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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!

2,889 thoughts on “Open Thread – Land, Sea and Air II

  1. Simon

    Can someone explain why the LRIP8 for F35 states an airspeed of 700 (knots I presume) for A/C and 630 knots for F35B and a mach of 1.6?

    Saw it on a powerpoint on another forum (think it may have been Gabby’s).

  2. Mark

    Most likely different kcas speeds at different altitudes and at different design points for each a/c. They aren’t all the same. The overall global numbers are rather meaningless to an a/c operations.

    On the cost thing you posted elsewhere if that’s from the Japan article that is inclusive of thru life cost not just acquisition.

    And thanks for the help with the it issues it is 3G on the phone that works and wireless on the pc that doesn’t will attempt some refreshes.

  3. Simon

    Mark,

    So you mean that there is no relationship between the numbers?

    What made me ask was that 700 knots is supersonic but no where near M=1.6.

    Could it be supersonic dash speed on a hi-lo-lo-hi or something like that? i.e. max sea level speed???

  4. Mark

    Simon

    As your aware 700 knots at 35000ft is different than at 1000 just cause it m1.6 means little on its own. I don’t know the context so am guessing

  5. Simon

    Mark,

    Eventually got round to reading the “Bold Alligator” doc you linked the other week. I must say, I remember reading something like that in a doc called, I think, “Marching From the Sea”.

    I had the same response to both of the docs… isn’t that what we already do?

    I ended up having a discussion with Observer about the methodology of an assault. I advocated movement by aviation with the beach being taken merely to offload heavy equipment, he explained a few realities which I didn’t know about copters, landing spaces, etc.

    So, CVF as an LHA is okay, but you’ll notice a “proper” carrier sits nicely out-of-reach in the Bold Alligator exercise, a level of “cover” we’re extremely unlikely to get now.

  6. Simon

    One of TD’s wonderful new links suggests that HMS Ocean will be open to the public on particular days this summer (2012).

    Is there anyone here that can verify that fact and list the dates?

  7. x

    From Gallimaufry & Chips

    The AirTanker PFI is indeed far too expensive. The RAF should buy the China Eastern trade-in A340s and ask Marshalls of Cambridge to zero-hour and convert them to the RAAF specification (probe, reinforced floor and big cargo door). Then walk away from the PFI. Set a precedent.

  8. Chris.B.

    Wonder what the get out clauses look like for the Air Tanker PFI? Shame, that’s one of the few key things about the contract that we don’t know and it’s probably one of the most interesting right now.

  9. The Other Chris

    Re: @TD’s photo for the Future Heavy Lift helicopter.

    I have my doubts as to whether these future platforms will be a conventional main+tail rotor arrangement.

    Main reasons for this are:
    - Power wasted in diverting to the Tail Rotor (Piasecki was onto something…)
    - Rotor speed required for shifting enough air for heavy lift conflicts with maximum never-exceed speeds

    To transport heavy items fast, the most promising platforms are an evolution of the Chinook [1] to preserve power-to-weight, albeit still limited by rotor speed problems, or find ways to lift the weight without increasing rotor speed.

    For this, either wings [2] or a coaxial arrangement with slowed rotors acting as a disc-shaped wing-form [3]. Note when you use the rotors as a wing-form, you will need a form of propulsion, such as a pusher or puller.

    [1] http://media.popularmechanics.com/images/advanced-tandem-heli-0108.jpg
    [2] http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/photos/uncategorized/2007/05/31/qtr.jpg
    [3] http://defense-update.com/images/jhl1.jpg

  10. James

    TOC,

    a Chinook with some high-mounted shortish “wings” (i.e. not extending beyond swept area of the two main blades) was an idea i’ve seen a Powerpoint slide of – I think a US concept. Idea being that the extra weight is much more than compensated by the extra lift, and you can suspend “some” stuff below the wings for increased capacity. Not weapons, as Kevin the Chinook pilot is coming from the tag end of the aircrew selection process and probably can’t be trusted with dropping ordnance, but instead some things like 200 litre fuel or water bladders, 200 kilos of spare ammo for the boys, extra Javelins, scoff for an extra month, etc. The loggies would like all of that. Just need to design some form of polypropylene coffins to carry the stuff, and a small hand-cranked winch operable by some soldiers under the Loadie’s supervision to lift it from and lower it to the ground.

    The polyprop coffins are shaped to be a section of wing, and go up and down on a couple of strong enough wires. Winched up and locked in place, they are the wing. When detached, all that is left is a couple of metal spars which don’t affect flight very much.

  11. paul g

    Damn near 20 ton cargo capacity. Won’t carry it very far, but still

    upgraded version can carry 24 tonnes (mil26T2)

    2×14,000shp engines!!

  12. x

    LHA7 USS Tripoli, the next in class to the new USS America, will cost £1,488,405,222. A mere bagatelle.

  13. Simon

    These new “America” class do seem interesting in so much as they lack the well deck. Seems odd that the UK has been using separate LPH and LPD for years and just when everyone else (Spain, France, Australia, etc) are building LHDs the USMC go off on build San Antonio and America, effectively splitting the functions again.

    My rationale for this is that with F35B and V22 they can stand off further than the horizontal assault ships. However, looking at Bold Alligator and speaking to a few here it seems that is not the consensus.

    One last thing… why is America considered an LHA and Q.E. a CV?

  14. x

    LHA vs CV

    Well from the get go LHA was quite literally designed to optimise the operation of assault helicopters…..

    Well CV was designed to optimise fixed wing aircraft……..

    The main difference is speed which is a function of how the ships will be fought (and air group operation.)

    The CV needs speed to launch aircraft and needs to generate wind across the deck this helps even the STOVL planes. Carriers need to turn into the wind to launch aircraft meaning they zig zag. (More CATOBAR than STOVL) The CBG will be the tip of spear. It will need to get there quick and manoeuvre in theatre.

    Once sea control and (limited) air superiority has been achieved the ARG will be able to move into theatre. They don’t need high speed but endurance so don’t need as complicated an engine fit out.

    Rather like a SPG looks like tank but they are completely different vehicles so it is with flat top amphibs and true aircraft carriers.

    Bit rushed that. I am excited it is TT; even though it appears there will be no racing today. :(

  15. Simon

    x,

    From what I understand America simply uses the “dock down” tanks as extra fuel tanks for the massively hungry V22s and F35Bs. So, although the well deck is there it’s a bit useless.

    I guess they’ll have to fit “proper” temporary tanks in the vehicle holds on future models… or, or, operate F35B from the Nimitz’ offshore?

    Thanks for the LHA/CV thing. Still not sure. If you look closely the Wasp/America class can do 22 knots which is only 3 knots slower than CVF will manage! Therefore I don’t really see a massive difference in operational performance. In addition, with only 12 jets “routinely embarked” CVF is hardly a jet-only carrier ;-)

  16. x

    Well the speed of CVF isn’t optimum. But it was designed for STOVL operation from the get go. Remember we are doing this on the cheap. Compare speed of CVN to LHD and CVF to Ocean. None of this stuff is written in stone.

  17. Observer

    Since this is an open tread, I spotted something fairly interesting on Google Satellite Maps yesterday.

    When X brought up foilage in Singapore, I got curious as to how much of that green stuff is there, so I went to take a look, and found something.

    http://www.maplandia.com/singapore/singapore/singapore/

    Look at the extreme bottom right of the island, high zoom.

    Guess someone was visiting when the photo was taken :)

  18. Simon

    Observer,

    Never realised those Endurance class were so skinny!

    Old George is looking as huge as ever!!!

  19. Observer

    @Simon

    No idea if it’s George Washington or not, no time stamp on it. However it is a nice look at a “typical” CVBG and from an angle not usually seen, satellite!

    I count 40? F-18s, 3 E-2s, 4 CH-46 Sea Knights and 2 Seahawks I think. I wonder if the 2 subs parked there are US or local forces? Might be interesting to know if the US doctrinally deploys subs as part of the group.

  20. Simon

    Observer,

    I saw number 73 on the bow of the Nimitz – I think this is George.

    Dunno about the subs but think that they are usually part of a Carrier Strike Group.

    I count:

    40 F18
    3 E2
    5 E6
    6 Sea Hawks

  21. Alan Garner

    Anyone know if it’s possible, assuming future budget improvements, to fit the A70 sylver launcher to T45′s giving them the ability to launch the naval Storm Shadow (Scalp Naval)?

    It’s pretty obvious the 45 needs to be multi role and the A70+SCALP seems to be a good solution if it fits the size envelope. Also a good off the shelf bit of kit too that could go in during a refit perhaps? Could also share maintenance with RAF Storm Shadows. By my (very basic) maths that would be much cheaper than Harpoon+TLAM as SCALP can do both jobs.

  22. x

    Strike length Mk41 launcher will fit so in theory I think A70 (about 6.5m deep isn’t it?) should fit. There is plenty of fresh air above if there isn’t slack below.

    SCALP-N is expensive. I don’t think there would be much of a saving.

  23. tsz52

    I looked into this a while ago – unfortunately there isn’t as much commonality between Storm Shadow and SCALP-N as you’d hope.

    A70 will only be a better choice if the Euro economies stop tanking and a range of large missiles are developed to compete with the US ones (BMD/ABM Aster and a Euro-ASROC-type would be things of greatness) – won’t be happening any time soon, sadly.

  24. Alan Garner

    I’m sure one of the great leaders must have identified a VLS Harpoon replacement, and they must have looked at adding a TLAM capability to DD’s. Think the saving would come in having both with one missile that’s smaller than a Tomahawk.

    The A70 in my 45 would have Aster’s (already in service) and SCALP-N (already in French service) or a Brit version. Even if the Euro economies don’t invest in general naval missile development, by the time this got into British service it would all be relatively mature off the shelf kit.

  25. x

    tsz52 said “BMD/ABM Aster and a Euro-ASROC-type would be things of greatness”

    How so? The European countries that get the most bang for their defence buck buy American. The French and Italian have a complete range of naval weapons but that is more about protecting their domestic industry. Would you rather us be like the Germans, Dutch, Danes, Norwegians, and Spanish, or more involved with the French and Italians? Who got their fully armed destroyers into the water first, and who stitched us up like a kipper. I only advocate FREMM because of base commonality/lineage with Horizon/T45. In a few months time there may not be a “Europe”, but I know there will be a USA for a good while.

  26. tsz52

    x: I’m talking about from where we are now, without using hindsight and backwards time-travel (as always, in these kinds of discussions), where we have heavily invested in, and committed to, the Euro-missiles path… though in that usual UK way of sort of committing and sort of not which leaves us hanging in the air, with not much return for our enormous investment.

    In hindsight, we *might* have been better off with US missiles and APAR (certainly not SPY-1!), but we didn’t so we are where we are. From here, more investment in Sylver-compatible Euro-missiles would be great for the usual economic, industrial and sovereignty reasons. Also to throw a bit of an extra wild card at any potential adversaries (some of whom may use or know all about, and have countermeasures against, US systems). And don’t forget all the spin-off tech and components that have come from our choice, and are yielding fruit in other related areas (reducing costs and increasing commonality).

    “Would you rather us be like…?” It’s a bit hindsight again, but as it became apparent that the RN budget was going to get mercilessly sliced and diced forever; if we’d stopped trying to be a mini-USN and focused more on being like the better-balanced high-medium Euro Navies, we’d be in a much better position now. Whether we like it or not, our budget and naval global commitments do make us more like France than any other nation on Earth. Maybe one day we’ll both stop playing silly buggers and sort it out, instead of keeping on talking about it then failing because of some stupid tiff. This will become increasingly likely as further cuts make pragmatism/survival trump silly BS, and the US continues to distance itself from this neck of the woods.

    Please note: I’m not suggesting any exclusivity here – we should expand on all of our significant alliances as much as possible (so we should be working with who’s best at what for our particular needs, eg the US [not France] with Successor). Big subject – they’re just the headlines.

  27. Chris.B.

    On reflection, if it were me I’d want the Mk.41. Consider as well the amount of different nations that use them and could potentially develop new weapons for them vs Sylver.

  28. Challenger

    What launcher will the Norwegian NSM use?

    Also forgive my ignorance on this but what exactly are the choices here? If we discount the current A50 because of its limitations then that surely only leaves A70, because you still need something to stick Asters in?

    With the Mk.41 just how big is it? Would it be a direct and therefore fantasy replacement for the Sylver variants of can it work alongside one of them?

  29. Chris.B.

    @ Challenger,

    The Type 45 is sized to take an additional 16 Mk.41 cells between the current cells and the main gun. I’m fairly sure you could adapt Mk.41 to accept Aster, for a price. Then we have SeaCeptor (god I hate that name) that should quad pack in most silos, including Mk.41.

  30. Challenger

    So the NSM has it’s own launcher and isn’t in a VLS?

    So correct me if i’m wrong but are these the choices?

    A mix of A50 and up-to 16 MK.41 with something like Tomahawk.
    Or a big A70 to take both Aster and Scalp.
    Or just an A50 and then something like NSM in addition?

    Is that about right?

  31. tsz52

    Chris.B. 21:31: I can see both sides:-

    1 APAR/SMART-L/Mk 41: Access to a huge catalogue of weapons, and a tonne of commonality with allies (which is both good and bad). NATO ship-based ABM standard looks like it’ll be SM-3 linked with SMART-L/SPY-1 for the Euro types, so we could have just jumped on board all that;

    2 UK/French/Italian route with Sylver: Some (though not great) evidence that Sylver is a superior VLS (higher RoF, safer if something goes wrong with a launch), all the industrial (and other) benefits that come with developing your own missiles, competition can only ever be a good thing (keeps everyone honest), and for the first time in decades Euro tech was edging ahead of US tech in these key areas, and economies were booming (re development funds and exports). And in Naval terms/requirements, we have far more in common with France than we do the Aegis/APAR lot.

    I think that #2 was the right choice then, though wouldn’t have argued too strenuously with a #1 advocate. Main problem being that we wanted new AAW DDGs, which are complete ships, and for the whole package Horizon was the closest fit for us (the Euro-Aegis and APAR programme frigate hulls were too small). The Horizon programme was bad enough, but imagine if we’d also tried to be part of the APAR/US missiles programme too, along with all the bespoke kit that we did actually need (automation, IFEP and WR-21/ICR).

