About The Author

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


  1. MSR

    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.

  2. Chris Werb

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

  3. Hohum

    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.

  4. Observer


    *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.

  5. Chris Werb

    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.


  6. Repulse

    @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.

  7. Observer

    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.

  8. Topman

    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.

  9. The Other Chris


    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.

  10. Chris

    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…

  11. The Other Chris

    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.

  12. Kent

    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.

  13. El Sid


    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

  14. 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.

  15. Tenor

    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.

  16. The Other Chris

    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.

  17. Allan


    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?

  18. Simon


    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!

  19. 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.

  20. Simon


    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 ;-)

  21. Hohum

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

  22. Kent

    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?


  23. Random

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

  24. Random

    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

  25. monkey

    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.

  26. 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!)

  27. East_Anglian

    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 :-)

  28. The Other Chris

    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:


  29. 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.

  30. Daniele Mandelli

    East Anglian.

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

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. Phil

    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.

  34. John Hartley

    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?

  35. 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?

    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.

  36. Mark


    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.

  37. monkey

    “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?

  38. Phil

    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.

  39. Mark

    “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.

  40. John Hartley

    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.

  41. Phil


    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.

  42. 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. :-(

  43. DB

    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

  44. Challenger

    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.

  45. Jules

    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!

  46. John Hartley

    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.

  47. John Hartley

    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.

  48. Mark


    “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.

  49. MikeKiloPapa

    @ 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 ;-).

  50. The Other Chris

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

  51. Phil

    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.

  52. Mark

    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.

  53. DavidNiven

    ‘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.

  54. Obsvr

    @ 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.

  55. Phil

    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.

  56. Repulse

    @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.

  57. Repulse

    @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?

  58. Phil


    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.

  59. Nick

    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.

  60. El Sid

    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.

  61. Phil

    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.

  62. monkey

    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.

  63. jedibeeftrix

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

  64. El Sid

    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.

  65. The Other Chris

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

    Anyone had the pleasure of firing a P90 or FiveseveN?

  66. Nick

    @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.

  67. Repulse

    @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.

  68. John Hartley

    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.

  69. x

    @ 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?

  70. The Other Chris

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

  71. x

    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.

  72. Obsvr

    @ 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.

  73. Mark


    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.

  74. Mark


    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. ■

  75. Red Trousers

    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?

  76. wf

    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….

  77. Red Trousers


    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. :(

  78. wf

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

  79. Navyreco

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

    picture of test: http://i.imgur.com/0P4aBOd.jpg

    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.


  80. ArmChairCivvy

    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.”

  81. mickp

    @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

  82. Fedaykin

    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.

  83. Fedaykin

    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.

  84. Craig

    “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.


  85. Kent

    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.

  86. Kent

    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.

  87. Fedaykin


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

  88. Kent

    @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.

  89. Simon257

    @ 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.

  90. 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…


  91. Kent

    @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.

  92. x

    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.

  93. Red Trousers

    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.

  94. 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.

  95. Craig


    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.

  96. Dunservin

    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’.

  97. Obsvr

    @ 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 ???

  98. The Other Chris

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

  99. Obsvr

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

  100. wirralpete

    @ 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

  101. 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.

  102. Phil


    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.

  103. 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.

  104. x

    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. :)

  105. Phil

    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.

  106. paul g

    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!

  107. The Other Chris

    @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.

  108. mike

    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).

  109. Mark


    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.

  110. The Other Chris

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

  111. DavidNiven

    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.’


  112. El Sid

    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.”

  113. Mark


    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.

  114. ArmChairCivvy

    Mark, the single drop… does that also mean a single pass? RE
    “A400M can deliver both paratroops and support equipment in a single drop.”

  115. ArmChairCivvy

    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.”[“]

  116. Chris.B.

    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.

  117. Repulse


    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.

  118. Mark


    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.

  119. Challenger


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

  120. wirralpete

    @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?

  121. 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.

  122. Mark


    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.

  123. 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…


  124. 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.

  125. wirralpete

    @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 !

  126. wirralpete

    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 :-)

  127. Topman

    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.

  128. Nick

    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.

  129. DavidNiven


    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.

  130. The Other Chris

    @WiseApe & @DavidNiven

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

  131. wirralpete

    @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 ?

  132. wirralpete

    … Buy more t2 hawks at fraction of cost simulate typhoons and preserve airframe hours etc
    Like your thinking …. :-)

  133. Mike W


    “…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.

  134. ArmChairCivvy

    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.

  135. The Other Chris

    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.

  136. Mark


    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.

  137. Hohum

    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?

  138. Mark


    “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.”

  139. Hohum

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

  140. ArmChairCivvy

    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)?

  141. El Sid


    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

  142. Peter Elliott

    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.

  143. Peter Elliott

    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.

  144. Simon

    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?

  145. Hohum

    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!”

  146. El Sid

    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.

  147. WiseApe

    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.

  148. The Other Chris

    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.

  149. 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.

  150. Jonathan

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

  151. paul g

    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.

  152. DavidNiven

    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.’

  153. Mark

    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.

  154. Chuck

    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.

  155. Gloomy Northern Boy

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


  156. DavidNiven

    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.

  157. Chuck

    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.”

  158. Simon

    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.

  159. jedibeeftrix

    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.

  160. CheshireCat

    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?

  161. The Other Chris

    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?

  162. El Sid

    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.

  163. El Sid


    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.

  164. ArmChairCivvy

    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/

  165. 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?!

  166. El Sid

    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.

  167. 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!!!

  168. Fedaykin

    @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.

  169. Fedaykin


    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.

  170. 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…


  171. paul g

    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.”

  172. x

    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.

  173. El Sid

    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.

  174. DavidNiven

    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.’

  175. WiseApe

    @Repulse – Thanks for the link. They also say Typhoon will be around until “2035/40.”

  176. The Other Chris

    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?

  177. Mark

    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.

  178. Simon

    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???

  179. The Other Chris

    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.

  180. DavidNiven

    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.’

  181. ArmChairCivvy

    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…

  182. Topman

    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?

  183. DavidNiven

    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

  184. x

    @ 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?

  185. DavidNiven

    ‘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! ;-)

  186. The Other Chris

    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?


  187. Chuck


    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

  188. 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.

  189. Topman

    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?

  190. El Sid

    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….

  191. ArmChairCivvy

    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?

  192. The Other Chris

    @El Sid

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

  193. paul g

    @ 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

  194. topman

    @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.

  195. John Hartley

    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.

  196. Mark


    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.

  197. Fedaykin


    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.

  198. 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…


  199. The Other Chris

    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.

  200. DavidNiven

    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.

  201. Chuck

    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.

  202. DavidNiven

    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.’

  203. Nick


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

  204. DavidNiven


    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.

  205. Mark

    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.

  206. El Sid

    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?

  207. ArmChairCivvy

    Looking at the picture, “economy of force” comes to mind
    … Can we subcontract any of the taks to the French
    – there wouls still be a healthy profit margin that they could invest towards their next carrier

  208. Chuck

    Rebels were showing off a buk earlier today and have claimed to have shot down another plane today. Oh dear.

  209. The Other Chris

    “It’s less about the aircraft and more about what’s in it,” said Glynn Bellamy, partner and UK head of Aerospace and Defence at KPMG, explaining that unlike the specifically-designed Nimrod, a future project could use a cheaper aircraft but with high-tech kit onboard.

    To an extent. You want the equipment on board that will allow the platform to complete its Primary Mission successfully, such as MACS:


    However without the right Platform, the kit might end up as a Cul de Sac incurring additional costs elsewhere e.g. requiring the purchase or maintenance of a second fleet of aircraft.

    Gucci kit does not have to available from Day 1. Selection of the right platform and architecture is key for the right equipment to be added and the platform grown. “Cheap” often gets translated as small and short-legged.

    I’m not advocating the P-8A specifically, however the approach being taken as described by a pilot is the kind of model I would hope we would follow:

    “…mission crew workstations, all of which feature dual reconfigurable touchscreen displays and data entry keyboards. The ability to do any job from any workstation makes load sharing possible and is indeed critical to success during a mission. For example, during an information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions we might have extra electronic warfare operators in the seats scanning for radar emitters while another operator scans the radar and maps where those emitters are located. Conversely, during an ASW mission we can place extra acoustic operators in the seats to interpret sonar signals and track a submarine. The flexibility is extremely impressive…

    …open-architecture, reconfigurable, and can grow in a low-cost, flexible manner. The stores management and data-transfer systems are all digital, meaning that the only variable for growth is cost and software upgrades. Combine the ability to ‘plug and play’ new sensors and weapons with the aircraft’s communications connectivity, excellent crew coordination abilities and flexibility and you have a weapons system that is honestly limited only by weight, the training of it’s operators, and the tasking assigned by the commander.”

    Start with a plan/architecture, implement the basic functionality in the platform with scope for growth, then grow that platform as funds and needs determine.

  210. El Sid

    Malaysian Airlines not having much luck at the moment – at least they should be able to find this one.

    Here’s a nice glimpse of the future of the USN – JHSV and LCS-3 at RIMPAC. Not your classic “greyhound” shapes, that’s for sure! If you look closely at the JHSV flightdeck you’ll see it has two railgun prototypes installed.


    The green death will be thinking “I could take that with a Carl Gustav” – the Blaison is a sister to the Guerrico of South Georgia (in)fame. More practically – it’s great for cocktail parties but what happens if you eg need a helicopter to evacuate an embassy?

    PS Just realised http://www.defenceimagery.mod.uk needs the www. Conversely, if you have problems accessing flightglobal.com during Farnborough, dropping the www seems to take you onto a backup server which is slower but less overloaded than the main www subdomain.

    PPS Bet that Sea King wanted to do a touch and go rather than just taking video of QE! Nice view of the Polaris boats at 1:10 too.

  211. Chuck

    RE: MH17

    Apparently wreckage spread over 9 miles. pretty much certain it exploded in mid-air if that’s true. Makes it sound likely it was shot down.

  212. DavidNiven

    I wonder what the world will do if it is the case that it was shot down? The last time Russia or America did something like this the cold war was still raging.

  213. colky7

    Malaysian airlines 777 shotdown over Ukraine by SAM. 200 odd people dead and lots of horrible images of bodies etc all over twitter. Both sides blaming each other at the moment.


    Oops – sorry just seen i was beaten to it!

    Air France have just said they’re not flying any where near the area from now on.

    Wonder what implications, if any this will have from a UK perspective?

  214. Chuck

    Interesting that the rebels were bragging about their new Buk’s and shooting down a Ukrainian transport plane with it at around the same time, now swearing blind they only have MANPADS and shot nothing down. Interestingly no Ukrainian transport plane has hit the ground and the Boeing has.

    I’m pretty sure it was the mistaken identity by the rebels at this point. If so, sanctions against Russia will get ratcheted right up. No Mistrals at minimum I’d guess.

  215. ArmChairCivvy

    Can’t believe the properly organised Russians did it. Giving missiles away when someone can then just press the button, without proper radars, command & control is utterly irresponsible.

  216. Observer

    Not much that anyone can do to either side, one side has deniability, the other is a “non-state actor”. Hard to bring anyone to account. Looks like MAS is going to have to suck it up on this one too. I think it’s going to fold.

  217. Red Trousers

    Bloody tragedy.

    What were any airlines thinking by flying over that area? Why hasn’t Ukraine restricted civil access to the area? Big questions to ask, and they need answers.

    Quite apart from was it a “normal” crash, or as initially seems likely, a shoot down, and if so, by who? Separatists, the Russians, or (tinfoil hat mode) the Ukrainians or even some other party with an interest in providing a casus bello?

