UK defence issues and the odd container or two

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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!

760 Comments

  1. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    Boat and Float ?
    Looks to me like an unambiguous invitation to discuss ship-to-shore topics.

    Might as well go with top-level reading of USMC Commandant General Amos’ perspective on fast heavy-lift Connectors in the June ’14 issue of the PROCEEDINGS:

    http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2014-06/bridging-our-surface-connector-gap

    Trick-Question:
    – Which would fit inside USN well-decks with adequate heavy-lift capacities to support the USMC Ground Combat Element ?

    Yes, it starts with L….

  2. Kent

    In addition to helicopter and MV-22B “over the horizon” transport of troops to a beach head, during WW2 the US Marines also had the 1st Parachute Regiment (never used as paratroops due to a shortage of Navy transport aircraft). While impractical for heavy equipment, it might be a way to get more (live!) bodies ashore in a hurry.

    Think I’ll button up until the incoming lightens up!

  3. Kent

    About the Aqua Dock in the photo, can it be powered by the engines of the boats tied up to it in order to move the dock (or multiples thereof) around with cargo on board?

  4. Kent

    @Chris – I, for one, can see a place for a heavily armored, fast, big-gunned warship. It would probably have plenty of deck-space for VLS but would primarily be a platform for fully-stabilized, armored, semiautomatic big-gun turrets with guided and unguided projectiles. In this highly technical, electronic age, it’s still not possible to “spoof” gretbigo bullets following the laws of ballistics. While datalinks, UAVs, GPS, laser-designation would all be useful in making the “big-gun cruiser” or even a “monitor” more effective, in high-intensity electronic warfare environments, the big, dumb shells fired by the gretbigo guns would always follow their ballistic trajectories to tear gretbigo holes in whatever they hit. By “gretbigo,” I mean 8 inch or larger bore rifles (to use naval vernacular). Heavily armored would mean extensive use of laminate (or Chobham) armor or even encapsulated depleted uranium.

  5. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    To watch General Amos discuss an earlier highly-compressed version of his thoughts, watch from minute 12:20 to about 19:45 and more later, here at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHWy1LIYyjQ

    In his talk, his Connector-use scenario adds up to 200nm or 400nm roundtrip.

    In EF-21 he speaks of at least 65nm stand-off distance from shore.

    In the current article he starts with 100nm stand-off distance, i.e. 200nm round-trip

    Lot’s of implications for ship-to-shore realities and related doctrines. No more things happening within view from shore.

    By the time you see them coming, it’s already very late…

  6. Gloomy Northern Boy

    My own Fantasy Fleet includes a T46 – a stretched T45 with a double gun turret of larger calibre and additional VLS cells to spoil the day of Her Majesties Enemies in gunboat style from over the horizon and then sail in to accept the surrender…although the RT plan to use more and bigger submarines for that purpose has great merit, but provides fewer opportunities to throw cocktail parties as required… :-)

    GNB

  7. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Obsvr – I claim no knowledge of sniping; but I do know that Police Officers mostly dislike being called “plods”, and the armed ones I met were far from gung-ho and certainly had no “paramilitary delusions”…although in fairness they were not from the Met, which seems to have different standards…

    GNB

  8. Kent

    @KVO – With that kind of stand-off distance, the need for inshore fire support and protection of the landing force grows exponentially as it takes at least four hours to make the trip to the landing site(s) with the speeds the general ascribes to the vehicles needed. During WW2, the US Navy used PCs and SCs to corral the landing craft and lead them to the correct beaches as well as to provide close-in fire support. If the landing force isn’t sufficiently armed itself, it will need cover on the way to the beach(es) and fire/AAA support once it gets there. Does anyone think the US Navy, or any navy for that matter, will have enough destroyers/frigates/LCSs or aircraft to cover that line of supply AND the off-shore fleet of “assault ships?”

    This tells me we need a new class of fast, relatively heavily-armed, escort ships. For convenience we can call them “corvettes.” Since we won’t have the “luxury” of a long preparation time, as we did in WW2, to rapidly design and mass produce relatively inexpensive multipurpose light ships such as the PCs and SCs, we need something right now. I would suggest the Norwegian Skjold-class coastal corvettes with a mix of surface-to-surface missile-armed and surface-to-air missile-armed versions with all of them armed with the Oto Melara 76mm/62cal STRALES gun system. We don’t need six of them like the Norwegians have. We probably need on the order of twenty-four of them to give us the ability to cover landings in different parts of the world.

  9. Ace Rimmer

    Just had a look at the Aqua dock website, its definitely got potential, I’m thinking along the lines of footbridges across rivers, wonder if you drive a Land Rover across it?

    http://aqua-dock.co.uk/

  10. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Simon 257

    Genius. Have seen it done many times but this one was clever.

  11. Kent

    @GNB – Unless those subs have big whacking guns on them, I would disagree with the idea of them sailing in anywhere to accept the surrender. There will likely be some soreheads just itching to blast it with an old-fashioned gun that can put holes in the ballast tanks, etc. I haven’t heard of submarines with big whacking guns on them since the French Surcouf. Besides, subs don’t sail smartly into port will all flags flying. They sort of skulk into port. (Now I’m going to hear it from the submariners!)

  12. Kent

    I thought I recognized Hitler’s emotionalism in those anti-F35 rants on the interweb!

  13. monkey

    @Richard_L
    The stealth boat is awesome (lets hope the Argentinian SBS don’t have any)

    On the second link on CRAB , It seems not only RT was sowing his seed far and wide but also Ferret! Long live Son of Ferret , (how long for 100 to be delivered as is?)

  14. Kent

    Humvee or smaller with a Bushmaster and more horsepower? Yowzah! Silent running an option? Excellent!

  15. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    KENT,
    this is a serious issue.
    As is AH/UH-1 helo-range – if not carried on LCU-F’s back.
    M1-A 120mm tank-gun-, LAV-turrets, USMC AVENGER-, mortars only go that far.
    If carried aboard LCU-F, then AH-1 will do what they do carrying more weapons and not longer-range fuel.

    The LCU-F discussion(s) in print and online mentioned Inshore Fire Support (IFS) off one or two LCU-Fs.
    With USMC already running HIMARS, then big sister MLRS would offer certain tube-artillery opportunities, incl. 180nm ATACMS.

    Only actual testing would inform use of perhaps 155mm or 203mm barrel-artillery; 155mm M-109 was fired off LCU-1610type – but with an unstabilized barrel and unguided ammo, i.e. more of a ‘proof-of-concept’.

    Therefore the more long well-deck Amphibs, the more likelihood to dedicate Connector-capacity to IFS.

    Coastal Defense Cruise Missiles (CDCMs) pushing ships offshore creates the need for more much lower-signature smaller autonomous systems that are well-deck based. And this will affect doctrine around LSD/LPD/and particularly new other LHDs, such as French, Australian, Russian, Japanese, etc.
    This is the first time we see seriously mentioned as a practical ambition the concept of OTH-100+.
    Which other amphibious forces could resonate with this ?

    As to SKJOLD, where to keep them in the ARG/MEU ? Would they be high-seas capable ?
    Very limited range.

  16. Kent

    @KVO – I’m aware how serious of an issue this is. My point was that the landing force would need protection over and above that mounted on the LCUs. I’m not convinced that direct fire from embarked tanks or artillery is an option, although HIMARs or MLRS might work. As for Skjold, they could have a dedicated support/transport vessel OR they could just run their lift engines and be towed. (Just thinking outside the boat, as it were.)

    Your point about AH-1/UH-1 is well-taken. They need to be carried as close as possible so they need protection during the transport phase.

    We’re on the same side.

  17. ArmChairCivvy

    LEP for C2s might be just the right thing to do, as the medium weight force can start to be getting their own tanks, over the same time horizon?
    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/is-polands-stealthy-pl-01-the-tank-of-the-future-1554395391
    – BAE is not out of the game after all… even the chassis is from their Swedish subsidiary

    Have been wondering how Finland’s BMP2s are getting stealth features… might be something akin to what is described in the linked article (less extensive and expensive, of course)? The renewed optics will be the same as (were?) to be fitted into that new Franco_russian wheeled thingy (the engine has already dropped off as the Swedes embargoed it)

  18. ArmChairCivvy

    Had to wade through all of the previous month’s Open Thread (was not able to keep pace over the month) and there were a couple of mentions of the BVR missiles not being able match the sensor capability of the F35… maybe these mentions were all based on that hour-long video, which I have not watched.

    Meteor for export then? WVRs from America (as Australia has already decided, as a replacement programme) and BVRs from Europe? There was some kind of programme aiming at a division of labour (R&D) in which the Europeans in their effort/ decision making once again turned out to be so fragmented that the US finally lost patience and did their own thing.

  19. Chris

    ACC – I saw the BAE CV90 demonstrator at DSEi a couple of years ago. All painted black with hexagonal peltier effect tiles covering the flank. Peltier devices are quite clever – as current flows through the slab it draws heat from one side and shovels it out the other – you could for example make a solid-state fridge using them. But just like the fridge, the heat pulled from the cold side has to be dealt with; it doesn’t go away. So with the Polish CV90 idea, there are just three possibilities:
    1. The heat drawn back from the outer skin is dumped into a vat of liquid nitrogen deep inside the hull
    2. The inside of the vehicle gets hotter and hotter until it could be used to cook Sunday dinner
    3. The cloaking system can only operate for a few minutes, needing to be switched off to dissipate accumulated heat

    The major issue with these devices is that they are slabs of semiconductor and are brittle and fragile. Obviously they are not in any way armour, but even bumping into branches walls lampposts or vehicles would be too much for them.

    Eventually someone is going to make a robust material that can light up & darken the outer surface across a broad spectrum (UV to IR) but its not here yet.

    See here http://aviationweek.com/awin/technologies-evolving-cloak-battlefield-vehicles-sensors for a slightly more technical description of the technology.

    Shades of RT’s request a week or so ago to get rid of vehicle heat signatures…

  20. Simon257

    @ ACC

    I posted the link to the F-35 Test Pilot Vid. It is really worth watching it. Save you hunting for it again here it is:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxe4Jv1cJxI

    The question comes up at 38:50. The LM Test Pilot William C. Gigliotti, noted that the US fighter fleet across the board needed a new (Aim-120) long-range missile with better Kinematic (if that’s the right word) capability. Although I’m sure that a long- range Aim-120 was cancelled a few years ago.

  21. Observer

    KENT, personally, I don’t think they will succeed with OTH. It’s a nice concept, but there are too many factors working against it. For one, standing off will increase the transit time, no matter how people wish otherwise.

    Doctrine wise, there is also the problem of how the marines deploy. As much as people imagine scenes of “Saving Private Ryan”, where they used landing craft as assault boats, the USMC does NOT work that way. Their doctrine is an AAV landing first, then solidifying an infantry parameter around the beachhead where the LCUs and LCACs land in safety, so no matter how macho your LCUs are, they will not be risked because they are your long term lifeline to the ships. You can lose all of the AAVs, and it won’t matter too much if you managed to secure the parameter for the follow up echelon. Lose your LCUs on the other hand, and your supplies will face a bottleneck for days if not weeks.

    This means that the OTH limiter is the AAV, not the LCU, because you can only go as fast as your point men.

    Ambitious concept, impressive in a way. But maybe too ambitious.

    Kibbitz already knows my opinion on the LCU-F. Nice concept. Can the hardware and the usage live up to the expectation? I have my doubts.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that Americans like to go for techy solutions without considering usage and doctrine. The LCS is one such item left without a concept of ops, same with this “improved” LCU-F when the most critical chokepoint isn’t LCU speed but the initial entry AAVs which were supposed to have been replaced with the EFV before they saw the price tag for one and canned the project.

    Want to take bets that this OTH fad will go nowhere in the end? The most they can get out of it is probably a heliborne assault.

  22. ArmChairCivvy

    Observer,

    My bet is that the main consequence will be the landed force, seldom exceeding a MEU. Vertical ops will become the mainstay, but to have a s ignificant force gathered that way will risk “half” of the navy… well, not all of it, but the amphibiosity realted assets.

  23. Obsvr

    @ GNB, if you live in UKland then the plods do not carry guns as part of their uniform. This is a very good start to avoiding paramilitary delusions, plods are basically benign. Where I live we call them Wallopers, they do carry as part of their uniform.

  24. Phil

    If you’re doing a landing, and you need to do it OTH, you shouldn’t be doing it.

  25. Simon

    Phil,

    Doesn’t that mean our entire doctrine for amphibious warfare is wrong?

    Surely you’d always choose to keep your “motherships” at arms reach?

  26. Observer

    Simon, the doctrine as you so fondly call it currently is NOT to leave the “mothership” at arms reach. The “arms reach” concept is the new guy on the block in response to perceived improved shore defences. And Phil has a point. If the enemy has moved anti-ship missiles to your area of ops, your cover is pretty much blown and you’re going to end up facing a contested landing, which is a no-no for this kind of ops and a sure sign to pack it up and try again some other day somewhere else.

    Talking from the point of USMC tactics that is. Not sure how your RM does it.

  27. Observer

    TD, thanks, but there really isn’t much talk about how the RM does entry other than LCU and helo. Though I can see some basic differences in doctrine already between the RM and USMC.

    The Americans build up their force on the beach to hit a port with infantry and vehicles while you guys simply move in once you land with almost pure infantry (because the initial battalions are all that is going in there).

    Interesting. It would mean that your forces have a tendency to hit their targets faster while the US is a bit slower but hit harder because of the buildup. Something for any exercise OPFOR to keep in mind.

  28. Simon257

    @ Obs

    I wonder if the shadow of the Dieppe raid, still falls on UK Amphibious planning?

    If you look at the Falklands War, the Argentinians had been trained by the USMC and used the same doctrine, so they landed fairly close to Port Stanley. And then expected us to do the same. We didn’t, landing miles away. The Grand Plan was to use Helicopters to move forward. That plan went down with Atlantic Conveyor! So we had to walk!

  29. ArmChairCivvy

    If your oppo’s strength is about 30, straight to objective is probably a good choice.

    Didn’t the argy Marines pretty much withdraw after the initial days (the main units being kept near the southern airbases) and the show was left to be run by some good-old infanteers (I won’t say cavalry men, to avoid offending RT)? They fought the campaign WW1 or 2 style and did not even understand the range/ logistics requirements of effective air cover.

  30. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    OBSERVER: With OMFTS and STOM on Marines’ desks since the mid-90s, no more building up stuff on the exposed beach if you can at all help it. STOM = Ship To Objective Maneuver versus congregating on the beach somewhere waiting for a few Enduro-delivered mortar rounds to spoil the day.

    Therefore
    – no “Beach Head”,
    – no “Private Ryan Scenario”
    etc.

