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


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Continuing with the aircraft theme...

Dutch and French NH90's suffering corrosion problems:



Storm Shadow reminds me of those car top boxes you carry luggage in.

Perhaps this Typhoon can self deploy? Tent in one, ground crew in the other.


That Stormshadow loadout looks very short legged. We need to crack on and get those conformal tanks sorted.


You can still fit a CL tank, so you're only 1 tank down on normal fit.


Lots of pre-SDSR posturing going on. The Telegraph even ran a save the Red Arrows story today. Could get quite entertaining over the next few months.



*shrug* What can we say? Your Navy really did stake a lot of their credibility on the ships.


ew... Direct Inpingement. The 3nd biggest cause of jams I've experienced. The first was deformed aluminum magazines (no feeding). 2nd was weak arse blanks (stovepipe jams). 3rd was that damn gas tube choking up or leaking (no feeding). Give me gas piston any time.


It's good that you can still have the centreline tank, but presumably you could have had that in addition to the underwings with a full air to air missile fit, so you're still down two tanks and up two c. 1200kg underwing stores over a long range air to air loadout. I'd love to know how the range worked out vs a Tornado GR4 with two Stormshadow and if it's possible to carry Stormshadow on Typhoon in an assymetric (missile under one wing and tank under the other) configuration. It's probably not a fair comparison, but Rafale can carry two Stormshadow, three large tanks, plus two short and two long ranged AAMs. The Rafale can be fitted with conformals, but I'm not sure it can carry them in addition to the above loadout.



@Observer: The 2 carrier challenge isn't a UK only problem just look at the French situation, even the Spanish and Italian.

I'm actually quite confident well keep both, and it's the usual worse case doom and gloom news stories to prepare people for a mixture of "good" and bad news.


Did I say it was a problem? My bad, it isn't. My point was that your Navy has a lot riding on this issue. Statement, not critique.


Normal role fit is 2 tanks, although 3 are used sometimes. Yes it would have been better to have the ability for drop tanks and heavy stores at the same time as the rafale pic. Which is pretty good that they squezzed large drop tanks on. Although it does loose quite a few AAM which Typhoon doesn't and has only 2 u/w pylons, but still that's pretty good. I doubt it could carry any more weight, CFT I think would be an either or in the that role fit. It looks very heavy and close to it weight limit i would think.

There were plans for large(r) drop tanks on Typhoon but they were cut to save money, ~£20m I think there were 1400 L.


TOC - thanks for the video - confirms that playing with guns is dangerous



Stand out point for me (amongst the insanely stupid) were the number of shooters seemingly taking rifle shooting seriously but being hit in the eye on recoil by their scopes.


TOC - expensive tools do not a craftsman make? Doesn't matter how much money is spent on Gucci kit, if the operator lacks expertise the results are unimpressive...


ARGUS-IS upgrade to Gorgon Stare has passed field testing by the USAF.


This is the 1.8 billion pixel fused image system drawing from a hemispherical array of 368 cameras that can provide real-time coverage of all activity in a 100km2 area.

TD posted the below video up on a dedicated article that is well worth revisiting:


The system is to be deployed on MQ-9 Reapers and MC-12 Liberty's. I'm not aware if the UK were able to purchase MQ-9's with the Gorgon Stare Increment 1 pod, however this level of surveillance capability is certainly valuable and useful.


Can Apaches carry ASW torpedos? If so, they might be able to supplement the QEC ASW helicopters when the "bad guys" come to sink your shiny new carriers.


Cool accessory every vehicle should carry.
Specs are at the bottom but do watch the video link


URL says it all, looks like F-35 might not make it to Rosyth this week :


This has more details of the F-35 visit :



Wonder if the three US aircraft will still make the journey?



Japan's cabinet is expected on Tuesday to end a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since World War Two, a major shift away from post-war pacifism and a political victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who has pursued the change despite some public opposition.

The move, seen by some as the biggest shift in defense policy since Japan set up its post-war armed forces in 1954, would end a ban on exercising "collective self-defense", or aiding a friendly country under attack.

It would also relax limits on activities in U.N.-led peace-keeping operations and "grey zone" incidents that fall short of full-scale war

Daniele Mandelli

More of everything is not feasible til they reduce a bit of the foreign aid budget or sort out the bloated and inefficient NHS and benefit culture.

It is also fantasy to think of major increases in kit and personnel, but some small enhancements or keeping what we have are possible, given the political will.

1) Maintain what we have. No more cuts.

2) Bring PoW into service, in reserve if necessary.

3) RN prioritises Carriers, SSN, RFA, RM and Amphibs.

4) RAF prioritises ISTAR, AAR, Transport and SHF.

5) Army prioritises rapid reaction style forces while maintaining minimum 1 Armoured Division, which we are doing anyway.

6) Maintain high spending on UKSF and intelligence community - SS/SIS/GCHQ.

7) Remove Trident from MoD budget, a total scandal.

8) Reintroduce small no of MPA.


Daniele Mandelli, removing Vanguard subs and their missiles will not increase the budget. They will NOT get that money back to spend on other things.

Renewing it is the only option or we will fall off the high leagues entirely with no way back on them again.


Brazil upgrading their Lynx 21A's with the LHTEC CTS800-4N engine found in the AW159 Wildcat and the retrofitted British Army Lynx AH9.

Work to be carried out at Yeovil (congratulations!) with a contract worth over £100m:



Brazilian Lynx upgrades not just limited to engines:


- Glass cockpit;

- Satellite navigation;

- Tactical processor;

- Traffic Collision Avoidance System;

- Instrument Landing System;

- Radar Warning Receiver;

- Electronic Surveillance Measures;

- Countermeasure dispensers;

- Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpit;

- Electrically powered rescue hoist;

- Flight Training Device;

- Support and training package.



I think you are spot on. If HM Treasury thought for one moment that they could use the cash from chopping the CASD they'd do it in a heartbeat to spend on more emotive items like health and education.

Why health and education? Because those are the services most people are closest too and use the most. If the voters were asked, "Do you think we should spend £10bn on two aircraft carriers or take that cash and use it for cancer and long term care?" what do you think the answers would be?

Swimming Trunks

The Aircraft Carriers that never was



@Daniele Mandelli "or sort out the bloated and inefficient NHS...."

Pound for pound, the NHS is probably the most efficient health service in the world....


Those findings have also been supported by research from the Kings Fund. The NHS does waste cash and effort but on that score so does any govt. dept.



If I got my way all the hospitals of this country would get a massive slap on the back. They do an utterly amazing job considering the accusations that are levelled against them.

I'd then sack all the useless GPs - they're the real waste.

The "if it's still like it in 2-weeks come back" response is getting too long in the tooth, especially when it turns out to be pancreatic cancer!

Peter Arundel

It seems remarkable to me that a bunch of extremely wealthy institutions have run this country into the ground whilst our governments (of both political flavours) have sold off everything we as a country own and the result of all this is that the average man in the street blames his woes on immigrants and scroungers.

As an exercise in spin it's a text-book example.



Have you heard of "asset stripping"?

Seems that unfortunately now these wealthy bods have managed to internationalise the world they are "asset stripping" the UK... I guess after which they then leave to pastures azure ;-)


You know someone has no idea what they are talking about when they use the term "asset strippers".



Please elaborate...


Scenario - ISIS/ISIL (whatever) takes a port and loads jihadis, tanks and other equipment captured from the Iraqis on civilian ships (those RORO jobs if they can find them) and attempts to export their "caliphate" to the high seas. Using the civilian crews to interact with "the authorities," they endeavor to enter ports in selected countries with near simultaneity. Without waiting for pilots, inspections, etc., they run into the ports and force their way to docksides where the RORO ships disgorge tanks, IFVs, trucks, and heavily armed jihadis. Ports from Naples to Marseille to Gibraltar to Lisbon to Brest to Portsmouth to London are targeted by these attacks.


1. Could the ships avoid interception/inspection when leaving the port and sailing to their targets?

2. What are the odds that members of the local mohammendan communities join the jihadis?

3. How do the local authorities react?

4. How do the national authorities react?

5. How do the militaries react?

6. What level of damage/disruption can be expected?




We execute mi6 and the entire forign office for starters. Then the navy then the SBS.


Sorry i misread the question the above is what i would prepose if that plan seccuseded. Then i would suggest handing other the country cos we clearly have no business running anything


@Random - Okay, that answers #4.


The US Aircraft Carrier that never was: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_United_States_(CVA-58)


On Daniele Mandelli comment
7) Remove Trident from MoD budget, a total scandal.
I am sure they will correct me if I am wrong but I think they meant that the UK gov should fund it directly not hide it in amongst the UK's conventional forces budget. The on going costs of maintaining and one day replacing the Nuclear Deterrent distort the Militaries budget.
If the they land in London the Household Calvary will mount up and charge them down Sabres drawn while the Yeoman of the Guard from Tower take them up the rear ( 'they don't like it up them' )

On a more serious note on those that would join the Jihadist its more than likely that there exists a list in the hands of every Chief Constable refreshed periodically by GCHQ/MI5 on who to bring in for questioning.


Possibly the most beautiful jet fighter ever designed, built, and put in service: The Grumman F11F Tiger.

Gloomy Northern Boy

@Kent - They are more likely to start small - a rusting ferry could make one of the Dodecanese from Syria or the Lebanon in hours loaded with Jihadi Technicals, and all the Islands have harbours...they could probably evade detection by presenting as a vessel bound north to Turkey for refit or scrapping, and then make a last minute left turn opposite any one of the numerous resorts that are clearly visible from the Turkish Coast...run in just before dawn and they could be homeward bound in a few hours loaded with Northern European High School Graduates...many of whom take "spring break" type holidays with their pals after the summer exams in just those places. Boko Haram, but with slaves from Swansea, Stockholm and Stuttgart...

Prepared carefully it would be easy enough to put an advanced party of Western Jihadi "holiday makers" in place to deal with the local authorities and communications, and generally sow enough confusion to prevent an immediate large-scale response...and once aboard the ferry, the girls can be be shown live on the Web to guarantee a safe return passage. :-(

Worse than that, with the way teenagers live on social media you can't rule out the odd immediate "wedding" between some bearded loon from Birmingham and that blonde he always stalked when they were in High School together - he having since signed up with the Caliph but kept on tracking the girl of his dreams by face-book and twitter... :-( :-(

Copyright GNB 2014 (I'm watching you, Clom Tancey!)



Mine is one of yours as well


I'd like to see:

1. All of the T45's properly equipped. We haven't got many, so we need to turn them into" proper" destroyers - Harpoon/Tomahawk fit.

2. No more pissing about with the T26 - get on with it with a 1:1 replacement for the T23

3. Two more Astutes?

4. PoW bought into service

5. Our AH-64D's upgraded to AH-64E model

6. MPA capability reinstated - a dozen P8's would be nice

That will do for now :-)


Had this on my wall for many years...

Had this on my wall for many years...

And something similar to this.

Until I found my true love.




