The Chances of Cameron Making the Pledge

GDP spending

There are further calls from the USA today for European allies to meet the key 2% of GDP spending on defence target.

 

While the UK’s core spending is now below 2% items like Afghanistan, Foreign Military Aid and spending on nuclear weapons help to bring it above the 2% figure. However as operations in Afghanistan wind-down the UK, on current spending plans, may well fall below the 2% figure. If there are further cuts in 2015 we will certainly fall below 2%.

My own previous opinion was that the UK normally meets its international obligations and we would stay above 2%. Example’s of this include the UK being one of only two members of the G8 who actually matched the pledged target of 0.5% of GDP being spent on foreign aid. The UK as far as I know is the only major country trying to meet the even higher UN suggested level of 0.7% of GDP.

The UK was also one of the few countries to meet its obligations on CO2 emissions both from Rio and Kyoto and the UK is probably the only country in Europe that actually tries to implement legislation coming out of Brussels’s. (The Germans already having it as they wrote it)

However David Cameron refused to be drawn on the 2% of GDP target when asked in Parliament.

The key themes of the NATO summit in Wales in September will be getting governments to pledge to the 2% target as well as improving the alliance to meet the threat from Russia (which will require greater spending).

Given that states such as Poland are already pledging to meet the 2% target and the UK that is currently slightly over the target is hosting the event it would seem very difficult for Cameron to not make the pledge of keeping spending at or above 2% of GDP.

That being said I have never come across another UK Prime Minister with Cameron’s ability to wriggle out of things and try to spin a victory in the face of abject humiliation so he may well not make the pledge preferring instead to tell us about how we still punch above our weight and how we don’t need to spend on defence as we won’t be having another war until the budget is balanced.

What do you think are the chances of getting such a pledge from the UK Government in September?

One point I would like to make is that such a pledge would be revolutionary for HM Forces. The UK has been cutting the proportion of GDP spent on defence year on year since 1944. For the first time in 70 year’s the MOD would be able to accurately project its long term budget and make acquisition and manning decisions based on reasonably certain assumptions about the money it would have to spend.

Defence reviews could actually examine defence instead of trying to fit current projects into what ever budget is left.

 

This would likely mean that in the longer term at least we can probably look at getting more bang from our $60 billion a year defence budget. Understanding the long term budget would probably help to prevent more f**k ups like T45 where numbers of vessels were cut to match shrinking budgets leading to higher unit costs that required further reductions in unit.

Coupled with the ten year balanced budget planning and the ending of legacy projects like Typhoon this could all serve to revolutionise how the MOD does business in the future but the question is, will Cameron make the pledge?

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jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
June 12, 2014 7:04 am

good article, and nice to see it on TD.

having a similar conversation here six months ago there was a sneering contempt at the value of arbitrary targets. we can only hope that our resident military geniuses have begun to adopt a healthy fear of the power of politics.

the 2.0% target matters.

Dan
Dan
June 12, 2014 7:04 am

Sorry but I am with Cameron on this one, for the reason you quote, if we sign up to something we tend to try and meet it. This is existing NATO policy and the vast majority of NATO does not meet it. At present we do meet it.

The perceived new threat is increasing aggression by Russia, well as the country in Europe furthest away from the threat, why is it our responsibility to be paying more than those closer to the actual threat. If Poland and the Baltics genuinely feel threatened and want us to spend blood and treasure to reassure them then they should be spending considerably MORE than a baseline minimum.

In terms of historical parallels NATO has had targets before and on average we met them more than some other countries. In the late 70’s and into the 1980’s the target was for 3% real terms GROWTH in defence spending, and we met it. In those days you were talking about targets of 5% of GDP on defence.

tweckyspat
June 12, 2014 7:27 am

I am unsure Cameron ‘s “ability to wriggle out of things and try to spin a victory in the face of abject humiliation” is really unparalleled. Blair did pretty well too, also Heath and MacMillan in the past. I think that is the essence of politics, not necessarily a character flaw.

Politicians don’t usually like hard targets unless the benefit of agreeing to one clearly outweighs the penalty of failing to meet it. I can’t see the public getting behind the #twopercentNOW twitterstorm so why would any PM hamstring themselves at this time ?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
June 12, 2014 7:51 am

“If even the UK arguable the pivotal member of NATO and the lynch pin that holds Europe and the USA together will not commit to the 2% target then where does that leave NATO?”

This.

The US’s commitment to NATO will die a death if we, of all people, don’t take it seriously.

Chris
Chris
June 12, 2014 8:04 am

“Will Cameron make the pledge?” In my opinion, sadly, no. Sadly because supporting the Armed Forces was at one time a fundamental Tory purpose, where the other parties prioritized social programmes instead; but the current set of Tories are career politicians and they will spend our taxes wherever they buy most votes. Funny, I don’t remember that being the purpose of the Inland Revenue when I was a nipper; I thought it was to fund what the state required to operate effectively? But now the main parties (a cartel if there ever was one) have decided the Exchequer is theirs to use solely to further their personal ambitions. And defence is not a vote winner so it doesn’t feature high on the list of things to fund.

That the politicians (of all colours as they are all supporting this shift away from defence spending) are willing to gamble on no direct threat to the nation arising in the next 20 years* only proves they are not interested in the good of the country, just the glory of their own careers. Just be aware that to fund more generous benefits and nicer schools and trainsets the politicians are gambling with the safety of your children.

*Why the next 20 years? Because to rebuild a credible fighting force properly equipped when starting from a weak militia takes much longer than does disbanding a credible fighting force. If there was absolute knowledge of a raging threat due to hit hard in 2035, to have a full-on war-footing military ready to stand against it we would need to invoke equipment procurement this year. CVF it is said will be ready to fight in 2020, the decision to procure was announced in 2007. 13 years for the first of two ships in the same class to be delivered; PoW will follow three years later. But we would need to build more than one class of ship to bring the RN up to full fighting strength for a proper toe-to-toe war of attrition. Same with the RAF – JSF has been ‘in development’ since 1996 and may just enter service within 20 years from then. Typhoon project started in 1983 with Future European Fighter Aircraft and entered service in 2003. FRES? 25 years so far and still no firm ISD.

monkey
monkey
June 12, 2014 8:42 am

“help to prevent more f**k ups like T45 where numbers of vessels were cut to match shrinking budgets leading to higher unit costs that required further reductions in unit.”
Exactly the same happened with the B2, (there’s two at RAF Fairford on a ‘visit’ at the moment) a minimum of 132 was demanded by USAF to guarantee all the targets could be hit simultaneously in the event of a first strike requirement (their purpose) and in the end 21 bought for $2bn+ EACH (1997 dollars) makes the F35 look like a bargain :-) .Granted the fall of the Wall had a big influence on this cutback but an 84% cutback? Is it gamesmanship by the military that causes this? ‘we need 500 xyz so lets ask for say ….1217 and we will bargain from there with the treasury’ I suspect so ,surely the case they submit for their need should be black and white ,something like this ‘if the SHTF we will need this in this scenario, no ifs ,no buts ,that’s the bottom line , if we don’t have this when the SHTF we lose , you die, your mum dies, your kids die , got it? …. right ,that’s settled then. Bob ring BAE and tell them to start’ (who else would they ring?)

a
a
June 12, 2014 8:52 am

I am against the idea of GDP targets for defence (or any other sort of) spending on principle, because it’s a stupid way to set policy and tends to be abused by both sides of the argument. UK GDP was 35% or so more in 1999 than in 1990, adjusted for inflation – should defence spending really have grown in parallel? If there’s a recession, should we automatically cut defence? Does a country that gets 10% richer automatically attract exactly 10% more enemies? Should this rule hold for all sorts of spending – should we commit to spending at least 8% of GDP on healthcare from now until the end of time?

I’d say no. Like it or not, we elect governments to make this kind of decision. If we think defence should get more money (which I do), we should be able to make an argument on that on the merits, not just “oh, well, we used to spend more of our GDP on defence than we do now, so obviously we are spending too little”.

If anything, if the international situation doesn’t change, UK defence’s share of GDP _should_ be shrinking year on year, because we’re getting richer – just as the share of your income that you spend on food drops as you personally get richer.

All that having been said – I think the point about Britain generally sticking to commitments is a good one, and that will probably hold. Apart from anything else, economic growth has been so hopeless for the last five years that it’s actually quite easy to keep to a 2%-of-GDP target. Another Osborne government and defence’s share will probably grow – simply because the economy will start shrinking again.

Dan
Dan
June 12, 2014 8:55 am
Reply to  Chris

Chris sorry but you seem to have a strange view of history with the glorious Tory part supporting the Defence of the nation and the terrible other parties, in reality only Labour has been in power wasting money on social programmes. What the Labour part who led the development of NATO in 1949, and started the process of an independent British deterrent in 1948-51 and then updated Polaris with Chevaline in 1970’s and met the NATO target of 3% growth in defence spending even at a period of austerity in the late 70’s.

Yet they did this while there were voices saying we should spend more on schools and hospitals. They did this because they believed the Soviet Union was a real threat to the nation.

The problem is at present there simply is not a real threat to the nation.
Your issue around the length of time to produce military equipment is partly real but is exaggerated at present because what is happening is we are trying to spend nothing while maintaining the capability to produce high level military technology.

Typhoon has taken decades to produce and deploy because all the partner nations deliberately chose to delay development and production to save money. In a world with a significant obvious threat either we would have deployed lots more and lots earlier or the RAF would be flying F15s. Real threats tend to drive decisions which are different from prioritising shareholder value for BAe or maintaining industry capacity.

In naval terms Barrow is being drip fed the minimum to maintain a capacity to produce SSN/SSBN throw enough money at it and you could double production. The CV decision would have been different and we would have produced 3 with one for the French, they would be in service and what would be flying from them? Maybe F18?

