Magnificent

OK, so I know I have not been a great supporter of Project CVF and I still remain rather sceptical about the whole thing to be honest but you cannot fail to marvel at the engineering.

From this

through these stages

 

to this

prelaunch-12

prelaunch-08

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greg-urquhart/14558106074/

I think a hats off is in order

 

 

PS

My new best mates at the MoD have risen to the infogram piss taking challenge :)

 

And I could not resist this one

 

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Jules
Jules
July 4, 2014 8:44 am

Magnificent indeed!
Hope it floats! He He…

Martin
Editor
July 4, 2014 8:52 am

Its a bit like the Olympics. everyone bitches about the cost but I dare say even RT will have a bit of a lump in his throat tomorrow.

By making sure the Carriers cost more to cancel than build the Navy has pulled of a bit of an RAF type coupe. It was amazing reminiscing the other day about How many times that have been delayed or attempted to cancel then changing the type of aircraft they will operate twice.

its amazing that we have reached this stage and MOD f**king about aside the build has gone relativly smoothly? I don’t think any of us could imagine reaching this point back in 1998. we have managed to achieve a feet that the UK has been unable to do since the mid 1940’s. start and complete one of the largest aircraft carriers in the world.

Let’s just hope we can get more than air fix models to fly from them.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 8:52 am

Bringing that in and out of Portsmouth will be fun for the QHM. I hope they measured it.

Martin
Editor
July 4, 2014 8:57 am

That info graphic has given me an idea. 470 London buses on the deck with 100 guys a piece should mean that we can get the entire british Army packed on to two carriers.

Not sure if we should be happy about having such large carriers or sad about having such a small army.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 9:03 am

Martin

We can have a small army, what we have is enough.

What we need is a decent RN & RAF. They should be the priority.

The Oncoming Storm
The Oncoming Storm
July 4, 2014 9:03 am

Its very impressive indeed! Yes we all have our misgivings about either all or parts of this project but this isn’t the day for that!

May God protect her and all those who sail in her!!

Jules
Jules
July 4, 2014 9:04 am

To be honest despite all the Fekking about, they are relatively cheap as the only near comparables are The Fords at a Gazillion dollars each and a small township onboard, or the clockwork powered Indian jobbie, which is not a bargain in any way shape or form…
As long as all the automatic machinery onboard does it’s job reliably they should both be useable, and in the long run end up costing nowt in comparison to the above in manpower savings alone over fifty years…

Ace Rimmer
July 4, 2014 9:12 am

Accepted, truly an awe inspiring piece of technology, its a shame we can’t capitalise on the situation and build a couple more for export. Given the tensions in the Far East, would it be wrong to try and get the Japanese to buy one?

Observer
Observer
July 4, 2014 9:14 am

Congratulations to the Royal Navy. Long, hard road, but you guys got there in the end.

Jules
Jules
July 4, 2014 9:17 am

Ford:
Crew
2,500 to 2,700
Aircrew
Approximately 2,480
Flag Crew
70

INS Vikramaditya
110 officers and 1500 sailors
Aircrew???

QE:
Crew 6-700 (Was supposed to be six but it does seem to be growing?)
Aircrew 900

We’re cheap as chips!

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 4, 2014 9:17 am

Not too late to cut a chunk out of her arse and fill her with wagons and landing craft. Then she might actually be useful, instead of being a parasite on the budget.

Bloody boats.

Peter Arundel
Peter Arundel
July 4, 2014 9:21 am

Well she’s not a pretty ship, that’s for sure . . .

martin
Editor
July 4, 2014 9:21 am

@ Daniele Mandelli

I would be more worried about getting her under the Forth Rail Bridge than in to Portsmouth. The clearance will be unbelievably tight and will only be made possible with a large jar of vasiline that was added into the original cost when Gordon Brown was at the Treasury and insisted it was built in his constituency.

If BAE change the F35 production line to Tatton we might get a few more of them built as well. Mind you Osborne already spunked 600 million quid moving HS2 around his constituency so maybe he has already used his allotment ;-)

martin
Editor
July 4, 2014 9:23 am

Its a pitty we wont be getting the fly past for the 3 F35B’s

We should not have laughed at the Russians fire on their T50 :-)

Will
Will
July 4, 2014 9:27 am

That picture of her next to Illustrious really does make her look jolly impressive. I note that the good old BBC (Today program) kept on announcing this morning that QE “won’t be in service until 2020”. Idiots.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 9:31 am

Red Trousers

“parasite on the budget.”

LOL.

Dan Entwisle
Dan Entwisle
July 4, 2014 9:33 am

A really fantastic day. It has been a long journey and she has many battles ahead – by that I mean political battles. Nice seeing her sit next to Lusty. she seemed such a big ship but she really is tiny. A day many thought they would never see. Welcome HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, you may be big but you’ve got some big boots to fill.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 4, 2014 9:40 am

Daniele,

I’ll wait for you to explain your slightly curious comment above as to why the RN and RAF should be given priority.

If you look back at our history, you will find that in the last 100 years the RN and RAF have been enablers, not the actual forces who conducted the campaigns through to conclusion. It would be interesting to understand why you think that will change as we enter the future, and hence your prioritisation.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 9:48 am

Hi Red Trousers.

For me, we will always be part of a Coalition which can supply manpower on the rare occasions we ( stupidly in my opinion ) occupy other countries. While the RAF and the RN are the true “Power Projection” assets that can give the UK some clout without having to deploy a large army.

On occasions where we will not be in a large coalition, Falklands being the prime example, there is no need for a large army.

If things with Russia / Ukraine go tits up and we face off against them again then indeed build a larger army.

Until then. RN, RAF, UKSF and Intelligence would be my priorities. Ground forces keep at 1 Armoured Division and a proper 16AAB and 3Cdo, not the trimmed down versions we are now stuck with.

Rgds Dan.

Peter Elliott
July 4, 2014 9:50 am

Thats a bit of a simplistic thought TD. Hammond has got a grip on the capability planning process and will not let the Treasury bounce him into any stupid decisions. The time to be worried is if some unfocussed numpty gets into the hot seat after the election or a reshuffle.

We have Ocean and Lusty working round each other now. We will have QE and PoW doing something similar after 2020.

The only question in my mind is whether they operate a pure one-on one-off or whether they ever overlap allowing us occasionallly to practice surge operations with separated FJ and Commando Carrriers.

Repulse
July 4, 2014 9:55 am

Bloody great stuff.

wf
wf
July 4, 2014 9:57 am

@RT: quite right that the Army finishes wars. But sadly our current political class seem to want to rule out finishing wars with victories, but prefer to leave them festering on, inviting further pain later on

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 4, 2014 9:59 am

Dan,

I don’t think you understand the nature of power, or the constraints on projection.

Power is endurance, not measured in the tiny timescales of a boat “loitering” over the horizon, but in many many months, years or even decades. The RAF are just a bus service. The constraints on projection for those two services are that they have not got strategic lift, but that is not an issue, as there are enough commercial alternatives.

Look at how we actually moved stuff into theatre for all of the big operations since the Zulu War. Commercial. Then look at which service actually conducted the decisive operation.

I don’t mind floaty little boats, they keep the Andrew happy. But they are not decisive in any sense, and certainly not worth buying in preference to kit that actually does conclude campaigns favourably.

Jules
Jules
July 4, 2014 10:00 am

@TD
But not 3X Invisible, and Ocean?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 10:01 am

Peter

I agree.

I would be delighted with occasional overlap but if I’m honest I’d go down on my knees and thank God that we get both, even if one is in reserve. Does the RN even have the people now to run both?

Jonesy
Jonesy
July 4, 2014 10:10 am

RT

“Look at how we actually moved stuff into theatre for all of the big operations since the Zulu War. Commercial. ”

If you want to look at what happens to ‘commercial’ when inadequately screened from hostile intervention in landing operations you have to go back little further than the Atlantic Conveyor. How much of a loss were those choppers towards concluding that campaign?.

Peter Elliott
July 4, 2014 10:11 am

@RT

Do not forget the power of Naval Blockade which has been a decisive factor in all the World Wars. Germany, Japan and France have all lost wars becuase they lost control of the sea.

Yes we sent armies to fight them on land. But choking off their trade very significantly weakened the enemy land forces, to the point of collapse.

Martin
Editor
July 4, 2014 10:13 am

@ Daniele Mandelli

The RN does not have the man power to run the vessels it has let alone another carrier.

