About The Author

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


  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:


    – 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… :-)


  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…


  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?


  10. Think Defence

    Seen that one a few times, I do like those Downfall videos, the funniest one I saw was years ago about Wayne Rooney, I nearly soiled myself :)

  11. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Simon 257

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

  12. 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!)

  13. Kent

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

  14. monkey

    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?)

  15. Kent

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

  16. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?
    – 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)

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

  21. 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:

    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.

  22. 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.

  23. ArmChairCivvy


    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.

  24. 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.

  25. Phil

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

  26. Simon


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

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

    – no “Beach Head”,
    – no “Private Ryan Scenario”

    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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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 :)


  34. 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.

  35. 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 ?

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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… :-)

  40. Observer

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

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

  41. 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
    They currently refit all RFA vessels bar the Bays and assuming they’re gettin contracts for fitting out the Tides

  42. 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.

  43. Simon


    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.

  44. 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?

  45. 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.

  46. 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…

  47. Phil


    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?

  48. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    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.

  49. 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?

  50. 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?

  51. ArmChairCivvy

    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)

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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

  55. 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

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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 ?

    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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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…

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. Red Trousers

    …and the nifty Panhard Crab which I rather like


    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?

  66. 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 ?

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. Mark

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


    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.

  70. Red Trousers


    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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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…

  73. Red Trousers


    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.

  74. 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…

  75. 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 :-)

  76. Chris

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

  77. 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


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

  78. 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.

  79. 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


    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) :-)

  80. Roders


    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?


  81. Not a Boffin

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

  82. Observer

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

  83. 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.

  84. Roders


    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.

  85. 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

  86. 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…”

  87. 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.

  88. 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?".

  89. 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.

  90. Observer

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

  91. 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…

  92. 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

  93. 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…).

  94. 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

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

  97. 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.

  98. 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!

  99. 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 ?

  100. 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.

  101. 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…

  102. 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.

  103. 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:

    “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.

  104. 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?

  105. 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).

  106. 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.

  107. 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?

  108. 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.

  109. 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).

  110. 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….

  111. 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.

  112. 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 :-)

  113. IXION


    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.


    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?

  114. 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
    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.

  115. 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.

  116. 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.

  117. 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.


    (5.6mm, twin 30 round mags)

  118. ArmChairCivvy

    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

  119. 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”.

  120. Not a Boffin


    “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……

  121. 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.

  122. monkey

    Today is the 6th June , the 70th anniversary of D Day.
    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.

  123. 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?

  124. Peter Elliott


    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.

  125. 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.

  126. 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.

  127. 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?

  128. 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

  129. 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)

  130. Not a Boffin


    “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.


    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.


    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.

  131. monkey

    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

  132. IXION


    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?

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. Peter Elliott


    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.

  136. Not a Boffin


    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.

  137. Peter Elliott


    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).

  138. 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?

  139. 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…..

  140. 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

  141. 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

  142. mike


    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

  143. 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.

  144. Kibbitz Van Ogle

    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.

  145. Chris

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

  146. 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……..

  147. 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.

  148. 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.

  149. 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.

  150. 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.

  151. 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.

  152. 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.”).

  153. 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?

  154. El Sid


    “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

  155. 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…

  156. 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.

  157. Phil


    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.

  158. WiseApe

    I found this interesting:


    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.”

  159. 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……….

  160. 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.

  161. x

    @ Simon 257

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

    Repent! Repent I say!

  162. 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!

  163. monkey

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

  164. 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.

  165. Observer

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

  166. 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.

  167. 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.

  168. 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

  169. All Politicians are the Same


    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.

  170. 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!

  171. 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 :)

  172. 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.

  173. All Politicians are the Same


    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.

  174. 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.

  175. mike

    @ APATS


    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 ;)

  176. All Politicians are the Same


    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.

  177. El Sid

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

  178. El Sid

    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.

  179. 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?

  180. 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.

  181. 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….

  182. 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.

  183. 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… :-)

  184. 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.

  185. 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.

  186. Topman


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

  187. 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

  188. 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.

  189. Challenger


    ‘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.

  190. 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.

  191. 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)

  192. 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).

  193. 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?

  194. 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.


    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.

  195. ArmChairCivvy

    Always glad to share what has caught my eye:

    A little bit of more general background and why the losses made a bigger dent than would appear on the surface:

    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.”

  196. 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

  197. 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.

  198. 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.


    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.

  199. 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?

  200. 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:
    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
    uture Years Defense
    Program (
    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


    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.
    the years beyond 2020, the
    will possess the majority of the shortfa
    ll as the F/A

    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

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


    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
    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.”

  201. 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?

  202. 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.

  203. El Sid

    USAF buying up Bombardier ISR from contractors (Dash-8 rather than Global Express) :

    The F-35 PR offensive begins ahead of QE float-out and RIAT/Farnborough appearance :


    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.

  204. The Limey

    – El Sid,

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

  205. 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? :-)

  206. 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 ;-)

  207. Red Trousers


    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.

  208. All Politicians are the Same


    VR walk through would be highly beneficial to learning the lay out of a compartment, without a shadow of a doubt. Generic Dc training is done at Phoenix on whale island where they the DRIU

    They also have a fire school in a couple of locations with generic boxes to fight fires in which are now sadly gas controlled instead of massive brazier oil fires. I remember my first vertical re entry into a compartment, it was like sohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5_VF1vjtAkmething out of back draft :)

    So that is where you learn your generic techniques, what your system could do is allow personnel to learn the lay outs of specific compartments.

  209. Red Trousers

    Thanks APATS, nourishing food for thought.

    What we might have – with further development- is an embryonic system where all ship / boat types can be programmed into a server, then deployed along with the vessel so that specific to type DC training could be carried out while the ship/boat is deployed. Not as full on as the DRIU, no one gets wet, but useful perhaps as a in-between type of training between lectures and the DRIU, available to the crew 24/7 while underway, and not costing that much.

  210. Red Trousers


    I haven’t got a Scooby about armour. I have far too many dents in my head from nutting hatches and other solid metal objects when CVR(T) or MBT brakes were enthusiastically applied, or the suspension was poorly designed.

    I prefer completely open wagons. You can see out, they don’t bite you, and if death comes, it comes quickly without 9 weeks in an intensive care ward.

  211. Chris

    Wirralpete – I’m not really a materials scientist and would always take advice on matters of armour, but I have been watching the progress of Super Bainite for a while now. Certainly it has possibilities as an outer disruptor layer in place of sheet RHA or even ceramics – I particularly like the idea of making armour more effective by drilling holes in it – who would have thought, eh? – but as a core material forming the structure of the armoured compartment I doubt this would be suitable. I’m always happy to be proven wrong though.

  212. Red Trousers


    Here is a conundrum that the MOD will never solve.

    What is the trade-off between not being spotted, and being spotted and being able to survive the ensuing hit?

    Despite all of the modern worry about survivability, I’m certain that the greater survivability is in the former.

    But then DSTL ask you to prove it, which is like proving a negative. And so good people like you are forced to design wagons that look like a cliff, and as a result are spottable very easily.

  213. Mark

    Airbus have been doing there media briefing days


    Speaking at the company’s facility in Seville, Spain, on 9 June, Antonio Rodriguez Barberan, head of commercial, military aircraft for Airbus DS, said that three new variants of the C295 were under development (with orders from at least one customer), and that 20 of the existing transport variant aircraft have been sold so far this year.

    “We are working on SIGINT [signals intelligence], special operations [gunships], and ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] versions of the C295, and expect a special operations contract from a Middle East operator to be announced shortly,”


    While Barberan declined to be drawn on specific customer opportunities beyond those listed as having requested demonstrations, he did say that Airbus DS had received “eight or nine” requests for information and requests for proposals for the aircraft. Company officials added that an International Traffic in Arms Regulations-compliant version of the A400M had been developed for export, which does not feature encrypted communications or the sensitive GPS navigation equipment on the standard aircraft.

  214. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Evening chaps…remember that new Caliphate that was down to my fevered, paranoid and Islamophobic imagination? John Simpson just referred to it on the BBC 10 O’clock News…nice to be a crackpot in such magisterial company… :-)


  215. Chris

    GNB – sure you didn’t just imagine that? (Insert smiley here)

    RT – I try not to make mobile office blocks but short of ignoring the mobility standards and human factors guidance its a struggle. But there are some tricks still possible in vehicle shaping that help to disguise the size and reduce the bulk on the horizon, if that helps? As an example here is one of your favourites on ops: http://se-asia.commemoration.gov.au/australian-operations-in-malayan-emergency/images/Army/HOB_56_0751_MC.jpg – the point to note here is that the shape of the vehicle belies its size – if it was a typical two-box 4×4 (think Panther) of the same length and height it would be much more obvious.

  216. All Politicians are the Same

    @ All
    This is quite bad news but let us not over react, last time I was in Bahrain some districts used to put the black Flag up quite often. Did not mean they were about to cross the channel just meant I had to drive a different way to work.
    They have taken pseudo control of one city, a big test for the Iraqi security forces and hopefully will not require the use of the huge amount of forward deployed armour kept here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Arifjan

  217. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Chris – certain – I’m taking my meds – I’m not even going to open a second front in respect of the last comment… :-)


  218. Chris

    x – ref flashy laboratory – why is it all I can hear is “Ah, Mr Bond, we’ve been expecting you…”

  219. Simon257

    @ APATS

    From what I gathered last night. The Iraqi Government still have not taken back control of Fallujah. I wonder how many other small towns have fallen and have not been reported

  220. Observer

    Simon, is it really that big a worry? Most towns and cities are not heavily armed if they are not involved in fighting, so it is relatively easy to “take control” of a population center, and also as easily “taken back”. Think it through, how many men with AKs do you think it would take to declare your town “occupied”?

  221. IXION


    my old boss had a bet with one of his partners that 10 years after we left Iraq, all or part of it would be an ‘Islamic republic’ run under Shia law and hostile to the west.

    I was there at the time and chipped in it would be worse than that and 20 years after we left there could well be a radical aggressive caliphate over Iraq (with an independent kurdistan), Jordan Syria and Egypt. Looks like my boss wins his bet. I, have got £20 riding on this.

    The similarities to the ineffectual resistance put up by South Vietnam after the spams left are there to see.

  222. ArmChairCivvy

    Reading the runes or counting the tombstones in a desert grave yard… was it 23 airframes unaccounted for? Fast forwarding to the same report to the TACAIR Sub-committee of 2014 vintage that I quoted from 2012:

    “As an out


    production aircraft,
    theAV-8B program
    will continue its
    on sustainment efforts to mitigate significant legacy inventory shortfalls, maintain
    airframe integrity, achieve full FLE,
    and address reliability and obsolescence issues of
    avionics and subsys
    TACAIR Inventory Management
    The Strike Fighter Shortfall (SFS) associated with the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s
    Budget is manageable. The shortfall is currently
    predicted to peak at approximately 35
    aircraft in Fiscal Year 2023; 20 of which are USMC aircraft and 15 USN aircraft.”

    An Elvis record as a prize for guessing where those twenty will, ultimately, be drawn from?

    As an aside, the good news is that when at the time of Libya happening it was the experimental Growler sqdrn that had to be used, there are now 11 out of the planned (=funded) 18 squadrons with their Growlers in-situ, though not all of them operational yet.

  223. Not a Boffin

    Still no evidence of UK frames with USMC serial numbers then?

    Just supposition, inference and apparently concession that they weren’t put into service straight away. Not to mention the concept of keeping 20-odd frames at Cherry Point (as opposed to AMARC) until the back end of this decade at least before magically returning them to service.

    Oh well…

  224. Simon257

    @ Observer

    The BBC are reporting 500,000 people fleeing Mosul. How are the Jordanians going to cope if Iraq was to collapse and another huge amount of Refugees were to flood into the country.


    On taking my Town, as long as they do it after 5pm, when the Local Police Station closes for the night or at the weekend when it’s closed completely! About 4!

  225. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Mark, RE your post June 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm,

    Are the folks at Jane’s not keeping up with the times? The gunship conversion by ATK for Jordan actually made an appearance in their airshow, and this is mentioned as background information, so now Airbus is quickly productising pretty much the same configuration?

    My point is more for the SIGINT version. Perhaps, here too, it is about Airbus now replicating in-house what some more adventurous types have done already four years ago, as in:
    SOURCEJournal of Electronic Defense;Jul2010, Vol. 33 Issue 7, p26
    SOURCE TYPETrade Publication
    DOC. TYPEArticle
    ABSTRACTThe article reports on a 100-million U.S.-dollar contract received by Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services Defense (IS&GS-Defense) from the Finnish Air Force’s Materiel Command.

    Defence journalism should include also background research, so that the readers don’t need to do it? But then again, self service is best service…

    In due course we will get to hear if is ATK and LM, respectively, also for the “official” versions.

  226. ArmChairCivvy

    Simon257, RE “How are the Jordanians going to cope if Iraq was to collapse and another huge amount of Refugees were to flood into the country.”

    They had a practice run of that not too long ago.
    – more seriously, it is a good point, because there is a lot of funding coming from other countries to help to feed the refugees from Syria somewhere well away from the population centres. The Iraqis have closer ties and would blend into the finely (as of now) balanced ethnic mix of Jordan.

    On the broader Caliphate point , the brilliant stretegy of the Sunni Awakening was brought about by Saudi Arabia threatening to arm them directly, exactly not to have that Caliphate share a border with them. The first the “Official America” knew about it when the Congress started asking how the Army could have lost 200.000 assault rifles. And, having agreed to act as a proxy, to retain some degree of control, the main US Army COIN strategist then became the “owner” of the idea.
    – all the same people are still there (minus the Americans)
    – I wonder if Al Maliki is starting to regret not having agreed to the basing agreement?

  227. Observer

    IXION, be serious, the rebels have nowhere near a caliphate or even any serious area control at all, you’re taking a temporary situation and multiplying it by size and time over several magnitudes. As I already pointed out, you don’t really need that many men to “claim” an area, but to rule, administer and tax it is a completely different story, especially over any decent period of time. Worst case would be something like Syria, lawless, unadministratable areas.

    Tell me about your caliphate again in 6 months.

    Simon, once again, how many armed men would it take hanging around your town to cause people to haul arse for safer pastures? Not many. Hell, just one mad gunman is enough to depopulate a street and get people running to other areas or bolt their doors and start praying. Number of people running away is NOT indicator of massive threat or hostile control, just number of areas where people do not feel secure.

  228. Simon257

    @ Observer

    That 500,000 equates to the entire City of Cardiff doing a runner. (Preferably across the River Severn Crossings!)

    What we don’t know is how many small towns or areas are now, not under Government Control. Also what has happened to the Iraqi Army?

  229. Observer

    Simon, sieges are by nature slow affairs, my guess is stuck in the fighting and slowly clearing the area one house at a time humanely. Used to be a time when FIBUA involved a grenade greeting card and full auto fire before entering a room. Those days are long gone, so now you get the group huddle.

    PS, you ever tried counting people in the hundreds? I did once, you get nowhere near a reasonably accurate number. You think the journo took the time to count to half a million? I doubt it, he probably made an area guessimate and you know how accurate those are.

  230. IXION


    I am to a degree being serious.

    I said a 20 year time scale. we have only had about 4 so far so I have got 16 years to wait for my £20.

    The apparent information is that the Large well trained and well equipped Iraqi army can’t or more likely won’t get into a fire fight with this bunch of yahoos. In fact the report on BBC this morning is that they just plain ran off Snr officer and all. Iraqi leader running round like headless chicken screaming help! help!

    As far as first steps go the fact that the best resourced, most successful rebel groups in Syria are this crowd and their allies, and that they have just drive the Iraqi army out of a big and profitable chunk of Iraq that borders on Syria, does sound a bit like round one (at least) to the Islamists.