    Already I have heard someone wonder if it’s not the one they lost four months ago that has finally run out of fuel. In very poor taste that one, but almost inevitable.

  218. ArmChairCivvy

    The early downings of Korean aiirliners, remembering that it was the Cold War era then
    – the one over Sakhalin was blamed on local command
    – there were no excuses given for the one that managed to crash land on a frozen lake in Karelia

    This can’t be good for Putin gesturing on the world scene, and offering solutions to sticky problems?

  219. El Sid

    According to Twitter there’s a Notice to Airmen keeping airlines away from some parts of Ukraine but not this bit. Sounds like the international bureaucracy wasn’t keeping up with events on the ground.

    Twitter also says it was at FL30 – so not just a MANPAD, it was a proper SAM (like Buk) or air-to-air.

    According to Avweek :
    The Malaysia Airlines 777 involved in today’s accident in Ukraine is tail no. 9M-MRD and serial number 28411, a 777-2H6ER that was the 84th 777 off the production line. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 892B-17 engines, it first flew on July 17, 1997, exactly 17 years before its accident. It was delivered to Malaysian Airlines on July 30, 1997.

  220. Red Trousers

    El Sid, quite. Things will no doubt change if this was a shoot down.

    Lots of OSINT reporting that known separatist twitter accounts are frantically deleting tweets from 2 months ago boasting of capturing some Buks, and from earlier this afternoon that they had just shot down another transport plane, while now publicly stating they only have MANPADS. Looking as guilty as a puppie next to a steaming pile.

  221. Chuck

    Little more detail to previous; http://rusvesna.su/news/1404041521

    Translation; In Donetsk, Donetsk Army Special Forces soldiers People’s Republic captured the garrison of missile troops, anti-aircraft missile defense regiment number A-1402. In service parts are powerful air defense system of long-range detection and destruction of air targets.

    The press service of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine in Donetsk region confirmed this information: “In Donetsk representatives” DNR “seized the military part number A-1402.”

    Military unit A1402 (Donetsk SAM regiment) formed in the village Alexeevka Belgorod-Dniester region Odessa region. In 2007, was made part of the redeployment of A1402 in Donetsk.

    Donetsk missile regiment performs tasks for the protection of the eastern borders of the state and the protection of important industrial centers of Donbass air.

    Recall that the Slavic and Donetsk shares 113 km. Depending on the modification of the air defense system “Dome” is capable of detecting targets at a distance of 150 km, the working range hitting target – setting fire propelled air defense system “Buk” in the area of ​​20 km.

  222. ArmChairCivvy

    That “tweets from 2 months ago boasting of capturing some Buks” changes things slightly, but the world will still be looking at (?) the Russians as they have been backing these guys all along

  223. Observer

    RT, the problem is what can they do to Russia other than slap more sanctions? Malaysia isn’t going to ante up troops for Ukraine, and they are so low key that they can’t even get people to stand up on their behalf vs Russia. They don’t even manufacture enough to help Ukraine by supplying arms and their budget is so tight that they can’t even slip Kiev a few bucks to step on the separatists for them. Best case, a few muj wannabes travel over to pop the Russians one in the mouth, but that is a limited effect thing.

    Think Russia will get away with this one save for a few more “sanctions”.

  224. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Observer

    Let us wait and see how many Americans the rebels may have killed before we decide that nothing will happen. Russia may well have to back down and allow the rebels to be dealt with if it is proven they are beyond control and a threat to non combatants and International Aviation.

  225. El Sid

    Reading around further it looks like the official position was a bit complicated due to the political uncertainty, but FAA and EASA had told US/European airlines to just avoid the area regardless. Asian flag carrier gets to make its own rules, doesn’t quite understand what’s going on down on the ground and apparently decides to save fuel by taking the direct route over East Ukraine. If so, it’s surely curtains for MAS?

    Rumours of 23 USians on manifest and a couple of Brits.

  226. Chuck

    Any effect on Russia sanctions(outside EU/US) wise won’t come from Malayasia itself, but rather BRICS+ countries that have remained essentially neutral til now. A lot of whom Russia does business with.

  227. El Sid

    On a different note, H/T Galrahn for this by Rosa Brooks, former advisor at Pentagon/State, URL is pretty self-explanatory :


    Also a brief repeat from Thomas E. Ricks, formerly of WaPo : “Is readiness overrated? I suspect so. And by the way, keeping it is hugely expensive”


  228. Red Trousers

    Observer / El Sid,

    If (if…) it was a shoot down, by either Separatists or Soviets, then I’d expect Malaysia Airlines to be in a world of litigation from relatives of the dead for being so crass as to fly their planes on routes that only in the last few weeks have seen plenty of surface to air action. It’s a bit of a basic duty of care if you are a civil airline, and there’s lots of evidence out there that aviation authorities generally were saying “avoid”. Then there will be a counter-suit from MAS saying “you only said it was advisory…”

    As a passenger, I think I would happily pony up extra cash if my plane flew a longer route to avoid being shot down, but as a passenger, I also don’t get consulted on this sort of risk mitigation planning, nor even know what the planned routing is. But for an airline, it should be pretty basic stuff.

  229. Observer

    My evaluation is that MAS is pretty much almost dead. Even before MH 370, it was skating along the border of insolvency. It survived the MH 370 fiasco, and now this turns up. Won’t be too far a stretch for people to start seeing it as a “cursed” airline. Going to be bad for the overall tourist industry in Asia for the next few months. Thailand, MH 370, now MH 17.

  230. Jonathan

    Very tragic, thoughts to all the families. Does not look good for MAS, the separatists or Russia. Sad truth is I doubt it will make any difference to the situation on the ground.

  231. Kent

    IF this was NOT a shoot-down, it was the unluckiest failure in the history of airline operations. My opinion based on the little information out there is that someone screwed the pooch big-time on the separatist side and launched a real SAM thinking that they were shooting at a recon bird. (Don’t think the Russians would be that stupid.)

  232. Peter Elliott

    Sadly I think a lot of serious weapons have been funnelled to people who (a) do not have much formal military training and (b) aren’t following any king of organised ROE anyway.

    Its a blame management exercise from here on in. But I can’t see it going well for the Russian interest.

  233. Mark

    The Ukrainian mess just became very real in western capitals, terrible tragedy are unfortunately what it takes to get people round a table to trash out a deal to end whatever is going on.

    I assume NATO has been continuing with awac survalliance over the area hopefully one was up and clarity can be brought to situation. I am surprised a notam for airliners to avoid the area is not in place.

  234. mike

    Just to add, a facebook post by one of the ‘seperatist’ laders;


    In short, Its been said that he is boasting about shooting down a Ukrainian Army transport aircraft, after ~20 mins, he removed it.

  235. Chuck



    Summaries of the shooting of Igor
    17.07.2014 17:50 (MSK) Message from the militia.

    “In the area Torrez just downed plane An-26, lying somewhere in the mine” Progress. ”
    Also warned – do not fly in “our sky.”
    And here is the confirmation of the next video “ptichkopada.”
    Bird fell for waste heap, the residential sector is not caught. Civilians are not injured.

    And also have information about the second downed aircraft, like the Su. ”


    17.07.2014. In Tores downed plane 1:12


    In the area of ​​Snow Ukrainian militiamen shot down plane 17.07.2014 0:58


    Those vids are now confirmed to be the boeing crash site so pretty damning. Googlecache of same page; http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?hl=en&q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fvk.com%2Fwall-57424472_7256

  236. Obsvr

    Buk is a fairly complex system in that it involves several vehicles and crews with different roles, this type of system requires a fair amount of training to operate. Pantsir 1 might be a different matter altogether, it has the height and range capability, but not long range like Bur, and being all on a single vehicle makes it much easier to assemble a crew with the necessary skills.

  237. Chuck

    The version stolen by the rebels was a TELAR. Built in radar http://rusvesna.su/news/1404041521 (same link from earlier showing what they have). Better view from wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buk_missile_system#mediaviewer/File:Buk-M1-2_9A310M1-2.jpg Plastic looking lump just in front of and below of missiles on turret is the radar. Capable of single vehicle engagement. The surveillance radar, command post and TEL vehicles you’re thinking of, increase the coverage area, missile count and C3I but aren’t necessary to fire the TELAR version.

    Also worth mentioning many of the rebels have professional military experience. Many defected from the Ukrainian army at the start of all this. Numbers, experience and on what systems is purely supposition, but they aren’t all just armed civilians, they’ve proven capable of operating many other complex weapon systems. That’s before we even get to Russian support

  238. Obsvr

    There is a huge difference between having ‘professional military expertise’ and having the trained teams and units able to operate a complex air defence system.

    I think there are three possibilities, first a single vehicle system, ie a 3 or 4 man crew able to detect a target and engage it. This could be rebel or a Russian unit close to the border that has got carried away with populist Russian stories and assumed a hostile aircraft or even that everything western is anti-Russian. Third is a Russian AD unit with a complex AD system that made wrong assumptions based on inadequate information and/or poor procedures.

    Note that Russian forces have always relied on mass not skill.

  239. The Ginge

    Dear All
    Can I firstly pass on my condolences to the victims of this terrible action.
    However I do think having seen some of the reaction (in the analogue world actually talking to people!) people are getting immune to commercial aircraft coming down for non-technical reasons. In any other time this would have been the precursor/reason for war. Over 295 dead because of the actions of Russian proxy army in the Ukraine.
    When this first started some time ago I advocated a hard line against Russia. Now that I took some flak over that, but without being reined in Russia/Putin now feels free to equip, train, supply logistical support and supply technical expertise to the rebels in Ukraine. The fact is states need to be held accountable for proxy armies they support. A similar argument could be had with Saudi Arabia for Isis and Pakistan for the modern Taliban, Iran for Hezbollah etc etc.
    The fact is that states are getting away with conducting wars with the West and non-aligned countries not prepared to call them on it. This must be enough is enough. The west needs to use this chance to toughen the stance against Russia and use it diplomatically to work with the Bric countries to stop Russia getting in to bed with them to get around Western sanctions. They should be reminded you are either with us or against us on Russia and if you decide not to implement sanctions against Russia we will take economic actions against you.
    Closer to home we should;
    1. Freeze shares and assets of all Russian individuals unless they are publically prepared to criticize Putin and the regime in Moscow and become EU citizens paying taxes here. London will suffer for this.
    2. No military assistance at all. Do not supply Mistral class ships and training to Russia. France will suffer a cost. Which the UK could help our newest partner buy replacing Ocean with one of the built Mistral class at cost, and gain political capital for the upcoming EU renegotiations.
    3. We plan for and implement switching off Gazprom supplies from Germany and central Europe. This will take a huge effort on the part of the US/UK/Norway and maybe the UAE to supply the Gas needed whilst fracking in Poland/UK/Germany gets underway to permanently replace Russian gas.
    4. Supply as much non-lethal support to Ukrainian as possible to defeat the Russian/Rebel forces in the east and start EU succession plans as quickly as possible.
    We need to take action otherwise this is just an accident happening in slow motion, when we will hit the barrier, come around and go “how the hell did that happen” the “West” needs to act in a united fashion with actions not with words, because Russia just ignores words as will China. Better to tackle this now with a little pain than keep putting it off because we don’t like the consequences now, but believe me in 5yrs time they will be 100% worse. Learn from history that tyrants/nut cases or whatever you wish to call them will soft soap you with excuses every time until it’s your turn to get hit over the head by which point it’s too late.