Dear high Wycombe (aka TD towers)

I'll take a squadron of these in 2015 no excuses


Trident Commission have released their report, broadly supports retaining the deterrent:


Naval Technology have a decent summary:


RT highlight the report notes successor has heavy dependence on US (although common missile compartment work is almost entirely UK funded) and is worth a read as well:


Daniele Mandelli

"Renewing it is the only option or we will fall off the high leagues entirely with no way back on them again."


Totally agree. I was not proposing getting rid of Trident, only the hope that it should be funded from where it was previously, not the MoD's conventional forces budget.

The UK is and should remain a P5 member. That means Trident and comprehensive intelligence capabilities, of which we have both.

Daniele Mandelli

East Anglian.

1 2 4 5 and 6 should be possible. No chance of extra Astutes in my opinion.

Daniele Mandelli

"But all that, some critics argue, is part of the problem, and the idea that the country is still trying to be a global player on the scale that these new ships imply."

Passage from the CV01 article posted by Swimming Trunks, and one of the major problems of this country.

Just when will the left stop belittling its own nation?

Last time I looked Great Britain was a P5 member, a G8 member, is plugged into the most comprehensive intelligence network seen and has one of the worlds top 10 economies. Just why should we not try to be a global player?

I want the UK to be a country that influences world events, not gets influenced by them. Great Britain is somebody.

Get those carriers built and in service. Both of them.

Some what amused

I am a little uncomfortable when the military chiefs produce statements/articles/speeches complaining about their lot. They might be right in what they say, are no doubt under strain to meet capability targets and have served gallantly for their country. The government and the public do not value enough the need for a robust defence posture and the funding that goes with that stance. But these individuals are in the armed forces and that should be the one branch of public servants who, publically at least, keep quiet and follow unquestioningly the will of H M Government. This doesn’t of course mitigate frank private discussion with the government.


Why are we so keen to see an AAW destroyer equipped with an ASM? We don't hang SAMs off tanks and we don't put LGBs on helicopters.


Phil. If you send a destroyer off to patrol thousands of miles away, who is to say that the enemy will co-operate & only attack it from the air? What if they are bounders & use ships & submarines?


If you send a destroyer off to patrol thousands of miles away, who is to say that the enemy will co-operate & only attack it from the air? What if they are bounders & use ships & submarines?

You don't send a ship on its own into that sort of threat. That's the point. People want kit to do jobs that the platform would never reasonably be expected to do. The Army doesn't do it, the RAF don't do it - so why do it for the Navy?

We didn't send Battleships off on their own against the enemy and we're not going to send T45s off on their own into a fight like that. We're not going to use them as sleek little raiders either operating alone and cloaked.

It's not a capability worth breaking the bank for. They are AAW destroyers, money should be getting spent on keeping them the best in the world. Not bolting pointless weapons on them. If we stuck Rapier on a CR2 people would cry that we were mad.



The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for continued participation in the USAF/Boeing Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $250 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on July 3, 2014.


"We didn’t send Battleships off on their own against the enemy"

We did with Force Z in WW2 we lost the new battle ships Repulse and the old Pow.

They were supposed to have a carrier escort but it grounded itself on a sand bank.

The battleships and their small destroyer escorts were no match for the Japanese Navy's Air Arm and were sunk on 10 December 1941.

Your right T45 etc need to fight as a combined group but carrying a variety of weapons for other vessels to call upon if their load out gets depleted or the T45 is better positioned to get a kill surely the extra complexity is worth it?


We did with Force Z in WW2 we lost the new battle ships Repulse and the old Pow.

Force Z comprised 6x ships...

The T45 won't be in a better position to get a kill - why on earth would you have the most powerful AAW destroyer in the world engaging a surface vessel when we have several other tools in our armoury to do that? Hardly meets one of the principles of war: economy of force. In 1982 the only modern Naval conflict so far, not a single ASM was fired. In 1991 not a single ASM was fired by the coalition. Yet a great number of enemy ships were sunk or damaged.


"7) Remove Trident from MoD budget, a total scandal."

I agree it would be a total scandal to remove the trident costs from the MOD budget.

A weapons system used for defence of the realm manned by members of the armed forces should be part of the defence budget. Wouldn't it be nice to get others to buy things for us because there a tad expensive.

At the end of the day if its deemed vital then that's what defence money will be spent on, that its expensive and will suck funding for other pet projects is simply tough. Perhaps it will make them in charge focus with a critical eye and decide if its value for money in today's world.


Phil. When the RN had 50 escorts, we could afford to send more than one. Usually Type 42 with its long range air defence, along with a T23 armed with short range air defence, Harpoon & Torps. Now the RN has only 19 escorts, chances are there will be only one ship deployed, so it better be able to handle whats thrown at it.


My late father's favorite.



Nobody sends ships into combat zones on their own. Full stop. They might patrol in low threat zones or fly the flag but if China launched a surprise amphibious assault on Japan we're not going to steam a T45 around the South China Sea on its own.

The T45 doesn't have to be able to fight every threat anymore than a tank has to. Money is finite, it should be spent on things that add effectiveness. Spending money on a weapon that is unlikely to ever be fired (slack handful fired in four decades) is damaging.

There's no rational reason to spend money on Harpoon for T45.

Gloomy Northern Boy

Spoken like a true Bulldog @Danieli Mandelli... :-)

Two from Newsnight...the CDS had a plan to train an Arab Legion in Jordan and Turkey to smarten up Assad, and the Cousins might have been interested - but HMG and the Commons mucked it up between them - with the Black Flags of the Caliph on the road to Baghdad that went well didn't it?...and China are looking like closing down GSK for bribing people (in China - unheard of!) - any bets on their getting the recipes, factories or IP back after the dust settles? Thought not...

A very Gloomy Gloomy. :-(


Harpoon on the 45s is happening already. It was always a case of plug and play.

Back on thread, if I was a defence minister overseeing SDSR15, I'd be asking why an army of c 100k struggled to generate troops for Iraq and Afghanistan and whether a force of c 80k, plus (minus) reserves was actually any more flexible, or simply retained the same proportion of capabilities useful for heavy metal state on state warfare, but undeployable when needed for more likely ops.

I would also ask serious questions on whether the RN and RAF could genuinely sustain further cuts and retain critical mass


OK here it goes....

1. A decision on MPA, 5-8 high-spec P8 or 10-12 'good enough' C-27.

2. A planned purchase of 60 F35B to stand-up 3 squadrons and a large OCU.

3. Replacement of Typhoon and possible additional F35 deferred to until post 2030.

4. 9th and 10th C17's ordered and a stated intention to look at picking up some extra, second-hand A400m.

5. Either Sentinel retained or a firm plan for an alternative sketched out.

6. POW retained in reserve to alternate with QE.

7. 1-2 more Astute's squeezed before/alongside the successor sub program.

8. A single new RFA to replace Argus and Ocean (partially) by 2020.

9. MARS SSS accelerated with a 4th modified vessel to replace Diligence.

10. New OPV's retained alongside the Rivers.

11. A smaller fleet of 50ish Apaches upgraded to AH-64E.

12. Something, ANYTHING, to move forwards with FRES.

13. The Regular Army further trimmed to 80,000 and the Reserve to 20,000 for an overall 100,000.

Probably loads more but that's all i can think of in the small hours of the morning. Naturally i'd pay for most of it through a slight increase in the budget and possible further selling off of MOD real-estate and maybe a few base closures.


Mines in the post above yours GNB!

I'd add replacing Albion and Bulwark with a couple more flatty's with their command and control gubbins pulled thru, when the time comes.

A robust plan that's what, seperated from the politics (Yeah Right!)

It's been mentioned before that there is a core of what we need to be able to do, I'd put Amphibious assault in that list too, we must be able to mount enough of a conventional deterrent to be able to deter anyone from ingressing on our EEZ. So we need Subs Flat Tops and Commando Carriers, as well as CASD and enough planes/choppers to land on em. I think a buy of sixty-seventy F35B is enough, all for the carriers though as that will become our expeditionary strength, trickle buy Typhoon 3B and flog off the series ones to anyone that'll take em (If anyone will?) to keep the force relevant.

Army I'm no expert but I see trouble ahead for the Para's with people publishing capitation rates. Whatever Army force structure we end up with must have enough of the right gear, if it means having less bodies to do that then we must, reserves must know they may have to fight, which is where I think the trouble lies with recruitment, the public have got that and the Army can't see it... Getting shot or blown up as part of your weekend job is not so attractive to some of the youth of today. My current business adviser had both happen to him on the dame day, which he thinks was terribly careless of himself!


Harpoon on T45 are recycled from T22, so only 4 of the 6 T45 will get them. Those that do, will have a limited shelf life.

Phil. If the RN still had 50 escorts, it would have the luxury of sending several ships, each with different capabilities. Now with only 19 escorts, most of the time, we will only be able to send one, so that one ship better be able to defend itself against all likely threats.

Look at the Armilla patrol in the Gulf , 1980s. To keep 3 ships on station, involved 9 ships in total, because as well as the one there, you have one coming home & one getting ready to go. Fine if you have 50 escorts, but not if you have only 19.


Well if we are to rebalance the economy, the gov should put some money into developing/procuring some new kit, we can also export.

So , in no particular order.

Provide R&D funds for Perseus.

Ship & Shore/fixed wing launched versions of FASGW-H, & for pities sake give it an easier name.

A squadron of ground attack Hawks for the RAF based on either the 100/200 , but with the updated engine & systems of the T2. Armed with Paveway IV, later versions of Brimstone, the 25mm Aden gun, a targeting pod/EO turret, FASGW-H?,

Limited funds for a Stormer 2020 prototype with lightweight modern armour. 2 versions, One troop/warfighter/servant version armed only with a 7.62 machine gun & carrying as many bods as possible. The second a fire support version with a 40-60mm gun & a few Brimstone.

Develop the lightly uprated version of the EJ200.

Investigate the Possibility of a long range F-35E to replace the Tornado GR4.

Study a larger version of Taranis to be a true intercontinental bomber.

On the civil front, a 21C VC-10 cruising at Mach 0.935 for 6000 miles, carrying 186 passengers in a 3 class layout.


US Navy testing anti-ship missile defence system based on an obscurant generator using carbon fibre, looking very promising.




"Whereas earlier iterations of the Striker family have been analogue, the Striker II is digital with integrated night vision capability. What this means is that it will deliver all of the performance all of the time, without the need for transition," he said. According to Colston, the Striker II mixes enhancements to the earlier Striker products that have been developed as a result of lessons learned, with the research and development associated with the Night-Vision Goggle Helmet-Mounted Display (NVG HMD) system for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.


Thats interesting Mark, some of the benefits of the F35 without the F35 :)


@ challenger

"13. The Regular Army further trimmed to 80,000 and the Reserve to 20,000 for an overall 100,000."

When people bandy around numbers like 80-100,000 i think its prudent to remember that the amount of actual trigger-pullers is at best a quarter to one fifth of that , so no more than ~15-20,000. And since you need at least a 3 to 1 force ratio to sustain deployments , we are talking a maximum of 5-6,000 ,( in reality probably less) combat troops that you could field and put in theater. From a country of +60 million people, not exactly impressive , more like Belgium ;-).