    As for control The Iraqis themselves say they have lost control, The BBC this morning were explaining how ISIS runn their finance and tax operations in the areas they control, and they are the ones on the street with guns.
    BTW Where did I say the Caliphate has to be well run or particularity competent or indeed administered? they don’t have to run a welfare state, or finance industry, indeed both are widely regarded as ‘unislamic’ by this crowd. That sounds like control for a given value of control to me.

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck – until further notice it’s a duck…..

    Well it looks like control…….

  231. IXION

    It is still an issue that the mighty , well equipped, well trained loyal hard fighting Iraqi army have legged it when seriously challenged in the field. That does not bode well.

    It would be childish of me to go back over you tube looking for all those Army officers telling us own tough and well trained and equipped the Iraqi Army is now and we can leave the country safely in their hands…………..

    But I still might for a laugh..

  232. Observer

    IXION, a lawyer like you should well and truly know the specific difference between fact and perception. It would be childish of me to hope you’ll get into a similar situation and someone will be there to clock your speed.

    MOUT is by nature slow, unless you are stupid or brutal. And it is sensible to retreat when faced with a sudden assault in seriously outnumbered conditions, especially if your terrain is bad. Unless your name happens to be Stallone, Schwarzenegger or Willis and you have an ammo belt that stretches all the way to a factory in America. My opinion would be isolated sections have fallen back to prevent being overrun, the main body of troops are stuck slowly clearing houses one by one.

  233. IXION


    OK quite happy to admit would be off like a scalded rabbit if bullets start flying. But I’m a civilian not a ‘large well trained well equipped Iraqi Army.

    The reports in the serious press are that this has been building for weeks- this is not some kind of TET surprise package. It would seem the’Large well trained well equipped Iraqi Army’ (lets just call it LWTWEIA for short), has been bested in the field, the reaction of it’s leaders does not speak of a well executed tactical withdrawal, more ‘Basra bug out’ on steroids.

    Time will tell on this one.

  234. Kent

    @X – “…the only obstacle left is funding.” Is that all?

    Re: Mosul – Got an email from an Assyrian Christian friend who moved his family out of there last week. He said there were six people, not including the priest, at the last Assyrian Church of the East service he attended on 1 June. Four of them were members of his family. They are currently staying with relatives in Amman. His priest refused his offer to bring him out of Mosul. For those of you who are religious, I’m going to ask that you pray for the Christians and other good people in Iraq.

  235. Kent

    If the Iraqis ask the US for help, how far from the White House do you think we will be able to hear President Barack Hussein Obama laughing?

  236. Observer

    Kent, not very. Why? Guess who’d be blamed for Iraq? Look at IXION’s posts for a preview of the pillorying. That IXION’s a lawyer is just irony on the cake, especially considering what pillorying was originally for.

  237. John Hartley

    Nick re NAO. I would have left the Army at 100,000 , but the coalition wanted money for 0.7% foreign aid. The 2010 SDSR of no MPA & cutting the Army from 102,000 to 82,000 while boosting reserves to 30,000 , did seem risky to me.
    A compromise would be to cut foreign aid to 0.6% (still very generous), use the money to buy an MPA, & boost the regular Army to 88,000 while cutting expected reserves to a more realistic 24,000.
    Putting on tin hat now.

  238. monkey

    This ISIS/ISIL group seem to have been at it for some time , according to wiki they claim a Sunni majority home land stretching from the Levant (the Mediterranean coastal strip from Israel to Turkey) across too the borders of the Shia regions of Iraq / Iran. They have fought against the Syria Government Forces and Iraqi Government Forces and American troops since 2006 .They have effective control of many towns and cities Mosul being the latest .They seem to have avoided operations in Kurdish controlled areas for now or have tried and been slaughtered without it being reported.

  239. Nick

    John H

    The crux of the report is that apart from starting down a path that they didn’t know would work, the “Army” (not quite sure who that exactly is – the MoD or the Head of the Army, or the Chief of the Defence Staff) assumed the reducing head count would save money (it does it appear that it does for the MoD, but maybe not for HMG as a whole), doesn’t save quite as much as was thought (leading to yet more cuts to deliver the 2020 plan as is – where from ?) and is predicated on equipment spending to deliver the force structure that might not happen.

    Fascinating report, but it needs insider knowledge to properly understand the reasons for the conclusions reached, that the report doesn’t explain (at least for me).

    Looking forward to TD’s comment.


  240. IXION


    Nothing Ironic about it.

    The whole middle east Fuck up the last 60 years is routed in the US: – Iraq and Afghanistan just the latest most egregious examples.

    You ‘break it you pay for it’ And the US spectacularly broke it .

    An awful lot of people ‘in the know’ said it would go very badly wrong, it did.

    What is the next operation called Operation to sort out the mess we left last time?…..

  241. ArmChairCivvy

    Simon257, 2 mln Palestinians… yes, I included them in the finely balanced ethnic mix (Black September, as a war, not the movement following it?).

    Ixion, RE “more ‘Basra bug out’ on steroids. ”
    – by whom?
    – the Shia Iraqi army fought well to take it, but then again it was against other Shia and what was at stake was who gets to take the power in the “new” country.

    Generally, why do you think this new Sunni homeland is forming? Why are the Saudis so engaged in Syria. It will be their buffer zone… and having said that, it will make it more than a few gun touting wild men who drove the Iraqi army away. But we will soon hear more.

  242. John Hartley

    How about “Operation Drop Putin in it”. Talk him into sending a massive Russian force to end the Syrian/Iraqi civil wars & wipe ISIS off the face of the Earth. We are too squeamish to unleash Hell, but the Russians face no such inhibition.

  243. IXION


    We will indeed have to wait and see between those like me who think it’s the start of a messy unpleasant and bloody reshaping of the map that we ain’t gonna like.

    And those who see it as ‘nothing to see here, it’s a little local difficulty and any Iraqi politician running around calling for civilians to arm themselves clearly does not understand the situation’.

  244. Mark


    The military aircraft arm of Airbus Defence and Security will start test-flying an enhanced version of the A330 MRTT tanker transport in the second half of 2016

    The Airbus executive said France had dropped the idea of incorporating a large cargo door on the aircraft due to time and budget constraints. But France has included in the contract the requirement to use the aircraft for communications relay work.

    Caramazana said the French use of the aircraft for duties other than tanking or transport was part of a growing trend. A couple of years ago the RAF looked at the possibility of using at least some of the A330 fleet for surveillance work.

    Caramazana said Airbus was currently conducting feasibility studies on including special mission capabilities such as signals intelligence and electronic intelligence in its role. ■

  245. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @John Hartley – Putin doesn’t need the oil…the USA doesn’t need the oil…guess who does need the oil? :-)


  246. All Politicians are the Same


    China needs the oil. Things could get really messy in that case.

  247. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @apats – Did they not just make the biggest oil deal ever with the said Putin? So that they could tell the EU to knob off a bit more easily?


  248. All Politicians are the Same


    “@apats – Did they not just make the biggest ever oil deal ever with the said Putin? So that they could tell the EU to knob off a bit more easily?”

    Nope, they signed a gas deal which in any case will not see any gas until 2018. China last year became the Worlds biggest net importer of petro chemical products and it imported 54% of its oil from the Gulf region in 2013, by comparison we imported 4% of ours.

  249. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @apats – Of course it was, temporary slip of the brain…leaving aside the UK, how are the rest of the EU fixed for oil at present? My assumption is that we will frack (possibly sooner rather than later) and buy from the Cousins…and there is the Sea Lion Field if that works out…although as I recall we have a high dependency on Gulf Gas, so our troubles start if the Black Flags march south, and I don’t anticipate that for a few years…ample time to secure other supplies.

    It might, as you quite rightly observe, get very messy…


  250. All Politicians are the Same


    WE should be ok, the investment in the NSea has gone up in the last couple of years and we need to get serious about our Western potential as well as tidal. The Pentland Firth could provide 40% of Scotland electricity usage. Whilst the Severn Estuary could provide 5% of Englands but we need to get serious now.
    Figures for the rest of the EU are more difficult to obtain, I know Italy used to get most of its Oil from Libya, France has a lot of Nuclear. Germany prob gets Russian and Norwegian stuff.

  251. monkey

    China has some of the biggest shale oil and gas deposits in the world. Even with the increase risk of earthquakes the doom mongers harp on about or the ground water pollution risk (I have been to China quite a few times and they don’t seem to care much on that front) The Chinese government will push hard to develop domestic supplies.The US have very rapidly dashed for as many wells as possible (Barak turned a blind eye to the environmentalist on this one to ensure the US petrochemical dependence on MENA was ended deflecting their anger by delayng the Keysone pipeline expansion that brings Canadian Oil across the US the Gulf refiners ) 2 million wells and counting so far .The US is already the worlds largest gas producer and is busy building liquefaction plants to start exports (gas is a 1/10th of the price per therm in the US than the UK (or is that rUK?) and also building special refineries which are quick to construct and cheap to build and operate that lightly process the shale oil to get it past the 1971 Act that forbids the export of raw crude. Many pipe lines now flow the other way towards the oil terminals when they used to flow towards the refineries .

  252. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Monkey

    China sits just outside the top 10 in both Gas and Oil reserves which is good but not good enough when you are the worlds biggest user and increasing rapidly. The problem China has with ground water pollution and deforestation is that they are struggling to feed the population from their own natural resources.

  253. Red Trousers

    Observer, re accurate estimations of numbers of people.

    Way back as a really teenage young officer, I was required to sit next to the Colonel of my Regiment at a Mess dinner. He was then in his late 60s, and started his own service as a young Troop Leader in 1943. He fought all the way up Italy, ending the war as a Lt in Austria. Somewhere along the line he’d liberated an Italian monastery which made Hooch (similar to Benedictine, but it was not that) and his Sherman towed a water bowser full of liquor for the last year of the war. Didn’t stop him earning an MC.

    Anyway, on the last day of WW2 in Austria he started taking German prisoners in a small town. He dutifully reported numbers in captivity every ten minutes on the radio, until the market square was full, so they all moved to a field nearby.

    After a couple of hours, he was reduced to making reports along the lines of “I have 5 acres of prisoners”; “I now have ten acres of prisoners”, and so on.

    Much more visual and graphic a report. ;)

  254. Phil

    Nowadays I feel we must use the Double Decker unit of measurement. The media have a most infuriating habit of patiently telling us general public how many double deckers any unit of measurement is, whether volume, weight or size. It exercises me.

  255. Simon257

    @ Repulse

    Have a look at the video link, I posted at 5:13 this afternoon. Impressive to say the least!

    @ IXION

    The Beeb are pushing the Caliphate idea.

  256. Observer

    Phil, exercise is good :)

    How many prisoners is one double decker load? 60?

    RT, Re: Acres of prisoners, I empathize with the problem, was left doing the somewhat the same thing. x area = 10 people, start counting squares.

  257. ArmChairCivvy

    I made yesterday the quick remark of the buffer zone being created, and the agendas of the ISIL/ISIS backers. Here are quotes on similar lines:

    “The reason for ISIL success is not the group’s indirect support from their previous international jihadist backers or governments on and off but their necessity of long-term effectiveness in the eyes of powerful Sunni leaders, who wage a de facto covert jihad against Iranian religious leaders.

    The Iranians have for years backed a once more radicalized version of Hezbollah which might have been the original model of efforts to steer them. Hezbollah became politicized in Lebanon and is used as an effective mercenary Shitte militia of terror…” (while consolidating localised support by creating a skeleton of welfare state with their backers’ money, let me add).

    And a forecast: ” will be more difficult to for them to diffuse and take much longer than even Sunni leaders directly or indirectly realize across the board. In other words, such actors [the backers] are literally playing with fire, as they have done before. But this time, they may not be able to redirect the flames to an external enemy. Their reign may get burned in the process as fundamentalist players internally consume them. Already they are experiencing blowback,; especially states formerly leading the charge in aid to fundamentalist cells in the Syrian Civil War.”

    The quotes are from http://inhomelandsecurity.com/is-isil-really-forming-an-islamic-state/

  258. Observer

    ACC, that guy is partially saying what I’ve been saying, partially talking goobedy gook. The point we agree on is that a terrorist organization has a lot to learn in terms of governing, but the rest is.. off.

    For one, the part where he tries to explain the success of the organization, he’s basically talking in circles. They are effective because they are long term effective. It’s like saying they sky is blue because the sky is blue.

    The second, he tries to portray it as a grassroots movement, but that does not gel. Grassroots movement do not migrate, while the ISIS obviously was a leaker from the mess in Syria.

    The rest, I find it hard to follow his logic.

    Personally, I find some questions interesting. Particularly of the Who, What, Where, When, Why? version.

    Who and Where is fairly obvious. What is a more interesting question. What are they after? Righteous anger? Then why are they in Iraq and not in Syria where they have a serious case of furious against Assad? Territory? They have about as much chance of getting the 1.5 million people in Mosul to support them (all 3-5,000 of them) as a snowball’s chance in hell, especially given that with enough time, the Iraqis will drive them out eventually. When is also an interesting question. Why now? Why not immediately after the US pullout when things are still in flux?

    My suspicions on the issue run to the lines of the opinion that they are desperate. I suspected, even before I did the checking up online, that they were getting their arses handed to them in Syria, and that they are in dire need of equipment, funding and safe havens. I’ve since checked and found that from the beginning of the year till now, ISIS has suffered severe losses in territory to Syrian rebels with only a single stronghold left and that stronghold was taken once before in January before they could recover it. This means that their raid into Iraq is for money and equipment. Practically though, they are nearly gone. Depending on how the Iraqis play it, there is a chance that the ISIS may cease to exist as a field force after this. As a bomb planting terrorist organization, it’ll probably carry on, but if their current force in Mosul is pinned and wiped out, I doubt they’ll be able to field militia again.

  259. monkey

    It seems to me SEAL team 6 have new targets and I don’t mean necessarily members of ISIL/ISIS but their backers.

  260. IXION


    That’s really what I expect. Quite seriously these bloody revolutions in which outsiders take an imperious hand rarely turn out like the outsiders plan.

    We smashed Iraq into 3 parts. Held together by nothing more than a little self interest and wishful thinking.

    The Saudis are about to go for a ride on the Tiger.

    ‘Blow back’ is IMHO VERY likely.

    Nato deployed on Turkish border? Quite possible. We may yet have to put boots on the ground On Iraq border.

    But the kurds will want their own state if they are to play*. That’s like asking Turkey to swallow a bucket of cold sick.

    How will Iran play this? They could ask the Shia of southern Iraq if they want to come and play? Or in a complete reversal of the 1980’s sell themselves to the west as a bulwark against Sunni nut jobs. Ironic would not really cover it.

    The Israelis will not sit still for caliphate on its border. And along with most of the factions in Lebanon will want to take a hand. And in Syria you ain’t seen nothing yet. Expect massacre and counter massacre. Israel air strikes funding of opposition groups etc. etc.

    All in all this has the potential to go more tits up than an explosion in a Los Angeles plastic surgery. And always has had, ever since ‘trust me Tony’ stuck his nose up Bushes arse. It is exactly what happens when you stick your dick in the world’s biggest light socket and waggle it about.

    now just think how we would be if we had not got rid of Sadam. 9 billion better of for starters.

    *V interesting comments attributed to jurist commander last night to the effect that the LWTWEIA could not fight it’s way out of a wet paper bag.

  261. John Hartley

    Putin does not need Iraqi oil, but Syria & Iraq were both customers of Russian exports. Mainly military equipment, but some civil stuff too.
    As for UK energy independence, we should be looking at our coal reserves. Not to burn it directly, but to turn it into oil. The Germans in WW2 did it & that process was refined by the South Africans, but the new way is nanotechnology as developed by the Americans. The only people to licence build a nanotechnology coal to oil plant are the Chinese. After all they have a lot of coal & not much conventional oil.
    If the UK political elite were awake, they would be building a nanotechnology coal to oil plant at one of our mothballed oil refineries. New coal reserves keep being found in the UK but green ideology stops us exploiting them.