Giev the fact the POW is getting built and I don’t think anyone other than the Chinese could afford to buy her I think we will get both with one in reserve. Compared to a £34 billion budget keeping another carrier in reserve won’t cost much.

If we get a defence pledge from Cameron on 2% of GDP and we don’t see further cuts then I think we have a decent chance of getting both. even for our cash strapped military £70 million is not a lot.

Once the ships are operational and politicians have got use to swanning around the world stage with them I doubt they will want to give them up for the minor savings it would generate.

Now the Army has dropped below the magic 100,000 figure it will be easier for politicians to seek further cuts from the Army of more savings are needed.

mike
mike
July 4, 2014 10:16 am

erm, the RN has not ‘gotten there in the end’

There is still a lot to do to even get her kitted out…

lol the beginning of the story ain’t over yet…not by a long chalk.
But the thinking ya get, feels like she’s ready to sail off into the sunset with “shine on you crazy diamond” playing!

That is a lot of space… the RN will have plenty of sports to play on them ;)

Still pretty damn good we did it on our own, this one… not with US help like Astute. No European collaboration like Typhoon, and no standing still for a few decades hemorrhaging money, like FRES. All good.

But I can’t help but think of the inevitable compromises the RN has made… withdrawing ships and also in its design, like no proper self defensive means other than CIWS.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 10:17 am

RT

Thanks, I accept your points as well.

I still feel that the UK can get more influence as a P5 member with resources into the RN and RAF more than the army.

That said, I am not advocating reducing the size of the army, I was against going below 100000.
All 3 services have their part to play. My feeling is what we have can still do the job, given the kit as you say, where’s the cuts since 1998 have reduced the RAF and RN to an unacceptable level.

Example – RAF had 22 Combat Squadrons as recently as 1998 I think? Now has 7, soon 6. Disgraceful.
Air power is also one of the first things the army cries out for. Either the SHF or Fast Air.

Our largest army deployment was, what, GW1 or 2? And that was rare. We still have 3rd Division to achieve that. now.

Regards

Dan

Martin
Editor
July 4, 2014 10:18 am

@ Peter Eliott

after watching 37 days this week. I did note that the Germans did not seem to be overly bothered by the Royal Navy. although possibly the decisive factor in both world wars was the Naval superiority of the allies.

That being said an enemy will always attack you were your a weakest and due to overwhelming allied superiority at sea and the air the Army is still likely to fight the majority if the battles.

However does that mean we need an Army of 100k or 82K or 65 K? its open to debate.

Chris
Chris
July 4, 2014 10:27 am

Being a civvie I’ve never quite got the turf wars between RN RAF & Army. I have always hoped it was friendly sparring not genuine argument. Remove any one of the three from the armed forces and the other two (as now structured) are much less effective; there is reliance in all directions for successful defence of the nation. Clearly when budgets squeeze each service will feel its own pain more than that of the others and will argue the reduction of funding as unfair or dangerous to the nations defence – well meaning and probably justified claims – but the real answer is better funding, not nicking the other guy’s icecream.

An alternative approach, which most here dismiss as stupid naive and unworkable, is to stop buying the most expensive do-anything kit that money can’t quite buy, and instead look at useful robust probably adequate kit in larger numbers, some of the equipment saving going on increased manning levels. With a fixed budget that seems to be the only way to increase the armed forces footprint around the world.

monkey
monkey
July 4, 2014 10:41 am

@RT
“The RAF are just a bus service”
You mean like a Ryan Air Force :-)
Agreed on shipping by air , their is a huge commercial capacity to tap into.

With regards to the launch of the QE , well done the RN and ACA .
(Lets hope its work up is a lot smoother than the CDG’s was)

John Hartley
John Hartley
July 4, 2014 10:43 am

Flicking through Warships IFR magazine in Smiths, I noticed the French shipbuilders had an artists mock up of an enlarged, modernised Charles de Gaulle type carrier, they were trying to talk the French gov into ordering. Wonder if it is an updated version of their 58,000 ton 2004 proposal?

Guthy
Guthy
July 4, 2014 10:45 am

On a side note had a look at the infogram @3:10…Is it me or are the ships propellers on the wrong way round :), One hopes this sort of thing hasnt made it through to the final build ;) could get embarasing when trying to run the engines up for the first time :)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 4, 2014 11:03 am

Monkey,

The RAF is nothing like Ryanair. At least the airline has heard of customer service, even if it fails to deliver. Have you ever met a member (a deliberate choice of word) of the RAF Movements Staff?

I struggle to decide which is the worst of the Kevins. Fast jets who don’t turn up in time because the moon is in Sagittarius or some other excuse, the Support Helicopters who land in the wrong field after a 5 day patrol in South Armagh, the chippy Spec Air Crew who man the Royal Flight and decide they are too important to stay in a Corimec in Banja Luka when CDS was quite happy to, and then get trapped by fog in Split, thus cunting up the entire visit, the Movers who just generally balls up everything and are not bothered, or the Walter Mittys in the RAF Regiment.

I’ve not ever had any dealings with the AWACS/MPA/ISTAR lot, but would expect similar disappointments. Shoddy service all round.

Repulse
July 4, 2014 11:05 am

Of course you need a large army to seize and hold hostile territory, but you know what the days of the empire are over so it’s at the bottom of the must have list in my view.

If defence is the key, let’s not forget the defence of our ocean assets as well. For that you need to be ready to go toe to toe with a peer advisory, which means SSNs and carrier groups. One thought if someone invaded the UK we have CASD, but would we use it if someone did the same to our EEZ like is happening in the South China sea?

Simon257
Simon257
July 4, 2014 11:23 am

@ Guthy

They are not propellers. They won’t be fitted until she is floated out. Can’t remember what they are called? Someone will be along shortly with the correct name! They are for testing the whole propulsion system without having to go to sea.

W.F. Hogarth
W.F. Hogarth
July 4, 2014 11:25 am

Although with several reservations about the design and vulnerability, I admire, as you do, the engineering.

However, I am saddened to find that despite the ski-jump making this carrier operationally capable, no one has found it appropriate to pay tribute to its inventor, Lt Cdr Douglas Taylor, RN, whose dedication in the face of MoD opposition has never been adequately acknowledged.

Mark
Mark
July 4, 2014 11:25 am

First flight or first of class launch is always a bit special for all the people that helped to design and build her. I hope they enjoys the day a raise a dram in her honour.

jonboy
jonboy
July 4, 2014 11:27 am

Give all the planes to the RN, and all the helicopters to the AAC (apart from SAR / AntiSub), then disband the RAF.

Sure there is a saving there somewhere!

After utilising the transport services of both Naval and RAF aircrew on Op TELIC, I know who I’d rather be relying on.

mike
mike
July 4, 2014 11:31 am

Kinda cheated on the breaking of the bottle though… just sayin’

After Astute, they were taking no chances.

Challenger
Challenger
July 4, 2014 11:48 am

What she lacks in conventional good looks she more than makes up for in sheer size and raw power (potential power i should say!).

Whatever people think of the overall project i don’t think that should detract from the engineering triumph we are seeing taking a huge leap forwards today.

As other people have already stated she has been built in good time with minimum of fuss, without any assistance like we got on Astute and the price inflation mostly coming from pathetic project delays designed to save a penny then to spend a pound later plus the F35 u-turn.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 4, 2014 11:53 am

To the speech writers for the event; B is for brevity. Jesus.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 4, 2014 11:54 am

@Thread – genuine question, and not an effort to lose more friends; my layman’s take on Iraq and Afghanistan is that if we had been able to take a Corps to the first and keep a Division in the second we would have had real traction in respect of the overall planning and conduct of the campaign…and might (MIGHT) have influenced outcomes for the better; but that at any scale less than that although we may have been valued allies for other reasons, our influence on policy was strictly limited. We were, in effect, trusted Auxiliaries to the Cousin’s Legions…and even saying that is likely to result in at least some disobliging comments from the other side of the Pond about Basra, Helmand and elsewhere.