Hope we purchase the Striker II to upgrade our Typhoons from the original Striker.


Back on thread, if I was a defence minister overseeing SDSR15, I’d be asking why an army of c 100k struggled to generate troops for Iraq and Afghanistan

Because 10,000 troops deployed means 10,000 there, 20,000 building up, 10,000 just been, thousands helping those going plus lots of other standing tasks. The Army struggled to deliver everything when it was fighting 2 campaigns. When Iraq draw-down settled down and the Army re-structured to focus on HERRICK then things settled down quite a bit.


The relative size of Flankers and other aircraft was mentioned recently, I came across this graphic which may help on the Western fighters :


Yep TD the sensors in f35 are now available on many other types the question has always been how much cost/benefit do you put in the low observable nature of the airframe. If you want to go up and down vertically you have little option if you don't get your calculator out.

Toc I would agree.


'Back on thread, if I was a defence minister overseeing SDSR15, I’d be asking why an army of c 100k struggled to generate troops for Iraq and Afghanistan'

To be honest it was not really the manpower that was the problem (apart from some key trades) it was the equipment requirements for the types of operations we were conducting that were crippling. Since 1992 the UK has deployed approx 20,000 ground troops of all services in various ops around the world. While we had about 10,000 troops in NI we had roughly the same in Bosnia, the difference being that the equipment we used in Bosnia was practically all the mechanised stuff we had in our armoury (Warriors and 432's which were not suitable for NI) we had no need for COIN equipment in any way. Iraq and Afghanistan where a perfect storm in terms of equipment requirement, from ECM,specialist armour and conventional mechanised armour to carry out our mission, that is the difference.


Is this the US Army’s next generation 'superchopper'? Radical design has dual tilting blades and can travel at over 270mph - 50% faster than a Black Hawk

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2681074/Is-US-Armys-generation-superchopper-Radical-design-dual-tilting-blades-travel-50-faster-Black-Hawk.html


@ Jules

I'm at a loss to see why amphib assault should a core capability. Amphib asslt is just one option for getting boots on the ground somewhere. 'Asslt' is not going to happen, it implies an opposed landing, nobody in their right mind is going to do this. There is also nothing mystical about getting ashore, 70 yrs ago it was done by normal infantry battalions, armoured and artillery regts.

Heli are absolutely no different there is nothing whatsoever mystical about heli movement. It's a routine matter, even when the LZ is unsecured, and having done it a few times in a war zone I actually know what I've talking about. The fact that RM try to make it a big deal of it says a lot about them, they are desperate to justify their existence.

It's also useful to remember that arriving somewhere by whatever means is only the first step. If you want to deploy somewhere in any useful strength and usefully equipped then you need at least a port for the ro-ro ships and a decent airfield or two, particularly if the port is some way off. You will not obtain these by some pissant amphib asslt, you get them from somewhere reasonably friendly in the neighbourhood you are trying to get to.


If you want to deploy somewhere in any useful strength and usefully equipped then you need at least a port for the ro-ro ships and a decent airfield or two, particularly if the port is some way off. You will not obtain these by some pissant amphib asslt, you get them from somewhere reasonably friendly in the neighbourhood you are trying to get to.

Well I never thought I'd say it, but Obsvr, all of the above occurred 8,000 miles away on a bog that some unfriendly and bellicose chaps have an inexplicable affinity for using some rusty old phibs and a couple of excitable cruise liners.

Although I agree, assault isn't going to happen on any scale. Although if you're going to land somewhere where you know unfriendly chaps may reside in low strength, best to land in fighting trim.

I'm off to bathe in bleach to cleanse myself after using 1982 in an argument.


@Obsvr: Whilst I'm a big advocate of a maritime posture, I agree with the thrust of your comments. Anything larger than a small scale raid needs either a secured port or temporary port, we are just kidding ourselves otherwise. As such LPDs / LHDs come at the bottom of my wishlist. Given the size of the navy 2 Capital CVF ships is enough to protect and the RMs should be deploying from Support Type Frigates.

Give the LSDs, a new Aviation Support / Hospital ship and Point Class to be used by the Army.


@Phil: But wouldn't the Falklands be a good example where we would use helos to land the bulk of troops? (I agree not supplies)

In fact, if all of the Chinooks had made it wouldn't the Falklands been fought differently even back in 82?



I must say that I like the coaxial / pusher system. Sikorsky is also doing one.


Plus the Raider looks prettier. That said, the AVX JMR looks a bit more versatile.



It depends on the situation and air threat. An amphibious assault ala Iwo Jima or D-Day is a non-starter but even in 1982 there were a few Argies about the beaches, enough to cause dramas if they had been a bit better. You might have done a heli op and a landing. Or just a landing if the air threat was bad enough. The gold standard would be to identify enemy positions beforehand and fix them using SF assets as you landed (as in 1982). If you can come in using LCUs and helicopters I would say all the better. If you're not going to maintain the flexibility to deliver 3 Commando via LCU and air assault then you may as well bin 3 Commando full stop.


Lockheed Martin have been awarded US Navy contract to update the MK 41 VLS of $10M up to max. of $182M. It will give bi-directional digital interfaces to control and test the missiles.

There was a suggestion that the MK 41 could be modified to take the Raytheon SM-3 IIB, in effect a new BMD missile capable intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles whereas the current SM-3 IIA is being jointly developed with Japan (at approx. $3 billion + budget) is a shorter range missile for countering regional ballistic missiles eg North Korean. The difference between the IIA and IIB was the missile diameter was increased from 21" to 27" and the upper stage was a performance liquid propellant replacing the solid propellant to give the necessary increased range.

Obama cancelled the IIB last year under pressure from Putin, but due to Ukraine it could be re-instated and if so will the MK 41 be modified to take the larger diameter IIB under this new contract.


Although there was talk of IIB cancellation being blamed on Putin, it was really just a cover for a dog's dinner of an R&D programme that was an easy victim of budget cuts.

Trouble is the geometry is wrong if you base in Romania, it's not much better if you're in Poland, really you want to be in the middle of the North Sea but if you want the speed of a liquid-fuel rocket then that's difficult on a ship.

I can't see them using anything bigger than Mk57 as a launch tube, but we'll see.


Soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have complained that the 9mm round is not powerful enough to be effective in combat

I'd bet the farm that the number of Taliban actually killed with a pistol of any calibre in Afghanistan can be counted on one hand.

Gloomy Northern Boy

Back to the future with a modernised M1911 then? :-)



Or back to 2003 when NATO after extensive testing wanted to drop the 9x19mm Parabellum in favour of the FN 5.7x28mm used in their P90 and FiveseveN pistol .
Fired from the pistol it will penetrate a Level IIIA Kevlar vest at 50m,from the P90 at 200m.
However the Germans had a hissyfit HK's rival round the 4.6×30mm was rejected and refused to agree to the switch over.
The FiveseveN pistol is used by many American military arms already in low volumes including the Secret Service and many weapons have ben chambered for it.


there was a story ten years back that the SAS had adopted the fiveseven as their standard handgun...


If they do change it will be to .40SW. Though if you are in a dangerous place and your government has given you a nice rifle all of your own you have no excuse not to take it with you, everywhere.


"The scale of the current Ebola epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical distribution, people infected and deaths." According to the World Health Organization, this is the first time Ebola has been epidemic in urban areas since it was initially recognized in Zaire in 1976. That increases the likelihood that someone carrying the virus could travel to other parts of the world.

The current outbreak, which began in March and affects Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone...the risk of somebody coming from the affected area and causing a huge outbreak in North America or Europe is extremely low."


Sort of thing that never reaches the consciousness of most people but is a further destabilising factor in an already complicated and important part of the world.


You half expect the PDW discussions to start up all over again.

Anyone had the pleasure of firing a P90 or FiveseveN?


@El Sid
My thoughts on the MK 51 update is that firstly $182M seems a large figure just to design and test a new digital highway control system and secondly they could retrofit the updated MK 51 on a one for one basis into the 75 Arleigh Burkes destroyers active, building and planned plus the 22 active Ticonderoga cruisers to use the IIB whereas there are only 3 Zumwalt ships which use the larger MK 57. The US Navy see BMD as a prime mission plus funding of the IIB would be by the MDA (Missile Defense Agency) headed by a vice admiral.


@Phil: "If you’re not going to maintain the flexibility to deliver 3 Commando via LCU and air assault then you may as well bin 3 Commando full stop."

Understand where you are coming from and whilst I'm not going to say the RMs should be scrapped I do feel it needs a good review. Days of brigade level assaults are long gone, and I do wonder the worth of being able to assault a beach using a battle group.

I'm sure I've missed some but I see the RMs doing the following:

- Anti piracy ops

- Being the UKs "Brown Water" soldiers

- Coastal raiding and sabotage

- Sea based helicopter assault operations

- Securing lightly defended ports / harbours for the Army

I see LCVPs / CB90s supported by amphibious vehicles being the mainstay equipment rather than LCUs.


Well I like fullsize .40 handguns. If you are to stop a suicide bomber before they get too close then .40 is better than 9mm. So a Glock 22 in .40 is a good choice. However, I got a chance to shoot a 9mm Glock 26 a decade ago & I was impressed how accurate it was, considering it was the same size as a Walther PPK (OK a bit thicker). Considering all the gear troops have to carry these days, then perhaps it is better to have a small 9mm on you when you need it, rather than a big .40 left in a locker.


@ John H

It a choice between marginal and a bit less marginal. The only thing that would make a difference would be a move from FMJ ad that again is just another move from marginal to a bit less marginal. I just think they will get another 9mm but a plastic one. Glock are made in the US now so who knows?


Where are the L131A1's (Glock 17 Gen 4) for the British Army being made?


I don't know. But I suppose Austria. The US market is so large local production makes sense. I think Glock have something like 60% of the police market.


@ Phil

a bit of history might be in order. In WW2 the RM division mobilised but was broken up in about 1943, the engineer element made itself useful; building airfields around Sydney and then the BPF fwd base at Manus Island. Apart from a handful of AA regts the remainder basically crewed landing craft, plus, of course manning turrets on battleships. The senior RM officers knew the corps was on borrowed time and in the deep brown role wise, they had to find a new justification for their existence.

They latched onto the commando role, which were army units comprising volunteers from all regts and corps. BY 1944 about half the cdo units were RM (several army cdos having disbanded). This continued after the war but the raiding role gradually disappeared and RM morphed into little more than standard infantry with a high standard of physical fitness. In 1982 the parachute battalions didn't seem to have too much difficulty in using boats to get ashore. Nor would any other infantry battalion.



The four technologies unveiled are: 3D printers so advanced they could print UAVs during a mission; aircraft parts that can heal themselves in minutes; a new type of long range aircraft which divides into a number of smaller aircraft when it reaches its destination, and a directed energy weapon that could engage missiles at the speed of light, destroy them and protect the people below.



British regional airline company Flybe Aviation Services is expected to be named as the winning bidder for work on the RAF’s latest aircraft once the deal is signed in the next few weeks, according to sources familiar with the work.

The delivery changes will result in a rapid build-up of British A400M numbers with the final delivery of aircraft to the British being advanced several years.