    Remember the article explicitly speaking of as many insertion-points as you’d have LCU-F and LCAC-2.
    And remember full GCE-style ‘First Wave’ i.e. all frontline combat assets delivered in those many locations pretty much at once (!) for maximum surprise and virtual attrition.

    With a beam of 22′ an air-draft of 10-11′, just about all ‘sea-skimming’ missiles will skim right over and beyond LCU-F.

    As General Amos points out in video and print, Vertical Deployment is insufficient. The World Record of helo-lift is about 25 metric tons via a rare Russian MIL Ueber-Helo, not available to any Marines anywhere in the world. Even the 40-year old AAV-7 weighs in at 28 tons. A main battle tank between 60 – 70 tons.

    OBSERVER, increasingly potent shore-defenses are proliferating. If you can make those ‘go away’ – let’s hear it.
    General Amos on the other hand mentions OTH-100 as a more plausible option.

    What this most potent and experienced amphibious force is working towards will inform all other Navies’ decision-making on Amphibs, their Marines, and respective doctrines.

    If modern French, Australian, Russian etc. LHDs can not carry organically high-speed heavy-lift Connectors in adequate numbers – which can ? – they have serious challenges on their hands. Facing such shore-defenses, using them just as Helo-Carriers will run right into the helo combat-radius conundrum, which will ‘swallow’ much of that thinking.

    Call in a Carrier Strike Group ? A serious challenge even for USN with more such assets than the rest of the world combined.

    Amphibious Capabilities will rise steadily in strategic and tactical importance. Optimistic notions about close-inshore Amphib-Ships-in-full-sight Marines-delivery operations in a non-permissive environment are clearly recognized as highly problematic by General Amos. As he stated in February on that video-link above, “…this is something we woefully missed the mark on. It’s time we stepped up the game on Connectors…”

    Every Navy with amphibious ambitions will have to study – if not copy (!) – what is happening at USMC/USN.

    KENT: “Great minds think alike…” Cue the fanfares…. I do like my fanfares early in the day ! By noon my ears stop ringing, and I’m all set to get to work.

  31. Phil

    You do an opposed landing or you don’t. If it’s not opposed why do we need to invest in OTH capabilities when we could invest in volume and throughout instead. There’s no reason to do OTH unless you’re expecting a fight and if you’re expecting a fight there you should land somewhere else OR launch a persistent campaign to prep the landing area and reduce it.

  32. Roders

    Hi there,

    Wouldn’t it be a lot faster to use ospreys for intial landing and then chinooks for the follow up? If you’re going over the horizon then you’ve got to shrink travel time to a minimum, I don’t know if this is possible but could you sling an ISO container full of commandos under a lynx wildcat? :P Making use of the helos from the escorts, would definitely go someway to shrinking travel time :)

    Roders

  33. Observer

    Kibbitz, as you said, somehow with all the alphabet concepts on the Marine’s desks since 90s, yet somehow they still deploy like it is 1994. AAVs, infantry deployment, LCACs disgorging hummers, the whole 9 yards. Where is the application? It’s been 20 years.

    As for shore defences, scare-mongers would like you to believe that there is an anti-ship missile behind every bush. Reality is that those are high value assets, something like MBTs. You do not get them scattered over and yonder. They guard high value targets or wait in either ambush or in reaction to your ships. If your amphib is targeted by one, it’s clear sign that you’re busted, they moved heavy assets into the area. GTFO before you end up playing tag with an MBT on the beach.

    See Phil’s reasoning. If you have to OTH, you’re in the wrong place.

    BTW, I don’t suppose it is really a big secret by now, but conceptually, we avoid most of the shore defences by deploying at night. long LCU journey and you end up cold, wet, seasick and miserable, but even with all the toys and gadgets these days, humans still switch their minds off at night. Much more likely to slip through, especially with low/no light. It also helps that once the “dawn assault” phase takes place, you got the whole day to unload the stores from the LPD as opposed to an afternoon attack and you are left with only half a day of daylight get all your ducks in order.

    And before you wah-wah about radar, MH370 should have demonstrated by now that many radar nets have huge holes. A bit of aerial recon and some map planning will keep you out of detection arcs, especially if you came in straight from the sea instead of hugging the coastline.

  34. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    OBSERVER, several items to observe:
    – You have to have the capability to do OTH in order to actially accomplish STOM. With EFV not delivering (fortunately) and no new technology emerging, it’s down to low-tech/high-concept proposals the Commandant mentions.
    – If you don’t plan for the known knowns, how would you plan for the uncertain knowns, never mind the unknown unknowns… where’s Rummy when you need him to explain things concisely ?!
    – What are rare high-value CDCMs today can readily be proliferating 10 years from now. Since naval hardware is expected to last 30-50 years, we want to be prepared for the known knowns proliferating during just a fraction of that vessel-class life-time.
    – CMC Amos is surrounded by battle-tested and wargame-worn specialists who are drawing hard conclusions, whether you or I agree matters none. I, however, take note.

    About your ‘day-scheduling’, that is all quaint and well. Taking advantage of the dark to turn off electronic sensors…

    How would you protect the ARG-MEU and deliver Marines to do what Marines do ?

  35. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    PHIL said:
    “You do an opposed landing or you don’t. If it’s not opposed why do we need to invest in OTH capabilities when we could invest in volume and throughout instead. There’s no reason to do OTH unless you’re expecting a fight and if you’re expecting a fight there you should land somewhere else OR launch a persistent campaign to prep the landing area and reduce it.”

    If it were so easy. Black or white…
    Unless you intend to announce your ambitions with lot’s of however unobtrusive ISR while the ARG-MEU ‘waits’ and thus gives away its location and probable intentions you will not know what exactly will await you. Still, most modern military tactics would always counsel against running straight at the machine-gun position.

    So you have to deliver as ‘suddenly’ as possible from OTH-max. a MEU-punch where and how most effective, such as via a dusk-launched 5-10hrs at 20kts to arrive at various locations, and with as much of your GCE-assets concurrently as possible, as the LCU-F article in the July’13 PROCEEDINGS elaborates upon.
    And the hope would be to not have a head-on engagement by design. However, you need to be prepared for some staunch opposition of the beach-owners while you concurrently engage them all over the shoreline.

    There seems little reason not to pursue such capability with High-Concept/Low-Tech geometries.

  36. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    OBSERVER stated
    ” …long LCU journey and you end up cold, wet, seasick and miserable,…

    Should you take the time to read the LCU-F material on hand in print/online and e.g. the various threads here at TD, you’d notice that at least on her you’d be warm, and dry, with access to the loo, and the option of keeping your eyes/brain/inner ear glued to an artificial steady horizon via goggles or screens to keep the green from ruining your facial tone.

    You are thinking buck-board one-horse buggy. LCU-F suggests Van.

  37. Observer

    Kibbitz, just a query, which branch of the service were you with and do you have any experience with amphibious landings? You seem to be very familiar with all the fad buzzwords.

  38. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @wirralpete – My guess is that there will be no announcement about the main yard until after the Referendum…

    Heads for Bunker, pursued by Salmondistas… :-)

  39. Observer

    Ouch, you really are hung up about that referendum, Gloomy. :)

    Want to bet it’ll end up something like Australia’s?

  40. wirralpete

    @GNB – Aye lol
    If it goes yes for the salmondistas hoping for an english solution based on Cammell Lairds plenty of room to build a new frigate factory and even new dock to service QE carriers
    http://www.clbh.co.uk/facilities
    They currently refit all RFA vessels bar the Bays and assuming they’re gettin contracts for fitting out the Tides

  41. ArmChairCivvy

    wasn’t this part “which 127mm gun to be procured” announced already, i.e not the one the Germans and the Dutch have chosen?

    Simple decision rule? If you speak English, get your guns from a manufacturer that starts with a “B”… everyone else, the Italian job, with some smaller Bofors’es mixed in, for good measure.

  42. Simon

    Gents,

    I’m no authority but as far as I’ve been lead to believe our doctrine is for “acceptable risk” and an over the horizon assault. T’is the reason HMS Ocean was built (two company assaults within 30 minutes with an armed aviation patrol)

    All of this previously was supposed to be under air cover provided by the carriers. We no longer have this, so maybe the whole ethos has shifted to something a little less risky?

    As for how is should be done I’m more inclined to suggest that both ways are totally valid. You either “pick off” your enemy from range using high-speed attacks / skirmishes, or go in “heavy” with the relevent logistic force behind supporting what is essentially a front-line moving from the sea over the land.

  43. ArmChairCivvy

    Simon, it is the famous “air-bubble” provided by the T45s. RE
    “All of this previously was supposed to be under air cover provided by the carriers.”

    When I last looked the Maritime Doctrine doc still had it (there was no Joint doctrine doc at that time available… and I was only looking for both of them to see if CEPP had made it into the text).
    – of course everyone knows that taking the pure range from where ever the T45 would be sitting and using a compass to draw the circle also to the over-the-land part might not be “water-tight”? Hence, the preference for OTH, even assuming any coastal defence missiles away?

  44. Simon

    Cutting down the JOINT DOCTRINE PUBLICATION 0-01 into a single paragraph I get…

    The manoeuvrist approach is to apply momentum, tempo and agility against identified physical, intellectual or emotional vulnerabilities with emphasis on hindering/hampering an enemy’s capability using a ruthless determination to gain disproportionate advantage.

    To me this indicates a lack of appetite for an opposed landing and a focus towards skirmishing and well-kitted guerrilla warfare – i.e. “hit and run” from over the horizon.

  45. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    Observer wrote on June 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm
    “Kibbitz, just a query, which branch of the service were you with and do you have any experience with amphibious landings? You seem to be very familiar with all the fad buzzwords.”

    Nope. I won’t follow you there to compare… That would be.. well…

    I’d rather reflect on the challenges and apparent solutions.
    Lot’s to study, to reflect one, to absorb – all without personal hang-ups, since those don’t really matter.

    As I read everything available recently on USMC’s new doctrine, hardware-solutions under (publicly-stated) consideration – just look at CMC Amos’ piece, its footnote and then those sources’ footnotes etc. – major urgent changes have been diagnosed, postulated and apparently are in the process of being addressed.

    The big question is the current and future viability of anything ‘amphibious’ in a progressively less-and-less ‘permissive’ context, as indicated by the increase in quality of even third-tier shore-defenses.

    It is understandable than this obvious paradigm-shift can be too demanding for quite a few.
    In fact, it quite harshly suggests diminishing utility of a whole range of not-so-cheap assets afloat right now anywhere around this globe – unless their declining viability can be effectively upgraded such as through major OTH-shifts and the central role of adequate number of fast heavy-lift Connectors that can still execute the central amphibious task. Judging by available shore-defense systems of 2004, that challenge has been on the table for at least one decade, and actually for much longer yet.

    So, when CMC Amos takes on this challenge, I’m all for it. Just note the range of addresses of the spectrum of Connectors he explicitly cites. He clearly takes this very seriously.
    As should we all within NATO and western Allies in the Far East, no matter your urge to get distracted by ‘comparing’ instead…

  46. Phil

    @KVO

    Let’s deconstruct STOM.

    What it basically is, is an attempt to apply some of the fundamental principles of war:offensive action, concentration of force and economy of effort. This is achieved by applying forces directly onto the objectives without dissipating them in lodgement operations. Very good theory.

    But how do you, in practice achieve that against a peer enemy? Try and apply that to Normandy or Okinawa? I’d argue you can’t. You cannot avoid a lodgement if you conduct anything other than a “raid”. So what we have is a concept suited to a raid. Fine. The problem is this concept requires voracious investment in the form of new technologies (V22, AAAV etc etc) and new force structures. So you have a concept that skews the entire force but that concept is essentially useless bollocks against a peer. So you invest billions and billions and still can’t fight against a peer using STOM.

    So, amphibious operations are either conducted somewhere relatively benign (in which case you don’t need OTH and should instead concentrate on building combat power on land with massive throughput) or somewhere nasty but you have to accept that you need a persistent campaign to reduce the potential lodgement.

    STOM is suited for a raid. It offers nothing against a peer enemy. At best it offers a marginally more persistent version of an air drop as long as you can keep air superiority.

    So what is the point?

  47. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    Phil,
    I find arguing with a 4-star Commanding General War-Veteran about STOM somewhat presumptuous. I sure could not ‘cut the mustard’ with folks on his level of professional attainment

    What I can do is read his latest piece, study its context, including how and where he integrates references to OMFTS and STOM into his ‘on-the-record’ narrative.

    Fortunately this is publicly accessible at http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2014-06/bridging-our-surface-connector-gap.

    Give it read.
    And accept the ‘boss’s ‘ intellectual-, institutional-, and doctrinal gravitas. You’ll find his face and signature on USMC”s new doctrine ‘Expeditionary Force 21 (EF-21).

    ’nuff said.

    Wait…wait…there comes OBSERVER… yes… with insights.
    Alas, General Amos may not listen.

  48. Observer

    Kibbitz, I’ve read the material. I’m not impressed. It’s more like wishful thinking than an actual project. And you might want to brag less for now, your van still has not shown if it can out run that buggy in real life yet. Or even have a chance of becoming more than a powerpoint slide.

    Personally, I think it’s the next “miracle cure” the Americans have latched on to.

    Kibbitz, you don’t happen to go by the handle of Twenty-twenty on Snafu do you?

  49. Observer

    Kibbitz, you’re an idiot. Amos is a naval aviator, not a ground pounder. Who do you think has more experience doing the shit that you have been baying about? A pilot?

    And if you want to credentials toss, what are YOURS?

  50. ArmChairCivvy

    Phil,
    good points there. And what’s the point? There only is a bottom line if you can utilise superior strategic mobility towards achieving an important end.
    – it may not need application of force; just the knowledge (by you and the other parties) that you are capable of doing “it” may produce the result… if it needs bobbing up and down somewhere for a good while, so be it. I have kept mentioning that the Italians designed their “troop ship” to be livable in for a half year period, and the new German “v big” peace-keeping frigates can also stay out for up to two years (obviously with crew changes and, in the end, they only carry SF in limited numbers, so not “troop ships”, but still a credible means of intervening/ blockading)

  51. Observer

    There is another way to use amphibious forces, not only for initial entry, that is basically the OPSPLAN that I’m more familiar with. It’s something similar to what MacArthur did at Incheon, cutting in behind the enemy to severe their supply lines and trap them in a cul de sac. Think of it as a sea-borne blitzkreig. We learnt it from the Japanese back in WWII when they got creative and used it to entrap British forces.

  52. ArmChairCivvy

    Let me just add that my comments were in the European context, and applying the USMC as an instrument (and certainly not the only instrument) will not be facing the same constraints.

  53. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Observer – a comparatively small group of people are trying to take my rather successful Country apart, and I have no means of influencing the outcome.