Yes you are right that if something comes out a clear blue sky a la 9/11 then we are using what we already have. However if you are proposing a real threat against a peer nation state then you will see the build up of the other a nation state over time and either react or choose not to. If you move back to Cold War levels of spending of 5% of GDP all sorts of things are possible and some quicker than you might think.

In terms of a timescale of 2030, all thins are possible. Who would have planned in 1980 for both the Falklands and a drawn out civil war in Yougoslavia, and of course the end of the Cold War, break up of the Soviet Union and all of the Warsaw Pact joining NATO. All happened in the coming 15 years.

At present we are planning that Russia will not invade the Baltics or Poland, so we do not really need to defend against this unlikely possibility, but we do not really care if they throw their wight around in Central Asia, China is building a navy and Japan is responding and we are taking the view that it is not our problem.

Rocket Banana
June 12, 2014 8:58 am

…the current set of Tories are career politicians and they will spend our taxes wherever they buy most votes…

And we wonder why the Scots (and Cornish, and probably Welsh too) want out.

wf
wf
June 12, 2014 9:01 am

: I’d love to see the government commit to targeting GDP for all it’s government depts. We need to both set priorities and make it clear what is affordable and what is not.

Personally, I think the 0.7% on aid is ridiculous, but it’s a good lever when applied to other depts…

: the lessons are that a) politically driven collaborative defence projects don’t save money and cripple our military effectiveness into the bargain and b) trying to build one vehicle or plane to “rule them all” is not terribly clever :-(

Rocket Banana
June 12, 2014 9:03 am

Dan

…and we are taking the view that it is not our problem.

And there is the issue. We are one of only a few nations that can (and have) influenced world affairs. If we no longer wish to do this then the Britain that our grandfathers fought for is dead.

Britain is too far down the road of meddling to rebuild a stable nation that is not utterly reliant on imports from nations we need to keep sweet. I don’t like the situation and wish it could be changed, but without a total “about turn” in the way our children are educated nothing will change.

The Other Chris
June 12, 2014 9:05 am

…the current set of Politicians are career politicians and they will spend our taxes wherever they buy most votes…

Fixed that for you.

Dan
Dan
June 12, 2014 9:20 am
Reply to  Rocket Banana

Simon I am old enough that it was my father who fought in WW2 but that country is dead and gone and has been for a long time.

The Britain of the 1940s was a worldwide Empire, that could and did unilaterally intervene around the planet in its own interests. After being stabbed in the back by the Yanks in 1956, we pulled back from East of Suez in 1967. Yes we have had multiple operations since then but they have been part of a coalition where we are a partner.

On forums like this we drift into potential future threat from China, but the reality is this is not 1940 where sending the fleet East would change the balance of power in the area. We are now debating could we deploy a single T-45, when the Chinese, Japanese and even the Korean fleet are bigger than the RN, and of course to get there we are passing the multi-carrier Indian Navy on the way

Chris
Chris
June 12, 2014 10:06 am

This file:///F:/Data%20Files/Reference/Defence/SN05714.pdf is an interesting read looking back at the past Defence Reviews. I accept Dan that all the political parties have crowbarred cash out of the defence budget using weasel-worded excuses like ‘rebalance’ or ‘better suited to the modern threat’ or worst of all ‘peace dividend’. All I said was that historically (not limiting the view to post-war politics) the Tories put greater emphasis on Defence and less on social programmes than did the more left wing parties, which makes the current Tory disinterest in maintaining (some might say rebuilding) a strong defence all the more distasteful.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 10:39 am

I think what Cameron will say is that our Defencebplans up until 2020 will ensure that we continue to spend above 2% of our GDP on Defence. We are in the middle of a major equipment and personnel revamp across all 3 services.
The Chines are thoudands of miles away whilst the Russians could quite easily argue that they are protecting themselves. In any case they can bately field the forces required in Ukraine never mind those required to roll across Europe once more.
I think there are plenty of countries within NATO that need to look at themselves before we do.

wf
wf
June 12, 2014 10:42 am

: but there’s *not* overwhelming Western superiority, and no desire for even a minor increase in such from the political class. If you wanted to demonstrate to the Russian’s your commitment, deploying forces forward is the only way, as well as forcing them to counter, which has the happy effect of reducing the ability of the likes of Russia to make mischief elsewhere.

I’m sure the Estonians would love to host one of the RF brigades we are withdrawing from Germany :-)

Observer
Observer
June 12, 2014 10:53 am

As someone who has seen an armed forces both build up and decline, I’ve to point out that the effects of any rise or fall of the defence budget isn’t seen immediately, but possibly years down the road. Also, decline of the quality of equipment in the armed forces is much faster than improvement. You can cause a decline in the quality of equipment within 5 years (lack of maintenance), but to improve and repair the quality of equipment requires about 10-20 years due to lead costs(?) of high end military items.

Your problem will not be now, unless you can’t afford maintenance parts but in the future when it comes to replacing old equipment and you find that there was no savings for a replacement project.

Militaries are either improving or deteriorating. There is no “standing still”.

Chris
Chris
June 12, 2014 10:59 am

Obs – agreed. Can’t argue one bit.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 11:22 am

@ Observer
“Your problem will not be now, unless you can’t afford maintenance parts but in the future when it comes to replacing old equipment and you find that there was no savings for a replacement project.”

Another reason I am less upset than some, other than the inabiity to pick an armoured box we have a decent equipment modernisation process ongoing. T45 is still new, T26 planning underway, Astute coming online, QE launches in 22 days. MARS tankers ordered, MCM equipment still top line.
A400 coming online, Airbus tankers entering service, Typhoon weapon integration ongoing and F35 to come.

We do need to decide the way ahead on FRES and direction in some rotary wing areas is dubious but overall we have a robust equipment plan. There is a bit of Oliver Twist in all of us but we are most definitely not being served gruel.

Observer
Observer
June 12, 2014 11:35 am

“QE launches in 22 days.”

Grats. GL on the trial runs.

And from your list, I would say that you’re right, your programs do seem to be coming along nicely. Except for the Box on Wheels decision. Just pick a bloody name out of a hat already, none of the competition is really head and shoulders above the rest.

x
x
June 12, 2014 11:45 am

The Russians aren’t a threat in conventional terms. And the trouble with light troops is the means to get them into theatre rapidly in enough numbers has a high cost and only the US has those assets in any depth. Light for us means not properly equipped (in a transportation sense).

a
a
June 12, 2014 11:53 am

If you are against defence spending targets are you in favour of being a member of NATO?
surely you must accept that to be part of an alliance or any form of Union members must give up some soverign powers for the greater good. Are you in favour of article 5?
without a spending target how do you ensure everyone is pulling their weight?

This is, to put it politely, kind of nuts. Yes, I’m in favour of NATO and Article 5 and so on! Though if you think that NATO means its members have given up sovereign power, then you are mistaken. Article 5 is a treaty commitment to mutual defence – nothing more. It is not a legally binding arrangement – it can’t be enforced by the courts. Historically speaking, nations have broken treaty commitments all the time. If Cameron announces he doesn’t want CVF and won’t pay for it, he will get sued by the builders for (at least) their contractually-agreed cancellation penalty. If he announces he won’t send troops to defend Lithuania, there’s no way to force him to do so.

I think a spending target is a very bad way of making sure nations pull their weight – it’s far too crude. It works in terms of foreign aid, because that’s basically money and therefore fungible, but combat efficiency is not simply a direct conversion from money. I’m sure we could all list lots of expensive militaries that are basically useless. If we have to set benchmarks for NATO, they should be capability-based and regularly revised: not “you must spend 2% of GDP, we don’t mind on what, could be military bands and polo teams for all we care”, but “your NATO membership means that you should have X regular armoured infantry brigades, Y active surface combatants, Z operational air superiority fighters, all of them appraised as effective by NATO standards at their last inspection etc”.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 12, 2014 12:44 pm

The political class have made a one-way bet that we will never HAVE to fight another war since the wall fell, so they see all defence spending as discretionary, although potentially useful to cosy up to our mates or maintain our membership of various decent clubs they like to belong to. Such is their self-regard that I can see no possibility of their changing their position until it is much too late…as it might be already, if is right about the lead time to get organised for one we can’t avoid.

As I look about the World in 2014, I can see all kinds of ways in which they might be proved wrong within ten years, much less twenty.

But then I am Gloomy. :-(

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 1:02 pm

We have not HAD to fight a war since the wall fell, we however chosen to become involved in a few. If it would take us time to organise and equip to fight an other war then it is equally obvious that it would take any potential enemy time to get ready to be able to threaten us as well. That is why we have intel and security reviews which consistently state that there is no conventional peer threat.
As long as that is the case then no Government is going to campaign on a basis of increased military spending because it is simply not popular amongst the majority of people who are far more likely to vote for a party that pledges to use the same money for tax breaks or employment.
at the 2010 GE the three es, Education, employment and the economy were what people worried about, not a D in sight.
We should also be very wary of looking at peacetime budget driven procurement and training time tables and thinking that is what would happen if it ever became needs driven.

Unfortunately until there is actually some form of credible threat that is not as realistic as a Tom Clancy (RIP) thriller that is where we will stay.

As Lord West said and I pointed out the other day, trident can make justifying extra spending on conventional forces to defend the Uk more difficult to justify.

Foxhound85
Foxhound85
June 12, 2014 1:03 pm

You said “Foreign Military Aid”–is that aid under the MOD’s budget (which many count as Official Development Assistance), or aid to foreign militaries?

a
a
June 12, 2014 1:27 pm

Basing requirements on troop numbers can also be misleading as there can be a massive quality difference in training, kit and readiness.

True, hence the line about NATO readiness inspections. The financial bound, if anything, is more misleading. Is there more of a difference in combat effectiveness between, say, a French and a British armoured battlegroup, or between the UK and the Saudi armed forces (the Saudis spending considerably more on defence than we do)? You can spend money on defence and get 16 AA Bde, or you can spend the same money and get (or rather not get) Nimrod MRA4.

