase their numbers suddenly?

    The training facilities would have the added benefit of supporting TD’s forward presence/training strategy…

  95. Mike W

    @Gareth Jones

    Yes, I wondered whether it could be related to the Stormer family. I don’t know how many wheels the Stormer has and at the moment can’t check (no images!) I think Stormer is lighter than the new vehicle, though, being only about 13 or 14 tonnes.

    Gareth, I can’t really go along with your second paragraph about making the Infantry (wholly?) TA. Can you imagine the public outcry there would be for a start:- “Sending out part-time boys out there to die … etc. etc.”

  96. ArmChairCivvy

    Stormer?
    - this one CVR(T)2 + 5 tonnes on top
    - if you look at the images, looks like a cross between, is it Scimitar2 , and the aborted GCV offering, with lots of antennae still on top?

  97. paul g

    having served from ’83-05 and watched the logistics being decimated, i say bring it on! Then we can sit back and watch the shit storm whip up. It cause a lot more problems than losing a capbadge. It’s been said on here by others about the “spanner spinners” but it’s the RLC who drive the convoys, load the convoys. REME fix the trucks, drive when sort provide the recovery. I could go on we all know the job the RE do to clear/fix/bridge the road.

    Surprise surprise we ARE getting killed because we don’t sit behind the wire and eat pizza, many of my friends have done 7+ tours in the last 10 years, loggies are always the ones with a chestful on rememberance day. This absolute load of bollocks is because these decisions are made in the old boys drinking club by wanking old farts wearing brandy stained regimental ties, not enough corp men get in the higher corridors of power.

    We spent 3 days going back in convoy to get CH2 spares because the civvys who were doing repairs under contract wouldn’t come into iraq in the early days. Find me a civvy that will lift a pack at death o’clock in the morning when it’s snowing in the middle of nowhere (unless you pay him a large fortune) and that’s just on exercise, let alone on a 2 way range!!

    Overwork who’s left and they’re not stupid, they’ll let you know with their boots and you’ve just wasted 2/3 years training that guy, what a tossing, short sighted,spineless, scaredy cat crock of shit! (IMHO)

  98. Gareth Jones

    Possibly answering my own question, the CV21 has six road wheels, the CVR(T) 5… although the Stormer 30 also has 6…

  99. All Politicians are the Same

    We could stop invading and occupying countries for dubious benefits.

  100. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi GJ,

    Isn’t the new one 19t and this
    Weight
    13,000 kg
    is probably the empty weight, from your link?

  101. ArmChairCivvy

    Protection?
    Ceramics (light), and more belly armour?
    - 5t can achieve a lot
    - the passenger? Has a little kite to fly?

  102. Mike W

    @Gareth Jones

    “True… but how do we square this circle? As you and TD pointed out above, cutting the tail to save cap badges may be more acceptable PR but could lead to serious problems…”

    I don’t think we can square the circle, Gareth, unless we keep a bigger Army. It’s as simple as that. And given the economic and financial mess we’re in, thanks to the previous administration, that is highly unlikely to happen.

    @paul g

    “What a tossing, short sighted,spineless, scaredy cat crock of shit! (IMHO)”

    Now, come on, paul, no need to be so mealy-mouthed. What do you really think? Actually you’re 100% correct. When you say, “Overwork who’s left and they’re not stupid, they’ll let you know with their boots and you’ve just wasted 2/3 years training that guy”, that’s spot on! But then, would the politicians, the MOD civil servants or even the top brass ask someone like yourself who’s actually been at the workface? No, of course not.

  103. Gareth Jones

    CVR(T) and CV21 might be runners for TD’s catergory B recon vehicle:

    “Category B; 15 tonnes maximum base weight with the capacity to handle an additional 5 to 7 tonnes, this allows a base configuration to be slung loaded from a CH53K. 2 could be carried in an A400 or if 4 A400’s were used, the combined payload would be 6 vehicles and 6 additional 5 tonne protection kits. A C17 could carry 4 base configuration vehicles or 3 with the protection kits already fitted. Can be carried on standard ISO flatracks, utilise all RE trackway and vehicle bridges and be carried on the back of a standard truck or DROPS. Can also be lifted by the RE Terex AC35 crane and recovered using the SV recovery variant.”

    http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2011/07/the-future-of-the-british-army-08-istar-and-formation-reconnaissance-03-a-not-so-sensible-future/

    One problem might be width – CV21 is said to have a width of 2.7m; maybe thats with added armour and can be reduced?