    From where we are now, there are still benefits that came from our choice of going the non-US route. The new generation of missiles (not just ship-launched) all share bits and bobs, saving costs (development, and using now-OTS components and software).

    Likewise, a lot of Artisan came from Sampson development, and shares a lot of the components in the mast and software.

    Seeing these things as complete programmes and systems that you can’t just cherry-pick the good bits out of (historically), then the extra investment in the whole UK/French/Italian route added a lot of cost to the Darings but will be being recouped in having much cheaper combat systems for the Duke upgrades/Type 26s.

    There isn’t really anything else out there that’s as cost-effective as the Artisan/CAMM combo, which is the only thing that’s giving us a fighting chance of having 13 new frigates in the nearish future.

    If we’d gone the US missiles route, then we’d be wedded to ESSM; so would need to be adding the cost, mass and complexity of some sort of TI radar to our super-austere new frigates (plus MK 41s, rather than just the CAMM boxes that we might be able to get away with installing into the ships with no external VLS in addition).

    So in the long run, it might have saved us some money, and at least gives us a chance of being able to export our version of the ‘GCS’ to whomever we like (rather than needing US approval).

    Just a few thoughts chucked out: I’m not particularly married to any opinion here, and am happy to discuss but certainly don’t want some stupid row about it. I’m happy enough with how it all went in the end – stonkingly good AAW DDGs, and that opened the door to getting the possibility of a semi-decent number of cheap FFGs, via cheap upgrades to our existing FFGs, when the crunch and butchers’ knives came.

    I’d be interested in how folks see the cheap frigate timeline if our Darings had been Type 45 hulls with APAR instead of Sampson and Mk 41s full of US missiles rather than Sylvers with our investment in Euro missiles.

  32. Challenger

    Also if NSM has both land attack and anti ship capabilities then surely that is a great advantage?

    Could both 2xquad Harpoon and something else like a MK.41 be fitted to a Type 45, or is their not enough room?

  33. Observer

    TD, was that a “Naval Strike Missile” in the pic? It didn’t look like a Tomahawk, Tommys don’t have an external engine pod unit.

    @x

    European stuff isn’t THAT bad, the RSN used Italian torpedos for decades, and the ASTOR isn’t something to be sniffed at. TBH, our ships are a bit like Frankenstein’s monster, bits and pieces from everywhere, but hey, it works, we’re happy.

    As an example of how Frankenstein, our corvettes have a German hull, Italian torpedos and main gun, American AShM, Swedish radar, Israeli jammers and AAMs.

    It’s a bloody miracle that thing stayed in one piece. :P

  34. Chris.B.

    @tsz52

    You can use Mk.41 cells without going full on AEGIS. I think BAE originally proposed just that, because I believe they had (or have) a stake in Mk.41. We could have used Mk.41 on Type 45 and still gone Artisan + SeaCeptor for T26. I’m guessing though that we would have had to stump alone the money to integrate Aster into Mk.41.

    Just generally it strikes me as another example of where we tried the whole “spread the costs by finding European partners etc” type job, and then ended up doing our own thing anyway. I don’t know what it is about the UK but we seem incapable of making these kind of joint projects work properly and should probably stop getting involved in them.

  35. tsz52

    Aye, if you’re talking about integrating Aster into Mk 41 then that’s a different story. Dunno, I’ve looked into this, but to say how simple a VLS is compared to what’s fired out of it, hard info on the former’s really hard to come by.

    It *seems* that Sylver was the better choice for the core AAW role, especially for a ship with a single VLS nest (higher RoF vs saturation, and less likely to suffer catastrophic, widespread damage due to a bad misfire). Add to that the extreme reliability that Type 45 needs to have, and its better to further minimise the chances of anything going wrong by avoiding adapting the singularly-important munition to a different launcher than the one intended.

    As to your second point, yeah; really should work, on paper, but rarely does, does it? :( It’s tempting to go, ‘Them bloody French!..’ but Italy doesn’t seem to end up being too badly done by in these programmes, and some of the French demands did turn out to be correct (eg Rafale having a CATOBAR variant).

    It’s mostly that wilful and competitive siblings thing we’ve got going on, coupled with the fact that we (the UK) never really seem to know exactly what the eff we actually want going in to a project, and then never stick to whatever we do vaguely decide. It’ll work out eventually though, because it’ll simply have to one day (zero pi$$ing about money for either of us, and if we don’t sort it then neither of us gets anything, including anything else to plug that capability hole).

  36. Chris.B.

    To be fair on Typhoon/Rafale, we had no need for and didn’t envision a future need for, a carrier variant. At the time the deal was struck it really was a case of those bloody French!

    Then it was our turn with Type45/Horizon. We all had the same basic need; to provide a close in defensive frigate to protect out carriers against air attack/missile attack. It was us that rocked the boat by wanting a ship for much wider area defensive coverage. Whoops!

    As long as all parties can agree early on what they want, work share etc, then it’s all good. The trouble is that rarely happens, and anytime one party pulls out it all goes down the drain again. Given how many of these projects have stunk it up so far, I suspect we’d be better just going it alone from hence forth.

  37. tsz52

    “Given how many of these projects have stunk it up so far, I suspect we’d be better just going it alone from hence forth.”

    It’d certainly seem that way, but then you’re up against the dreaded ‘defence inflation’ as we all keep going forward – there will come a time when major programmes will just have to be funded by pairs of countries minimum, then a few countries, then entire continents, and so on.

    Hopefully that whole ‘plug and play’ modular malarkey might make the process easier in future projects? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  38. Chris.B.

    Well, once you extract political delays, we don’t actually do too bad for our money. For example, I’m not exactly a fan of the CVF program but remove the political issues from that and the rest of the program isn’t too bad. Sort of.

  39. Observer

    One question I would like to know is “Can a viable warload of Tomahawks be carried on such a small platform?”

    No point intergrating it all only to find that it can only fire 2-4x the whole campaign.

  40. tsz52

    Observer: It’d be 16 TLAM, assuming that we could ever afford something so extravagant. IIRC, the thing that’d be lost within the ship, by installing the two additional Mk 41s, would be the officers’ gym.

  41. x

    European stuff isn’t that bad. SeaViper is awesome. Mk41 doesn’t need Aegis. RSN frigates are an example of how things should be done. We just always back the wrong horse. But what makes it worse is our horse is often beaten by tin of cat meat.

  42. x

    On his page Sol has a piece about Mv22 ITV,

    http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/us-military-miht-field-3-different-v-22.html

    The General Dynamics Flyer at the bottom caught my eye as it seems to address to me all what was wrong with LSV.

    http://www.gd-ots.com/Flyer/FlyerVideo.html

    http://www.gd-ots.com/2011%20Brochures/Flyer%20(Unarmored).pdf

    http://www.gd-ots.com/2011%20Brochures/Flyer-(Armor).pdf

    It is light enough to be lifted by Merlin. And 2 will fit inside the Chinook.

  43. Observer

    What was wrong with the LSV? (Besides the fact that LSV is a type of vehicle, and that the “Flyer” is a LSV too. :) )

  44. x

    @ Gareth J

    Looks like more like! :)

    I have this love hate thing with Hummers. I remember the first time I sat in one. There was this huge vehicle and they had seemingly removed all the internal space. From the driver’s seat the passenger seemed to be about two fields away. The driving position has more in common with an SJ than a Land Rover. I do like the chassis though and the engine. We had one fitted to a Range Rover. You could drive around in third all day, it would accelerate in fifth. The Range Rover has gone but we still have the engine.

  45. Gareth Jones

    Interesting link TD. This caught my attention – “Both parts of the Army will share resources from a new element called Force Troops And Logistics Support.This will include one artillery, an engineer, a surveillance, a medical, two signals and two logistics brigades – many of these made up of reserves.”

  46. Gareth Jones

    @ x – ” The Flyer is a Non-Developmental Item (NDI) containing 80% COTS and HWMVV platforms. The Flyer has a state of the art diesel 1.9L 150 Hp six-speed power train, cooling, brake and fuel systems with a low fuel consumption rate of 24mpg when traveling at 40mph.The Flyer maximizes the use of HWMVV NSN parts such as: differentials, steering rod ends, tie down rings, light system, alternator, suspension ball joints, air compressor and tires.”

    http://www.gd-ots.com/flyer.html

  47. x

    Do they really mean armoured when they say mechanised here?

    “The airborne brigade and one mechanised brigade, armed with Warrior fighting vehicles, will be capable of deploying inside three months. ”

    That is bigger stick of rhubarb than Multi-Role-Brigades. It seems the Army just love their tanks as much as the RAF love fighters and the RN love CVF.

    That is so piss poor I can’t believe it. Well I can. It is the MoD.

    What the fudge do we need 3 armoured brigades for? Wow.

  48. x

    @ Gareth J said “differentials, steering rod ends, tie down rings, light system, alternator, suspension ball joints, air compressor and tires.”

    Commonality of parts doesn’t make it a mini-Hummer. Especially those parts. Differentials in an off road vehicle are consumables, well nearly. Did you know VW have every part that goes into their cars catalogues on to a database so that industrial designers can order bits they think will be useful? Every from rubber grommets upwards.

    The tires on a Hummer are interesting too in that they are an odd size not available for civilians vehicles. Stops the tyres, sorry tires, being pinched…….

  49. Observer

    IIRC, the LSV was designed in a way where there is minimal superstructure above the body to reduce the profile for being targetted. It was a fad in that time period, complete with a “laser tag” trial of LSV vs MBT. Not sure of the validity of methods, but they found that for every 1 time the LSV got “tagged” it usually “tagged” the MBT back twice (simulating ATGMs).

    This even led to the development of a flat tank, I can’t remember the designation now.

    So the LSV layout wasn’t an error, it was a fad which passed. Just FYI. It was a weird time.

  50. paul g

    i would think the foxhound with it’s open top “pod” would be the next LSV type vehicle. Although not exactly light in the true sense of the word the days of a ¼ tonne landie bombing about are gone.

  51. x

    Observer said “So the LSV layout wasn’t an error, it was a fad which passed. Just FYI. It was a weird time.”

    You say tomato, I say, well, tomato. :)

  52. Gareth Jones

    @ x – I wasn’t claiming I was right, just providing info. In reality I’d say we were both partly right. It’s the bastard love child of a LAV and a Hummer.

  53. James

    A recce wagon needs something where the commander’s head is out, unrestricted vision for him, and 360 degree traverse on whatever weapon system you have. Hearing is also important, which adds to the “head in the open air” need. Our vehicle commanders only ever wore soft hats as well, to make it much easier to take your staff user headset off and to listen. Gunners and Drives had to wear the bone domes for elf’n’safety. I had real difficulty with adapting to MBT when I had to close down and wear a bone dome for the BG attacks – just felt weird looking at life through fag packet vision blocks and unable to hear much. I’d rather have taken my chances with the head out, but there had been an Israeli study showing commanders being targeted by snipers, so we had our orders.

    Ideally, it should be low and quiet, and have the Gucciest optics known to the MoD budget. Lots of dismountable toys as well like LRFs. Being low and lightweight, it will probably have decent cross-country performance and on road speed.

    So, anything like a LSV, DPV, Jackal or even a stripped down WMIK LR. If you step up the scale to a proper armoured box, it must have a turret to give you the same heads out capability.

    A vehicle with an enclosed cab and the commander being unable to see to the sides / rear or to hear the direction of sound from outside is not a recce wagon, it is a liaison vehicle. It may be OK for something like ATGW overwatch, but I’d still prefer the open aspect for that as well as commonality.

  54. Phil

    Christ that’s very different from what we were all expecting. 11 smaller brigades. Interesting. Adaptable brigades. What the hell are they? Fascinating. Seems like as I predicted(!) the brigades will get their logistic support from pooled resources. I wonder if these adaptable brigades are nothing more than the regional forces? So we’d basically have four real brigades and 7 reserve ones that would be mobilised for an enduring operation.

  55. x

    @ Gareth J

    Sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it.

    @ James

    Are both you and the gunner heads out then 90% of the time? Or just the commander? And what can you hear above the vehicle engine? (CVR(T) isn’t quiet if memory serves.) Or is it drive, stop, shufty, drive, stop, shufty? All Flyer would need is for the commander to sit on a raised seat where the back seats seem to be positioned. I thought it seemed to be an ideal vehicle for FRR and as weapons carrier for light infantry.

  56. James

    X,

    SOP was Gunner down when in reasonable expectation of contact. Commander 100% heads up, except when firing. In my second troop I had a gunner who could load RARDEN by himself from the centre bin, so even that problem went away a bit, except for the coax that he couldn’t reach.

    Yes, it is drive fast, slow down to crawling speed, stop, stand up to look over ridge (“sights down” in RAC parlance) or often dismount to approach on foot, engine off, then rinse and repeat. I often used to wear a man pack VHF radio full time so that I could jump out and go 100 yards from the wagon and still be able to report on the Squadron net (but I was more of a slimster in those days – not sure I’d be able to do that now and still slip in and out of the turret like a greased up thing).

    CVR(T) was not that loud, but could have been quieter. You could often hear the suspension and track slap further than you could hear an engine, especially in fog (something about low frequency sounds carrying further).

    Any recce vehicle commander who has his arse welded to a seat needs his arse kicking.

  57. James

    Gareth Jones,

    it’s a Toyota. Far too reliable, at least if Top Gear are to be believed (viz their “indestructibility” tests of a Hilux). It’s also silver….

    But yes, at a pinch, something like that. You’d want (well, at least I would) to appoint a decent LCpl as the vehicle 2IC and navigator / radio operator / BV operator in the passenger seat, and the commander up top. It would be better if the top was more open so you didn’t have to stand up to get in and out.

    It’s odd how some seriously skinny Africans reinvented the concept of the “Technical” from a back street welding lash up shop in Mogadishu about 15 years ago, some 30 years after Pinkies and Dingoes were last in service, and now western defence contractors are churning them out, far too over-engineered and costing a million apiece, as though they are the newest military idea going.