  240. Mike wheatley

    I’m surprised no-one else has mentioned this yet:

    In particular:
    “Some additional notes. The major interest of ministers and the space industry in a UK spaceport is as a facility to enable satellite launches, rather than passenger space tourism. It can be hard sometimes to find a berth for your satellite on a carrier rocket – witness last week’s launch of the British-built TechDemoSat and UKube missions on a Russian Soyuz vehicle.”

    The vehicles being mentioned are Space Ship 2, Ascender, and Skylon. Now, Virgin Galactic is all about passengers, as is Ascender. Also, the latter is expected to only need a 2600m runway, as opposed to the 3000m runway that HMG requires – but is very much a ‘paper’ design anyway.
    So that rather tells me that this is all about Skylon, and is a big HMG vote of confidence in the Saber engine. As in a ‘flying by 2022’ vote of confidence.

    Of course, this is entirely academic, since there is no possible military use for a plane that goes at mach 5.4 in the air, and up to 7.8 km/s in space, and a global range. Flying by 2022. Nope, none at all.

  241. Observer

    ” In any other time this would have been the precursor/reason for war.”

    I disagree Gringe, passenger liners have been shot down before without a war, Iran Air Flight 665 by the USS Vincennes, Korean Air 007 by the Soviets.

    As much as I would like to see Russia out of the Ukraine, there isn’t much that can be done that has not been done without turning the conflict into a much more serious issue than it already is. It would be ironic if the iconic NATO vs Warsaw Pact conflict took place only after the Cold War was over for decades. The Ukrainians have to settle this for themselves, you’re limited to slipping them weapons and money.

  242. The Other Chris

    Bryan McGrath over at Information Dissemination was amongst a group of notables invited to testify before the HASC Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee on the subject of UCLASS.

    He’s very kindly supplied his written statement:


    Of note in the introductory paragraph before the statement:

    “Brimley, Martinage, and I were in lock-step agreement that a UCLASS requirement that overly privileges ISR at the cost of contested strike is not only wasteful and duplicative, but strategically unwise.”

  243. Chris

    Pictures posted supposedly of the Buk TELAR vehicle being moved to the site where it was said the missile was launched yesterday: http://sprotyv.info/ru/news/2426-foto-kolonny-rossiyskih-terroristov-perevozivshey-zrk-buk-k-mestu-strelby-po-malaziyskomu

    Its not exactly a subtle system; I am still keeping an open mind on the use of SA-11/17 if only because you would have thought someone somewhere would have a photo of the missile’s smoke trail? This shows some launches: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N5M-grl4Hc – the long white streak would have been a giveaway had it been presented as evidence of Ukrainian faction culpability (surely each side monitors the other closely?). Indeed both videos posted of the crash (one from time of impact, the other a bit later) show no sign of missile trails or indeed of a trail of smoke from the falling plane.

    Open mind then; SAM and on-board terrorist probably more likely than aircraft failure, but any are possible.

  244. tweckyspat

    Anyone else spot Ukrainian (rebels?) Around the mh17 crash site in UK surplus desert DPM gear… Including TRFs/DZ flashes. I swear I saw a RAF regt flash on the cordon. Didn’t have faux-kleys so clearly wasn’t genuine rockape….

  245. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Thread – Remember me banging on about how the Czars used Cossacks to provide plausible deniability whilst realising imperial ambitions? Just heard the Ukrainian seperatists using just that term whist discussing this event with Czar Putin’s Army across the border…never been more sorry I spoke… :-(


  246. WiseApe

    Unimaginable horror for those onboard – and a tough first day at the office for Hammond.

  247. Simon257

    @ Tweckyspat

    Yes I saw him as well!

    I must say, I did hear some twaddle spoken last night on BBC Radio FiveLive. One so called expert said that a “Swingfire Rapier mounted on a Land Rover would have been able to shoot it down at that height”! The Twat then argued with a chap from Jane’s guided Missile dept, that it couldn’t possible be anything but a Manpad!

  248. Chuck

    Everytime I see military experts on telly I seriously consider doing the job myself.




    How did you even…


    Tends to be the pattern.

    The paucity of good journalism in the media nowadays is shameful. Has the BBC noticed that the Rebels have Buk and have had it since the 29th and already used it before yesterday(AN-26 at 21l ft a few days back). They were bragging about it til yesterday.

    Then again nowadays the BBC won’t state anything as fact nowadays they seem content to just read out everyone’s press releases.

  249. The Other Chris

    USN evaluating Brimstone!

    I think this is great news for them. They’ve been lacking a weapon to replace Maverick for a while.

    Although the Super Hornet is pictured sporting them (great to see UK missiles dominating an American fast jets pylons!) it’s also likely to be exactly what the US MPA pilot (linked above) is asking to be equipped on the remaining P-3C’s and the new P-8A’s:


    Hat Tip to Sol’s blog for the link.

  250. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Caliph Ibrahim used Friday Prayers to inform the Dhimmi that they must convert to Islam, register to pay the JIzya, or expect to be put to the sword…nothing like multi-culturalism in action in lands ruled by the Religion of Peace is there? :-)


  251. Chris

    ElSid – so that’s $190 for 5 sheets of sticky-back printed vinyl to decorate a $10 cardboard box to make it look like an ISO container but which doesn’t stand close inspection. And the finished $200 item is still a cardboard box of uncertain loadbearing and water-resisting capabilities – just what’s needed for a coffee table. This is a masterful triumph of image over practicality – it will do well in these modern days…

  252. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @El Sid…extremely cool, and I’m not normally a really serious ISO fan, more a dilettante…bet TD has ordered his by now! :-)


  253. El Sid

    Careful @GNB, you’re being sucked in! It starts with a coffee table, then you enter a downward spiral of getting one as a shed, then you’ll find yourself making a house out of containers, before you know it you’ll find yourself at Containers Anonymous…

    I’m guessing that anyone prepared to spend £110 on the stickers can also afford to upgrade from a $10 cardboard box to £40-worth of wood. Of course the true container aficionado would insist on Corten….

  254. All Politicians are the Same

    Well Phil picked a good week to take over at the Foreign Office. He has summoned the Russian Ambassador to explain Russia’s reaction to the crash.

  255. Oscar Zulu

    RIP to all victims of flight MH 17 and condolences to their families in all of the nations affected.

    Thirty seven Australians, including three children, amongst those murdered in mid air by Russians. Greatest loss of Australian civilian life since the Bali bombings.


    Huge groundswell of opinion building in Australia to prevent Putin from attending the G20 in Brisbane. Its obscene that this murderer should be allowed to set foot in the same city grieving for its citizens he is directly implicated in killing.


    Yet more Australians being killed over some pointless European war because Europeans can’t sort their own s**t out. Been happening since 1915.

    An unbelivebly angry and outraged Oscar Zulu.

  256. ArmChairCivvy

    My favourite book is The Battle of Sydney.

    The Americans decided not to attend at Coral Sea, because their security concerns really were elsewhere… the rest is easy to imagine (the book must be available still, too).
    – security is undivided?
    – I just posted about the the hypocritical statement Putin made at the end of the BRICS summit “we belong bcz we want to promote the rule of law”

    Would be good if Australia banned him; let’s see if there would be any lackeys turning up to lob for moving the Summit elsewhere. Today’s world affords far too many opportunities for *not* showing the true colours, and a test would be called for.

  257. Jonathan

    I’ve just read an new article in the June UKdefencejournal which stated that the type 26 will be equipped with 28 mk41 launchers. Now I’ve not found any published official decision on the number or type of the strike length launcher for the type 26. Have I missed something or has the article just made an assumption ?

  258. ChrisM

    Just looking through the previously linked
    and this caught my eye on page 37 about challenges facing the RAF, with regard to MH370
    “Questions remain unanswered as to how the aircraft was able to continue flying and even change course without anyone being able to track it for a worryingly long period of time. This perhaps represents the most serious challenge because it suggests almost any electronic defence could be breached by asymmetric action – a fact that is playing on the minds of air power tacticians”
    It is a bit scary that serious military types aren’t writing this off as regional incompetence but consider it their most serious challenge….

  259. Observer

    Well ChrisM, part of the problem was not that they did not detect it or could not track it when it was within range, apparently the MAF *ignored* it because it was an unarmed civilian plane, while their mandate is to protect from armed aggressors and that it wasn’t going anywhere critical.

    I do have some sympathy to that point of view, I mean, how many people have the time and luxury of doing things that are not related to their job while on the clock? In fact, if a sentry is so easily distracted by any casual thing going by, it also means that he can be easily distracted from his main job of guarding a location doesn’t it?

  260. The Other Chris

    Still impressed that the A-10C is surviving for another year!

    DOD FY15 budget details:


    There’s strong discussion about the slaying of sacred cows in the UK. The A-10 is definitely one of them from a US perspective.

    It’s a phenomenal example of engineering, performs the low level CAS role arguably superior than any other air vehicle in existence or planned.

    The main problem it faces is that aircraft performing low level CAS (and Strike) have suffered disproportionate fleet damage resulting in a severe lack of mission availability when not operating in a permissive environment.

  261. Chris

    Always a bit sad watching anything coming to the end of the road and being sent for scrap. In the case of the ferry in the video I think it took me and car on holiday many times. Oh well…

  262. monkey

    Why did you have to post this? You will set GNB off again about the Caliphate of ISIS taking over Rhodes again :-)

  263. Challenger


    28 is admittedly an odd number but are you sure what you read didn’t specify what the T26 could potentially be equipped with instead of what it’s actually going to be designed and built with in UK service?

    I think their are a few rumours flying around at the moment but i’d rather wait for official confirmation.

  264. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Monkey – I will treat that remark with a dignified silence and return to my research… :-)


  265. Mark


    Taranis uses high levels of automation throughout its specified mission. As well as making use of automated taxi, landing and takeoff profiles, it has been designed to fly a programmed path, generate an attack profile based on the targets it sees with its sensors and then engage.

    If necessary, Taranis will produce a bomb damage assessment and re-attack. At every stage of the flight, the aircraft is capable of dealing with pop-up threats, indicating that it is fitted with electronic surveillance measures. It can also devise an alternate route to minimize exposure to air defenses.

    Chris Boardman, managing director at BAE Systems Military Aircraft hinted that Taranis could form the basis of a future platform, describing it as being at a more “advanced stage of technology development than the Experimental Aircraft Program (EAP) had been to the current Eurofighter Typhoon.”

  266. Jonathan

    @the other Chris and challenger

    They have a new graphic of the type 26 labeled as of June 2014. The graphic shows three eight cell mk 41s in a line port to starboard, placed behind the camm launchers. The text description of 24 mk 41 cells is definitive, not potential.

    But agree, I can find no official clarification.

  267. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Jonothan

    24 makes a lot more sense than 28 as i believe (though not definitively) that they come in 8 cell blocks. Interestingly enough every configuration i could find worked as pure divisions of 8 apart from flight 1 Arleigh Burkes with 1 29 cell silo and 1 61 cell silo?

  268. The Other Chris

    Yes, the 24 cell was the most recent one. Wouldn’t take them as gospel, more an indicative layout for now.

  269. Challenger


    As The Other Chris said it’s the latest layout and design configuration, not necessarily the final one. Plus as i said earlier it could well be a case of showing potential foreign customers the ships potential with what ‘could’ be installed. Although i didn’t read the article myself so i’m purely speculating.

  270. NOt a Boffin

    Mk41 launchers all come in 8 cell (4 x 2) blocks, irrespective of length. The example APATS quotes above are where three cells of a block in one “farm” were at one time given over to a RAS crane. That’s no longer used because they figured out that trying to RAS the things in any sort of wind or sea was racy and that it was better to bring three extra missiles instead. I think your Flight 1 ABs must be listed in a source that hasn’t corrected that. Although even LMs own data sheet references a 122-cell system (CG52 on).