That would presumably require an Army three times bigger than it was at the time, and although I personally would prefer HMAF to be significantly bigger overall, I am not sure that those numbers could even be achieved in anything less than full scale war…

That being the case, surely there is a genuine argument for emphasising expeditionary power…which includes Elephants and world wide air-power…provided we also build up air and sea-lift (even if it is by the planned and resourced use of Reservists and “taken up from trade powers” )…so that we can genuinely put as substantial a force as we can manage anywhere we damn well please in no short order…

And the next time a land campaign comes up we are absolutely clear that we can kick doors in with the best of them, but cannot do long engagements…simply because without a much bigger Army we will all but invariably be handing out hostages to fortune…by trying to hold a big place with insufficient men?

Retreats to bunker with ample supplies for a prolonged engagement… :-)

GNB

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 4, 2014 11:56 am

RAF Movement Staff are the worst humans alive. “Propeller wearing c***s” is how they tend to be described. Proper little Hitlers!

From some chippy Senior Aircraftman: “Sirs, Ma’ams. Ladies and Gents. Listen in for the nominal roll. Excuse ranks: Dannatt, Richards etc etc”.

Topman
Topman
July 4, 2014 12:04 pm

@ Ed Zepplin

‘Excuse ranks: Dannatt, Richards etc etc”.’

Surely it was; Jackson, Mike (rumoured to be) first uttered? Or perhaps it was Caesar, Juilius? ;)

Waylander
Waylander
July 4, 2014 12:22 pm

Great day for the Royal Navy.

.B
I thought the First Sea Lord made quite a good speech.

Chris
Chris
July 4, 2014 12:27 pm

GNB – ref kick in doors and leave – if the Army doesn’t stay for extended COIN then what are they going to do with all those shiny MRAPs brought into core?? To justify their usefulness I would have thought the strategists would be searching the globe for opportunities to insert a stabilisation policing force for the long haul…

Topman
Topman
July 4, 2014 12:31 pm

@TD
Well there goes my weak effort…
Anyway, I’ve heard that tale with several high ranking officers names, I think it’s just an urban myth.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 4, 2014 12:35 pm

Urban myth perhaps, but eminently believable!

Topman
Topman
July 4, 2014 12:45 pm

I’m never one to be bothered by such matters, as mainly I’m not a General ;) However their inability to move around an aircraft without driving something in to it (usually steps) does bother me and is definitely not an urban myth!

Beno
Beno
July 4, 2014 1:12 pm

Just Look at Her.

I keep repeating myself AWSOME is the only word.

A true credit to the nation, in no way can anyone in the world no see that as know that Britain is Great once again.

A 70,600 Stealth Ship. Who whould do something that crazy !?!?! except the British LOL

TAS
TAS
July 4, 2014 1:17 pm

She does look magnificent, and she is a triumph of engineering. What is incredible is just how difficult people here find it to understand the concept and relevance of power projection.

Putting boots on the ground to occupy countries has never been a feature of successful foreign policy. Anyone arguing for an increase in the Army has been blinded by the total irrelevance of the last eleven years of combat operations. The invasion of Iraq and operations in Afghanistan were complete and total failures. We should never had undertaken those operations. Gulf War One had more relevance, and should be held up as the shining example of what any major intervention should limit itself to. Defeat an invasion, and stop at the border. Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Libya – there are the interventions we will conduct in the future. And we will not go alone. We are too vulnerable – economically, diplomatically, militarily and above all vulnerable to the newly enabled generations of ‘freedom fighters’/terrorists who can apparently cross international borders at will. And our increasing dependence on technology and computing power makes us hugely vulnerable to the most capable cyber adversaries. We will go in force with allies and international support, or we will not go at all.

Britain is a world player. We sit at the top tables of all major influential organisations. We are a nuclear power and an economic key player. The world values Britain and her output in all forms and we influence the biggest players. Say what you like about the latest European debacle, but Cameron got the EU running scared and has effectively pumped grass roots support across Europe for the opposition to federalist integration. None of that comes from an Army of any size. Ground power is there as a last resort. When everything else has failed, and only if the situation warrants it, will we risk anything like that. We need one – but they will not have a handy war to go and practice in.

It comes from being there across the world. We embarrassed the hell out of the Australians by getting a carrier, destroyer and strategic air transport to the Philippines weeks before they did. We have major influence across the Middle East in the complex power-play of military activities and diplomatic gain – look at our stake in the Gulf region – enabled by maritime and air power. No boots anywhere, except for some tiny training missions in Africa. That’s not to belittle the fine work they do – but it’s less than a piss in the ocean by comparison. The ability to reach long distances is what gives us that capability.

Are carriers the solution? Of course not. The crowd that slag off the new carriers as ‘elephants’ have no idea of their utility but they are not an exclusive solution. That’s why we have a global network of bases we can depend on – Gibraltar, Ascension, Cyprus, Diego Garcia (and the nameless isles, for completeness). We have massive influence and huge basing capabilities in Bahrain and Al Udeid, and we retain significant influence and operational freedom in Singapore. But carriers give you overt presence and operational freedom. They are not invulnerable, but then neither is the threat so terrible and they have the best escorts in the world – nothing is as capable as the T45 at air defence. Even Syria doesn’t have the sheer weight of firepower necessary to overwhelm a carrier battle group – and that’s assuming they can even find the carrier in the first place. It’s a big ocean.

I’ve gone on enough, but please give the RN and RAF some credit. We know how to fight at the high-end, and that’s plenty enough for all of our potential enemies. Where we fall short, we do so by dint of Service and political meddling in budgets and procurement and in most cases can depend fully on allied support to cover the gaps. We have world interests that are shared by many. That is the reality of global power projection today. These carriers, for all their faults, give us a hugely significant capability that cannot, and will not be ignored. Far more so than any ground formation.

Anyway, seems to me this thing will be ready well before FRES…

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 4, 2014 1:32 pm

@ Waylander,
He could have delivered the same effect but in a much shorter manner I fell. At one point I was worried that Prince Phillip might die waiting for him to finish. Then it occurred to me that they might take Phillip on a tour of the ship and given his proness for unfortunate comments maybe that would have been the least worst option for the Royals.

@ TAS,
“but Cameron got the EU running scared and has effectively pumped grass roots support across Europe for the opposition to federalist integration”
— Hahahahahahaha! No.

If that were a pub fight then it would be the equivalent of Cameron shouting “c’mon boys!”, the Hungarian fella getting up to stand with him, and then everyone else kicking the utter shit out of them and then laughing them out of the pub.

He catastrophically misjudged the situation and was left looking like a prize twat.

Edit; Forgot to add, Cameron is a federalist at heart. If he could get rid of those pesky backbenchers and half his supporters then he’d take an EU superstate like a shot.

Mike
Mike
July 4, 2014 2:09 pm

If I could I would like to personaly congratulate everybody involved in the design and construction of this ship. I believe we will one day all be very glad of their hard work and dedication, as we will be of the servicemen and women and support staff and civilians who run and mainatin her throughout her life. I cannot wait to see her enter Porstmouth for the first time, enter service in 2018 and head off for her first deployment. A great day in the history of our Island Nation.

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 4, 2014 2:28 pm

Having spent a fortune on these ships, I do hope we go on to do the aircraft carrier thing properly – at least in the context of the path we’re on at the moment.

We do need proper aircraft packages for the ships, and we need both ships. The French pretty much ran their only carrier into the ground during the Libya campaign.

Five months of intensive use to round off a couple of years of heavy use. The head of their navy said afterwards that had Libya dragged on for another couple of months, then Charles de Gaulle would have been non-operational for a year, just for training. Crew training had long stopped, and they were getting by only by retaining the people who would otherwise have left the service already under normal conditions.

I think it’s a reasonable ambition for us to be able eventually to relieve a carrier and modest airwing during an operation for that extra endurance.

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
July 4, 2014 2:39 pm

Impressive, but ..

I’m ignorant of things nautical. I have been on one cruise, for our silver wedding anniversary, in the Med and that set me thinking.

In terms of size
The cruise ship had a bloody big space for the theatre. It is much heavier and the same length but not as wide as QE Class. It carries carried 1000 crew and 2,500 passengers. It is one of a fleet of 12 and one of the smaller ships in the fleet.

Even allowing for all the MOD spec and the warry bits it put things in perspective.

The cruise line is buying three new bigger ships for 2.1 billion Euro’s. or €700,000,000 each.

http://tinyurl.com/pkux3me

So is the Carrier Alliance having a laff at the taxpayers expense.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 2:46 pm

I can only agree with TAS. A magnificant post and I agree with everything said in it, and some.

We are somebody. If the left dislikes that then tough. I’m very proud of my country and the RN today. All of HM forces in fact, including the army!