    Furthermore, some of them are clearly doing it in the hope that it will do the rest of us serious harm (CASD/UNSC Seat/defence and security policy generally)…none of them seem to be wholly truthful about some of the likely consequences…and when those consequences are pointed out firmly but politely they call Ministers in HMG bullies, liars and worse (the pound, naval shipbuilding, borders)…they dish out the same treatment to our overseas allies as it suits them (NATO, the EU). I find this irritating a bit like oil of wintergreen injudiciously applied after a nice hot shower…

    And finally, even in very ancient nations all experience shows that secession ends badly…almost always in anger, very often in bloodshed…and my take on the immutable Law of Unintended Consequences is that they are always bad and often absolutely catastrophic. See the Balkans for details…the point where I gave up on the EU as a serious vehicle for foreign or defence policy.

    But I will try to be less boring about it. :-(

    A remorseful Gloomy

  54. Observer

    Gloomy, never said you were boring, in fact, it’s enlightening.

    Cheer up old boy. My bet is on Scotland getting independence about the same time as we colonize Mars. Or maybe a bit after. :P

  55. Phil

    Give it read.

    Alright then. I will. I am looking forward to how he argues his Marines can teleport themselves over an enemy held beach in numbers greater than a company raid.

    I’ll be back now.

  56. Phil

    And what’s the point?

    I meant what is the point of skewing your force to conduct a method of operations that can’t be used against a peer force.

  57. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    “What’s the point ?”

    Well, not sure there’s a way to address this question…

    How about you (and OBSERVER ?) examining how your current doctrine fares in a less than HA/DR permissive environment ?

    In stark contrast with that, General Amos apparently has greater ambitions than a few ‘drive-by’-raids for his 180,000 Marines.

    And you are right to no want to play with OBSERVER since he quickly resorts to ‘comparing’ and name-calling ?!
    Rather unsporting, I should say.

  58. Observer

    I did give it a read, it was just a call to modernize and a bit of crystal ball reading. Nothing about how they are going to execute an ops. The first part was simply reorganization by another name, they are no longer MEFs but MEUs! What do they do? Same as the old job, but this time with airplanes too.

    Basically, Amos now has a problem. He doesn’t want to get too close to the enemy, but standing that far away means that the enemy is also now out of his reach. This is him looking for a longer pole.

    Personally, I think a lot of this could be solved by simple redesigns of the LCU from displacement hulls to simple semi-planing hulls and cutting down a lot of their endurance. Note the word “simple”, not the Rubix cube of the LCU-F. Load all these onto a LASH and you got a decent amount of lift. I share leesea’s opinion that the US really has too few landing craft per ship, a side effect of the AAV organization. It aids them a lot in the initial entry, but the shortage of LCUs starts to hurt later in logistics. Having another ship carry the extras into the field would be simple and help a lot. Amos himself even alludes to it in the article.

    KISS. Much better than billion dollar research projects that end up producing nothing.

  59. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    ArmChairCivvy wrote:
    ” Phil,
    good points there. And what’s the point? There only is a bottom line if you can utilise superior strategic mobility towards achieving an important end.
    – it may not need application of force; just the knowledge (by you and the other parties) that you are capable of doing “it” may produce the result… if it needs bobbing up and down somewhere for a good while, so be it.”

    We’d call that deterrence.
    And if Amphibious Assault is periodically actually applied here and there with plausible effect, that tool will be good for while. There are enough tin-pot fools out there to fish for such an engagement sooner or later.
    Why build, own, drive ‘boomers’ ?
    Why polish launch-buttons on land- and sea-based offensive/defensive systems ?
    Etc.

    Such cases would underscore an exemplary capability.
    As a reality-check, S.Korea is boosting its Marines, as is Japan, Australia, even little and poor Philippines are getting there, etc.

    Deterrence is good – if plausible.

  60. Observer

    Kibbitz, look back, you were the one who started edging towards ad hominem first. I’m just pointing out to you that name dropping does not mean that you have a grasp of the topic by the other person. Commandant Amos is Commandant Amos, you are you. How good is YOUR grasp of the topic?

    And try not to go into hypocrisy, it’s one of the few things that really pisses me off.

  61. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    OBSERVER wrote:
    “Personally, I think a lot of this could be solved by simple redesigns of the LCU from displacement hulls to simple semi-planing hulls and cutting down a lot of their endurance. Note the word “simple”, not the Rubix cube of the LCU-F. Load all these onto a LASH and you got a decent amount of lift. I share leesea’s opinion that the US really has too few landing craft per ship, a side effect of the AAV organization. It aids them a lot in the initial entry, but the shortage of LCUs starts to hurt later in logistics. Having another ship carry the extras into the field would be simple and help a lot. Amos himself even alludes to it in the article.

    KISS. Much better than billion dollar research projects that end up producing nothing.”

    Another insight.

    What do you think folks at NAVSEA and USMC HQ have been examining the options around ?

    Why are you attempting to bring into the discussion ‘personal rank’ to then promptly float ‘this one’ ??!!

    This is going where it will go – with and without my or your ‘brilliance’ here or anywhere.

    CMC Amos, however, does understand that post- Iraq and post-Afghanistan, without a plausible amphibious capability his Marine Corps would be at progressive risk of being budget-cut into oblivion.

    You will notice however, that amongst all US armed forces, USMC is the most highly-regarded and has suffered less from budget-cuts. No fools there…

  62. Phil

    Christ that was a turgid thing to read.

    But nonetheless, get through the bullshit bingo and “connector” bollocks and what Amos is saying is that the Marines need to be more flexible. He mentions projecting further from shore and the uses the example of Afghanistan. Hardly the sort of operation you are advocating for OTH operations.

    So he’s saying that the Marines need to be prepared to adopt a flexible approach to getting ashore, that this might be from over the horizon (very far from the horizon) and it might be in force to create a lodgement. So OTH is not prescribed as a default state, merely one way of achieving an objective.

    As I have said, STOM is suited to a raid or an air assault. Not to a peer enemy. And not over ground. And what Amos says in that article backs that up. The fact AAAV was binned does to.

    So as ever the truth is not very sexy. Amos says the Marines need to take opportunities where they can and be flexible with how they are delivered to the fight. They might come from over the horizon when they can. but they might build a lodgement. None of it invalidates my argument that skewing your force to achieve one concept of operations which can’t be used to fight a peer is silly. Old Amos and I agree.

  63. Think Defence

    It is all about shades of grey

    The Uk has not done a full on D Day style opposed landing for many decades because we recognise that a) its a bit of a bad idea when there are often other means of skinning the same cat and b) to retain the D Day capability means that is the only capability we would have for an almost nil likelihood

    The problem we have is the doctrine as written, in all its STOM glory, doesn’t quite match the reality of personnel numbers and equipment capabilities so out whole capability has a whiff of fur coat and no knickers, only a whiff mind, because we can still land and sustain a reasonable sized force in all but the most testy environments.

  64. Red Trousers

    …and the nifty Panhard Crab which I rather like

    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/panhards-crab-may-just-be-the-future-of-armored-scout-v-1581746120

    There is an awful lot to like in that little wagon, but not for recce. Two reasons in my mind, one major, one more minor but potentially still lethal.

    Visibility out. In a CVR(T) from the commander’s seat I could see about 270 degrees from forward merely by turning my head and shoulders in less than half a second, as well as 90 degrees vertically. In a second I could look completely rearwards. You won’t be able to in that little thing. I could also hear the outside world.

    That windscreen. Going to glare horribly by being flat panelled, going to show up as a massive heat differential on thermal.

    Do the same wagon with the commander head out in the turret, make it a two seater, and give Drives a typical thermal sight and flip forward viewing ports as per Ferret, and you might have something useful.

    Chris, are you listening?

  65. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    Hey, a group-hug after all.
    All for a good cause, late in the day.
    Amongst Allies.

    So, how would RN/RM do OTH-65 to work alongside USMN/USMC within the hard realities discussed in EF-21 ?

  66. Phil

    Exactly the same as the US almost. It’s an air assault. A suitable tactic when you’re flying over an undefended beach – in the example Amos used the beach was undefended as it was not an enemy beach. That is OTH and that is STOM. A useful capability to have but some might argue the 82nd could have done it too. When you frame OTH and STOM in terms of an air assault with all the limitations of that approach, then it makes more sense. It does not make sense for ground operations. Which I’d bet the farm is why the USMC has Osprey and doesn’t have AAAV. Somebody realised that if Iwo Jima was going to happen air assaults were out and so was the fantasy of not establishing a beach head.

    If the door needs to get kicked in then STOM or OTH is pointless. Otherwise its a tool that can be used when appropriate. But it is too often imagined as some masturbatory method of conducting the D-Day landings.

  67. Chris

    RT – sorry my attention was temporarily stolen by a fierce curry. But now I’m all ears…

    I already have a wagon similar to your desires. At the moment it does have a similar fixed transparent armour setup to that of CRAB, and does look like a shiny thing – one army reviewer when he spied the image of it declared “I want one!” and he meant as a personal toy, not a tool of the Army. But I have considered reworking the driver area to make it head out/periscope. It already has a one man turret which is MG armed, and is big enough to fit simple comms and obligatory ECM (for which the turret had to grow bigger – I thought electrons were small?!)

    It is of course far bigger than RTesque recce officers would like, and does not come fitted with Derailleur gears or crank & pedals. Try as hard as I could the thing ended up bigger than Ferret by some margin – about the same length as Snatch but wider. Funnily enough, very similar size/weight to CRAB, although I knew nothing of the Panhard machine until my design was done.

  68. Mark

    That pivot to Asia doesn’t seem to be working of to well

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27675337

    Nato has pledged to bolster its defence capabilities in response to Russian actions in Ukraine, but said it would stick to a key agreement with Moscow.

    The Nato announcement came hours after the US president pledged $1bn to boost military deployments to Europe.

    Russia earlier said it could pull out of the 1997 Nato-Russia Founding Act should there be major Nato deployments in eastern and central Europe.

  69. Red Trousers

    Chris,

    The “transparent armour” has to go for a recce wagon. It’s like Blackpool Illuminations on thermal for a recce wagon. Fine elsewhere like for liaison or GP wagons for the military filth, but not forward of the FEBA.

    I am fairly settled in my view that we should be looking at recce troops of 6 wagons, 3 each of cannon and AGL. The cannon equipped variants should be 3 man crews, the AGL 2 man crews. Total 15 men, but critically, balanced in three pairs of complementary capabilities to give depth in defence, or breadth in advance. It also allows for a three man 24 hour OP to go forward and leaves the troop still capable of slightly reduced aggressive reaction and counter-desant operations.

    You must also allow for the Commanders to be heads out. You cannot do recce effectively while closed down.

  70. Bob1987

    Defence has to be taken seriously, man it’s such a big issue. Here we all are having fun and we don’t realize how much effort and risk goes into keeping us safe … really.

  71. Chris

    RT – the vehicle I just described I had pegged for liaison not recce, hence its windows and compact(ish) dimensions. But I’m open to a bit of re-tasking… I also have vehicles with medium calibre gun + GW one man turret on top (one man because of the shape of the autoloader), either wheeled or tracked. But with common support with the liaison wagon. Imagine everything you ever wanted from FFLAV or TRACER or even (original) FRES…

  72. Red Trousers

    Chris,

    Such a shame you and I did not coincide at the time that I was setting requirements for FRES SV in the period 2000-2003. I really would have given you a decent chance to spend a couple of months with ATDU, then walked you round some one stars and equivalents in Shabby Wood, the then new DSTL, and various Force Development Colonels in DRAC, DRA, and DInf. All the time I would have been telling you of my ultimately unsuccessful battle to have the combat element of FRES SV (the poster child of FRES SV) divorced from the main requirement, so that the Combat Support elements such as C2, Engineer or Artillery Support elements could be the 30 tonne wagons we see proposed now, while the fighting was done in 5 tonne or less wagons. I did not have a production ready 5 tonne recce wagon option in front of me, so lost the battle.

    However, a thought. Liaison wagons might be bought in the tens of dozens. They are never going to set the design spec of a fighting wagon bought in the low hundreds.

  73. Chris

    RT – ref numbers – something to bear in mind certainly. At the moment I’m busy with one of the larger vehicles but I’ll add the – um – reccefication? of the liaison vehicle to the ‘to do’ list.

    Ref time – back in 2000 I had aspirations for one type of vehicle. No design other than a sketch. (As it happens, once I’d done the first couple of vehicle designs in 2010, I went back to that sketch and applied the same design process to it that had created the other two ‘proper’ designs. Funnily enough it ended up looking completely different with different driveline and configuration and – well almost everything was different other than the number of wheels. Such is the wonderful world of engineering design.) So had we met to talk vehicles it would have been a short and unhelpful conversation. I have loads of really interesting stuff now though. What a pity you have sold yourself to industry in the mean time…

  74. wf

    @TD: Panther was sold as a recce vehicle as well as a liason one. I can remember watching a TV report where is was touted as the replacement for Warrior :-)

  75. Chris

    TD – I think they tipped the scales at about £420k each, if memory is correct – quite expensive.

  76. Think Defence

    Just doing my research for VERDI and VERDI-2, fascinating stuff, far in advance of its time, and probably the technology of the day but it is illustrative that we seem to have returned to the general concept of VERDI-2 except instead of Warrior, with an ASCOD, and arguably not as forward looking

    Chris, yep, plus the UOR mods and RWS, so probably double the base cost

    Did you chaps know Alvis partnered with various European companies to offer a complete solution to FFLAV

    MOWAG for the GKN Piranha
    Panhard for the VBL
    Hagglunds for CV90

    and

    Enasa for the 6×6 BMR, a vehicle that would go on to be developed into the Pandur

  77. Red Trousers

    Chris, no pity about me going off to industry. I was told by the Army’s two star in charge of my career that I’d pissed off too many vested interests to go further than full Colonel, plus Mrs RT wasn’t too keen on my next two year posting including two operational tours, looked at the finances and offers available, so Offski while still employable.

    Now, if your next wagon designs can include a mini-station for an IMINT controller with a couple of screens in front of him, and a cubic metre for storage and antenna, and modest power for the next gen massively elevated sensors, I’ve got my own company with a full blown CONOPS for organic vertical reconnaissance and extended surveillance for land forces at what should be about 5% of the current cost, lesser chances of detection and greater probability of detection. And my employer’s buy in to doing some blue sky stuff, and if it works they will swing in behind me with proper systems engineering.

  78. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Just watched the biography of Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown RN – a Naval Pilot who started on Gloucester Gladiators, ended on Buccaneers and in between times flew 487 aircraft types as a Test Pilot…including charmers like the ME 163 (the one guaranteed to blow up on landing if it had any fuel left!).