  262. Observer

    monkey, refer to my previous post. What is making them so desperate is that their parent organization, Al Qaeda, has disavowed the group early this year, which means that they have lost their pipeline to a lot of backing. The FSA (Free Syrian Army) also turned on them and took their oilfields that they derived a lot of income from too.

    Basically, it’s starting to look like they were forced out of Syria into Iraq, and unfortunately the comparison to cornered animals seem to be appropriate. They don’t have many/any backers left.

  263. monkey

    Didn’t catch your post , I must of been writing whilst you were in edit.
    Its good to see them being beaten back and with so little numbers at present its hard to see them surviving as a real force (they grew so desperate for numbers they organized a mass breakout of their comrades from Abu ghraib prison in July last year , 500 were released using distractions such as 12 car bombs, numerous suicide bombers and mortar and rockets fire) . I still stand by my earlier post (anybody can volunteer , this type of thing is not just a US speciality , there a good few less Iranian nuclear scientists than there were a few years ago and getting rid of Saddam and his boys this way would have been a LOT less disruptive and cheaper too ) , the men who start funding these people need to be stopped by the same methods they instigate and support by proxy.

  264. Observer

    Unfortunately monkey, this is where it gets rather fuzzy. One man’s freedom fighter can be another man’s terrorist. I have very little doubts that people will support the POV that the Free Syrian Army has some cause to be mad at Assad and there are reputable people that back them, but look at it from the Syrian government side. Are they rebels/terrorists? Yes. So where do you draw the line between freedom fighter and terrorist? By popularity? Some people can support really extreme causes.

  265. Chris

    Sobering to go back to review the comments posted when Syria kicked off; a number of comments noted that while we might not like Bashar Assad very much, his heavy-handed rule kept the more radical elements in check, and maintaining the status quo might have been the sensible option as far as holding back terrorism was concerned. Had the clamour for anti-Assad intervention been answered by a US/UK/EU operation to tip the balance in the rebels’ favour and a new all powerful Caliph risen to power ruling much of Arabia, you have to wonder what those that demanded action would now be saying…

  266. monkey

    That is a huge philosophical question. Members of my own family , however distant , have been called to the ’cause’ as young men and committed what by anyone’s standards would be called crimes but were driven by a great sense of injustice and frustration felt they had no choice but to act in that way. Now many years later (after serving their time as a guest of HMG) they for the most part regret their actions and take part in the ongoing healing of their divided nation.
    With regards to people such as Saddam and his two boys, Gadaffi , Bin laden at least they openly put a face to their actions and views unlike those who behind closed doors and through a chain of middle men sponsor mass murder , rape and destruction they equally still deserve the same fate.
    The cost cannot be measured in dollars (“Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress has appropriated more than a trillion dollars for military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere around the world.”Stephen Daggett ,Specialist in Defense Policy and Budgets to Congress)
    but in lives destroyed by the deaths over 5mn in Iraq and Afghanistan alone .Its not just the dead however many more will live with injuries both physical and mental and perpetuate the hatred that so scarred the men who turned to the ’cause’ as a vent for their anger.

  267. Observer

    So, should those that support Free Syria or Free Cambodia be executed then monkey? Too many shades of grey. Not something I would like to pass judgement on. :( Life’s like that.

  268. ArmChairCivvy

    That ” in a complete reversal of the 1980′s sell themselves to the west as a bulwark ” would not be the first such flip between Iran and Iraq.

    If we want a broader view across the region, we can template Iraq and Syria:
    – iron hold on power by a Sunni minority
    – iron hold on power by a Shia (Alawite) minority

    What do you powder kegs transform into with external disturbance/ intervention… they go ‘bang’. Now the two are side by side (otherwise the world could just watch and wait, as it did when Saddam was destroying the nation’s wealth and quite a part of its youth in his decade-long adventure into Iran).

  269. wf

    @Chris: on the other hand, our inactivity could be said to have ensured the likes ISIL growing to dominance. Not sure the “leave them to it” tendency is really the best way to do things

  270. Chris

    It seems to me that expecting to curry favour with political factions by helping them achieve their aims is naive. The most obvious case I can think of at the moment is the destruction of Nazi power and literal liberation of the Jewish untermensch by a lot of bravery and sacrifice on the part of the allies, but which three years later saw Ben Gurion lead a fairly vicious campaign against the British troops trying to keep peace in what was then Palestine. No favours shown there. So whether the tendency is ‘leave them to it’ or ‘tip the balance’, the outcome is unlikely to hold gratitude.

  271. monkey

    Indeed life is many shades of grey but some such as Saddam and his two boys, Gadaffi , Bin laden I mentioned above were a very very dark shade of grey.
    Re the supporters of Free Syria and Cambodian Freedom Fighters , both groups have their standpoint one as an oppressed majority excluded from most nearly everything that is worth having and the other seeing the elected leader of their country as a war criminal who will perpetuate his rule by rigging all future elections. Their positions are different in that their was no chance that the Sunni majority would get a equal standing without open war (previous attempts had been put down with ruthless force) and the other in a ‘democratic’ country were they potentially in a position through the democratic process to change their leadership.
    The backers of ISIL however have unleashed a bunch of ravenous wolves on the world ( remember in the Abu ghraib prision breakout they detonated a dozen car bombs anlong with several suicide bombers killing and maiming hundreds of innocent passers by as distraction !)
    I would put them in the same bracket as those named above.

  272. Observer

    monkey, I don’t like them either and now that they have shown their true colours, I already pointed out that most of their backers have also tossed them to the wolves. I’m just wary of the principle of shooting someone for donating, especially sometimes when the cause seems right, but the people executing the plan is scum.

    wf, I suspect ISIL “dominance” is a sham. They are currently making themselves look very big because they caught the Iraqis with their pants down, but biggest numbers puts them at only 5,000 people. The Iraqi Army has 250,000 men. You’re talking serious force imbalance here, countered by brutality and suicidal tactics.

  273. mickp

    Stay out and leave them to it I think is the least worst of all the pretty bad options. I cannot believe noises coming from the US about limited assistance etc. That has way too many parallels with a certain 1960s fiasco. Don’t they ever learn.
    Harsh thought it is I really feel the only answer is to let all sides slug it out and see how it all levels out. The only thing I can’t ignore is the humanitarian plight of the true innocents. In that regard I am sure the wealthy Gulf states will be the first to help in that regard. They could even employ all their Gucci military hardware and offer to provide stabilisation forces.
    In the meantime protect NATO borders and transport routes

  274. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Chris – I suspect that the Zionists would have argued that they would have been grateful if we had acted against Hitler in 1933 because he was a bad man…or in 1936…or in 1938…or by opening our doors to unlimited Jewish migration with forward transit to Palestine as soon as he came to power. As it was, we waited until we were threatened and dealt with his conduct in Germany only as a side effect of dealing with his conduct outside it, and only then when it affected us…

    They might even have been right. :-)


  275. Chris

    GNB – ref “unlimited Jewish migration … to Palestine” – well that would have had a pacifying effect on the Middle East…

  276. Mike Wheatley

    @ IXION
    “now just think how we would be if we had not got rid of Sadam. 9 billion better of for starters.”

    Lets work it through:
    Blair gets Bush to go the UN route.
    Haans Blix says: “Saddam is not yet fully complying”
    Bush says: “well, war then”
    Blair says: “no, UN vote firsts”
    France says: “we will veto any vote”
    Bush says: “well, war then”
    Alternate world Blair says: “No, not us, due to lack of UN vote”
    Bush goes to war anyway, deposes Saddam without us, is very annoyed at both France and the UK.

    Outcome: Identical, except the UK gets cut out of some US tech sharing?
    The only one I can think of is the F-35, ironically, so what would we have done if we were cut out of the F-35 development? Given how over-priced that is, you might be able to convince me that we would be better off, lol.


    Re: Kurdish state.
    Why fight for a Kurdish homeland in Turkey, if you can not fight and just emigrate to a Kurdish homeland in northern Iraq? Is the Turkish position that “Kurds don’t deserve a homeland anywhere” or is it “we Turks should not give up our land to the Kurds?” I’m guessing the latter, since it is cheaper and more self-serving, and I’m a cynic. In which case, a Kurdistan outside Turkey would seem to undermine the Turkish PKK, and so be good for Turkey? But do they see it like that?

  277. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Chris – Just to clarify, I was identifying the acts that MIGHT have made them grateful…not a policy we should have adopted. My point was that the only way to make single-issue fanatics like the Zionists grateful is to do exactly what they want you to do, even if it is not in your interests…

    I fear I was being a bit obscure. My bad. :-(


  278. Chris

    GNB – I think you have just summed up Foreign Policy – either do exactly what the other state wants, or be treated like you are latent enemies. Puppet or despicable. Greatest Ally or No Friend At All. Its a wonder diplomacy ever works.

    But it does perhaps show that the best form of Foreign Policy is that which directly and materially helps the current standing of the state, rather than nurturing far off benefits for distant states in the hopes they will be nice to us eventually.

  279. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Chris – I would only add “retaining the ability to piss on the other chap’ chips – because if you do not, he will most assuredly piss on yours in due course”…but that argument is warming up quite nicely on another thread…


  280. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Oddly enough, Admiral Lord West has just popped up on R4 to remind us that we got the Bomb to SAVE money on conventional defence…now there’s a thing…


  281. The Other Chris

    Airbus planning Maritime Strike capability for Typhoon:

    “We are currently looking at the Harpoon, Marte, and Brimstone. We expect the home nations [Germany, Italy, Spain, UK] to contract soon.”

    The article goes on to say:

    Of the partner nations, it is the UK that is keenest to expand the Typhoon’s anti-shipping capabilities, and to this end is already looking at integrating the MBDA Dual-Mode Brimstone onto the aircraft by 2018.

    Source: http://www.janes.com/article/39086/airbus-ds-looks-to-furnish-eurofighter-typhoon-with-maritime-strike-capability

  282. Chris

    x – the theory went that as a depth charge anything above the surface was relatively safe. Relatively.

    TOC – Maritime Strike Typhoon? Good job they can fly off the huge new carriers then.

  283. El Sid

    The whole middle east Fuck up the last 60 years is routed in the US
    I think us/France had a certain amount to do with it long before that, drawing borders through “natural” ethnic divisions despite voices in FCO telling them it would be a disaster.

    China last year became the Worlds biggest net importer of petro chemical products and it imported 54% of its oil from the Gulf region in 2013, by comparison we imported 4% of ours.

    Our imports of oil from ME are negligible – but 20% of our gas comes through Hormuz.

    gas is a 1/10th of the price per therm in the US than the UK
    Nonsense – US spot gas is currently about $4.54, it costs about $6 to turn it into LNG, so US gas would cost $10.54 delivered. Current UK price is about $6.70.

    OK, the differentials are unusually close at the moment, but the fact is that it won’t take very much US LNG to make building more such capacity uneconomic. Current estimates are that for all the hype, only about 25% of US LNG plants currently planned will actually happen.

  284. All Politicians are the Same

    @ El Sid

    “Our imports of oil from ME are negligible – but 20% of our gas comes through Hormuz”

    LNG only made up 10.8% in 2013 and as UK sources run down we may have to increase it, far from ideal but manageable, especially if we get off our arses continue N Sea Development and take renewables seriously.

  285. x

    @ Chris

    I know the theory. We were still planning to fly nuclear weapons around under an overgrown Airfix kit.

    And I say that as somebody who is fond of Wasp. Cue “Warship” theme music………

  286. wf

    @x: you wonder why they didn’t get the drill version and have some newspapers publish the picture in 82. Instant surrender :-)

  287. John Hartley

    I know I drone on about using the 10 RAF short body C-130J as ocean patrol aircraft, but I also wonder if we could add the KC-130J underwing refuelling pods, including targeting sensor on one & the 4x Hellfire rack. OK it would be a UK only variant, but everything is off the shelf from either the USCG HC-130J or the USMC KC-130J. Sure it would need a new centre wing box, but that is a worldwide industry, so hardly unknown or risky. A genuine multi role aircraft that could be used for light transport, ocean patrol, helicopter/UAV refuelling & what would be really useful in Iraq, low footprint battlefield overwatch with the ability to put 4 technical assault leaders on the wrong end of a Hellfire missile.

  288. Obsvr


    I sympathise with you views on open top AFVs but being a good donkey walloper you’ve forgotten the world beyond direct fire.

    On 20 Dev 1944 VT fuzes were released for field arty use (our US friends were have a bit of bother with rampaging Huns at the time). They were like the proverbial rocking horse shit until about the 1990s when multi-role fuzes became the norm in western armies. These fuzes are extremely bad news for the occupants of open top AFVs (among others), whether or not they were in the enemy’s direct view. Choose your poison but airburst fragmentation is somewhat unpleasant.

    On another matter, there is a view that ISIS is being significantly overrated. The mainstream resistance in Syria is getting its act together and seems to be kicking a bit of ISIS arse.

  289. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @ Chris – although we might well differ as to the answer, it is a fair question. We could defend the UK itself with a couple of squadrons of fast jets (a third for the FI), a patrol ship navy and a Crown Militia…even if somebody were coming after us, which at the moment I am assured they are not. So assuming that we agree that it might be better to do more than that minimum, what are the triggers that should lead us to use it? The disintegration of Iraq is not likely to be in our interests, especially if the trouble spreads south and starts interfering with our gas supply…and if the ambitions of ISIS are realised, the Black Flags of the Caliph will be sitting bang next door to a NATO ally in good standing and on the Mediterranean Coast not all that far away from various sunny Greek holiday islands…

    Genuinely interested to know what people think…


  290. El Sid

    Just to put Sea Lion into perspective, the current best guess is that it has about 400 million barrels recoverable – less than 10 months of UK consumption.

    the investment in the NSea has gone up in the last couple of years and we need to get serious about our Western potential as well as tidal. The Pentland Firth could provide 40% of Scotland electricity usage. Whilst the Severn Estuary could provide 5% of Englands but we need to get serious now.

    I wouldn’t be quite so sanguine about UK energy. Increasing oil production is not like increasing iPad production by spending $1bn to build another factory. Worldwide the capital efficiency of oil discovery is plummeting, just staying where we are is costing about 3x what it did. Despite the increased investment, most forecasts have us producing around 1/3 of our oil demand domestically for the foreseeable.

    The Pentland Firth will provide exactly 0% of Scotland’s electricity usage at slack tide. Either you reschedule the working day and Coronation St an hour later every day, or you need a similar-sized wave installation half a tide away. Then it’s true, you get a lovely baseload source of electricity. Then the only problem is cost. Current wholesale price is just over £50/MWh, but for the next 5 years we’ll be paying £305/MWh for tidal/wave electricity. By 2020 the companies reckon they can get the cost down to about £130/MWh, but it’s still a business model that doesn’t exist without subsidy for the next 30 years or so. I can still see a place for it, but it’s difficult politically given the political spotlight on electricity prices at the moment.

    Same with tidal barrages – from memory the last estimate for the Severn Barrage was around £110/MWh. Current momentum seems to be going away from the “big one” and more towards smaller tidal lagoons. It looks like 320MW at Swansea Bay is going to happen, as long as they’re guaranteed £168/MWh; the same developer has other lagoons that will need £130/MWh and £92/MWh.

    LNG only made up 10.8% in 2013

    That 10.8% figure was down 30% on the year before; Europe’s LNG imports halved between 2011 and 2013. It was a freak period thanks to Japan closing all their nuclear reactors and suddenly needing to find oil and gas to replace 29% of their electricity generation. The price in Asia shot up and so more LNG went there rather than to the UK. The LNG market’s now sorting itself out after that sudden demand shock equivalent to 10% of the world market, the LNG price has come down and more is now coming to the UK. It’s been up to 30% of UK supply in recent weeks, and somewhere around 20% is a reasonable guesstimate for our “natural” (absent any more shocks) LNG demand over the next few years.