I also feel that Chris comment earlier on maybe putting a little more emphasis on quantity rather than quality to enable us to get more assets is a very good point. Thus buying decent off the shelf kit along with the Gold plated stuff. Take the new Tides for example.

DB
DB
July 4, 2014 3:23 pm

@Deja Vu

Comparing a cruise liner with a warship is apples and oranges. For instance crusie liners don’t tend to go in for shock protection, subdivision, CBRNDC, combat information systems etc etc. The hull itself is relatively cheap (steel and air). It’s the design and ensuring that the ship can float, fight and move in the event of damage which costs money.

The Other Monty
The Other Monty
July 4, 2014 3:41 pm

Déjà vu, I suspect you may be confusing gross tonnage, which is a measure of volume, with displacement. The QECs have a displacement not dissimilar from Queen Mary2, which cost almost $1bn some years ago – would be far more with inflation.

That’s before one covers DB’s very pertinent points.

wf
wf
July 4, 2014 3:45 pm

@TAS: small point. If GW1 was a shining success, why did we need to keep garrisons in place for what appeared to be an indefinite time? Doesn’t sound like success to me

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 4, 2014 3:56 pm

B – Have to respectfully disagree on the EU…the usual suspects at the EU “Parliament” are wind-bagging on about the uselessness of the UK, but a number of serious German folk are making noises about how an EU without the UK is “unimaginable”…can’t recall ever having heard that before…I don’t really think they want to be presented with an even bigger bill by Southern Europe (now including France) to fund other peoples dirigiste economic policies/embezzlement (delete as appropriate). :-)

For me, the jury remains out on this one…

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 4:00 pm

In answer to your question, we did not have to keep garrisons in the AOR post GW1. The US did keep about 5k forces in Kuwait and we kept aircraft deployed to keep Saddam honest but other than the horrific incident in Dhahran we did not have “occupation” forces being systematically attacked on the ground.

Topman
Topman
July 4, 2014 4:03 pm

What garrisons do you mean?

Topman
Topman
July 4, 2014 4:12 pm

@ TD

Arrh Ali Al Salem, got it. Yeah but we didn’t stay in hotels so minimal costs ;)

Martin
Editor
July 4, 2014 4:13 pm

@ GNB – We could have sent an entire Army Group to Iraq and it would not have made a blind bit of difference.

No amount of western boots on the ground is going to drag them out of the 14th century.

True the Americans f**ked it up but I am convinced we would have ended up doing much the same no matter how many we had in the theatre.

daniele.mandelli
daniele.mandelli
July 4, 2014 4:13 pm

Desert Fox. An example of the importance of Air Power. Along with GW1, GW2, Kosovo, etc.

Naval Air Power with Carriers will be just as vital.

wf
wf
July 4, 2014 4:22 pm

@Topman, @APATS: I was referring to the RAF detachment in Kuwait, although you could also throw in potential costs if Saddam had decided to come south again. We could hardly have sat on our hands.

: the US *did* make a blind bit of difference. Sadly, they decided they wanted to throw it all away.

@daniele.mandelli: Desert Fox was one shootdown away from disaster at all times, just like the patrolling of the no-fly zone. Kosovo proved rapidly that air power alone is both largely irrelevant and effectively cedes the initiative elsewhere, hence all those refugees. Remember? It took an invasion to “sort” the problem.

Phil
July 4, 2014 4:43 pm

my layman’s take on Iraq and Afghanistan is that if we had been able to take a Corps to the first and keep a Division in the second we would have had real traction in respect of the overall planning and conduct of the campaign…and might (MIGHT) have influenced outcomes for the better;

But GNB, I don’t think this takes into account two important points.

(a) There was no appetite to be in Iraq beyond May 2003. None at all. There was no real strategy in place to do that and the history of the campaign after and even before May 2003 is a history of politicians fiddling and fretting to get out. Once Helmand kicked off in 2006 then it really was itchy pants time with Chiefs being bombarded with “are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet”.

Having a Corps there wouldn’t have changed any of that. There was just no appetite to have anything there other than the bare minimum. The overwhelming weight of feeling was to go in, go in hard and fuck off. But we can see how that fantasy works out in the real world – it just catches you with your knickers down with no strategy when reality intervenes.

(b) Afghanistan is wider than Helmand and wider than any contribution we could have made unless we go into real fantasy land. A division in Helmand, properly employed might have tied things up slightly faster. But there was a considerable flash to bang time from going in there and then realising that we were not in Kansas any more. Add in the lag time to then generate a response, test and adjust and then drive it all home and we’re talking some period of years. We’d have not seen a division in Helmand until about 2009 I reckon and so I don’t see the outcomes as being much different.

Iraq was a cluster fuck. That cluster fuck impacted on the real war. At the moment we’re looking very much like the Germans – able to win at the tactical and operational level but we’re struggling at the strategic. Iraq was our France: the war and area that tied down troops from where the real decision was Afghanistan. Stupid mistake.

Martin
Editor
July 4, 2014 4:58 pm

@ WF – Re America in Iraq

That’s what I meant. No matter how good a job was done in Iraq pre 2011 we would still have this Sunni insurgency. Its time for the people of Iraq and its Army to make a stand or face living in their Islamic hell/ heaven ( delete as appropriate).

I’m sorry to say but it is their beliefs that are the problem. They can either keep them and live in medieval times or cast them off and progress with the rest of the world.

Its much the same decision we had to make in the 15 th centaury.

even if we interven again and blow the f**k out of ISIS’s we would be right back where we started five years from now.

Phil
July 4, 2014 5:16 pm

Putting boots on the ground to occupy countries has never been a feature of successful foreign policy.

You talk a lot of sense in your post, and I agree with good chunks of it, but this sentence falls outside that scope!

RT is right when he says air and sea are enabling capabilities. If the threat is ever big enough at sea or air to be existential then the only way to defeat that threat is to occupy it, or irradiate it. You also contradict yourself when you mention Kosovo and Bosnia and SL as success stories but then post the above.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 5:30 pm


The key word is “occupy” and occupation has never worked for us. by all means use boots on the ground as required but only with.

1. Clear aims and targets.
2. A desired end state
3. An exit strategy

That is how you defeat threats, not setting up as an Army of occupation and becoming targets. Kosovo, Bosnia and SL had targets a desired end state and an exit strategy.

El Sid
El Sid
July 4, 2014 5:39 pm

Just as a comment on the MoD publicity machine – they were obviously relying on the F-35 flyby to make a point about the other half of the carrier system. As a result AFAICT all their press packs managed to omit any pics of the F-35, leading to lots of easy commentary about a carrier with no planes. It just seems a careless own-goal in strategic communications – there’s plenty of nice photos about of eg multi-F-35 formations and that one recently of F-35 with Typhoon, it just makes the point that this is something that is now appearing in squadron strength across the pond, it’s more than just an Airfix model. I’ve also had a bit of a hunt for pics of BK-1 and the other British F-35’s which seem rather elusive – again a good pic of one of them would make the point that these things are already flying under British colours. (well, with those rubbish sludgy roundels, ugg)

Phil
July 4, 2014 5:42 pm

2nd Army was camping in North Germany in 1945? 8th Army playing footie in Austria? The US divisions in Japan in 1945?

An exit strategy is a complete misnomer. Your “exit” is the fulfilment of the policy aims or acceptance of defeat.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 5:51 pm

2nd Army and 8th Army were accepted by the Populace and facing a very clear and evident threat to the security of Europe which could only be countered by their presence. they were on the new front lines. The Japanese population also accepted their countries surrender. Post a world conflict where we had fought a total war.

No an exit strategy is a realistic acceptance that you may not achieve all your aims. which given Iraq and Afghanistan should be a prerequisite. Any future commitment of UK troops on the ground should be justified by at least these questions being answered prior to deployment.

1. Why are we going to put boots on the ground?
2. what is our legal basis for doing so?
3. What are the aims that we hope to achieve?
4. Which aims would we settle for achieving?
5. is there any other way of achieving these aims?
6. What is our exit strategy? (can be more than one triggered by events).

That is basic planning and questions we pretty obviously failed to ask too often recently. No misnomer at all.

wf
wf
July 4, 2014 5:53 pm

: sadly you are entirely right today. Since 2011 the Iraqis made their choice: Iran, with whom we have lots of problems. Right now, our best choice is probably to let the Shias and Sunni’s fight it out between themselves. The only problem with this strategy is how we contain the issue if ISIS go for Jordan or Saudi.