  271. Mike Wheatley

    Re: type-26 VLS:

    Further more, the Mk-41 is noticeably (50%) larger than the Sylver, and my understanding is that the type-26 designs show either 24 Sylver (3 x 8) or 16 Mk-41 (2 x 8) on the basis that different nations may prefer either option.
    It all comes down to:
    – What missiles do you actually _really_ want to fire from the Type-26? (As opposed to just ‘nice to have’).
    And I’m going to pre-empt that answer by going to the next question:
    – What is the actual volume cost of Scalp Navale vs. TacTom? What are their actual ranges? How beneficial is the stealth of the Scalp Navale in reality?

    Rather than endlessly arguing on forums about which is better (like I’d have the data to assess it!) – I would just expect that the MoD will hold a fair competition between them.
    We can always swap the VLS later, if we need to, y’know. (The cost of integrating the electronics of a new missile seems significantly larger than the cost of the VLS hardware.)

  272. All Politicians are the Same


    Dimensions for single 8 cell block of Sylver 70 are Length 2.6M Width 2.3M Height 7.0M Weight 12T

    For Mk 41 a single 8 cell block are Length 2.1M Width 3.2M Height 7.7M Weight ???

    So whilst an 8 cell block of MK41 is 40% wider than the equivalent 8 cell block of Sylver 70 the actual number we are looking at is 90cm. So 3 Sylver 70 blocks without spacing take up 6.9m width 3 MK 41 takes up 8.9M and 2 take up 6.4M. Interesting.

  273. The Other Chris

    The difference is largely due to the alternate approaches in managing the exhaust mass that each system takes.

    Mk.41 uses channels shared between each block of 8 cells (the vent is between the two rows of 4), whereas each Sylver cell manages its own exhaust mass.

    There’s dimension implications as already indicated.

    The differences also affect salvo launch considerations.

    With Mk.41 you have a limit on the amount of exhaust mass that can be managed by the shared venting system at any one time. Sylver doesn’t have that restriction as each cell manages the exhaust mass of its own payload.

  274. Observer


    “A member of the international monitoring team said pieces of the wreckage had been cut into and changed, possibly to remove bodies. ”


    It has to be cut sooner or later unless you really like your lawn ornaments big. And burnt. And in pieces. Not to mention black box recovery, those tend to be put in the places most likely to survive, hence the most likely to still remain in one piece, and need to be cut out.

  275. Chuck

    I’d believe they had good intentions if they hadn’t blocked access to the site by the people whose actual job it was until after they were finished.

    Every crime scene needs cleaning up, doesn’t mean the main suspects should do it while the investigators are sidelined. Stinks to high heaven as far as I’m concerned. If the rebels really wanted to help they should have put up a solid cordon and given investigators instant access.

    None of your logic addresses the removal of parts of the plane from the site either. Which the OCSE alleges.

  276. Observer

    APATS I’m not really trusting of those rebels. I really think it would be best for those who want to be Russian to be driven back across the border, but 2 wrongs don’t make a right, and it’s our morals and mentality that I’m worried about. Kangaroo courts, while human, don’t usually have much to do with justice and a lot more to do with bias, -cisms of one sort or another, vengeance and injustice.

    Do the job, but do it right.

    And propaganda, both East and West, are there to twist our minds, take care, in media, there are no “good guys”.

  277. Observer

    Spam eating monster, curse you!!! That was not spam!

    Bacon maybe, but not spam!!! :)

  278. Chris

    Jules – look on the bright side – MOD has muttered the last of the three might not be for razor blades, but sent off to be a museum instead; no indication of where that might be yet. At her home port in the defunct Pompy shipbuilding docks? In Newcastle where she was built? Port Stanley?

  279. Jules

    I don’t get that melancholy over old ships but sending the Ark for Razorblades was a bit brutal, it should of any of the three been the museum, just because it’d be the one the average joe would want to go and see.
    It should become an artificial reef somewhere, if we really want a museum ship we should have a nice word with the INS if they ever get finished with Hermes, I mean what a ship!
    Stick it in the Thames and use it for a static LPH next time we have a biggie going on in the capital and a museum the rest of the time.
    Imagine the howls of protest if we even put an Airfix model of Illustriuos in the FL!
    Makes it almost worth doing…

  280. The Other Chris

    Insitu Integrator Block 2 has flown for 24 hours straight.

    Great write-up and summary of the capabilities:


    Insitu’s own website contains further brochure-goodness and some high definition close-ups of the aircraft, launch and recovery systems together with videos:


    Integrator is the platform that the USMC use for their RQ-21A Blackjack drone. Note the additions of communications relaying and AIS equipment to assist in both the marine environment and provide communications extensions in remote areas:


    The Integrator is larger than the ScanEagle currently being operated by the Royal Navy as part of a UOR. ScanEagle and Integrator use the same Ground Control Stations, Mark 4 Launchers and Skyhook recovery systems:


  281. monkey

    Terrible atrocities happening in EU waters illustrates just how poorly monitored the Med is, this ship sailed from somewhere near or from Syria and proceeded past several NATO nations without inspection . Perhaps we should turn poachers into gamekeepers and hire Somalian pirates and their kit to monitor,find and board and search our waters for us, they would probably do a better job. 80,000 have landed in Italy so far this year, (3,000 in one day) up from a peak of 61,000 in 2011 as a whole ,remember its still July.

  282. x

    @ monkey

    Not a fan of the idea of buying OPVs because that is what we need style thinking. But we Northern Europeans are going to have start taking this situation seriously and start deploying assets to help the Italians and the Maltese. Better patrols now than riots here in a decade or so’s time.

  283. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Monkey

    “Terrible atrocities happening in EU waters illustrates just how poorly monitored the Med is, this ship sailed from somewhere near or from Syria and proceeded past several NATO nations without inspection ”

    It was a large boat that sailed from Tunisia, the picture does not reflect the type of vessels. So it actually passed no NATO countries. Unless we can get the North African states to buy into “policing” their own waters then we are onto a loser as the sheer amount of traffic makes a conventional response almost impossible.

    The number of assets required to conduct the Libyan maritime blockade was huge and we simply could not maintain that sort of net along the whole North African coast.

    So you police their entry points but being human beings once you detect a boat full of half dead migrants that are in a vessel that is in no shape to make it half way back, what do you do? You take them ashore and that is how many of the landings take place.

    It is an extremely complex issue that would not be solved by deploying 6 or 12 or even 18 OPVsas the routes would simply move, often wider gaps resulting in a comforting decrease in migrants arriving but a huge increase in those dying at sea.

  284. Chuck

    It really is terrible down there. I’m not sure what we can do though. It’s a job for Naval/Coastguard ships, OPV’s won’t cut it(you need speed, capacity, sensors and the ability to conduct SAR realistically), but everyone in Europe has slashed their fleets to the bone and to actually start saving lives we’re going to need to send a fair few for a fair while.

    Unless we can choke it off at the source, but that seems less likely than suddenly finding ships to patrol. Can’t see any kind of deterrence having much effect either, seeing as them dying hundreds at a chop isn’t doing it. These are truly desperate people.

    That’s not even touching on what to do with them once they’re back on dry land. Which a whole other kettle of fish and just as serious.

  285. monkey

    I can only agree that what ever we do it will only probably make the death rate increase,I was just shooting off the hip as it were. I suspect the Italians and Maltese are pretty much gear more towards rescuing these poor individuals than actually stopping them. In terms of prevention the originator Countries where the migrates initially arrive and then springboard over to the EU need some of that funding talked about on another thread to help them secure their borders but even the good old USA cannot seal its southern border. Perhaps its lack of need to seal its northern border is the example (the longest undefended border in the world) make the host Nations so good and prosperous that when they turn up in Tunis they don’t want to leave

  286. x

    You can never plug the gaps with more ships. But you have to a tangible symbol of resolve in theatre to transmit a message to whomever runs these countries. Isn’t that the reality of military power, symbolism?

  287. Chuck

    @X: It’s never going to be a perfect barrier, but they could save lives and prevent the further horrors these people often face when they reach Europe; “Welcome to Italy, btw you’re a sex slave now” and all the other horrors unscrupulous men can come up with to make a buck. The symbolism can certainly help too.

    Making the ocean crossing unattractive enough to the traffickers that they revert to much longer land routes would probably save thousands of lives and spread the burden among nations. Hardly the most desirable end state but maybe the best start we can hope for.

    Ultimately this kind of thing will keep happening until we can get our head around this; Taking great pains to make our lands one of the nicest places to live in the world then being surprised that people really want to live here cognitive dissonance and come up with some kind of joined up policy.

    Currently Europe’s policy on this generally seems to amount to “We believe in the free movement of people, but not you people” and flailing around wildly. There’s no real joined up response or any kind of political leadership on the matter.

  288. All Politicians are the Same

    “It’s never going to be a perfect barrier, but they could save lives and prevent the further horrors these people often face when they reach Europe; “Welcome to Italy, btw you’re a sex slave now” and all the other horrors unscrupulous men can come up with to make a buck. The symbolism can certainly help too.”

    There is a major prostitution problem in southern Italy but they are smuggled from eastern Europe either by land or through Albania and across the Adriatic.

    I think you fail to grasp the sheer amount of assets that would be required to make the sea route unattractive, the people doing the smuggling do not care about losses, they never go to sea they simply use cheaply paid thugs and N African boat owners desperate for money. At the moment we know they generally head for Lampedusa, Pantelleria or Malta. they frequently start sending out distress signals when they are 40 miles away in order to be rescued and taken ashore on an Italian island.

    During Unified Protector we had 6-8 escorts, 1 or 2 submarines, 24 hours AWAC coverage, 12-18 hours a day worth of MPA coverage, a lot of rotary wing support and we were still getting refugees from Libya.

  289. x

    @ Chuck

    That is what I said further up. You can only have so many ships on patrol. It may make only a few percentage points difference to the whole, but at least there is a line. It allows one off blitz operations and other concentrations of force. Just shrugging shoulders and kicking it down the line isn’t a solution either. you have to advance on all fronts. I will stick my neck out and say this was of IIs isn’t about fear of persecution (or security) or famine but mostly economic. What do we want the next generation to inherit? And what will they have to for our failure to act now?

  290. Jonathan


    Yes stick a light gun on the front, stingray tubes on the back….call them flowers…..job done, save a fortune compared to comissioning a load of type 26s.

  291. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Thread – What I always find a puzzle is that despite the unimaginable horror and vileness of being subject to a European Empire…especially ours…lots of the people who threw off our hideous shackles are now determined to expend both treasure and sometimes blood to live in our vicious, unjust and racist hell-hole…

    A kind of advanced Stockholm Syndrome I guess. :-)


  292. monkey

    It’s like the old joke about an elderly Russian Jew who has finally made it to Isreal from the old Soviet Union being interviewed by Israeli TV, they ask him what is so different here to there, he proceeds to moan that now he has to pay rent ,taxes, for electricity etc , puzzled the reporter asks him why he came then , he replied “when you knocked on the door I wasn’t afraid”

  293. Chuck

    Maybe we should get back into the empire business? Everyone else seems to be, the yanks never quit, Russia’s back in the game. China’s giving it a whirl.

    A friendlier more PC empire of course, with voting, the NHS and all that good stuff. Would sort a lot of budget issues. We were pretty good at it, when we were paying attention at least. Gloss over a little mass murdering here, little torturing there, lots of invading everywhere.