Observer
Observer
June 12, 2014 1:38 pm

But think of the reverse a. Someone can end up with an all infantry army, which might meet their manpower commitment, but be totally ineffectual in war due to lack or mechanized units, or inversely, that country could have only 15,000 men under arms. In 200 top of the line MBTs. The first can meet “requirements” while being totally ineffectual, while the other might not meet “requirements” in theory, but in war would be an extremely scary force to face.

monkey
monkey
June 12, 2014 2:16 pm


Re remember also in China and Russia a dollar spent there goes a lot further than one spent here or in the US in terms of what you get , do you think Chinas paying $150m+ for their new J-20? OR Russia for the new PAK FA?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 2:26 pm

@ Monkey
“Re remember also in China and Russia a dollar spent there goes a lot further than one spent here or in the US in terms of what you get , do you think Chinas paying $150m+ for their new J-20? OR Russia for the new PAK FA?”

You also get what you pay for in terms of what is put in, both money expertise and experience. How good do you think J-20 or PAK-FA actually are?

@ Martin

“I agree that any potential belligerent would need a considerable time to form a sufficient force to pose a threat but we said the same in the 1930′s and we responded way too late. Russia has boosted defence spending by 43% in three years. China has been enjoying double digit annual increases for decades. we have cut real spending in half and many of our allies by even more.”

It is not the 1930s, we have a far more sophisticated system of appraising threats, the Chinese are on the other side of the world and the Russians are going through a hugely painful modernisation programme, in 2010 only 10% of their equipment was even classified as modern, they hope to get that to 60% by 2020.
They are spending a lot of money to reconstitute and modernise conventional forces but not at a level that poses any sort of conventional threat to NATO.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 12, 2014 2:32 pm

@Thread – The question as to what constitutes a threat is an interesting one…previous generations of politicians observing potentially hostile operations like Russia and China tooling-up would undoubtedly have seen that as one and reacted accordingly…hence the Dreadnought Race of the Edwardian Age. Our current crop are so convinced that “History has ended” and we don’t really “Do War” any more, other than in a limited and discretionary way that they are presumably waiting for one or other of our potential antagonists to actually tell us they are getting tooled-up to do us in before that possibility really occurs to them…

All rather odd from a Historical perspective…

GNB

monkey
monkey
June 12, 2014 2:37 pm

@APATS
Agreed on the performance of the j-20 or PAK FA , at present its not quantifiable but the Russians at least have experience in building good planes the Sukhoi /MiG family of planes are highly rated by many western observers.
Re also their modernisation plan they will be converting many old chassis into other things like T72 into BMBT to work around the numbers limit for outright tanks discussed on another thread(guns over 75mm I believe)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 2:44 pm

@GNB

“The question as to what constitutes a threat is an interesting one”

Actually it is quite well defined. Threat= Capability and Intent.
Does Russia have the capability to pose a conventional threat to the UK= Not at this time
Does Russia have the intent to do so= Not at this time
Should we monitor it, Yes

Does China have the capability to pose a conventional threat to the Uk=No as it cannot project its significant conventional forces
Could China pose a conventional threat to UK interests or Allies=Possibly
Does China have the intent to pose a conventional threat to the Uk=No
Does China have the intent to pose a conventional threat to UK interests or Allies=Hopefully not.
Should we keep an eye on it, definitely.

We are an Island of 60 million of the West Coast of Europe who has significant world wide interests that are best tackled through our Alliances and Allies.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
June 12, 2014 2:50 pm

One of the key differences between now and the 1930’s is that back then it was the Germans rearming and the threat was right on the doorstep, with an eye on Japan who had an eye on our Far East possessions. Now most of Europe is on the same side as us. Combined we have more modern/4.5 generation fast jets than they do. We have a ton of soldiers all on the same side. We have a bunch of advanced warships and we have lots of Nuclear and conventional submarines.

Oh, and the Americans.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 2:58 pm

@ Martin
“we have a European nation that has just annexed a neighbours territory, massivly increased its defence budget with a leader that has openly stated his intention to throw off the shackles imposed on his country by western leaders and begin rebuilding an empire that was lost.”

Or a country that acted to secure its only warm weather Port and safeguard a buffer zone in a Russian ethnic area against the unwanted expansion of the EU into a country that had just had a coup.

Opposite views on the same situation. Look at Russian history, it reacts badly to being invaded but other than during the bi polar cold war it is hardly a France or a Germany or a UK or even a US in terms of world wide “incursions”.
Also as I pointed out the expansion in military spending is to modernise what were hopelessly outdated conventional forces.

“At the same time there is a rising power in the East that is increasingly belligerent to its neighbours while we and our allies are realling from the worst economic melt down in generations.”

China has been making some noises and yes they are building their military but it is on the other side of the world and we neither have an Empire nor the ability to field the sort of forces that we could. We contribute through our Allinaces and allies as well as we can.

Could you imagine running for election on an increased military spending ticket to counter China?

I doubt this has affected DPAs at all as the threat of peer on peer conflict has not increased more than maybe a micro percent.
We are in the middle of a plan and nothing has happened that requires an amendment to where we are aiming to be in 2020. Which is just about the right place given the threat that exists.

Beno
Beno
June 12, 2014 3:05 pm

Oh of course we will.
Politically Cameron is in deep with military covenant promises, and additional promises to Up the Defence budget in 2015.
The Yanks will go MENTAL if we don’t; the press and other parties would jump all over it on both sides of the pond.
And finally it will go through SO SO easily right now after Putin’s little stunts. The public will accept it like a flash.
It can even be spun to favour the UKIP part of the populous, “our sovereign independence from Europe and how they aren’t meeting their commitments. A strong and self-sufficient UK.” Hes madly after those votes !
Politically it’s a really bad move NOT TO. And a great time TO.
UK economy outstripping all other developed countries. Massive incomes from defence and defence related industries. “Free defence cash” from the end of war operations. Launch of QEC and the opportunity to take credit for that.
When else have we had a better time in the last 10 years? ( politically )
It’s a dead cert !
Only question is 2% or 2.1 ?
Beno

Beno
Beno
June 12, 2014 3:14 pm

Plus Looking at it,
With all the major defence commitments comming up in progress right now he can make the 2% just by shuffling payment dates on current commitments over the next 2 years, without actually commiting to anything more than he has already !

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 3:16 pm

@ Beno

Exactly I would be shocked that with F35 purchases, 2 Carriers coming online, T26, astute, A400, Rivet Joint, Typhoon upgrades etc we are not comfortably at 2% already.

Beno
Beno
June 12, 2014 3:52 pm

Yer, you make a grand public gesture for the US \ NATO commiting to the second carrier.
Something the Gov is reasonably likely to do anyway, wonderful political milage.
( even tho we know it will be an Albion \ Bulwark affair )
Calculate the raw monatary outlay for POW over the next 10 years accounting for inflation.
Divide by 10 and show an huge yearly figure showing a 2.5% GDP for the next few years.
but the main expendature wont even happen for 5 years and by then with a 3% compound predicted GDP growth
in real terms it will be comfortably still 2% very little risk, huge political gain.
The only way it can go wrong is if there is a massive financial crash again, and hey if there is you cancel everything and it was the worlds fault not yours.
Beno

a
a
June 12, 2014 4:44 pm

Look at Russian history, it reacts badly to being invaded but other than during the bi polar cold war it is hardly a France or a Germany or a UK or even a US in terms of world wide “incursions”.

No, you look at Russian history – http://cominganarchy.com/2008/01/24/the-geography-of-russia-through-history/ – they didn’t get to be the largest country in the world by being so awesome that people spontaneously wanted to join. Not that we’re free from blame in the empire-building area ourselves of course, but the Russians still have most of theirs. “The policy of Russia is changeless. Its methods, its tactics, its manoeuvres may change, but the polar star of its policy – world domination – is a fixed star”. (Karl Marx!)

Phil
June 12, 2014 4:46 pm

I agree that arbitrary targets are more of a political tool than an instrumental one.

I’m also interested in the notion of “choosing” our battles. If we intervene to protect our interests, do we really have the power of choice? Might we seem to be exercising choice by saying “no” but thereby merely displacing the problem further into the future? Was Iraq considered by the decision makers as a choice, bearing in mind the facts as they perceived them to be? Was Afghanistan a choice seeing as there grew from its territory a manifest threat to our lives? Is a threat to a “way of life” less important and thereby confer more choice, than an “existential threat”? Or are they the same thing?

Lots of stuff for the grey matter to dwell on I think before we can conclude we have a choice to fight. My initial thought is that the only difference is in the temporal dimension. In other words, when we fight there tends always to be an existential threat – but the potential culmination of that threat might lie some significant time in the future.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 4:48 pm

@a
I said Russian history, not ancient history about the formation of Russia. As for Empire building we are not only not free from blame but have done far worse far more recently.
We were also stupid enough to think we could expand the EU to its very borders without any reaction.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
June 12, 2014 4:52 pm

@ Beno – agreed, the wales summit is an excellent opportunity for Cameron to chalk up a PR stunt by committing to exceed the 2.0% target.

As Apats said; with all the capital spending in the pipeline it can’t be that hard for him to manage it regardless, effectively sliding operational spending in the capital pot, and still show a reduction for the treasury.

WiseApe
June 12, 2014 4:55 pm

“What do you think are the chances of getting such a pledge from the UK Government in September?” – It may be that Cameron refused to be drawn because he wants to make a grand statement at the end of the summit – more of a photo op.

I know we studiously avoid party politics on this site, but I can’t help but say that whenever Cameron’s name crops up, I am reminded of a great line from Groucho Marx: “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, well, I have others.” :-)

In the interests of balance, I should say that I think Milliband is a muppet.

Monty
June 12, 2014 5:34 pm

Martin,

Nice article. many thanks for taking the time to write it.

While Russia and China certainly represent an increased a threat, while any potential conflict with either nation that might start as a clash of conventional forces would be likely to go nuclear quite quickly. Therefore, we would seek to avoid such a scenario at almost any cost and they would too. We still need to beef up our forces, if only to send a clear message that ultimately draws a line in the sand.