    Absolutely bloody astonishing chap…keep your eyes on Yesterday (History Channel)…bound to show up again.

    A profoundly humbled Gloomy

    GNB

    PS Boss – nobody would call you a pimp…more an Escort Agency Proprietor…pimps work outdoors, not on-line with the assistance of dodgy photos (of containers, obviously) :-)

  79. Roders

    @GNB

    Completely agree about Captain Brown, first guy to land a jet aircraft on a flat top, first guy to land a mosquito on a flat top (twice as heavy as anything that had been landed before). Holds the world record for the amount of aircraft types flown. Real inspiration.

    The documentary is on BBC Iplayer :)

    Kind of makes me want to go FAA, anyone know if you can get the navy to fund a degree?

    Roders

  80. Not a Boffin

    The BBC prog only scratched the surface. Read his books – “Wings on my Sleeve” is a good start.

  81. Observer

    Roders, don’t the military usually fund scholarships? It’s fairly common if you sign up.

  82. Chris

    TD – I saw the Piranha in the FV Shop (where vehicles were finished and one-offs created) while working at Alvis; the most abiding memory of it was the quite sickening muted lime green MOWAG decided to paint it. It was an early version – Mk1? – with the boat-like nose to help with swimming. VBL was a deal done just about the time I left so I never saw that one, although colleagues said it was a really nicely designed vehicle. But BMR? The deal was with Santa Bárbara Sistemas, for the imaginatively named BMR (Wheeled Armoured Vehicle) which was quite chunky and steered front and rear axles – good for turning circle, bad for high speed manoeuvring. There was if I remember right a separate deal with Steyr for Pandur 1 at a later date – I think I still have a marketing brochure for that. CV90 was courted because it moved the product range up into medium weight armour to allow direct competition with the Arch Enemy (GKN Defence) and their Warrior. Despite RT’s experiences, I have to say for a small organisation they thought big; the fighting vehicle division when I left to work on grey helicopters numbered about 120 staff from MD and drawing office staff (maybe 20 of us, including purchasing, tech pubs, marketing) to the shop floor including storemen, welders, assembly workers, fitters, electricians, pattern maker, painters and test team, down to Norman who fetched and carried and swept and helped. By comparison Williams F1 currently have about 600 employees.

  83. Roders

    @Observer

    I don’t know, the nearest recruitment centre is a helluva log way away, and I can’t drive yet :(

    Can’t see any mention of it on the website though,
    Apart from the bursaries.

  84. Think Defence

    Chris, what amazes me is how remarkably little information there is out there on this period. Just ordered a book on the history of GKN so will see whats in there as well

  85. Chris

    RT – Yes. I have suitable designs. But most importantly the approach to the design has created an extremely flexible set of systems that can be moved around to suit whatever configuration works best. The vehicle structure is just the armoured box that everything fits into/onto. Hence a set of apparently disparate vehicles in the family all using the same basic components. So if you want a vehicle that looks like an LCU on tracks that’s OK. Or if you want an armoured van that’s OK too. I draw the line at pushbikes though.

    I should declare here – and this should be obvious to anyone in the vehicle business – there is a mountain of work that would need to be done to get from the cool concepts to tested hardware. Some aspects of the design are more – um – unusual than others and need specialist effort to either accomplish or discount but that’s way beyond the capacity of my funds. But if everything was tested and known and off-the-shelf already, the vehicles would not be as advanced as they are, nor would the advantages of the unusual design aspects be available as in reduction of size, exceptional mobility (if the calculations are right), and high levels of protection.

    I was amused by the term ‘vertical reconnaissance’ – “The sky’s still there; its still there; its still there… Ooh! Bird! The sky’s still there…”

  86. Obsvr

    I’d note that RA needs are not necessarily ‘one size fits all’. The FST vehs need to be big enough to carry a FST and solid enough to take the crap in the vicinity of the Coy or Sqn Comds.

    On the other hand advances in comms and computers mean that a smaller vehicle can be used for BCPVs, the gear no longer fills an APC, eg see Fig 1 at http://nigelef.tripod.com/fc_computer.htm for the load when 432 was still fairly new.

  87. Observer

    TD, who’s on overwatch? :)

    Chris, good luck on the vehicles, I do see a probable market in the lower (<25 tons) end of the spectrum, especially for both support vehicles (non-combat) and infantry support vehicles (with things that shoot and go boom). You need to be in with an established company before most defence departments will even give you the time of the day though. You thought of signing on with a company as a platform to get your ideas off the ground? It beats going door to door and being asked the dreaded question "what's your monthly production output?".

  88. Chris

    Obs – ref monthly production output – they do mean Powerpoint pages don’t they? After all these days if its not in Powerpoint it just doesn’t exist.

  89. Observer

    Chris, let me introduce you to the ancient art of Origami, where you convert paperwork into hardware. :P

  90. Chris

    Obs – indeed one of my friends, a vehicle designer of considerable repute, uses CAD. In his world CAD is ‘Cardboard Aided Design’ in which the drawing board design is rendered in 3D out of sheets of card printed with appropriate colour & detail of the panels they represent, turned into the vehicle shape by being folded where appropriate and glued together. Equally valid, if not entirely conventional…

  91. ArmChairCivvy

    How many refits is it for HMS Ocean by now? I a not criticising, the purchase price was good
    … but she is the only one in class

  92. Phil

    These stories do seem to be coming on a more regular basis, so both sides are more active in testing each other.

    There’s an FOI asking about Russian QRA scrambles. Numbers is relatively stable with a peak in 2007 of 19 launches in response to Russian aircraft. Last three years have seen 10, 9, 8 scrambles (so going down…).

  93. Observer

    You can tell I read from bottom up by my sequence of replies… :(

    ToC, the F-35’s a done deal, for better or worse, LM has sewn up the next generation light fighter market. Any other solution is a step back and even more ironically, will force any air force to get the F-35 anyhow as their opposition modernizes and all the old fighters that were recommended as the F-35’s solution will hit their out of service life and their production runs close. Not a good situation to be in, I’ve always believed that competition forces people to bring out their best, and that 2 or 3 types of next generation light fighters is what the West needs just in case of lemons, but that’s life. Maybe we can get the F-35’s competition from Korea… It would be rather ironic if the alternative to the F-35 came from China though.

    Hmm… evil Chinese master plan, raise tensions all around, then offer to sell the J-20. :P The whole South China Seas claim was just a marketing ploy! :P

  94. 40 deg south

    I’m curious to know what happened to the UK MOD tender for a modular assault rifle issued back in (from memory) 2012. Is the process continuing or has it fallen victem to budget constraints? Has any weapon been identified as a front-runner?

    Given the recent links between New Zealand and UK defence procurement (SeaCeptor, MAN trucks, 7.62 rifle etc), the results of the UK selection could well influence whatever is chosen to replace NZ’s Steyr AUGs.

  95. ArmChairCivvy

    I think the key here is the FAMAS bit (their UORs point into the HK direction). Then again, the already good AUG has been further improved in Oz… a nice ANZUK solution there?
    … if the soon to start joint (Anglo-French) intervention force won’t end up with the same basic small arm, that would not be good. The speak for “certain military units” in the tender doc could be exacatly about this as the SAS et al seem to be more interested in the 7.62 solutions, to replace whatever they now use.

    Timing? From now to OSD of the current AR makes ten years. Enough time to field experiment the new choice and possibly roll it out to the whole army.

  96. Monty

    @40 Deg South

    The UK MoD’s Modular Assault Rifle tender was deferred. I think that means postponed rather than cancelled.

    France will buy either the FN SCAR -L or H&K HK416. FN looks to be in a strong position.

  97. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Monty, what are those signs? French UORs for A-stan were HKs, and it was the same HK that rescued (redesigned) the UK AR.
    – if anything, it is that company and their design/ modification capability that seems to be the common denominator
    – of course FN can pretend to be French speaking, if not quite French. And they have a shared history with the BA as well… hmm, could be close; do you think the specs will matter? Within those given, and then postponed, you could choose anything, really!

  98. Kibitz Van Ogle

    KVO wrote:
    “So, how would RN/RM do OTH-65 to work alongside USMN/USMC within the hard realities discussed in EF-21 ?”

    Phil June 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm responded:
    “Exactly the same as the US almost. It’s an air assault. A suitable tactic when you’re flying over an undefended beach – in the example Amos used the beach was undefended as it was not an enemy beach. That is OTH and that is STOM. A useful capability to have but some might argue the 82nd could have done it too. When you frame OTH and STOM in terms of an air assault with all the limitations of that approach, then it makes more sense. It does not make sense for ground operations. Which I’d bet the farm is why the USMC has Osprey and doesn’t have AAAV. Somebody realised that if Iwo Jima was going to happen air assaults were out and so was the fantasy of not establishing a beach head.

    If the door needs to get kicked in then STOM or OTH is pointless. Otherwise its a tool that can be used when appropriate. But it is too often imagined as some masturbatory method of conducting the D-Day landings.”
    ——————————————————————————————
    PHIL, you’d want to engage with the question of OTH-65 !

    – 1. How would RN/RM go about this ?
    – 2. You casually skate by the need to bring armor…. after recent hard bloody experiences you propose that air-born is going to resolve this ?|
    – 3. And apparently no man-pad risks in your happy scenario either ?

    This sounds like incapacity to actually address OTH-65, OTH-100 etc.
    And that seems to drive Gen. Amos to address this with his focus on ample numbers of fast heavy-lift Connectors.

    What’s happening at RN/RM on this ?

  99. Obsvr

    @ Chris – ” Stormer HVM is running towards its OSD, the Stormer components are a bit long in the tooth ”

    Which doesn’t entirely fit with the recent capability upgrade to provide a battery for each RF Bde and a lightweight bty for 16 AA Bde. Furthermore HVM is being upgraded, HIPE was completed a couple of years ago the upgraded sensors are probably better than anything else in the field army (panoramic thermal with x30 optical and x60 thermal zoom), auto track engagement and in a year or so a new Lightweight Multi-role Missile slower but longer range than HVM and with a new warhead that will enable engagement of small UAS targets. Not sure if the new missile has a fancy name but its interesting that it is little known.

  100. Chris

    Obsvr – I was referring to the Stormer base vehicle rather than the SP Starstreak system. Funnily enough I have fitted Starstreak into my concept vehicle family because I see it as a useful system with some life ahead of it. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the Stormer but the genesis of the vehicle (as TD will explain in the FRES posts) goes back to the latter days of RARDE Chertsey in the 70s, its T300 transmission is closely related to CVR(T)’s TN15 and the suspension/roadwheels/idler are all from the Scorpion parts bin. Its not a front-line role which is some mitigation but the protection level of Stormer is on a par with, maybe slightly better than, the basic CVR(T) without appliqué or slat armour. At some point I would expect a migration of Starstreak or its successor onto a more modern better protected carrier; whether that’s one of mine or another company’s offering. I have a preference of course…

  101. Obsvr

    @ Chris

    I’d also observe that Stormer is extremely cramped, there is a seat for the 4th (WE) body but fitting in 4 plus kit plus a full load of msls is a challenge.

    The reality is that the need for AD with the new msl is going to increase, any year now insurgents are going to start using small unmanned aircraft for indirect fire attacks (probably Hezbollah first), currently defence against this is close to non-existent in western armies. Once that happens the demand for air defenders with suitable weapons is going to skyrocket (to coin a phrase), the problem is that currently weapons to deal with this threat are thin on the ground, and big (eg the Phalanx based system used in Basra) – OK for big bases but not small ones, convoys, and the like. Concern about this emerging threat was part of the reason for the AD deployment at the London Olympics although neither Rapier nor 3 dart HVM are suitable for the emerging threat (the darts spread to ensure 2 hit a manned a/c and currently there are no counter-measures to HVM, all DAS are worthless against it but small UAS have a good chance of slipping through). AD guns are horribly expensive (and short range), and armed heli flying continuous cbt air defence patrols will also be pricey.

  102. Mercator

    The Australian Defence Minister said something today that may have a bearing on whether Australia eventually chooses the type 26 or some other design in the future frigate project.

    Basically, it seems Australia is bringing forward the timetable for the future frigate and starting design work for an Australian F-105 design, without the AEGIS radar system. As an option, at least. Here’s the relevant quote from the press release:

    http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2014/06/06/minister-for-defence-boosting-australias-maritime-capabilities/
    “The Government has also agreed to bring forward preliminary design work to ensure Australia maintains the necessary capabilities to retain the option of building the future frigate in Australia. This work will focus on continued production of the current AWD hull, suitably adapted and utilising capabilities from the cutting-edge Australian companies CEA Technologies Australia and SAAB Combat Systems. Further decisions on the future frigate will be taken in the context of the 2015 Defence White Paper.”

    So the type 26 may still get a run, but you’d have to say its chances are diminishing. Just thought you guys would be interested.

  103. Chris

    Obsvr – ref Stormer volume – considerably better than Samson (‘mind your head’ – Ow! flippin’ winch) or worse still Striker with something like 3ft high roofplate under the launcher bin… But I do recall the reloads filling much of the rear end of the vehicle, and the very compact (not) operator station for the missile. Very impressive rotating periscope though. As for the launcher its huge (apparently the installation of the losing competitor for the anti-aircraft defence requirement had a Striker like set of hinged silos that laid flush on the roofplate) – one of my managers offered the opinion it was an intentional last line of defence; if the missiles failed to get the enemy aircraft, the vehicle would trip it up as it flew over.

    As for anti-UAV, I think the answer might be simpler than you fear. One of the off-the-shelf weapon systems we investigated (Alvis DO staff) were flechette loaded rockets. These were spin stabilized projectiles programmed to release simple steel darts at a given time into flight; because of the high rate of spin the darts were thrown outward and became a disc of dumb projectiles moving at close to rocket speed. Various sized flechette darts were offered – a few big heavy ones for anti-vehicle use down to hundreds of finger-sized ones. It strikes me (pun intended) that a starstreak-like launcher – possibly a variant of LMM – could have a high number of small flechette darts to deploy when the seeker determines the UAV is within striking distance. Are you listening, Thales?

  104. ArmChairCivvy

    Chris, are you planning a mass murder of own troops? OK, the ones under armour would carry on regardless.

    I would vote for adapting Oerlikon-type AHEAD ammo into the arsenal, onto existing guns (I think Oerlikon is now a division of Rheinmetall, but just to give a pointer to what I am talking about).

  105. Observer

    ACC, armies have been using canister, shrapnel and grapeshot for ages. Take home message on their use is to stand behind the gun, not in front of it :)

    I think fused high-ex might also be effective. UAVs tend to be fragile, and a hard enough blast might be enough to knock it from the skies or if you are lucky, overstress the wings and rip them off.