“By the end of the year, it is anticipated that the UK will have received the first five aircraft, four of which should be in service with the RAF. Final airframe delivery to the UK is now planned for March 2018,” the MoD spokeswoman said.

Britain is scheduled to spend £2.8 billion (US $4.8 billion) buying the A400M.

Airbus, along with its partner, Thales UK, also has a £502 million (US $860 million), 18-year agreement to provide training services for the A400M. ■


FlyMaybe? Oh dear God.

All Politicians are the Same


Totally :(


Going to work song:

I am embarrassed to admit, Plastic Bertrand and Ca Plane Pour Moi, and max revs from the crappy Citroen sound system. You have to have both windows down and the volume on 11 so that Huntingdon station gets the full benefit.

Am I very bad?


Yeah, you're bad. Tossers like you motivate me to cycle faster when you blaze past cutting me up :-)

You only get respect when it's AC/DC....



I can offer you Johnny Cash and The Wreck of the Old 97 if you'd prefer.....

Or for Friday evenings coming home, Waterloo by Abba at high decibels. Always puts a smile on the face, that one.

I am however a prisoner of the past in music terms. Nothing now is any good. :(


Johnny Cash I can deal with. Abba I have a weakness for, although Waterloo is hardly one of the better ones :-)


Mama Mia! There is a reason these songs are called evergreens. :)


MBDA's First Sea Ceptor/Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) Firings Are A Double Success

picture of test:

MBDA carried out two successful guided firings by the Sea Ceptor air defence system on 29th May and 5th June at the land-based Vidsel range facilities in Sweden. These firings were the first seeker guided firings for the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), including using its two-way data link to communicate with the Sea Ceptor system.

The trial demonstrated the functionality of Sea Ceptor’s Command and Control (C2) system and its ability to process data from a third party radar and then command an engagement by a CAMM missile.

The CAMMs both performed as expected, with their active Radio Frequency (RF) seeker acquiring the targets shortly after launch and staying in track until they intercepted their respective targets.

CAMM is to be used by the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy in the Sea Ceptor system and the British Army with the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS) Land system.



It can be quite a nice AD bubble when enough ships carry Seaceptor, cointeracting the range limitation

"The trial demonstrated the functionality of Sea Ceptor’s Command and Control (C2) system and its ability to process data from a third party radar and then command an engagement by a CAMM missile."

Daniele Mandelli

Is there space put aside on the CVF's for Sea Ceptor if necessary?


@Daniele - you would hope so on a 70kt aircraft carrier. It's back to doing CVF properly and it should have Sea Ceptor as part of a minimal defensive armament. If not at the outset then fairly soon after


An 'aerial drone' (UAV) confronted by SAMs. Make sure your sound is on at full welly:



There has been some interesting stuff done in recent years to allow 9mm a certain degree of competitiveness with .40sw.

9mm +p rounds are the popular thing now for those who conceal carry State side. Catch is those high pressure rounds tend to be hollow point.


@ Daniele Mandelli

Look at Cavour's stern and you can see the A-43 Sylver launchers,

and then look at similar options on QE,

Would be doable.


The Indian navy managed to find some space Barak point defence VLS on the old INS Viraat (Hermes).

So there must be room from a few CAMM silos on the QE class, I vaguely remember that kind of thing was always earmarked as a growth option for the class. The ships certainly have a suitable radar fit and presumably an electronics databus that can handle data for such a system plus suitable hotel services to run it.

In the end it is a cost issue.



"In 1982 the parachute battalions didn’t seem to have too much difficulty in using boats to get ashore."

Arguably their lack of appreciation of amphibious logistics and the wider picture directly caused the Bluff Cove disaster.



The problem with the .40 S&W in handguns like the Glock 22 is that the round has the same high-pressures as a 9x19mm with heavier bullets. Recoil is sharp and relatively unpleasant in light-weight handguns. If restricted to non-expanding (FMJ) bullets, the low pressure .45 ACP is a much better choice than the other two common choices.

Moving to "non-traditional" rounds such as the 5.7X28mm provides lightweight of firearms and ammo with very high capacity handguns and PDWs with extreme penetration in military FMJ ammo. When shooting at body-armored folks, this is important, but I don't know if the round itself has a high enough velocity to provide rifle-like hydrostatic shock with a non-expanding round. Again, "stopping power" in any handgun is only fractional compared to rifles and shotguns. However, a 20 round magazine in a full-sized, lightweight pistol might make soldiers feel better about practicing "triple-taps" to stop an enemy.

I have fired the FN Five-seven and the FN PS90 (semiauto carbine version of the P90). Recoil is negligible with either; accuracy is good; and they're somewhat more powerful than .22WRM ammo in either. Some US SWAT teams allow the FiveseveN's use or issue them for entry teams, specifically the sledgehammer wielder, or for barricaded subjects. Of course, police aren't limited to FMJ/AP ammo, so Hornady 40 grain V-MAX bullets are used for non-barricaded subject situations. Report is loud with both firearms and the muzzle blast in the pistol is remarkable. Recoil is negligible in either.

In olden days, when they were getting ready to select a 9x19mm pistol to replace our venerable M1911A1s for armor crewmen, some of us recommended issuing the MP4K-PDW with the 0-1-3-AUTO trigger group since we were also losing our M3A1 "Greaseguns." We also recommended the issue of suppressors to keep our OP/LP guys lower profile and to aid us if we had to E&E from a disabled vehicle. Of course, no one listens to the end user so that went nowhere.


In the interests of full disclosure concerning my comments above, at work I carry a 4 inch barreled S&W Model 686-6 .357 Magnum revolver as a duty weapon with a 1⅞ inch barreled S&W Model 37 as a concealed backup rather than a Glock 22 .40S&W like everyone else. I really don't like Glocks, and M1911A1 pattern semiautomatics aren't an option for my agency.


@GNB - A .577 is right out.



Going on that comment I was going to say that you are not from Kent, then I remembered Folkestone can be a tough place.


Every time I hear Soryu, I keep thinking soya sauce. :)


@Fedaykin - Nope. I'm from Oklahoma. My patrilineal ancestor was from Middlesex and came over to Virginia as an indentured servant in 1674. My dad liked Kent when he was in the 8th Air Force, so, as the second son, I got tagged. My brother got the III appellation since he shares his name with my father and grandfather. After doing much work on our family genealogy, "Kent" isn't such a bad name.


@ Craig

Neither 2 or 3 Para had any difficulties coming ashore at San Carlos, it was the Welsh Guards which were on the two LSL's at Fitzroy.


@Observer - Every time I hear Soryu, I think Battle of Midway. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_aircraft_carrier_S%C5%8Dry%C5%AB

Gloomy Northern Boy

@Kent - the Garden of England is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself this side of the Pond...a lovely spot, and I speak as one both Gloomy and Northern...on the question of firearms, I make no comment on the utility of the later Webleys, but my Great Uncle (Imperial Yeomanry, and Allenby's EEF) thought well of his Mark IV and his Mark VI, but as I recall they were .455; they were certainly bloody big, but then I was only a lad...

...and there is no other choice for a Gentlemen in extremis...either reflecting on a life well-spent in one's study with the Whisky Decanter at one's elbow...or holding one's post as HM's enemies close in for the kill...



@GNB - I have a bottled-in-bond of 10 year old Kentucky sour mash table whiskey and a bottle of dark Jamaican rum in the cabinet. Since I've been retired from the US Army for nigh onto 19 years, standing my post while the hostiles close in is unlikely. I'll raise a glass* your way.

(Just a splash of branch water in the whiskey. Rum "neat.")

My trips across the pond were to Germany and points east. Didn't manage a stop in the UK. Right now, my wife's health precludes long distance travel. Maybe things will change for the better in a while.


I am not sure soldiers getting in landing craft and being taken to the shore is all there is to amphibious warfare but I am open to persuasion, not.


Just a thought.

Is there enough height in a standard ISO to enable one to be used as a VLS launcher? Perhaps 8 shots per container, the rest of the space to be used for gas storage for soft launches, and some external umbilical connector for data connection to a ship's combat systems?

Clearly, not a long range solution, but for shorter ranged missiles it might be an option? And with the deck real estate on modern ships, it might be a good modular solution for temporary deployments for singleton ships. A Chinook can easily cross-deck an ISO weighing less than 10 tonnes, and you can imagine that loading a T45 or T26 specific software load to integrate with the local command system depending on the host ship would be a relatively easy job.

All Politicians are the Same


Unfortunately not, what you would need is a soft launch missile and one that does not require updating from a dedicated Fire Control (FC) radar or a Multi Function Phased Array (MPAR) as if you had either of these then you are already going to have missiles. For instance Sea Wolf is only 1.9M but no use without a pair of 911 FC trackers. CAMM is 3.2M long so too big and although capable of receiving enough info from non FC or MPAR Radar would still need the radar it was receiving from to meet a certain standard (which I do not know off the top of my head and I am pretty certain will be classified anyway).

The best and I think only real option to fit a Point Defence Missile System (PDMS) to a non equipped ship is SeaRAM.




The point is that there is a considerably more to amphibious operations than getting your knees wet as the article I linked describes. Mind you, 2 Para's concept of air assault logistics (commandeering the only Chinook) left a lot to be desired as well.


Craig July 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm
“In 1982 the parachute battalions didn’t seem to have too much difficulty in using boats to get ashore.”

Arguably their lack of appreciation of amphibious logistics and the wider picture directly caused the Bluff Cove disaster.


Thank you Craig. An informative article amply demonstrating that there is a darn sight more to amphibious warfare than simply "...using boats to get ashore". 5 Brigade was utterly unprepared and ill-equipped for such operations in 1982 and shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Gratifyingly, it looks like certain Army commanders and their units are now being exposed to the specialist skills, practices and capabilities of the Royal Marines by participating in successive JOINT WARRIORs and COUGARs. Moreover, the subject is given much more attention on various command & staff courses although I'm sure there are still those in the RN who don't yet 'get it'.


@ Craig

I've heard the para regt blamed for many things, and certainly some of their feats are a bit over-egged (think Plaman Mapu), but I don't think they can be blamed for Bluff Cove.

Infantry bns don't decide landings, nor to bdes in multi-bde ops, try Force HQ, commanded by ???


Any PDMS functionality/capability upcoming in LMM? Thinking of a Seahawk Sigma type arrangement.


It's also worth noting that 5 Bde was a fairly ad hoc formation and the HQ had had very little training.


More on the US service pistol.....


I bet it will an M&P in .40mm.........


Can't see them going XD or Glock. The former is built abroad and the latter is a foreign company. After M9 there will be some pressure for an American system.



Modernizing electronics is the most efficient way to upgrade a fighter design, and European governments and industry are investing in those areas to keep their programs competitive.


@ mark ....

how much though can we get what we wish for from typhoon at a lower cost than F35 and the ag/aa etc etc


Inside BAE's research lab for aircraft of the future


All Politicians are the Same


The guy who wrote that is seriously scary and cares little for the actual facts :(

This line was my favorite " But Britain also sells China advanced jet engines" yes we do, Trent 700s for China Eastern A330s, Trent XWB for Air China A350s, Did he miss the General Electric GEnx engines on air Chinas 747-800 series jets or perhaps the GE 90s powering their 77-300 ERs.