: indeed. As always, selection and maintenance of the aim…

Phil
July 4, 2014 6:04 pm

No an exit strategy is a realistic acceptance that you may not achieve all your aims

So it’s a defeat then?

What is our exit strategy? (can be more than one triggered by events).

No, that is an option. Not a strategy. Strategy aligns the means with the ends, always. The ends are decided in an iterative manner between government and military. What you’re talking about is a withdrawal. A strategy based on not winning and having to run away is a strange conception. Being defeated is not a strategy. Changing the ends required is again a very different animal.

2nd Army and 8th Army were accepted by the Populace

After the populace were smashed to bits and also, they weren’t wholly accepted as most history will show you. And they were still by definition armies of occupation.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 4, 2014 6:06 pm

Does anyone know what targets, desired end state and the exit strategy of both Bosnia and Kosovo where before we intervened?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 6:11 pm

@ Phil

“No an exit strategy is a realistic acceptance that you may not achieve all your aims

So it’s a defeat then?

In the real world Phil we do not always win, especially the aftermath of a conflict. We need to accpet and be able to plan for it.

No, that is an option. Not a strategy. Strategy aligns the means with the ends, always. The ends are decided in an iterative manner between government and military. What you’re talking about is a withdrawal. A strategy based on not winning and having to run away is a strange conception. Being defeated is not a strategy. Changing the ends is again very different.”

No Phil that is flexibility to alter strategy to take account of changing circumstances and the difference between purely military thinking and the joined up world that we live in today where we need to think and link with both political, non state actors and other International organisations, otherwise we ponce around getting blown up, declare victor, leave and in 3 years it has all gone to a pile of rat shit. y

They were on the front lines facing a huge conventional threat that we were trying to deter, so a clear aim other than occupation and some BS about bringing democracy.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 6:17 pm

@DN

“IFOR aimed to oversee implementation of the military aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the accord ending the Bosnian War. Its main task was to guarantee the end of hostilities and separate the armed forces of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the one hand, and Republika Srpska, on the other”
“IFOR’s goals were essentially completed by the September 1996 elections. As the situation was still potentially unstable and much remained to be accomplished on the civilian side, NATO agreed to deploy a new Stabilisation Force (SFOR) from December 1996″

SFOR’s primary task was to contribute to a safe and secure environment conducive to civil and political reconstruction.
Specifically, SFOR was tasked to deter or prevent a resumption of hostilities; to promote a climate in which the peace process could continue to move forward; and, to provide selective support within its means and capabilities to civilian organisations involved in this process”

Kosovo aims

“a verifiable stop to all military action and the immediate ending of violence and repression;
the withdrawal from Kosovo of the military, police and paramilitary forces;
the stationing in Kosovo of an international military presence;
the unconditional and safe return of all refugees and displaced persons and unhindered access to them by humanitarian aid organisations;
the establishment of a political framework agreement for Kosovo on the basis of the Rambouillet Accords, in conformity with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.”

Now compare it to Afghanistan in terms of being realistic and measurable.
“NATO’s primary objective in Afghanistan is to enable the Afghan government to provide effective security across the country and develop new Afghan security forces to ensure Afghanistan can never again become a safe haven for terrorists.”

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 4, 2014 6:26 pm

@APATS

Yes but we enetered Bosnia as part of UNPROFOR in 1992, IFOR was a result from the Dayton Peace agreement after we bombed the shit out of them, which is where the we got the peace inforcement ideas from.

When we entered the Balkans we had no idea what our end game was.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 6:32 pm

@DN

No UNPROFOR had a mission “ensure conditions for peace talks, and security in three demilitarized “safe-haven” enclaves designated as United Nations Protected Areas (UNPAs)”. this evolved as required to meet the situation.
Do not confuse means (bombing the shit) with aims and we also evolved as the situation did maintaining clear and measurable aims and objectives. something we singularly failed to achieve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Do you actually disagree with my points about what should be as clear as possible before we commit boots on the ground or indeed some of them before we commit any forces or would you be happy just to muddle through from one platoon sized engagement or air strike to the next?

however we are miles off thread, my bad :(

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 4, 2014 6:37 pm

@APATS
‘and security in three demilitarized “safe-haven” enclaves designated as United Nations Protected Areas (UNPAs)’

Which we failed at, and hence the bombing that went onto the peace accord and the idea of peace enforcement.

‘Do you actually disagree with my points about what should be as clear as possible before we commit boots on the ground’

No, but sometimes the call of ‘we must do something!’ is too hard for politicians to ignore.

Phil
July 4, 2014 6:41 pm

In the real world Phil we do not always win, especially the aftermath of a conflict. We need to accpet and be able to plan for it.

Having a plan for how to respond to a defeat is not a strategy and you know it. An exit strategy is a contradiction in terms. You don’t put all your energy and vigour and resources into a strategy that does not marry the means to the required ends. It’s a logical point. Contingency planning is not a strategy. A strategy is the interface between the operational level and the policy level to bring about policy aims. You don’t have strategies that deliberately lead you to defeat.

No Phil that is flexibility to alter strategy to take account of changing circumstances and the difference between purely military thinking and the joined up world that we live in today

I’m not arguing that strategy should not be flexible, it must be that if it is to be anything, that’s why I said it is an iterative process between military and policy maker. What I am arguing though is that it is a logical absurdity to have an exit strategy. You’ve either been bested or you have achieved your aims and can thus piss off. If we can’t think clearly about these things and conceptualise them clearly we’re screwed.

You don’t go into a campaign with an exit strategy, you go into it with a strategy that marries means to ends. If things go south you test and adjust aims accordingly. Another way of saying exit strategy is “a strategy for defeat”.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 6:42 pm

@DN

“and security in three demilitarized “safe-haven” enclaves designated as United Nations Protected Areas (UNPAs)’

Which we failed at, and hence the bombing that went onto the peace accord.

It went through plenty of stages but at every point we drafted aims and reacted to the situation, NATO still does on a nightly signal.

I am not against “doing something” but I think the public are far less likely to be in favour of doing anything that results in a commitment to something long term and I will summarise my position using your point and say.

1. I am not against “doing something” but
a. Know what you are going to do.
b. What you want to achieve by doing so.
c. The end state that allows you to stop doing it.
d. How you get out when you stop.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 4, 2014 6:46 pm

@APATS

We seem to be arguing for arguments sake here, I do not disagree with you in any way. I’m just saying that sometimes the politicians just want us to do something and that is where the trouble starts.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 6:48 pm

@ phil
1 question and I will agree to disagree.
Afghanistan, have we achieved our aims? Accepted defeat or come up with an exit strategy that allows us to leave with certain aims achieved?

TAS
TAS
July 4, 2014 6:53 pm

DavidNiven,

Good god – politicians wanting us to do something? How very dare they! (smiley face to take the tension out…)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 4, 2014 6:53 pm

DN,

Who is this “we” you refer to above? I was the MA to the French 3 star commander of UNPF throughout most of 1995 (and UNPROFOR were subordinate to UNPF), and I can tell you of the utter uselessness of UNNY decision making, and of how the lives of thousands of Bosnians of all sides, not just the Bosniaks in Gorazde, Srebrenica and Zepa, were lost to international politicking and no desire to back political statements with action on the ground.

The troops the UN had available in Southern Bosnia and Sarajevo (3 French Battalions, 2 British Battalions, and 2 further reserve Battalions, all in high end IFVs or wheeled wagons with a full suite of infantry weapons were ready to go. We had CINCSOUTH and the air forces of 9 NATO nations less than 30 minutes away in Italy. We had total spectrum dominance. We had some weaknesses in ground based logistics, but only after 5 days which we war-gamed endlessly in Sarajevo and Zagreb. In Bernard Janvier and Rupert Smith we had two very gritty and tough commanders, both of whom understood Mladic and the rest of the Serb commanders, and both of whom I saw out-argue Mladic in the preceding May UN hostage crisis.

What we never had was the political will to intervene decisively. Probably because the politicians realised that the enclaves were only tenable if the UN intervened militarily, which was only going to be first vetoed by Russia, then result in a new international war in SE Europe.

Jed
Jed
July 4, 2014 6:55 pm

HMS Queenie looks marvelous – however she is indeed a white ephalump with no air group. F35 program grounded due to the fire, AEW to be provided by “podded sensors” on helos needed for ASW or other tasing.