  58. x

    James said “Any recce vehicle commander who has his arse welded to a seat needs his arse kicking.”

    If you were the kicker and not the kickee wouldn’t that hurt your foot?

    Any how so I am right about how you operated then? So I think Flyer would do. Solomon has a Polaris video on his site with tacticool ATVs where the crew are even more exposed….

    @ Gareth J re offence

    Nowhere near. I might throw a wobbly here every now and again but that is more to do with my mental state and not anything really real…

  59. Phil

    Prediction on The Agile Force: 2 of the 7 brigades will be larger and can be mobilised at notice to back up the three armoured infantry brigades in an enduring operation. 1 or 2 will be designated as reinforcement pools for the other 5 brigades (3 AI and 2 AF ones) and the other 4 or 3 will basically be regional brigades that the Army will pretend could be part of an expeditionary force.

  60. x

    Have the RA been shafted? It all seems to be tanks and infantry. What of the gunners?

    It is cods wallop.

  61. Phil

    How can you call it cods wallop when the details haven’t been given yet? It’s obvious the Army is trying to maintain a combined arms manoeuvre capability and a pool of further forces that can be cobbled together for enduring operations. There are 3 brigades because that’s a minimum needed to rotate them through HR state in an enduring manner.

  62. x

    I reserve the right to prejudge everything the MoD does in a poor light. :)

    It’s that phrase again “Enduring Ops”. So what sort of war will the armoured brigade be fighting? Are you envisaging high-end Cold War armour tasks? Or Afghanistan style OPS? Surely in the first one brigade wouldn’t last long against a (near) peer enemy? And in the second wasn’t Warrior of limited use in Afghanistan once the locals started building IEDs? Did a solitary Challenger ever get East of Iraq? Or do you think the MoD sees war against somebody who isn’t a pear, but can’t impovise explosives devices? A medium enemy as it were? Perhaps we need medium, not heavy or light, brigades then?

    Concentrating on armoured formations is the wrong way if “enduring ops” or “wars amongst the people” or to use that distasteful phrase “wog bashing” is still seen as the future. And those were infantry heavy operations so if 4 battalions couldn’t cut in Afghanistan how will 2 do it in the future?

    The only thing they have right is the airborne stuff. Now will 16ABB retain the 2 line regiments or loose them and become an all maroon affair? Also will the new 16AAB, the light formation, remain at 4 batts while the heavy will be light on infantry? And isn’t that lopsided?

    Finally you know bugger all about what the MoD intend to do as well. So if I can’t comment on scant information perhaps you shouldn’t either?

  63. James

    X,

    possibly. I remember giving my squadron (or more specifically the vehicle commanders) a shock when I scheduled a 4 day tactical exercise for Mon-Thurs of one week, when on the Friday we had our annual REME PRE exam of the vehicles. Massive complaints tactfully delivered by the SSM as everyone expected that all of the boys would spend all of the time bulling up the wagons and making sure the paperwork was all OK. On Monday morning, we paraded for the exercise, then I took only the vehicles commanders only with me for a four day dismounted exercise, and left the boys under the gunners to get on with the wagons. Result – four days of good training, and we passed our PRE. Some of the vehicle commanders had been in my Troop years before when I was a young Troop Leader, so knew of my penchant for getting down into the mud and making use of the legs God gives you, but some were slightly outraged at the idea.

    I do recall the CO however telling me that I was in for a sacking if we failed PRE. He was quite generous later on and addressed the Squadron, telling them that he fully expected every Squadron to react to the unexpected, and be good at the barracks bullshit, and that we’d more than passed his test. Bought me a bottle of fizz in the Mess as well, which was decent of him.

  64. Phil

    “So if I can’t comment on scant information perhaps you shouldn’t either?”

    You’re so chippy.

    http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/98670ABC-0F28-4893-8081-8F2912D84407/0/20120607jcn_2_12_floc_2.pdf

    “Are you envisaging high-end Cold War armour tasks? Or Afghanistan style OPS?”

    I’m not envisaging anything. The Army wants to be able to undertake all types of mission since it hasn’t any more of a bloody clue what it might need to do tomorrow than anyone else.

    It is maintaining a core manoeuvre combined arms capability that can be used from high end to low end interventions and it wants an adaptable pool of forces to bring up the rear and do enduring operations if they are needed. So we can do small complex interventions (ABTF, the VHR BG in the AI Bde), larger complex operations (HR AI Bde at 3 months notice) or single effort complex operations (3 AI Bdes and a divisional HQ), or enduring complex operations (AI bdes + the Adaptable Force), smaller non-complex operations (UK Contingency Bn) and standing military tasks (MACA, FI, Cyprys, Brunei and Public Duties).

    So it is keeping at its centre the hardest thing to do and the hardest thing to re-generate because nobody knows what it will be doing. Makes perfect bloody sense to me. You don’t cut the forces that are hardest to re-build when you don’t know if you’ll need them tomorrow or in a decade.

    Clue is in the name, Adaptable Force. I imagine that a lot of those units in the AF will have a core peacetime task but will be capable of taking pooled equipment and using it so for example a Recce Regiment in the AF could ramp up to use CR2 if it needed. Or a Light Role unit to an AI unit. Essentially crystallising and organising for what happens now with HERRICK.

  65. James

    Phil,

    with you entirely on the main thinking, but as an observation, but no criticism, of your examples, it’s more complex. Having myself gone from FR to MBT, it is an entirely different skill set, and more one to do with people and thinking than kit and training. Having also done the NATO Unit OPEVAL for a MBT Regiment that went to FR, it’s a longer process, so FR to MBT is more of a ramp down than a ramp up.

    My instinct: takes 2+ years to go from MBT to FR, 1+ year from FR to MBT. In each case, the kit conversion takes about 2-3 months, so that’s not the problem. Unscientific, but I’m sure I’m not wrong.

    A Squadron of my Regiment went from MBT to recce for a tour in Afghanistan – they did very well in the role, but I don’t think any of them thought they were FR, as opposed to crewing recce wagons. It’s a whole different mindset.

  66. Observer

    “The enemy IFV has spotted us!!! Run!!!!”

    “You’re in a Challenger, idiot.”

    “Oh…”

    :P

  67. ArmChairCivvy

    From Phil’s linked document, page 4-13
    “Combat power should be concentrated in the force to
    match high threats from the outset, as opposed to reliance upon a modular approach that dilutes the combat power across the force. Rapid deployment of a robustly configured force …will be critical.”

    Together with the 11 “dwarf bdes” is exactly what Wall and Carter said when the former gave the task to the latter:
    -to be able to fight also a more conventional enemy in a high intensity environment
    - maintain expeditionary capabilities
    - configure into about ten, smaller than the MRB-construct (in the above, read: modular across the force, diluting fighting power)units to be able to have enough readineness for being rapid, when required

    I guess there will be some more concrete announcement, the predicted emphasis on battlefield networking will only come through in the detail

  68. jedibeeftrix

    Cheers for the link TD, and to Phil for the doc which i suspect has more detail. Will get to that.

    “Under plans drawn up by Lieutenant General Nick Carter the regular Army will number 82,000 by 2020. Reserves will be expanded to 30,000. It will be split into Reaction Forces and an Adaptable Force. Reaction Forces will be made up of a division of three armoured brigades, each with a tank regiment and two armoured infantry regiments plus an airborne brigade.”

    Interesting, seems like the notion of permanent ability to intervene / persistent ability to sustain have now become official canon. Been wittering about tha for ages.

  69. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi jedi, RE “permanent ability to intervene / persistent ability to sustain”
    - for the former, there is a healthy recognition that that the BGs by air/landing are just lead elements, and to be able to bring the army into play at all may require going in heavy right at the beginning (rotation for readiness: 3 Cdos excl. Fleet protection even though 4th in the name, restructured AAB will also probably have 3 infantry elements… and 3 heavy bdes)
    - ability to sustain; well, the detail is coming I guess. The interesting mention is that Logistics Rgmnts will be equipped so that they won’t tie up too many combat units when operating in or through contested territory

  70. x

    @ Phil

    I am not chippy. I was speaking my mind. Free speech and all that.

    As for “Adaptable Force” I read compromise not because they think they need to cover all threats, more because they aren’t sure what to do.

  71. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Can on one of the Army types perhaps illustrate how this new structure would have supported recent Ops. For instance GW2 H hour, enduring Ops Afghan etc. That would make it much clearer for this “land blind” sea dog.
    Cheers.

  72. Phil

    “As for “Adaptable Force” I read compromise not because they think they need to cover all threats, more because they aren’t sure what to do.”

    Well precisely. The Tea Leaf Reading Regiment was cut in Options for Change.

  73. Phil

    James

    I am sure you are right when converting from FR to MBT on a regiment basis. But what I meant was a squadron sized uplift as I imagine there’s trouble if we need a tank regiment still in an enduring operation. I know units for HERRICK were (I imagine every unit who is going now knows it) being warned off NLT 12 months before so I would have thought 12 months would be enough time to train up to CT3 on CR2 and then do whatever OPTAG they’d need to do when there’s virtually a blank cheque for training and priority for training stocks, mileage, ranges and driving courses.

  74. paul g

    picture of the “commando” version of foxhound. It’s plus points over the flyer for me are, an in service vehicle (almost!) so all the support is in place, v shape hull and no sitting over the wheels. as thi is a module vehicle, james’s points could be taken and adapted for slightly more armour and a commanders hatch up top. (BTW i can’t believe i passed your sqn in fally, must’ve been bought beers in the copper kettle!!)

    http://scbiznews.s3.amazonaws.com/1314362506-ocelot_Weapons_variant.jpg

  75. jedibeeftrix

    @ ACC – “for the former, there is a healthy recognition that that the BGs by air/landing are just lead elements, and to be able to bring the army into play at all may require going in heavy right at the beginning (rotation for readiness: 3 Cdos excl. Fleet protection even though 4th in the name, restructured AAB will also probably have 3 infantry elements… and 3 heavy bdes)”

    Sorry, i’m not quite following your short-hand! :)

    “BGs by air/landing”

    Are you referring to the readiness elements in both 16AAB and 3Cdo?

    “rotation for readiness: 3 Cdos excl”

    Why are they excluded? I mean; of course intervention forces need to be out of regular rotation, but surely no different to 16AAB which has a similar intervention role (other side of the coin effectively).

    “Fleet protection even though 4th in the name, restructured AAB will also probably have 3 infantry elements… and 3 heavy bdes”

    Are you suggesting that the plan is to shift all intervention forces to a one-in-three roulement, therefore:
    3Cdo = 3x Commandos as the principle elements
    (16?)AAB = 3x Battalions (Para) as the principle elements
    3x Heavy brigades (with Arm/BR/ArmInf/ArmInf)

    Makes sense, a permanent ability to intervene is not the same as a persistent commitment to stabilise, so one-in-five is not necessary.

    All strangely reminiscent of my previous attempt to define permanence and persistence:
    http://jedibeeftrix.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/983/

  76. jedibeeftrix

    @ Paul – re commando foxhound

    tremendous, can we buy thousands of the foxhound family please?

  77. x

    Phil said “Well precisely. The Tea Leaf Reading Regiment was cut in Options for Change.”

    There is making pragmatic choices based on recent conflicts and potential future likely conflicts and just returning to the out moded and familiar because you are bereft of ideas and/or are giving into vested interests within.

    As for your mantra of “force generation” well as I said we have been deploying formations based on 4 battalions into the field in Afghanistan. Formations using MRAPs and light vehicles, rarely Warrior and no Challengers. We have fought 2 armoured wars in the last 30 years, 3 COIN campaigns, and one conventional light infantry war. Seeing as Warrior and Challengers aren’t suitable for the infrastructure in Third World and if they were suitable for COIN we wouldn’t have bought all those MRAPs. Nor are they suitable for rapid deployment and heavy logistical train (the bit we are cutting back on). How long do you think the British armoured brigades in GW1 would have lasted if the war had gone for much longer against a (near) peer enemy? 2 days? 3 days? Do you know how much a struggle GW1 was logistically for the Army?

    So I am sorry if heavy formations that are infantry light in a time we are cutting back on logistics are suddenly going to be core of the army, basis for “force generation” or not, seems illogical.

  78. Challenger

    I really need to get my head around this new Army structure, just when we think 5 MRB’S is the deal they throw this new idea out there.

    So we end up with 11 brigades, and I think I’m right in saying that it won’t be a mix of regular and regional anymore?

    So 16th AAB and 3rd Commando stay relatively the same, as rapid reaction ‘kick in the door’ units.

    Are the 3 armoured brigades full strength, intervention units? Capable of short, sharp conventional operations at short notice?

    If this is the case then does it also mean that the 7 infantry brigades are a mix of regular and territorial, primarily there for home duties and only deploying if they had enough notice and it was on a lengthy, rotational deployment like Afghanistan?

    I would appreciate clarification from anyone who knows. They don’t make it easy!

  79. Phil

    “So I am sorry if heavy formations that are infantry light in a time we are cutting back on logistics are suddenly going to be core of the army, basis for “force generation” or not, seems illogical.”

    It’s not, TAF (adaptable force) will be able to reinforce and support the reaction forces it seems from what I am reading and hearing now. The Army peacetime structures have never been determinstic, they have never limited our options, if we need to deploy a different mix of force elements then we do. The whole point behind this is precisely that. To have an adaptable force!

    The 3 brigades simply concentrate capabilities that are hardest to re-generate into 3 formations that can then rotate around the force generation cycle on a day to day basis with convenience. If the balloon goes up TAF can reinforce and bespoke the force.

    In my mind its very simple. And its simply the recognition and planning for what we have been doing since Op Banner.

  80. Phil

    “So we end up with 11 brigades, and I think I’m right in saying that it won’t be a mix of regular and regional anymore?”

    Yes this is looking certain now.

    “So 16th AAB and 3rd Commando stay relatively the same, as rapid reaction ‘kick in the door’ units.”