He lectures at Harvard as well, give me strength.



And then Putin farts or a random Caliphate is declared in the Middle East and the thin veneer behind the "Pacific Pivot" is blown away and Uncle Sam shits his pants and the deep blue azure of the Pacific (the most peaceful place on Earth outside of western Europe and North America) is the last thing on his mind.

All Politicians are the Same


There is a definite shift in certain in the deployment operational areas of certain assets. You will not see a CVNBG do anything other than transit from the Mid Atlantic to Suez, 6th Fleet used to have OPCON of their own now they and I quote "have some input to the visit programme as they transit".

This is partially balanced by an extra 4 Arleigh Burkes being sent to 6th Fleet. The message certainly from a naval view point appears to be that whilst we maintain an interest in the E Atlantic and Europe you can no longer rely upon us to provide things like Carrier Air which are prioritised elsewhere.


FIBUA training IDF style.........

@ Phil

Never said I agreed or disagreed with the article. As you know better than most here academic rigour demands weighing evidence from both sides of an argument. The world is too small these days talk about a pivot in any direction we are all neighbours. Well apart from up perhaps. :)


The message certainly from a naval view point appears to be that whilst we maintain an interest in the E Atlantic and Europe you can no longer rely upon us to provide things like Carrier Air which are prioritised elsewhere.

Not denying there's been a change, it makes sense to move naval assets to the Pacific since carrier air is more useful over there than in the Med littoral. And certainly the US can get away with far smaller ground forces around here. But no matter how you move your pieces, you're still on the same chess board you were on 70 years ago that made you throw 80% of your resources at the European enemy. The US can optimise deployments and can get away with smaller forces in Europe, but events keep tugging at her.



He also has no concept of RR's business model.


"Gazprom is more dangerous than the Russian army"

Interesting piece on "Why Moldova Urgently Matters":



TOC, sadly can't see the article on the 390, shame as I said to TD a while back that it could be handy to "bed in" with Brazil on this. IE we'll buy some of them, you buy into the T26. I only think this as it's cheaper than an A400 (last time I checked) and it gives a smaller option in the strategic lift sphere, bear in mind we were using C17's for MERT and on a C4 programme there were 5 guys being airlifted and even with equipment and med staff there was shedloads of space.

I would can the BAe 146's and use these, it'll be flying this year and that hasn't cost us penny in R&D/delays etc etc proper "off the shelf" buy!


@paul g

It's a free registration rather than a subscription required on the story if that helps access?

I can appreciate where you're coming from however I think A400M is better fit for the UK in the long term.


Re KC-390

Seems Boeings input has really paid dividends to the project, I can see this being the 'BAe146/Transail' of modern times, maybe even threatening the small rough field Antonov types (who, with the AN-72, already have a similar design).



On July 15, during the Farnborough International Airshow, Defense Ministers Philip Hammond and Jean-Yves Le Drian are due to sign the agreement to launch a two-year feasibility study for the high tech combat drone, the French spokesperson said.

The unmanned combat aerial system (UCAS) study is seen as a step toward preparing a successor to the Rafale and Typhoon fourth-generation fighters starting around 2035.


Those are companies with track records of delivering both singularly and whilst working with each other.


Farnborough: Boeing unveils MSA offering

'Finally, Schoeffling discussed the possible emergence of a maritime patrol requirement emanating out of the UK in 2015 (following the forthcoming SDSR), confirming that the MSA, along with Boeing’s RAMIS (Reconfigurable Airborne Multi-Intelligence System), P-8 and AEW&C aircraft could be put forward for the programme.'



From that Moldova piece, whilst we're all talking about hardware :

The national security adviser then added: "Putin is not an apparatchik; he is a former intelligence officer," implying that Putin will act subtly. Putin's Russia will not fight conventionally for territory in the former satellite states, but unconventionally for hearts and minds, Fota went on. "Putin knows that the flaw of the Soviet Union was that it did not have soft power."

Thus, Moscow's strategy is about taking over countries from within. In this battle, it is precisely during the quiet periods, when an issue like Ukraine drifts off the front pages because of the Middle East, for example, that we should be worried. And remember that weak democracies can be more useful to Russia than strong dictatorships...

I met Iasi's county council president, Cristian Mihai Adomnitei, who reflected on how a relatively small group of Bolshevik conspirators had taken the great cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg in November 1917. "Putin is heir to this tradition," Adomnitei said. "In his heart, he is a Bolshevik. He knows that you can conquer vast territories without big armies."



With the first British aircraft, MSN15, comes an initial tactical operating capability (also known as SOC1), which allows paratroops to jump from either ramp or side doors, and permits the use of the RAS/Wedge aerial delivery system. The latter involves loads being delivered from a special frame that allows them to be carried on the rear loading-ramp and dropped through the upper door. With these clearances in place, the A400M can deliver both paratroops and support equipment in a single drop.


Mark, the single drop... does that also mean a single pass? RE

"A400M can deliver both paratroops and support equipment in a single drop."


TOC, without the two fighter producers teaming up, it would be Grumman's to have. It might still end up with all three getting a slice, just looking at this part of the linked article:

["] air force budget documents showing a more than 10-fold increase in spending on the LRS-B programme from Fiscal 2013 to 2019, with annual outlays rising from $259 million to $3.45 billion. Such a profile may imply that early production could begin by the end of that range, Gertler says.

Classified budgets may have already paid for “significant” development work on the LRS-B, Gertler says.

“If there has in fact been considerable prior development, the air force will be challenged to construct a truly competitive RFP,” Gertler says. “Whichever competitor may have done the bulk of any such preliminary LRS-B development is likely to have an advantage in the production contract.”["]


An article more than a year old, about life after Putin. May explain some of his lately found adventurism, also sets out the camps manoeuvreing for position:

military industrial complex, oil & energy complex and the mild reformers



Defence Spending Review Committee currently broadcasting on BBC Parliament.


The rumour mill surrounding an upcoming cabinet reshuffle includes the possibility that Cameron might send Phil the Spreadsheet to Brussels in order to boost his position ahead of a possible renegotiation.



Sorry if this has already been posted, but good article on the CTruk on page 16. Getting 3-4 of these on a T26 with the 72 RMs expected would be a interesting capability. Perhaps not as fantasy as some say for a non ASW batch 2 (T27) to have even more capability. Then I would be on board for buying more than 8...

Also, interesting piece also on page 14 about possible Swimmer Delivery Vehicle capabilities of the T26.


Tungsten: The perfect metal for bullets and missiles



Brimstone surface launch off a Patria.



Early Tranche 1 aircraft, however, are unlikely to see service beyond 2020. While the aircraft have proved useful in testing out new capabilities for the Typhoon, the Tranche 1s are too structurally and technically different from the Tranche 2 and 3 aircraft to be worth retaining for the future.

“We are continually looking at the Tranche 1 fleet, and we haven’t gone down a one-way street from which there is no way back,” explains Waterfall.

“Tranche 1 proved everything before it goes onto Tranche 2, but that is going to swap around in 2015 or 16, when we will stop investing in Tranche 1 and put everything on to Tranche 2 and 3.

“Tranche 1 does not feature in those plans once we get toward the end of this decade,” he emphasizes.

The Tranche 1s are instead likely to act as parts donors to help sustain the life of the Tranche 2 and 3 fleets. That recycling has made aircraft like the Tranche 3 jets more affordable for the RAF.


Just realised I didn't include the link for that Brimstone video;



Vulcan leaving Waddington for the last time. Apparently the engines are out of life at the end of next year too. :( Hope they can find some more. Nothing sounds quite like them.



What most people expected with Typhoon then, tranche 1's to be cannibalized from 2016 on-wards.


@Mark ... does this mean tranche 1's are to be cannabalised for the current tranche3a's ie dass, pirate, captor, martin baker seats, engines, etc etc or are we likely to see these used to provide a tranche3b order with only bare airframes ordered but all the gucci kit moved over from tranche1's to the the 3b's?

Seems a good way to keep production lines open post 2018, and a way to keep typhoon sqn numbers up and in service to post 2035 ? Especially if raf have to retrofit tranche2's to take aesa radars too?


The UK government is planning to build a spaceport............. In Scotland.

No, no, no, stop laughing. I'm serious;


The No campaign clearly had a big piss up recently.

Angus McLellan

@Chris B: A spaceport at Machrahanish? I expect someone misheard the song and came away thinking that Cambeltown Loch really is 40% ethanol by volume.



The airforce I think would like to continue using the tranche 1 jets but they simply do not have the funds to operate additional fast jet sqns. So when the tranche 3a jets are delivered these tranche 1 jets will be cannabilsed to reduce maintenance overheads is my take on what the article says.

Gloomy Northern Boy

@Chris B - We'll need it for the Skylon Deep Strike Squadron...might need to adopt it as a Crown Base area alongside Faslane though...


All Politicians are the Same

I suppose Machrahanish makes sense. Long runway in a reasonably isolated area but with the NATO fuelling jetty at Campbeltown offering sea access up to 250M and 12m Draught (for 5 hours) 10M unrestricted.


@mark cheers for that mate ...

I didnt realise that the gucci bits had a finite life like the airframes and engines ! Seems a waste of all that gucci kit if not IMHO ! Wonder how much a basic airframe and engines would be and all the gucci stuff added from tranche 1's?

Still believe 6-7 frontline sqns are required if the f35b's are goin to be playin with carriers for a lot of the time !


Interesting article on proposed upgrades to typhoon from flightglobal
Hopefully future upgrades to keep Typhoons relevant, out to a later osd of 2035-2040 than current 2030, cant see funds being available for a replacement until then of whatever flavour, ucav or manned equilavent etc!
Buy those tranche 3b's now, use tranche 1's gucci bits, upgrade all tranche2/3's to this standard .... buy 60/70 f35b's now then replacement airframes in 2030-35 with upgraded ones to keep our orders at 140 for workshare etc
Jobs a good un :-)


Re Typhoon

It's good to see in the article GW has been pretty open about the future for Typhoon. I'd take him at face value, he is/was a straight talking type no BS whenever I heard him speak.

It's unlikely many of the 'gucci' bits will make it onto the Tranche 3 on the production line. Many important bits will have been upgraded and as such are non-compatable from 1-->3. However many parts will, and then some will need upgrading before being suitable for use on T3. The parts will simply put into the stock pile and used as and when required. A large stock holding of spares can be a good thing, not at all interesting but important stuff.

Although nothing is decided IMHO, they won't go for a few more years and there maybe a chance to sell them or at least some. That would bring in more money than simply stripping them for spares. As per the article all options are open.

Interesting stuff about the simulator, once the T1 are gone, I think that will be the end of the twin seaters. I don't think there are any in T3 and there are only a few in T2. I don't think a tiny number of varients will be kept.


Type 26

EUREKA 11th July article


Some of the comments quoted from Brian Johnson BAE Systems so do we assume all of the article factual / correct ?