Queenie with Sea Harrier FRS2 and Sea King AW&C Mk7 would be better than Queenie with nowt……

:-(

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 4, 2014 6:59 pm

@TAS

(smiley face to take the tension out…) duly noted and appreciated :-)

@RT

I’m not blaming anyone but the ploiticians. I was never impressed with the Balkan soldier and we could have hammered them with the kit we had then and there if we wanted to (but casualties would have been inevitable).

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 4, 2014 7:08 pm

@ GNB,

Cameron thought he was on for a winner. He allowed optimistic assessments of the situation to cloud his judgement. To understand the scope of this look at the various Telegraph articles in the run up to the vote, where Cameron’s PR people were telling them that victory was a sure thing and they in turn were reporting that he was on for a sure thing at the vote, that he was set to strike a great coup….. and then got utterly, utterly humiliated. It was a thrashing through and through. He was made to look a complete fool.

And when the European parliament re-opened the usual suspects went right back to where they had left off, undermining democracy and planning “ever closer union”.

Phil
July 4, 2014 7:19 pm

Afghanistan, have we achieved our aims? Accepted defeat or come up with an exit strategy that allows us to leave with certain aims achieved?

Without getting bogged down in the actual situation because that’s a thread on its own as we know, in the case above we’ve either changed our policy aims or been denied their realisation anyway, ie defeated. If the policy aim has become “leave in relative good order” then so be it, that’s a decision outside of the military. But that is not an exit strategy, that is a change in the desired outcome – the imperative to leave has become stronger than the imperative to stay. An exit strategy if such a thing can exist is effectively a statement to the effect that we never thought we’d need to do the things we initially said we’d need to do anyway, they weren’t that important to us so we always meant to leave before the original job was done. It doesn’t make sense!

This is a distinction with a difference. We must be able to think clearly about how the policy, strategy and operational levels interact. You might have an operational contingency plan for defeat and how to bring about extraction, but to actually exit with different outcomes is a policy decision, and strategy is the means of bringing that policy decision about.

An exit strategy means your aim is to exit and there is a means to try and bring this about. That happens when you win, or you don’t achieve the original goals. Giving it a distinctive label just encourages woolly thinking. Conflating an operational contingency plan with the means of achieving a change of policy is confused.

Your policy might be to leave if you don’t see x, y and z happening by a,b or c but again that’s really tantamount to a defeat and still isn’t a strategy. Strategy would be the means to bring about that policy end.

Roders
Roders
July 4, 2014 7:23 pm

@RT

I don’t understand how you arrive at the conclusion that the army should have the majority of the budget.

Mainly, because I can’t think of a time when the army stopped an enemy invading the British Isles.

It wasn’t the army that stopped Hitler crossing the channel, is was the navy, and the air force.

It also wasn’t the army that stopped Napoleon crossing the channel, it was the Navy, at Trafalgar.

It seems to me, that history has proven (WW2), that it is more effective for us to take advantage of the fact that we are an Island, surrounded by water – and as such give the majority of the budget to the air-force and navy.

If someone seriously does want to invade old Britannia, we can stop them in the water, buy ourselves time, build up the army, and deal with them.

Roders

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 7:26 pm

@ Phil

A political answer if I have ever read one :) ( not an insult btw) I would argue that an exit strategy is precisely ” that is a change in the desired outcome – the imperative to leave has become stronger than the imperative to stay”

You disagree, I respect that.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 7:26 pm

F35 is new, problems will be sorted out. There are always people to put a downer on events like today.

Complaints that QE has no air group are a bit ridiculous, the ship does not even begin sea trials until 2017, the F35’s have not yet been delivered.

I agree that having precious Merlins with Crowsnest deliver AEW is not ideal but that is the path we went down and the RN will make it work.

God. If we had dozens of F35’s already in service people would be moaning that what is the point if the ship is not ready yet. Sigh…..

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 4, 2014 7:34 pm

I know I’m not an expert in the maritime field, and perhaps NAB will be able to put me straight.
However I cannot stop to think that the railings on the ski jump are going to cause some problems. ;-)

Phil
July 4, 2014 7:34 pm

APATS

I’m trying to put across what I believe a strategy actually is in military terms. It’s the means to achieve the ends. Politicians set the ends, the military think about the means. An exit strategy is logically that the desired end is defeat and so the whole concept does not make sense. A military plan on how to respond to a change of policy is I believe what we are both talking about but labelling it an “exit strategy” is just confusing.

An exit strategy is a very political way of saying “we didn’t achieve what we originally wanted to and so changed the goal posts so we could save face”. If we achieved what we wanted, well then let’s call it a victory and hold a Triumph.

I don’t think we disagree at all, I think we are using different terms for the same thing. I am just saying the term being used by you and others is confusing and conceptually compromised. An extraction plan or goal post changing is what an exit strategy actually is.

Phil
July 4, 2014 7:38 pm

Mainly, because I can’t think of a time when the army stopped an enemy invading the British Isles.

Nobody has ever called being under Siege a victory.

I’m all for the Navy I think its a wonderful institution and does a sterling job, far more than what is realised and what it is praised for.

But the reality is the existential decisions are made on land (nuclear weapons aside, although perhaps not as you are blowing up land).

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 4, 2014 7:41 pm

excellent, now finish the second one and bring that into service too:

http://lindleyfrench.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/hms-queen-elizabeth-power-unity.html

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 4, 2014 7:48 pm

Roders,

I am not aware of saying the Army should have the majority of the budget: I have said that the RN and RAF should not be prioritised over it. Naval and air kit is expensive, so money and priorities are not necessarily the same. When there is only enough money for one or the other, then priorities kick in.

I’d also take total issue with your thoughts that either Hitler or Napoleon actually had total intent or capacity to invade. The German Army in 1940 was just not up to an amphibious invasion. Consider the scale of D Day in 1944 with 3 years of lead up and the resources of the entire of North America backing the detailed planning. It just about got over the beaches against 3 German divisions, and took 2 months to get beyond Normandy. The German Army in Northern France in 1940 had nothing remotely on the same scale, and indeed a much harder terrain along the south coast to try to take.

You also don’t acknowledge that Britain is a world power today because we had an Empire once. An Empire maintained by soldiers and supported by the Navy. No need to defend the islands, because the influence was all in having lots of bits of someone else’s country.

IXION
July 4, 2014 7:52 pm

AS I have always said this elephant is the proof that TD’s dictum kit is not strategy is disproved by this floating fuckwitery.

Just look at the comments on this thread………

I still call Elephants! Elephants! Elephants!.

I had prepared a long post on this but can’t really be bothered.

Although still can’t see how our defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan has anything to do with Nellie and dumbo…

Phil
July 4, 2014 7:55 pm

I had prepared a long post on this but can’t really be bothered

Gutted.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 4, 2014 7:56 pm

@ ixion

Post it, will be good for at least a hundred replies :)

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 4, 2014 7:57 pm

‘defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan’

Don’t you mean military stalement in Iraq and the hope that the locals can carry on we leave in Afghanistan (military stalemate).

x
x
July 4, 2014 8:03 pm

@ IXION

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 4, 2014 8:03 pm

Jedibeeftrix

Great piece! Seconded.

Roders
Roders
July 4, 2014 8:06 pm

No one is debating that you win a war by rolling your tanks down the most important street in their capital – you just do, everyone knows it.

But history has proven, that for this country, the best way to successfully defend ourselves, is to make use of the advantage provided to us by our geography.

I don’t understand how you could ignore any advantage given to you when you’re defending you’re homeland, if we had ignored that prior to WW2, we’d all be typing German.

It is true that being under siege is not a victory, but it is certainly not a defeat.

In the coming world, where any major offensive action we take part in will be as part of a coalition, i have no doubt that the coalition will be a hell of a lot stronger, if each and every member plays to their strengths.

We are not big enough (in every sense of the word) to compete with the likes of China, India and the USA, who can (or will be able to) afford to do everything themselves. As such our offensive future lies in being extremely good at a narrow spectrum of capabilities. Not, a jack of all trades.

That narrow spectrum of capabilities should be as useful to us in defence, as it is to the coalition, in offence.

Therefore it is only logical to for the navy / air force to get the majority of the budget, and not the army.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 4, 2014 8:15 pm

@ IXION – please, consider it, and post it.