  104. Mike W

    Someone might have dealt with this already. I see from today’s news that BAE are planning to close their Newcastle tank factory. After the Terrier production is finished, there is apparently no more work to keep it open. All rather sad really, considering the fact that production at that particular factory has been going since the First World War. Surely the British government could have found something to keep British armoured vehicle production going. Where will the Challlenger update now take place?

  105. Chris.B.

    @ Mike W

    And to think if a decision had been made on FRES it could be built under license there. Unless indeed that is what BAE is hoping, that this announcement will generate some work from the Gov.

  106. ArmChairCivvy

    Too true “Where will the Challlenger update now take place?”
    - in about 5 years’ time!

  107. Mike W

    @ChrisB

    “Unless indeed that is what BAE is hoping, that this announcement will generate some work from the Gov.”

    You could be right, Chris The thought occurred to me too! You are certainly right about FRES.

    @ACC

    “Too true “Where will the Challlenger update now take place?”
    - in about 5 years’ time!”

    And that could be the work they are after. The eternal optimist me!

  108. Chris.B.

    Makes sense after they back tracked on CV90 and said “oh, oh, we’ll make it in the UK”. And if I were BAE I would be turning over every stone and calling every number in the phone book to find as much out about the production of ASCOD as I could, in the hope that some juicy “it’s being built in Spain” bit of info turns up that could then be leaked to the press.

  109. x

    We all know HMG’s job is to tax us and then send that money abroad.

    Even building a simple vehicle like Bushmaster would be useful to keep the factory open.

    £250,000 a copy. A billion would buy 4,000. :)

    Wonder how many a week they could build? Um….

  110. Mr.fred

    BAE haven’t really got much of the moral high ground have they?
    I mean, this is the company that took the vast amounts of profit they accrued from their government contracts and spent them abroad, isn’t it?
    That’s before they wasted £4bn on making a mess of a MPA.
    The same company who promoted their foreign vehicle manufacturing base over and above their domestic?

  111. x

    It is crap. HMG just like to p*ss our money away and then screw us over because of “our” debt.

    I have become a bit militant over the last few weeks.

  112. IXION

    X

    The Older I get the more I think the only man who ever got into parliament with the right idea was Guy Fawkes.

  113. Simon

    IXION,

    I find it odd that we’re still allowed to celebrate Mr Fawkes. One of those brilliantly mad bits about this country’s history.

    However, saying what you said above is fine as long as you’re in an Internet cafe – they’ll be watching you very, very soon. ;-)

  114. The Other Chris

    @TD

    Looking forward to your “Upcoming Posts” on “Pushing forward on the F35″ and “SIMMS”.

    Any ETA?

  115. Topman

    @ Mark

    St Athan has sure got a lot of hanger space. The one over his shoulder when stood on the runway is empty as well pity he didn’t have a walk around them. It was supposed to do all FJ servicing but never happened. With twin peaks and the new ones on the other side of the runway and the other ones dotted about I think you could park evrey FJ and RW in the military down there!

  116. Joe88

    You’re welcome TD, and I guess if you really wanted to you could be living in a shipping container or two one day.
    Cheers!

  117. ArmChairCivvy

    Today’s wired.com explains why doing nothing with Syria is a sensible option
    “Eliminating Syria’s WMD is not an easy task either. The facilities are hardened targets — going after them will require the latest bunker-busters. And blowing up chem/bio facilities or missiles means risking releasing the actual agent and creating a humanitarian crisis for those caught downwind.

    Beyond airstrikes, the long-term elimination of Syrian WMD requires a boots on the ground commitment. Open source reporting indicates that Jordanian Special Forces may play a role in securing Syrian WMD sites, but the characterization and elimination of WMD inventories takes hyper-specialized troops. Strategic Command’s newly formed Standing Joint Force Headquarters for Elimination along with troops from the US Army’s 20th Support Command (CBRNE) are the Pentagon’s go-to assets for missions like this. ”
    - doing nothing is no more an option if these things start to fall out of centralised control

  118. Simon

    I wonder what would happen to the chem/bio “agents” when exposed to a thermonuclear explosion? I have a feeling they’d dissociate into their respective atomic plasmas and be no more.

    Scary if that’s the only military solution that would work!

  119. Simon

    BB,

    No, just the F35C ;-)

    Moon-on-a-stick sounds okay though – as long as it’s strawberry flavour.