What is much more likely is that our interests in Africa, Middle East or Asia could be threatened. China is gradually buying up assets throughout the African continent and it might well employ guerrilla forces from one state to secure its interests in another, i.e. precipitate a conflict without directly involving itself. In such a situation, we might be forced to deploy a large force.

France did a great job in Mali with the wheeled combo of VBCI and AMX10 RC . We have nothing similar until we acquire FRES UV. So we need to spend money to re-equip the Army. This is about getting new vehicles and more manpower. We urgently need a medium armour multi-role capability.

In terms of the RAF, I still think that F-35 is a huge risk for all parties. The latest reports from Congressional oversight of the project have been so critical that you can’t help feeling that the US is gearing up for some pretty serious pruning of its planned JSF fleet. If it cuts total numbers significantly, costs will skyrocket affecting other overseas buys and quite possibly our own ability to procure the number we would ideally like.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
June 12, 2014 5:42 pm

I always think people writing off the Chinese military kit at the moment, which could be argued isn’t top of the line, and saying that means they won’t be a threat for 10-20 years is a mistake. Look at where China has gone from in terms of manurfacturing in the last 10 years. If they really commited to it I believe they now have the technical know how to build military kit as good if not better than some of ours. They may need one or two iterations to sort out some issues with equipment they have no experence of, but they have to capability to move through those stages a lot faster than we do. So an ok fighter now could be a good fighter in 3 years ad a top of the line fighter in 6 years then rolled out in numbers in 10 years.

A Different Gareth
A Different Gareth
June 12, 2014 6:30 pm

Getting European nations to meet the target should help european security, european industry and take the weight off the US in doing the heavy lifting. The threat from a resurgent USSR and a Chinese defence industry that is making rapid progress is not just the physical threat direct from them but also the industrial capacity and proliferation of their equipment to other nations (either as potential enemies or as competing for export sales).

When reading the recent FRES articles the breadth of manufacturers and products in the land warfare industry is reminiscent of the aircraft industry of days gone by and it seems to have followed the same consolidation route. This lack of variety changed for the better imo with PPVs where all manner of companies put forward a variety of solutions because the government had become desperately receptive to ideas. The desperation has receded. Will the receptiveness recede also?

Mark
Mark
June 12, 2014 7:03 pm

“We urgently need a medium armour multi-role capability.”

I would accept that argument if the army first thought for the post afghan world had not been to start a warrior upgrade and procure its look a like. If the multi role wheeled capability is urgent then I suggest the army has it’s procurement priorities backwards.

China has the advantage of conventional mass no one bar maybe India can compete in the numbers game.

Headine grabbing statements of 2% is great for tabloid but means little. What maybe better is to ensure all countries contribute to the collective NATO defence with the ability to secure there own or allied air land and sea spaces.

The ability to travel half way round the world to topple a dictator maybe a requirement for some it is not a NATO mission.

Kent
Kent
June 12, 2014 7:41 pm

Wow! Susan Rice said something with which I can agree and it wasn’t demonstrably a lie! Sorry, guys. I may have to sit down with my head between my knees for a while. Getting dizzy…can’t breathe.

Observer
Observer
June 12, 2014 7:48 pm

… does that mean you usually agree to her demonstratable lies?

“I may have to sit down with my head between my knees for a while. Getting dizzy…can’t breathe.”

In that position, you might not want to breathe actually. :P

Kent
Kent
June 12, 2014 8:09 pm

@Observer – Hmm. No. I think I’ll just lie down. :P

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 12, 2014 10:01 pm

@apats – I perfectly understand the capability+intent calculation; my point is more that if capability significantly increases without intent becoming any clearer, at what point does capability alone become a matter requiring a response? In authoritarian systems intent can change in a single meeting if the right people are round the table…

On the Russian business, using Cossacks and then picking up the pieces afterwards as and when convenient remained a standard approach throughout the Czarist era, and very similar measures but with an ideological gloss were employed in the 1920’s to re-build the Russian Empire, in the 1940’s to assemble the Warsaw Pact, and subsequently to hold it together. And their Afghan adventure was justified as an act in defence of a legitimate friendly Government as late as 1979. Hardly the “ancient history of the foundation of Russia” as far as I can see…

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 10:09 pm

@GNB

Note when talking about Russia I did say apart from the Communist era. Compare that to ourselves and seizing India, loads of Africa and the US before being kicked out of the US. The French during the Napoleonic era or the Germans during the 1940s. Russia outwith the cold war has never shown intent that should worry us.

Ref at what point does capability alone require a response from us. When the Russians have a capability that is so great it actually poses a threat to ourselves. we will never be in a position short of war where China would directly affect what we do. It is simply so big that unless we went to a total war footing anything we could deploy would not be more than a Political statement of support for our allies in the region.

x
x
June 12, 2014 10:30 pm

Perhaps the cuts don’t go far enough? 60,000 lots of wages plus costs could be spent elsewhere? Pad out the RN (get that commando to sea as a mini MEU) and RAF (get the RAF regiment back to 70s style orbat with light armour. etc) a bit more. Keep the Household Division and two or three brigades plus a bit of support and perhaps widen the army’s remit a bit. For example the UK has no equivalent of the CRS. Give the AAC pilots to the FAA; operating those WIldcat/Lynx is what half their budget anyway.

Being a bit anchor faced I always thought it was the RAF that was the cuckoo, but really it is the Army. No empire and a few bases overseas why do we need them? As long as the RAF can protect the air above and bomb anybody coming close to us and the RN deals with the sea and firing missiles at a distant why do we really need the Army? If we need to put boots on the ground, better that it done quickly from a ship. And if the RAF need a base a bit close to the sharp end well a beefed up RAF Reg should do the trick. I think by the time Chally 2 needs replacing war would have moved on anyway because of robotics. As long as we rocket anything we want to death in Normandy and Belgium before they try to cross the Channel we should be all right. As I have said before we could bombard Madrid from Cornwall with TLAM and missiles like ATCAMS reach a long way so why do we need to put boots ashore on the Continent. All we need to is raise more RAuxF Squadrons in the south east and equip them with CAMM land and the land version of ASTER. I bet the MoD would have little trouble finding a few thousand volunteers if they new they weren’t being sent to play silly buggers abroad but joining to defend hearth and home. Much cheaper.

And to make invasion completely unpalatable let the British people own their nation’s service rifle again a la Lord Robots.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 12, 2014 10:41 pm

@apats – the one thing our Imperial history was never about was a steady expansion on land from home borders, which is pretty much what the whole of Russian history has been about since they threw out the Golden Horde in the East and the Teutonic Knights in the West. And after the announcement of “Socialism in one Country” by Stalin in 1924 it is hard to see any real distinction between Czarist and Soviet Foreign Policy…with the Comintern substituting for the Cossacks…what I see in Putin is more of the same…with the front-runners now being “embattled” fellow-Russians in neighbouring states, and their sympathisers (who sometimes call themselves Cossacks)…

Our approach was very different, mostly starting with trade…then with trading settlements with the permission of local rulers…then either helping out those rulers against their enemies, or biting back if they decided to unilaterally raise the rent…and so on. The Americas, obviously, different again…there it started with a mixture of State-sponsored settlements on the one hand and runaway religious zealots on the other…but in both cases they started by doing deals with existing populations and rulers. In fact, it can be argued that the non-state actors (being zealots) tended to start banging on about “Cities on Hills” and displacing local peoples more often than the Crown did. And the Crown willingness to honour treaties with the First Nations was one of the many reasons for the American Rebellion…and the reason why there are numbers of those Nations now resident in Canada whose ancestral states were in the now US…

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 10:49 pm

@GNB

You may perhaps have a slightly rose tinted view. I am playing devils advocate but let me put this to you. Russia has never sat on the channel coast threatening to invade the UK but in the last 200 years and change both the french and the Germans have driven on Moscow (both of whom have sat on the channel coast). In 2014 a Franco/German dominated EU threatens to expand to your borders and there is a coup in your neighbour to facilitate this. They are backed by other countries including the UK who once controlled most of the globe.
Would you not want to expand your military?

Do not make the mistake of thinking we were always the good guys and that other cultures saw us as such. We were so not in a n awful lot of cases.

From a Russian view point NATO has the capability and several members have historically demonstrated intent.

I guess what i am getting at is that when you examine actions of others you have to do a 360 degree review of their reasoning.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 12, 2014 11:12 pm

@apats – I am by training an Historian…I don’t much go in for good guys or bad guys. But I do try to take a clear view, and one free of post-Imperial guilt and an obsessively jerking left knee…

By my reckoning, our balance of pride and shame is probably better than most. Better, certainly, than Czarist or Communist Russia…or indeed Imperial or Communist China. Not least because we more or less gracefully left the Imperial Stage, often leaving some pretty decent stuff behind. Holy Mother Russia and the Han Chinese are still firmly in the Imperial business, partly because they seem to have convinced people (as only big land empires can) that they are Countries, and not Empires…

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 12, 2014 11:26 pm

@GNB

“I don’t much go in for good guys or bad guys. But I do try to take a clear view, and one free of post-Imperial guilt and an obsessively jerking left knee…”

Read some books then my views are mirrored by many or do they also have “jerking left knees”?

The owner of this jerking left knee has been decorated for serving his country, how about you?

Oghh and I note totally no response to my comments on a Russian view point to their actions. here is another. If the Chinese and their evil “Han” Empire on the other side of the world is so bad. The way they invaded Japan in the 30s tipped me off they were a bad bunch. Then imagine how concerned Russia must be sharing a border with them, if we have to respond at a distance of 4,700 miles then imagine how nervous the Russians must be.

We left some good stuff behind but we also committed some horrific acts i can admit both.