  291. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @El Sid – Noted, and thanks…correct me if I’m wrong, but would we normally expect estimates to rise for some years after production starts, and then become more of a fixed point when the geology (is that the correct term?) is better understood…


  292. monkey

    “We could defend the UK itself with a couple of squadrons of fast jets (a third for the FI), a patrol ship navy and a Crown Militia”
    Basically like Switzerland but we have 20+ mile moat instead of mountains and thus require a few more boats ,4 of which would happen to be SSBN.
    Switzerland recently ran an exercise to test their militia on the scenario that France due to financial pressure imploded and broke up back into its old constituent parts Normandy , Aquitaine , Burgundy etc .Anyhow the bit next to Switzerland decided to invade to get at all the dosh in the Swiss banks ‘stolen’ from them ! The Swiss won , better knives you see and every citizen has an assault rifle at home also helped :-)
    (Not that I am advocating us having assault rifles at home, I know my neighbours it isn’t a good idea)

  293. monkey

    After the Royal Dutch Shell misreporting of oil reserves fiasco in 2004 which saw their shares fall heavily don’t oil companies tend to estimate low on proven reserves of new fields?

  294. All Politicians are the Same

    @El Sid

    As well as the prices we also used less. yes the 10.8 figure was down £0% but let us clarify that the total the year before was still just 14.8%. Not 48% :)
    I agree that 15-20% is reasonable but remember that is 15-20% of one source. So hopefully manageable if we get serious. Have just finished reading an interesting paper on potential Canadian entry into the LNG market.
    What led Dr Thomas Adcock of Oxford University stated that the Firth “is almost certainly the best site for tidal stream power in the world” is that unlike a lot of sites you not only have huge max streams but you hardly ever get slack water.

  295. El Sid

    @x I think monkey was talking to me!

    Without getting into excessive detail – the Shell case was about the balance between proven reserves and probable, which is something a bit different – and the main problem was a lack of independent auditing of inhouse assets in places like Nigeria. Since Sea Lion has been the subject of a farmout, it’s had independent eyes on it, so one might hope the numbers are more robust (inasmuch as they ever can be).

    To some extent – although a lot of the historical gains have come from better production technology like waterflooding and gas injection rather than “better understanding the geology”. Those better production techniques are now incorporated into the initial numbers, and there does become a limit from the physics of the thing. The original North Sea fields were developed on the assumption of 20-25% recovery, now 40-50% is pretty typical – but they’re not going to double that again! And North Sea oil and reservoirs are all quite “nice”, whereas Sea Lion is a little bit awkward, the oil’s a bit sludgy and on the waxy side, and the geometry of the reservoir means it will need “babying” more than some. So they’re assuming 20-40% recovery, that 400mmbbls number is based on 30%.

    And they can overestimate as well as underestimate – in fact Sea Lion has some uncanny parallels with the Chinguetti field found off Mauretania a decade ago. Like SL it was the first field of a new province offshore in the Atlantic, it started producing about 75kbpd but soon dribbled away to almost nothing thanks to some problems with the geology. Original estimate was 140 million barrels, I think it got cut to 20-30 million and I’m not sure they’re even going to get that.

    It’s quite possible that the reserves booked north of the FI (ie including fields other than SL) will creep up from 10 months of UK consumption up to 3-4 years worth (or more accurately, ~10% of UK consumption for 30-40 years) but it’s not life-changing. It was the stuff south of the islands that was always regarded as having the potential for being another North Sea but the results there have been disappointing, there’s a lot more (uneconomic) gas there than one would hope, there’s talk of 200 million barrels of recoverable condensate at Darwin but it’s going to be a challenging project.

  296. El Sid

    The last three years of LNG imports have been 24.8bcm, 13.7bcm, 9.2bcm (11/12/13). The decline in 12/13 was down to Fukushima, and you just can’t view that 9.2bcm as in anyway representative of the underlying balance in the market. For instance, Qatar has just signed a new contract that will see Centrica alone upping their contract imports to 4.1bcm, aside from any purchases on the spot market.

    Demand’s gone down BECAUSE the price has been high… And actually it’s not gone down that much, given that coal power plants have been thrashed before they’re closed under the LCPD. I wonder what will happen to gas demand once those coal plants close down by the end of next year? Perhaps SSE know, that one company is planning ~2.5GW of new CCGTs at Abernedd, Keadby, and Seabank in the near future?

    As I say, I’d be a bit cautious on North American LNG (although some of the Canuck stuff is more plausible than the US) – given the usual lags in these things and where the industry buzz was 1-2 years ago, the geopolitical journals have probably got a little way to go until peak hype before realising that there’s going to be much, much less North American LNG in reality. People got all excited about US gas prices getting close to $2 during a warm winter, thought it was a new paradigm due to shale gas and started writing ludicrous business plans. Many of them have gone quiet now we’re up at $4-5, plus people are realising that even that is not enough for most pure gas shale plays, even in the US where wells are much cheaper than in Europe.

  297. All Politicians are the Same

    @ El Sid

    “you just can’t view that 9.2bcm as in anyway representative of the underlying balance in the market. For instance, Qatar has just signed a new contract that will see Centrica alone upping their contract imports to 4.1bcm, aside from any purchases on the spot market.”

    I accepted that 15-20% that it was manageable. I have no issues with buying from Qatar but remember how this whole conversation got started. Contracts will be pretty irrelevant to the people who some fear may control our future supplies. The first time they blow an LNG tanker up or block a strait then reliability pretty quickly trumps price.

    Diversity of supply is important and we have managed that with Oil, the next logical step is to ensure we manage the same with gas.

    A question on the FI as you seem to be very knowledgeable on oil/gas. what about shale reserves? Having spent some time there it looks really similar to areas with large shale reserves.

  298. Simon

    Has anyone else noticed the “Latest Comments” page only seems to update once a day recently?

  299. Chris.B.

    News reports bashing about that Nouri al-Maliki (Iraqi PM) has bought the biscuit. Possibly bullshit but it’s an odd thing to be reported.

  300. ArmChairCivvy

    Simon, something like that. The gap between what is showing on the home page and on the page you are referring to can be a good many items… so missing some permanently is a good possibility.

  301. monkey

    re US LNG.
    The company most advanced in exporting LNG is Cheniere.
    Cheniere from the Louisiana @ Sabine Pass plant (the only new one actually under construction) have signed Endesa for 2.25 million mtpa (Metric Ton Per Annum ) FOB basis for a period of 20 years @ 115% of the Henry Hub price for the gas taken, plus a fixed liquefaction charge of $3.50/MMBtu (1 million British Thermal Unit)
    They have another 0.75 million mtpa with other buyers for the first ‘train’ also. 6 ‘trains’ on this site are approved and are to be built (assuming there is a demand for their output – order first then the ‘train’ as they call it is constructed ) Each ‘train’ can produce 4.5 million mtpa (a total of 27 million mtpa) .Centrica have also placed orders for 1.75 million mtpa .
    They are in the final stages of approval of expanding a similar plant in Texas @ Corpus Christi with a predicted production capacity of 13.5 million mtpa of LNG which they have orders for 5.3 million mtpa.
    Cameron from the Louisiana @ Hackberry plan to add trains to provide for up to 12 million mtpa but needs to jump through the complex and very expensive (the applicant pays $10millions) environmental hoops and then has to apply to export.
    Gastech from the Oregon @ Jordan Cove power station site plan a 6 mtpa plant but is in the early stages
    Some companies are proposing floating LNG plants to speed this up such as Excelerate for the Lavaca Bay floating LNG plant. It seems the intent is there but the regulatory process is quite slow, approval takes a couple of years and a lot can change in that time.

  302. The Other Chris


    Yes. The Feed page (top link on the Comments page) is up to date if your browser handles it.

  303. El Sid

    I know contracts only work in the absence of force majeure, I was just using them as a forecast of our future energy mix, such that the SLOC to Qatar will need protecting in conditions less than war. Frankly if you’re Iran you’d go after the platforms rather than bothering with attacking tankers in Hormuz, they’re not far from Iranian waters and are much harder to replace.

    The real issue is looking forward 5 years – the LCPD etc means we are looking at a second dash for gas, and that marginal demand will most likely be met from LNG, in particular Qatari LNG. Hence that vulnerability will increase in importance. Even if right now the generators are holding off any kind of capex commitment until after the election, thanks to the idiot Miliband.

    Surface geology can be misleading, what matters is what’s 1-3 miles underground. Wiltshire and Sussex both look similar at the surface, but only the latter is a good bet for shale. Falklands are an interesting bit of geology, the islands themselves are a sliver of South Africa that got trapped on the wrong side of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (hence the logic of that company that was prospecting for gold there a while back). The North Basin (home to Sea Lion etc) caught the eye precisely because of its fabulous source rock, a thick shale with one of the highest known organic contents of any rock. If it was onshore in Texas, then someone would have had a go at it by now. In the Falklands, the economics are rather different – and I suspect that the wax/stickiness are sufficient to cause problems. I suspect someone might have a go on a well drilled for other purposes, but unlikely to drill a well just for the shale.

    The other factor is that FIG are very protective of their environment and don’t want oil development at any cost, and want as much as possible to happen offshore. So they’re unlikely to sanction any kind of shale activity until they see that the mother country is happy with the environmental impacts, and even then they may decide that they don’t want to take the risk.

    That Sabine Pass deal makes the point about the marginal economics of US LNG and people making daft business plans based on $2 US gas. July Henry Hub is currently $4.75/MMBtu, so HH*1.15 + 3.50 = $8.96/MMBtu FOB, add on another $1.30 for transport to Europe, or over $3 to transport to Asia. So that’s $10.26 by the time it reaches the UK. UK gas is currently about $6.90/MMBtu, it’s not much of a business model to be buying $10 gas when the market price is $7.

    OK, so we’re at an unusual time when the UK has had a warm winter and the US a cold one. But those contracts you’ve mentioned have a ~$5.50/MMBtu differential baked into them. As more LNG enters the market, those regional differentials will even out, and so you’ll see a lot of those follow-on units struggling to get contracts. Current industry estimates are that something like 50-70mtpa will actually get built. It’s also worth mentioning that the economics are heavily dependent on low interest rates – each train is budgeted at $2-3bn, Cheniere currently forecast that their debt will peak at around £10bn.

  304. monkey

    @El Sid
    You mentioned English shale gas (and oil) , I reckon there will be a decision by HMG sometime shortly after September 18th , A yes vote then we start exploring , a no vote and we are ‘looking into the environmental and public concerns’ .Personally I think we should push ahead hiring in drillers from the US with the best reputations for running a efficient operation and basically buy suitably located farms (how many of the co-ops farms recently sold where in the right geological location?) and start drilling. Use the French method of tax distribution as money talks (if a industry is based on a particular councils land they receive direct revenue) . Energy dependence from sources half a world away is madness.

  305. ArmChairCivvy

    A very recent report form the Centre of Policy studies unsurprisingly put the domestic gas production at 1.24 trillion cubic feet vs. consumption 0f 2.7 trillion.

    What was more surprising is the critical dependency on coal imports from Russia!

  306. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @ACC – Even worse, much of it ends up at the Drax Power Station, close by the Selby Colliery…closed in 2004 because it was “uneconomic”…along with most of the rest of our 300 year coal reserve. The problem with closing a mine, of course, is that it is extraordinarily difficult to re-open it again if the economics changes…if. for example, trouble here and there might interrupt or cut off energy supplies from elsewhere, or make it much more expensive.

    Couldn’t possibly happen here, of course… :-)


  307. Mark

    I’m hearing f35 fleet grounded due to an inflight incident wonder if it will be about to get to blighty to the airshows

  308. WiseApe

    @Chris – He wouldn’t be satisfied if they made him Pope – still another rung on the ladder, y’see.

    Anyway, about those B-2s arriving in the UK. Who runs the civilian radar network these days – how about a cheeky FOI request to find out how well they showed up on radar? According to Soloman, at least one bird never saw them coming.

  309. IXION


    He does have 1 good point that the various revolutions across the Muslim world may well have affected Iraq and taken the cork out of the sectarian bottle.

    But otherwise this psycho has spent the last 10 years arguing in effect that the hard facts are wrong and that he Tony Blair was right about everything.

    Frankly I am surprised he gets ‘air time’ or column inches about anything these days.

    Frankly the papers should just print a standard short announcement that:-

    ‘Today Tony Blair the totally ineffectual middle east peace envoy,* said some shit about how it was not his fault’

    And just move on….

    *when I heard he had been appointed a peace envoy to the middle east it was a genuine rofl moment and I was in company when I heard it, and there was room on the floor for us all as we all struggled for breath.

  310. Chris

    IXION – ref revolutions – had Saddam been left to fester inside Iraq’s borders and not hunted down and (as the US put it) neutralized, there would not have been a decade of inter-clan insurgencies in Iraq. Astan would have blown up all the same, but without a fractured in-fighting fanatic-filled Iraq, would Syria have kicked off? How much strength have all the Islamist terrorist groups drawn from the murderous successes of their ‘brothers’ in Iraq?

    I am personally unsure if the Popular Uprisings of the Arab Spring had much to do with ordinary people standing up for justice and democracy. Certainly there were opposing factions of militant organizations, but whether one organization represented the will of the people more than another I can’t say. Clearly in Egypt the evidence of a second uprising deposing the government installed by the first uprising and reinstating a government not dissimilar to the one the first uprising destroyed suggests the term ‘popular’ is selective. These were I suspect much more faction power struggles taking advantage of a supportive West to shift power their way. I doubt the ordinary not-particularly-political citizens are jubilant because a different authoritarian unelected despot has control; they will like most people be seeking a quiet life with improving living standards and little more. Sadly for many ordinary folk the New Order will be far more oppressive than the old, and if fanatically Islamist not just oppressive but brutal against those who disagree with them. We should pity the lot of those ordinary folk.

  311. Mark


    Did the photographer say watch the birdie before taking that shot

    The foi wouldnt tell u much all the LO aircraft fly with signature enhancement measures. Only in a very select group of exercises will any US or indeed uk jets exercise there full operational capability.

  312. wf

    @Chris: if we hadn’t deposed Saddam, we would still have forces in Kuwait, probably rather more than we had back in 2002. At that time, sanctions were collapsing, with the Russians and Chinese openly ignoring them and the French considering their options. Stasis was not practicable, and Saddam’s rule saw plenty of inter-clan bloodshed.

    I think the Arab Spring was going to happen eventually, although our intervention in Iraq probably speeded up the process. Just as decolonization in the likes of Egypt, Iraq and Syria first spawned military strongmen, who then turned “socialist” along with their Soviet military aid, GW1 saw the “why do we need Westerners to sort this out?” tendency (spawning Bin Laden), we are now seeing the end of some of those military regimes because of their failures, including their inability to stand up to Western armies. The Islamists are stepping into the breach and will doubtless get a decade or two to fail again.

  313. monkey

    F22’s to engage in combat exercise with the most likely peer opponent aircraft.
    “Six US Air Force (USAF) F-22 Raptor air-superiority fighters have arrived in Malaysia at RMAF Butterworth airbase on 6 June to take part in the bilateral Exercise ‘Cope Taufan 2014’.
    The participation of the F-22 in its first exercise in a Southeast Asian country follows discussions in 2013. The United States is keen to engage with Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKMs, which in the past carried out air combat exercises with US Navy carrier-based fighters whenever a carrier transited through Malaysian waters.
    Both types will engage in air-to-air combat exercises with the RMAF’s Su-30MKMs of No 11 Squadron, Mikoyan MiG-29s of No 17 Squadron, Boeing F/A-18Ds of No 18 Squadron and BAE Systems Hawks of No 6 and 15 squadrons. The latter scenario would involve two Hawks against one USAF fighter.” from Milnet.ca

    Oh Please let the Hawks nail the F22 !