  120. paul g

    i see the complaints by the strawberries (strawberry mivvy=civvy) around brize norton have risen to an all time high, if they hadn’t pent so much on it recently i would suggest moving it there, jobs are more important than some posh git not being able to hear their sprogs violin receital, complaints would be non existant (ish)

  121. paul g

    not that friends still in green have been talking, but you might,just might see some ISO homes popping up near stratford, very very soon! ;-)

  122. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi TD, hope you have noticed that since the “gap” as you called it, indexing has again descended to a “hot place”?

    Comments page link goes to the beginning of the thread, not to the comment. And once a comment is posted, you end up at the beginning again !
    - the latter has not been a bug before, for what I remember

  123. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi paul g,

    That was the 4th and last bidder to come in
    - what is more interesting is that the USAF says they won’t hold their own competition, but follow the Navy’s choice
    - on the other hand, they will have the optionally manned Regional Bomber
    - and then, some people say that the two will work glove-in-hand, one manned, the other unmanned (and, in this way, do away with the sat-comms vulnerability)

  124. Simon257

    This seems to have been kept quite, but RFA Diligence, suffered an engine room fire on the 28th of July. The Liverpool Echo reported that 10 Fire Appliances were sent to Cammel Lairds Yard. No one was injured, but the extent of damage was not reported either.

  125. ArmChairCivvy

    Sir Humphrey is onto another good one [no doubt TD will link to the story, I get them through my e-mail subcription]:
    “Service Chiefs will have significantly greater say over how their budgets are spent, with financial delegation handed down to them. As noted elsewhere on this blog, it will be much easier for the Services to prioritise their funding in future, instead of fighting internecine warfare with the other two services for cash.

    “In this new structure, MOD Head Office becomes far more of a strategic HQ, focusing on top level security policy, advice to Ministers and provision of certain niche roles.
    - Finance is pushed out to the three services, and with it, much of the procurement roles traditionally undertaken in Main Building. The new Head Office will be far less involved in day to day budgetary issues than before – this means Service Chiefs will be far more empowered than they have been previously.
    - A cynic would suggest that it makes it easier for politicians and civil servants to escape the blame when things go wrong”

    While I have added the two “bullets” to break down the text flow, and fully agree with the latter of the two, as an intent, even if being disguised, let’s look at the big picture:
    1. MoD produces security and defence services both at home and abroad
    2. To know the capabilities’ value as for effect, one would need to know the threats
    3. If the three services, not forgetting the 4th [joint] budget holder, get to be too independent, then we’ll get a lot (!) of overlapping capabilities (invested into) as for whatever comes across the sexiest
    4. I just wonder how the manning/ operating/ procuring balance will be [best] achieved, and balanced between the services in this new framework?

  126. Think Defence

    Yet another example of a failure of civilian leadership at the MoD

    It is supposed to work out the best mix of land sea and air and manage the budgets thereof i.e. getting a grip of the squabbling kids at the head of the three services. This is a simple abdication of that difficult task, like outsourcing DE&S

    It was all just too hard so instead of actually making it work the Government has gone all teflon shoulders and given the balls back to the children

    Not impressed to be honest

  127. x

    The thing is when the next bun fight kicks off the politicians will be interfering in the fighting again. “Only return fire.” “No full auto.” “Sniper rifles are offensive weapons.” etc. etc.

  128. ArmChairCivvy

    TD, I am all for accountability, but I am afraid your reading is the right one.
    - we should add the proc & maintenance into the picture as well, as it is a bigger number than any of the service budgets
    - I am aware of the cross-over, but the only open source (NAO) does not do it that way, and I can’t really make up the numbers… at times I am tempted to try, though!

  129. RW

    @TD

    Bernard Gray has given us the explanation:

    He can’t give the right rewards to staff within the civil service structure, it’s not about abandoning responsibility it’s about using different organisations to achieve better results.

    You seem to confuse standardisation and centralisation; it’s good to have containers, but even better to have a range that share specifications. Using a 40 ft container when a 10 will do is no sense, if two 10s are a match great but otherwise the 10 goes by itself –lighter and generating less cost.

    Command economies don’t work!

    The correct model for procurement is one in which you have commercially able people. Civil servants have a totally inappropriate mentality, they have no idea of value, and they will instead use an idea of fit for purpose and assured specification. If you say cheaper they will ask how much, i.e. they have no idea of what potential low cost they should search for. They will also stop the search the moment they have achieved a figure, while centrally generated efficiency targets will be obeyed they won’t be exceeded and you will always get the missing Friday effect.

