I sent an email to TD a few weeks ago referencing how a lot of countries around the world are downsizing (something we here in the UK are all too aware of).
So I’ve collated a few of these and wondered if going “car boot style” to these countries could be a good idea, admittedly some of these ideas are slightly far fetched and border slightly on the fantasy fleet side of life( a much frowned upon activity I realise)!
I’ll start with the (semi) sensible and work up to not a chance option.
1. C-27J Spartan.
It seems due to inter service politics the US are placing brand new 27j’s into storage, 12 at present and another 5 when they are built. A bit like CVF it was cheaper to continue the contract rather than cancel it. Now with sequestion and a budget fiasco in progress, now could be a good time to try dangle some cash under their nose for a squadrons worth. A lease with option to buy after 2015 could be a good plan.
So why I hear you ask, well the hercs are getting shagged out and being retired soon so a good replacement that will compliment the A400, cheaper to run than herc and with the short/rough landing capability could be used for company para drops on exercise, (plus smaller aircraft to mop up people needing jumps to stay current). Also rather than having one of only 22 A400’s down south, have one of these as there’s room for 60 guys in the back and the rough landing ability comes into play again. This I would combine with a converted 146 for refuelling which keeps our core assets (A400 and voyager) in the UK.
2. Dutch Fennek recce
So it seems our Dutch friends not content with getting rid of all there MBT’s are placing lots of stuff in storage including quite a few of their CV90’s!!
The fennek is a purpose built recce vehicle and although there’s a lot of love for the jackal to be a recce vehicle I would like to see the fennek used, nice low profile and good for all weather recce, maybe to be used in conjunction with jackal ie jackal as scout /overwatch, admittally recce is not my strongpoint I’ll leave that to monty and RT and they’ll put me straight!!
(can’t find the link now but the article said about 45+ to go into storage)
Edited to add the dutch also have a stinger AD version, nice!!
3. Blackhawks (oh no what have I said)
First of all I’ll say it outright from the start this would be a purchase for the army, eek, pigeons, cat, among words that spring to mind, again the US has absolutely shed loads of these and they are having severe problems up on the hill.
These have been used as test beds for the RTM-322 engine so could buy (borrow or plead for freebies) minus engine, I’m struggling to see how the new wildcat will benefit the army, light recce doesn’t cut it for me and as a troop transport craft it’s shit!
This way RN/RM get all the merlins/wildcat, RAF get Chinook and puma and AAC get apache/Blackhawk, 2 aircraft tailor made for air assault .
4. A-10 thunderbolt
(post says 5 sqns but it seems all are to go)
Now we get to the fantasy part, however hear me out I’ve got a right del boy dodgy deal idea! As with the Blackhawk the US has hundreds of A-10’s, lots in the national air guard. It seems the head of the USAF is happy to bin these to fund the F-35 which has caused a huge outcry by others.
Perhaps an offer to co fund R&D for brimstone and even possibly the re engine using the new GE passport engine with these two mods it would remain a formidable aircraft (even more now that the 70mm guided rockets have been test fired and proved) way into the late 2020’s even mid 30’s again when we might have some cash to buy it’s replacement.
How would we pay for this R&D?
Well there are other skint countries out there with tornado so do as we did with harrier and sell them to fund it, sending the pilots out to the US to retrain (or brown envelope them as MOD like to do nowadays).
I’m sure there’s other ideas but I see these as cheap, useful assets with costs that won’t have the tree hugging yoghurt knitters wetting their pants!
Paul G, once REME, always grumpy