    16X will be “modified” I suspect by loosing a battalion. I suspect 3X will lose The Rifles too. 16X will provide ABTF and 3X will provide the ARG Cdo.

    “Are the 3 armoured brigades full strength, intervention units? Capable of short, sharp conventional operations at short notice?”

    The brigades will cycle around the force generation cycle with one brigade at High Readiness (HR – 90 days) with one BG within that brigade rotating through as Very High Readiness. They can do short and sharp, or they can go there and rotate through like in Bosnia or Iraq as each Bde hits the appropriate point in the force generation cycle.

    “If this is the case then does it also mean that the 7 infantry brigades are a mix of regular and territorial, primarily there for home duties and only deploying if they had enough notice and it was on a lengthy, rotational deployment like Afghanistan?”

    It looks this way. Each brigade is going to be of a “varying” size so I imagine some will be at a higher state of readiness and require less preparation and some will provide units to augment the reaction forces and the remainder will maybe have a core mission like doing Public Duties or providing the 3 overseas Bns (2 Cyprus, 1 Brunei). They will absorb the role of the regional forces and it seems certain will be at extended readiness.

    “They don’t make it easy!”

    To be fair they haven’t made the announcement yet. They have been waiting since May to get the political authority to announce it, it has been signed off internally for some time.

  81. x

    @ Phil

    Well of course the Army always sent what is needed. But that still doesn’t explain why the Army believes the core of the mid-21st century needs to built around 3 armoured brigades. Basically you are saying that they, your former superiors, have no need to specify what equipment or weight a brigade has. But you also saying that they are completely correct with this proposed structure. Which one is it? Are you really saying less than one months total armoured warfare outweighs Afghanistan, Iraq (after the war ended), the Balkans, Sierra Leon, Ulster, and the Falklands? Heck not including Aden, Borneo, Malaya, Cyprus, really all of Suez and Korea too? You can’t say we will send what is needed and then advocate specialisation is needed (which it is) for high end armoured warfare and that has to be core to keep a capability that really died the day somebody pressed a button in Neveda on July 16 1945. And then compound it by saying we will use the back-up division to form what we want?

    Make your mind up. Then again you thinking on military matters has been formed by the same organisation that influenced who ever came up with this new model so up surprising that you don’t see any flaws.

  82. Phil

    “But that still doesn’t explain why the Army believes the core of the mid-21st century needs to built around 3 armoured brigades”

    Because it is the hardest capability to re-generate and it can conduct a wide swathe of the spectrum of likely operations.

    “Are you really saying less than one months total armoured warfare outweighs Afghanistan, Iraq (after the war ended), the Balkans, Sierra Leon, Ulster, and the Falklands? Heck not including Aden, Borneo, Malaya, Cyprus, really all of Suez and Korea too?”

    It is the hardest capability to re-generate and it can conduct a wide swathe of the spectrum of likely operations.

    “Then again you thinking on military matters has been formed by the same organisation that influenced who ever came up with this new model so up surprising that you don’t see any flaws.”

    Check me out, the little indoctrinated robot.

    Seriously, I’m sick of the little swipes just because I argue more about the Army because I know more about it than the other services. I leave all the debates about what radar such and such should have or how long a rotor blade should be because I know fuck all about it.

    It is a simple concept, you keep what is hardest to make which also happens to be able to do most of the missions. It is really simple. Really simple.

    The problem is you cannot grasp that peacetime organisation is not deterministic. You think that the brigade will just rock up organised to fight the Soviets when history tells you we generate bespoke force elements.

    But whatever hey, I’m just a loyal little pooch fighting the men who like to mentally masturbate over the idea of a United Kingdom Marine Corps.

    This was bought to you by the Chris B school of TD meltdowns.

  83. x

    Apparently scrapping Nimrod netted the MoD £500,000. Or one hour of “fighting” in Afghanistan.

    And Boeing have started building the new KC-46A tanker for the USAF. It is $30billion (£20billion) programme that should deliver 179 airframes up to 2028. They will have 18 by 2017. Um. That can’t be right. We have just leased 9 aircraft for £9billion…..

  84. Chris.B.

    How much will the support for those tankers cost though? Not a big fan of Voyager PFI, but the contract does include a lot in the costs that wont be included in the US tanker deal.

  85. All politicians are the Same

    X, that will be the compromise tanker the USAF rejected in favour of the more capable A330 but the bidding process was reopened after Congress interevened.

  86. Topman

    I don’t which one was the best, but it was interesting Boeing offered a different built to the IAF. I know that the Italians had quite a few problems bringing it into service. Compare that to the Germans their Airbus tankers have been good, I understand they are very impressed with them and with Airbus. I can’t say that ours have been that great yet, still teething problems with ours, although they are different.

  87. x

    Yes. Even with those costs Chris pointed they are still getting nearly 20 aircraft for every one of ours for twice the cost of our programme. If I understand the figures right because every time I see them I still think I am missing something because they just doesn’t compute. And it can’t be much worse than Voyager as a platform for that to happen it would have to be made out of wood, wire, and canvas.

  88. Topman

    @ x

    It’s all the running costs, it wasn’t the deal wanted by the RAF but that’s all in the past now. They pay for all sorts of stuff over the contract, running aircraft isn’t cheap, but no doubt they’ll make a killing still. I think the trick is to flog them to death, get rid of civ charters and get max use out of them.

  89. Topman

    @ x

    Bulk buying brings it down, biggest cost on anything is running it alot of it is now Airtankers cost. Not the best deal but it’s the one we’ve got.

  90. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Jedi,

    This “Makes sense, a permanent ability to intervene is not the same as a persistent commitment to stabilise, so one-in-five is not necessary.” was the point I was making (badly, it seems!)
    = we have to learn to count in threes, instead of fives
    - it does not matter if the elements in readiness are bns/ BGs/bdes, obviously a bde to arrive in three months is in a different degree of readiness than the more permanently higher readiness of the lead units
    - just that 3 of each is the minimum number to achieve that on-going, and it was unfortunate with the abbreviation that I used to try to exclude the propagandistic renaming of the 4th Commando, leading you to think that I tried to exclude the whole 3 Cdo Bde

  91. ArmChairCivvy

    A good summary by Phil:
    “It is a simple concept, you keep what is hardest to make which also happens to be able to do most of the missions [perhaps not most, but those missions which with other force structures would be undoable, or too costly in terms of casualties and thereby non-starters?]. It is really simple. Really simple.

    The problem is you cannot grasp that peacetime organisation is not deterministic.”

    BTW, Phil, where do you get that one BG within the (rotating)readiness bde at higher readiness, to match the other intervention force elements? Analogy, or a source? If the latter, I’ve missed it and would be an interesting read

  92. Observer

    Maybe an extension of the “one in 3″ force readiness operating procedure common to a lot of armies? “2 on standby, 1 in reserve” is a fairly common posture.

  93. Phil

    “BTW, Phil, where do you get that one BG within the (rotating)readiness bde at higher readiness, to match the other intervention force elements? Analogy, or a source? If the latter, I’ve missed it and would be an interesting read”

    Source. It’s in this link and also in the CGS speech.

    CGS Speech: ” three armoured infantry brigades – each with resilient peacetime establishments and equipped with upgraded Challenger tanks and Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, and the new Scout vehicle – to produce VHR and HR force elements at prescribed levels”

    Sky News: “One armoured battle group and a parachute battle group would be on standby for immediate dispatch to a global emergency.”

    So you have the HR Bde and the VHR BG within the Bde.

  94. jedibeeftrix

    cheers phil, it is finally starting to come together.

    now just want to understand how these seven adaptable infantry brigades will work.

    6x to work the schedule
    1x to work the guards duties, and provide a high-readiness battalion

    ?

  95. Phil

    “perhaps not most, but those missions which with other force structures would be undoable, or too costly in terms of casualties and thereby non-starters?”

    I’d say most. If we look backwards

    1991 – armoured infantry needed
    1992 – Bosnia – British forces were based around armoured infantry
    1999 – Kosovo – Core of armoured infantry again with 4 Bde onwards
    2003 – armoured infantry
    2006 – in Afghan still a role for armoured infantry and the rest of the bn can dismount with little enough fuss.

    They couldn’t do the Sierra Leonne rapid intervention and they couldn’t have done the operations in Afghan before HERRICK but we maintain the ABTF and ARG and UK Con Bn for such light roles now.

    So not only are they hardest to regenerate by far, they can do most of the likely jobs, not all, but most.

  96. Phil

    Adaptable Brigades, my hunch is they will all be different sizes with maybe 1 having responsibility for public duties and one having responsibilty for the overseas standing tasks. The rest will be at various levels of strength, I predict some will generate augmenting forces for the Reaction Force should they be needed (light role infantry) and others will be at extended readiness (12 months) to generate a brigade for an enduring operation.

    So you’d have 3 Reaction Force Bdes (that’s 18 months of deployment) and then 2 Adaptable Force Bdes at extended readiness to take over after 18 months and 2-3 Adaptable Force Bdes acting as a pool of augmenting reinforcements for the 5 brigade cycle needed to get the tour interval of 24 months we seem to be set on.

    So the Adaptable Brigades I think most will have more in common with the regional brigades of now but we could generate something akin to the 11th Light Brigade deployment on H11 but on a more organised basis. We’e not intending to deploy to brigades at the same time so there’d be 12-18 months notice to mobilise the TA and work them up and integrate and work up the Bde (which takes 12 months for HERRICK).

    Methinks that’s the plan. I doubt they will have much in the way of kit I imagine that TA formations will fall in on regular kit or already in place kit in theatre like now. So apart from perhaps a sprinkling of combat units held at a higher readiness the AF will mostly have training scales of kit and conduct lower levels of collective training.

  97. Phil

    “Can on one of the Army types perhaps illustrate how this new structure would have supported recent Ops. For instance GW2 H hour, enduring Ops Afghan etc. That would make it much clearer for this “land blind” sea dog.”

    WARNING! Educated Guess.

    GW2 – the Reaction Force could have deployed 16X and 7X under a divisional HQ along with the necessary Theatre troops from the new Theatre Troops organisation and they would probably be augmented by selected units from the Adaptable Force for missions like base security, prisoner of war guarding that sort of thing.

    Afghan – the Reaction Forces using AF personnel would deploy to Afghan and start to conduct ops and the 2 remaining RF brigades would rotate through and after 18 months the AF Bdes would be worked up and would rotate through too. So you’d have a 3 RF 2 AF Bde cycle giving you the 24 month tour interval – the other 5 AF Bdes will augment, perhaps the 3 RF and 2 AF Bdes needed for the cycle will have a further shadow AF Bde to beef them up. The CGS speech does say that the AF Bdes will be of varying sizes so one assumes they will do different missions.

    So it could be for enduring operations

    1 RF Bde + 1AF shadow Bde
    1 RF Bde + 1AF shadow Bde
    1 RF Bde + 1AF shadow Bde
    1 AF Bde + 1AF shadow Bde
    1 AF Bde + 1AF shadow Bde

    Or it might be

    1 RF Bde
    1 RF Bde
    1 RF Bde
    1 AF Bde (for enduring ops)
    1 AF Bde (for enduring ops)
    1 AF Bde (to augment the RF + augment enduring ops)
    1 AF Bde (to augment the RF + augment enduring ops)
    1 AF Bde (to augment the RF + augment enduring ops)
    1 AF Bde (Public Duties aka London District)
    1 AF Bde (overseas standing tasks)

  98. ArmChairCivvy

    The reserve forces report declared an average 1/8th mobilisation as a planning target (the cycle must be indicated in order to be able to sell the new contract to employers?)

    No point calculating on the total TA manpower, but when we get to see the total bn/sqdrn/ battery count, then 12.5% (planning purports to be a precise science as opposed to the reality, which is the art of improvisation)gives a good indication of how much kit will be transferred from the regulars

    When you look at the latest MoD plans, there seems to be a concurrency between upgraded Warriors, SV Scouts and “FRES UVs” all coming in c. 2018-2022
    - so make and mend till then
    - and no mention of Chally upgrade (maybe it is not a big enough item, considering the just 100 or so of them)

    RE ” I doubt they will have much in the way of kit I imagine that TA formations will fall in on regular kit or already in place kit in theatre like now. So apart from perhaps a sprinkling of combat units held at a higher readiness…”

  99. x

    The Russians are sending 2 LSTs and a small landing force to Syria just in case there is a need to evacuate their naval base.

    Surely their airforce could fly eveybody out? Just fly around all that closed air space dudes!!!

    And I am sure all those central Asia states would quite happily let a Russian army column drive to Syria, make the evacuation, and then drive back.

    You mad Ruskies using ships and marines!!!!!!!

  100. Phil

    Well I am sure 30 years ago they’d have driven an armoured infantry column through Iran, flown right through into Syria and sent a naval TF to their base all under the very menacing watch of the Strategic Rocket Forces and the threat of an enormous loss of arms deals if anyone so much as looked at them funny.

    But in any case, to my mind, it does make sense to evacuate a naval base from the sea. Call me strange. If it was an inland airbase I’d imagine they’d have flown them out. But I guess this proves the concept of the United Kingdom Marine Corps.

  101. Challenger

    @Phil

    Thanks for the information yesterday.

    I’m not too bothered about 16th AAB and 3rd Commando losing a battalion each, of course people gravitate towards the ‘bigger is better’ concept but being rapid reaction ‘kick in the door’ units I’m happy to accept this loss of quantity as long as their quality isn’t diminished.

    I am beginning to understand the proposed set up, 3 armoured brigades being the full strength and deployable elements (and as you say armour is the hardest to regenerate).

    7 infantry brigades of various states and strengths, made up off different regular/reserve ratios. As you say perhaps out of these 1 could be focused towards public duties, 1 on standing overseas rotations and out of the others a couple that are earmarked to generate a deployable force after several months notice, with the rest being similar to the current regional brigades.

    I understand what sort of structure they are aiming for now, but I still haven’t brought myself to agree with it.

    I think I have a real problem with this because for the last 10 years (except for a couple of weeks in the Iraqi desert) we have been told that light infantry is the way to go, that they are the most useful element to bring to the table, that the current Army is far too ‘heavy’ for 21st century realities.