  106. Chris

    ACC – flechettes of smallish mass would loose speed much faster than heavy projectiles – would you prefer to be at the location where a number of 4 inch nail like flechettes fell to the ground or where the Starstreak dart (400mm long 22mm diameter weighing almost 1kg) ended its trajectory?

  107. Observer

    TD, they would be if HE didn’t have the tendency to set things on fire as well :)

    And you really need to clarify “kill”. “Mission kill”, probably. Mobility or ship kill? Not likely. Most ships in battle were kept from sinking due to the efforts of their damage control crews, I believe? And it seems easier to plug up small leaking holes than to try plugging up a huge one made by a large amount of explosives.

  108. ArmChairCivvy

    Oberver, this is fine if the fighting formation is a massed square or a triple line facing to the enemy “ACC, armies have been using canister, shrapnel and grapeshot for ages. ” Add to the no, and the no, that there is no good expectation for the direction from which the unmanned plane would be approaching and that your own would normally be widely dispersed?

    Chris, no and no to your alternatives, too, if I were to choose. I have been downrange when shot (not buck shot, I must admit, is raining down on you… no problem as long as you don’t look up). Against the kind of target we are talking about the heavy metals used for AHEAD to be effective against incoming hi-speed missiles can probably be skipped for something cheaper, which then, coming down at the end of the upward trajectory would be less heavy, too… we are not maximising the range against such targets thazt we are talking about here as they would be coming in at three-top level (if you happen to have any trees).

  109. Chris

    ACC – back in the days when I was looking at battlefield UAVs the idea was to keep them as high as possible within the capability of the sensor to deliver adequate quality imagery – at a few thousand feet the UAV is pretty well inaudible, very difficult to see, and possibly a difficult item to keep a radar track hooked to. Treetops was for launch & recovery only. Against these moderate flying height moderate sized UAVs it seems a disc of flechettes would be useful. HE as a near miss pressure wave weapon (very depth charge) requires good timing and aim; the disc of flechettes just needs to intercept the flightpath of the UAV.

    But these UAVs I considered weren’t the quad-copter in & out of buildings devices, nor even the hand launched polystyrene flying webcams – maybe your target systems are different from mine….

  110. Observer

    ACC, then I would hope that none of the soldiers in the unit have developed the ability to fly :)

    And no, UAVs don’t do tree top flights. They shut off their engine and glide past you silently at a standoff distance, you need the range. True about the HE though.

  111. wf

    I would have thought that with with 25-40mm cannon, power turrets, small radars and timed fuses and some cannister shot, the average platoon of IFV’s could dispense with a few quadcopters in no time at all :-)

  112. IXION

    Mercator

    Yes but if you believe some on this site, an Australian Frigate based on the 105 hull will be an expensive noisy useless death trap way too big for the job.

    Why

    Because when several others and me suggested a frigate based on the T45 hull and machinery: –
    Commonality old boy
    Easy upgrade path etc
    Training easier
    Production run

    We are told that was not possible. Because apparently the T45 hull not suited for ASW work because it was
    expensive noisy etc.

    As T26 now seems to be all but the same size, and I find it difficult to believe that t45 was in any way ‘noisy’, (coz if it is the designers need to be shot), can anyone tell me what was wrong with simply a batch 2 t45 with the anti sub gear from early ships carried over?

    Why squillions on a new frigate hull design?

  113. ArmChairCivvy

    Chris, Observer, I agree with your latest comments (which are about the types of UAVs proliferating as of today to hundreds, and soon thousands).

    My point of reference was this earlier comment by Obsvr:
    “The reality is that the need for AD with the new msl is going to increase, any year now insurgents are going to start using small unmanned aircraft for indirect fire attacks (probably Hezbollah first), currently defence against this is close to non-existent in western armies. Once that happens the demand for air defenders with suitable weapons is going to skyrocket (to coin a phrase), the problem is that currently weapons to deal with this threat are thin on the ground, […] neither Rapier nor 3 dart HVM are suitable for the emerging threat (the darts spread to ensure 2 hit a manned a/c and currently there are no counter-measures to HVM, all DAS are worthless against it but small UAS have a good chance of slipping through). ”

    When we take the lighter, sensor -only UAVS, into the picture, with their partly battery-powered flight even eliminating a heat signature, I will expand the AHEAD solution to a related one, andpatented by RT: a shotgun outside the commander’s hatch of every type of IFV.

    I fully agree with wf’s view more broadly, but this sort of thing (for 40mm) would need the ranging input
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7WqCbIpbjk&feature=youtube_gdata
    as explained between 2:30 and 4:30, so to have every CT40 coming into the inventory effective also for the cases now discussed, the type of round I was putting forward might be more efficient… Bofors “cloud” is over 2000 particles with 18mm penetration of aluminium, so when the same is packeked into a CTA it can’t be that different as the HE payloads are broadly equal.

  114. monkey

    On the Yamato the 9 x18.1-inch guns were provided with an anti- aircraft shell of their own, called San Shiki Model 13. This round weighed 2,998 pounds and was filled with 900 incendiary tubes (of rubber thermite) and 600 steel stays. A time fuse was supplied, set before firing, that went off at a predetermined altitude and when the fuse functioned, the explosive and metal contents burst in a cone extending 20 degrees forward, towards the oncoming aircraft. Instantly after detonating, the projectile shell itself was destroyed by a bursting charge, increasing the quantity of steel splinters. The incendiary tubes ignited about half a second later and burned for five seconds at 3000 degrees C, producing a flame about 16 feet long.
    However on firing the main armament it disrupted the flight of the shells of the 192 auxiliary weapons also carried on board ( 6 x 155mm + 24 x 127mm + 162 x 25mm + other smaller calibres ) . About American 500 aircraft attacked her but lost only 12 aircrew despite this literal metal hail storm of firepower ,WTF.

  115. Observer

    ACC, broadly speaking, that is my preferred solution too, something medium calibre delivered that uses existing or soon to be utilized systems on current platforms. Which would mean flechette, shrapnel, airburst HE or even canister if you can get the range. Failing that, you can try EO guided weapons to chase that plane down. With emphasis on “try”. Or go last ditch and use the pintle mount with tracers, though I doubt it’ll have the range.

    monkey, much better than Force Z which got a total of 3 aircraft between 2 ships of the line. Such low kill numbers against aircraft is standard.

  116. Brian Black

    If you’re concerned about UAVs, and defending convoys and sites away from main bases, then a simple Humvee Avenger type affair with missiles and MG or light cannon should do the trick. They did produce a HVM version, and I’m sure we’ve got lots of protected mobility platforms that could carry such gubbins.

    Regarding flechettes, how about a flechette rifle to replace the current system and calibre. If Afghanistan has reinforced the notion that killing the enemy is more about weight of fire than accuracy, and machine guns are heavy and cumbersome, then maybe it’s time to revisit old ideas. Besides, there’s not been a deadend argument about calibres on this site for weeks.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/SPIW.jpg

    (5.6mm, twin 30 round mags)

  117. ArmChairCivvy

    BB,
    why bother with rifles when you have some old CG’s kicking about, or more likely, on some shelf. For HE it does about 150m better than this old American round (with flechettes, that kind of round is available for the American CG’s (M3s); range in an angle upwards will obviously suffer from gravity… wonder how much, though, as this would be many multiples of the commander’s shotgun range

    M590 Antipersonnel Canister[from Wiki]
    The Antipersonnel (Canister) Cartridge M590 (XM590E1) or M590 cartridge is a flechette round designed for close-in defense against massed attacks on personnel positions. The cartridge consists of an aluminum cartridge case crimped to an aluminum canister. The canister consists of a thin-walled, deep-drawn, scored aluminum body which contains a payload of 2400 eight-grain (0.5 g), low-drag, fin-stabilized, steel-wire flechettes. The sides are scored to facilitate splitting when the round is fired.
    When the projectile leaves the muzzle, the pressure ruptures the canister along the score marks to release the flechettes which disperse in a cone angle of approximately 8 degrees.
    Cartridge weight: 6.79 lb (3.08 kg)
    Cartridge length: 19.19 in (487 mm)
    Projectile weight: 3.97 lb (1.8 kg)
    Muzzle velocity: 1,250 ft/s (381 m/s)
    Maximum effective range: 328 yd (300 m)
    Fuse: none

  118. Observer

    BB, did you read the wiki section on their flaws? And that of the follow on project, the Advanced Combat Rifle?

    Weight of fire is one thing, but the concept made the flaw of assuming that “more shots” = “more semi-aimed shots”.

  119. Not a Boffin

    Ixion

    “As T26 now seems to be all but the same size, and I find it difficult to believe that t45 was in any way ‘noisy’, (coz if it is the designers need to be shot), can anyone tell me what was wrong with simply a batch 2 t45 with the anti sub gear from early ships carried over?

    Why squillions on a new frigate hull design?”

    A somewhat confused conflation of size with noise there. Let’s see if we can fix that.

    You may wish not to believe that a T45 is in any way “noisy”. Unfortunately for your argument, rangings of the ship indicate otherwise in several ways which I won’t go into.

    The key here is that the requirement for the ship did not specify an underwater signature level suitable for conducting ASW, because – funny old thing – it was designed as a force AAW ship with a local (ie ability to form part of a screen) ASW capability. Unsurprisingly then, the design of the ship did not include significant UW signature reduction measures across its systems, as doing so costs big money, so omitting what has not been asked for is hardly a shooting offence.

    That means that the propeller design, the hullform back aft and its operating parameters are not optimised to reduce noise, they’re optimised against other relevant characteristics. It also means that the vast majority of the marine systems do not incorporate the sorts of noise reduction measures you’d look to see on an ASW ship, both in terms of individual equipment specifications and arrangements.

    ASW capability is about much more than just clagging some sonars on the ship. Youtend to need different compartment arrangements, different marine system designs, all of which significantly reduce the theoretical commonality you’re talking about.

    The actual hullform design is relatively cheap (<£5M). You'd pay ten times that just changinng the internals and systems designs and drawings etc for a T45 mod and still not necessarily get what you wanted. A new frigate design is the sensible way to go from a number of perspectives. It would just help if someone was actually in charge of the project……

  120. Peter Elliott

    Presumably we are more likely to get the desired commonality about 20 years down the line by someone taking the T26 design and ‘optimising’ it for AAW by sticking a bigger better radar on top and maybe stretching the hull to get more missiles in, while hopefully not deleting too many of the noise reduction features.

  121. monkey

    Today is the 6th June , the 70th anniversary of D Day.
    @NAB
    Are there any plans on turning our Vanguards into VLSM carriers in the future like the Americans did with 4 of their Ohio’s on retirement. The Vanguards I read were fuelled for 40 times round the earth so even by 2028 I doubt they would need refuelling .Although worn and therefore noisy (which is death to a SSBN) one of these converted could provide a lot of firepower support for any fleet deployment.
    I.e sneak in before a landing and dump a couple of hundred precision guided missiles onto an enemy shore.

  122. Simon257

    @ NaB

    Is their no modern equivalent of Director of Naval Construction at the MOD? Or if not, is it about time the post was resurrected?

  123. Peter Elliott

    Monkey

    I guess we’ll be desparate to bank the cost savings by taking the Vanguards out of service. Otherwise how will we pay to bring Successor in?

    More likely is to get a small VLS in the next SSN design to allow them to carry more missiles than the Astutes or Trafalgars do. As well as the surface fleet gradually acquiring more VLS capacity. Putting 100 missiles downrange should beome possible for us in the future, but maybe from 5 or 6 launching platforms rather than one.

  124. mr.fred

    The equipment needed to engage UAVs of different stripes is an interesting one. The big, plane-like ones that fly high are easy. SAMs were designed to hit things that size but moving much faster and more erratically. If they are too high for SAMs then they are in the realm of the air force and can expect to be knocked down in short order accordingly.

    The smaller ones that sneak around just above tree-top height are more of a problem. They are too small and cheap for it to be worthwhile engaging them with SAMs, if you can even hit them.

    The economics of a gun-based system starts to make sense then, but you have a ballistic conundrum. You want enough reach to hit them, enough shots that you are likely to hit them but at the same time you do not want to endanger friendly troops or civilians in your area. It isn’t just the flying soldiers who may be hit, but what comes up must come down. If you are shooting at low targets with powerful guns those projectiles will hit the ground at some speed eventually. The better the ballistic coefficient the faster they come down with more attendant risk of causing injury. Since they are being shot fairly flat, they are likely to come down with considerable sideways velocity.

    One method is to use a plethora of poor ballistic coefficient projectiles, like a shotgun, but you are then limited by the short range of these weapons – anything more than, what 50m? is likely to be out of reach by a combination of loss of energy, spread of shot and fire control (the nut behind the butt). Another is to use flechettes, but you’ve started to use projectiles with a good ballistic coefficient so the danger range will be many times the effective range. You also have flechettes carried by a larger projectile and distributed at the desired range. This solves the range problem in terms of spread and fire control (assuming the carrier projectile is guided or fired from a mount with sophisticated fire control.) However, you still have the risk of the flechettes carrying beyond the target and falling onto what could be friendly positions. Modern warfare is nothing if not fluid.

    Hence, I prefer the AHEAD style system. Time fused so it will definitely function and cannot be so easily spoofed, lots of sub-projectiles that are small (hence more of them) and with a relatively poor ballistic coefficient, so that they fall out of the air (lose forward momentum) shortly after the target and do not build up lethal velocity as they fall to the ground.

  125. Observer

    The Israelis use something similar in their active defence systems for tanks, they called it DIME, Dense Inert Metal Explosives. Basically, what you have is a ball of explosives impregnated with dense metal dust. When it explodes, the dust act as high speed shrapnel at close range, but further out, it dies out fast because dust has really bad ballistic properties. Cuts down on the collateral damage.

  126. ArmChairCivvy

    Playing Devil’s advocate here, RE
    ” taking the T26 design and ‘optimising’ it for AAW by sticking a bigger better radar on top and maybe stretching the hull to get more missiles in[1], while[2] hopefully not deleting too many of the noise reduction features.”

    It is starting to sound like someone’s already done [1], without being asked?

    While [2] sounds like 5 v high price GP frigates down the line, assuming the 8+5 production plan is carried out. I guess the number of 8 came from the number of sets for ASW already paid for, including the 8th that used to be onshore, for training purposes?

  127. Chris

    MrFred – I have just such a shell here in my house. It was fired in anger, did its worst, and was later retrieved for its collector value. What sort of shell, you might ask?

    It is what both my grandfathers spent their war delivering – QF18pdr shrapnel shell. The projectile fired just like any other shell. Once the timer fuse (brass & clockwork) triggered, a charge at the base of the projectile was fired which propelled the 370-odd iron balls out of the front of the casing (pushing the brass time fuse out by stripping the thread) like a heavy shotgun. The steel casing remained intact and presumably dropped like a stone, stopped dead in its track by the explosive expulsion of the shot from within. I can report the shell casing is heavy in its own right, but then it would need to be – if it was light when the charge fired the casing would be ejected at speed backwards and the shrapnel would continue at the projectile’s modest ballistic speed.