Two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine engines are used as the primary power plant. These turbines, when engaged, drive two propellers, with each gas turbine going through a splitting gearbox and then into a secondary reduction gearbox to then drive the two separate propeller shafts. These are isolated from each other to avoid single point failure. Fully engaged, the ship is expected to reach a speed of 28 knots.

I had thought only single MT30 with power split to the two propellers by David Brown MGR based on design used on Astute.

"The use of 3D visualisation can make sure the layout is as effective as possible, and give engineers a dynamic and collaborative environment in which to work," says Johnson. "We also use this to produce virtual prototypes, so the shipbuilders can look at it and plan the most efficient way to build it."

I had assumed CAD/ 3D software had built in algorithms to show constraints on what can and cannot be manufactured with current shipyard machinery in the most cost effective way, not so it appears.

Also taken from the same BAE presentation ?

http://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/UKDJ_Web12.pdf Referred to by Repulse

"Additionally, it will carry a 24 cell MK 41 VLS positioned behind the Sea Ceptor silo’s. It will also house yet to

be developed anti-ship missiles in the “main strike” VLS it has been suggested by various sources"

Previously have only seen 16 cell MK41 VLS (2 x 8 modules) side by side giving a 6m + width as possible option with Type 26 model shown at DSEI 2013 , whereas tweaked design shows 3 X 8 modules side by side taking up approx 10 m, which raises the question can the hull accommodate three strike length module of 303" deep when pushed out nearer the ships skin.


@DavidNiven - $170M - that's very nearly a full B.



I just posted it out of interest for the people who may be interested, I'm neither a lover or hater of the aircraft myself.


@WiseApe & @DavidNiven

Just for info, Australia are talking $85m, plus engine, at the FY19 production price. Likely for the A. Project Office reports they're currently purchasing aircraft from the Program at negotiated prices less than the FY price predictions. Figures in US$.



Some more detail for you:


Alongside all the Gucci kit, the section on simulators stands out. To extend the Typhoon fleet we need to preserve airframe hours and simulation / Hawks are crucial in shifting the training hours off the Typhoons.


@topman & TOC cheers for the link ... so we're goin for 50/50 sim to actual flying hours etc sounds sensible if and and a big if sims are as good as flying hours ?
we're left with 28 t2 hawks and need to replace 14 hawk t1's in red arrows plus 14- 100 sqn hawks plus 14- 736 sqn hawks no ?
numbers dont add up but they do if not using typhoons for those roles.... and typhoon hours reduce ala training by 25%?
Gotta preserve them airframes and use t2 hawks for everything else bar work up for frontline sqns ?


... Buy more t2 hawks at fraction of cost simulate typhoons and preserve airframe hours etc

Like your thinking .... :-)


That would be great news from an equipment plan point of view alone.



"...meaning that the so-called ‘underspend’ can now be re-invested. This is a crucial point; that money wasn’t taken back to be used elsewhere, it was put back into kit for our Forces"

If he truly intends to do this, it is marvellous news for the Armed Forces. I thought perhaps , come 2015, the headroom money would be an easy claw-back for the Treasury but if the latter keeps its nose out of things, then things will improve.


That is just common sense... should we be jubilant. If a programme that has a funding allocation needs to slow down to solve a technical problem (without a major overspend on that particular part of the plan), then there will automatically be a yearly underspend.

The fact that it can be reshuffled across the board was announced in the SDSR as part of the MoD reorg... has it (by now!) been implemented?

The only "new" thing I can read from the text is that we shall have " flying Astors" even after the retiring of the baggers. Does that cover the army liaison King Airs as well? That is the type Obama sent to Nigeria; it is also the type that will get Gorgon Stare - a capability at least on par with Astor.


Still not clear if the UK can access Gorgon Stare at all, let alone the new ARGUS-IS version. UK Reaper documents haven't been explicit on equipment.



Thales has introduced a freefall variant of its precision-guided Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) suited for integration on a wide range of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

The company partnered with Textron Systems around 18 months ago to perform integration of the 6kg munition on-board an undisclosed UAV, which the partnership is now ready to bring to market.

A 70cm- (27.5in) long, 7.6cm-wide munition with a 2kg (4.4lb) warhead that provides a precision strike – including against armoured vehicles – it utilises an inertial navigation system with optional GPS as well as semi-active laser guidance.


So, looks like Sentinel gets to live until 2018. If true a three year reprieve is better than nothing, it will be interesting to see what the other ISTAR components are though from this so called investment.

By MoD standards the last few months have delivered a stream of good news- the obvious questions has to be what are they hiding?



“We are very excited to have the A400M Atlas arriving into the Air Mobility force in the Autumn,” says Air Cdre Jon Ager, assistant chief of staff capability delivery (air mobility and air enablers). “Its introduction into service represents the greatest step change in tactical capability since the introduction of the [Lockheed Martin] C-130J.”

Airbus recently detailed a plan to deliver the RAF’s first four aircraft this year. The service expects to have received 10 by the end of 2015, a further six the following year and its remaining examples by mid-2018.

Noting that deliveries are to occur at an average rate of one aircraft roughly every month and a half, Ager says: “Our ramp-up is incredibly quick, so we have really got to be on our game with the training programme, and also for the support.”


A400M final delivery in 2018- makes one wonder whether C130J withdrawal will be brought forward by a couple of years...?


This free-fall stuff is getting interesting (the something-Viper moved on from MLRS delivery to planes/ drones, all the various mortar round mod's) with the free-fall LMM

"Thales have already demonstrated a Semi Active Laser guidance (SAL) system which would allow off-board designation rather than the beam riding in the first iteration. It also allows the system to be used against multiple targets for example, a swarm of small craft.

The MoD had reportedly challenged Thales to incorporate the SAL seeker within the contracted ‘cost envelope’ and the system is also reportedly mature so one wonders if the production versions will indeed be dual mode, laser beam riding and semi active laser?"

@ TD & Mark (et al),

I don't quite get it how the multiple targeting could work. Carbon copy of Brimstone, sure, but with Brimstone, surely some programming is going on between the trageting pod and the missiles (to pick different, not the same targets)?



The Prime Minister will today announce that, due to difficult long-term decisions that the government has taken and prudent budget management instilled in the MOD since the balancing of the defence budget, an investment of £1.1 billion will be made in capabilities for the armed forces.

This includes an extra £800 million of investment in an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance package - to extend the range and flexibility of our options, including that of our Special Forces capabilities in responding to the threat of global terrorism and hostage taking, and an investment of £300 million in existing capabilities including a new E-Scan radar for Typhoon and the purchase of Ice Patrol Ship HMS Protector....

establishing a UK Defence Solutions Centre in Farnborough to bring together industry, with support from government, to develop the new defence technologies of the future, identify future market opportunities and work together to ensure they have the products and solutions that will be in demand. The global defence market is estimated to be worth around £82 billion a year to 2022

launching a £4 million UK Centre for Maritime Intelligent Systems based in Portsmouth. Government, industry and the Local Enterprise Partnership will bring together academics, scientists, engineers and naval specialists to develop cutting-edge technology for use in autonomous unmanned boats, submarines or other vessels

building skills for the future through a new Defence Apprenticeship Trailblazer to attract new graduates to the Industry


Mood music rather than 'new money' of course but it is good to hear the PM positioning the debate in this way prior to SDSR15.


Politically what he's doing is heading off the UKIP threat. But with GDP now growing and the NATO 2% being talked about we could actually see some genuine good results from the next settlement.


UK Defence Solutions Centre - where do I send my CV?

Defence Apprenticeship Trailblazer to attract new graduates to the Industry - what about us old buggers?

...investment in an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance package - where do I send the "congratualtions" card?


The narrative has been the same for the last year or more now, the basic government script on defence is "everything is fine now, the other government screwed it all up but we have sorted it because we take hard choices. In fact things are now so fine that we can afford to buy some things that we were going to buy anyway but look over there...a squirrel!"


I wouldn't get too carried away about the 2% thing - it's less than it looks given that we are going to have to pay for Successor out of it, and each submarine on its own is the equivalent of another QEC. As much as anything that's about trying to encourage the other members of NATO to pull their weight, although Putin's probably doing a better job of that than Cameron.

HMG remains deep in the doodoo - in 2013 the deficit (EU definitions) was £92.9 billion or 5.8% of GDP, one of the highest in Europe, and HMG is spending more than ever, with more unfunded promises to the baby boomers still to come. Whilst Cameron is trying to do his best to big up Hammond, it's still going to be a really tough spending environment in the next Parliament, whoever is in power.


So basically, they're just spending the underspend, right?

Just coincidence no doubt that as the Defence purse strings get loosened slightly, the RAF's noisy fast jets make their presence felt around Warton all day today.


What's different is that you used to have to give any admitted underspend back to the Treasury. Project Managers can make smarter decisions if they don't feel they'll lose budget if they think not using budget in any financial year is more prudent

e.g. a project slowdown in year 2 to overcome a technical/engineering issue, being allowed to carry the funds over to year 3 and return to or accelerate the project pace once you're through to the other side.

Angus McLellan

@El Sid: Did you notice that Dave is buying HMS Protector *again*? Either someone in the press office messed up and that was meant to be a mention of a new support contract or there is less to the announcement than meets the eye.


All 22 UK A400M's expected by the end of 2018:

2014: 4

2015: 6

2016: 6

2017/18: 6



Philip Dunne interview with defence news is worth a read, some interesting answers to a few of the questions.


Airbus to offer EC130/135 helicopters as Squirrel HT1 replacements when the competition is launched:


Types share commonality with emergency services helicopters across the UK.


on the link chris b put up about the patria hellfire testing there was a video of the next gen warthog testing. Interesting to note along with the new v hull, the rear hull is now modular for hot swapping.


Thales offering freefall version of the LMM.

Weighs only 6kg, 2kg warhead, inertial navigation with optional GPS and semi-active laser guidance.

Aimed at UAV market:



Oops, sorry. Should've posted the new contract details there!


William Hague likely to be replaced with Phil Hammond as Foreign Secretary.


Some Farnborough news from Shepard,

Farnborough: UCLASS final RfP imminent


Farnborough: BAE Systems advances F-35 interoperability


‘Getting F-35 fifth-generation capability out into the battlefield is a challenge,’ said Hall. ‘At the moment we are focusing on UK platform integration. However, what we are finding is that some of the communication issues we’ve found with E-3D sentry et cetera are highlighting similar issues that will also need to be addressed in US operations.’

Angus McLellan

@TOC: I've always wanted Hammond to FO. Sorry, I'll get my coat.


It would appear William Hague is leaving politics and standing down at the next election which I think is a shame he seems one of the more sensible politicians. BBC reporting hammond as new foreign secretary and Ian Duncan smith as new defence secretary which if true I don't think that is gd news for defence.


So now he's finished screwing the the ill and poor, leaving the whole system in a complete mess while simultaneously not saving a damn penny(the one thing he was asked to do), but actually increasing costs and delivering less. He gets rewarded with the chance to do the same at the MOD.

Fucking brilliant.