It will be an interesting read.

Darned Consultant
Darned Consultant
July 4, 2014 8:16 pm

Regardless of minor matters (such as scale, cats/traps aircraft to use it with, budget etc)
Its a lovely thing, very nice articles
HMQE… Oh… you operate on the “Coooweeee” eh… that’s going to get old fast :o)

Ted
Ted
July 4, 2014 8:29 pm

Loved hearing the Bullshit about this on BBC radio 2 today :D

Nobby Stiles
Nobby Stiles
July 4, 2014 8:30 pm

RT,

ISTM that the key reasons that the Germans couldn’t invade in 1940 were the RN and RAF.

The army was, post Dunkirk, unlikely to have halted any credible German force landed on the south coast before it reached London.

However, their ability to land that credible force was precisely zero because of the RAF and RN. It would’ve been an absolute massacre if they’d tried.

Nobby.

as
as
July 4, 2014 8:34 pm

The naming ceremony. Jump to 1 hour in.

Simon257
Simon257
July 4, 2014 8:38 pm

@ Siege
It doesn’t help that since WW2, someone has built a bloody tunnel between Us and France!

Just to get this slightly back on topic, was I the only one who noticed that the standards of Journalism have dropped dramatically! The best one I heard was on BBC Breakfast News, when one of presenters challenged the FSL, on why have a Carrier when we have no “Warships” to launch from it!

So much negativity when we should be showing off our capability in building an Engineering masterpiece!

And another thing, the so called experts used by Sky and the Beeb on both sides of the debate seemed to be talking nonsense! Obviously none of them read your blog TD!

Roders
Roders
July 4, 2014 8:57 pm

@RT
In answer to Napoleon, look at the Origins section of The Battle of Trafalgar Wikipedia page, I’ll concede that it’s Wikipedia and not the perfect source, but hey ho.

On the Hitler front, he may not have wanted to invade, but he still invested a lot of resources in planning and preparing. The only concrete reason we have why it was called off, is because of the lack of air-superiority.

I may have been wrong to say that you want the army to have the majority of the budget, but you have said that it should be prioritised, it is this that I disagree with.

On the contrary, I’m all with you for the ‘world power today because of an empire once’ point, it makes absolute sense, provides us influence purely because it existed, it’s a great thing!

But more to the point, do you really think that we will be able to compete with countries like China and India, which have a labour force of at least 8 times our entire population, in a plain of battle where the advantage of numbers means a hell of a lot more.

No one can deny that technology has a disproportionate contribution to the capability of a nation’s air-force or navy, it is recognised by many that this is not so with the army. Does it not make sense that it is the services that possess this disproportionate impact upon their capabilities that should be prioritised?

Roders

(I’m a 17 year old still to form my main views on this debate, at the moment I’m just going with the one which makes most sense. Please, persuade me.)

monkey
monkey
July 4, 2014 9:11 pm

@RT
Your only hope is that the Scots go for independence and when the PoW launches in March 2016 , The new King of Scotland (and about as mad as Idi Amin) claims the ship and renames it the William Wallace and it goes on to a proud career protection Scottish waters from the Sassenachs Border Reivers :-)

I think we need at least one more stretched to run CATOBAR so we have interoperability with the French and our cousins with as RT says a big well deck at the back to give the option of filling the hangar and deck with wagons.
How much acreage on that 2″ thick steel heavily reinforced plate deck is there? That’s a lots of wagons parked nose to tail.
Nobody start talking about top weight affecting stability and roll rates but you know what I mean :-)

Phil
July 4, 2014 9:40 pm

But history has proven, that for this country, the best way to successfully defend ourselves, is to make use of the advantage provided to us by our geography.

Not it hasn’t. It’s proven the best way to defend ourselves is to depose or crush our enemy. Whether we like that or not it requires a ground force. The maritime argument can be a compelling piece of rhetoric but reality just does not support it. We went to war in 1914 because the Belgian coastline was of vital importance to us. We went to war in 1939 for precisely the same reason. It is also fact that there was enormous political pressure for 2nd Army to over-run V2 firing positions on the continent.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think the Navy has enormous utility. Almost as much in peacetime as in wartime. But I’m also a realist and just like I don’t believe in kicking in the door and going home, nor do I believe in the dogma of the maritime school.

Observer
Observer
July 4, 2014 9:48 pm

No worries Roders, RT may have been laying it on a bit thick with the hyperbole. :)

RT relax a bit, once PoW finishes construction, the MoD budget might have a bit more flexibility in it then. It might be more of a matter of “when” than “what”. Right now, the naval construction budget is a bit tough on the finances, but that does not mean that the situation is going to last forever, especially once construction finishes, so more toys for the army might be more viable then.

Now, your biggest worry is the Americans and their F-35 troubles. Can you imagine what would happen if they cancelled the F-35 program? 2 carriers and no planes they can use. Not likely to happen though, but those screaming for “no F-35” might want to consider that. Bit of an old argument here, but this is why I thought that the carriers should have been catapult based. More aircraft that you can use, so you’re not stuck with a single failure point.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 4, 2014 9:59 pm

my idea of a ‘maritime school’ is that two carriers (even if one is rolled in and out of service), is a good balance with an 82,000 strong army, given the cash available.

a maritime school was/is necessary for all the wing-nuts that thought we could maintain an army capable of endless division-level deployments to the desert post 2008……………………. and maintain anything else on a useful scale in the Navy and RAF.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 4, 2014 10:02 pm

@Thread – just a thought – as nobody has any confidence that the political class understand war any more – hence their desire to use it to feed their egos, or opt out early to save face at home – what is the moral argument for retaining HMAF in a State where the representatives of the Demos are unlikely to use them either wisely or well? :-(

Another genuine question arising out of the one common idea that seems to have emerged out of all the points of view expressed…wildly off-thread, for which sorry…

GNB

Challenger
Challenger
July 4, 2014 11:33 pm

@Observer

‘once PoW finishes construction, the MoD budget might have a bit more flexibility in it then’

Good point, the last decade or so has seen amongst other things 3 purely naval projects (CVF, T45, Astute) rack up £6+ billion a piece at the same time as the budget has come under enormous pressure with Telic and Herrick.

Excluding F35 which is a joint project and Trident/Successor which is a national asset the RN’s order book will be full of dribs and drabs such as MARS SSS, those 3 new OPV’s, some mine-hunting kit etc for the foreseeable future, with the biggest project being T26 at £250-£350 million a pop and roughly £4 billion overall.

Roders
Roders
July 4, 2014 11:50 pm

No it hasn’t. It’s proven the best way to defend ourselves is to depose or crush our enemy.
I understand that we need a ground force, you just do.

What I am picking on is the size of it, and how much of a role it should take in the wider strategy, to achieve the end result of deposing or crushing our enemies.

In order for the west (yes that’s right, the entire west) to remain dominant / capable of meeting and defeating enemies with far superior numbers, it will have to rely on stand off weapons.

This has been proven to be effective, look at the Korean War, or more specifically the Battle of the Imjin River, and the fighting at Gloster Hill, where the Gloucester Regiment held out for three days while the defences of Seoul were readied, and subsequently held.

The stand off weapons that should form the backbone of our strategy against far superior numbers should be provided by Air force / Carrier Air as well as Cruise Missiles / NGFS.

This will be the deciding factor in the future of our ground operations, not how many men we have, because as top brass know, we don’t have enough men.

Roders

http://britains-smallwars.com/korea/gloster.html

Roders
Roders
July 5, 2014 12:07 am

Oh bloody hell, i tried posting it 5 times, up until the 4th it showed that it hadnt posted, on the 5th it said ‘duplicate message detected’ and now ive posted it 5 times.

Great :)

Sorry TD

Roders

IXION
July 5, 2014 12:14 am

TD went to post the big requested post. but hit ‘save and return’ by mistake- it returned but i cannot recover it- can you help? or are my words of wisdom list forever?