  314. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @wf – My concern being that with China now providing an example of a high-functioning and economically successful society with a ruthlessly authoritarian government which requires unswerving public adherence to a rigid belief system and punishes dissent with unforgiving vigour…that there is now an available model that offers security, prosperity and an assertive foreign policy without indulging western nonsense like democracy and freedom…very handy if one of the candidates for Caliph works out the trick of it.

    Feels very much to me as though the high point of the West came with the fall of the wall, and that Western values and aspirations are now on the retreat and we may well find ourselves on the defensive in due course; as we were until the Siege of Vienna in 1683…


  315. x

    @ as

    You have to realise is that the US are just that far ahead of everybody else. They probably didn’t offer France Polaris before us to spite us. More probably because whoever was dealing with France from their side was just dealing France and didn’t give a shilling about what their friends down the hall were or were not offering us. And if they did know then so what? In IR this is called REALISM. This is why the US can afford to invade and destabilize any state that doesn’t want to trade in US Dollars. The US Dollar may be shaky but the US could afford to switch Bank of Toytown tomorrow and let the world catch up because we couldn’t do anything about. What China and Russia are doing is they are not trying to compete with the US, they are starting to play a different game with the US excluded. The US can take out a small country at a time. The Chinese strategy is to prevent the US with too many targets and hopefully get the rest of the BRICs to come on side. Also consider that the EU is very much a Paris-Berlin access, London doesn’t figure despite what our PM, deputy PM, or the LotLO tell us. The US’s main security problem is Mexico and has been for a long while; but Latino constituency is a growing pool of votes.

    @ All

    This is the Iran Pakistan link I wanted to post,


  316. Mark


    Britain’s defence spending will soon fall below the target set by Nato, according to an analysis commissioned by senior military personnel.
    Figures drawn up by an independent consultancy and seen by the Financial Times show the UK’s military expenditure will hit 1.9 per cent of the size of the country’s economy by 2017, below Nato’s target of 2 per cent.

    While this was more generous than the settlements made with other departments, Treasury officials have indicated that Mr Osborne would continue cutting departments at around the same rate if he returns as chancellor in 2015, meaning more defence cuts would be likely.

  317. Gloomy Northern Boy

    By no means looking for a fight on our rather complex and nuanced relationship with the US, but I’m not sure I would look to Peter Hitchens for an objective analysis of the position…he is inclined to be a little trenchant and unbending in his rather strongly held opinions…and I assume anything in the Daily Nazi to be utter rubbish on principle.

    I’d be interested in what any US contributors out there might think.


  318. Mark

    Countries will put there interests first and conduct there policies accordingly. The us and France do that all the time perhaps we should take a leaf out of there book and stop worrying what the US or anyone else thinks. Were are interests align we will cooperate as we always have.

  319. monkey

    Re US Special Relationship
    Two Questions
    How much gold did we ship to the US to pay for war material in WW2?
    When did we make the final payment to the US to pay off our war debts?

  320. x

    @ GNB

    Um. Just because it is in the Daily Mail doesn’t mean it is untrue. You have worked in local government. How many chief exec’s or council leaders have you known who didn’t have an agenda? Countries are groups of humans therefore they act like humans. Sometimes they are generous to others, but on balance the majority they look after themselves.

    What marks out the Americans for special interest is that their empire will be so short lived. GB ruled the world with comparative little military capability. ** The US have an overwhelming military capability and the world is slipping through their fingers. What is important for all of us is how they manage their relative decline against how fast China rises against the West keeping the Third World at bay. That’s why being in the EU makes no difference at all.

    I like Americans as you know I have a Chuchillian view of the world; English speaking peoples and all that. I would rather them be in charge than the Chinese. But to think of them as our best mates is a bit simplistic.

    ** Their army in the 1930s was tiny. We both had plans to fight each other. They were only in a good position because they were far away and had lots of resources. We put in as much scientific effort into the war as they did probably more. A lot of their good ideas were somebody else’s first. Last man standing. A bit like Medieval warfare really; sit on the sidelines, watch the other teams bash themselves to bits, and then join in at the end on the side you want to win.

  321. as

    Its not just the Daily mail
    BBC radio:-
    The Special Relationship: Uncovered, is on Radio 4 at 8pm, on Monday, June 23.

  322. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @x – No argument on any of that, and I might stretch a point on the “Nazi” in respect of some of it’s writers (including Hitchens)…but he is a polemicist with a whole quiver full of axes of his own to grind; and at one level we do certainly have a very particular relationship with the USA because we shared a political history with them until 1779, the events then were very obviously unfinished business relating to events here in the previous century, and migration to the USA continued apace for many generations afterwards. By way of example about a third of the Alamo defenders were born in Britain…and that was almost forty years after the War; they were by far the largest group after those born in the USA.

    I will say I spent a year discussing this with other Post-Grads at a pretty serious US University whenever we had a few beers on a Friday afternoon without ever drawing a conclusion, but without the idea being dismissed out of hand…although that was 1979/80, so things may have moved on apace in the intervening period. As I say, I’d be interested to know what the Yanks here present think…

  323. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @as – Radio Version of the same article as far as I can see…my question is always “how well do I know this author’s views on other issues, and how often do I normally agree with him?” If the answer is “quite well” and “not often” I reach for the salt…


  324. Obsvr

    According to Jeffery’s semi-official history of MI6, they only stopped operations in the US in 1938.

  325. ArmChairCivvy

    “MI6[, they] only stopped operations in the US in 1938.”
    – do you think there was reciprocity?

  326. Jeremy M H


    I have long since given up trying to explain the US position on the Suez Crisis to either the French or British sides of that debate. The US was not going to gamble even a remote chance of a conflict escalating out of control over the Suez given the international situation at the time. Nuclear weapons, ICBM’s and nuclear crisis management were very new things at that point. No one knew exactly how it would all work and how conservative such powers would eventually become. Fundamentally what happened is that France and the UK had to adjust to a new place in the world. That is not me trying to be arrogant but is simply the reality of what happened.

    As to the existence of the special relationship I think it certainly does exist, though like anything it has its ups and its downs. Personally I don’t think the US would stand for any existential threat to be leveled against the other English speaking democracies. Where things get more hazy is on the periphery to threats like that where the US has to balance global factors against what are primarily local and regional issues. The Falklands is a great example here. I think most US sympathies were with the British and support was provided. But open military assistance in that situation probably does far more to weaken the US position regionally and globally than anything else. I don’t particularly like it but there are practical considerations when dealing with issues like that.

    I will say the original article and headline that started down this road here is for crap. It takes a quote from Admiral Burke way out of context. If you read it in full it is clear that what he was doing was explaining the limits of military options to a diplomat. He was explaining that he couldn’t order the other ships around. He could attack them or not attack them. What I hear is a very clear and concise statement of the limits of the military as a problem solving entity in that particular situation. The rest of it is not really worth rehashing honestly but that part is just a poor attempt to create a headline by saying Admiral Burke wanted to “Blast the British Fleet”.

  327. Chris

    More hideous tales of murderous terrorism performed by thugs proclaiming they are doing God’s work in both Iraq and Kenya today. It seems obvious the lack of universal condemnation by Muslims (people the thugs might consider worthy of being permitted to live) provides tacit approval to the terrorists – what a shame there aren’t more Muslims like this prepared to speak out: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ajmal-masroor/woolwich-murder-not-in-our-name_b_3328329.html

  328. Observer

    Be fair Chris, you guys went through that phase in your history yourselves you know. Give em time.

  329. Chris

    Obs – not convinced you know – the Crusades were I believe a geographic issue – holding the Holy Land for Christendom – rather than outright exterminationalist war on Islam (GNB will be along shortly to correct my interpretation) and the English Civil War was linked to Catholic vs. Protestant but was really the fight between Monarch (Catholic) and Parliament (Protestant). A bit like The Troubles where the Protestant in Northern Ireland aligned with those fighting to keep the Union while the Catholic supported the return to a single Irish republic – the fight was about who ruled Northern Ireland, not a fight where those who judge themselves destined to go to Heaven decide to exterminate those in their opinion are damned to eternal Hellfire.

    This latest abomination is it seems different; widespread extermination would appear to be a goal in itself. Allied to which the modern (Western by the way) technology makes it really easy to both broadcast and travel around the globe to incite others to murder innocents who don’t pray exactly the way they do.

  330. x

    SADF Apartheid Era Documentary – The Last Domino. This is NSFW, I say again NSFW. There are bodies, bits of bodies, and language that isn’t politically correct. Interesting video nevertheless. Further to our collective discussions on FRES a few things to do with vehicles. A very short sequence showing a column of Ratel on a track in a contact abruptly turning left into the bush driving line abreast firing. A sequence that shows why the SADF like 2+4 wheel arrangement. Height of vehicles to clear scrub and to distance the passengers from blast. etc. etc. and so on. Some nice shots of Oyrx/Puma in flight. And some shots of the G6 SPG. Make of it what you will.

  331. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Jeremy M H – Largely share your interpretation of Suez, although I think the outcomes have proved to be unfortunate for all of us in retrospect…a view that might even be shared by some in the US now,,,

    @Chris – Near enough – the Crusades were a counter offensive in the long war between Islam and the West that was started by Muslim Arab Warlords destroying the Christian States that occupied the whole Mediterranean world by 600 AD and imposing their own faith by killing and enslaving all who stood against them – the War in which we were on the defensive in Europe until King John Sobieski the Fat of Poland led the largest cavalry charge in history down the slopes of the Kahlenberg on September 12th 1683…there was almost certainly at least one pukka Brit in Red Trousers in there somewhere. :-)

    Furthermore, they stayed on the offensive in @Observers part of the world until the Sepoys of John Company smartened them up in the Eighteenth Century, and Gordon was after a chap called the Mahdi in Khartoum in 1885…

    In my view, they are peevish because they started the fight, but we finished it…for now…

    On the Civil Wars, Charles I was an Anglican and the starting point was his efforts to roll back powers secured by Parliament in previous centuries over taxation – in particular the need for their approval to levy Ship Money, required to build more lovely warships… (@x would certainly be a Cavalier on those grounds alone). However Anglicanism is a Catholic and Apostolic Faith very far removed from the reformed Protestantism favoured by Cromwell’s “Plain, Russet-Coated Captains” (I always think of @IXION when I quote that for some reason). They were more akin to Congregationalists…and definitely had no time for the idea of Ordained Priests.

    In addition, of course, Charles was rather keen on the idea of the Divine Right of Kings…then being popularised as a fixed doctrine by his Brother in Law, Louis XIII of France…

    So a constitutional argument about Ancient Liberties, overlaid with profound religious differences…and complicated by the fact that Henrietta Marie was Catholic, and later in the Century their son Charles II flirted with Catholicism (possible death-bed conversion) and his Brother James II was openly a Catholic…but for that reason an exponent of religious tolerance, at least up to a point…

    “The Noble Revolt” by John Adamson is very good, and of course the works of Christopher Hill are excellent (albeit Marxist)…in this most important, interesting and contested period of British History…

  332. Challenger


    Not sure why the Telegraph think the declining number of Christians in the armed forces really matters or is anything more than just a representation of the wider national trend towards atheism/secularism.

    My favourite bit of this non article is where it mentions how few Sikhs the Army currently has, saying that ‘it had over 100,000 at the end of the Second World War’!

    May of had something to do with the British Indian Army that it of course utterly fails to mention……

  333. Chris.B.

    @ Chris,

    “More hideous tales of murderous terrorism performed by thugs proclaiming they are doing God’s work in both Iraq and Kenya today. It seems obvious the lack of universal condemnation by Muslims (people the thugs might consider worthy of being permitted to live) provides tacit approval to the terrorists”

    — Do you want every Muslim to knock on your door and deliver a personal message to you? Perhaps you’re expecting an e-mail from each group in each country? How do you know there hasn’t been a universal condemnation? Have you looked? And what real difference would a bunch of words make?

    Did you retweet the #bringbackourgirls? If not does that mean you tacitly approve of the situation? After all, you haven’t come out and publicly supported the campaign, so by your definition that means you think its ok. I haven’t seen you condemn the rape and murder of that Indian girl the other day. Does this mean you tacitly approve of that too?

    What a ridiculous statement, though I have to give you a clap for attempting to justify the Christian history of similar bouts of violence (as pointed out by Observer) to try and separate the two mentally. Whatever helps you sleep at night, “ahh, but ours was different etc”.

    Blimey O’reilly, You’d have thought we’d have moved on from religion as a species by now.

  334. Observer

    @Chris B

    “You’d have thought we’d have moved on from religion as a species by now”

    2 responses:

    1) Sorry, I’m still at that stage where I discover fire. :P
    2) Hey…. :P

    Just because I’m Christian doesn’t mean I can’t have a balanced view of humans in general. Problem with the “all XYZ holds the view of (insert cause of the day)” is that it is very general and sweeping. Like all populations, you get a range of values and opinions, some “enlightened”, some genocidal.

    @Chris without a B

    Not the first time religion got used as a tool to promote an agenda. The weirdest one I know was using Christianity/Catholicism to promote a weight loss program. Right now, the Islamic extremism you are seeing has a huge dose of nationalism mixed into it, a lot of racism, some martyr persecution complex and quite a fair bit of “pissed off at corrupt government”.

    You think Assad or Morsi was Christian or Catholic? They were Muslim, yet they were still the target of Muslim anger.

  335. Chris

    Obs – I am all too aware the majority of those suffering at the hands of the current crop of extremists (Iraq Syria Pakistan Somalia Chad Afghanistan Nigeria or wherever) are Muslims of a slightly different shade. And I agree with your assessment that the extremism is fed by many streams of anger, all hidden behind the ‘doing God’s work’ banner. But its still hideous, and it still professes to be justifiable on religious grounds. To my eyes the (apparent) lack of mass condemnation is not helping; young British Muslims of radical tendency are it seems joining the terrorists with the fervent hope they can bring the same genocidal violence back here when they return – this from Russian news: http://rt.com/news/166128-isis-jihadists-threaten-britain/

    There are voices speaking out – this for example: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/defence/these-syria-fighters-are-not-heroes-says-islamic-expert-1-5700248 – but clearly to many the voice of restraint is not countering the extremist allure.

  336. The Other Chris

    Helicopter News, starting with a possible future vertical lift platform in the form of the S-97 achieving power-on:


    Closer to home and more immediate, DES considering a maintenance-cycle option to bring all Chinooks up to HC6 nominal specification:


    Two aspects that the news story highlights is a desire to standardise going forward and that the Julius project appears successful in developing an architecture for the Chinook that can be built upon.

  337. John Hartley

    After Dunblane the political elite rushed to bring in a mandatory five year jail term for the illegal possession of a handgun. Yet after 7/7 & Lee Rigby, they have not brought in a mandatory five year jail term for British muslims who go off to terrorist camps or fight jihad abroad. Why are we so obsessed by diversity, that we end up helping the islamofascists rather than the moderate muslims? Why are we not pushing material from the liberal secular wing of Islam?
    I think a little bit of mild religion is a good thing if it makes people more honest, polite & caring. Just because we are not at church every Sunday, does not mean we have abandoned protestant enlightened ethical standards.

  338. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @thread – I’d be interested in the facts on this…I feel sure I remember surveys after 9/11 and 7/7 indicating some level of “support” or “understanding” of those events amongst the British Muslim Population…NOT majorities, but ten or twenty percent overall. However my cursory searches have not thrown anything along those lines up, and I don’t recall seeing such information gathering reported on recently…are there accurate sources out there somewhere? If not, why not? Nobody asking the question, or nobody keen to publish the answer?

    Just a thought…


  339. Obsvr

    Freedom of religion or none is a fundamental human right. Islamic scout camps are perfectly acceptable unless you can produce the training syllabus and evidence of its use that proves otherwise.

    The thing to remember about Islam is that it is still medieval, c.1400 in Christian terms, European behaviour at that time left a bit to be desired.