    So why are they heading down the road of armoured in favour of everything else?

    I was happy with the idea of 2 rapid reaction and 5 multi role brigades (id even be happy with 4 if they had trouble finding enough for a 5th). It seemed a far more sensible approach when thinking about long term rotation of assets.

    Id keep 2 armoured regiments to provide a brigade of almost 120 Challengers for the very odd occasion that we may need them (keep a few more mothballed somewhere for regeneration if required). I wouldn’t slot them permanently into the brigade structure because 95% of the time flexible infantry units are the way to go.

  102. jedibeeftrix

    @ AAC – “The reserve forces report declared an average 1/8th mobilisation as a planning target (the cycle must be indicated in order to be able to sell the new contract to employers?)”

    Taking this with:

    @ Phil – “Adaptable Brigades, my hunch is they will all be different sizes with maybe 1 having responsibility for public duties and one having responsibilty for the overseas standing tasks.”

    I am wondering if we might not be moving to a 1/4 deployment (half the TA ratio) for regular forces, therefore:
    4x Adaptable brigades for persistant duties
    1x Guards
    1x Foreign postings
    1x HR/VHR
    With the latter three rotating.

    this tea-leaf business is entertaining at least.

  103. Phil

    You’re missing an AF bde though there. But sounds plausible certainly. Aren’t we supposed to find out around today?

  104. Mike W

    @Challenger

    “I was happy with the idea of 2 rapid reaction and 5 multi role brigades (I’d even be happy with 4 if they had trouble finding enough for a 5th). It seemed a far more sensible approach when thinking about long term rotation of assets.”

    Yes, I was more than happy with that concept too. I thought the British Army was light years ahead in its thinking involving Multi-Role Brigades. I just hope that the reactionary, conservative element within the Army has not had too great an influence. I certainly did not want to get rid of MBTs and heavy armour. They might well prove essential if another Gulf War type conflict were to blow up. However, the heavy armour/MBT elements within the MRBs could have trained together at times (e.g. in BATUS) and probably 2 regiments of MBTS would suffice to deploy and cope with most contingencies.

    Was the change owing to a lack of CS and CSS resources to spread around the MRBs, do you think?

    The Army might come to regret this decision. Ah, well, we shall just have to see what the Aussies make of their MRB experiment. I bet they’re successful.

  105. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Mike, before I make my comment, I must say that for any defence force of 70k in all, they are down there in Oz doing a splendid job.

    But RE “just have to see what the Aussies make of their MRB experiment” would you like to see
    - SPG element cancelled altogether
    - as the regular element then is short of guns (and the reserves are still equipped with antiquated pieces), reserves become mortar-only equipped

    I guess the overall idea is the same as in Denmark, that in low intensity conflicts you can make up the numbers needed for rotation by having a heavier regular and a lighter reserves bn working side by side
    - in a short and sharp, high intensity conflict you would not have the time anyway, so at least the regulars are ready to go (without undue dilution of combat power/ kit which could only be brought to bear through mobilisation, taking precious time)

  106. jedibeeftrix

    @ Phil – “You’re missing an AF bde though there. But sounds plausible certainly. Aren’t we supposed to find out around today?”

    There are only seven infantry (adaptable) brigades in the new plan, are there not?

  107. Gareth Jones

    @ Paul g – Interesting find. “Already proven on the 155-mm howitzer, the 105mm PGK incorporates 99 percent of the existing 155mm PGK design, ATK says. The only difference is a single mechanical part.” Very large degree commonality.

  108. IXION

    Have been banging on for a while now about, How in effect the RM used to be called ‘Millets Marines’ coz they bought all their kit form said shop.

    Nowadays Maplins Marines Might me more appropriate.

    There is a lots of stuff now on Civvy street that makes super secret military stuff of 5 years ago look old.

  109. Lord Jim

    It seems to me that the force structure as described is a way for the Army to prioritise the funding for its Armoured/Armoured Infantry formations after Afghanistan. I can see a two tier procurement plan evolving where the Reaction brigades recieve the bult of the planned procurement programme with the adaptable formations having to rely on UORs when committed to operations. It is as if the MoD wants to burn its bridges with any lessons from Afghanistan, being determined never to carry out such an operation for such a long period of time again. This new plan also reduces the number of new platfroms that were needed under the old MRB programme, making more use of existing ones.

  110. Lord Jim

    It seems to me that the force structure as described is a way for the Army to prioritise the funding for its Armoured/Armoured Infantry formations after Afghanistan. I can see a two tier procurement plan evolving where the Reaction brigades recieve the bult of the planned procurement programme with the adaptable formations having to rely on UORs when committed to operations. It is as if the MoD wants to burn its bridges with any lessons from Afghanistan, being determined never to carry out such an operation for such a long period of time again. This new plan also reduces the number of new platfroms that were needed under the old MRB programme, making more use of existing ones.

  111. Phil

    “I just hope that the reactionary, conservative element within the Army has not had too great an influence”

    Really I am thinking the opposite. I think the whole uniform brigade group thing was a very conservative idea. I know they were spun as MRB but as I have said (just to flog a dead horse) they were nothing more than infantry brigade groups. The army would have dismantled the hardest to regenerate force element yet in this model, we have Bde enduring operation model and a heavy force. You accept lower readiness in all other units but that is not such a big deal when you realise that the deployment levels are lower than the entire force by some degree.

    I think its an innovative, kind of Germanic, solution.

    Millets Marines?! Good God you’d not see a Marine in anything like that these days. And to be frank, a lot of the newer stuff is just fad. The blokes bought assault vests, the army issued assault vests, the blokes then bought man bags, the army issued man bags, the blokes then bought MOLLE plate carriers the Army issued MOLLE body armour, then the blokes went back to webbing and now the Army issues MOLLE belt kit to. It’s fashion. CS95 will be ally as fuck in 6 years you watch.

    “being determined never to carry out such an operation for such a long period of time again.”

    I don’t get it, its very clear the Army wants to be able to conduct a medium enduring operation in the future. The Army knows that the politicians are batshit, they’ll send them anywhere anytime any place and screw the force generation models. So this time, they seem to have finally twigged, just organise the bare minimum and leave the rest to be generated in due time with the plenty of notice you’d get before the 3 reaction force brigades go through their tour.

    And jedi, you have 6 AF Bdes: there’s supposed to be 7 AF Bdes + 3 armoured infantry + 1 air assault. 11 in total. Although I suspect some AF brigades are going to be brigades in name only and just be admin HQs to work up force elements to augment the RF as I’ve said.

  112. jedibeeftrix

    4x Adaptable brigades for persistent duties
    1x Guards
    1x Foreign postings
    1x HR/VHR

    Isn’t that seven? :D

  113. Mike W

    ACC’

    Sorry, have only just seen your reply.

    “But RE “just have to see what the Aussies make of their MRB experiment” would you like to see
    - SPG element cancelled altogether”

    No, I would certainly not like to see the SP Gun element cancelled. I know that the Aussies are not certain whether they can afford to place SP Guns alongside their light guns in the MRBs but surely in the British Army we still have 90 plus AS90s in service, in addition to well over 100 Light Guns. Plenty to go around five MRBs, I would think.

    The Danish idea seems an intriguing one.

  114. Phil

    No the HR/VHR brigade is from the Reaction Force pool of 3 x armoured infantry brigades.

  115. ArmChairCivvy

    Guessing past the first layer (3+1, and not to forget 3 CDO) will not take us far,
    as in:
    ” jedi, you have 6 AF Bdes: there’s supposed to be 7 AF Bdes + 3 armoured infantry + 1 air assault. 11 in total. Although I suspect some AF brigades are going to be brigades in name only and just be admin HQs to work up force elements to augment the RF as I’ve said.

    jedibeeftrix says:
    June 18, 2012 at 15:58
    4x Adaptable brigades for persistent duties
    1x Guards
    1x Foreign postings
    1x HR/VHR”

    There will hardly be a bde to look after just three company-level ceremonial postings.Would also be strange if there was a dedicated “garrisoning” bde so while back in the UK they could asleep at the barracks for 2-3 years?

    What I found interesting is the emphasis on not rolling out any new major AFVs (as in numbers) before 2018: has the army taken a hit on investment monies, or are there other categories that have been speeded up?
    - we’ll soon find out

    In the above “3+1″ some commentators talk about AAB as light. Sure the infantry element is light. But as for numbers it is bigger than any other bde, and also the Apache may not weigh the same as a Chally2, but in this comparison “punches above its weight”
    - can also be flown in easier than any meaningful number of Challies and accompanying IFVs

  116. Phil

    “There will hardly be a bde to look after just three company-level ceremonial postings.”

    Public and London duties take up 3 Bns.

    “Would also be strange if there was a dedicated “garrisoning” bde so while back in the UK they could asleep at the barracks for 2-3 years?”

    There’s going to be no regional brigades anymore so these AF Bdes are also going to have ADMINCON of a lot of units and will be busy doing that. Some of them are going to be nothing more than the old regional brigades with a different name and number.

  117. jedibeeftrix

    “No the HR/VHR brigade is from the Reaction Force pool of 3 x armoured infantry brigades.”

    I was thinking more of the ready-battalion (some jargon name?) as desired for the FF2020 outputs.

    “Public and London duties take up 3 Bns.”

    Yes

  118. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Mike,

    This is how I have read it (overnight, our visitors from Oz can correct), RE
    ” the Aussies are not certain* whether they can afford to place SP Guns alongside their light guns** in the MRBs but surely in the British Army we still have 90 plus AS90s in service, in addition to well over 100 Light Guns***.”
    ==============
    * cancelled altogether

    **probably because they were sensible enough to get the LW 155 pieces that the RA also wanted; however, my reading is that all their other pieces will be replaced by mortars now

    *** if you take away the RM & AAB specialist support, that is close to a 1:1 ratio, and if it is true that the crews are cross-trained (or will be), then it is possible to take whatever matches the task & the terrain (a good thing; if they only could provide some lighter GMLRS platforms as well; tactically it is very mobile, but strategically could be more so)

  119. Phil

    “I was thinking more of the ready-battalion (some jargon name?) as desired for the FF2020 outputs.”

    You know as much as me but I had interpreted it as the BG coming from one of the RF brigades otherwise you’d need another 3 BGs to rotate. Hmm, they should just tell us!

  120. Mike W

    @Phil

    “I know they were spun as MRB but as I have said (just to flog a dead horse) they were nothing more than infantry brigade groups.”

    Yes, Phil, you argue very persuasively and admittedly there is a strong similarity between the proposed MRB formation and that of a Mechanised Brigade (I have made that point on this site more than once). However, the point surely is that a Mechanised Brigade would lack Light Infantry (often the hub or essence of any intervention force (“boots on the ground”, remember)and the light artillery and other units to support that element.

    As for the latest proposed force composition being innovative and Germanic (do you mean original/ingenious in thought by the latter adjective?), I see nothing ground-breaking in retaining the same balance as has been present in the British Army for the last God knows how many decades. In recent wars there has been a marked emphasis on drones, helicopters, protected patrol vehicles, mine and IED clearance kit etc. etc. The latest plan does not seem to allow the balance to move towards these things. “Janes Defence Weekly” has just reported, for example, that Fire Shadow will not be deployed to Afghanistan (a precursor to its being cancelled outright?)and in another article I read that Watchkeeper might never deploy to the same country. If you are going to cancel or not use such forward-looking equipmemt, we might as well all remain in a state of mental stasis.

  121. Mike W

    ACC

    Yes, sorry, ACC. You must have read a more recent report than I have. I did not know that the Aussies have cancelled th use of SPGs in their MRBs. They’ve got M777s now, haven’t they? About time the British procured them as well, then maybe they could afford to drop the AS90s.

    Your point about the crews being cross-trained, and that making it possible to take whatever matches the task and the terrain is a very good one, as is the point about the need for lighter GMLRS platforms.

  122. Phil

    Light infantry can be attached from the AF I imagine.

    I think it’s imaginative because finally it integrates reserves and employs focus. I’m a big fan of focus, think of all the effort we’ve diffused into maintaining structures and formations that have been useless in their primary role, I’m talking especially about the ARRC framework and more than one complete division when we never had any plans to deploy more than one in a warfighting conventional manner.

    It’s Germanic because for some time German Army units have been divided into reaction forces (light) intervention forces (heavy) and stabilisation forces (mechanised, mountain, jäger).

  123. Mike W

    Phil

    Good point about structures and formations which have proved useless in their main role.

    Hoiwever, I still have reservations about whether we can a) recruit enough and b) fully integrate reserve forces. I know that you believe that we can but there have been an awful lot of knowledgeable doubters expressing their thoughts in the media recently.

    However, I do sincerely hope that you are proved right.

  124. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Phil,

    Are you sure this “It’s Germanic because for some time German Army units have been divided into reaction forces (light) intervention forces (heavy) and stabilisation forces (mechanised, mountain, jäger).” is a parallel?
    - light = to screen & fall back
    - intervention = counter-strike
    - stabilisation = hold territory, once the heavy, initial blow has been thwarted?

    I think we might be dealing with a translation error here? Anyway, that piece you wrote on the restructuring of the Danish forces (to fall in line with the new mission) was both very informative and enjoyable.
    - I can’t say I could make much sense out of the next piece on TA
    - at the same time, the official report was also very difficult to decipher
    - how about Take Two; when the detail on the army restructuring comes out… to make sense of the TA/ reserves part (will take to 2015/2018 to even start to look like it)

  125. Phil

    ACC

    I think I’m right on the German Army it’s a force that’s interested me for some time and I have some very detailed ORBATs. The post Cold War force from about 2000 or so split into the light forces like the airborne and airmobile forces, the intervention forces were meant for forced entry – say the first stage of Kosovo should it have happened and the stabilisation forces were just there for peace enforcement like Bosnia. I think we kind of agree though.

    The TA piece was just a thought exercise and has been shown to be bollocks now! If they reveal the details I could certainly write about it.