    Britain your friendly neighbourhood imperial power. We’ll be nicer this time. We promise. Buy one get one free on hospitals for the 5 customers, I mean members :P

    Ok I’m getting desperate looking for excuses for a bigger military now aren’t I?

    I do wonder what would of happened if we’d had the courage of our convictions and gone yep you all get MP’s, citizenship, rights and all the other good stuff the mainland gets. Enjoy chaps. Rather than the colonial, racist nonsense that doomed us(well at least played a big part). I do think there was a point where a decent chunk of them would of happily joined the UK as equal members, with the appropriate levels of grovelling and cuddles. I love baby I can change.

  294. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Chuck – Not practical with big places like India – but I do think we could have made sense of a United Kingdom including various useful Islands and small places with good harbours…and if we really wanted to go in that direction, we could probably have a chat with Sierra Leone and British Somaliland even now to start the ball rolling…I’d guess the BOT’s would be shoo-ins. Maybe even Malta might want to think again, bearing in mind where this line of thinking started. :-)


  295. Chuck

    I’m sure there’s a few on China’s doorstep that would enjoy finding themselves under our nuclear umbrella so long as the terms were fair.

    Back in reality I do think it’s a bloody shame we seem to completely forget about the commonwealth until sports day comes around. So much potential there for us and them on a whole range of issues. Seems everyone in London is pre-occupied with the EU(for and against), forgetting we’re already in another club, quite a large one in fact. Covering a quarter of the Earth, with 2.5billion people, most of whom share our goals and many of whom dare I say, even like us. Yet it sits slowly withering on the vine.

  296. The Other Chris

    P.1154 is definitely one of Sandys victims that is often forgotten.

    The BS.100 engine was very impressive (I’m admittedly heavily biased!) although the plenum chamber burning caused problems with the linings as well as hot gas ingestion problems in the hover. Something that the LiftFan system avoids.

    It was the highest thrust to weight ratio jet engine built until the F119 in the F-22.

  297. Chris

    TOC, x – I’m sure the plans exist still (unlike plans/parts lists/jigs/tools/components of TSR-2 thanks to HM Government infantile stroppy policy) and with modern materials and whizzy CFD I’m sure all the problems would go away. Make the price about 30% F-35 and watch the customers queue to buy?

  298. Nick

    X et al

    Any idea why LM went down the lift fan route instead of a Harrier style design (hot exhaust might be one reason, although I have read the F35 suffers from that anyway).

    Given the short rolling carrier landing has been proposed/tested to increase maximum bring-back capacity, I also wonder if you’ design the F35 B differently if you could start again.

  299. The Other Chris


    I’d like to see the Taranis program split into two: High performance supersonic platform and a Pegasus/BS.100-style powered STOVL platform.

    Placement of rotating nozzles while maintaining LO would be a very interesting engineering challenge for those involved. Maybe even the kind of problem space where some extremely innovative solutions are produced.


    Wasn’t there discussion of Lithuania purchasing our FV432’s recently?

  300. The Other Chris


    Yes. Hover duration and hot gas exhaust ingestion limiting hover power.

    Pegasus solves the hot gas ingestion issue by using bypass air from the fan in the front two nozzles, however the design suffers temperature problems requiring water to be injected from tanks during the hover. Harrier has about 90 seconds worth of water available.

    The LiftFan allows for far longer hover duration and avoids hot gas ingestion allowing higher power in the hover. It has its own design/concept issues, namely carrying around “dead weight” of the equipment when not hovering and consuming internal volume that is used for fuel tanks in the A and C variants.

  301. Simon

    Could have gone for a 3 bearing swivel nozzle at the end with rotating forward nozzles (like Harrier) at the front. Front would be cool, rear would be hot. Separation of hot and cold would have been greater than Harrier. Air could be taken in from above (like F35). Nozzles could swivel back into recesses for stealth with cool air column round hot tail plume to reduce IR sig. Standard afterburner could have been used. No dead weight. Still supersonic. Still stealthy.

    Internal payload would have been a little difficult though ;-)

  302. Nick


    Thanks. If you wanted STOL via the rotating exhaust but not V/STOL would you change the design ?

  303. DavidNiven


    I’m not not sure, the article says they are looking at replacing their M113’s so I presumed they were going for something more modern.

  304. The Other Chris

    On the topic of designing an F-35B from scratch? There’s an assumption there that the B won’t be more than capable.

    Two approaches to an alternative:


    LiftFan approach in the F-35B is actually a pretty great concept. You can take the engine system and just ditch all the baggage that comes with the A and C designs.

    Wait! Shock! I know the B is blamed for compromising the A and C however there’s equipment and design choices that impact the B as well. Why does the B need the weight of the tail hook strengtheing and the volume and void taken up by the tailhook store and LO doors for example?

    Why does the B need the volume and void taken up by the Boom refuelling of the A?


    Pegasus approach. I’d revisit the plenum chamber burning (PCB) concept of the BS.100 engine. My grandfather was of the opinion that the team could overcome the PCB issues (a materials problem) and that repositioning of the intakes to the top of the P.1154 (as Simon also concludes) would have mitigated hot gas ingestion.

    I’d take this one step further and look at pre-coolers. Think along the lines of Skylon/SABRE/REL cooling the air for the engine. It wasn’t a technology line that was available in the 50’s, Alan Bond’s team hit the issues in the late 70’s.

    Modern boundary layer turbine design and FADEC monitoring/control with cooler air coming from the pre-cooler might also eliminate the problems of hover temperatures allowing us to ditch the water tanks needed for the hover.

    Then consider clever door arrangements for the rotating nozzles in the underside of a LO wing with the nozzles normally aligned above the wing.

    Maybe even look at channelling nozzle exhaust through ducting in the wings to reduce temperatures and provide bleed-air control surfaces as per BAE’s Demon UAV test bed.

    EDIT: Just to clarify, reason for the need for PCB rather than standard reheat is the imbalance of power between nozzles. Long term goal of the BS.100 project to have PCb in the front nozzles and reheat for the rear.

  305. Observer

    Nick, actually the answer is much simpler than technical concerns. :)

    The F-35B is actually a heavily modified derivative of the Yak 141 design which LM started on a co-operative venture with Yakolev and when the 141 folded, LM simply reused the plans for the lift fan in the F-35B.

    Go look at the engine and nozzle of the Yak-141 and compare it with the F-35B.

  306. The Other Chris

    The YAK-141 doesn’t use a cold-air LiftFan like the F-35B, that (and extending the nozzle to three-bearing from two) was the innovation added to the design rights they bought.

    The YAK uses a pair of small turbojets which suffers the hot gas ingestion problem.

  307. Jules

    @The other Chris

    Boundary layer how very Cavalier, or is that Buccaneer!

    In order to dramatically improve aerodynamic performance at slow speeds, such as during take-off and landing, “Blackburn adopted a new aerodynamic control technology, known as boundary layer control (BLC). BLC bled high pressure air directly from the engines, which was “blown” against various parts of the aircraft’s wing surfaces. A full-span slit along the part of the wing’s trailing edge was found to give almost 50% more lift than any contemporary scheme. In order to counteract the severe pitch movements that would otherwise be generated by use of BLC, a self-trimming system was interconnected with the BLC system and additional blowing of the wing’s leading edge was also introduced. The use of BLC allowed the use of slats to be entirely discarded in the design.”
    Even though I read the book, I never realised How much more lift they got, I knew that it was substantial but not 50% better than everyone else!
    Take it a couple of stages further and your’e there but I’m sure modern materials would better cope with Plenum Burning, the idea was always good, it would be a fab addition to a UCAV For the carriers…

  308. Observer

    ToC, which still does not detract from the point that it was a reused design, though one heavily modernized and upgraded.

  309. Nick

    (TO) Chris

    I was wondering how much the lift fan is needed to generate additional lift on a slow forward moving short rolling landing implicit in the latest BAe thinking.

    If you didn’t design in the vertical landing specification requirement, with relaxed control plus some ducted lift from the wing nozzles (and perhaps some form of thrust reversal structure) would you be able to design the F35B to do short rolling landings without the lift fan mechanism. Whilst vertical deck landing (and perhaps forward operating bases) is very nice to have, with the much larger deck size of QE/PoW do we really need it ?

    If you could do this, then the B design would be closer to the A/C models with better fuel loan and full size weapons bays.

  310. The Other Chris

    The objective of SRVL is to land with as much as possible in as short a distance as possible.

    To keep it as short as possible you need the normal F-35B’s vertical landing power, plus enough lift from moving forward in order to land the extra stores that you would otherwise have had to dump into the sea before landing.

    (As is/was the case with Harrier/AV-8B+/YAK’s)

  311. Frenchie

    Uninteresting for you, but I give you the link anyway, this is our beautiful truck ugly, the future VBMR, with comments in English with an accent very french, but better than my approximate English.

  312. monkey

    I once saw a TV show on building a skyscraper (stay with me) on the show it demonstrated how they tested the new lightweight glazing they were to use against a potential hurricane, they used a fire hose spraying water into the airstream generated by a propeller being driven by RR Merlin engine producing the require 100mph wind and rain effect required. It occurred to me that if a large ship mounted propeller ,such as a drive fan from a LCAC, could provide an air flow of 100mph combined with the ships forward motion could give an apparent wind over deck of 130mph. A conventional aircraft with the above mentioned boundary layer control could probably land . The current crop of STOVOL aircraft carry a weight/design penalty for 0.5% of their flight profile .
    Has this been tried?

  313. Not a Boffin

    “I was wondering how much the lift fan is needed to generate additional lift on a slow forward moving short rolling landing implicit in the latest BAe thinking.”

    SRVL is an exercise to utilise the residual lift you can get from the wing at lowish airspeeds to increase bring-back weights in particular environmental circumstances. It has a couple of implications :

    1. Because there is no method of stopping other than the brakes and you’re attempting to stop on a potentially crowded flightdeck full of aircraft, fuel, bombs and people, your speed relative to the deck needs to be within the capacity of the brakes to handle and not catastrophic if something goes a bit Pete.
    2. As you’re going well below the speed at which the wing/fuselage generates enough lift to support the weight of the cab and it’s bringback load, by definition you’re being supported to a large degree by the thrust of the engine, even accounting for sink rate.

    The thrust of the engine will (by and large) be directed near vertically, which will induce a longitudinal pitch moment about wherever the centre of pitch is at that airspeed. While the residual aerodynamic lift will counter some of that moment, it ain’t going to be enough to counteract the thrust induced moment on its own, which will lead to the cab pitching nose down and everyone suffering a light maiming to say the least. The lift fan is there just as much to provide a counter moment as it is to support weight.

    So no, you can’t take the lift fan off.

    “could provide an air flow of 100mph combined with the ships forward motion could give an apparent wind over deck of 130mph. A conventional aircraft with the above mentioned boundary layer control could probably land . The current crop of STOVOL aircraft carry a weight/design penalty for 0.5% of their flight profile .
    Has this been tried?”

    Have you ever tried standing in a sustained 30 knot wind? Let alone marshal an aircraft to a landing spot, parking spot?

  314. monkey

    On another side what happened to Heinz Erwin Frick’s idea ? Patent 2104014 the Harrier Skyhook , onshore testing was successful but the RN lost interest . Could this idea be revisited to enable support ships to refuel/rearm F35’s without them having to return to the CVF reducing deck handling and reducing the need for inflight refuelling . Escorts/RFA operating at distance from the fleet could be used to extend the F35 range whilst it provides CAP for them.