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
July 5, 2014 12:17 am

I must agree that HMS Queen Elizabeth does look magnificent, but it has been built on the cheap not accounting for the cost increases caused by delays and dithering by the Politicians. Remember it will not be fitted with full task force command and control facilities as these were renmoved from the design to save money. It’s self defence capability of 2-3 Phalanx and a couple of manually oerated cannon is a joke especially when its planned escort group of 3 Escorts and a SSN is the bear minimum. At least the first squadron of F-35s should already be forming in the US by now and orders for the remaining two squadrons should have been placed. The first squadron could be working up with the US Marines now so that they can effectively participate in the QE work up rather than learning as they go in 3-4 years time. They should also be qualifying the weapon systems we are going to need like Meteor, which the US is doing its utmost to obstruct, and Brinstone Imp. as a pecursor to Brimstone 2. CROWSNEST should have completed assessment and developement and be ready for production with the order placed in the near future. All of the above should have happened, but the Governemnt is scared to spend the kind of money needed to realise the platforms full potential. We will see thing materialise in dribs and drabs over the next decade, but don’t expect to see a fully capable carrier in the true sence of the word even then. What we will have is the world’s biggest LHA. I think that’s the right one?

Challenger
Challenger
July 5, 2014 12:23 am

@Lord Jim

‘What we will have is the world’s biggest LHA’

Is that such a bad thing?

I agree with everything else you said though.

Observer
Observer
July 5, 2014 1:01 am

Roders, most people don’t realise it but “far superior numbers” don’t usually mean what people think it means. If you anted up and went with conscription, you can mobilize very very massive amounts of manpower, your limiting factor is not really men but logistics (i.e how to feed, fuel, arm and move them).

For example, if you went up against big scary China, with IIRC a total manpower of about 2 million, you can easily match it by conscripting just 3% of your population. Of course, China itself can ante up, but arming, feeding and moving 2 million men+ is not a trivial task, so in most wars, the defender usually has a huge manpower advantage, IF they can utilize and mobilize it properly.

El Sid
El Sid
July 5, 2014 1:19 am

Don’t forget that each Successor submarine will cost more than a QEC – and we’re building four of the things. A full “airgroup” for a Successor will cost more than 36 F-35 as well….

Observer
Observer
July 5, 2014 2:00 am

Ouch El, that wasn’t just raining on the parade, that was a full fledged monsoon… :)

Oh well, they’ll muddle through somehow.

Martin
Editor
July 5, 2014 5:30 am

@ APATS and PHIL

Its worth noting that by historic standards our casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were pretty light and our forces were exceptionally well behaved. If the occupation armies in Germany and Japan had had to conduct operations under modern media and standards they probably would have been seen as a failure.

There was an insurgency in Germany after the war. Hundreds if not thousands of allied service men still died through accidents, homocides and insurgency tactics. No doubt many innocent civilians died and women were raped.

what was probably different was the pay off. It was worth all the problems to put Japan and Germany back on their feet.

It probably was not worth doing in Afghanistan. Iraq is a different story as we caused the mess and were liable to fix it and at the end if the day we all need the oil to flow.

Martin
Editor
July 5, 2014 5:54 am

@ Challenger and Observer

are you forgetting successor submarine from the equipment plan?

Not that its really a naval project but every bit of spare cash in the equipment plan will be needed to fund the system.

The Army has £5.5 billion allocated and is likely to receive a further £ 4.5 billion from un allocated funding in the 10 year plan to buy a couple of thousand big green metal boxes on wheels and tracks.To my mind that should be more than enough as long as they stop pissing about and learn the true meaning of buying off the shelf. ( That’s enough to buy 5,000 Boxers)

It’s also worth noting that despite some high profile programs like CVF and T45 that by far and away the biggest acquisition program has been Typhoon for the past two decades with a £16 billion acquisition budget that is likely to leave us with just 107 planes which will need replacing just 15 years from now. CVF will be serving that nation possibly after many of us are gone.

Observer
Observer
July 5, 2014 6:21 am

Honesty compels me to admit that I really did forget about Successor.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 5, 2014 8:15 am

more to the point; he is on record as saying he wants two and he won’t wait!

happy days 8)

Martin
Editor
July 5, 2014 8:38 am

– it’s very encouraging to see Hammond still talking up the prospect if operating the second vessel. Especially when he refers to it as a very small amount of extra money.

he is not exactly a man who seems to get easily carried away and shoot his mouth if like his predecessor.

Operating the extra ship would cost 0.0001% of government spending which is around 25% of the paper clip budget of DFID or 0.002% of the defence budget.

For such an incredibly small amount of money it hardly seems worth arguing.

Fedaykin
July 5, 2014 9:32 am

@Red Trousers

“Parasite on budget”

“Not too late to cut a chunk out of her arse and fill her with wagons and landing craft. Then she might actually be useful, instead of being a parasite on the budget.”

What do you think Albion, Bulwark and the Bay class are for? Cruises around the Med? They carry all the green painted stuff and drop them off at wherever they are needed. No carrier and those ships can’t do their job when the chips are down and we are dealing with a peer rival.

You green tinted glasses types?! I will say it again…

“NO CARRIERS MEANS NO INDEPENDENT EXPEDITIONARY WARFARE CAPABILITY”!!!! ;-)

No carriers and we might as well disband the Marines and most of the Army and join Belgium in the league of military mediocrity.

We have the first one, it looks like they will see sense in next years defence review and keep PoW as well.

Cheers

Fedaykin
July 5, 2014 9:39 am

1982
Falklands
I rest my case

If you want to take the green stuff somewhere there is a peer or near peer rival and no friendly basing rights nearby you need the Navy with all its grey stuff, with flying grey stuff on some of it.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 5, 2014 10:00 am

– Very good point about the post-war occupation of Germany…my Father had fluent French and German, so was posted to the Occupation Forces as a District Officer…he had seen some active service commanding a troop of Cromwells in Normandy before he was wounded, but he saw a hell of a lot more after the war ended…and that was close-up stuff with his service revolver and a sten-gun…the whole place was awash with SS/Wehrmacht hold-outs, deserters, brigands and black marketeers…all armed, all dangerous, and none of them much inclined to surrender.

He even mentioned rumours that some wanted war criminals were most unlikely to be found because if they were caught by any unit that had liberated a concentration camp, there was apt to be a Court-Martial at the Drum-head in age-old style, immediate justice and an unmarked grave. (He was in 11th Armoured in Normandy, and although not posted back to them still had friends there…this might well refer to events immediately after they found Bergen-Belsen)

I wonder if part of the issue in Iraq might be that although in 1945-48 how bad it actually was, and how ruthlessly it needed to be dealt with would be common knowledge…it would not be the kind of stuff that was written down even if it was honestly accounted for at a unit level; I don’t know for sure, but I doubt if those years are at all fully described in official documentation and what was known then is almost certainly lost to history now (unless buried in Military Intelligence or RMP archives). It wasn’t the story the Allies were telling themselves about the conduct of the war, and unlike now the press were pretty clear whose side they were on.

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 5, 2014 10:32 am

@GNB/Martin

The crucial difference to having troops on the Continent post WW2 and having troops in Iraq and Afghanistan was pretty easily explained to Joe public by the presence of Uncle Joe and a few million hostile Soviet troops.
It was clear we had just got through round one. Not so clear in our last two electives.

x
x
July 5, 2014 11:49 am
John Hartley
John Hartley
July 5, 2014 12:13 pm

Being boring & going back on subject. I would not have built QE/PoW as they are, but we are where we are, so now the aim must be to make the most of them. So enough F-35B, with enough spares & weapons. Keep them away from the RAF at all costs. Are we getting the gun pod? V-22 tankers for the FAA, like the USMC to extend the reach of the F-35B. Enough escorts for the carriers to venture out safely.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 5, 2014 12:48 pm

@apats – True enough, although my point was more that very bad things happen in occupations, and however well that was understood in the 1940’s it might well not have been very fully recorded at the time…and that might have contributed to some of what happened in Iraq…

GNB

Mark
Mark
July 5, 2014 12:53 pm

“Operating the extra ship would cost 0.0001% of government spending which is around 25% of the paper clip budget of DFID or 0.002% of the defence budget.”

And the percentage of the MOD equipment budget based on 10 years operation is what?

” V-22 tankers for the FAA, like the USMC to extend the reach of the F-35B.”

Is that to “extend the range” to allow an extra lap of the LHD or to top off tanks immediately after departure because it will be bugger all use at any distance.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 5, 2014 1:07 pm

“…so now the aim must be to make the most of them. So enough F-35B, with enough spares & weapons. Keep them away from the RAF at all costs. Are we getting the gun pod? V-22 tankers for the FAA,…”

This is aimed at USMC but obvious overlap with RN/FAA:

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/7-things-the-marines-have-to-do-to-make-the-f-35b-worth-1560672069