Some people need a bogey man but thankfully they are rarely unless in the US ever put in charge :)

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 13, 2014 12:31 am

@apats – not aware that I said we didn’t do bad stuff…or that either Russia or China are or were evil…and no view of History is without some political or other bias…but the aim, in general, is to recognise one’s own bias and try to unpack it…not to assert that one version of events is to be preferred to another, because it is morally superior in some way. I make no bones about the fact that I am a Beveridge Whig, who believes that the Anglo-Sphere has mostly done more good than harm…other people take different views, and it is that interchange that probably takes us the closest to some sort of objective truth.

As this is a discussion about History, I am at a loss as to what your Military Service and Decoration (for which many congratulations)…or indeed my lack of same…has to do with it? Is the idea that I should automatically shut up and defer to your views in consequence of it? Or that those of you here who have been in uniform have some particular wisdom about world events or history that the rest of us cannot share?

As I think I’ve pointed out before one of the remarkable achievements of the UK has been the establishment of Professional Armed Forces who give advice and then obey orders given by civilians to the best of their ability…this seems to me a pretty important characteristic of a functioning democracy, and I am personally very uneasy about the idea that those in uniform get to out-vote everybody else about what gets thought and what gets done…

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 13, 2014 12:49 am

@ GNB

“As this is a discussion about History, I am at a loss as to what your Military Service and Decoration (for which many congratulations)…or indeed my lack of same…has to do with it? Is the idea that I should automatically shut up and defer to your views in consequence of it? Or that those of you here who have been in uniform have some particular wisdom about world events or history that the rest of us cannot share?”

Wold you like to explain why you then described me as an apologist and with a twitchy left knee? You did both did you not? So you inferred things which I pointed out were not backed up by facts. If you had not said apologist or even mentioned twitchy left knee I would not have had to respond in kind would I?

your entire last paragraph ignores you accusing me of being some sort of left wing apologist. Totally ignores your inability to counter a single point I have made about reasoning for other countries defence actions and trys to portray me as the bad guy in this exchange.
“I do try to take a clear view, and one free of post-Imperial guilt and an obsessively jerking left knee…”

to which I replied

The owner of this jerking left knee has been decorated for serving his country, how about you?

I never suggested I knew more than you, i offered several points none of which you even bothered addressing at all. You dived into the “being bullied BS”.
I never ever suggested I get to out vote anyone but let me ask this.

Whose point of view and assessment meet the current governments approach better? You actually said and I will quote you “The political class have made a one-way bet that we will never HAVE to fight another war since the wall fell, so they see all defence spending as discretionary, although potentially useful to cosy up to our mates or maintain our membership of various decent clubs they like to belong to.
Now who are the only one suggesting that the civilians have got it wrong. You are NOT the Government and than goodness for that.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 13, 2014 12:56 am

@ GNB

“As this is a discussion about History, I am at a loss as to what your Military Service and Decoration (for which many congratulations)…or indeed my lack of same…has to do with it? Is the idea that I should automatically shut up and defer to your views in consequence of it? Or that those of you here who have been in uniform have some particular wisdom about world events or history that the rest of us cannot share?”

Wold you like to explain why you then described me as an apologist and with a twitchy left knee? You did both did you not? So you inferred things which I pointed out were not backed up by facts. If you had not said apologist or even mentioned twitchy left knee I would not have had to respond in kind would I?

your entire last paragraph ignores you accusing me of being some sort of left wing apologist. Totally ignores your inability to counter a single point I have made about reasoning for other countries defence actions and trys to portray me as the bad guy in this exchange.
“I do try to take a clear view, and one free of post-Imperial guilt and an obsessively jerking left knee…”

to which I replied

The owner of this jerking left knee has been decorated for serving his country, how about you?

I never suggested I knew more than you, i offered several points none of which you even bothered addressing at all. You dived into the “being bullied BS”.
I never ever suggested I get to out vote anyone but let me ask this.

Whose point of view and assessment meet the current governments approach better? You actually said and I will quote you “The political class have made a one-way bet that we will never HAVE to fight another war since the wall fell, so they see all defence spending as discretionary, although potentially useful to cosy up to our mates or maintain our membership of various decent clubs they like to belong to.
Now who are the only one suggesting that the civilians have got it wrong. You are NOT the Government and than goodness for that.

take 2

Observer
Observer
June 13, 2014 5:25 am

Be fair APATs, mutual blood letting was the norm for that region in those times, China, Korea or Japan. If the Chinese were “evil” because of what they did then, can’t we then make the same case of Japan? In fact, I think the Japanese-Korean arena had more action than the Chinese one historically.

Basically, what was happening in the old days was a free for all, both internationally and internally. Japanese, Chinese and Korean history then was a merry go round of rebellions, coups and backstabs. Just the way the game was played then.

But I think I lost the thread. What, specifically were you and Gloomy debating about?

Martin, are we still on the concept of strategic airlift? If you are going to airlift things, armour is probably one of the worst things to carry. Infantry is the way to go for air mobility, motorised infantry max. Once you hit mechanised infantry or armoured infantry, you start running to limited returns, so maybe 8x8s are not the vehicle for the job. You’d want something like Chris’s “tankettes” or light support guns.

8x8s, I’d try to piggyback the USMC’s MPC program. I really am interested to see if a mass amphibious 8×8 move cross the channel is possible. No waiting for planes or ships, just drive across. Saves lift for all the other units too.

Chris
Chris
June 13, 2014 7:08 am

Obs – ref “You’d want something like Chris’s tankettes” – well yes of course that goes without saying but… the 8×8 is intended to hit the ground at a gross vehicle weight of 14t or thereabouts – not so far from Martin’s 16t range. The proper tracked turreted vehicle (tankette indeed! Sheesh!) just a tonne or so lighter. The lightweight is a 4×4 but has self-protection weapons only and doesn’t carry dismounts. Just wanted to set the record straight – I’ve got a good grip on design but I haven’t yet found how to circumvent the laws of physics. Give me time though…

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 7:10 am

“motorised infantry max. Once you hit mechanised infantry or armoured infantry, you start running to limited returns, so maybe 8x8s are not the vehicle for the job. You’d want […]light support guns.”

I would agree with Observer’s statement. But the statement (made earlier) about AMOS taking the turret+base vehicle into medium armour category did not consider the much lighter (single barrel) NEMO:

1700 kg turret weight
360º traverse
–3º to +85º
electrical/manual back-up
automatic aiming
remote-controlled turret, 2–3 crew in chassis compartment
carrier dependent, typically 50–60rds ammunition load
120 mm smoothbore, breach loading
hydro-pneumatic recoil absorbtion mechanism

Would this, combined with the French vehicle being trialled as the “carrier”, still fit in with Martin’s requirement “To do that it would have to be in the 16t range so we could get 2 on A400m and three in a C17” while making such a force self-supporting within minutes of landing?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 7:13 am

So that seems to have been a design hint for Chris (14.000 + 1.700) for such a self-contained force, with fire support elements standardised on the same base as recce/ APC?

Chris
Chris
June 13, 2014 7:24 am

x – ref closing down the Army – contentious? Derrr! I spent a couple of years working on a project to which the MOD assigned a highly experienced Fleet Air Arm officer. Not only was he FAA; his father was FAA before him. Navy through & through. Yet even this officer, steeped in the glories of British naval victories *and* certain of the value of military aviation, agreed that no war has ever been won by navy or air force alone, nor a combination of both. Boots on the ground are required, if only to leave the defeated state in no doubt that their territorial authority has been taken from them. Don’t get this wrong; I’m not saying in the least that the Army should have all the funds and the RN/RAF lose theirs – the military impact of naval and air power is hugely significant, but ultimately someone has to go and stamp a size 11 military boot on the other guy’s seat of power and say “You’ve lost, mate.”

Chris
Chris
June 13, 2014 7:41 am

ACC – hint noted (now on the same list as RT’s hardened 4×4 light scout) – I tried to get details of a breech-loading large bore mortar from a large well known EU manufacturer but they chose not to answer any note or call. Their loss… I had not looked at NEMO but will have a rummage for it in Googlespace later. As for the carrier vehicle, I think I’ve noted before the hull is a useful box to put stuff in and its shape is defined by the needs of the role, hence for a family of vehicles my line-up looks like a collection of completely unrelated products. I should imagine given a few weeks I could have a NEMO carrier sketched out but it might not look like any of the others.

Dan
Dan
June 13, 2014 7:52 am
Reply to  Chris

In terms of the UK planning to operate as totally independent actor then having the ability to occupy territory and stamp your size 11 on it is important.

However in a world were there are no actual threats within a few thousand miles, the Empire is gone and all future operations are joint, (apart from those Islands which must not be named!).

There could well be an argument to invest overwhelmingly in Air and Sea and in terms of Land Power we depend on others, now sometimes that will be the Yanks, but sometimes, you fund a UN force made up of Indian and Bangladeshi troops (the grandsons of the Indian Army), sometimes you fund local troops whether the grandsons of the Arab Legion, or a militia in West Africa.

If the threat is butting heads with the Russians on the plains of Poland and Ukraine, then there is no way we should be planning to provide the majority of the land force.

John Hartley
John Hartley
June 13, 2014 8:05 am

Re Russians in the Channel. Did they not do that a couple of weeks ago when they sent a carrier battlegroup through? How much closer do you want? Putins less than subtle way of saying back off over Crimea. All we had was one T45 (without Harpoon) to shadow them. The RAF now has no Nimrod, Tornado or Typhoon armed with an anti-ship missile.
Changing to light armour, the 13 t M1117 would be good for the RAF regiment, the Redcaps & the Paras. Probably only need 15 each.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 8:05 am

If we are to run Afrika Korps as is often suggested here, then surely that “If the threat is butting heads with the Russians on the plains of Poland and Ukraine, then there is no way we should be planning to provide the majority of the land force” should be delegated to the Germans?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 8:07 am

Chris, with my zero automotive experience, the body for a mortar carrier will closely replicate the round shape of the turret – and the 6×6 wheel arrangement is not in two stratight lines?