    Talking of which, here is Dr Sidney Alford, splendid fellow, explaining the effects of forward firing charges in projectiles: http://www.tubechop.com/watch/2982151

  128. ArmChairCivvy

    Me, too, RE
    “prefer the AHEAD style system. Time fused* so it will definitely function and cannot be so easily spoofed, lots of sub-projectiles that are small (hence more of them) and with a relatively poor ballistic coefficient, so that they fall out of the air (lose forward momentum) shortly after the target and do not build up lethal velocity as they fall to the ground.”

    We’ve had some in-depth discussions before, but I think AHEAD as shrapnel flying in formation (the direction is in the name). You could have several grades, i.e. cheaper contents as the fill (losing momentum faster than the ones used on ships and for base defence where degrading the incoming hi-speed missile at the earliest opportunity, at range, is the factor that outweighs even accuracy, to produce the desired effect.

    Cheap threat, a counter to match the economics (and without fitting in with the already fielded systems you won’t have it where/ when needed nor will you have the el Cheapo economics as it will need to be just one of the 57 varieties (ketchup always on the table, without anyone needing to ask for it every time).
    ————
    Good old Rarden clips would come in handy, prearranged to have timings 50m apart, so the cone the UAV/ modern-day kamikaze would be flying into would be massive (5 x 2000+ penetrating particles, more than 250m long… now, who needs radars, before asking whether they can be on every IFV with a medium cannon)

  129. Not a Boffin

    Peter

    “Desired commonality” does not come from the hullform – particularly not if you stretch it or change it. The form of the hull itself is cheapish to do. You incur cost by changing the internals and the weight distribution, which changes the scantlings, which changes the steel drawings, which changes the lofting plans and the weld plans etc etc.

    Where you want your commonality is in your systems – standard valves, standard fuse boxes, standard pumps, standard transformers, standard jalousies, standard diesel engines etc etc etc. That’s not the same as Admiralty Standard because these days we don’t order enough kit to justify that and we would lose the developments in equipment design that the suppliers do to improve maintenance, reliability etc.

    Monkey

    Don’t believe everything that you read. Core life is far from being the only determinant of submarine life. US and UK boats are designed against different criteria and assumptions, which means that what the US did to Ohio is of little relevance to the V-boats.

    Simon

    No there isn’t. Nor is it likely it can be resurrected, because that would require MoD taking responsibility for the design. It’s an unappreciated fact that up to and including the T23, MoD undertook the feasibility (or contract level) design work, with the lead shipbuilder subsequently undertaking the detail design. Everything since then (so 27 years or so) has been designed from scratch by industry, with MoD (and more recently Lloyds) reviewing the design – primarily from a safety perspective. Trouble is – it’s difficult to review a design if you don’t understand how it has been arrived at and what the drivers are.

  130. monkey

    @NAB
    The commonality thing for T45/T26/27 is similar then for the ,dare I say it the ‘F’ word , FRES , common components, communications and standards but the metal box altered to suit the purpose , Scout having a smaller box than a field Ambulance for instance.

    On the V – Boats conversion I see your point and Peters re Deployable VLS will only increase

  131. IXION

    NAB

    Thanks for that.

    I am sure you have to put up with a lot of Fuckwit questions from lay types such as my self.

    IT is good to talk to someone who in any area in which the layman has an interest really ‘knows where his towel is’ in that area.

    Is it to much to hope that at leastas much as possible ‘all the bits’ (to get technical for a minute)! that go in the t26 are the same as the t45 from hatch dogs to engines etc……?

    BTW How are the Ausi’s gonna manage it with the 105 (if indeed that is what they want to do)?

    Likewise how did/does MEKO make it happen?

  132. IXION

    I am also slightly amazed that modern warships are not designed as a major criteria to be as ‘quiet’ as possible, regardless of their role.

    The t45 cost a shitload of money and we only have a handful. I don’t like the idea of them being ‘noisy’ in an ocean full of subs…..

    The designer gave the answer that was asked for, maybe it was answering stupid question.

    BTW was not conflating noise and size indeed I understood by and large provided you don’t have big booming compartments, ‘bigger’ (given a lot of givens) is generally ‘quieter’, and I accept am using the term very loosely. I just understood that anti sub tactics required a more agile hull than say destroyers/cruisers.

  133. The Limey

    @IXION –

    In a high threat environment the T45s would be in the middle of a task force protecting it. They may be loud compared to T26, but am assuming nothing compared to CVF or an amphib.

  134. Peter Elliott

    Limey

    You would hope so. But it is possible to imagine a situation where one might be detatched away from the T26 screen. What if, having emptied its magazine against a saturtion attack, one of a pair of T45 has to be sent back to port to reload its VLS? That’s just the time when a lurking sub might try and pick it off.

    Lets hope wherever we go is within extended range of an airbase so at least you can have an MPA sweeping in the rear of the task group. To give the replenishment oilers some cover too. I find it hard to beleive we will have enough frigates to escort the whole logisitics tail.

  135. Not a Boffin

    Ixion

    T45 has an unfortunate issue in that its propulsion system was designed around the WR21 – aka “the Great White Turbine”(courtesy of BuffHoon and the RN “electric ship mafia”), which meant that its diesels were smaller than you would normally provide. Put simply, only twelve WR21 have been built (one of which is the original test rig) and all are at sea on T45. There will be no more.

    Thta means T26 has the MT30 Trent engine, plus an entirely different set of (bigger) diesels. This is not necessarily a drama as QE uses MT30 as does at least one of teh US LCS variants – in otehr words it has a chance of a good customer base, which keeps Rolly’s interested. the bigger diesels may well be similar (if not identical) to those in the proposed T23 re-engining, so not all bad.

    Don’t know about the equipment level detail for 26, but there will be a reasonable amount, assuming it’s all based on existing NSN-pattern kit.

    Agility for ASW is more about avoiding a torpedo than anything else. Given that your specialist ASW ships will be aiming to kill a boat at a good stand-off range, agility per se isn’t an issue, although being able to maneuver without your propulsion plant or control surfaces making excessive noise is of value.

    Modern warships are not designed to be as quiet as possible for the same reason they’re not designed to be as fast as possible or as unsinkable as possible or carry as many weapons as possible. It all costs money – a great deal of money. You can see the money when you look at weapon launchers or loads of engines or 16″ armour plate. You can’t see the money for the sorts of things that make you quiet. As the Limey suggests, if you’re going to be in proximity to something very noisy, there’s little point in trying to make no noise at all.

    MEKO ships (at least the ones for export) were pretty basic from a platform perspective. You could put all sorts of different machinery and combat system fits in there (within limits), but the platforms themselves were fairly basic, which meant that you didn’t get some of the “hidden” performance itesm referred to above.

    It’s also worth noting that beyond the South African and Malaysian orders, MEKO haven’t done much in the last fifteen years.

  136. Peter Elliott

    @NAB

    When I mentioned ‘desired commonality’ above I was thinking of the MT30 as the future RN standard.

    Presumably there will eventually come a point when the 12 existing WR21s deteriorate to the point where there will be a business case to replace them with MT30, either by rebuilding the ships or replacing them (depeding on the condition of the rest of the ship at that point).

  137. ArmChairCivvy

    Is this a thing of the past (proposed and not happening)?
    ” similar (if not identical) to those in the proposed T23 re-engining, so not all bad.”

    If they are going through the refits (one a year?) and then still to be re-engined before handing over to T26s, one by one, I could imagine the v respectable 83-86% availability statistic will take a big knock towards the end of their lives?

  138. Not a Boffin

    Allegedly that very question has already been asked on Tracy Island……

    However, not sure that an MT30 GTA will fit in the longitudinal footprint of a WR21, which would be unfortunate…..

  139. ArmChairCivvy

    Availability statistics? Reminded me of the delay with the Astute class, making the tours of the older boats longer and stretching the days at sea to the point when it could become a recruitment/ retention issue.

    Takes me to one boomer on station, when it could be done with 3, not 4. Have those crews been hollowed out, to help with the SSN transition?
    – just asking, could be an OpSec thing that we will never know about

    I won’t mention the 32% shortfall in the nuclear safety staff [reports to the Parliament, not my invention]… all the Scots might vote for independence with that kind of scare. Even if the Nordic Council ruled that they can’t join the family (contrary to many years of Salmondista propaganda)… that would be a good replacement story to spin

  140. ArmChairCivvy

    Was just wondering for how many ships that 80-100 m in £ expenditure is for, and how many will miss out (or go back again for an extended period)?
    “HMS Sutherland is now in dock at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard, and is due to leave for sea trials in summer 2014.”
    – or is it that the 5 “GP” models will be reincarnations of T23s rather than T26s… that would make the programme an Evergreen by any standard!

    Kremlinology might soon come back, but we can hone those skills needed with the drip feeding of information here at home

  141. mike

    x,

    Sticking with the house colours of Grey, and notice the ‘deck’ for cocktail parties ;)

    Meanwhile, in jointinery land, we continue to use the old Northwood site. I would love to have an office with sea views :U

  142. Obsvr

    Re anti-UAV, a few points.

    SPADG were vastly more expensive than HVM in the early 1980s, and nothing much as changed. They are also shorter ranged and the maintenance effort is also a lot greater. Get over the gun thing its passed its used by date without a heap of automated control technology and either a good solid ground mounting (plus sensor power supply) or a chunky vehicle platform to provide stability with automatic firing. And if your using footborne troops chunky vehicles probably aren’t a runner anyway.

    Back in the day (doubtless starting to re-emerge) was AAAD training (all arms AD using GPMGs, either vehicle mounted or with the LOUCH pole). The targets were model aircraft operated by the AD btys with AD instruction thrown in. Normal engagement ranges were a few hundred metres, the number of hit was incredibly low. Lesson: hitting small slow moving flying targets with gunfire is a lot easier said than done. You need good sensors and automation.

    Small UAS will show up on thermal no matter what they are made of, its the difference to the background that matters. That’s why there’s x60 zoom for the new system (large shite hawks and UAS will look different when examined closely).

    You have to get the weapon close to the target before worrying about terminal effects. The new HVMish msl has a proximity fuzed warhead, the nature of the proximity element and the nature of the warhead have not been revealed. Given the structure of UAS then I’d agree that radar may be unsuitable, since the msl is laser beam riding this might be a clue. No doubt plenty of simulation has been done to model the most effective warhead.

  143. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    T.O.C.
    it was time indeed to discuss the central importance of hand-rubbed burlwood in the context of bespoke air-intercept systems. After all, cultural standards do matter. Even in the seemingly mundane daily defense-tasks, aesthetics can not be ignored, should in fact add to our tactical effectiveness. You appropriately cut through all the distractions and pull our minds and hearts back towards the fine balance of tradition and cutting-edge technology.
    I do thank you, Sir.

  144. Chris

    Careful aim, big mortar, large kevlar net weighted around the edges as a warhead, no more UAV. Or flechettes, obviously.

  145. Jonathan

    Going off on tangent, I was watching a few of my colleagues being forced to do their chemical, biological and nuclear casualty decontamination training the other day and that got me thinking about civil defence, the impact of the civil contingencies act and if as a nation we a more laughable around this area than the rest of the world…. My own view is that ( knowing the level of training that goes on, and the highly robust nature of our national infrastructure) we could shall we say do a bit better……..

  146. Phil

    I doubt we’re unprepared. CBRN is bread and butter for the Fire Service (HAZMAT etc), there are HART teams and the Police forces have CBRN protection. Chemical threats are around us all the time from chemical plants to, topically, slurry pits.

    The most dangerous part of any CBRN release is the actual release itself (which unless it is targeted at a Cat 1 responder is unlikely to cause crippling casualties in the response teams themselves), the response to that release is far more controllable and safe.

  147. x

    @ Jonathan

    Do you mean a government run civil defence organisation like the one Ireland has? The Australian SRS? Or have sections of the home guard providing back-up as the Danes do?

    Simplest thing to do would be to force secondary schools (and colleges) to teach first aid and basic fire fighting. No A-level until you can splinter up a broken limb.

    Won’t happen. It would be nice to think that the St John’s and Red Cross in each land locked community were as well as supported as the local lifeboat is on the coast. And we mustn’t forget retained fireman and community first responders. But the UK is too safe for the population to be concerned about dire emergencies; well until they happen.

  148. Jonathan

    Hi Phil

    I agree for the fires service CBRN is an entrenched skill, I would suggest other cat 1 responders could/ should have improved levels of training. The CBRN training, frequency and opportunity to practice that I have experienced could be improved significantly. I would suggest that any considered ( instead of accidental) CBRN release would by its nature risk crippling Cat 1 responders, their staff all live in urban areas, use the transport network to report into work. Equipment pod storage tends to be centralised for ease of stock control, so an event impacting a major road would prevent the effective distribution of pods( such as a south coast incident closing the M27/A27).Another example is interesting placement of some cat 1 responders headquarters for example Avon and somerset police and one major NHS trust have there head quarters within 20 feet of each other, both of which are no more than a few miles from hinkley point, and a few feet from a tidal river on a flood plain. As a nation we do have a lot of Exploring to do around civil defence and management of risk.

  149. Obsvr

    @ x – what’s the ‘Australian SRS’? Remember, the term ‘Australian’ means something run by the Federal govt, apart from the Federal Police the various emergency services are run be each State or Territory.

  150. Phil

    The CBRN training, frequency and opportunity to practice that I have experienced could be improved significantly.

    I don’t know what you do but CBRN training in the military is threat driven. No need for it in Afghanistan but training went up when things were looking dicey Syria. Basic CBRN skills are perishable but easily built back up over a couple of exercises as long as the kit is around.

    I would suggest that any considered ( instead of accidental) CBRN release would by its nature risk crippling Cat 1 responders, their staff all live in urban areas, use the transport network to report into work.

    As you probably know there is a fundamental dichotomy in risk management – resilience versus prevention. You either accept something will happen and harden your resources or you instead invest resources in preventing it happening in the first place. Either end of the spectrum is bad news but it is still a tightrope that must be crossed. And it must also be balanced with the risks inherent in adopting a resilient posture, such a posture is rarely useful in helping to deliver day to day emergency services which we all arguably rely on much more and which manage the greatest risks.

    We have adopted something of a middle road – the risk of a deliberate CBRN attack is not high enough to justify adopting a completely resilient posture which would simply displace the risk by meaning we are not as well positioned to deliver the day to day services we all need. And considerable investment is made in prevention of such attacks.