Gloomy Northern Boy

IDS was a Guards Officer I believe...good or bad thing in the Secretary of State?



Shame he's going.


IDS was a Guards Officer I believe…good or bad thing in the Secretary of State?

Ability to do the job is much more important than military experience, and in the position of secretary of state it does not matter if you have served.


According to wiki he did 7 years finished as an Lt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Duncan_Smith

He was commissioned into the Scots Guards as a second lieutenant on 28 June 1975. He was assigned the service number 500263.[9] He was promoted to lieutenant on 28 June 1977.[10] He was moved to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers on 2 April 1981, signalling his retirement from the military.[11]

His seven-year service included spells in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia, where he served as aide-de-camp to Major-General Sir John Acland.[12]"

and lied on his CV

"In 2002, Michael Crick on the TV programme Newsnight caused some embarrassment when probing Duncan Smith's curriculum vitae, which had been in circulation for years, for example, being reproduced in the authoritative annual Dod's Parliamentary Companion for the previous ten years. The CV claimed that he had attended the University of Perugia when he had in fact attended the Università per Stranieri, which did not grant any degrees at that time, and a claim that he had attended the prestigious-sounding Dunchurch College of Management turned out to refer to some weekend courses at GEC Marconi's staff college."


Phil Hammond as Foreign Secretary

Good on him. May he be as good in his new post as he was in his last.

Concerned about any new Defence Secretary appointment though, especially IDS.


doesn't make sense to move IDS anywhere else.

social needs an implementer, and IDS is social to his bones, given how brutal the cull of older white men is I am tempted to say IDS would be for the backbenches.


I know it's been touched on above, but I must admit I nearly spilt my 'soya latte' (whatever happened to that feature?), when I read the headline 'Funding windfall for UK defence projects.'


On the whole good news, although it is a bit of an indicator of where we're at when money found to stick a plaster over the gaping holes of SDSR 2010 is good news, but hey it could have been so much worse!

Particularly interesting quote that some of the funding is to acquire the e-scan radar for ' . . . some of the RAF's Typhoons.', wonder whether this is just an inaccuracy or confirmation that the RAF are actually getting some in their Tranche 3 aircraft?


Final phase of ASTRAEA (Phase 3B) expected to begin in 2015.

This should see the introduction of regular operation of an ASTRAEA based UAV/RPA in IFR non-segregated airspace.

Objective is of regular operation in VFR non-segregated airspace by 2018.



HM2 enters service four months early.

Specific mention of the EO/IR sensor. Is that still the side-mounted turret rather than something more sensible?


EDIT: If so, precludes fitting of the Searchwater bag in the same location without ditching the turret... can we expect the AESA pods for Crowsnest... or would that still require removal of the side turret?


Looks like we might have a two-tier Typhoon fleet emerging, the quotes in this article suggest very strongly that only Tranche 3 aircraft will get the AESA radar, or at least that thats the scenario being considered. If that is the case it raises the possibility in my mind that the Tranche 2s may get replaced earlier than previously thought with F-35s.



X-47B going back to sea next month :


"The forthcoming deployment, according Gonzalez, will demonstrate the collaboration of manned and unmanned aircraft on deck: ‘This will provide an opportunity to collect more data and demonstrate a wider range of environmental conditions. We will collect that data as the opportunity presents itself and will be doing some operations in an expanded envelope to transition from shore to ship...

Tests will also include manned-unmanned teaming with F-18s on board USS Theodore Roosevelt, with Gonzalez explaining: ‘The current body of work leading to the next deployment aboard the carrier has to do with getting the unmanned vehicle and manned vehicles competing nicely on deck during launch and recovery operations.



"The Taranis UCAV demonstrator has successfully proven its stealth capability in a second phase of testing, according to BAE Systems.

According to programme officials, the air vehicle conducted its latest round of flight trials at an undisclosed location between the end of 2013 and start of 2014, proving ‘communications, mission performance and aircraft handling in low observability’.

Speaking to the media at the Farnborough International Airshow on 14 July, Chris Garside, engineering director, future combat air systems at BAE Systems, described a ‘major technological breakthrough…in full stealth configuration’....

‘significant’ elements of the latest flight test had been conducted with elements of autonomy, although the aircraft remained under the overall command of the UAS commander on the ground. These were understood to include auto-taxi, transit and navigation as well as autonomous landing.

‘The flight trials were extremely successful and all our objectives were fully met,’ he concluded while describing how ‘representative’ sensors were carried on board during the second phase of testing.

Potentially all smoke and mirrors, but the vibe seems good, now looking for some FCAS money to set things up for a decision in SDSR 2015.


Step-wise evolution?

"only Tranche 3 aircraft will get the AESA radar, or at least that thats the scenario being considered. If that is the case it raises the possibility in my mind that the Tranche 2s may get replaced earlier than previously thought with F-35s. "

- tranche 2 as the new Tornados (A2G)

- F-35s as a new capability (TSR2 cum Buccaneer+)

- tranche 3 to fill the gap, so that there is also a sharp A2A weapon in the orchestra, should that ne needed

Would that be

- 67 (how many two seaters, if any?)

- 48, max half of that number at sea at any time

- 40

... not a bad mix, and all multi-role, in their various ways/

Daniele Mandelli

"Cameron says that £800 million of the sum will be spent on continuing operations with the intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance aircraft types,"

Really? 8oo million to run 5 Sentinel and 6 Shadow for 4 more years?!! :-) Surely this is wrong and most of this is being spent elsewhere, like UKSF kit as mentioned. What is a squadrons yearly running costs?!



Read the official announcement I posted up thread : "This includes an extra £800 million of investment in an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance package – to extend the range and flexibility of our options, including that of our Special Forces capabilities in responding to the threat of global terrorism and hostage taking,"

"Investment" in political-speak implies capital spending, not day-to-day maintenance. This is a new "package" - so potentially multiple bits of kit. Something like adding a maritime mode to the Sentinel radar, or something along the lines of Gorgon Stare. But £800m implies some new toys, a logical one (which they wouldn't want to be too explicit about) would be a Switchblade or XFC-style submarine-launched UAV.

Daniele Mandelli


Thanks El Sid, this makes more sense now.


Interesting news about the spare merlin hm1 airframes...possible increase in numbers of hm2 ahead of the crowsnest entry into service?


Daniele Mandelli

The 8 spare HM1 should have always been converted into dedicated Mk 7ASAC replacements and assigned to 849 NAS. Bonkers to use the precious ASW Merlins.

I hope this is the start of another bit of common sense restoring previous bad decisions, like Fuchs, Sentinel etc.

And even better if that b%^&std Brown had not raided the Rotary budget so the military could have bought proper Sea King Commando replacements instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul by removing existing assets from another service and compensating with a smaller number of Chinooks!!!


More on uk specific assessment of integrating captor e on british raf typhoons as well as overview of four nation development contracts
Says ready to go on tranche 3 and tranche 2 perhaps the assessment phase for raf is to upgrade cooling and power systems on the tranche 2's ?


@Daniele Mandelli

In the past I took the same position about the eight spare HM1 airframes but my position has changed.

1) They are not in the material state presume them to be and restoring them to service is problematic

2) By making Crowsnest bolt-on for a standard HM2 we avoid fleets within fleets (well at least in theory) and allows a simpler support structure. It also means the fleet life can be balanced by rotating the system around airframes.



Interesting that Lockheed Martin have found the APG-81 is not a practical solution for Crowsnest, I wonder if it is a power or weight issue or both.

I wonder what Elta radar they are talking about using, my guess would be a variant of the ELM-2022A airborne maritime search radar.

Gloomy Northern Boy

6 out of 8 potential space-port options in Scotland...but presumably no decision will be made until after the Referendum...how long before Salmond pops up to assert that we will make the investment there whatever happens? I'm expecting to hear something along those lines by the weekend...



1 site identified in wales and the local fuckwit who makes decisions started bleating about how they would have to have a public consultation about the noise from "rockets taking off all the time" and the disruption to the local camp site (it's an island so rather big). Way to go to encourage them to come here ya dozy doris!!

here's her quote to the press
Last night, Llanbedr and Gwynedd Cllr Annwen Hughes voiced her surprise at the announcement.

Cllr Hughes said: “All I know is that it is about sending rockets up into space.

"We already know about the plans for drones at Llanbedr but haven’t been told much by Llanbedr Airfield Estates who are keeping their masterplan quiet.

“Nobody in Llanbedr has heard anything about the spaceport. I would think it would create a lot of noise and that there would be a lot of opposition.

“Any jobs it could bring would be welcome but there would be concern about noise pollution especially with the campsite business at Mochras (Shell Island).

"There’s two ways of looking at it but we need more information first.”


Once when I was Shell Island the MoD were testing a small airship from that aerodrome. It was a real novelty for an hour or so buzzing about; a bit boring by tea time.


Shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral were quite the tourist attraction....


Warning - low flying aircraft:


I remember when the Red Sparrows were allowed to play that low; Elfin Safety has ruled that out now.


More detail on Taranis : http://aviationweek.com/farnborough-2014/taranis-trials-lo-capabilities

The first trials, disclosed by the U.K. defense ministry and BAE Systems back in February, were partly used to verify a conformal flight data system developed for the aircraft. To do that, the aircraft had been fitted with a flight data probe on the nose, which measured attitude, altitude and sideslip. To be able to fully test the low-observable aspects of the vehicle, this data probe was removed and the nose cleaned up, while engineers installed what they called “signature control variants” of various antennae. The flight control software was also adjusted. The aircraft was then taken through what company officials described as “realistic operational scenarios.”...

Garside also revealed the levels of autonomy used on the aircraft, describing automatic taxi, landing and takeoff capabilities as well as the ability to generate an attack profile against targets, carry out post-bomb damage assessment, and if necessary, re-attack.


Latest RAF Air Power edition out: http://www.newsdeskmedia.com/images/Upload/PDFs/RAF-AIRPOWER-2014.pdf

Interesting wording in the F35b article stating that the 48 F35bs will be for Carrier Ops. Possibly reading too much into it, but strong wording for a RAF mag.


Farnborough: Taranis completes stealth test phase


'Hammond added that no decision would be made upon the development of an Anglo-French demonstrator before the SDSR in 2015.'


Farnborough: Sentinel advances to 2018


An interesting addition

'According to Hvizd, the options for the aircraft include a maritime radar mode; long-range electro-optical systems and infra-red systems; and signals intelligence.

The requirement for a maritime capability came out of operations in Libya in 2011 where the Sentinel, operating over the coast, was used to track movements on the water as well as the land.'


@Repulse - Thanks for the link. They also say Typhoon will be around until "2035/40."



The RAF is now looking to now add maritime capability to Sentinel, driven by Raytheon's experience in the development of naval systems.

This will include a specific maritime radar mode, options for long range optics, signals intelligence and an enhanced airborne mission system.


Saw that Mark, the bit that caught my eye was the long range optics bit

RAPTOR/DB110 perhaps?


DB110 definitely springs to mind. ARGUS-IS is normally described as broad area rather than long range and Tornado as a RAPTOR carrier is costly.

Still no solid news for DB110 on Reaper?