  315. Nick


    I understood that, but since the concept of short rolling landing was proved up using the Harrier



    I supposed it might be possible to do the same for the F35 without using the lift fan, but with the moveable exhaust and computer control. Given proving up this concept seems to post date the F35B design, might we have got a more capable STOL aircraft by ignoring the requirement for Vertical landing ?

  316. Nick


    No doubt you have answered my question, but since it seems it was possible with the Harrier, it follows that enhanced Harrier design might have been superior solution to that chosen if the preference for vertical landing had been dropped. We’ll never know either way.

  317. monkey

    Re the 30knt wind , yes I have , more than double that! And it was snowing and -15
    My bad on not thinking of the decks other occupants ,let alone marshalls, parked aircraft would need strapping down during the Landing Fans operation if mounted over the main deck. I was thinking of an extra deck area of the port side away from the main deck area wide enough to land on with aircraft then been taxied (with that little RC trolley they have built) onto the main deck when the fan has powered down. ( I imagine all sorts of implications to retro fit this but from first concept extra top weight excetra problems could be overcome I would of thought )
    Looking into this a bit further the USN looked into ducting the engine exhaust over the deck of a carrier design back in the 1920’s but those where ‘stringbags’ you could drop onto a dime with enough headwind ☺

  318. The Other Chris

    NaB is correct.

    It’s about the positioning of the vertical thrust.

    Harrier has four nozzles grouped around the centre of the aircraft that can be rotated downwards or backwards:


    F-35B has a LiftFan (blue exhaust) and a Nozzle (red exhaust) at virtually either end of the aircraft:

    F-35B thrust vectoring nozzle and LiftFan

    If you take away the LiftFan in the middle of the F-35B and point the rear nozzle downwards the whole aircraft would pitch over and nose dive.

    For completeness the YAK-141 is similar to the F-35B but has the two small turbojets in place of the LiftFan as mentioned above:


    The older YAK-38 is a halfway house between the Harrier and the YAK-141:


  319. x

    When I look back at Harrier, the Invincibles, and that war I do sometimes wonder, even though I know sort of why, given the success of the STOVL plane and carrier why didn’t the UK start on a replacement programme for Harrier? Especially given how far along P1154 was at the time of its cancellation. The Invincibles were still young but I wonder if there was any preliminary work done on the outline for the next carrier? We could already be living in age of a British (European?) supersonic STOVL plane flying off Cavour Plus like platforms with perhaps a third generation heliborne AEW capability too.

  320. A Different Gareth


    Have I understood what you are pondering: A STOL that uses the bendy jet exhaust at the back and uses the roll control ducts to provide cool lift air further forward?

    I’ve no idea if it could work but moving loads of air through relatively small ducts might be incredibly noisy and energy sapping. The aircraft would likely be unbalanced too unless you have nozzles on the ducts that can direct the airflow forwards.

    Nick said: “I understood that, but since the concept of short rolling landing was proved up using the Harrier”

    For the Harrier the two front nozzles are as important as the lift fan is on the F-35B.

    To work well I guess it would require starting with a clean sheet of paper, bigger ducts and a bigger front turbine to produce more cool lift air. You would at least do away with the excess weight of the lift fan. If a low observable design was wanted the turbine would be buried away at the rear of the aircraft. The combined lift/roll control nozzles would want to be further forward to provide better balance so a Y-shape arrangement might work, or a T shape in which the cool air is ducted forwards and then outwards.

    Moving into fantasy land you could push things even further if you had three rotating jet nozzles. Two forward facing nozzles at the front and one at the rear. The one at the rear working as it currently does. The two at the front having a dual function – in forward flight they provide additional air to the engine by adding it *behind* the front turbine and in hover or STOL modes they rotate downwards and act as an exhaust for cool lift air produced *by* the front turbine.

    I have been thinking lately that the lift fan and bendy jet technology should be exploited to as big a degree as possible. A lot of money has gone into developing the F-135 and F-136 and it would be a waste to not do so. From that I wondered if a jet plus two lift fans might be doable . Or a cargo aircraft with two jets and two lift fans, with the lift fans connected by a drive shaft so one jet failing allows you to keep three points of lift. You could also apply it helicopters by having small derivatives of the F-135/136 providing a variable mix of shaft hp and forward thrust. Stick them on Chinook and call it Rotodyne!

  321. DavidNiven


    Nice MRAP! ;-)

    ‘the company official added that RTD was confident BMX-01 would meet future British Army requirements (for the Future Protected Battlefield Ambulance: FPBFA) as currently written.’

    I hope so, what we need is another small fleet of niche vehicles.

  322. Nick


    Yes, exactly.

    The Other Chris and Not a Boffin have convinced me that computer control and relaxed stability etc wouldn’t permit the existing F35B existing design to undertake a short rolling landing a la the Harrier without the lift fan, which is what I wondered.

    Then if you did start with a clean piece of paper (but with the need to keep within the F35 A/C design envelope) without the specification of vertical landing (just SRL) that how might you do it ?

    It seems you’d need Harrier like central body lift ducts (but perhaps less thrust than the Harrier needed to develop here due to relaxed stability control). In addition, would C sized wings help by providing lower approach speed ? What about F8 Crusader like variable incidence wings instead ? I doubt you could make the “B” design penalty free, but the weight/space cost ought be lower than the existing design with its vertical landing spec surely ?

  323. The Other Chris


    Alongside the P.1154 always wondered what we could have done with the AW681, a Pegasus powered transport aircraft:


    There’s a model displayed at the Midland Air Museum:


    Another of Sandys victims, sacrificed in place of the Hercules (which did prove a success).

    Imagine this had been developed for the standard transport role. Then imagine improvements and spin-off aircraft.

    I’m thinking of STOVL aircraft capable of AEW/AAR/MPA/COD operating from flat-tops.

    Also envisaging a STOVL version of an S-3 Viking like aircraft.

    Imagine this with a Pegasus on each wing for ASW and COD:


  324. x

    @ TOC

    To me it seems the Establishment said “We’ve fought the war we shouldn’t have fought and scraped a win, therefore we won’t need the kit again, and so back to Germany.”

    EDIT: The UK’s defence outlook in the Cold War should have been towards the sea and periphery and flanks of Europe with the RAF and Army falling in to that strategy.

  325. IXION

    The other chris.

    The issue is if one engine fails / is shot up then the aircraft is toast of a vstol Carrier as it cannot land other than conventional.

    The Germans had a go at Vstol pegasus powered transport- never really solved the – what happens if one of the two pegasuses failed during take off or landing….

  326. Nick

    It wasn’t just Military aerospace that lost out. With a small change in attitude, EADS/Airbus and Ariane Space could have been British led instead of French creations. Between 1955 and 1990 we seem to have suffered a complete loss of national confidence. To some extent this continues today in official circles with the unwillingness to bacnk UK national Champions. If only we had a little frenchness in our national make-up

  327. Jules

    HA HA Twin Pin, saw one flying at Kemble a few years back into a nasty vicious headwind and the guy on the tannoy commented, “There will be a slight delay for the next item in the flying program as the twin pin traverses the field at a jolly good 48 knots!”
    The landing however was a was a peach and no C17 could ever beat it, short of straight down!

    The list of Projects that involved VTOL at Kingston was quite exstensive, theres a really good book about it all which I’ve long since lost but heres a good recap…


  328. The Other Chris

    The engine failure issue is a serious question and is the key reason the F-35B passed as a single engine design.

    Developing a technology base and maturing it is always a very interesting thought exercise.

    We’re used to the result if Huygens winning the argument with Newton and developing wave based electro-magnetics ever since (e.g. RADAR). Only now are we maturing particle based interactions (e.g. PHODIR). How would our technology have changed if Newton’s theory prevailed?

    Both theories are valid.

    The same can be thought of the P.1154 (the “Supersonic Harrier”) and the AW681 (the “Harrier Herc”). How would aircraft have evolved if we applied the same level of development, expenditure and generated the same level of experience as we have for “CTOL” aircraft over the last 65 years?

    The future is vertical

    The current aircraft industry is not mature. Powered flight may have been around for 110 years however Occam’s Razor proves our aircraft technology is highly immature:

    Occam’s Razor asserts that the most successful systems have the fewest assumptions.

    The RAF alone has operated formally around 81 different types of aircraft in 65 years, the majority of which duplicated effect due to different operation requirements: short runway, rough runway, carrier, etc.

    Consider an incomplete list of just Carrier based “CTOL” assumptions:

    – Catapult launch equipment and modifications to ship
    – Arrestor gear equipment and modifications to ship
    – Safety net equipment and modifications to ship
    – Crew training for the above
    – Accommodation and supplies for the above

    Then we come to the equipment and modifications required to the aircraft to accommodate the above…

    With VTOL aircraft all you pretty much have to do is take-off and land within your own footprint.

    If all your “problem space” includes is the aircraft, almost all of your other significant investment in systems goes away and what seems to be a hard problem (How do you make a STOVL type aircraft perform at high performance?) becomes a single question worthy of Google X-Prize simplicity.

    Lex parsimoniae.

    If you’re thinking of a complex overall system, you’re already behind the curve.

  329. Chris

    x – you know the form – there is but one question to be answered when someone introduces a new type of helicopter to the thread, so…

    How many Brimstone does it carry?

  330. Frenchie


    Thank you ;)

    I would really like that you owned a fleet of small vehicles of 20 tonnes for your “Adaptable force,” not necessarily French, I don’t speak for the interests of my country, but for the British Army and for the defence of the United Kingdom. It would be more coherent to have a fleet of vehicles for high intensity battles, and a fleet of vehicles for the low intensity battles. But this is a matter of money and on your side, like ours, we don’t have a lot.
    Vehicles such as the Jackal are used in France by our special forces, not by conventional light cavalry, too dangerous, and vehicles like the Foxhound have no equivalent right now, but in future projects of French army this will be recce vehicles.
    Our armed forces don’t have the same functioning, but I like to see what you are doing and give my opinion, by trying to not offend anyone, although I’m not an expert like many of you, and I speak English very badly.

  331. Chris

    Frenchie – obviously I agree that a set of sub-20t armoured vehicles would be a useful addition to UK’s Army vehicle fleet. Jackal is perhaps one of the strangest ideas; to take an unarmoured high mobility MG platform and armour it but only half way up leaving the top open is just weird; maybe justifiable in IED threat areas but against an organised military opponent the lack of armour over the personnel just doesn’t look adequate.

    Anyway – your English is good enough for us to understand so there’s no problem – just imagine how bad our French would be?

  332. Obsvr

    @ x ” The UK’s defence outlook in the Cold War should have been towards the sea and periphery and flanks of Europe with the RAF and Army falling in to that strategy.”

    Hogwash. Any war was going to be won or lost on the European Central Front. The rest was peripheral and of no great consequence. The role of the RN was merely to facilitate US Army movement across the Atlantic, in the even that the Central Front battle was lost.

  333. Phil

    ” The UK’s defence outlook in the Cold War should have been towards the sea and periphery and flanks of Europe with the RAF and Army falling in to that strategy.”

    A wonderfully useless and criminal disposition that would have been. Thank God that several European and world wars had finally taught us what a load of bollocks that would have all been.

  334. The Other Chris

    The Ramjet on the Meteor is an extremely important milestone: A “routinely deployed” motor on a communicative platform with payload space for research sensors (in place of a warhead) that we can continue to improve our knowledge of the system on.

    Ramjet powered Son of Taranis in the medium term building up high-supersonic experience and data points ahead of Skylon?

  335. monkey

    Who wants to by a good as new GR3 & a Tonka F3, they are up for auction at Silverstone this weekend.

  336. Jackstaff

    My haphazard Dutch is very rusty these days. What’s Nederlands for “Oy vey”?