    There’s always room for improvements but there’s been plenty of thinking on risk management. And I think the balance is broadly right. Day to day services must be prioritised and resources invested in prevention. This is arguably more valuable than adopting a hardened resilience posture and carries less risk for the vast majority of us.

  151. Kent

    The NBC risk is real, more from terrorists, terrorist states, and industrial accidents than from war between major powers. During Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the Israelis (Who, by the way, showed remarkable restraint.) provided instructions to the populace for sheltering in place. For fear that the “next war” would include “gas attacks” on civilians, the British government came up with this charming piece of equipment (I believe you folks call it “kit.”).
    http://blog.modernmechanix.com/mags/MechanixIllustrated/6-1939/baby_gas_mask.jpg

  152. Observer

    Yeah Kent, but Phil also has a point. How cost effective and efficient is it really to provide MOPP gear for everyone? And even more likelihood of them carrying it around to the point where the one time in your life you might need it is when you are carrying a suit, mask and carbon canister? Make it the latest trend in officewear?

  153. El Sid

    http://breakingdefense.com/2014/06/speed-kills-the-case-for-hypersonic-weapons/

    “I believe, today, we could build a Mach 5 cruise missile [with] off-the-shelf materials”… Now [Air Force Research Laboratory] and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are co-funding a pair of follow-on projects: one for a hypersonic jet like the X-51, aspiring for Mach 8, and another for a different high-speed technology called “boost-glide.” Brink told a recent meeting of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s DC chapter that “those will probably both fly in 2018-2020.”…The [US] Air Force is studying high-speed turbines going Mach 2.5, ramjets going Mach 3 to 4, and boost-glide systems reaching Mach 8 to 10, as well as hypersonic “scramjets” like the X-51….“I would make a moderate, steady investment” — preferably in partnership with the Australians, who have a hypersonics project of their own

  154. Kent

    @Observer – I’m not suggesting that everyone carry MOPP gear with them everywhere they go. All I would suggest is that all non-military/non-1st responder people should evaluate the threat in their area and take whatever steps they feel are appropriate. For the Israeli civilians (Who were provided with masks by the government, IIRC.) that meant having tape and plastic available to reduce the likelihood of non-persistent chemicals from penetrating their living areas, with the intent of sheltering in place. For me, it means providing serviceable protective masks (with sealed replacement filters) for my family members and ensuring they are trained in their use. (My brother and son-in-law are also veterans and have assisted me in training everyone.) The Israeli “shelter in place” plans are also realized in our households with sufficient supplies. To be fair, we live in Tornado Alley and those, wildfires, and ice storms are more likely to cause death and destruction than NBC threats. However, my storm shelter has features not found in most.

    My “precautions” I’m certain will be considered “over the top” by many, but they are driven by my training. Now, if I can just close the deal on an up-graded, diesel-converted Saracen I’ve found…

  155. Observer

    Pardon my skepticism, but ramjets and scramjets have all been the rage since the 70s and they all faded to obscurity, even though there were even items in service. IIRC, the Bloodhound missiles had ramjet main engines and the US had their Talos. That’s 40 years of development that went nowhere.

  156. Phil

    @Kent

    I certainly never said that the CBRN threat was not real. But that the amount of effort the military put into training for it is dependent on threat and mission. Personal CBRN drills are mandatory for all soldiers and the UK military continues to invest heavily in it. No doubt the emphasis on it is rising again now contingency operations are embedding back in and we might end up conducting operations amongst people with CBRN weapons. For HERRICK it was side-lined. Respirators were on the theatre packing list but we never bothered taking them and we were issued no CBRN gear.

    There are certain places in the UK where perhaps owning some respirators might be a good idea (how useful they are without being serviced and tested regularly is an interesting question) but self or assisted evacuation is likely to be more useful.

  157. WiseApe

    I found this interesting:

    http://navalinstitute.com.au/thoughts-on-the-lhd-and-a-fixed-wing-capability/

    And with reference to who should fly off CVF:

    “A ship that was not as worked up and specialised could not have coped with the new-comers’ inexperience and the example of Illustrious in 2007 is interesting . With no Harrier squadron of her own she embarked 16 AV-8Bs of USMC squadron VMA-542 which flew 152 sorties in twelve hours. In contrast an RAF Harrier squadron embarked in Ark Royal in similar circumstances in 2010 had to carry out several days deck landing training before being considered operational and, in the ensuing exercise, flew less sorties in five days than the USMC had flown in Illustrious in two. Unlike the Marines the RAF were not able to fly at night because of their lack of carrier experience. A land-based unit that undertakes random embarkations as a secondary function will never demonstrate full operational proficiency.”

  158. x

    @ WiseApe

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Middle of next decade when QEC sails out for its once a year 12 week deployment carrying 8 of our 18 in total F35b it would be far too risky to fly them at night anyway. Further we probably won’t have any Merlin pilots night quall’ed to fly the plane guard……….

  159. x

    @ WiseApe

    I have said quite a few times here that I can see CVF one day operating 24 or more F35b, they just won’t be British ones. I see CVF being a very useful asset for the USMC in a bunfight. They could move all their F35b off their LHx leaving them more space to operate the huge MV22. The RN wouldn’t be stepping on USN carrier toes as the amphib’s would follow on after the “proper” carriers had won the seas.

    EDIT: We talk often here about the need for escorts to have long legs. Yet it doesn’t seem to be acknowledged that our amphibs and RFA LSL need to match their USN counterparts in performance.

  160. x

    @ Simon 257

    TD will have you burned at the stake for heresy for that link. :)

    Repent! Repent I say!

  161. All Politicians are the Same

    Doomed I am telling you we are all doomed, T26 will be too fat our carriers will deploy for 12 weeks a year and never see a full complement of UK F35 onboard. Scotland will walk out on us and make the deterent unaffordable. We cannot buy an armoured box for the Army to drive about and as for A400 and MPA for the RAF, well.
    Doomed I tell you doomed.

    Makes me wonder how we have managed the way we have, we have been doomed since the Armada, through Trafalgar, the Peninsular War, Waterloo, Dunkirk, Battle of Britain. Retake the Falklands, do not be daft.
    However we do manage and we never have been doomed because those that have and do serve have a can do have done will do attitude that gets us through these pronouncements of impending doom :)

    God we are/were/will be good!

  162. monkey

    @Observer
    Re RAM Jets even earlier the 1951 X-7 missile and the 1962 Q-12 recon drone both built by Lockheed.

  163. WiseApe

    @Simon257 – No I hadn’t seen that so thanks for the link. Just read pages 1-11 so far – a good read, I agree with the points made up to this point, but would point out the article is not at all balanced – e.g. the authors bang on about the logistics tail for land bases but make no mention of the same tail for a carrier group. Swings and roundabouts. Hopefully will see balance when I get to read the rest of it.

    @X – I forgot the half dozen or so the Italians will chip in with. As long as we don’t go too far over the horizon.

    Edit: BTW, Typhoon production due to end in 2018 without further orders. I would very much like to see the RAF get some more, but what to give up to pay for them? How about the amphibs – if the army wants to go anywhere they can thumb a lift off their very good friends the RAF.

  164. Observer

    APATs, you’re all doomed. It’s just that you guys are taking your own sweet time to kneel over. :P

  165. WiseApe

    @Observer – we’re not going before the French!

    Edit: Apologies to Frenchie btw if you’re reading this, but I’m currently reading a book about Wellington’s riflemen in Spain and it’s made me come over all jingoistic.

  166. x

    “Makes me wonder how we have managed the way we have, we have been doomed since the Armada, through Trafalgar, the Peninsular War, Waterloo, Dunkirk, Battle of Britain. Retake the Falklands, do not be daft.”

    I know the answer to that one. The answer is, an adequately funded and well sized navy, on land having others supply the majority of the manpower, and as for the BoB see one and hope opfor makes mistakes.

    We sent 19 escorts to the Falklands, all we have now in total 19 escorts (one class of which is specialised) **, the RAF had what three times as many jets, and the Army had 180,000 bods (garrisoned Germany, fought in Ulster, and was still deployed worldwide.)

    If you argue for chopping or changing anything to radically you are a nut case. OK. I admit I am nut case anyway, but………

    ** Imagine a fleet of 12 AAW ships and 18 ASW ships and today that is unimaginable yet in the 1990s that is what we had. It doesn’t matter how good Sea Viper or 2087 are the ship they are fitted in can only be in one place.

  167. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @apats – It’s my job to be doomed…just a cultural thing, no need to take me (very) seriously…and we Cassandras have a respectable British pedigree…what about the Greatest Briton of them all? :-)

    And in fairness, @x has a point…every Government after the Battle of Medway did more or less avoid the elementary error that every Government of the post-war period has made in respect of enough big grey ships. :-(

    Gloomy Northern Boy

  168. All Politicians are the Same

    @GNB/X

    I have simply pointed out that for all the doom mongers through history we have gotten through what we have had to do. We were at a serious disadvantage in every scenario I illustrated but now we face no credible peer threat and we are more doomed?
    We would always like more ships planes and aircraft but they have to be justified and paid for.

  169. Topman

    ‘she embarked 16 AV-8Bs of USMC squadron VMA-542 which flew 152 sorties in twelve hours. ‘

    I think someone has their figures mixed up, by just a bit!

  170. All Politicians are the Same

    @ topman
    Are you suggesting that the USMC could not fly 9.5 sorties per aircraft each with an a average length of 76 minutes in 12 hours :)

  171. x

    @ APATS

    According to that KCL paper JFH went to sea for 6 weeks per year from 2006 and mostly only day ops. Therefore my forecast of 12 weeks is optimistic.

  172. All Politicians are the Same

    @X

    Funnily enough in 2006 FA2 left service and were down to GR9 only which was widely used in Afghanistan. So we lost one complete role and were left with very few aircraft needed elsewhere and an ageing small flat deck capability (that owed us very little) not capable of conducting Fleet Air Defence. There was a conscious decision taken that the primary role of the harrier had to be CAS in Afghanistan whilst the “Carrier” reverted to LPH/Rotary wing ops.

    Now that is a whole world away from huge new and very expensive carriers designed to operate fifth generation expensive fighter jets fully capable of full spectrum operations and very much in the public eye. the Invincibles as I said owed us nothing the QE class will be used an awful lot.

  173. x

    @ Topman

    No that is the tempo at which all the other airforces in the world operate. Why do you think we moan about the RAF so much because we are just mean? :) ;)

    @ APATS

    I know re FA2.

    There is going to come a point when the force’s can do attitude won’t be able to cover up for a lack of government interest in defence and there may well be a time in this new multi-polar world when the US won’t be there.

  174. mike

    @ APATS

    Amen.

    We better get our worth out of those flat tops, the Navy sold its soul to get them and scarified a lot of itself to get it.. her…er…them. The fact that F-35B will be shared means its funds are more secure and pooled and means it wont further drain the navy from its gold plated ships, Scottish referendum depending ;)

  175. All Politicians are the Same

    @X

    It is not the Governments lack of interest in defence it is simply a hard fact that we have fought purely elective campaigns and peace keeping missions for 30 years. They make it much harder to sell. The last credible threat to the UK disappeared in 1991 and there is also the Political difficulty in spending a lot of money on Nuclear weapons and then turning round and saying we also need to spend a lot of money on conventional forces as well.
    They get round that to an extent by “moralising” our foreign adventures but even that makes it significantly difficult to justify a force structure bigger than we have and are heading towards.

    We may be entering a multi polar world or we may not but again none of those poles is going to pose any threat to the UK in a conventional sense. So we quite correctly justify our force structure by pointing out that we act in the best interests of stability and therefore UK interests throughout the world but we do not have an empire anymore so this can only be done through coalitions and with Allies.

  176. El Sid

    @Repulse
    Surely not another Navantia export customer finding basic QA problems? Not like the Nansens then?

  177. El Sid

    @Observer
    Pardon my skepticism, but ramjets and scramjets have all been the rage since the 70s and they all faded to obscurity, even though there were even items in service

    Wings and undercarriages have been all the rage on aircraft since the Wright Brothers – doesn’t mean that a B-2 has much in common with their Flyer. I know what you’re saying but it feels a bit different this time, there seems to be a real will to make it happen. The X-51 has marked a sea-change, in combination with there being an enemy across the Pacific to justify the funding. I posted that just because it’s the first open-source thing I’ve seen on post-X-51 timetables, but it’s not an original thought to say that it would be relatively easy to put a simple warhead on X-51 if they really, really needed to in a hurry.

  178. Kent

    Why didn’t the Sea Harriers ever get the “big wing” like the USMC’s AV-8B and the RAF’s Harrier II? It would have made them easier to fly, improved their maneuverability, and increased their load-carrying and range capabilities. An easier-to-fly Sea Harrier with more missiles and greater range? What could go wrong?

  179. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Kent

    basically the FA2 was still an all metal aircraft based on the GR3 rather than the more modern composite GR5/7 onwards. It would have cost a fortune to upgrade them and quite a bit just to keep them operating.
    If it had been based on the GR5 composite airframe it would have been viable.

  180. wf

    @Kent: as an alternative to participation in the AV8B program, it was suggested we build a British “big wing” Harrier. However, the former was considered the better solution. Given the way the US version developed, we would have been better off replacing the FA2’s with AV8B plus anyway….

  181. Kent

    OTH-100? Why don’t we build LSTs with water jets and hydrofoils? Run inshore at 60-70 knots, retract the foils, surf onto the beach, pop out a bunch of RT’s recce cars, tanks, and IFVs, power off the beach and run back out for more troops, tanks, gobuggies, and IFVs! While we’re at it, mount a bunch of Longbow Hellfire boxes on deck and radars on the superstructure to provide suppressive fire on the way in and fire support when they get there! If we retrofit old LSTs we can just eject the foils and leave the LST’s hard aground with a rear ramp through the deckhouse for follow on vessels to use them as standoff ramps.

    Alternatively, we can just put tracks on LPDs and run them all the way to the objective! They might end up looking something like Keith Laumer’s BOLOs.

  182. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Kent – Much preferred MIchael Moorcock’s “Land Leviathan” myself, but then I am old and English

    As well as Gloomy and Northern, obviously… :-)

  183. Mark

    Should have just bought the av-8b plus. We could still have incorporated the uk requirements such as improved low level bird strike tolerance or a uk radar and we probably would still be operating them today such a waste.

  184. as

    FA2 vs Gr9
    FA2 has a higher top speed (737mph vs 661mph), faster rate of climb (50,000 ft/min vs 14,715 ft/min)
    GR9 has a higher payload (4173kg vs 3629kg),

    The range for both varies quite dramatically depending on the mission set up, profile (eg Hi Low Hi), number of drop tanks ect..
    To a certain extent this equals out because the small wing is more efficient air flow vs the larger wings extra fuel.