  340. x

    Obsvr said “The thing to remember about Islam is that it is still medieval, c.1400 in Christian terms, European behaviour at that time left a bit to be desired.”


  341. Mark


    That would be dassaults mpa based on there business jet line. If you google falcon 900 mpa you will see it

  342. Kent

    Well, I spent Saturday getting recertified on the use of “pepper spray,” i.e. oleoresin capsicum spray, the ASP-type collapsible baton, and handcuffing techniques. Now, if I have to deal with obstreperous miscreants, I can once again legally season them, tenderize them, and secure them up for the “cooler” so they can marinate for a while. My boss preferred that I have other options rather than just shooting them. It’s hard enough to conceal a sidearm and reloads when on a protective detail without having to tote all this other stuff. I guess the stylish James Bond Saville Row tailoring is out of the question at this point.

  343. x

    Kent said “collapsible baton”

    We can have them at home if a supplier will sell you one, but they are practically a no-no, and a definite no-no carrying one in a public place.

  344. Kent

    @Observer – “The thing to remember about Islam is that it is still medieval, c.1400 in Christian terms, European behaviour at that time left a bit to be desired.”

    I think you’re about 700 years too late in your assessment of mohammedanism. It seems to be stuck in circa 700. And, I would like to point out that European behavior, in general, has vastly improved over time. There have still been some glitches along the way, but, in the main, you don’t see Lutherans beheading Catholics with kitchen knives, Presbyterians machinegunning Methodists, Catholics burning heretics and Jews at the stake, or Baptists banning dancing by others. Nor are women considered chattels to be murdered or burned with acid in the name of “honor.”

  345. Kent

    @X – The little batons are popular with joggers, especially the ladies, to fend off dogs and feral people, as is OC spray. And, in every state, technically, there are mechanisms by which we can carry firearms either openly, concealed, or both. I am a licensed armed security officer and have an Oklahoma Handgun License issued under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act. Since I took armed security training with a revolver, that is what I carry at work…, actually two revolvers, one in a duty holster, the other in a pocket. Off duty, I can carry any handgun concealed or openly as long as it is .45 caliber or less. My Handgun License is accepted in all but 13 states, so I am able to carry under their state laws when I travel. We’re “allowed” to carry sharp knives as well.

  346. x

    @ Kent

    I am very family with CCW, open carry legislation from state and state, reciprocity, etc. etc. :)

    What’s you EDC?

  347. Kent

    @Chris – Unfortunately for my wife, I never looked like that. This is more my style, although I have since found a razor:

    And, no, I didn’t have an Aston. I had one of these…

    Oh, and one of these later when we started having children…

    Nowadays, I drive one of these…

    My wife said I couldn’t post a picture of my pickup truck unless I washed it…, so no picture.

    I’m afraid “cool” has escaped me.

  348. WiseApe

    @Challenger – Yes I laughed at that bit too. But as an atheist of a certain age – I seem to be attending more funerals than weddings lately – I get the point of the article. I remember my Dad’s funeral – lots of mentions of some bloke called Jesus that I never met, Dad never mentioned, and who certainly wasn’t around to help during his years of illness. Contrast that experience with his brother’s secular service – no mention of this Jesus bloke, but quite a bit about his Korean war service (which he never talked about) and the two brave Canadians who dragged him back out of no man’s land when his own unit had left him for dead. I actually got quite angry at the propaganda spouted by the vicar at my Dad’s funeral; I wanted orations about him not some nebulous deity. An uncomfortable experience, perhaps shared by some servicemen?

  349. Observer

    Wise, was that what your father wanted? His funeral, his rules. If it’s your funeral, it’s well and truly in your rights to ban any mention of some guy 2,000 years gone. Hell, leave a will saying that you want an effigy of him burnt at your funeral if you want, you got the right to it, but if your father wanted his funeral that way, what can we say?


  350. WiseApe

    @Observer – Lordy no, my mother was the God-botherer. One moment he would have appreciated though – after the vicar had rambled on at the graveside – in the rain mind you – when it came time to lower the coffin it wouldn’t fit in the hole. The grave digger had to be rustled up off his lunch break to extend it. We all had a chuckle at that.

    Has anyone seen the John Cleese speech at Graham Chapman’s memorial service:

    Who was it that had “In The Mood” played at his funeral? Not appropriate for everyone of course; but then, that’s the point of the article.

  351. Kent

    @X – I standardized on revolvers because the way semiautomatics eject brass scares the hell out of my wife. She calls them “guns that shoot back.” I carried a Model 1911A1 for 16 years and would gladly do so again. As for taking a point away from me for not toting that boat anchor called a GP100, I have this for you…

    My coworkers all carry G(@*&$ and have yet to understand how I outshoot them regularly during qualification on the same course of fire.

  352. Chris

    Kent – in my opinion the Stingray and the coupé (Impala?) are good enough for cool status. (Personally I think the 67 stacked light Pontiac LeMans/GTO were nicer but that’s just preference.) Early Mustangs were good too. It all sort of went wrong for the car industry after 1969…

    Of course over here our cars were much smaller but had charm all of their own – Police got sporty-cars: http://www.thenewtriumph.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/TR4-outside-police-station-low-front-960×380.jpg, supermodels had itsy-bitsy Minis (and drove cars of the same name): http://4x4icon.com/mini_cooper/mini_twiggy.gif, and royalty were allowed to drive a Hillman Imp: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/67329000/jpg/_67329523_bbc55_02499107.jpg (that’s a Chevy Corvair that shrunk lots in the wash). Nowadays things are a bit different: http://i923.photobucket.com/albums/ad71/chris2705b/charlicar.jpg

    Unlike x I have no firearm expertise so can’t comment of the arsenal in Fort Kent.

    Wiseape – do we digress?

  353. Red Trousers

    3D computer model of a ship’s internal layout. Does anyone know where I might get one for some privately funded experimentation. Ideally in .fbx format, but file conversion can be done between a range if formats.

    I have found lots of external models on line (there’s a company called Turbo Squid that does them), but it’s the internal layouts that I want to use, as part of a VR experiment.

    Ideally a British Naval platform, but I’m not too fussy if it is foreign or even something commercial.

  354. WiseApe

    @Chris – I may have gone slightly off the reservation, even for an open thread. I blame the hayfever pills.

  355. Jonathan

    @x and kent

    Gosh the ability of the average American ( that’s an assumption, so don’t shoot me) to wage their own little armed uprising always staggers me, but then I suppose that is the purpose of the second Amendment.

    Freedom to bear arms and protect your individual liberty against all comers vs a safer society……….. Discuss

    Remember your own cultural bias when think on this one (mine being guns are for the army not bob down the road)

  356. Phil

    For an uprising to be effective requires organisation and heavy weapons. Neither one of those are allowed to US citizens. Show me a local well regulated militia armed with crew served and heavy weapons and then we’re talking. Until then the second is only good for personal defence.

  357. Chris

    RT – I know Babcock have the ability to create 3D models of compartments using fancy scanning laser gizmos, but I doubt they would hand models over to uncontracted 3rd parties, not least for the reason that the scanned compartments of the RN would be at least UKR (using now obsolete classification). MOD might be a bit miffed that their ship layout (even just a bit of it) was in the public domain.

  358. wf

    @Jonathan: so, you think the government is so efficient at preventing crime, and so utterly un-corruptible, that it should have a monopoly on armed force?

  359. Red Trousers


    Yes, I am sure you are correct. We do have the ability to process files at up to UKS*, so that isn’t an issue, but the commercial sensitivities are real. Hence me thinking about commercial vessels. It’s some PV I’m thinking off, for a proof of concept trial. We’ve got a Graphics Department who could do it from scratch, but that could take months in between other (paid) jobs and bid support, so my thoughts are that if such files are commercially available for “relatively” little, it makes more sense to buy the time advantage.

    Phil, not wanting at all to go into the pros and cons of US gun laws (as my Georgian cousins would probably shoot me, and my New England cousins probably tut tut at the violence and then pray for me), but….. Is not the National Guard a well-regulated militia? And they have crew served weapons etc.

    I sort of get the Constitution, various amendments etc, but I’ve never got beyond why the logic / conditionality of the sentence ” A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.“. Seems to me that probably gives people the right to bear arms ONLY if they are for Militia purposes. But I also know that it is a complete legal quagmire, and I’m not American so it does not apply to me anyway.

  360. Jonathan

    I said that was my cultural bias, being British that is the overwhelming cultural norm with which I was raised. Being lucky to live in a democracy with very low levels of corrupt, high levels of checks and balances to prevent abuse of power, a low level of violent crime and a history of doing nasty things to people who abuse power would lead me to say that on balance in the UK the use of armed force should rest with appropriate government bodies ( police, armed forces). The balance could and would fall on the other side of the fence in other countries/situations.

    No black and white just what seems right in a particular country at a particular time.

  361. x

    @ Jonathan

    Um. As you have unilaterally decided to attack my politics perhaps you would kindly tell me where you sit on the political spectrum so can I make sweeping and baseless assumptions about you?

    @ Phil

    During the US War of Independence the Continental Army did borrow private legally held cannon.

    You are right to get anywhere an insurrection needs heavy weapons. I think 2A supporters are hoping that if push comes to shove the Clausewitz’s trinity would collapse and units of the army would side with the people. Lots of revolts start with fists and feet, and the big guns come along much later.

  362. Mark


    Try 3dvia its a dassault based dmu product and have models of various things you might get lucky. They have an app and viewers are free.

  363. wf

    @Jonathan: we had plenty of guns in circulation in times past, with lower crime rates. Gun control in the UK is very much something from the last 40 years, so it’s hardly an intrinsic part of the British character :-)

  364. Jonathan

    Sorry, I was not personally attacking, I was just being flippant as it’s a serious subject and I’m interested in the differing cultural bias around the right to bear arms. Especially difference between the UK and US as both nations have significant levels of shared cultural norms apart from in this area. As for where I sit, I did use to sport shot with a .22 pistol, that ended with the fire arms act 97, I’ve also been on a trauma calls for both gun shot and knife wounds so that also colours my view. In general I think the 97 act went too far even for the UK. For interest the fire arms act 97 banded the private ownership of all pistols, even little . 22 sports pistols, but Almost anyone can apply for a shot gun licence for clay shooting, figure that one for joined up thinking.

  365. Jonathan

    @ WF

    I’m only forty, so I’m one of the health and safety, got no idea what freedom is generation (well according to my dad)

  366. as

    In the Ukraine there are ammo dumps all over the place.
    No wonder the Rebel are so well armed.
    Ukraine and NATO estimated that 2.5 million tons of conventional ammunition was left in Ukraine when the Soviet military withdrew, as well as more than 7 million rifles, mortars and machine guns.
    There were over million rifles stored in one of the salt mines in the rebel held area alone.

    The South African army still fly missions in to Mozambique to destroy weapon cashes.
    World wide there in no shortage of Guns to be bought on the open market.

  367. Phil

    Is not the National Guard a well-regulated militia?

    No more than the Army Reserve is the county militia here. It is not a local force, it is a state force and can be federalised. A well regulated militia in my mind is county based (ie close to and of the local people in the old English sense). That is precisely what is not allowed. They have local and state militia’s but I believe they are officially all unarmed.

    I do believe they have the “unorganised militia” aka the people (which is like fat free butter).

    I get the need for firearms for personal defence. But I think the 2A types are having the wool pulled over their eyes by being allowed individual small arms whilst the local Plod deploy SWATs and MRAPs. Just my opinion.

    As for the handgun ban here. It certainly was not rational but the fact is handguns were a niche interest in this country. Thus banning them didn’t really bother that many people. Same reason why fox-hunting got banned IMHO. Also urbanisation seems to lead to a decrease in small arm and shot gun ownership – even in the states (even though you’d think cities were far more dangerous).

  368. Red Trousers

    I’m not sure I see such fine distinctions Phil in your grading of Militia’s between local and state. I am most certainly not an expert however in that field.

    I have read the diaries of a distant ancestor who was part of the 1720s settlement of South Carolina, and his grandson who moved to Georgia. Both were active Militiamen, the latter commanding a local company and actively involved in the War of Independence. To my reading, while they thought locally in terms of command and control, their allegiance was to the State Authorities(or in the former’s case, the Crown Colony). I really do not see a big stretch from that to the National Guard of today, but I am not an expert as I say.

    As for carrying a pistol for personal defence, I slightly raise my eyebrows. I lose track of the number of visits I have made to the USA: probably about 50 I suppose, on both coasts, the south, New England, the mid west, and I think most really major cities. I have never felt personally threatened, certainly not to the extent to feeling I needed to carry a firearm.

    But I in no way would go against any Anerican citizen who feels differently: their experience is constant and deep, mine of their country necessarily lesser and compartmentalised.

  369. Phil

    My personal view is that the 2A was influenced by English practice at the time which was a deliberate and rigorously de-centralised and localised militia force which had the very public raison d’etre of being ready to give the King a good local spanking on the word of Parliament. So I think the difference between State and local National Guard / militia is nuanced but real. National Guard units are not owned by the locality – they are state defence forces. If its the state which is out to get you, then you’re fucked unless the Feds come and help.

    I think pistols are pretty shit personal defence weapons. But most US states have some odd laws where you can pack a pistol or open carry an assault weapon but you couldn’t walk down the street casually dragging an iron mace behind you or have a battle-axe strapped to your back. The laws are nonsensical, but they will be because gun ownership has become embroiled in the wider political issues. Being able to conceal or open carry in public has become an icon or symbol of freedom – a tangible way to stick fingers up at the Feds and at the State.

    What these laws often are not is an instrumental means of self-protection in my view. But I get that packing might make people feed safer.

    By now I imagine I have given Kent a stroke.

  370. Red Trousers

    Phil, I suspect our nuances are probably buried under thousands of volumes of case law. I’m not a lawyer (in fact I hate them), nor American, and my opinion is not only irrelevant but probably wrong, and worthless anyway. I’m happy to leave it as “it seems a bit bloody odd” that the Americans put up with such an insane and tragically high death rate caused by gun homicide or accident – at least in comparison to peer countries – for the sake of appeasing some folk memory of a badly written 200+ year old document that no one is quite sure what it meant. Particularly as – very genuinely – I think that Americans are often the very best people in the world. I’ve served alongside them, worked in mixed HQs, done a Squadron exchange with the 7th Cavalry, worked for two American defence companies, have cousins there, and I genuinely cannot think of any individual American of my acquaintance who is not anything else but generous, friendly, and often far more sophisticated than popular opinion gives them credit for.

  371. x

    RT asked “Is not the National Guard a well-regulated militia?”

    No. The use of the word militia was quite deliberate by the “Founding Fathers”. It was GB’s standing army that was seen as instrument of oppression by (some of) the people. What you have to remember it wasn’t the army of a foreign power but “their” own army. (Hence the 3A concerning forced billeting coming straight after the 2A.) Indeed during one search one colonist turn around to a Redcoat officer to protest, “That an Englishman’s home is his castle……..” (Hence the 4A on unlawful searches following 3A). They saw standing armies as an evil. Note they say nothing about navies or corps of marines. :)

    The ANG belongs to a state but can be taken under federal command. Some states have a tier below that called state guards or state defense forces. They are very small voluntary and some only perform ceremonial duties.

    Conceal carry laws vary from state. Most require training. Some states it is quite straightforward like Utah or Arizona. And some states like Illinois are weird, but then again Illinois when it comes to local government is bizarre anyway. Open carry varies from state to state and is too complicated to break down here.

    I tend to read the 2A in two parts. The first part acknowledges the need for a government (hence well regulated) sponsored force of (part time) soldiers. And the second part that just because the militia exists it doesn’t mean that the people shouldn’t be allowed arms of their own. Remember they had just fought a war against a standing army initially with their own arms.