    Mike: can the TA step up to the plate. Potentially. Will it? I’m not as certain it can but I hope it does. Improve the leadership, stiffen units with more permanent staff and keep instituting the Whole Force doctrine.

  126. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Phil

    I know absolutely nothing about it (that’s why I am interested), but surely this “stiffen units with more permanent staff and keep instituting the Whole Force doctrine” would be the key

    RE: Germany, I think there have been many transformations, and most of them have not happened:
    ” light forces like the airborne and airmobile forces”
    - a whole division!
    - all those dinky Wiesels ( a chartered 747, with a stiffened up floor kit, taking seven)… and many 747s going to??
    - was soon cut to a bde

    Then, taking the force away from Somalia, after the Mogadishu disaster, gave *an* impetus to a ship that could insert and extract such a force
    - been on the designers’ board ever since (even costed!)
    - may be funded and entering service around 2035!

    Sounds a bit like us?

  127. x

    Do we know if HMG as ever done study into TA retention? I would say that everybody likely to join the TA probably has. But how many do they loose in the first year and why? Until there is some work done collecting such information all this enlarged TA stuff is pissing in the wind.
    Also a set of comparison studies needs to be done in NATO states collecting similar information for comparison.

  128. Phil

    The statistics won’t reflect true wastage because a lot leave before they get a service number. I doubt they can be tracked. But then you can argue that it’s perfectly reasonable for blokes to turn up on drill nights for a few months and decide no thanks. TA will almost certainly have a higher turn over as its simply more accessible. Joining the regs means jumping through some big hoops, joining the TA is simply a matter of keep turning up and pass security and not be a cripple.

    Lots of tiny little things need to be done. Send all TA candidates to Litchfield for regular selection, have the same medical standards (TA medicals whilst not as bad can be less rigorous) this will weed out the ones who are likely to jack or just don’t fancy it.

    There’s so many little things like that. And you need decent leadership to grip it all and make sure it happens.

    I don’t know if the Army has this but there also needs to be an inspectorate of TA courses over and above the corps inspectorates to make sure the courses are fit and proper for the TA.

    Money will solve a lot of problems that stem from simple resource shortages but the devil is in the detail and in the leadership. And as I bang on constantly about, the same goes for any human organisation.

  129. x

    “The statistics won’t reflect true wastage because a lot leave before they get a service number. I doubt they can be tracked. But then you can argue that it’s perfectly reasonable for blokes to turn up on drill nights for a few months and decide no thanks. TA will almost certainly have a higher turn over as its simply more accessible.”

    No giving it a punt without too much formality probably retains as many as it looses. And it goes without saying that turnover will be high as you said and why I didn’t bother mentioning it in the first instance.

    “Lots of tiny little things need to be done. Send all TA candidates to Litchfield for regular selection, have the same medical standards (TA medicals whilst not as bad can be less rigorous) this will weed out the ones who are likely to jack or just don’t fancy it.”

    That is a big jump but a necessary one. Back in the 1930s when the RAF was struggling for recruits they raise the bar and volunteers rose. Another “retention” problem is those you categorize as “screamers” get in because the bar is low and then are hard to shift. Before when I have proposed a stronger contractual relationship between TA and volunteer I have been strongly countered with the argument that in the current economic environment that might be difficult for many to square with their employers. That is a good argument. That though leads me back to thinking that the type of person the TA wants is already in TA and there isn’t a huge pool of potential recruits out there. Lastly if the MoD balls up the redundancy process many ex-regulars won’t want to join the TA. Ex-regulars and the TA seems to black and white issue; some want to carry on soldiering, while others have had their fill.

    “you need decent leadership to grip it all and make sure it happens.”

    I thought many TA OCs were commissioned former SNCOs? Isn’t that a good source of leaders? Or am I wrong?

    “inspectorate of TA courses over and above the corps inspectorates to make sure the courses are fit and proper for the TA.”

    You would think for an organisation big on inspections that would already happen. Do you mean turning up on a drill night and sitting in on classes? Spot inspections?

  130. Phil

    No there’s direct entry officers. Most these days do the direct entry course. It’s long.

    I mean an inspectorate to see that each trades TA in camp courses are run properly and fat knackers aren’t passing. There’s this tendency, and regulars are the worst, that it’s just TA we’ll pass old bastard. Negative shouldn’t happen. So I think an over arching TA inspectorate. As for drill nights they are really just a remember you’re in the TA, do some phys, prepare for the next weekend thing a waste of effort to inspect them.

    It’s all down to leadership and execution. If you look at all the documents and plans they are awesome. They make sense, they are cogent and it should all work swimmingly. But, lack of resources and poor leadership especially means these lovely cogent documents are not fulfilled. It’s no good having a trade career plan that requires this or that if there’s no MTDs to do the course and what often happens is fat knackers taking MTDs to sweep the floors in the TAC with no intention of going anywhere, while the young thrusters are frustrated. That is a leadership problem.

  131. wf

    @Phil, I know we’re revisiting old ground, but the concept of exercising deploying TA formations would put a cramp on the fat bastards. After all, if the time comes around and someone has failed their CFT, cannot turn up at the right weekends, they can be discharged :-)

  132. Phil

    They can now. Do how the hell are they still in? I think every unit has a good handful of the bounty hunting, shag the door of the TAC types. There is the need for extra work to be done outside of normal TA hours but it needs to be control. Banish the days of unemployed SSgts dragging out a stores check for a week etc. Thats all money that should go for training. Stores etc need checking and sorting but manage it! Leadership again.

  133. x

    @ Phil

    I may be getting my terminology wrong. The chap who was the OC of our neighbouring TA infantry unit was an ex-CSM from the infantry who had been commissioned. I didn’t mean TA volunteer officers (or officer candidates.)

    ” As for drill nights they are really just a remember you’re in the TA, do some phys, prepare for the next weekend thing a waste of effort to inspect them.”

    So that apparent lack of purpose I perceived on TA drill nights wasn’t just me not understanding what was happening but a real lack of purpose. And I suppose there is limited scope really for lectures or demonstrations isn’t there? In your trade most work in the NHS so that is on the job training. RLC and RE can’t do much. As for infantry well fieldcraft is best taught in the field I suppose. And Signals has been cut right back and has changed so much in character that they can’t do much either. Um. So no scope at all for making “drill night” a more, um, “substantial” affair? I know we used keep more cadets because of having regular weekends away and week’s camps than we did for parade nights. But we were playing at it. I suppose a question is how much reminding does a TA bod need for it to hit home that he is in part of the army? That will vary from person to person; from well rounded individual to Walt.

    “If you look at all the documents and plans they are awesome.”

    Sounds just like cadets.

  134. x

    @ Phil

    I was always surprised by how much “work” went on at TAC (I will use your acronym) during the week.

    Perhaps what is needed is for the TA to be put on the same footing as the RNR. Fewer better equipped centres that entail a bit of travel. The RNR is a lot smaller than TA. No so that won’t work………

    Again I think we need to look at how allies do it. And look at their volunteer specialists. Are they more professional? Fitter? More committed? If so why? Could there even be a failing in society as whole? Has, and I will use this word loosely, our sense of our patriotism declined? Do Norwegians turn up for home guard training out of a sense of national pride that is more widespread in Norwegian society?

    Are plans to expand the TA folly? Should we just keep the bits that work such as the field hospitals or the “semi-professional” units like 21/23 SAS or 4 PARA and scrap the rest and use the money for the regulars?

  135. Phil

    Yeah you can go for a commission any time in the TA. It’s more like the US OCS scheme. But there is also the no doubt by now renamed DETAPO scheme which has or had 5 modules.

    Drill nights are odd things. I know many units try and make them interesting but there’s just not much scope as you say to do more than phys, admin and maybe a repetitive lecture. I’ve always thought of them more as a conduit for organising and preparing for weekends and getting the blokes in and going through admin and problems and course bookings etc.

  136. wf

    It’s noticeable that the difference with the TA and some UOTC units is that 2 hours on a weeknight is fairly restricting, but 4 hours on a Wednesday afternoon allows a lot more scope for real training. Not realistic for the TA of course, but it’s indicative of how longer periods of training are far more useful than the same time split into evening 2 hour chunks.

    I did mention this before, but I did suggest drill halls were less bases for TA units, and more like drop in centres for individual training. You lose some of the unit feel, but you build more of this on camps and weekends anyway. I know nothing about the RNR, but perhaps someone could enlighten us further?

  137. Phil

    4 PARA semi professional? I know plenty of folk from it and whilst they have a good ethos and are generally not screamers they’re not semi professional either. They’re not much different from any good TA unit which has fostered and maintained a good unit identity and high standards.

    As for TACs. There’s a balance, spread them out and your travel budget sky rockets and your recruiting footprint gets smaller. Have too many and they become inefficient. But then it depends on the unit. I believe that there could be excellent scope in getting heads together and having a TA wing in a community building jointly funded and maintained. Or turning over parts of TACs to more community functions and charging thereby cost sharing and bringing the TA more into public life. Couple of strong rooms for kit and you’re good. Can probably even have an armoury with today’s remote alarm systems and sensors.

  138. x

    @ Phil

    4PARA? I just meant better than average. For all those reasons you say.

    We have 4 TACs locally. Our nearest one is in mothballs. I am told there are reasons why it hasn’t been disposed of, but can’t say why. In the conurbation to my immediate east there are three about 2 to 3 miles apart. Two are late 40s/early 50 buildings and cost a fortune to maintain. And the other is a newish smaller building. The RFCA would love to loose both the older buildings and build one new centre. Their compromise position is to house two units at one of the older buildings. But there isn’t space for two units at the better older building apparently, and I am lead to believe their is pressure to keep the building for historical reasons which is another reason against a new centre. I find that hard to believe but my sources are good.

    As for having TA centres in other buildings or allowing community use. I could see the former working if it was say a police station or a post office building or some other governmental building. But apart from those it is a non-starter because of security. And the same for letting the community in to share facilities. It will never happen under the current RFCA set up and with the apparent threat being terrorism. One off uses yes. But actually sharing no way. And I speak as somebody who was a committee member and chairmen of Sea Cadet unit that was situated within a TA centre. It was a freaking nightmare. The TA, the soldiery, great. The RFCA? Bunch of utter tossers.

  139. Phil

    My old RFCA used to let the TAC out to community groups on a weekly basis. Karate, Scouts, etc etc. It also has an armoury and stores. Worked a charm. I don’t know if they charge for how much but there’s always something going on in there.

  140. ArmChairCivvy

    RE: Think Defence says:
    June 19, 2012 at 12:26 and the link to Independent

    If there is any accuracy in being mobilised for 2-3 years at a time, that is bringing the short service contract back, but calling it TA
    - very confusing, but it is only a short newspaper piece, quickly put together

  141. Phil

    Think you’re reading it wrong. They mean I think the AF can furnish force elements for 2-3 years of medium operations.

  142. jedibeeftrix

    @ TD – re: http://www.defencemanagement.com/news_story.asp?id=20049

    remember talking to Jim or Trouble on the Warships1 forum, can’t remember which, and he talked about having worked with french forces and considered to be the total capability to be a bit of a paper tiger.

    because the very capable pointy bits masked a lot of second rate forces.

    the parallel is worrying.

  143. x

    @ Phil

    I have attended one off events at TA centres through out the city. Perhaps our situation was different in that our building was actually in the grounds and that put some strain on the relationship. We used to have events as long as they were unit related such as firework parties. We wouldn’t have dared say to have a car wash event or opened up for a car boot even though our water build was doubled because we paid half the drainage. It was difficult. Gate management was a big issue. The TA and ACF were buggers for leaving the gate open and we would get the blame.

  144. Phil

    Yeah I guess it depends on local arrangements and how miserable the RFCAs are. My current TAC does nothing of the sort and it’s in the same RFCA. Personally where it can be done I think it should be. As cadets we shared our hut with the RBL, Scouts and WI!

  145. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Jedi,

    If you abolish conscription (which units, btw, after the Algeria experience, can’t [by now should be in the past tense] be deployed outside of France anyway, except in a declared major war), then the last few cohorts going through would not be very motivated… neither would their trainers be, as they are already focussed onto the next phase
    - so I would not worry too much about the French split: they have not only an external intervention force, but an internal one as well, within the Gendarmerie (and I am not talking about CRS for riots)

  146. Chris.B.

    “Should we just keep the bits that work such as… or the “semi-professional” units like 21/23 SAS…”

    – By all accounts 21/23 SAS are a long way from being semi-professional. In the sense of when some boring training weekend comes up, almost nobody shows up. But when it comes to shooting stuff, blowing stuff up, or going on a weekend course to do something exciting almost the whole lot arrive, accompanied by varied caches of the latest gucci kit bought off the civilian market.

  147. jedibeeftrix

    i believe it was a more fundamental problem re training and equipment, but no doubt conscription played a part.

    tho this was only a few years ago.

  148. x

    Chris B said “But when it comes to shooting stuff, blowing stuff up, or going on a weekend course to do something exciting almost the whole lot arrive, accompanied by varied caches of the latest gucci kit bought off the civilian market.”

    I am struggling to see what is wrong with that! :) ;)

    I had better qualify that. Those who get through selection aren’t really going to be the type to do boring are they?
    As long as they pass muster that is all that matters.

  149. Phil

    21/23 aren’t looked upon very well by 22. And to be fair they were units intended for very different roles. I don’t know what 21/23 SAS are supposed to actually do these days but in Afghan they are being used more like SSFG than SAS.

  150. Phil

    21/23 aren’t looked upon very well by 22. And to be fair they were units intended for very different roles. I don’t know what 21/23 SAS are supposed to actually do these days but in Afghan they are being used more like SSFG than SAS.

  151. Phil

    In addition, I am reading, although they are from the same obvious source, that the AF in the new Army is meant for operations lasting 2-3 years and I am wondering if the Army has no intention of conducting anything longer than 4-5 years? In my mind that would undermine the whole Adaptable Force thing, you know, where you adapt as you have no idea what you’ll be doing.

    Further thoughts are that if the model was an enduring never ending operation then you’d need 4 AF Bdes to meet such a model so that they’d mobilise once every 5 years. You’d have the 3 RF bdes going through, 2 AF bdes, and then the 3 RF bde (tour intervals are 2 years for regulars) and the second tranche of 2 AF bdes.