    If you want to see cost reduction in current production look at the 10 fold drop in costs that BAE have generated from their new line for the aft fuselage of the F35, they would never have done this driven by civil servants, they have done this by copying automotive – an area that has no cosseted government procurement to speak of.

    I think that it is entirely correct that senior managers of “divisions” or services deal with budgets while head office look strategically, if there is duplication then divisions can negotiate with each other, in reality this “duplication” is more in the definition than the reality.

    Take MRAP type vehicles, it might seem that the royal marines should use the same equipment as the Army, but they need to fit equipment into landing craft and ships as well as having a responsibility to progress through Arctic conditions, so it’s correct for them to have niche vehicles.

  130. Think Defence

    Jedi, I think you are confused.

    Sorry to be a pedant but the question was, what would she have done in the place of David Cameron, not what she did do years ago i.e. today

    And today, means she would jump into a CR2 as she jumped into a CR1 when she was in power.

    Is that tables turned :)

  131. WiseApe

    Thank you. Glorious sunny, mild day in my neck of the woods.

    I have refought this battle many times in the Age of Sail pc game, commanding either side, and it invariably ends with a Franco-Spanish victory. Which just goes to show what a tremendous HUMAN achievement it was.

  132. SteveD

    So when are we getting a post about an independent Scotland, TD? :D

    An SNP minister has done an AMA on reddit, including discussing some of the SNP’s defence policies discussed at their conference: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/11sk0w/iam_humza_yousaf_msp_minister_for_external/

    Plus the RUSI has done a report on what form an independent Scotland army might take; http://www.rusi.org/downloads/assets/Scottish_Defence_Forces_Oct_2012.pdf

    So what might the independence vote mean for Scotland? Apparently the only way to save Scottish jobs is by voting ‘yes’, but how an independent Scotland would support all the shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde and at Rosyth by itself is beyond me.

  133. x

    Happy St Crispin’s Day!

    This day is called the feast of Crispian:
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
    And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
    Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
    But he’ll remember with advantages
    What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
    Familiar in his mouth as household words
    Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
    Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remember’d;
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition:
    And gentlemen in England now a-bed
    Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

    Nuff said.

  134. WiseApe

    From the BBC: “The Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal has been launched, with the aim of raising £42m to help service personnel and their families in need.”

    My late father (ex artilleryman and POW) taught me the importance of the Poppy Appeal when I was very young and I have supported it ever since. But I think it sad and perverse that while we hand over benefits measured in the billions to those who have done nothing to earn them, every year we pass collection boxes around to support servicemen and their families.

    It is reported that the Olympics cost £377 million less than expected. £42 million – that’s less than the “management fee” claimed by G4S. Just saying.

  135. x

    Um. I think nuclear power accounts for 17/18% of our electric. And that is from 17 reactors. New nuclear power stations cost £8billion a copy. Thorium may or may not be cheaper. If we scrap overseas aid and EU contributions we could fund the building of 2 per year. Of course it would be a continual £16 billion per year from now to ad infinitum because we would never have enough stations to reach 100% as stations would need to be retired. I suppose neggawatts will play a part as well. No new house should be built with a south facing roof for PVs or ground source heat exchanger about £30k per building. If we add £4billion on to that £16billion to convert houses built after 1965 that would be 100,000 per year, a million every decade, and that would take 90 years or so. (1 million houses built every 5 years from 1965 onwards approximately.) Remind me again who built the first commercial reactor? Let’s hope for fusion.

  136. martin

    @ Wise Ape – It was me that posted the article originally about Thorium. Its a real pity that so far India is the only country that has explored Thorium since the US pulled out in the 1970′s. Not to criticise the indian’s for their efforts but they are not exactly a major R&D centre for such re search. I think If we had a European or US effort we could get a workable design relativley quickly.

    @ X

    I have high hopes for ITER fusion. However everything that I am reading is pointing to the fact that Neutron damage from fusion of deuterium may well be enough to make fusion hideously expensive and inefficent. Obvisouly He3 or I think Beryillium could be fused to get around this issue however it’s much harder to get such items to fuse. .

  137. Observer

    martin, China has thrown their hat into the Thorium ring too with actual working models. Their energy needs are very pressing, so no surprise that they’re trying to ween off expensive oil and diversify to avoid strategic risk.

