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Bucky
Bucky
August 24, 2013 1:07 pm

I notice on the graphic that it has a picture of a typhoon with 5 squadron under it ?
I take it this will be the third squadron to form at Lossiemouth ?
So what happens to the Sentinels ?

DaveS
DaveS
August 24, 2013 1:45 pm

My recollection is that a decision to dispose of the Sentinels within a few years was taken a while back.

mike
mike
August 24, 2013 2:00 pm

@ Buckey

I, too, for a moment thought that also, however – it states the fifth Typhoon squadron overall to stand up, otherwise it would be “5 Squadron” rather than the other way round.
Though on Sqn seniority, ‘5 is pretty high.

Alan Goodger
Alan Goodger
August 24, 2013 2:22 pm

Although it may look good on paper . I personally think .. it will not be enough to defend Scotland if they still insist in going for
A Independant Scotland …which will a end a Grand Nation..of Scott’s….stay with the Union…….I say…… regards….A. Goodger GSM .RE ..Rtrd/Veteran

Lewis
Lewis
August 24, 2013 3:32 pm

I think it simply means the 5th (frontline) squadron to stand up – nameplate yet to be allocated – not that the next Typhoon unit will be No 5 Squadron RAF.

topman
topman
August 24, 2013 4:34 pm

It means the fifth squadron of typhoons on a front line Sqn.

Challenger
Challenger
August 24, 2013 5:17 pm

It doesn’t say 5 squadron, it says squadron 5, as in the 5th Typhoon unit to stand-up, with the squadron number yet to be determined. It will probably come from another recently disbanded fast-jet unit such as 43 or 111, or perhaps 12 squadron if it’s disbanding in 2014 as part of the GR4 rundown (we already know 617 will be the first F35 squadron formed).

Who know’s what’s happening with the Sentinel’s. I’m not saying they are safe, just that 5 squadron won’t be switching to another air-frame anytime soon. I hope TPTB see sense and retain such a useful asset.

mike
mike
August 24, 2013 6:07 pm

lol that is 4 of us saying the same thing, good thing we do not work in Whitehall or we’d be under review for cost savings ;)

Mark
Mark
August 24, 2013 7:13 pm

I want to cast a vote for 74 sqn to be the last tiffy unit. Industry were asked 12 months ago to put plans in place to supt sentinel thru 2020 I can’t see 2015 sdsr chopping it.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 24, 2013 8:39 pm

I’m always surprised with the RAF continually disbanding Squadrons. 617 Sqn is the only RAF Squadron that has any public resonance, I’d have thought. And yet its’ getting dropped. I know that in RAF habits it will come back again in some role at some point in the future, but it still seems odd to me.

Of greater interest to me is wondering what the split might be between Scotland and the rest of us if the Scots do vote for independence (I don’t think they will, but merely musing). A sheer population percentage split seems a place to start the divvying up of assets, but some of those assets will be too expensive for the Jocks to run on their own, and in many cases irrelevant for a tiny country on the north west fringe of Europe that doesn’t want to be part of NATO. The SCOTS DG will go home, but what will they do with their Challengers?

And why is it so difficult to move Trident? Find a suitable seabay somewhere on England’s coast, put up some sodding great sheds, fence it all off and surround it with security. Compulsory purchase on national security grounds, and sod the planning laws. I know that I over-simplify, but the difficulty should be better explained. And no one has publicly wondered on the risk of the Scots blockading Faslane, stopping our boats going in or out, so if they do go independent, I’d want Trident moved home asap.

(No one start me on why HS2 is going to cost £80 billion, apparently, and take nearly 25 years to build, when Brunel completed the Great Western in much less time and relatively (indexed) much much less cost………send in the bulldozers….)

Challenger
Challenger
August 24, 2013 8:47 pm

@Mark

Why 74 squadron? It was last a Hawk unit 13 years ago. I know it doesn’t really matter what numbers squadrons take on but new fast-jet units may as well take the name and lineage of other fairly recent ones.

I heard Sentinel was designated as the UK’s contribution to NATO’s ground surveillance command, so that should help to keep them around a bit longer.

x
x
August 24, 2013 8:59 pm

We can only hope the costs scupper HS2. The UK needs to spend its money on broadband (fibre and unbundling), space (REL Ltd….) , and power infrastructure. IKB’s broad gauge billiard table was wonderful but we don’t need a 19th century solution to 21st century problems. Consider that GB was first and only country to industrialise without railways. It would be sad if we found ourselves building a railway more to grab at lost prestige than for true need.

Mark
Mark
August 24, 2013 9:01 pm

RT

617 will be the first operation f35 unit.

Challenger

I would have said 56 sqn as its arguably the most prestigious fighter sqn in the raf but its still in use with AWC. 74 has flown all the great fighter aircraft in raf service and is a tiger sqn (tiger meets) with associations in east Asia most notably with Singapore fwd engagement and all.

Waylander
Waylander
August 24, 2013 11:36 pm

@ Red Trousers

I assume it’s RNAD Coalport (beside Loch Long 2 miles west of Faslane) that is the problem, not the Faslane base it’s self. The bunkers are dug into the ridge, so it would cost a hell of a lot to rebuild it down south.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
August 24, 2013 11:41 pm

@RT

Yes Coulport and weapons storage becomes an issue. There is a minimum safe distance required between the location where you mate the missile and warhead and the nearest village. Coulport achieves this to do so in Devonport would require rehousing thousands.
Also you cannot get an SSBN in and out of Devonport very easily. Building a whole new base and nuclear weapons storage facilities is a tad expensive.