Indeed TD a real possiblity of a U2/Canberra type capability being added to a platform that's already seen upgrades introduced for afghan in a platform that currently has 12 hr endurance maybe very benfical.


The RAF is now looking to now add maritime capability to Sentinel, driven by Raytheon’s experience in the development of naval systems.

What's going on? Common sense???


Thinking hard over at the coffee machine (I know, I know), Apologies for brain-dumping:

We know that the P-8A is fulfilling the P-3 role, but we're still a way off from the latter increments fulfilling the broad area roles. These are broad surface and broad acoustic* sets.

US identified need for a longer endurance platform to supply broad area coverage to efficiently vector P-3 and P-8 fleets for investigation and payload delivery, selected MQ-4C as a the partner platform. Need for this partner would be amplified for a shorter legged platform such as C295/Q400. So far MQ-4C Triton is expensive, described as Mature but not autonomous in terms of MSA role and requires significant satellite bandwidth for OTH effectiveness.

A Sentinel R1 style aircraft could potentially fit this role. It would also challenge (no pun intended) Boeing's 605 based mini-MPA. Either directly or via informing prior to selection of a broad area partner to a narrow(er) area MPA.

Flipping the equipment around, P-8A being tested with AAS. An aircraft starting with the Maritime capability and potentially moving to the littoral/land tracking and assessment. SIGINT and ELINT additions have already been mooted. Sentinel R1 flipping between Maritime and Land sorties would certainly inform on these operations.

A lot of MOU's and agreements been signed of late (e.g. Airseeker) with the UK joining US programs with full two-way informing and cooperation on future replacements rather just purchasing/renting the equipment. Sentinel R1 with Maritime capabilities wouldn't just inform the UK.

*Multi-static and low-band acoustics delivery rolling out in the Increment 2 aircraft now, full capability in Increment 3.


Is it worth it for 5 years? could we not just get by with the Tornado's as they are?

Farnborough: Tornado will go out in style

'UK RAF Tornado aircraft will receive further upgrade packages to provide additional capabilities up until their scheduled retirement in 2019, it has been confirmed.

Speaking at Farnborough International Airshow, RAF Tornado Squadron ACdr David Waddington said that under the Capability Upgrade Strategy – Pilot (CUSP), 59 aircraft would receive improvements in communications, weapons and data exchange. During a briefing by BAE Systems, the company said that the key element of the CUSP comprised the integration of these different elements.'


A400M refuelled in flight by RAF A330 MRTT


'Air-to-air refuelling of the A400M airlifter has been performed for the first time by a Royal Air Force Voyager A330 Multi Role Transport Tanker (MRTT) during testing in the south of Spain. Airbus Defence and Space announced the news on 16 July.'


Brings to mind what appeared in NAO major prcts report (but was the quickly removed): there was a problem with installing the new American std FOF interrogator kit, extending the funcrtionality out to 300 mls/ nm. Could this be code for doing it (what good is it having them if they caanot fly in Coalition Ops airspace)?

"‘UK RAF Tornado aircraft will receive further upgrade packages to provide additional capabilities up until their scheduled retirement in 2019, it has been confirmed"

- I am sure engine life needs"stuff done" too, but...


RE Tonka upgrades

It's part of the CAP A and B upgrade and was planned in a few years ago, I think this is the last few bits of it. Could we do without it, possibly but who knows what's around the corner. Not sure what you mean with regards engine life?


What does this mean for future peacekeeping missions? Are we going to have to ensure that our forces are equipped well enough and have the political backing to keep promises in the future or are we going to be more reticent to get involved?

Netherlands to pay compensation over Srebrenica massacre


Netherlands Supreme Court hands down historic judgment over Srebrenica genocide



@ David Niven

The political classes want it always. They want to intervene. And yet don't want to carry the can when it goes wrong. If you were a bright 20 something would you sign up for Sandhurst if you thought this was in your future? Politics has become so disconnected from the realities of life, whether it is the day to day or extreme situations, that you have to question what purpose does it serve?



'If you were a bright 20 something would you sign up for Sandhurst'

Wasn't aware we got bright 20 somethings now, let alone the future! ;-)


Farnborough: UK MoD awards AgustaWestland FASGW Wildcat integration contract


'The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £90m contract to AgustaWestland to integrate the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) onto the Royal Navy’s fleet of AW159 Wildcat helicopters.'

Can you tell I'm bored?!!


First mega block of HMS Prince of Wales has been rolled out:



Bored? This is the formal signing of a contract to fit heavy and light anti-surface (with AA capability) missiles to one of the most cutting edge maritime helicopters in the world!

Now... about those dipping sonars?




Good news. Also I've decided it shall now be know as the Farquhar (pronounced "Farkwer"). I've also decided I have the authority to do this.

Naming it for a very prestigious man who turned out to be an undisclosed bankrupt seems quite fitting nowadays. :P


Confirmation of previous rumours


Must say I am a little surprised by this one.

Slightly Agricultural

RE Tornado upgrades - I thought this included the collision avoidance system. Risk is too great not to fit one, even on an airframe that's out of service soon. MoD would be hung out to dry if they declined to stump up the cash because it was too expensive.

Seeing as we lost two Tonka crews (and airframes) quite recently, it's probably worth the cash just as insurance to make sure it doesn't happen again.


I can't remember if the CWS was part of CAP A/B, but will be brought in roughly the same time. The CWS is being worked on now.


Can't say I know much about Flybe, are they that bad?



CUSP is a bit of unfinished business from pre-SDSR days, contract was signed in 2007 when there was going to be more Tonkas around for longer.

On FASGW(H) - since it's a bit like a Penguin, and can be regarded as Sea Skua Generation 2, how about the name Gentoo?

Had a random thought last night - since the Red Arrows are all about showing off how clever we are, rah, rah - how about 9 Taranis, painted red? :-) It would save a fortune on training costs....


Yep, and about 2010 it was announced that the Tonka money was to bespent as approved, but on fewer aircraft (was 96, apologies if not exact as this is a hobby and I do it from memory)

- that begs tbe question, what were theextras thattheincreased allocation per plane was going to be spent on?


@El Sid

An older one. Imagining 9 Sons of Taranis (STOVL) over Farnborough right now:



there is a photo of HMS QE


@ SIMON257

there was a photo on one the carrier websites today showing HMS QE floating and it says it will pulled out tomorrow ready for the dock to be emptied on friday


She floats! Relief all round.


Boeing MSA.

Demo aircraft is a 604, production aircraft will be a 605.

“five or six” potential customers in the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region




They were criticised in the not to distant past by the aaib https://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/factor201104.pdf I'm sure thinks have been improved now.

More generally I thought we may have integrated this type of maintenance with European partners on the aircraft particularly the French.


@mark thanks. difficult to read much into that incident tbh. yes i was surprised there was no tie up with the french. i've no real insight into how its been accepted into service, but listening out i would have thought a tie up with both countries, especialy inlight of politically agreements, would have been nailed on.


Just to prove the lunatics are in charge of the asylum, I see on defensenews that the MoD is looking at a C-17 type lease to acquire P-8. That would be the same type of lease that meant the first 4 RAF C-17 cost £ 469 million more than if they had bought them outright. Still its only taxpayers money & doubtless they will still get their gongs.


Overview of work on the Tactical Processing System for the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme.

An evolution of the Wildcat suite:




So why are UK government leaders making noises that suggest an order for P-8s, rather than a reevaluation of the mission and a competition? A consortium led by L-3 Communications is proposing a Bombardier Q400, and Saab is pitching both the Swordfish MPA and the EriEye airborne early warning aircraft, based on the Saab 2000 – it is quickly dawning on Whitehall that the British AEW fleet of Boeing E-3Ds is headed rapidly toward obsolescence, having failed to keep pace with international and U.S. upgrade programs.


A new smart helmet that allows fighter pilots to see in the dark via an integrated night vision camera has been unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow.

The Striker II, built by BAE Systems, features a visor that also acts as a high-definition display, which can project useful information to the user.

This includes data about targets and the co-ordinates of objects below.



To upgrade four E-3F to Block 40/45 the French are paying $440 million dollars with a $26 million contingency reserve.

Pakistan paid $1.15 billion for 6 Saab 2000 AEW&C.

Gloomy Northern Boy

Re Srebenica - be very interested to hear from anyone who did a stint in the Balkans what they make either of the original events or this judgement...



She's away

Daniele Mandelli

God bless HM forces and especially the RN!



Re: Balkans

This is an interesting book to read about the Balkans,

Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia



Honda's latest iteration in its Advanced System Intended for Mankind's Overlordship program can now:

- Demonstrate improved performance traversing ground in FIBUA situations
- Perform combat arm and hand signals
- Issue instructions to human prisoners in multiple languages
- Fight on one leg
- Marshal aircraft
- Take a half decent penalty


Legal Disclaimer: The above is humour. I love ASIMO, have caught several presentations and each time the program impresses even more.


Well at least the helmet made across the pond on time ;-)

Farnborough: F-35 Gen III helmet delivered


Farnborough: BAE pushes Broadsword


The BAE spokesperson said that the MoD was ‘fully aware’ of their efforts to make the system applicable in the field, adding that the US was also ‘very interested’ in the concept.


I for one welcome our new robot overlords. I mean they can't be any worse than the current lot. :P

Good news on Storm Shadow, that and last months Brimstone II announcement and the tiffy is finally starting to look properly multi-role.


Senate Panel to Pentagon: 'Reassess' Value of Alternate F-35 Engine


'The report states that SAC-D members believe “that had the alternate engine program continued, competition would have incentivized the F135 engine manufacturer to find creative methods to drive down prices and ensure timely delivery of a high-quality product, which is consistent with current department preference for competition in acquisitions,” states the report.'



any idea how the F35 Gen 3 helmet compares to the BAe Gen2 helmet (for the Typhoon presumably) ?



I don't know how they compare, but I would not have thought that they would be miles apart in capability as the Gen 2 was at some point an alternative F35 helmet was it not? Hopefully some of the aviation experts can come and answer the question.



Missile manufacturer MBDA has started production of its Brimstone 2 air-to-ground missile and expects the type will enter service in 2015 on Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR4s.

The company says the first production missile will be assembled this week at its sites in Lostock and Henlow in England.


Rafael was recently awarded a 15-year support contract from the MoD for the Litening pods already in operation, which better places it for further purchases. “With that in mind we’re marketing other systems, including Reccelite and TopLite," it says.


More pics. Hoofing.


Now were looking at missiles with Japan


We seem to be into making a lot of missiles!


P.S. It floats, it floats, wuhoo!
Looks bloody great in the water!


She does look good in the water, doesn't she? :)


TOC: Agree - she's a beauty :)


She's looking good. Grats to you guys in the UK!


Don't often get the chance to compare the French idea of forward presence with ours. Here's Iron Duke (particularly appropriate) on APT(S) off Guinea with Black Rover and a D'Estienne d'Orves class, the Commandant Blaison :


(hope the MoD link works, it's in the news section of http://defenceimagery.mod.uk/ )

As an aside, I think that's the first operational deployment of an Artisan ship?