    So you’d then have 4 AF Bdes able to be mobilised for enduring operations, one AF to augment and 1 for overseas and 1 for ceremonial (aka London District).

  152. x

    Phil said “Afghan they are being used more like SSFG than SAS.”

    But if they are useful, turn up, and meet fitness standards does it matter? I don’t know much about them. But I always imagined they were more for back up and support than the “real deal”. Are they better motivated and more “professional” than typical TA units? If so they must be doing something right. Hopefully that is more to do with doing the job, and not the cap badge.

  153. Chris.B.

    “But if they are useful, turn up, and meet fitness standards does it matter?”

    – I’ve heard the argument put roughly like this by an ex-22; if it only takes few weekend jaunts to keep someone up to the standard required by the SAS, then surely the regular infantry could fufill the requirement and then some?

    Delivered with a rather large dollop of sarcasm.

  154. Phil

    I don’t know much about them either. I know a few folk who have done TA selection and I met a few out in Afghan but that’s it. From what I know they occupy a strange limbo where they aren’t really TA (the commitment is almost full time) but they aren’t regular either.

    Also, a big problem I have personally noticed with units like any airborne TA unit or RMR or TA SAS is that they tend to attract people who want to pass the course, the same types who do ultra marathons and so on. They have no interest in the military side of things other than doing the phys and completing the physical challenges. They are welcomed with open arms as fit motivated individuals but they have ZERO intention of staying once they’ve passed – they’re then off running across the Sahara on their hands.

  155. ArmChairCivvy

    Would be interesting to take stock of where we got to, with the Future of the Army thread
    - some things could be done with a very quick rewind, as announcements should be out before too long (Parliament going off to the pastures green)
    - some things we did not get to at all, in depth (like tactical comms etc)

  156. wf

    @Chris.B, @Phil: my very limited experience of ppl in 21 is that they a) worked part time as it was impossible to meet the training requirement while working full time b) they were very Army-barmy and c) their career was often cut short by injury. I did know one that transferred to R Squadron as it was then, which might indicate 22′s attitude wasn’t necessarily as negative as sometimes painted.

  157. x

    @ Chris B

    Some RM refer to the RMR as the “Rubber Daggers” so I understand what he is saying.

    @ Phil

    So we are no further forward then? :)

    How do we “incentivize” the suitable to join then?

  158. Mike W

    @tjposhea

    Another piece of interesting information from the “Independent article seems to be that the Airborne Brigade (Do they mean Air Assault?) will have Warrior vehicles. Or have I got that entirely wrong and is it a case of poor grammmar/sentence structure/word order by the journalist concerned. One expects the highest standards from papers such as the “Independent” but one never knows nowadays. Are the Warriors perhaps to equip the Armoured Infantry units in the Armoured Brigades? Here is the extract. See what you think.

    “The “Reaction” force, according to confidential documents, will be comprised of three armoured brigades, each with a tank regiment, two infantry regiments and an airborne brigade, commanded by a major general and armed with two regiments of Apache helicopter gunships and Warrior fighting vehicles.”

  159. tjposhea

    I imagine the warriors are spoken about in relation to the ‘Reaction Forces’ three armoured brigades. Although they maybe looking to experiment with parachuting warriors, like the russians do. Although the likely hood of this is small, so i can only assume they will be for the armoured infantry in the armoured brigades.

    The term ‘airborne’ keeps being used by the media. It must mean that the army have either realised they are unable to have an air assault brigade or they see the need for more specialised troops in a smaller army. The article also mentions an expanding role for special forces, the airborne forces easily make up the core of 22 and they are the SFSG (1PARA) . The creation of a fully fledged airborne brigade may be looking to keep the size of special forces the same, one of the arguments for keeping a large army, is that it provides a pool large enough to find soldiers capable of passing UKSF selection. The parachute regiment and airborne forces have always provided over 50 percent of these men establishing them in a proper brigade will see more men step up to take p company and in turn UKSF selection.

  160. Phil

    “Are the Warriors perhaps to equip the Armoured Infantry units in the Armoured Brigades? Here is the extract. See what you think.”

    I think its journalists not knowing what they are talking about. I would hazard a guess that there will be no Warriors 16X. And again, the media are using a title “airborne” which means something to us but means soldiers from the sky to them whether or not its parachuting, TALO or helicopter assault. Airborne would be a better title though unless its going to drop to just II and III PARA then it should be 16 Parachute Brigade again.

    It is looking like the open ended enduring model is dead. The senior officer quoted does have a point about it being a failure of strategy but the question is (a) will this nudge politicians into making sure the job is done properly first time or more likely sadly (b) the politicians try to do something on the cheap and ignore the structural limitations of the Army. Something the brass will have been worrying about.

  161. Mike W

    @tjposhea and Phil

    I agree with what both of you say. The Warrior seems a most inappropiate vehicle for Airborne/Airmobile/Air Assault forces. Far too heavy. Now, the CVR(T)2 family. That would be far more suitable!

  162. Chris.B.

    Sticking with 22 SAS for a minute and the Independent article linked above;

    “….want to expand the type of combat carried out by the SAS and the SBS….”

    I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to hear that. One of the most consistent complaints that seems to come from “ex-them” is people trying to use them as some kind of shock troops and not as a high value asset that is used sparingly or not at all if a suitable role cannot be found.

  163. Phil

    Damn them!

    If the powers that be want to take highly trained, expensive, professional fighting men and put them in a C130 and crash it into the middle of an enemy country in the midst of a defended air base then that’s just what they’ll bloody well do!

  164. x

    Re: shock troops

    Isn’t that why SF have 1PARA call to provide the extra manpower for those missions just outside typical SF work?

    All very well expanding SF’s work load but where are the extra C17s to move them? What about bringing Albion back on stream? Or are these lot supposed go via Ryan Air, Interail pass, or in a minibus? Mobility doesn’t come cheap. Tomorrow won’t be like Afghanistan where they can just fly into theatre, jump in a helicopter, and go.

    Let me see now. We can’t seem to get a handle on how we can expand the TA; even though we seem to understand the problems. And the SF part of the new plan seems shaky. At least the middle bit is OK with one of us!!! :)

    I am going to sit on my hands now until something more concrete appears from the MoD.

  165. Chris.B.

    I think the line of thinking goes something along the lines of; “Well, they spend a lot of time shooting on ranges. Arguably twice as accurate as your average soldier. Ergo, following the ‘Hoon Theorum’, a unit of 60 SAS is worth 120 normal soldiers. Send them in!”

    Which is of course a great way of getting 60 expensively trained, highly motivated soldiers killed for little appreciable benefit.

    As for the SFSG, there’s naturally quite a lot of hush, hush surrounding just what exactly it is they do. As far as I can tell it’s a bit like the old Lynx and the Apache deal, where “them” are supposed to be the Lynx (find the enemy) and 1 PARA is the Apache (drop in to visit them in them middle of the night. Without cookies). At least in the Afghan theatre. God knows what they’re supposed to do in a general dust up.

    Now did anyone see on the news about the latest attempt by Krazy Kirchner to save her Presidency?

  166. x

    Is she hiding with Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London?

    As for SF Group. Yep that is what I understand what they do.

  167. Chris.B.

    She should be so lucky. Apparently she tried to give Cameron an envelope at the G20 summit with a whole bunch of papers in it detailing some UN resolutions in favour of “Las Malvinas” or something. Stupid bint. I’d just love to see Cameron head butt her. Now that would be a vote winner.

  168. wf

    @Chris.B: that would hardly slow her down. Looking her up and down, then muttering something about how even the best plastic surgeons can’t work that sort of miracles might be more effective :-)

  169. Tubby

    I wonder/worry that the reference to ““The “Reaction” force, according to confidential documents, will be comprised of three armoured brigades, each with a tank regiment, two infantry regiments and an airborne brigade, commanded by a major general and armed with two regiments of Apache helicopter gunships and Warrior fighting vehicles…” in the Independent article is code to mean that we will only have enough support helicopter’s to move the airborne brigade. Also I admit to being a bit clueless on the Army front, but how are they going to work in the Royal Artillery into the Reaction forces, presumably no reaction force should be deployed without the ability to mass indirect fire and operate its own air defence?

  170. ArmChairCivvy

    Phil, agreed, it is almost turning into misinformation when uninformed press starts to rehash the releases
    - anyone know when the full release of the recommendations is due (I take it they will release the version where only recommendations taken up are included)?

  171. Phil

    No idea. I don’t think this is a recommendation I think it’s the settled plan. CGS refers to it as happening in his 11 June speech. And Carter said in an interview on Armynet that it’s been signed off internally since May. I think they are now in the watch the politicians pull it apart for political gain phase.

  172. Aussie Johnno

    Just letting you guys know.
    HMAS Choules (ex Largs Bay) has broken down out here. The ship was on its way from Sydney to the Army exercise area at Shoalwater Bay in Queensland when one (of 6) main power transformers failed cutting ships speed by a stated 50% and causing a return to Sydney.
    If the rumour in the Australian newspaper this morning is correct RFA ships engineers have previously reported overheating in both transformers and propulsion motots of Bay class vessels.
    Not ruch a bargain afterall?
    Does raise a few questions when a single power transformer failure can effectively cripple the ship.

  173. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Johnno, sure does
    “Not ruch a bargain afterall?
    Does raise a few questions when a single power transformer failure can effectively cripple the ship.”
    - no RN ship (other than one on charter) can operate in ice
    - I wonder how many are unsuited for hot climates (I guess everything else than an engine arrangement can be fixed afterwards)

  174. James

    The Canadians had a bit of a problem with a used sub we sold them a few years back. Perhaps we’ll see a joint Canadian / Australian fleet sailing up the Bristol Channel and shelling Abbey Wood, and not stopping until they get their money back?

  175. Observer

    James, sell em the shells, then refund them from there. :)

    ACC, where did the ice come from?

    AJ, well, it would depend on what actually went wrong. For all we know, it might have been a short in the “wrong time, wrong place”. I’ll wait for the engineer’s report. And I’ll also remember that it was a bargain and factor that into consideration. :)

  176. Phil

    The Canadians have had outrageous trouble with their Upholder class subs. I believe one has only fired its first torpedo in Canadian service ever a month or so ago. I shit you not!

  177. Aussie Johnno

    I would remind you gentlemen that with Ocean in refit, and one of your Albions parked, your Bays currently provide three quarters of your over the beach capability. Could get interesting if this is more than an isolated failure.
    Seriously if the ‘éxperts’ in the UK can’t figure out an insitu repair the word is they will have to start cutting to get the thing out with 6 months + being mentioned.

  178. Observer

    @AJ

    I was googling up the history of the ship and I really am not sure if it’s the entire class, or simply that ship. Some ships simply are bad luck.

  179. ArmChairCivvy

    Observer,

    From mind boggling short cuts, in order to engineer to cost
    RE “ACC, where did the ice come from?”
    - it is not the first time the amphibs have struggled with the engines under v hot conditions (can’t keep all the ship names in my head)
    - if you have very exacting hull requirements as for sea states, slamming etc, the ice certification would probably be a half per cent of the total ship cost (where was it that the unutilised carbon reserves tend to be, again?); has it been done – no! Has it been considered – probably not?

  180. Anixtu

    No mention so far of the transformer going on fire like the last time. :-)
    (Which also left the ship drifting at an inopportune moment ivo Eddystone. Salvage tugs were involved that time IIRC.)

  181. Tubby

    Dumb question time, but I was wondering – given that according to AgustaWestland the Army Wildcat will only have room for 6 “passengers”, if there was any value in a Super Wildcat, stretched to add space for two extra passengers so it could carry a section and re-engined with the GE CT7-2E1 engines. I have suggested the CT7-2E1 because AgustaWestland already have experience installing them on helicopters as they are in the AW189 and AW149, and the engines appear to be broadly the same in length, and mass, but with higher installed power on the CT7-2E1′s than the CTS800-4N, and it seems stupid to have a light utility helicopter that cannot move a section, and since the Government is committed to its four helicopter types only plan once Puma is phased out there is no chance introducing a new helicopter that fits in between the undersized Wildcat and the Merlin.

  182. Opinion3

    @Tubby
    Possibly but does it make sense? AW already seem to have three overlapping military helicopters. NH90/AW149/AW139M
    I think it is time to accept equipment as ‘as is’ for the moment and to focus on getting the max out of everything/integration/fit the designed for but not fitted stuff.

    Might be a 10 year plan my proposal. Look at the ‘small’ mods to FRES design (£500M)

  183. James

    Opinion 3,

    Tubby’s right in the sense that – in a perfect world – you would not be splitting sections between aircraft. However, you are entirely correct in that things get unaffordable pretty quickly by having variations on standard designs.

    Two “real world” points to counter the “perfect world”:

    1. In operations short of all out war, there’s always a dog team or an interpreter or FAC or FOO or some other body that you’ll be taking along anyway, so load balancing between helos is not in fact such an issue. i.e. You’ll get a section plus dog team plus interpreter in between 2 Wildcats just as you have to have 2 Wildcats to transport a section based on available seats.

    2. Also, in all out war, the rule book goes out of the window, and you can squeeze bods in everywhere way beyond peacetime limits. This also applies to the French in peacetime. We had about 30 on a French Puma doing the hop from Split to Sarajevo. It was a trip originally planned for the Force Commander and his staff (about 8 of us all up, including bodyguards). When we landed to refuel in Split before going on to Sarjevo there were 20 or so Foreign Legionnaires hanging around waiting for something to take them back to their Battalion in Sarajevo, and the FC, being Colonel of the Legion, would not leave the boys there. So they all crammed in as well. Given the FC and all his French staff and the bodyguards were all Legion, it was like a Legion party on board, all backslapping and wild gesticulations. I’m sure I saw the pilot having a smoke as well….

  184. Tubby

    Thanks for the input Opinion3 and James, I guess the easiest (and I suspect they way it would go in an all out war) way to get the passenger numbers up is to remove the crash resistant seating, and squeeze a section in.