Chris
Chris
June 13, 2014 8:19 am

ACC – until I give it some thought I won’t know what the end product might look like – as an example I had a design in mind ever since working at Alvis; it looked vaguely AMV shaped with a small turret. Once the details were assessed, traded, reworked and combined, it looked nothing like AMV. The weapons were different and the turret arrangement different, the turret had grown and had moved, the engine had moved, the crew locations had moved, the axles had moved (OK only forward/backward in their case). Had I been shown what the end product was at the beginning I wouldn’t have recognized it as the same concept. That’s the fun of engineering design… So while your assessment is sensible, the concept might not look as you imagine.

Observer
Observer
June 13, 2014 8:40 am

(tankette indeed! Sheesh!)

lol come now, if MBTs have undergone tonnage creep in the last few decades, why not tankettes as well? :P

If you were designing an infantry support platform, I’d skip all but the thinnest of armour, you don’t really need an all enclosed platform with 360 degree turret and all the electronic bells and whistles. Hell, at the most basic, all you need as a weapon is an 84mm Recoilless and a gunshield on top, with maybe a GPMG for backup. 106mm RR would be wonderful. Indirect fire can be 40mm AGLs or 81mm mortars (I’d avoid the 120mm as it is not in your service).

The Other Chris
June 13, 2014 8:50 am

Hartley

There’s an assumption there that Dragon is all that was keeping tabs on Admiral Kuznetsov and Pyotr Velikiy through la Manche.

She just had the privilege of being the one getting up close. Really close.

Most media presented this photo:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-iDBj2zrCIxg/U3N3kDvAcJI/AAAAAAAADl4/x3a3DEA6x10/s1600/kuznetsov.bmp

Dragon was also pictured astern of Pyotr Velikiy:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Ki8DtYVDydM/U3N48UqnVQI/AAAAAAAADmE/PauEx40fz28/s1600/peter.bmp

The Other Chris
June 13, 2014 8:51 am

@Observer

There’s a well known phrase for just these occasions:

http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/261/c/1/my_little_tank_by_gorgonbreath-d2yyy0i.jpg

:)

Think Defence
Admin
June 13, 2014 8:59 am
Reply to  Observer

I still there is a place for a manually loaded 40mm CTA type weapon, mounted on a something like an ATMP, Husky or Foxhound load carrier, for direct infantry support

Observer
Observer
June 13, 2014 9:15 am

ToC, I had a friend who was on guard duty when one of the USN’s ships made a port call. They were teasing him about being stuck on duty. His reply? “Hey, even if you don’t respect me, at least respect the grenade launcher.” :P

TD, whatever fits the job. 25 ton 8x8s really don’t. Not for unit air lifts.

Chris
Chris
June 13, 2014 9:16 am

Obs – http://www.panzernet.net/panzernet/fotky/obrnenavozidla/234/020.jpg? What goes around, comes around.

I have indulged in all-round armour, if only because there is less risk in taking armour away in spades than in adding it in spades to an unarmoured/light armoured vehicle. Want something like Jackal but 8×8? Easy modification. (It wouldn’t fit inside CH-47 though, at least not without a good run-up and I suspect the RAF might complain at the reshaping of their helicopter.) Matching the vehicle to the requirement is no big deal once a sound flexible basis has been designed. Most vehicle designers though design The Vehicle and then try to glue roles to the vehicle; I am perhaps unusual in that I have a set of systems and assemblies that allow me to glue the vehicle to the role as best I can.

Observer
Observer
June 13, 2014 9:28 am

” What goes around, comes around.”

Only if you seriously can’t read a map. :P

“less risk in taking armour away in spades than in adding it in spades to an unarmoured/light armoured vehicle”

Ah, makes sense. Worst case scenario.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 9:30 am

Observer,

As you can’t decide between 84mm and 106mm RR on top of a 8×8, I give you a 95mm
http://www.marttitikka.net/images/bosnia/Sfor014.jpg

Mounted that high, no dust cloud even in Lebanon (enough of the raw material for a proper test) and the same turret could easily take a 40mm GMG in a quick modification.

Observer
Observer
June 13, 2014 9:46 am

?

I don’t see a gun ACC, only a turret with a hole..?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 9:51 am

Chris, is that an extra short 75mm in the piccie of the German wheeled “fire support” antique piece?

It looks so short that the definitions might struggle:
Mortar: Less than 15 times the caliber of the gun
Howitzer: 15 to 25 times the caliber of the gun
Cannon: More than 25 times the caliber of the gun

Then again, they did make several types of recoilless guns (for paratroopers and Brandenburger; the latter took two by motorised canoe to the Murmansk railway… the sources omit to say whether they dragged them back, while being pursued)

@TD: Can an AMTP reasonably handle the CTA recoil? It has been designed for high velocity use, for a reason.

a
a
June 13, 2014 10:14 am

the military impact of naval and air power is hugely significant, but ultimately someone has to go and stamp a size 11 military boot on the other guy’s seat of power and say “You’ve lost, mate.”

I am grossly offended by this. My feet are size 9 and if you’re saying you can’t enforce victory on a defeated opponent with a size 9 boot then I will have no option but to file a formal complaint with the Think Defence Equality and Diversity Officer. I should add that Field-Marshal Slim himself had size 9 feet, and the Duke of Wellington took a size 8.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 13, 2014 10:43 am

@apats…I made a suggestion that you might be left wing in your politics, and hence interpretation of History, a position that I think I can defend from the views you have expressed over time on this thread or others…

You said I called you a left-wing apologist, which I did not; you said I called Russia and China evil, which I did not; you assumed I disagreed with you about why Russia and China might be twitchy, which is not true; you talked about both Russian and British Imperial History, where I offered a view as to how those two very different empires developed and a purely personal take on the proper balance of pride and shame. You talked about Japan’s conduct in China in the 1930’s which was a red herring based on a false argument…because I hadn’t called China “evil” and I hadn’t disagreed with you about what might motivate them…you put those words in my mouth…what exactly have you said that I did not respond to?

And finally, you seemed to me to try to trump all further argument by reference to your military service and the decoration you have no doubt quite properly won. I did not accuse you of bullying, I simply asked why that was a relevant consideration…I now understand that you were irritated because I suggested your History is of the left-wing variety…which I should add is a perfectly sound position and one taken by some of our finest Historians for whose scholarship I have the greatest respect…even if I disagree with them, which I sometimes do.

I am equally happy to argue but ultimately agree to differ with you, but my direct experience is that you don’t much care for that…this being the second time in as many weeks when you have quoted your military service in what seemed to me an effort to put me in my place and close down the discussion.

In my opinion not fair dealing on a site which actively encourages a wide membership and open debate…or indeed in life generally.

A regretful Gloomy

x
x
June 13, 2014 11:01 am

Re: Watching Russian ships.

I have a story about that which may or may not be true but I have heard it and read it so………

During the Cold War a Leander was tasked to follow a Soviet ship because the intelligence bods had noticed a mysterious structure back aft. The Leander closed on the Soviet ship, took photos, sent up the Wasp for more photos, and after two days nobody was any wiser. The weather wasn’t bad it wasn’t pleasant. Then on the third day in nicer conditions a Soviet sailor was seen to approach the structure, he opened up a hatch, went in, came out carrying a basket, and was followed by a couple of hens who explored the deck for a while before returning to their rather futuristic coop.

Chris
Chris
June 13, 2014 11:56 am

a – ref size of appendages (!) – here is a photo of one of our lads at Ovillers: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Worcester_Regiment_sentry_in_trench_Ovillers_1916_IWM_Q_4100.jpg Note the size 11 boots – probably encasing size 9 feet…

As for Arthur Wellesley and related delicate feet, that must be why he invented the oversized wobbly cullomping gumboot, just so no-one noticed. he did invent the gardeners’ gumboot, didn’t he? http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IBG9hxIvi1Q/U1w8i1sRFeI/AAAAAAAAF3Y/-0NG6bRp0vI/s1600/wellington-boot.jpg

monkey
monkey
June 13, 2014 1:12 pm

@APATS
I think you said something about we should only worry if the Russians end up on the channel coast , hundreds are due to arrive next week :-)
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140612/DEFREG01/306120036/Russian-Sailors-Begin-Mistral-Training-June-22?odyssey=mod_sectionstories

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 1:22 pm

RE ” it could also be useful to provide some form of armour support to 16AAB as they had with the CVR(t) squadrons attached”
what will be the use of those 50-60 remanufactured ones? The announcement, at the time, talked about several models, but I have never come across any other than the turreted Spartan.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 4:27 pm

Martin, true.

But there are lots of useful kit “missing” (from the official announcements), which is probably down to the fact that they don’t get counted in hundred[s]
– that [s] neatly brings in the Warthogs as well, as they did number more than a hundred; are they all with RA, waiting for certain systems to be declared operational?
– are the Vikings now just the “mules” for the RM (as their uparmouring proved difficult)… again. there was an official announcement that they will only be used in training!?
– and, lower in their total number, those CVRT remanufactures?

That is all in the public domain (now, or later will be). What really exercises me is why the RA did not turn the extra-to-requirement AS90 hulls into command and resupply vehicles? Lots of space, commonality with the rest of the units to be fielded etc…. At least the GMLRS resupply vehicle is on the same chassis as the one they are tailing when in the field.

x
x
June 13, 2014 4:53 pm

@ Martin re 16AAB

Was it ever workable? Let’s immagine a slightly different universe for a mo’ where Ocean has a twin and we have two low temp ARGs working turn about (and 4 Bays so two per group.) For our scale of kit we everything the commando would need could be carried into theatre. (That’s why one LPH and no decent follow on to Sea King and selling the Bay is such a waste of what could be a worthwhile capability for the Med’, Gulf, and Norway when we have the foundations in place. But that is another story……..) But 16AAB (as was) without its own transport helicopters (permanently assigned), if assigned then few in number, and having to wait for them to get into theatre means they are just light infantry. As Iraq and Afghanistan showed the rest of the infantry is quite capable of getting in and out of cabs (tactically).