  372. x

    RT said ” I’m happy to leave it as “it seems a bit bloody odd” that the Americans put up with such an insane and tragically high death rate caused by gun homicide or accident – at least in comparison to peer countries – for the sake of appeasing some folk memory of a badly written 200+ year old document that no one is quite sure what it meant. ”

    Most handgun deaths in the US are suicides. A good proportion of the rest are criminals shooting other criminals; oddly with firearms that are illegally held. Are you equally concerned with deaths in the US from DUI, cars in general, drugs, neglect, knifes, hands and first, etc. ? The US Constitution was drawn up by men far more scholarly than today’s politicians; it is pretty clear to most what it means.

    I believe that most of humanity quite likes being lead and so don’t think the libertarian view of a world with governments would work. I think a people needs a body to represent them and that the idea that market can do such is wrong. But wholly accept and blindly not question the parameters of government is stupidity beyond a doubt. If you believe the majority of mankind is good then you should have no trouble accepting the majority holding dangerous things for which they take responsibility. If you believe the majority of mankind is bad then the you should have no trouble accepting the minority holding dangerous things for which they take responsibility. To blindly abrogate responsibility to the state to decide what is good or bad for you is child like.

    A couple of things to consider. As a professional soldier all you were in Northern Ireland was a member of the gang with the most weapons. The other side were defending their own rights. If the situation was reversed would you take up arms? Or would you blindly accept that lines on a map drawn up by those you had never met was a good enough decision? Have you paid this term’s school fees yet? If you are purely happy with the state and what the state does then why don’t your kids go to state schools? How many MPs’ kids go to state school? With who is your health plan? And finally did you vote in the last election, and the election before that, and the one before that? It might sound like hokum but a disarm populace is an impotent populace. It sounds far fetched. It is hard to think of guerilla groups massing in the herbaceous borders, hedge rows, and municipal parks of our green and pleasant land but who knows? Well we do know because the UK population is unarmed. And voter apathy is rising. But for the great and good to opt out of the state and then demand that the state has a monopoly of violence smacks of totalitarianism.

    One final thought the FBI, the US government’s own federal police bureau, put the numbers of situations where a legally held firearm saved victims lives far beyond the number of gun deaths per year. The US southern border is on the verge of becoming a war zone. Are you going to tell the farmers of Arizona that holding a rifle is a stupid idea? Firearms are equalizers. The weak deserve protecting it is the human thing to do. The greater good isn’t severed when the weak are defenceless. Religion may be a questionable life philosophy for some here but preservation of life can’t be questioned.

  373. Kent

    No worries about me stroking out over a discussion of the 2nd Amendment, militias, and crew-served weapons.

    “A well regulated…” meaning well-equipped and well-trained (compare to the “regulation” of double rifle barrels) “…militia…” the citizens or those people who have made it clear that they intend to become citizens of the United States “…being necessary to the security of a free state,…” are needed to defend the state from insurrections, invasions, and the excesses of government, “…the right of the people…” not a privilege, allowed activity, or permission “…to keep and bear arms…” to own and carry individual weapons that are useful for military purposes or self-defense “…shall not be infringed.” meaning that the Federal Government, and since the Heller and McDonald decisions, state and local governments cannot prevent the ownership and carrying of such arms. Of course, some cities, states, and the Federal government have made a hash of the Second Amendment and the laws concerning firearms in particular.

    I keep hearing about the “astronomical murder numbers and murder rates” in the United States, especially from people in countries where the ownership and carrying of arms is greatly restricted or outlawed. This seems to be the sum total of their understanding when they talk about the “violent crime” in the US. What is ignored or unknown is that the firearms-related murder rate in the United States has dropped over 40% since the peak in 1983 to levels not seen since the 1960’s. At the same time, the number of firearms in circulation has increased from approximately 150 million to well over 300 million with most of the increase being rifles, shotguns, and handguns of the semiautomatic variety. During the same period, laws changed in many states making it easier for law-abiding people to own and carry personal firearms openly or concealed.

    I’ll address some of this in a later post, but there is a perception that “the people” can’t own heavy weapons. Full-auto weapons, cannon, mortars, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled (or “sawed off”) shotguns, can be owned by private citizens who abide by the terms of the National Firearms Act of 1934. With a background check, approval by local authorities, and the payment of a federal transfer tax, a regular person can own machine guns, submachine guns, “French 75’s”, BARs, M60 GPMGs, 4.2 inch Mortars, 30mm RARDEN autocannon, etc. We can even own tanks and APCs. One of the real treats in this country is something called the “Knob Creek Machinegun Shoot” in Kentucky, where you can go shoot weapons from a STEN to a 7.62mm Minigun to a Browning M2HB .50 Cal.

    I have run out of time for right now, but if you do a little research you’ll learn that the UK’s restrictive laws started slowly and had nothing to do with murder rates. They were enacted because the government was afraid of “…the people.”

  374. Red Trousers

    X, a little too much in that post for me to unpack in one go, not without being like that wall of text American gentleman who (thankfully) seems to have departed TD. Can’t recall his name. I might have to do this bite size.

    One point though. When I was in Ireland, it was the law behind my back, and I made bloody sure that neither I nor my soldiers broke it, even if it was to our disadvantage. That’s not just sort of, but mostly the point. The other side had no “rights” as you claim, at least no right to break the law. I’m actually quite pee’d off that you casually award us equivalence.

  375. Red Teousers


    A simple question. Do you think that the USA benefits from mass public gun ownership? Especially as since 1776 there have not actually been that many incidents of threats to your country by armed forces? A bit of burning down of the White House, some local difficulties around slavery and state rights, some unpleasantness with the Mexicans at various times. But not actually full on Army rampaging against citizens at the behest of an evil Government. Not unless you count George Custer and others during the Indian Wars, but I’m unsure if Indians counted as citizens then, so might have had the right to arm themselves.

    I do sometimes wonder if it might not be simpler for Congress to pass a law stating that the 2A applies only to citizens who are actually members of state-sanctioned Militia, and then for States to have extremely selective criteria for membership. Like limited to 3 people who are all over 120 years old and who served 10 consecutive terms as a Senator. That probably reduces the Militia down to Strom Thurmond only, if he is still alive.

  376. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @ Kent…some limited evidence that UK firearms legislation was tightened up in the 1920’s and 1930’s because some members of the political class feared a Bolshevik revolution, but the effect was strictly limited especially for the respectable classes who would for the most part still have been able to secure a license for the Mark VI Webley they had purchased privately for use in the trenches…the really stringent restrictions were introduced after events in Hungerford in 1987 and Dunblane a decade later, because the yellow press were shrieking at the tops of their voices that “something must be done” and the politicians were terrified that if they didn’t do it they would be caricatured as heartless monsters and it would cost them votes…they are also quite frightened of our radio and TV news-anchors who treat them with scathing contempt at all times, and consider it a triumph of the first order if a single interview brings a worthy forty-year career down in ignominy and ruin, preferably ending in bankruptcy, alcoholism and premature death…which is no bad thing in many ways, but leaves them all inclined to any idiotic but populist act that enjoys universal press support.

    So fear, yes, but very much more of bad headlines and a savaging by broadcast journalists than an armed insurrection…and you need to bear in mind that the British Press are inclined to see even the New York Times as foaming right-wingers, and probably consider Fox News editorialists to be clinically insane…no press voice here would ever be raised in defence of the right to keep your Father’s service revolver safely locked up in the desk you inherited from him…


  377. Jonathan

    I think one of the interesting points is that there is very little difference between civil unrest in the US and UK, both countries would seem to follow the same pattern of direct action, rioting, strike action. Barring some aberrations ( Waco) both cultures seem to manage social stresses and discontent in the same way. So the availability of guns would not seem to be a factor here. When you look at civil unrest tipping over into extreme violence, uprising and civil war, the characteristic most commonly found seems to be a lack of the rule of law, as seen in Western democracies.

  378. wf

    @RT: given that the parts of the US that have de facto handgun bans (Chicago and DC) have very high murder rates, I suspect most American’s might not agree that the absence of legally held guns is a guarantee of safety. The distressing tendency of nutjobs to use guns in public places emblazoned with gun free zone stickers is another pointer. Either way, since gun homicides are dropping despite greatly relaxed gun laws over the last couple of decades, I don’t see any change in the current laws except further loosening. For example, people *other than local politicians* might get concealed carry permits in Chicago….

    We might even see military personnel on military bases allowed to carry guns!

  379. x

    @ wf

    Illinois now has CCW legislation. The “there will be gunfights everywhere” argument has been shown yo be false time and time again; mostly made by Democrats showing contempt for their fellow citizens again. The argument that states with few guns laws don’t have urban areas like the LA Basin, Chicago, or NY has been show to be fatuous too. Vermont isn’t LA, but Vermont isn’t any of the large metropolitan areas within Texas or any of southern states either. Statistically speaking the number of legally held firearms that are used to commit crimes makes them a rounding error, too low of variance to make a viable analysis. If the guns were removed there would still be violence. It would be just with knifes and clubs and those who are young, strong, and quick would have the advantage over others.

  380. x

    @ RT

    And there is the nub of the issue you had your law at your back. So do you see the US as an illegitimate state then? Whose law did they break? And whose law do they operate under now? From where does legitimacy come? Who has greater agency within the UK the people or HMG? And why if nobody is voting for them how do HMG maintain that agency? Have you heard of Weber? Self-determination and nationhood rarely come about through the ballot box. Either a great power exercises influence or a diminishing power relinquishes control.

    The police cannot be everywhere it is impossible and to is hard to pin down in statute the extent of their duty to the public. Now it could be argued that “reported” violent crime is down, but is that all violent crime? Probably not. If you in your own home are at risk the police arriving at an indeterminate time in the future may not be much comfort. ( Nor the likelihood of being subjected to rigorous questioning at best or prosecuted at worst.) Do you not defer to the big guy at the bar who pushes to the front? Or do you wave acts of Parliament at him and take your place back? We are a safe society. The majority of us are reasonable. But that has little to do with the state. And when the reasonable come into contact with the unreasonable it is more often the latter who suffer and the state or its agents are not to be found. One of the trite lines trotted out when there has been a shooting is “if it only saved one life”, what is over looked is that FBI figures show that incidents were legally held firearms were used to protect, often without a shot being fired, far outweigh gun deaths. I do find it dubious that a street criminal in an inner US city weighs the probability that his next victim may be a CCW permit holder, but I am not sure I should be telling others who can carry a weapon, who are moral upstanding members of community that they should not, if they satisfy all the legal criteria, carry a weapon if they feel a need just in case.

  381. Chris

    TOC – worth pointing out the BBC have the video clips labelled wrong – the one near the top shows dunker exercises with the current rebreather, the one near the bottom shows the new air-tank system.

  382. Obsvr

    When the US constitution was being written it was fairly clear what the militia was, it existed in England at that time, basically the local people in an organised form typically led by the local gentry. As I understand it, it was essentially rural and a natural progression from all free men in the villages required to be competent and practised with the longbow (although by the 17th C some were pikemen). What it was not was any Tom, Dick or Harry running around armed as he fancied.

    In a civilised country no one needs to armed. I live in a country were guns used to be far too common until some 15 years ago when we got a PM with cojones and a preparedness to take on the local rednecks and assorted a’holes. A glorious event.

  383. ArmChairCivvy

    ” it was fairly clear what the militia was, it existed in England at that time”… and later

    I enjoy the peaceful countryside in an area that used to be terrorised by the Hawkhurst gang (an inland off-shoot of the smuggling trade, which did not trespass on ordinary people’s lives). They took on Goudhurst, which had an organised militia, were decimated… and nowadays even the dogs go smiling in the street.

  384. A Different Gareth

    To me the Second Amendment seems simpler than the arguments that have raged for ages make it. The last comma introduces a pause for effect, like Jeremy Clarkson does at the end, of every sentence.

  385. Not a Boffin


    On your compartmentation request, which I guess is part of the DCFF VR training idea you were floating last week.

    You need to be a bit more specific about what it is you’re actually after. To the best of my knowledge, most RN compartmentation drawings (and most commercial ship equivalents) primarily use 2D drawing info still. You can get 3D product models, but the issue with them is that they take a high degree of effort for not much added value in the design and build. CADDS5 and more recently FORAN were the tools BAES were using for LPD and T45/QE, but suspect you wouldn’t be able to get those files easily.

    For DCFF you’re presumably going to need the compartment layout (dimensions, orientation, internal equipment, access points), but also system definition (lagging, pipe / cable runs, valves etc etc). It’s rare for the 3D product models to include all this stuff for the reasons outlined above (despite all the stuff you see on TV) and they also end up being truly gargantuan files.

    TBH I think you’ll need to get your graphics lads to create a demo version from scratch. Believe it or not, you could probably get one of the Navy News cutaway warship views, build a compartment boundary from it and then get them to throw in some exemplar systems. Either that or do a trawl of some of the game scenarios out there – someone’s bound to have a ship populated by zombies or suchlike out there which you might be able to lift the graphics file from.

  386. x

    @ Obsvr

    You can say your are Australian we won’t laugh and point , much. I suppose your police handed in all their handguns too did they? And there is no gun crime at all in Australia? And all the gun crime there was before was performed with legally held firearms; it was like the days of Ned Kelly was it? No? And there is no other violent crime?


    And lets not forget that ban on (certain) firearms came in during a period of upheaval within Australian policing. We have odd the bent copper here, but some of the things that went on during the 1990s and earlier in OZ could have come straight out of a US TV drama. So a populist move by a PM to disarm the people and leave the state armed when corruption was rife in the police is the sign of a civilised state? Sometimes I wonder if any of you read what you post.

    I see trends here but won’t say much as it isn’t the forum for such discussions.

  387. Observer

    x, speak for yourself.

    Obsvr, hahahaha!! *Point*. :P

    Personally, I think that each country has their own circumstances, a one size fits all solution which might work in one country might be suicidal in another. And vice versa.

  388. Phil

    And when the reasonable come into contact with the unreasonable it is more often the latter who suffer and the state or its agents are not to be found.

    But would we simply be transferring the risk? There is a dynamic relationship here. If we allow people to own handguns for self-defence on a wide basis on the US CCW model we expose ourselves to armed attack on a far wider scale than we do now.

    So you have the in-virtuous circle of: “So yes we got guns, but so have all the other bastards which is why we need them”. Allowing individuals to own small-arms on the US model might well make the individual safe but it makes the rest of us less so because bad bastards can get their guns more easily. There is a reciprocal risk effect here – you may be better protected but at my cost. Now there’s a substantive argument to be had there.

    Also, we tend to forget that this country is still very armed – but it concentrated amongst the rural. And we’re seeing the same in the US. More urbanised and dense, the less interested people are in owning fire-arms and shotguns. Why would be an interesting thesis I am sure.

    We also have a complex network of checks and balances that works broadly well. Many Americans (and a lot of Brits) don’t seem to quite understand it because it’s not immediately obvious and are more nuanced than the US system where the balances are concentrated at the top, but once you start thinking about the obstacles you’d have to overcome and who you’d have to replace or get in your pocket to become a tyranny it becomes clearer. Also it is fun to point out that the only place in the country where you can own a pistol in self defence is Northern Ireland – the place where government authority has been most challenged.

    Also, fire-arms have never been a political hot potato for the masses.

  389. El Sid

    The Google project to use balloons to distribute an internet signal is fascinating – Per Lindstrand reckoned that 100 day longevity would be impossible, but they’ve managed it with the help of a line dance in fluffy socks :


    Each balloon can provide 22 MB/sec to a ground antenna and 5 MB/sec to a handset over a 40km diameter using standard LTE, they steer by moving up and down in the stratosphere depending on forecasts of wind direction.

    PS Happy Waterloo Day all – allowing for the time difference, La Haye Sainte has fallen and the Imperial Guard are just about to charge Wellington’s centre….

  390. Chris.B.

    The whole “handguns have been used to prevent crime” angle should be treated with a very healthy dollop of scepticism. The only large scale study actually done was by some bloke (Kleck? Klock? Something beginning with a K) and came up with a number of 2,500,000 incidents per year. He derived that number from a random telephone survey of about a 1,000 which he then extrapolated out across the entire country.