  185. Topman

    @x/APATS

    I know how silly of me to think the figures aren’t realistic. Perhaps they missed a zero off ;)

  186. Kent

    @APATS – Maybe it could have just been replaced with the USMC’s AV-8B Plus that “…is equipped with the Raytheon APG-65 digital radar to provide day and night and adverse weather capability. The APG-65 is a jam-resistant, all-weather detection and tracking radar. In the air-to-air role, the radar operates in search, track and combat modes. Long-range interception missions use the radar’s long-range detection capability and, for the close-in air defense role, the radar uses rapid acquisition modes for the aircraft’s 25mm cannon and heat-seeking missiles.”

    “In the air-to-surface role, the APG-65 radar provides high-resolution, long-range surface mapping and detection, and tracking of land-based and sea-based targets. The radar has the capability to locate small, fast patrol boats in high sea states and to detect large naval ships at long range.” (from Wiki)

    Call it the Sea Harrier FA.3, and we’re good! :D

  187. 40 deg south

    Thanks to ToC, ACC and Monty for responding to my assault rifle query far up-thread.

    As someone who has little interest in forearms, I’m surprised after a little googling to see how similar modern military rifles appear to be. They all do much the same thing, and very is size/weight only modestly. It’s a bit like comparing three modern Japanese econoboxes – the most efficient layout has been discovered and everyone is simply building variations on a theme.

    If you pinned pictures of half a dozen short-listed weapons to the wall of the conference room, gave the Director of Procurement a few pints and a dart and told him to give it his best shot, it would be faster, cheaper and damn near as effective as any other selection method.

  188. Challenger

    @APATS

    ‘basically the FA2 was still an all metal aircraft based on the GR3 rather than the more modern composite GR5/7 onwards. It would have cost a fortune to upgrade them and quite a bit just to keep them operating.
    If it had been based on the GR5 composite airframe it would have been viable’

    Personally i didn’t have a problem with the Sea Harrier’s removal, i have just always thought once we decided to scale down the fleet and rely purely on the RAF GR5/7/9’s then it should have been done properly

    That means 70+ air-frames kept operational rather than the constant ebbing away which resulted in a fleet within a fleet of only 40ish available for front-line service, the transfer over of the excellent Blue Vixen radar and AMRAAM (plus ideally Brimstone, a RAPTOR pod, ALARM, Sea Eagle etc) cleared for service.

    Maybe it wouldn’t have been cheap, and if certain elements weren’t viable then fair enough. But if they were then i think a real commitment to evolve the remaining Harriers into a good all round aircraft that could provide fleet air-defence as well as close air-support and limited strike capabilities should have been pursued. Herrick obviously didn’t help when it came to resources, but if you’re going to keep a fleet of air-frames in service and rely on far fewer than previously used then letting them wither on the vine doesn’t make much sense from where i’m sitting.

  189. Observer

    Richard, it really isn’t that big a deal. If it isn’t the Stinger, it’s going to be the Igla. If they want a MANPAD, they’ll get it by hook or by crook, brand name doesn’t matter in the end.

    El Sid, you do realise that depending on how you define success, the X-51 has only made ONE, arguably two successful test flights out of 4? And like the article says, Mach 5 isn’t anything really special, even the Indians are having a go at it, though theirs is probably something like the Chinese, an IRBM in all but name despite the Brahmos’s anti-ship ancestry. The idea has been around since God knows when.

    Kent, your thinking on OTH really parallels mine, except that I didn’t go as far as hydrofoils. The other fantasy design, if you don’t want to change too much doctrinally (USMC doctrine), I have would be the question of how heavily can you armour a Gibbs amphitruck without loss of performance. Get it up to 7.62 NATO resistant, slap a Mk 19 on the roof and you might just have a decent AAV replacement. We have a slight advantage over you guys in terms of available weapons, our defence companies went on a miniaturization kick in the 80s, our weapons are just smaller than yours, so a 40/50 (our slang for a 40mm AGL mounted sidecar with a 0.5 cal) is very possible on something like a HMMWV.

  190. ArmChairCivvy

    The current official line in Australia is that they will reuse the Hobart hull design also for their ASW frigates.

    Today’s DID includes this T26 piece into the consideration of alternatives:
    “Type 26 (UK’s BAE). Britain has already begun talking to Australia about involvement in the UK’s future frigate program, whose cost target of GBP 350 – 450 million would make them thinkable options for an 8-ship buy. Britain is also a long-standing ally with close relations, and BAE Australia is already a shipbuilder.

    The Type 26′s mission systems aren’t finalized yet, and that would likely be the main point of contention with Australia. It could be possible for each party to end up with their own customized design, but there comes a point where that’s almost as expensive as designing your own ship. If the design is common, on the other hand, it means that Britain will probably have to accept some extra costs, without shielding Australia from needing to invest their own R&D. Britain has already picked the Type 997 Artisan rotating radar, for instance, while Australia would want a CEAFAR/CEAMOUNT staring array that would force a redesign of the Type 26′s mast and superstructure. Australia wants the Saab 9LV Mk3E combat system used on its upgraded ANZACs, while Britain would prefer to reuse technologies from the PAAMS system aboard its Type 45 Daring Class air defense destroyers. That could be an area where Australia might get their way, but Britain would have to pick the American Mk.41 vertical launch system, instead of the French SYLVER A50 VLS on its Type 45 Daring Class air defense destroyers, in order to ensure compatibility between Britain’s MBDA CAMM-M air defense missiles and Australia’s chosen RIM-162 ESSM. That choice would shut Britain out of using the same Aster-15 missiles on board its Daring Class as the Type 26′s high-end defense, unless it pays to integrate Aster-15 with the Mk.41 and/or combat system. Etc.”
    – might be a bit off the mark with missile compatibility, but shows how difficult it is for two established navies to standardise on the same design (beyond hull & machinery, which is not where the main cost lies)

  191. ArmChairCivvy

    APATS and Mike, nice to see some realism (rather then the normal romantic view of the great past) in the assessment of the thru-deck cruisers.
    – the topic always reminds me of the film “Behind enemy lines” and the carrier getting ready to launch an operation. The RN liaison (from one of the thru-deck cruisers) to the CBG commander: Can we help? Answer: “Yes, keep out of the way.”

    @Observer, I read recently that Singapore bought a big pile of Iglas. Interesting, as anywhere else in the “West”…not only your Far West… it has been replaced by American/German/ Swedish designs. Not that it would have been in service in that many western nations to begin with.

    About Harriers: without us providing the spares (they were not all disassembled for spares, which was the picture relayed for PR purposes at the time of the deal, but many were pushed into service rather quickly), the USMC would be short of a sqdrn or two, as they have lost quite a few on the ground (both in Iraq and in A-stan).

  192. Not A Boffin

    I think you’d better have a credible source for that last bit on the Harriers ACC. Of the sixty-odd transferred, fifty are at AMARC, the remainder went straight to MCAS Cherry PoInt for Return to Spares.

    Do you have any evidence that UK serials are actually in US service?

  193. Observer

    Odd, I also heard that the Harriers were broken up for spares too.

    ACC, it was a trial batch ages and ages ago when the Soviet Union first broke up. I believe that our defence ministry was testing the waters for Russian equipment and how they could be fused with western equipment. Basically a sacrificial project if it went wrong, we had lots of spare M-113s that were getting old anyway.

    http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w275/spyder-album/Singapore/IMG_0447.jpg

    M-113 with 4x Igla + Fire control unit and a GPMG for basic self defence. Not really for frontline use, they are relegated to something like your RAF regiments, airfield defence only.

  194. ArmChairCivvy

    Always glad to share what has caught my eye:
    http://www.defensenews.com/article/20111113/DEFSECT01/111130302/U-S-Buy-Decommissioned-British-Harrier-Jets

    A little bit of more general background and why the losses made a bigger dent than would appear on the surface:
    http://theaviationist.com/2012/09/22/camp-bastion-ground-zero/

    The PR comment’s thrust was that as there was first the outcry, here, about the early decommissioning, then they went for a song, and then they were of operational value (indeed, critical in maintainig the “Harrier” fleet operational when you combine the impacts of the F35 delays and the mentioned losses.. plural, please note. In Iraq the newly arrived squadron sent the GPS coordinates embedded in photos, meant for the folks back at home, but it was the OpFor that sent a nice thank you for them with a few well placed mortar bombs. Interesting that almost immediately IDF banned the use of smart phones on ops and in exposed bases!)
    – compare that with “in a matter of a hours, the U.S., that had moved VMA-211 from Kandahar to Camp Bastion on Jul.1 to have the planes closer to where the troops need support, not only lost one of its most valuable CAS (Close Air Support) platforms in Afghanistan, but also about 1/15th of the entire American Jump Jet fleet.”

  195. ArmChairCivvy

    The above, putting at risk the extending of the AV-8 fleet life span enough to smooth the F35 into service , may explain why the US and UK views of the Camp Bastion raid diverge so much:
    – the former fired two USMC generals with exemplary service records
    – the latter hushed the thing down as if nothing out of ordinary had happened

  196. Observer

    ACC, still nothing in there that stated unequivocally that British Harriers were taken direct into US service. In fact, I really don’t recall anything that even suggests a direct operational transfer.

  197. Not A Boffin

    The Harriers were RTP’d. The linked article only has some US journo speculating on what he’d do rather than an actual statement of fact.

    As ever, this is useful.

    http://www.demobbed.org.uk/aircraft.php?type=1824

    The wide range of marks (7, 7A, 9, 9A) at Cherry Point does not suggest an attempt to build a squadron from a coherent set of cabs.

  198. ArmChairCivvy

    ” Lon Nordeen, author of several books on the Harrier”
    – only some US jorno?

    When was again that the USMC will have enough F35Bs for all of their decks?

  199. ArmChairCivvy

    The USMC is already rationing Hornet hours to make it to 2035 with the AV-8s providing the bridge.

    This is from the report to the House Tactical Air Subcommittee in March 2012, Camp Bastion incident was in Sept:
    “23
    These efforts, combined with a substantial decrease in Legacy Hornet utilization rates and
    changes to USMC force structure, resulted in a decrease in the projected shortfall despite the
    flattening of the F

    35B/C ramp that moved 69 aircraft to outside the
    F
    uture Years Defense
    Program (
    FYDP
    )
    .
    The Strike Fighter Shortfall is projected to fluctuate throughout the next 20 years. The Marine
    Corps will experience a majority of the projected shortfall in the next 10 years as it relies heavily
    on the F

    35 procurem
    ent rates and the management of remaining service life on the F/A

    18A

    D.
    As legacy F/A

    18 squadrons are reduced the service shortfall number must be considered in
    proportion to the primary mission aircraft inventory requirement. Due to a low number of F/A

    18 squadrons in the 2023 to 2026 timeframe, the shortfall number associated with the USMC
    will have a more significant impact on those few remaining F/A

    18 operational squadrons.
    In
    the years beyond 2020, the
    Navy
    will possess the majority of the shortfa
    ll as the F/A

    18E/F
    reaches its service life limit.
    The USN and USMC continue to adjust transition plans as F

    35 procurement ramps are
    flattened. The Marine Corps is taking advantage of higher service life remaining in its AV

    8B
    inventory by sliding them
    to the end of the transition, thus reducing the demand for F/A

    18A

    D
    in the later years. Sustainment and relevancy funding will be imperative to maintain the requisite
    operational capability throughout the 2020’s.
    Discussion of the service life assessm
    ent program being conducted to evaluate the feasibility
    of extending the service life of the F/A

    18E/F to 9,000 and 12,000 flight hours and a
    description of the funding currently contained in the FY 2013

    2016 FYDP for such
    program
    The F/A

    18E/Fs have flow
    n approximately 30 percent of the total flight hours available at the
    6,000 hour limit and this will not be adequate to meet operational commitments out to 2035.”

  200. Observer

    ACC, just because he can reprint a TDP does not mean that he knows what is going on, and in this case, he was obviously writing before the deal was concluded, which means that he was speculating because the event has not happened yet, not to mention familiarity with technical details and/or history does not translate into familiarity with political, operational and economic decisions.

    “” Lon Nordeen, author of several books on the Harrier”
    – only some US jorno?”

    Who the F is he?

  201. Not a Boffin

    There is zero evidence anywhere that any of the 23 frames that ended up at Cherry Point have been taken into US service – however logical that idea may be to some. It’s right up there with the HMS Siskin SHARS being some sort of war maintenance reserve.

    That’s why it needs to be challenged for authenticity.

  202. El Sid

    USAF buying up Bombardier ISR from contractors (Dash-8 rather than Global Express) :
    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-u-s-army-wants-new-ish-spy-planes-a28f8ed40acb

    The F-35 PR offensive begins ahead of QE float-out and RIAT/Farnborough appearance :
    http://breakingdefense.com/2014/06/gen-mike-hostage-on-the-f-35-no-growlers-needed-when-war-starts/

    http://breakingdefense.com/2014/06/a-gods-eye-view-of-the-battlefield-gen-hostage-on-the-f-35/

    How sensitive is the system? I’ve been told by two sources that the DAS spotted a missile launch from 1,200 miles away during a Red Flag exercise in Alaska. ….Several sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations — from government and industry — tell me that each country went in to discussions with the Pentagon with a great deal of skepticism. But once country representatives received the most highly classified briefing — which I hear deals mostly with the plane’s cyber, electronic warfare and stealth capabilities — they all decided to buy.

  203. The Limey

    - El Sid,

    Interesting that the US is going for Dash-8 variants given the recent discussion on q potential Q400 MPA.

  204. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Apparently Al Quada have raised the Black Flags of the Caliph over Mosul, and now have their own air-force courtesy of the Al Maliki Government who carelessly left some war-planes there…that US withdrawal went well didn’t it? :-)

  205. Simon

    …It’s right up there with the HMS Siskin SHARS being some sort of war maintenance reserve

    Hey! When you move in the circles I do you might learn something ;-)

  206. Red Trousers

    APATS,

    Following up on an idea that I had last night, partly sparked by reports a couple of months ago on TD about Android and iOS apps being created to help dockyard workers find their way around the Nellies.

    We’re putting lots of dosh into Virtual Reality and Visual Analytics, with an ulterior motive if long term.

    As an adjacent, “might” there be mileage in creating 3D interactives of all of a ship’s internal spaces? I’m thinking of things like damage control parties training, as part of a systems approach to training. We have got the code to create fires, smoke, reduced visibility, and record and log results from up to 16 “players” (yes, we are using a game engine), with inter-player interaction as well. All in 3D, and as people move around relative to each other, all displays are updated.

    But I don’t know the state of the current for DC training. Maybe that’s already catered for.

    Just a thought. Grateful to know if you think there’s a need. Our broader / wider development is aimed at something quite different.

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