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 13, 2014 5:00 pm

@x

Both 3cdo and 16AAB should be used as intended and stop trying to be standard light infantry. 3cdo (with a massively reduced CS and CSS) are our littoral specialists and should be the basis of a brown water navy and the 16 AAB (again reduced CS and CSS element) are our jump in seize ground specialists.

You mentioned on another thread that the cuckoo was the army when in reality it is the navy who are trying to do everything.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 6:05 pm

Yes, ” 16 AAB (again reduced CS and CSS element) are our jump in seize ground specialists” they are, but hasn’t Afghanistan taught us that the rest of the infantry can get out of a Chinook, and hold the ground?
– the reduced elements statement is true in the way that AAC (and its own support, within the regiments) is classified as one of the three combat arms, whereas if I were to take the count, only the guys inside the AH are, and the rest of the head count would fall into CS… quite an impact on the ratios?).
– next question: how big is the RAF Rgmnt Sqdrn specialising in taking airports? Why are they not part of this bunch? There should be a specialised sqdrn that prepares/ repairs the airfield, *after* it has been taken. Those guys could then be numbered as RAF Expeditionary Wing Y, Squadron X

x
x
June 13, 2014 6:08 pm

@ David Niven

Who was founded first?

I have spoken (?) lots here about how I want the Parachute Regiment put on a similar footing to the RM. I have spoken often how all who where the red beret should be jumped qual’ed. I have spoken lots about those who speak of the Parachute Regiment’s demise aren’t thinking it through. I have spoken lots of times about expanding 2/3 Para’s role into SF support like 1 Para. I have spoken lots of times about PR being the natural reinforcement for 3Cdo jumping in ahead of with to the objective and recovering to the sea. I have spoken lots of times about the need for doubling C17 numbers and additional A400m to move them quickly. That is not to say I advocate a sleeping policemen line in the sand strategy in the face of a peer armour attack but against lightly armed forces a battalion/battle group would b useful. I have spoken lots of times about the need for vehicles that can be transported within 747 and internally within Chinook.

As for Marines doing everything well back before the gun combat at sea involved small arms. And in the days of the old sail navy small skills were still very important after the exchange of broadsides (and the need to claim prize money). And in the days where basically only the officers (commissioned and warranted) were the uniformed naval service and needed protection from the crew whose terms of service didn’t run to iPads and free dental care so could be a be testy it is understandable that priority was placed on raising a group whose skill and toughness and discipline were above average. Never mind that the empire was built on maritime trade and the only soldiery available were RMLI.

Well we are on the subject of do everything everybody who comes here regularly knows my view on who should operate aircraft; above the sea the RN, above the land the Army, and where there is a joint need it is a shared capability. Again the RA may have operated aircraft first, but going back to my rule the need for the RNAS was, is, quite logical. The RAF exists it isn’t going anywhere but viewed against this idea of the RN doing everything if the job was already being done perhaps we didn’t/don’t need a third service to do more of the same and become another mouth to feed.

16AAB in its previous form wasn’t very good. It was hardly the 101st Airborne in miniature. It was bloated. UK defence is no longer centred on Germany where we could have equipment like helicopters and supplies in country ready to go. If HMG had stumped up and provided 16AAB with say enough transport helicopters to move two battalions in total in one hit I might think differently. But as I said these things have to be got into theatre……..

Finally as for the navy trying to do everything well supposedly we live in a purple world. What is conveniently forgotten here is that the navy has been joint for a long time. It has operated ships and submarines, it once had an efficient fixed wing air force that operated in an extreme environment, and it has a ground element that operates from sea, needs to take everything with it, can’t rely on numbers, and can’t retreat readily because its start line is the shore. The shift to the Central Front came about because that is where the enemy was to be found and a shrinking defence vote meant things had to be sacrificed. The trouble is many forget that sitting in Europe isn’t the British model. The nation’s prosperity came from trade and trade still means the sea. The last 60 years or so ran contrary to the proceeding 250 years. You know those years where we made money. The Army and the RAF mentally for all their expeditionary window dressing are still waiting for Ivan. Look at Op Ellamy and compare it to Musketeer or Corporate. The RAF moved 10,000 tons of stores by road and Africa was just about in reach from Italy. Another 100 miles and the operation would have been very different. Do you know how many miles from Alexandria to the Cape? So yes the RN do everything and we should be bloody glad they can.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 13, 2014 6:25 pm

@x

‘Who was founded first?’

And the relevance of that statement is? ( the RE can trace their roots back to 1066, can the navy)
I am not talking about either the RM or PARA’s demise, what I am advocating is using them as the specialists they are. The commando’s were set up during the second world war as raiding units, whats wrong with reverting the RM to that role. Would HMS Cornwall have happened if the RM were a fully capable (equipment wise) brown water and riverine force who can also do the point du hoc stuff and infiltrate a Fjord.

Why are we using highly trained commandos and Paras as ground holding units? when the line infantry are more than capable of the role. Any army light role/medium brigade could be used as an amphibious unit, it’s not as if we do opposed landings anymore.


‘There should be a specialised sqdrn that prepares/ repairs the airfield, *after* it has been taken.’
The CS RE Sqn would fulfill that role with a very small number of RAF specialists.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 13, 2014 9:56 pm

@x, yes ” The last 60 years or so ran contrary to the proceeding 250 years. ”

The Chinese would regard that as the statement describing their come back, after a small blib, when they ceased being the Central Kingdom/nation that they had been for the preceding 3000 years.

@DN, I am sure you are right. would be good fun to see what kind of “plant” the French landed into that Mali airfield, after having parachuted in enough troops to take it and keep it. I have a book on Kolwezi, but not sure anything will come out on this as we now live in the video age (i.e you can just decide which parts of the big picture/ the narrative you are interested in, but after that you are force fed with stuff that somebody else edited, and decided what’s n and what’s out).

x
x
June 13, 2014 10:24 pm

@ ACC

Yes. Some in our IR school were obsessed with the idea of a Chinese resurgence. Growing navy or not the Chinese are everywhere. There will come time where they have enough “infrastructure” in parts of Africa (and other places) they will be able to “sustain” themselves even if their physical routes to their homeland are being interdicted. China in Africa is East India Company redux. Shades perhaps of Cuba in Africa (but with a better budget.)

x
x
June 13, 2014 10:36 pm

@ David Niven re 1066 and all that.

http://www.royalnavalmuseum.org/info_sheets_naval_history.htm

Paratroopers and Royal Marines are subbing for Guards, line infantry, and rifles because the field army has been reduced too much. The MoD are canning 3 of the best battalions because their was no where to house them and so it was convenient to chop them. Yet we are keeping the RAF Regiment who don’t even “hold the ground” at the UK’s 2 if not at risk airfields certainly close to some not nice people. As far as I know there is no plan to use the RAF Regiment in any way to sub’ the field infantry; I only know of one occasion they have done this. And that was to replace a commando in Ulster.

“Any army light role/medium brigade could be used as an amphibious unit, it’s not as if we do opposed landings anymore.”

Really?

Observer
Observer
June 13, 2014 11:24 pm

The irony of “China being everywhere” is that given enough time, it becomes “China being nowhere”. The Chinese have been scattering all over the world for centuries, and historically, after 2 or more generations, the immigrants no longer counts themselves Chinese any more than the Boers count themselves Dutch. In fact, most Chinese immigrant groups are actually rather hostile to the mainland Chinese. Correction. Make that very hostile. Comes from the mainland Chinese habit of trying to claim everything in sight by force and the view that “we’re your homeland, we have some claim on your property.”

So let the Chinese go into Africa and grow roots. Soon, they will integrate into the society there and the “Great Chinese Takeover” will disappear and a new race of “African-Chinese” (or Chinese-African whichever way you want it) will emerge.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 13, 2014 11:50 pm

@Observer…Certainly true when Chinese migrants were enterprising merchants and traders operating independently of their original Government…will it work in quite the same way when they are employees of big conglomerates owned by the PLA who have been posted to do a particular job? I have in mind in particular the curious arrangement whereby the Chinese Development Company operating in Tsinkiang is a direct descendant of the PLA Army Corps that occupied it after 1949…is that being replicated in respect of Government to Government development initiatives in Africa? If so, the East India Company parallel certainly seems plausible.

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 14, 2014 12:01 am

I say good luck to the Chinese in Africa, they will do fine as long as their influence suits the locals, the minute that it ceases to do so. well we have a few hundred years of experience in that department and a lot of it was not pleasant.
I adore Africa, I love the smell of it, the people, the countryside, the vibrancy. I sometimes wonder whether it was ever designed to have lines drawn on a map of it by people who merely saw a resource.
Untameable may have been invented for it and the Chinese may well discover this as we have done.

Observer
Observer
June 14, 2014 1:08 am

Gloomy, humans will be humans and will make little humans regardless of if you like it or not. :)

And it’s these little humans that will move away from the “motherland” that they know nothing about and clique with their peers in the motherland which they grew up in. Their parents may be concerned with the PLA. The children won’t give 2 hoots. Maybe half a hoot, or one if they were feeling charitable.

APATs, it would take a strong, charismatic man to mold Africa to his will. From within. Outsiders don’t have a chance.

Phil
June 14, 2014 7:10 am

X

Why do you think all RMP should do jumps?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
June 14, 2014 7:24 am

@ Martin – “as a formation able to rapidly deploy and airborne battle group I think 16AAB was very useful. I don’t understand taking the third manuvere battalion out.”

Agreed.

As X said, it should have been reformed on the lines of 3Cdo.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 7:31 am

@x re 1066 and all that.