    On the one hand, good for the Cloggies. I am a Dutchophile of very long standing, and the combination of lies, ghoulish negligence and grave-robbing, and sheer ineptitude surrounding this incident pushes pretty well every Dutch cultural button. And as Salamander pointed out in a post earlier this week, per capita MH17 cost the Dutch the equivalent of nine hundred more dead Americans than were lost on 9/11. On the other hand this would put hardened first-responders from a state at the top of both the EU and NATO’s second tier — not a great power that can be ignored for grandstanding but a good-enough power that treaty obligations come into play — into a war zone facing off grave-robbing Russian proxies. On the other other hand perhaps the Dutch now wish they still had at least a troop of four Leo 2A6s as “don’t mess about; we’re serious” backup in case the militias want to play games a la Bosnia (harassment, hostage taking, etc.)

    Edited to add: Ozzies too. Strewth

  337. Jackstaff


    Bloody good question. Just had a nice comment re this (a bit Dutchophilic but then I am a fan) eaten by the spambot. Dutch in the lead, Oz backing them up. Cloggies to be, presumably armed, lads from one of the 11 LMB air assault regiments that were at play in The Stan. What’s Nederlands for “Oy vey”?

  338. DavidNiven


    I wish them all the best, hopefully they will give off the signal that they are not to be f*cked with. Lets not forget the cloggies had a good go in Afghan. If something does happen I hope the rest of Europe will back them up and Putin has the sense to tell the rebels they are on their own.

  339. Chuck

    Wish the Dutch and Aussies all the best with it, if they decide to do it. I think they should be pretty safe. it’s one thing to fire on Ukrainian troops entirely another to fire on NATO forces(In Europe of all places), I think Putin knows that and will tell his boys to back off and carry on once they’re gone.

    Say what you like about NATO; for all it’s flaws, it’s still the most potent fighting force on the planet and Ukraine is still in it’s backyard.

  340. TAS

    Makes you wonder what would have happened if this had all kicked off and Ukraine had joined NATO. Collective self-defence, and attack on one is an attack on all, etc? Ouch…

  341. x

    @ Mark

    It is yes. The public pay for the Royal Navy so who commands one of the diminishing number of our major fleet units is a matter of public concern. Would you say the grounding of HMS/M Astute was a matter of public concern? It is high profile job. Modern communications have reduced the isolation of commanding of a RN ship but is still a self-deploying asset that potentially could be asked to go anywhere at the moments notice on its own. I wouldn’t expect any civil servant in a senior management or leadership role to conduct themselves in this manner. I humbly apologise for my standards being a little higher than your own.

  342. TAS

    x, what manner? You know f**k all about this story. It is unconfirmed, there is not a single shred of detail and yet here we are being all righteous about conduct and ethics. I happen to know Sarah West by reputation, and she has worked bloody hard to get where she is today. The trial by media is over before it’s even begun. At least have the decency to wait for the facts before spouting off all high-and-mighty.

  343. Red Trousers

    CO’s (alleged) shagging should never make the news. If a CO ever makes the newspaper, it should either be a VC type of action or they should be sacked for being newsworthy in the wrong way.

    The Astute grounding was a good example. Crap CO, accident waiting to happen, scrutiny should be on those who appointed him.

  344. IXION

    I’ll wade in on this Rn Commander thing:-

    The Right to a private life is pretty much established in UK law now. It was very common in the 1990s for companies to have a ‘No fraternisation’ clause In contracts. They have all been scrapped. An employer cannot control peoples relationships. Although I suspect there may be a derogation for the military.

    Its a bit like the ‘no gays’ thing. there were plenty in the military before – there always were.

    Are male and female service personnel shagging – of course they are, and trying to make it a military offence is just stupid.

    No idea if there is any truth in this story. I just thin it’s a shame that its an issue in the first place.

  345. El Sid

    The RN is ahead of you – see the reference to the Armed Forces’ Code of Social Conduct, “which prohibits personnel from having relationships with subordinates IF they compromise ‘operational effectiveness’.” So you have the right to a private life, as long as it doesn’t affect your professional life. But I wouldn’t want to say more given that the only source at present is the Daily Fail.

  346. The Other Chris


    Jane Peel, BBC News

    Relationships between service personnel are not prohibited, but they are governed by the Armed Forces Code of Social Conduct.

    It says the standards of behaviour required of servicemen and women are necessarily more demanding than those required by society at large. This is because of the need to maintain trust and loyalty between commanders and those they command.

    The test is to what extent the individual’s conduct has adversely affected team cohesion and operational effectiveness. A breach of the code is dealt with according to its seriousness.

    Sanctions range from “timely advice” through to a range of disciplinary penalties.

    They include a formal warning, official censure, removal from a particular post and, in the worst cases, dismissal from service. The code applies to all members of the Armed Forces, regardless of their rank.


  347. TAS


    A relationship between serving personnel can be incredibly divisive and demoralising. I have seen the consequences of another unit where the ship’s Operations officer was in a relationship with the CO. It was horrible. It can destroy discipline and render key personnel ineffective and a danger to themselves and others – consider a situation of a senior and a junior in a relationship where the senior has to order the junior to do something unpleasant? Or maybe even lethal – “I know we’re happy shagging but would you mind going into that burning compartment and putting out that massive fire please?”. What if the other party says no expecting special treatment because of their relationship? The Code of Social Conduct exists for a good reason – long may it remain.

    Relationships are not prohibited and are not an offence unless it brings the Service into disrepute, for example where the relationship is actually an affair. This is called ‘failing the Service test’. However, it stays off the ship and is conducted, as you say, in private and is not allowed to interfere with discipline, morale or operational efficiency.

    In this case, nothing has been certified. Cdr West has left the ship, that is in no doubt, but no clear reason has been given. The nature of the relationship is not given – the term ‘affair’ is pure speculation. The RN has confirmed it is investigating a breach of the code of social conduct, but has not stated who this is investigating. It may well be that she has breached it – equally it could be the other party or else a whole host of other reasons could be involved which we have no idea about.

    Fact is, whatever has really happened, this will probably kill her career and deal untold damage to the reputation of serving female officers as a whole. It is trial and sentance by media without the other side having half a chance to defend themselves. That front page can never be taken back; even if it is 100% wrong, the most she will get is a small printed apology on page 45. It is not a story in the national interest.

  348. Red Trousers


    I certainly don’t know the specifics of this case, so steering clear of those, the Andrew has been lining itself up for this sort of nonsense for a decade or so. Basically, lippy and war platforms don’t mix, for good reasons. Whether green, light blue or grey. Keep the girls back in non-operational roles as a generalism, think very hard about any specific use cases such as covert.

    As for the utterly spastic PR branch of the Navy which normally twatters on about Love Boats or mothers’ day making our sailors look ridiculous in the global media, they’ve been utterly shafted by this story. That’s probably because the sort of officer posted to a PR role is fifth rate and sent there to keep out of the way.

  349. Phil

    Are male and female service personnel shagging – of course they are, and trying to make it a military offence is just stupid.


    Should lecturers be able to shag their students? Should doctors be allowed to smash their patients? Should COs be allowed to fuck their battalion AGC clerks?

    There is a duty to intervene if the conduct of individuals fails the service test:

    “Have the actions or behaviour of an individual adversely impacted or are they likely to impact on the efficiency or operational effectiveness of the Service?”

    This is hardly different from the same reasoning that does not allow lecturers to sleep with students or teachers to sleep with sixth formers.

    What will be happening now is that people will be looking at the service test, did her conduct fall foul of it? If yes then she’ll get the book thrown at her. A career ending event. It’s not surprising that the media has latched onto a juicy story – it’s the nature of the beast, dry ones eyes.

  350. Red Trousers


    Quite correct. It was a clueless post. It came from a legal perspective.

    I once heard that the law, and certainly lawyers, fulfilled the function of nitrogen. Necessary to give bulk to the atmosphere, but in itself, utterly useless to mankind on a daily basis.

  351. IXION


    Yea right.

    I once heard military intelligence was an oxymoron. ……


    Look up the meaning if the phrase ‘In clover’…..

    As for the sexist rant. Have you not heard gvt considering letting women err ‘man’ armoured vehicles in combat. Including recon.


    I am glad to hear not a specific offence.
    Perfectly oK with forces saying it’s OK so long as it doesn’t Err ‘rock the boat’…. that does seem sensible.
    As do rules about using power to abuse lower ranks. But a lot of obblocks was written about gays serving in the military. I
    3 para mortar platoon still do I get ok.

    It would seem inevitable.

    We will all have to wait for the facts of the case to see if this relationship exits and has affected the functions of both involved in a way breaching the rules.

  352. Jonathan

    Not commenting on the specific case, but I I do have a couple issues.

    I don’t think the media should have the right to publish speculation which can have significant impact without appropriate redress if it’s proven wrong. In this case they have massively impacted on this individuals life because of an unfounded allegation.

    After all it was the media with bad reporting which created the worse public health crisis in this country in 40 years( MMRs evil mania ) costing the taxpayer many 10s of millions and putting the lives of a generation at risk. Did they get asked for redress, did they hell.

    The second bit is about rights over obligation, it may be everyone’s right to have whatever sex life they fancy. But people still need to be held to account for their obligations,if you affect the fighting ability of a ship because of your love life, sorry you deserve the book thrown at you. It should be the same everywhere, if two nurses were found compromised while in charge of a ward, they should loose there jobs( and get struck off). If it’s outside of work/ duty and does not affect performance that’s different.

  353. Mark


    I see you’ve been judge jury and execution so trial by media done its thing. An allegation of some description been made, if it’s proved and deemed to have endangered either the ship or crew then its news worth but certainly not at this stage. I think its disgusting that someone’s life and career is plastered over a national newspaper and probably her family now being hounded by the press. If the commander had been male I doubt this would have been in a national newspaper.

    Hms astutes grounding is a different matter, it had the potential to endanger the safety of the boat and her crew as well as expose sensitive technology to public gaze as so was very much a public interest story.

  354. x

    @ Mark

    Everybody who is paid from the public purse is open to scrutiny by the public.

    Executioner? Ha……….

  355. All Politicians are the Same

    There is a world of difference between scrutiny and the sort of statements you made. Scrutiny would be commenting on the result of the inevitable enquiry which will be conducted by professional personnel who have the knowlege, experience and background as well as possession of the facts to make a judgement.
    That is how the system works and once the facts of the case are made public as well as the outcome by all means scrutinise but until that time judgemental comments are ill informed and frankly unhelpful.
    TAS sums up the actual complexities very well. Let us wait and see what the outcome is before we mount our morale high horses.

  356. Chuck

    Don’t care about genitals or relationships. If you demonstrate anything other than the highest levels of professionalism you don’t get to command tens of thousands of tons of killing machine or much else in our military. End of.

  357. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Just to lighten the mood, I am watching “From Russia with Love”….Kronstein (Number 5 and Head of Planning at SPECTRE) looks quite surprisingly like a rather younger Czar Putin; now there’s a thing the press really should be looking at… :-)


  358. Red Trousers


    Just because the government thinks something is a good idea doesn’t mean that it actually is. My jury is still completely out on women in any form of combat role. And when they do come back, they will be told to return a judgment of “that was a spastic idea, who thought of that?”

  359. Red Trousers


    You need to think of outcomes, not inputs. Outcomes are the only thing that matters in Defence, but inputs are political.

  360. IXION

    And if the outcome is that women prove to be equally effective at using armoured vehicles ????

    Or Recon?

    Sometimes inputs come from politicians and sometimes politicians do things because they are right, (ok only sometimes).