    I guess I am pretty annoyed that the Army Wildcat replaces the Lynx and the Gazelle and in certain areas is worse than the helicopter’s it replaces, it cannot fulfil the armed scout role with just a door gun so cannot fully replace the Gazelle (and there is a good argument that the OE turret should have been mounted on a mast above the rotor to allow it to scout from behind masking terrain), and due to installing modern crash resistant seats without increasing the cabin space the Wildcat cannot carry a section.

    Plus while many bemoan that the FAA is short changed (and in certain key areas it certainly is – I have tenner on the Merlin’s never being marinised and ending up being a millstone around CHF’s neck) the AAC has royally been screwed in helicopter numbers as the Wildcat is not being procured in sufficient numbers and IMO is flawed for use by the Army, but then I am bound to say that as I am a fan of a mix of AW109LUH in the armed scout role, and AW149 or Blackhawks in the utility role.

  185. Tubby

    Sorry Phil, for being a civvy moaning about the Army getting short changed, I know your ex-Army so I hope that I haven’t hacked you off.

  186. James

    “Crash resistant seating”??? What happened to the old grey webbing lattice seats on metal frames, like a cheap lawn chair? I thought earlier I recall Lynx having space for 8, but thought I may be mis-remembering. Gucci carbon fibre seats drive the cost up, and capacity down.

    Dear God, the Army’s getting soft. To my mind, you make a contract with Old Nick himself when you get in one of those things. You don’t expect to walk away from the smouldering ruins when the laws of physics are reapplied and the thing spirals out of the sky. Thank God they are not flown by Kevins, however.

    I don’t recall UK Gazelle having any weaponry at all on board, but the French ones did (Euro-HOT missiles? Can’t quite recall). Our Gazelles may have been capable of getting a GPMG mounted somewhere, but I didn’t ever see it.

  187. Phil

    It’s not that. Across all three services I’d rather see good enough platforms in service than perfect platforms that just get cancelled. Wildcat is low risk and there’s little chance of it getting binned. We might even get more later down the line who knows? This makes it more useful than vapourware. It’s why I am happy with F35B. It’s good enough.

  188. Tubby

    Fair enough Phil, 80% solution that actually gets into service is a good plan – and heaven knows the MoD has had a tendency to try to procure equipment which are all over specified Powerpoint presentations with to much gold plating.

  189. Opinion3

    @Tubby
    I am so with you that I rather think the BLUH Lynx is probably more a political rather than a military decision. Having said that the original Lynx had reasonable sales abroad so maybe giving it a leg up was the right thing to do.

    I have to say, if I was Defence Secretary all new equipment purchases would be on hold (except where contracts have been signed or there was a justifiable need as identified in the SDSR). Instead I would be forcing the identification of underutilised/out of service/fitted for not with/unintegrated kit to be made to work. Set out some KPIs and squeeze the services until they were met.

    I realise that most (if not all of the cockups) result from political decisions but it would hopefully result in more operational capabilities through asset management rather than asset shopping lists.

  190. Observer

    Another question when it comes to sales is “who is your target market?”. With Europe in a cost cutting frenzy, and the US generally being rather protectionist about it’s arms market, I can only see 3 possible areas for sales.

    1) Middle East. That area is fairly peaceful, Arab Spring not withstanding, and economically still stable, so they might be looking to take a chance on a buyer’s market and do a bit of military upgrading on the side.

    2) India. After a fair bit of neglect of the Indian Armed Forces, they are currently trying to “modernize” to meet increasing Chinese and Pakistani military imbalance, but the modernization program has a few bugs in it, namely protectionism and politics. Any sales there has the potential to be mired in red tape for a decade or two, and they usually insist on tech tansfer and local co-op.

    3) Asia. IMO probably the best chance at a seller’s market. Most countries here are gearing up to stay on a competitive footing military wise with China especially with all the muscle flexing in the Spratleys, and a side note of trying not to let thy neighbour get too big an edge. Just in case, you know. Unfortunately, with long term American and Russian involvement in the area, they tend to be the “go to” guys for weapons due to familarity. Despite this, I do still think it is the best chance due to pressure from China. When the 600 pound gorilla looks about to sit on you, you grab the most convenient solid slug loaded shotgun you can find, and to hell with who the manufacturer is.

    But has any equipment been designed for use in tropical terrain? Only in the most general way IIRC. Which is cutting off your biggest potential market.

  191. x

    “but the modernization program has a few bugs in it, namely protectionism and politics”

    and corruption.

  192. Observer

    Corruption is not really that big a problem. It’s accusations of corruption being used as weapons by opposition politicians and government, leading to massive time and resource wastage to investigate. And log jamming every procurement process. If you lost a bid, you try again by accusing the panel of corruption, force a rebid then spin the lottery wheel once again. Unfortunately, if you win, guess what your opponent will do?

  193. Mike W

    What does that mean in terms of kit, do you think, TD?

    3 x Armd Regiments with Challenger2?
    3 x Armd Cav Regiments with Scout SV?
    3 x Lt Cav Regiments with Jackal?
    3 x Lt Cav Regiments with Jackal (or WMIK)?

    That kind of idea or am I talking through my hat?

  194. Mike W

    TD

    Thanks for the reply.

    So, a total of nine Armoured or Recce regiments for the Regulars. That means two are going to be lost or assimilated into others through amalgamation. Am I right? If the Infantry are going to lose five that means one hell of a number are going to be lost from the rest of the Army (Artillery, Engineers, Logistic, etc.)

    All this assuming that the rumour is correct, by the way.

    I suppose the CVR(T)2 would be an alternative to Jackal in my list above.

  195. x

    Observer said “Corruption is not really that big a problem.”

    I sense another rabbit hole so I am going to back away.

  196. jedibeeftrix

    “I suppose the CVR(T)2 would be an alternative to Jackal in my list above.”

    please!

  197. Phil

    The TA Yeomanry are getting RWIMK according to a new TA update magazine I read on Armynet. Whatever RWIMK is. Sounds shit.

  198. Observer

    @x

    Honestly, check how many accusation of corruption there vs actual charges. It’s political mudslinging mostly, similar to the West. Remember the defence firm blacklistings? The one whose common point was that the firms did business with the Indian MoD?

    Accusations tend to be more common than facts, especially if you don’t have to actually produce evidence to back it up.

  199. Mike W

    @jedibeeftrix

    I don’t know why the “please”. It seems a much better protected vehicle than the Jackal. I think, though, judging by your previous comments, that your military expertise in certain areas outweighs mine , so I shall bow to superior knowledge in this case. It might have been of course that you think that the whole FRES SV versus CVR(T)2 versus Jackal (and others!) debate has been done to death. I don’t agree but there we are.

  200. Phil

    CVRT 2 is a bit old isn’t it? Running those things on surely will be a nightmare?

    I expect the light cav should they come about to have some SCOUT in them but I guess they will mostly be these new foxhound things right?

    Jackal doesn’t seem very appropriate for anything other than light forces. I can’t see the TA getting them either if they are only just getting RWIMK or whatever you call it. I doubt the Army even knows to be honest they’ll still be working out the costings.

  201. jedibeeftrix

    @ Mike – “I think, though, judging by your previous comments, that your military expertise in certain areas outweighs mine , so I shall bow to superior knowledge in this case.”

    Lol, seriously, i flatter myself that i have a reasonable understanding of the intersection between military and politics, but, tactics and equipment to to achieve battlefield goals……………. “I know nothing!” (manwell voice).

    I just like CVR(t) and the roles its mobility/firepower allow it to play, and with the increasing focus on rapid interventions a modern CVR(t)2.0 seems perfect to operate alongside 16AAB or 3Cdo.

    Much as was the case of the islands that must remain verboten; attaching a squadron (?) of the Blues & Royals (?) to light brigades has brilliant effect.

    @ Phil – i believe we are talking about the CV21 that BAE are touting out to foriegn markets.

    http://www.defensenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012305090001

  202. x

    @ jedibeeftrix

    What you meant to say was attaching a squadron of 8 to 12 ton vehicles. :) ;)

    I think the MoD have been smart choosing ASCOD. By the time “we” go to fight in Africa the Chinese should have built lots of nice bridges and other infrastructure capable of supporting a 34 tonne vehicle with its superior armour and armament. Inadvertently the Chinese are aiding us in their ultimate destruction.

  203. Mike W

    @jedibeeftrix

    “I just like CVR(t) and the roles its mobility/firepower allow it to play, and with the increasing focus on rapid interventions a modern CVR(t)2.0 seems perfect to operate alongside 16AAB or 3Cdo.

    Much as was the case of the islands that must remain verboten; attaching a squadron (?) of the Blues & Royals (?) to light brigades has brilliant effect.”

    Phew! That’s a relief. I thought you were disagreeing with me!

    Incidentally, has anyone seen any news from DVD 2012? I have been looking intermittently for two days but the news released has been minimal. So much for the MOD’s efforts in the export drive!

  204. Gareth Jones

    @ x – I’ve come across the company on the web – looks interesting. Those ISO containers on the back could house USV/UUV’s or weapon systems?

  205. Simon

    Just for info. My FOI request for live ordnance dropped per year (since 1980) per aircraft type was refused because it would cost £8400 to collate the data.

    Shame, would have made a good book ;-)

  206. Chris.B.

    Picked this up from a link El Sid posted in another thread;

    “The Royal Navy SKASaCs detachment based at Camp Bastion have yet again played a pivotal role in a successful operation to remove capability from the insurgents. The key activity this week occurred when the Sqn were conducting a night time training mission. The flexibility of the Sea King allowed them to adapt rapidly to an unfolding situation in the desert areas of Helmand province. The crew used the advanced capabilities of the SKASaCs radar to direct ground forces to interdict two suspect vehicles transiting the desert. The vehicles were found to contain a large number of bags containing ammonium nitrate, which was to be used to produce home made explosives. This is the key element used against coalition troops in the form of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The SKASaCs team have also received high praise this week from senior ground force commanders for the quality of their intelligence products which have been pivotal to the success of countless ground operations”

    Nice work.

  207. Gareth Jones

    @ Paul b – if they are that useful in land warfare would it make sense to increase their numbers? Might add to our ISTAR capabilities and they are due to be replaced soon. Either transfer the old aircraft to AAC or increase the number of new aircraft for the FAA?

  208. Red Trousers

    @ Gareth,

    we’ve got an ASTOR system for that sort of thing, complete with the world’s best in-service SAR/MTI radar, tactical ground stations attached to the forward brigades, trained imagery analysts, comms, a mission planning system that directly interfaces with Land commanders decision cycles, a special “Quick Fire” SOP for suspect movement that is integrated into RA fire control orders. There’s even specially domesticated Kevins who know how the smooth and handsome land forces work.

    Oh, hang on. What was that? It’s being taken out of service early? Who the hell thought that was a good idea?

  209. All Politicians are the Same

    Some of the video I have seen from SKASAC is incredible. Can pick out high points in Green Zone and track vehicles along it.

  210. Chris.B.

    @ Gareth,

    Like James said, we have the Sentinel mounted ASTOR which is basically the same thing but in a more comprehensive, capable package. If and when Sea King is replaced by Merlin in the Airbone Surveillance role, probably using those LM Vigillance Pods, it should be able to do the same thing, perhaps even better with the newer radar.

    Other than the ability to operate off of surface vessels, I’m not sure what advantages a heliborne system might offer over a fixed wing one? Perhaps greater loiter when scanning down a certain street in urban areas? APATS, have you heard anything about that sort of thing? Could you give us more of a run down?

    @ James,

    Why keep boring old ISTAR kit? It’s not like we or the Yanks use it for anything, like, every operation we possibly can. Who needs detailed SAR imagery after all? Or real time GMTI reports? Or pattern of life pictures etc? All in a relatively low cost, low running cost airframe? Useless…

    On a slightly more worrying note, there was an anonymous comment made by a Yankee ISTAR chap to some defence writer, and bugger me if I can’t find the source now, who basically thinks that all the kit that is going into the RAF’s new Airseeker (based on a Boeing 707) could probably be fitted to the Sentinel for much less, saving on having to buy a whole new fleet of aircraft and extending the life and usefulness of Sentinel.

    Food for thought it that turns out to be true.

  211. ArmChairCivvy

    The haste in which SDSR was carried out shows in the testimonies made thereafter
    - this element that James pointed out ” tactical ground stations attached to the forward brigades” is the only way those brigades can in a meaningful way integrate with the American JSTARS
    - as long as that remains the case, it is like a life insurance for the system

    If, as was stated in an interview for Aviationweek recently, the ambition is to have UAVs of all makes integrate with the (GD) land-based back end, I wonder about the interplay between these and the above mentioned ground stations… maybe it is only in the next layer (Solomon, or has it been renamed as a project)

  212. ArmChairCivvy

    @Simon, RE: Manoeuvre from the sea

    This has, as attachments C & D the the landing plans for two, differently sized units, but including kit that makes them capable of manouevre once ashore (not just light infantry, on foot)

    http://www.sa-soldier.com/data/06_sadflinks/UsedPDFs/SADF_OPs_analysis.pdf

    The US kit as for ship-to-shore connectors is very similar to ours, capacity and speed wise. Also assumptions, like stand-off distances, are spelt out very clearly

    … I was left with the impression that you gave up with the spreadsheet exercise as the input data was not comprehensive enough (what, how much in each wave, by which means)?

  213. ArmChairCivvy

    There would seem to be no hurry to bin the Tranche 1 Tiffies?

    “A Drop 2 package equipped Tranche 1 Typhoon has already completed its first test flight on 2 May 2012, at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, UK.

    The testing was conducted by 17(R) Test and Evaluation Squadron, which will continue to evaluate the aircraft in the future, prior to its roll out to the Tranche 1 fleet.”
    - proper ground attack I take it is the beef; does not say though if any new weapons have been cleared (or is this now the interim capability, that had to be confirmed to clinch the Saudi deal?)
    http://rpdefense.over-blog.com/article-bae-to-upgrade-raf-s-tranche-1-typhoon-fleet-107299932.html

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