The Marines were not formed until 1755(?) whereas there is a regiment within the army formed in 1650. History (in that sense and not operational) is irrelevant when it comes to evolving and adapting to changing requirements, it gives esprit de corps and a reputation to follow with traditions that make regiments unique. If regiments clung to history then the Marines would not be Commando’s at all, they would be Marines in the conventional sense like US Marines, did they not evolve during WW2 to become commando’s? and what of all the allies that also created commando units from the same system? are they using the same units as hybrid marine/commando’s as us or are they used in the raiding role like the US Rangers?

1 Rifles were until very recently within 3Cdo Bde, so who was covering for who? and who are all the army units within 3Cdo covering for? Or are they just fulfilling a role that needs to be done, and there is no point the Navy spending money on training Artillery units and RE, REME and Loggies etc when there is manpower already trained for the job?

“Any army light role/medium brigade could be used as an amphibious unit, it’s not as if we do opposed landings anymore.”
Really?

When was the last truly opposed landing, Suez maybe? the Falklands were opposed by the majority with airpower, there was no storming beaches and silencing prepared positions, and if that was the case a medium weight Bde would be more suited for the job. We use landings to go where the enemy are not precisely because we cannot do opposed landings, and if that is the case would not a fully mechanised light/medium Bde be more suited to the role so as to move to other objectives quicker with more fire power?

Marines and Para’s should not be used as line infantry as I keep saying, they are raiding units with the right skills to match the role. If we reverted them to those roles then they do not need as much CS and CSS units and the Amphibious Brigade could be done by the army.

I agree with the RAF Regt, they too also need to take stock and decide what they are going to do and fit within the rest of the armed forces.

Repulse
June 14, 2014 7:34 am

I think closer integration of the SAS with the Paras and SBS with the RMs makes sense. The days of 8 men walking through the desert blowing up Scuds or monitoring supply dumps are still relevant, but hostage rescues, anti terrorist ops etc need larger structures, as do seizing airports / ports etc in countries that are crumbling.

Agree also that the Paras and RMs should have assigned Army light armoured units to allow them more punch and shock and awe potential. These should be seen as the UK shock and awe units. Getting quickly to a conflict zone with kit which makes your foe think twice saves lives and gives more time for reinforcements.

I’ve always said the benchmark should be a fictional Falklands 2 scenario. Using a RM CDO, Para battle group backed up by a Reaction Force Army Brigade seems to be a reasonable force.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 7:45 am

‘it should have been reformed on the lines of 3Cdo’

Why? If they jump in they are not really a maneuver unit once they hit the ground, so they do not require a large CS and CSS tail. If they seize an airfield we should reinforce them with a fully mechanised light brigade immediately, in which case again they do not need a large logistics tail.

Repulse
June 14, 2014 7:48 am

I think the idea of every Para being trained and qualified to jump into action is only logical and givs ultimate flexibility. One question though, has anyone considered the option of a modern stealth glider? Fantasy stuff I know, but recent events remembering Dday makes one think…

Observer
Observer
June 14, 2014 8:04 am

Repulse, can’t really say that there is much in common with SBS training and RM training, same with Para/SAS. Despite all the Rambo stuff that people associate with SF units, their real training is how to go sneaky and stealthy and optics/radios, while Para/RM is more concerned with blowing stuff up than sneaking around. Different training focus save for the Phys Training component.

And I never liked the idea of assuming that a unit does not need logistics. You don’t have a resupply chain, your unit only lasts 3 days in the field. No water? 2.

Repulse
June 14, 2014 8:05 am

@DavidNiven: ” If they seize an airfield we should reinforce them with a fully mechanised light brigade immediately, in which case again they do not need a large logistics tail.”

Okay if we are fighting WW3 or something close to it. Consider the scenario of securing an airport for evacuation purposes in a crumbling country with well armed militia?

Repulse
June 14, 2014 8:10 am

@Observer: whilst I’m not denying the need for the SF sneaky beaky bit, with the advent of increased technology including UAVs I can see their role being more direct action than before.

Not sure I understand your comments on logistics, of course they are needed and have not said otherwise.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 8:13 am

Once again Observer, I used the term large. Try reading fully mate it will help.

Do the paras require bridging or 105 batteries if they are just seizing ground? like I said if they jump in they are not really a maneuver unit against anything stronger than moderate opposition and we should have local air superiority or they would not have been dropped to begin with, so they just need food, water, ammo and a few specialists.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 8:19 am

‘Okay if we are fighting WW3 or something close to it. Consider the scenario of securing an airport for evacuation purposes in a crumbling country with well armed militia?’

If that’s the case you do not need to reinforce them immediately. But if that is the case and they do not need to jump why are we using para’s and not sending a Foxhound mounted battlgroup?

Topman
Topman
June 14, 2014 8:20 am

@ DN

‘I agree with the RAF Regt, they too also need to take stock and decide what they are going to do and fit within the rest of the armed forces.’

The last SDSR did just that, I doubt the next one will bring any great changes for them.

Observer
Observer
June 14, 2014 8:23 am

David, there are a few drop conditions that may not presume air superiority, namely low insertion drop or HALO drop.

And 105mm is a real comfort if you are far from home. Depends on if you can safely drop it or not.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 8:32 am

@Observer

‘David, there are a few drop conditions that may not presume air superiority, namely low insertion drop or HALO drop’

Commonly used by SF or a Para Btn?

Observer
Observer
June 14, 2014 8:37 am

Low insertion, yes.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 8:37 am

@Topman

‘The last SDSR did just that, I doubt the next one will bring any great changes for them’

Agreed, but what is the role of 2 Sqn, if they are not for a permanent CSAR unit, then why waste money jump training them? Would the CBRN role have been better serviced by a full regiment from RTR who are used to maneuver warfare?

I’m not saying I know the answers to those questions I’m just wondering.

Repulse
June 14, 2014 8:39 am

@DN: What if said airfield is not secure, or is initially blocked. Would you start by landing Hercs or similar? The Paras are the reaction force well suited to the task, a little more weight would allow them to react to broader spectrum of threats.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 8:47 am

Don’t the Para’s drop at 400ft as standard? so if we do not have air superiority and have not suppressed the air defences would they be jumping at all?

Plus if both of those criteria have been met, and we can seize an airfield why are we not just flying in a Light Infantry Battlegroup to do the job?

Topman
Topman
June 14, 2014 8:48 am

I’m not sure that they are, nominally they are supposed to be. I can’t say I’ve had many dealings with them, but it wouldn’t surprise me if their ability to train for that role was few and far between. CBRN is nothing new to them at all, they are SME within the RAF in that role so it doesn’t seem odd that they would put in that role. Although admittedly maneuver warfare isn’t something I know a great deal of.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 8:51 am

‘What if said airfield is not secure, or is initially blocked.’

In that case after the airfield has been taken would they not need reinforcing immediately with something that has a bit more firepower to ensure success and dominate more ground around the perimeter. A Foxhound Battlegroup for instance.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 8:58 am

I have worked with the RAF Regt a few times and had CBRN lessons from them (before the joint unit was formed) they were more focused on static collective protection back then, I dare say they have changed slightly since.

Observer
Observer
June 14, 2014 9:01 am

David, 400 ft IS low insertion. C-130s would fly lower than that, then pop up to drop off the troops before diving to NOE flight again.

As for securing an airhead before deployment, that is good practice. You normally exclude all civilian presence in the facility before landing. Don’t want someone with an RPG-7 to get creative. Or hell, just drive a truck onto the runway as the plane is coming in.

Logistics wise, there is another usage for airborne troops that does need lots of supplies. Securing of a far bank for access or bridging. The unit is stuck away from friendly forces while waiting for the engineers to get their act together, which might take some time. Classic example of this is Market Garden that people love to refer to.

Topman
Topman
June 14, 2014 9:05 am

Possibly so since the unit was formed. For most of us it’s on unit training that covers (pretty much) static basic CBRN protection. They no doubt cover more specialist areas at Honington I’ve not been for a few years.

Simon257
Simon257
June 14, 2014 9:11 am

@ Airfield Repair

The RAF did have its own Airfield Repair Force, it was known as the RAF Airfield Construction branch, it was raised during the War and was disbanded in the mid-sixties, when it’s roll was taken over by the RE.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airfield_Construction_Branch_RAF

12 (Air Sp) Engr Group and 39 Engineer Regt have the roll now.

http://www.army.mod.uk/royalengineers/units/28653.aspx
http://www.army.mod.uk/royalengineers/units/29571.aspx

Their was 77 Engr Regiment (volunteers) which had its RHQ at RAF Honington, before it moved to Brize Norton. I’m not sure when it was disbanded though.

http://www.sappers.co.uk/squadrons/ta-77-engineer-regiment-volunteers

Whilst googling I found this:
http://fauntrackway.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/RRR_guide_to_airfield_damage_repair.pdf

@ DN – RAF Regiment

58 Squadron and No 6 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ were disbanded last month and 3 Squadron and No 1 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ are also due to go in 2015. No one, I believe has been made redundant, personal have and will be to posted other squadrons and units.

Hopefully the RAF Regiment will get back the LLAD role from the RA in the future.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 9:18 am

Observer,

‘Logistics wise, there is another usage for airborne troops that does need lots of supplies. Securing of a far bank for access or bridging.’

Is that no a ground holding role though? so would they need a logistics regiment with all the trucks to assist them? If you cannot drop it was is the point?

ADR and Tin kicking for the Harriers was my first posting, a thankless and tedious job was tin kicking!

Observer
Observer
June 14, 2014 9:20 am

Is logistics only trucks?

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 14, 2014 9:25 am

Observer

‘Is logistics only trucks?’

I shall refer you back to my post at 8:13 am.

Observer
Observer
June 14, 2014 9:44 am

David, I believe your original claim was that Paras do not need a lot of logistics, when in fact, the nature of their job means that not only do they need their own logistics, being separated from the normal lines of supply for the army, but also the fact that their logistic requirements are stretched enough that they require specialized delivery systems just for a small amount of supplies to get to the target (look under PADS or precision aerial delivery systems) not to mention a heavy booking on cargo transports.