    Now just because you take handguns off the street doesn’t prevent murder, and it doesn’t even prevent gun crime. But you look at rates here compared to the US and it’s not hard to realise that reducing the availability of guns massively restricts the ability of criminals to acquire them, with a subsequent drop in casualty rates.

    Since Dunblane we’ve moved on from School shootings for example. In the US there were 32 school related shootings in 2013. In 2014 there’s been 31 just to this date. At some point someone has to sit down and tell the NRA to stop being pricks about the issue.

  391. Kent

    @Obsvr – “In a civilised country no one needs to armed.”

    Fine. Disarm the government and the criminals (oftimes difficult to tell the difference), and we’ll talk. Oops! Nevermind! Seems we have a long, essentially unguarded border with a country that refuses to recognize that we have the right to control who enters our country, and our own administration that refuses to perform the simplest and most basic duty of any government – to secure our borders. In some states the prison population and those people wanted for crimes are mostly illegal aliens. (I refuse to call them “undocumented immigrants.”) There are isolated ranches along our southern border where those transporting drugs and illegal aliens have attacked ranch owners and workers, stolen cattle, and robbed ranch houses. These are ranches that have been in families for over 100 years, and now they are getting so dangerous that the owners and their families must go armed at all times.

    BTW, who determines “need?” You? I don’t think so.

  392. Phil

    Seems we have a long, essentially unguarded border with a country that refuses to recognize that we have the right to control who enters our country, and our own administration that refuses to perform the simplest and most basic duty of any government – to secure our borders.

    You need to stand up to these Canadians.

  393. Observer

    Kent, think your version of “civilized” is a bit different from Obsvr’s. :P

    I see it all as both a cultural, control and precedent thing.

    If culturally you are more.. placid, shall we say, then there is probably less people out to gun someone else down. However, if you live in an area where anti-social behaviour is the norm, I can see where some firepower might keep you safe.

    Control, well…, the Prohibition was a nice idea. Nuff said.

    Precedent? If you opened Pandora’s box and everyone ends up with guns, it’s going to be hard to stuff the genie back into the bottle since you can be sure the criminals will not be returning theirs! So once you are down this road, you’re stuck with in unless you got so much control that you can be sure to confiscate 99.99% of every gun owned in your country. Good luck on that.

  394. Kent

    @Chris.B. – Your “school shootings” numbers, apparently provided by the woefully misnamed “Everytown for Gun Safety,” an astroturf “umbrella” group funded entirely by “Nanny” Michael Bloomberg who has a couple of dozen armed NYPD officers as his personal security detachment, have already been debunked by CNN(!), normally a reliable water carrier for the anti-gun nuts.


  395. Kent

    @Phil – Too right! :D They’ve imported their odd brand of violence all the way south to Dallas! It’s so widespread that I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out!

  396. Kent

    @Observer – “If culturally you are more.. placid, shall we say, then there is probably less people out to gun someone else down.”

    The problem with being “…more.. placid,…” is that those people who aren’t “…more.. placid…” will run roughshod over the “…civilized…” This leads to attacks like the one on Drummer Lee Rigby who was murdered in the streets of London by less “…civilized..” folks with no one willing to come to his aid.

  397. Kent

    @Phil – Almost forgot this about those pesky Canadians – They seem to come down here when they’re very ill and need treatment to save their lives. Something about waiting times to actually see a doctor, to be referred to another doctor, to be scheduled for surgery/treatment, and to actually have surgery/trea-. Sorry, you’re dead. Sort of like what’s happening to our veterans who are dependent upon the VA for medical services. There is good news, though! With the full implementation of Obamacare, everyone will be getting the kind of treatment our veterans are. This will reduce the number of Canadians coming here! Why die here when they can die at home?

  398. Chris.B.

    @ Kent,

    I don’t know who “Everytown for Gun Safety” are, I derived the figures from elsewhere, but that’s neither here nor there. Two things that are important.

    1) – The crux of your argument is basically this; “pffft, lies. There’s only really been 15 massacres in the last 18 months”. Or nearly one every month. The fact that you deem that to be a win says a lot about the cultural differences between our two nations.

    2) – Nothing has really been “debunked” at all. There is a list of 63 incidents since the start of 2013 that involve the use of guns on school or University premises, resulting in injuries or fatalities. Granted, not all of them are massacres, but you’re still talking about almost one shooting incident every week (this year alone it’s been closer to one every three days) on school premises. Most of the firearms used in these incidents are legally owned weapons, often taken from parents without their knowledge.

  399. Kent

    @Chris.B. – Using the term “massacre” for school shootings, with the exception of events like Dunblane or Sandy Hook in Newtown, trivializes the term. I suppose that’s a “cultural” thing, too, as when people know and care more about the Kardashians and the latest television shows than they do about current events of import.

  400. Kent

    @The Other Chris – After the fact, old boy. After. The. Fact. I can’t discount the lady’s bravery, though. It is a shame that no one else was able to intercede before Drummer Rigby was nearly beheaded though. I can’t understand a “culture” that considers the active defense of one’s self or others to be “taking the law into one’s own hands.” One should probably read more John Locke.

  401. wf

    @Kent: the attack took place less than 2 miles from where I live. Sadly, no one could have done anything: they ran him down, then hopped out and set about him with knives. You would have to be less than 25 metres away to have made a difference.

    Point taken about active defense. If you rubbish it, you’ll find yourself unable to defend yourself at all: that was the case in home defense cases, but has been rolled back somewhat. We are not a government with a people, it’s the other way around.

  402. IXION

    I have recently come to a number of conclusions about how much shit I am prepared to listen to.

    High on the list of winners of the Tony Blair award for simply being dangerously bonkers and ignoring all factual reality; are tinfoil hat wearing spam gun nuts who frankly make up or desperately ‘spin’ statistics to justify buying their right to automatic weapons with the live’s of their children. Or who don’t wonder where the Mexican cartels who are destabilising the Mexican govt are getting their guns from. Or just exactly when has some fearless freedom fighter against govt oppression actually used a gun to fend off the evil feds?

  403. Chris.B.

    @ Kent,

    That’s your defence? “Well, they’re not reeaally massacres now are they”,

  404. The Other Chris

    Compare and contrast.

    Dreadful event. Perpetrators contained, apprehended prosecuted and sentenced. Cause vanished, casualties limited to one.

    But again, Straw Man argument.

    As a citizen of a country that has a serious and growing problem with school invasions resulting in the death of your children, as a proponent of gun ownership, as a gun owner, as a security professional, what are you proposing is required to prevent further deaths?

    Noah Pozner was 6 years old.

  405. ArmChairCivvy

    ” when has some fearless freedom fighter against govt oppression actually used a gun to fend off the evil feds?”
    – the wacos in Waco?

  406. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Time for Abuse Licensing Measures Boss…although of course if we law-abiding threadsters hand in our vocabulary of rude remarks, we will be at risk from people purchasing irony and sarcasm on the black market… :-)


  407. wf

    @The Other Chris: but the children should have been safe. After all, their school was a gun free zone, just like the theatre in Colorado, the Virginia Tech university, etc. Gun homicides have been declining in the US for the last decade too, despite a large increase in gun ownership.

    @Chris.B: he was making the point that the “gun shootings” included suicides, accidental discharges etc.

  408. The Other Chris

    Being a “critical friend”, almost an Interventionist.

    The problem are events such as Sandy Hook.

    The proposed solutions and counter arguments are heading off into rights and freedoms debates, without solving the problem.

    Meanwhile children are being killed with alarmingly increasing regularity in a 1st World Country, regardless of overall declining stats (contested) at the one place where they should be building a future for themselves.

    As one of the cousins from across the pond who care about the continuation of the US (with a genuine affection for America), focus on stopping the actual problem you have (increasing number of children being murdered in schools), find a solution to that problem (you have a problem) and don’t allow yourselves to be distracted.

    Its too important.

  409. Chris.B.

    @ wf,

    You mean like the 12-year old boy who shot several people then committed suicide? Or the guy that went on a rampage, killed a whole bunch of people, then committed suicide? Well I guess that makes all the difference then.

  410. Kent

    @IXION –

    1. We’ll miss you. Really.

    2. BTW, the Mexican Cartels are getting most of their guns from the Mexican Government and China.

    3. It wasn’t the dreaded “feds,” but you should research “The Battle of Athens, Tennessee.” (Hint – It wasn’t a Civil War battle.)

    @The Other Chris – Schools should not be “Gun Free Zones.” Schools should have armed security until the nutcases figure out that it’s not a good idea to shoot up schools. The armed security should be teachers or other staff who are trained in the use of defensive firearms or trained armed security professionals or volunteers. All children should be as well-protected as President Obama’s children’s classmates.

    Now, in the interests of peace, harmony, and good will, I shall no longer respond to questions, insinuations, statements disguised as questions, or snark related to the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to the private ownership of arms in the United States of America versus anywhere else, or to who I think is more “civilized.”

    Have a nice evening, all.

  411. The Other Chris

    Appreciated, thank you.

    Are there any plans to implement that level of armed security in schools and is there enough support to pass the proposals? Would it likely be a State level implementation or Federal?

    Genuine questions.

    The solution, whatever it is, doesn’t have to involve giving up anything. It just needs to work!

  412. as

    RAF Typhoon fighters were scrambled to intercept “multiple Russian aircraft” as part of the Nato mission to police the airspace over the Baltics, the Ministry of Defence has said.
    The aircraft were subsequently identified as a Russian Tupolev Tu22 Backfire bomber, four Sukhoi Su27 Flanker fighters, one Beriev A50 Mainstay early-warning aircraft and an Antonov An26 Curl transport aircraft.

    That is a lot in one go even for a training mission.

  413. Observer

    Kent, that is what happens when you go skinny dipping in the shark tank. :P

    Guess it all boils down to how strongly you trust your government to be able to control crap from happening.

    Rules are pretty draconian over here, but the results are interesting. One gun related crime in 2000, one in 2006. That’s about it. I’m still waiting for the next one if it happens on the average of once every 6 years. Irony is that guns here are more often used for suicides than crime, and by people authorised to carry them. Good news is that they don’t take others along with them. (Technically though, suicide is a crime, but applying the death penalty for a gun related suicide is pretty silly and would be more a matter of style than substance. i.e hanging the dead body.)

    Not advocating it as a cureall, that would be stupid, it’s just a combination of the ability to control, the lack of need for firearms in an urbanized country and the public desire for peace outweighing the desire for personal protection resulting in a result that people are comfortable with. You can actually call it outsourcing your personal protection via taxes to the police force.

    Now try that in a rural area with wild animals and/or lawlessness. Good luck on that. This is one of the reasons why I think gun control is not an option for the US, their security forces (police) can’t be everywhere, so there is a much greater personal responsibility for individual safety.

  414. Kent

    @The Other Chris – Yes, arming school staff has been implemented in some school districts. Other districts have hired armed security officers or even established their own police departments. Newtown, CT, guarded the children of Sandy Hook after the massacre with police armed with automatic weapons. The decisions will be implemented at district or state level.

  415. Kent

    @Observer – The Supreme Court has ruled several times that the police have no duty to protect individuals. None, unless they have a preexisting relationship with the police, I.e. snitches. In the US, we’re pretty much on our own.

    It has been my experience that Europeans don’t understand the scale of the US. I live in a rural area half an hour from my post in the county seat. In bad weather (heavy thunderstorms, snowstorms, ice storms, the odd tornado) it can take from 45 minutes to days for the sheriff’s office to respond to calls for help. In the county seat, it can take well over an hour for a high priority call to get a response. Across the county line we have a county that could comfortably hold the State of Rhode Island. When I was stationed in Fort Knox in Kentucky it took 14 hours or more at an average speed of 60 miles per hour to drive home for holidays. (Gotta stop for food, gasoline, and restroom breaks.) That was close to 25% of the way across the country. In the same time I could drive from Texarkana to El Paso and never leave the State of Texas.

    There is no bobby ’round the corner, and not everyone is a kind, gentle soul.

  416. Observer

    Kent, is that before or after building the casemate, mortar pits, helipads and armoured vehicles laager. :P

    Seriously though, the thought of needing armed guards in a school is.. off.

  417. ArmChairCivvy

    I skipped most of the related posts, but is this quote foral Malikis Iraq of for the 40’s Tennessee:
    “freedom in the use of the secret ballot made it possible for us to
    register the will of the people without the use of force, have had a
    rude awakening as we read of conditions in […],
    which brought about the use of force in […]. If a
    political machine does not allow the people free expression, then
    freedom-loving people lose their faith in the machinery under which
    their government functions.

    In this particular case, a group of young veterans organized to oust the
    local machine and […]. We may deplore
    the use of force but we must also recognize the lesson which this
    incident points for us all. When the majority of the people know what
    they want, they will obtain it.

    Any local, state or national government, or any political machine, in
    order to live, must give the people assurance that they can express
    their will freely and that their votes will be counted. The most
    powerful machine cannot exist without the support of the people.
    Political bosses and political machinery can be good, but the minute
    they cease to express the will of the people, their days are numbered.”

    Quite rightly there have been statements of the current dilemma [in Iraq] being more of a political than military nature.

  418. The Other Chris

    Sikorsky-Boeing to use modified T55 engines from Chinook to power their SB-1 Defiant demonstrator:


    It’s a similar situation to the F119’s being used in the JSF demonstrators. The final engines will need to push closer to 5,000 SHP in their respective production models which will drive prices up (engines being developed under the FATE program) unless the requirement for cruising speed is reduced from 230 kts for the specified payload.

    AVX (one of the competitors) have said if this was to be the case that the entrants could utilise existing 3,100 SHP class engines.

  419. Obsvr

    Re ‘organised militia’, I of course forgot to mention the trained bands of London, which I think date back to at least the 16th C if not earlier. IIRC the HAC claim direct descent from these.

    I’d also add that I find a police force that carries arms as part of their uniform to be an affront to democracy. Even the term ‘force’ carries the wrong connotation, ‘service’ or ‘constabulary’ is the only way to go.

  420. IXION

    Re ‘its a big country’ so we need to arm everybody argument.

    Canada is a big country, Australia Is a big country. Don’t have anything like US gun death rates.

    Personally was involved with guns in the 1980’s; and Australia I believe banned civilian ownership of semi automatic and automatic guns including semi auto pistols.

    Combined with proper licencing, storage, and carrying requirements, that always looked like a balanced view to me. But that’s just my opinion.

  421. ArmChairCivvy

    ” HAC claim direct descent from these”… the Parliament and the Buckingham Palace probably felt secured by their combined army, but the City needed their own, being so close to Southwark, where gin consumption per head (men, women and children included) was 2 pints/ ltrs per head… when did they actually start to capture that in statistics; I am sure the habit came first.

  422. wf

    @IXION: “gun death rates” are irrelevant. Murder rates, by whatever weapon or none are what counts. The US’s rate is 4.8/100K compared to ours at 1, so it’s quite a bit higher. On the other hand, you could make the case with such a populous country that you need to look at regions to get a better picture. East Europe’s rate is higher than the US’s, for example.

  423. Kent

    @Obsvr – In the US, most law enforcement agencies are designated as constables (precincts*), marshals** (small towns), departments (towns and cities), sheriffs offices or departments (counties/parishes***), departments/divisions/bureaus (states).

    How are armed police an affront to democracy?

    **(I only know of a few small towns that still have a marshal. Most have well-equipped police departments, often funded by DOJ/DHS grants.)
    ***(Louisiana as befits its history has parishes rather than counties.)

  424. monkey

    A company called Hardwire markets bulletproof whiteboards for use in schools.
    (we in the UK have had incidents in schools 1987 Hungerford massacre and the 1996 Dunblane massacre but have subsequently tightened up our gun ownership laws)