Waylander
Waylander
August 25, 2013 12:25 am

I think the RN’s TLAMs are stored at Coulport as well. I was reading a thread on the RN on another defence blog, and there were a lot of comments about the UK having pitifully few Tomahawks, something like 65 of the new Tactical version of the missile, less those launched during recent operations. The loadout of a Astute is 38 Spearfish heavyweight Torpedoes & Tomahawks, with a mix of 24 torpedoes & 14 TLAMs? So with seven hunter-killers, even if half the boats are in refit/training, 65 or less does not seem many.
Especially when the UK bought 900 Storm Shadows.

Challenger
Challenger
August 25, 2013 11:42 pm

@Waylander

I think you’re right that the comparison between the acquisition of RN Tomahawks and RAF Storm Shadows is an interesting one.

Storm Shadow costs not far off a million pounds a pop and is designed for high value targets and isn’t thrown at everyday ‘soft’ targets in the way Paveway, Hellfire and Brimstone can be. I’m willing to bet that the RAF still has 90+% of those 900 they ordered over a decade ago, the stockpile will probably last longer that the missile remains relevant and up-to date.

Submarine launched Tomahawks are normally a far, far easier way to hit tricky, high priority targets than using strike aircraft with Storm Shadow. Id rather use an SSN which can loiter for weeks, pop up from nowhere and strike at multiple targets at will than try and tanker 1 or 2 Tornado’s/Typhoon’s potentially hundreds of miles and send them into hostile airspace all to launch a couple of similarly effective missiles.

In short the RN needs more Tomahawk’s! Not trying to bias towards 1 service over another, but I think the RAF has more long-range strike ordnance than it’s going to need or practically use whilst RN submarines are a far more potent tool for this kind of work. The RN needs the cash for missiles so it’s SSN’s can fire more than a piddling 1 or 2 in anger, they need to be able to fire a proper salvo of a dozen or more in the opening hours of an operation to really have any real effect,

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
August 25, 2013 11:54 pm

waylander.

The thing about Storm shadow is that it is useful against hardened targets in a way that TLAM is not. Firing TLAM from an SSN and especially from the tubes is always going to be a tactical game. You can only launch 6 at a time even from an A boat and that would only be if the CO is prepared to go without a spearfish in a tube.
The clearing of the launch basket is never easy and remaining in place whilst you reload is the sort of crazy talk that makes me shudder. So yes TLAM from an SSN is a fantastic tactical tool as long as 5 or 6 is enough or you have more than one firing asset but a single flight IIA Arleigh Burke has 96 silos so could carry 48 TLAM, 36 SM6 and 48 EESSM(quad packed) now that is ability to influence.

Challenger
Challenger
August 26, 2013 11:07 am

@APATS

24 silo’s filled with Tomahawk on a T26 may not quite compare to an Arleigh Burke, but it would still be a large step in the right direction.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 26, 2013 11:22 am

APATS, dodging off topic.

Torpedoes. I know they’re useful if a sub wants to sink something, but how often are they actually useful? Clearly, the Belgrano, but before then I imagine the last time torpedoes were used was in WW2, and I don’t particularly recall any other incident from other navies since WW2 either.

I only ask as I recall a colleague getting involved in some multi-million pound programme to mid life upgrade our UK torpedoes, and me thinking it was all a bit moot and probably a waste of money, as they would not be used.

And so, would not a more sensible loadout be merely a couple of torpedoes, and everything else TLAM?

Having said all of that, I’m still looking forward to some company solving the engineering challenges involved in a big air-launched AShM that can splash down 5 miles out and turn itself into a torpedo.

Chris
Chris
August 26, 2013 11:37 am

RT – you want this then: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikara_(missile) Or this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malafon Or this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asroc

For some reason these long range flying torpedoes have lost favour. So the problem is less ‘engineering challenges’ and more ‘don’t want them any more’.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 26, 2013 12:26 pm

Thanks Chris, the Ikara looks fun. Quite like the idea of it being a combo-missile / torpedo, the torpedo being dropped into the water rather than trying to engineer some form of multi-mode missile.

What I had in mind was more of a long range (200 miles?) AShM, not against submarines. Give it a datalink as well to a more distant asset and you can update the target details in flight.

I suppose the problem may be scale, in that a torpedo to sink a 6,000 tonne ship needs to be quite beefy. Sod it, scale up the whole thing to be the size of a ballistic missile and launch it from shore or from some Boeing civil airliner conversion, or even better, pull it out of the back of a Hercules on a drogue chute before the red touch paper is ignited. After dropping the torpedo, the missile carrier could still act quite aggressively to give the PWO onboard the target a couple of nutty little problems: inbound missile and torpedo both at once.

(I imagine APATS will have a defence against the concept)

“Don’t want them any more”. These Andrew types have no imagination… ;)

Waylander
Waylander
August 26, 2013 4:40 pm

@APATS
Why is TLAM not useful against hardened targets, as both missiles seem to have the same warhead eg 450kg? Also the range of SS seems to be a major weakness, only 155 miles plus, compared to over a 1000 miles for Tomahawk.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
August 26, 2013 4:47 pm

@waylander

TLAM has a conventional 450kg warhead. Storm Shadow has a 450kg BROACH(Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge) warhead.

“The two stage warhead is made up from an initial shaped charge, which cuts a passage through armour, concrete, earth, etc., allowing a larger following warhead to penetrate inside the target. The weapon is designed to allow a cruise missile to achieve the degree of hard-target penetration formerly only possible by the use of laser-guided gravity bombs”

Observer
Observer
August 26, 2013 5:35 pm

They can keep their “laser guided gravity bombs”, I’ll just use a “laser guided artillery barrel” (GBU-28). :P