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SDSR Special Pleading


In the run up to defence reviews it is traditional for the service chiefs to make a speech, attend a conference and sit down for lunch with a friendly journalist from the Telegraph or Times in order to make the case for more tanks, planes and ships.

Leakers and spivs, all are welcome.

So for SDSR 2015, this post will be stored in the open thread category updated on a regular basis with the links.

Please feel free to highlight more in comments and I will just update the main post.

More Planes

The Queen is concerned about the future of the Red Arrows

Leader of the Red Arrows calls for replacement of ageing jets as they celebrate their 50th display season 

More Tanks

Gen Sir Peter Wall: Britain may need its Army ‘sooner than some would have us think’ 

Cuts will leave Britain relying more on its allies, head of the Army says

Afghanistan may not yet be over

More Ships

Naval Credibility Relies on Two Aircraft Carriers

Britain’s Naval Moment

Maritime Renaissance

Sunk Costs: New Carriers Commit UK To Buy Escorts & F-35Bs, Says 1st Sea Lord

Royal Navy needs to Expand OPV Fleet

More Everything

Former head of the military Lord Richards warns armed forces ‘not good enough’ to tackle militant jihadism

Philip Hammond warns against deeper cuts to armed forces

More defence cuts would be irresponsible


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26 Responses

  1. Would it be inappropriate to suggest MOD look to fill the impending LAV gap with some fine compact light fighty vehicles? I know just where to find suitable designs…

  2. My gut feeling is there will be a follow up Hawk T2 order down the line allowing the T1/T1A fleet to gracefully retire. No harm keeping the Hawk line open a bit longer if it helps UK PLc and neatly sorts an issue out. It should also be noted that 736 NAS have a number of Hawk T1 that will need replacing in the not too distant future as well.

    A neat order for the RED’s and 736 NAS sorts the issue out and keeps people busy at Warton. It is a low(ish) cost decision that doesn’t involve any risky development programs.

  3. This could be a fun thread, pre-review time is always good for entertaining pleading.

    There are also some “interesting” rumours flying round industry at the moment about decisions MoD may take….

    My own view is that most of the pleading will come to nothing, aside from some salami slicing this is likely to be a review with little change, most of the questions have answered themselves. The one watch though is probably the Army, things have been messy in that one over the last few years.

  4. I actually think there will be much less RN/RAF friction this time, the two service chiefs are reportedly very close and they cannot be immune to the damage the various camp followers did last time

    Rumours, rumours, what is the point of rumours unless you voice them!

  5. TD,

    Agreed, I think RAF and RN will get away largely untouched (though the RAF’s ISTAR fleet may be pruned), its the Army where things have been going wrong, mostly a result of the job having not been done properly in 2010.

  6. @Hohum, admittedly they took an extra year to sort out the multi-bde concept that was being forced on them, and hired Capita (what would not go wrong with them at the wheel) to get another forced change off the ground (a relatively bigger reserve component), but other other than that, what has gone wrong (that wasn’t already going wrong at the time of the SDSR)?

  7. ACC,

    Reserve recruitment has failed miserably, and that potentially comes with a whole host of knock-on effects in terms of personnel, pay and force structure that in turn impact equipment policy.

  8. i agree on that sideof things… A slow build-up gives a sort of a breather on the equipment side, though?

  9. ACC,

    Not really, if the problem with the reserves recruitment turns out to be fundamental then the required changes are likely to be either more expensive or involve further troop reductions- both of those things would hit the equipment planning.

  10. Yep, a lot riding on that. The army actually executed the redundencies faster than what they had set as their own target. Presumably to safeguard and prop up the equipment budget?


    LONDON — Stop thinking about a maritime patrol aircraft and start thinking about a multirole capability, possibly including UAVs, to replace the Nimrod MRA4s axed in 2010, Britain’s defense secretary told an air power conference here Wednesday. .

    “I don’t think the question any longer is a simple binary one of do we buy a maritime patrol aircraft or don’t we? It’s a much bigger question about how does long-range maritime surveillance capability fit into the bigger requirement for long endurance airborne ISTAR capability,” Philip Hammond said at the Royal United Services Institute conference.

  12. If the SDSR does not save Sentinel I will be seriously peeved.

    Fedaykin, you could include 100 Sqn RAF in your follow up Hawk T2 order.

    “I don’t think the question any longer is a simple binary one of do we buy a maritime patrol aircraft or don’t we? It’s a much bigger question about how does long-range maritime surveillance capability fit into the bigger requirement for long endurance airborne ISTAR capability,”

    That is all very well, but will this requirement be able to find and prosecute Submarines! Stuff the patrol bit.

  13. I really hope this nonsense about finding alternatives to an MPA get shot down before next year. We’ve been over this time and time again – there is no alternative. We run the risk of disappearing up another FRES-style areshole if we continue to insist we can achieve the same effect with weird mixtures of immature technologies and a lot of hype. It will fail. Every other nation in the world in this game uses MPAs. They work. Should have made Nimrod work properly; now get over it and cough up.

  14. Queen fears Red Arrows will be axed;

    “MPs warn any move to axe the “Top Guns” would cause huge damage to the RAF, our aerospace ­industry and Britain’s image as a world power.”

    It’s not a proper defence review until someone threatens the Red Arrows :P

    Let the games begin. There is actually a fair point buried in there about the airframe life though, The T1’s being retired in 2020. Love to see them upgraded to typhoons, give them some of the older Tranche 1’s. Most likely end up with Hawk T2’s though I’d guess. Just due to the operating cost.

  15. Buy 15 or so Hawk 200 single seaters (Hawk FGR.3s?) for the Red Arrows, and replace the T.1s and T.1As with T.2s with the “combat wing.” Since the prototype Hawk 200 had two 25mm Aden cannon in the nose (removed due to gun problems) make provision to mount one Rheinmetall (Mauser) BK-27 27x145mm with 140 rounds in the nose of the Hawk 200s. Then, in the event of hostilities, the Red Arrows and IPs can take to the air in a veritable cloud with two drop tanks, four/six AAMs, and, in the case of the T.2s, a 30mm Aden cannon pod, to cover the airfields/ports/OHVTs. The APG-66H radars of the single seaters can illuminate targets for the T.2s so they can carry AMRAAMS/Meteors instead of just Sidewinders. While you’re at it, fit them all with refueling probes (no need to mount them all) so they can stay airborne longer when necessary.

  16. The Telegraph seems to have given our PM a promotion:leading NATO?
    – ok, maybe chairing proceedings for a couple of days

  17. Does any one have any thoughts on precisely how large the MoD budget should be to pay for all the stuff that everyone seems to want?

  18. If we underook to keep it at 2.5% of GDP after Herrick finishes I think we could do pretty nicely of the back of a growing economy. Even holding at 2.0% might allow us to maintain some sort of steady state. Much under 2% and we may as well pack up and cut back to a fisheries squadron and a crown militia.

    And as TD has pointed out a lot of the cuts we have suffered originate not from an absolute lack of budget but from serial failures of programme management, financial dicipline and basic reality checking. All of which seem to be on the mend at the moment, although by no means cured entirely. If the disciplines Hammond started can be combined with 2.5% GDP budget then we will be in a position to give a lot of the bad actors a serious pause for thought.

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