  361. Red Trousers


    Perhaps, but mostly they are really crap at lifting heavy weights repeatedly and staying awake for ten days, or shitting silently into a plastic bag and then not whining about it in the NAAFI queue. They also smell for half a mile all around when having periods, and I think that’s a problem because OPFOR can sniff that out. They need to prove they can crack it. And fuck all allowance for maternity leave.

  362. RT

    I actually would not disagree abut having to hack it. If they can’t hack then then can’t hack it.

    And as for smell…. PONGOS did not as a term derive from the female members of the armed forces.

  363. IXION

    I am sorry RT that last post came out with your moniker on it.

    It was me.

    There really is something wrong with my computer today.

    Its getting its mucking furds wuddled.

  364. x

    @ APATS

    Actually I am still struggling to see where I condemned this individual. Obviously it is a very touchy issue for you commissioned persons within the Royal Navy. Let’s hope you and TAS are proved right shall we? If not for your collective smugness but for the sake of the talented females hoping to follow literally and figuratively in Portland’s wake.

  365. TAS

    x, you knew damned well how your comments would read. You made you opinion quite clear and got a reaction. Maybe I bit – well, more the fool me. But there is no smugness whatsoever, just a defence of a fellow matelot (or would you prefer serviceperson?) who has had her life smeared publicly. If you can’t stand the criticism, maybe it’s time to disappear again?

  366. All Politicians are the Same


    I wouldn’t expect any civil servant in a senior management or leadership role to conduct themselves in this manner. I humbly apologise for my standards being a little higher than your own.

    Now who said that I wonder?

    Both myself and TAS have taken no view on her innocence or guilt but merely explained a few facts and pointed out that “trial by media” and comments such as yours are unhelpful speculation.
    No smugness at all and I think you will find that if she is found guilty of breaching the code of conduct whilst enjoying the privilege of Command of one of her Majesties Warships our condemnation will be absolute.
    We will however await the result of the investigation because that is not only the decent thing but also the professional thing to do.
    I have heard several rumours and dits today but no way would I repeat them here nor be unprofessional enough to pre judge.

  367. x

    @ TAS

    Again all I said it is a matter for public scrutiny. Why you find that offence I don’t know. I would be equally aghast if the head of my local NHS trust was being investigated for shagging one of his admin staff or management team. That in your reply to your IXION you reveal that why you know this is potentially serious issue leaves bemused to why you should be so aggressive towards me. She isn’t just another officer she is the captain of the ship; she sets the tone for the whole ship’s company. Maybe she is damned either way but to be temporarily relieved of command doesn’t look does it?

    Personally I don’t care if the sea going navy is shagging itself senseless whether it be in relationships aboard ship or behind the backs of loved ones left at home. I suppose really today’s navy relfect has to reflect today’s wider UK society.

    You knew damned well……..oh FFS…….. p*ss off………..

  368. Think Defence

    Fuck me sideways, you dark blue really can argue

    There are rapists, murderers, child abusers, wife beaters, thieves, con men and bullies in all three services. Funnily enough, they tend not to hit the front page of the tabloids, they just get investigated, judged and punished accordingly.

    But no crime is as seemingly heinous as ‘bedding a junior’

    Must be a slow news day, what with the world going to shit around us and all that

    It is, as they say, only the internet :)

  369. All Politicians are the Same


    Three things guaranteed to get you in the shit are cash, crypto and shagging :)

  370. Think Defence

    On a serious note, I tend to veer to the opinion that as long as the job gets done I don’t give a flying fuck whether the person doing it is a man, woman, LBGT, has too much tan, not enough hair or a poor attitude to the joys of containers but I am old enough to remember the first integration of women into mainstream units (as opposed to the WRAC) and it definitely caused problems, pretty corrosive on a few occasions I remember, and still does I think. The thing is though, we need a wider demographic as possible or we just could not resource the armed forces as a whole so we just might have to live with things like this and keep to the service test as many have mentioned.

    Lets hope the ships imprest account wasn’t down and there is no crypto missing, she will be keelhauled!

    Do they have imprest accounts on ships?

  371. All Politicians are the Same


    They have various accounts systems for mess funds, public money, non public money etc. Is the job of the loggys on an FF/DD or above but remember being a first job small Ship Gunz/Corro and picking up the deployment cash in 4 different currencies which are issued and accounted for at 2 different exchange rates :(
    Thep best that can be said is I never got court martialled. The morale is do not give foreign currency out to members of the wardroom to proceed ashore with after beers in the mess and account for it with post its stuck inside the safe.

  372. All Politicians are the Same

    To change the subject, congratulations are in order to RM Chris Sherrington who won Gold in the over 100 KG Judo at the Commonwealth Games and LtCdr Mark Shaw who won Bronze in the same event. Amazing result for the Navy :)

  373. Observer

    x, the rest are a bit right on the premature smackdown, they are not taking a stripe out of you for the condemnation, they are criticizing because the trial has not been conducted yet and we don’t have any specifics. For all we know, this could have been started by her 2IC to get her job.

    If she really did do the things she did (and assuming the junior is a member of the ship crew), I’m very sure the rest of us will be saying that she did something stupid as well. They are not supporting the rumoured crime, they are condemning the timing and the kangaroo court nature of the media.

  374. Think Defence

    I do agree with x on how it looks and can understand the very damaging impact this could have on ships efficiency, pretty bad when you think about it.

    Does anyone else think the RN has a bit of an image problem, a bit too mumsy?

    You know my feelings on some of the recent PR shenanigans, as RT says, is this the consequence of some of that stuff

    Yes, well done to the service members success in Glasgow

  375. All Politicians are the Same


    Do you understand the impact it could have on ships efficiency, we do not know who else was involved or what happened?
    Until we do you have no idea what the possible impact would have and in all honesty the only people who will ever know the impact it may have had are those who were there and saw what was getting done, what was not getting done and who was having to possibly pick up the pieces. ( probably less than 10 posters on here even fully understand or could explain how a Ship is meant to run, let alone make that sort of judgement with zero facts).
    We do not even know yet that this was the case let alone ” understand the very damaging impact”.

    I do not like a lot of the RN PR but you are grasping to blame this on that. Sex in the forces happens, this is a female story and grabs the headlines.

    In my last NATO post an RAF WCDR was sent home for sleeping with a woman married to a fellow Service Person. Front page of the Sun? Product of PR?

  376. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @ TD – “…a poor attitude to the joys of containers”…surely some things really are beyond the pale, at least on this site… :-)


  377. Lord Jim

    Looking over the linked Complex Weapons post I noticed to my alarm that the planned OSD for the Starstreak HVM is 2020! Why? are the existing missiles out of life by then and we do not want to buy anymore, assuming we still can. Is this going to be another backdoor Capability Holiday? If so are sole ground based air defence will be the towed CAAM as the SP version has been cancelled as part of the FRES(SV) rationalisation, or are we going to adopt the Improved Stinger as manufactured by the Germans in Europe.

  378. Think Defence

    Was talking in general terms not the specifics of this case, would be the same for any small tight knit group I suppose, in or out of uniform. Perhaps I should have said can imagine rather than understand but have seen first hand similar, non nautical of course, the dynamics are the same. Would you say the close confines of a ship amplifies the potential impact

  379. All Politicians are the Same

    I would say it is completely impossible to say what if any impact there was until we know what if anything was going on. Even then the only people who will ever really know what any impact there was were those that were there.

  380. All Politicians are the Same


    I think you missed my point, unless we know what we are talking about we are speculating and I am not going to do that.

  381. IXION

    Some years ago I represented a suspect in a male home sexual offence case that arose out of a wife swapping ring. It was rumoured to involved local ‘big wigs’ This btw is a massive activity in provincial UK I ‘did the math’ on my clients circle of singers and their admitted contact with other groups. Trust me if you know more than a dozen or so friend statistically you know some singers. And don’t plant pampas grass in you front garden.

    No charges were laid in the end, but whilst he was on bail for months; however I was heartened to find how much interest I had from snr members of the police who were very solicitous of myself and my client, constantly asking after him. Snr officers I did not normally deal with from one month to the next ‘bumped into me’ whilst I at the station, and “btw has he mentioned any names???” Became our standard parting.

    I was speaking to the husband of a middle ranking cid officer only a week ago who said she found her male colleagues easy to deal with but was sick of being hit on by the lesbians the force…

    My point being female, male, LGBT whatever… sexual relationships are a fact of life in any organisation, as are the trouble they cause and should not be used as an excuse for sexual discrimination.
    Even RT, s heartfelt ‘the 70, s were just something that happened to others’ sexism.

  382. IXION

    Would like to make it clear that my android device is making post correction alterations using autospell and is driving me nuts.

    Homosexual becoming home sexual

    Swinger becoming singer.

    After I had corrected both twice!

  383. Red Trousers


    If you think me 1970s sexist, it’s a good thing that you never met one of my dogs, who became known as The Shameless Retriever. Now long dead, she had an ineradicable habit of shoving her nose straight into the crotch of any new woman and inhaling deeply, then either wagging her tail or growling.

    Bloody good gun dog, however. Loyal as hell, as well. She managed to jump up so high that she could remove my UN beret with her teeth when I came back from a 6 month tour in Bosnia at RAF Lyneham and the old man met me at Arrivals. She had her jumping boots on that day.

  384. Jonathan


    Apparently woman need more sleep than men because they think and use their brains more.

  385. ArmChairCivvy

    The threads about military history from a certain angle, like field fortifications, have died a quiet death (no one noticed). Let’s try again, would certain type of kit issued to individual soldiers/ sailors/ airmen over the last century be of general interest? Just read a story about rucksacks/ backpacks, and it was illuminating along the lines:

    A good hundred years ago Mills Woven Cartridge Belt Company of London created Pattern 1908 Large Pack-in. Ja Field Marshal Douglas Haig’s rating for it was “Adequately satisfactory.”
    WW1 over and the next one starting to loom, the same company (Mills) created Pattern 1937 Large Pack-in. Sir Winston Churchill’s verdict of it “Proper hard wearing kit!”
    Mills, like everyone else, then had to cater for millions of men under arms and responded with Pattern 1944 system. “Inferior to the Patt. ’37 in durability” verdict was passed but by then the war was over.
    When conscription was in its last years Army Ordnance Research Group came up with Pattern 58 Large Pack-in “The Army seem to have taken leave of their senses” was the general verdict (not attributable).
    The professional army was to be carted around in helicopters and APCs, so who cared about carry systems… Until the Falklands came around and there was no time to reinvent the wheel: civilian manufacturers have been the rage ever since, and with the extra durability and expansion options required by the army, there is now a constant improvement loop operating between the two parallel markets.

    What can we learn from this? Probably nothing as there are few other items that have mass demand both from the armed forces and great numbers of ununiformed enthusiasts.

  386. monkey

    Just catching up on TV and started watching The fifteen billion pound railway, the opening line “Beneath the streets of London an army of ten thousand Engineers…”
    A BIG part of the problem of Industry in this country is this GROSS misuse of peoples Professional titles , no offence but someone who shovels muck is not an Engineer, neither is the person who changes the cartridge in our photocopiers or who installs my broadband.
    This is a BBC programme who because I pay them should be upholding standards , I am sure the director general would not like to be put into the same basket as the person who cleans their office , ‘ well they both work at the BBC don’t they , so wots (sic) the prob, they both help make Enders don’t they ?’
    Many areas demand demarcation for instance the Law but in Engineering the Professional bodies (one of which I am a member ) do diddly squat it seems to preserve the very name and its implication of what we do as compare to someone who shovels muck ( no offence )

  387. paul g