    Research drive has always been relative to amount of desperation. :)

  138. martin

    @ Observer

    China coming in is certainly good news. However I think if we had had more player in since the 1970′s we may have achieved much more. I would have to ask questions about China’s capability as well. If it’s not something they can knick and copy aka F35 – J31 how good will it be. It remains unclear to me why the EU is yet to persue a joint development project. Hopefully recent efforts in the US to produce a small mobile LFTR for the Army will bare some fruit, it just all seems painfully slow for such a crucial problem with an elegant solution.

  139. x

    @ Martin

    Yes sometimes I think fusion may be always just out of reach. A bit like that problem where you need to reach an objective but each step covers only half the distance of the last. You will get very close, but you will never reach the objective. But who knows?

    Another consideration is that each reactor generates enough electric for 600,000. (Actually the needs of industry distorts that but bare with me.) If it is true that New Labour let in over 4 million in a very short time then that would mean the UK would need what 7 extra reactors just to keep pace? Or another £56billion in expenditure. Aren’t numbers fun?

  140. tsz52

    When it comes to hopes for fusion, I think that two great phrases apply: ‘Don’t spoil it with research’ and ‘[Perpetually] A mere forty years away!’

    I researched fusion extremely heavily a few years ago, and reached the conclusion, “Oh bollocks!”

    DT fusion has the ludicrous amount of neutrons, but if you start moving to less-neutronic fuels then it’s doubtful that they’ll yield a net energy gain, you generally (with most fuels) still have some neutrons but you’ve mostly swapped the neutrons for other horrible products that you can’t do much about either (being magnetically neutral) like X- and gamma rays. So you still end up with highly penetrating products that transmute the reactor’s elements over time.

    There might be some hope for externally pulsed micro fusion as a propulsion system for space craft (bombard a fuel pellet equally from all directions with lasers or particle beams so it ‘implodes’, charged products from the resulting fusion explosion act against a magnetic ‘pusher plate’, with a hydrogen expellant added to the mix for a decent amount of thrust at decent exhaust velocity), but that’s about it (and you still end up with a radioactive, transmuting space craft with a ton of waste heat to deal with).

    And just say ‘No!’ to antimatter, kids…. Fission really is the future.

  141. John Hartley

    The first 3 new UK reactors would need to be EPR as that is the only one licensed. After that, the new Areva prismatic HTGR seems the best option. It is the one the American nuclear industry has picked.
    HTGRs can run on a Uranium/Thorium mix. HTGRs can produce Hydrogen as a byproduct.

  142. WiseApe

    I’m putting this here mainly because there isn’t a “You couldn’t make this sh*t up” thread. You may want to skip the technical stuff and just scroll down to page 15 where the drawings begin.

    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19750022036_1975022036.pdf

    “(3) The vertical attitude of the cockpit during low-speed VTOL operations resulted in objectionable pilot attitudes which were judged to be unacceptable for an operational environment, particularly during landing.
    As a result of these shortcomings, interest in the concept greatly diminished.”

  143. x

    This is rather good. It shows just how many islands we have to defend and so is a good argument for more ships….. :)

  144. x

    Some ship and container news. The CMA CGM Marco Polo, the world’s largest container ship, visited Southampton today. She is 1299ft 3in long and has a beam of 175ft 10in In comparison CVF is 920ft long and has beam of 128ft at the waterline and 230ft overall. Feel free to fantasy about filling it with FJ and marines whilst forgetting inconvenient truths like draught and the performance characteristics of diesels.

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20121108/local/world-s-biggest-container-ship-to-call-at-malta.444530

  145. x

    Really nothing to do with defence, politics, IR, ships, rhubarb, custard, or Alsations, but I thought some of you might like this…..

  146. ArmChairCivvy

    There is no shared causality, but as we are getting over the “bump” with AAR and strategic lift, the critical shortfall will be in tactical lift in the 20′s
    - in the US(AF) they will have a shortfall of capacity in strat. lift and “too much” of tactical transport

    That is at least what Sec. Donley said yesterday in his 4-part review of the USAF plans to adjust between the missions defined and the savings required
    - the French dropping out from sharing AAR was noted (by NAO)with a very low two (mln) figure, so maybe there could be sharing on the “lift” side of things with a more steady partner?

  147. john e watson

    Sir
    send me a email with your address i have some picture of mecm i have a working prototype of tte mecm if you are interested
    Also have a design for shield for front of a tank

  148. Simon

    Does anyone know which ships are turning up for the “Battle of the Atlantic” anniversary in London on 8th May?

    I assume HMS Edinburgh will be there but am intrigued to know what the other ones will be… if you’re allowed to say, that is ;-)

    Cheers.

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