Overseas Territories: the Ministry of Defence’s contribution

We have been discussing the defence of the the British Overseas Territories so this might be a useful addition

The MOD’s contribution to the British Overseas Territories ranges from defence, security and safety, to specific key tasks like search and rescue, and hydrographic surveying and charting.

Read more…

[browser-shot width=”700″ url=”https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/overseas-territories”]

 

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DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 16, 2014 2:35 pm

‘The Caribbean Territories.
The Primary role of our military presence in the Caribbean Is to deliver security and reassurance to the Overseas Territories, Especially in disaster relief operations. In AtlanticPatrol Task (North)(APT(N)), A Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship maintains a maritime presence in the Caribbean Region all year,enhanced with a naval party (including A boarding party and embarked naval helicopter) as necessary. This Is normally supplemented by a Royal Navy Frigate or destroyer during the hurricane season between May And November.’

To take some strain from the escorts could we not add a point or similar loaded with stores and a few personnel from the medical services, loggies and RE/REME for the hurricane season? Make it a purple op and try and use as many reserves as you can get.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 16, 2014 4:18 pm

@TD

In West Africa where we import quite a lot of Oil from. The attacks in this area also tend to take place in territorial waters. Would be very much a Brown water and possibly even RM driven operation.

Observer
Observer
October 16, 2014 4:21 pm

TD, when the job is no longer yours, of course you can second guess the poor bugger that got stuck wearing your shoes! :)

But note the reply “there were a “range of functioning governments who can implement their own efforts to combat maritime crime in territorial waters”.

Local governments should have the responsibility to guard their own territorial or near territorial waters, though sometimes they need a bit of “reminding”.

Challenger
Challenger
October 16, 2014 4:31 pm

@DavidNiven

Personally after the long discussions on here about what high-end escorts should and shouldn’t be used for and whether OPV’s can (if ever) take some of the strain i really think The Caribbean in particular should be left to a RFA ship.

It is for the most part now anyway, but with the one drawback being that the requirement isn’t filled with an additional and dedicated vessel, so every-time one goes on a lengthy deployment West it leaves the wider RFA a tanker or stores ship down.

For a reasonable price we could procure an extra MARS tanker or better yet (but still a way off) another MARS SSS which could host a helicopter or helicopters, a Royal Marine detachment, a handful of small boats and be packed full of humanitarian aid for hurricane season and forward base it out there. Job done!

With OPV’s one of the problems is that they aren’t useful for much else. A large RFA could be on Caribbean duties 99% of the time but still make a decent fleet auxiliary on the very rare occasion that it needs to be pulled out and directed elsewhere.

I say for the price of a MARS tanker (£150 million?) we could have a single vessel handling every likely contingency in the region whilst also saving precious high-end escorts for other deployments but also still has a primary fleet role if the need ever arises.

We should have done this years ago, unfortunately it’s gotten to the point now where even a modest investment upfront, the provision of 50 or so RFA bodies (plus a few boarding team/helicopter crew) and running costs of tuppence ha’penny is too much for TPTB to bear and is considered by some a luxury.

mickp
mickp
October 16, 2014 4:32 pm

I propose 2 or 3 RFA manned “aviation support, medical, disaster relief motherships”, at least 50% funded by DFID. Essentially commercially derived Argus replacements, with a decent flight deck, hanger for say 4-6 helos, boats, LCVPs, stern ramp. Park one in caribbean during hurricane season and the other two task as required. Light defensive armament and RM contingent to act as aviation support / hospital facilities in a real war. Could do anti piracy also. Add to 3 Bays (and future Bay replacements) that should give us sufficient flexibility in a range of missions including amphib landings etc. Could adapt Mars SSS concept depending on cost. alternative could just build 2 ‘Ocean style LPHs’ for RFA manning

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 16, 2014 4:44 pm

@Challenger

I proposed using a point and the army for hurricane season as it does not really require any large investment and the manpower is available and using army units with heavier eqpt and specific trades would not deminish the aid that we supply to the BOT’s if anything was to happen. That way we could keep the RFA unit doing what it does without effecting the escorts or budgets in a large way. Unless you swap out the RFA for one of the new OPV’s?

Is there anything intrinsically wrong with a Floréal type vessel in the Royal Navy for FI and the BOT’s etc, are they that useless for these roles?

monkey
monkey
October 16, 2014 5:26 pm

@TD
From the article
“Ideally I would like to see ships going there from east Africa but we can’t, of course, we have too few.”
He is spinning for the purpose of a full buy of T26 .

Regarding this these nations , notably Nigeria and Angola who are very oil rich , need to pull their own weight in terms of ant-piracy from pirates operating from their own shores.
They can easily get away with a ‘stop or we will shoot’ and then shooting straight away policy , were as we couldn’t . If they gives us the money we will build the patrol vessels they need and train their crews for them and sell them all the replacement ammunition they need or just do it in kind in exchange from the overseas aid budget.
Work for our small yards churning out small OPV’s and for the weapons manufactures . The Algerians are taking responsibility for their own problems buying ships from the Italians to patrol their coast and building German APC’s under licence to patrol their vast hinterland with the money from their gas and oil sales.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
October 16, 2014 6:00 pm

The Aussies if I remember rightly built a load of 20m patrol vessels and gifted them to various Pacific nations along with training and support to ease the workload on the RAN. Only heard about this recently due to the fact they are now talking about replacing them. The rational at the time was that either they did this or had the RAN patrol the areas as leaving them unpatrolled even though not Australian territory was a risk to Australian security. It also gives their various yards workas a bonus.

Challenger
Challenger
October 16, 2014 9:22 pm

@DavidNiven

Not sure about the merits of using a Point class in the Caribbean, obviously the fact that we already have them in service is a big tick in the plus column, and i’m sure post Herrick and the withdrawal from Germany they won’t all be tied up with moving Army equipment around all of the time. However one problem is the familiar lack of not just a hangar but also of even a basic flight-deck as well!

Floréal type vessels aren’t useless at all (the French seem to find good use for them!) but as has been discussed on various threads many times before the problem with OPV’s, corvettes and light frigates is that they are one trick ponies which aren’t of use in any situation beyond constabulary or ‘flying the flag’ deployments. Too small and under-armed to be truly useful in high-end, task-group ops and too large and/or pricey and over-armed to be considered cheap to procure and operate.

@Mickp

Something like your RFA manned, part DFID ‘aviation support, medical, disaster relief mother-ships’ sounds like a good idea. Even just 2 of this kind of vessel could nominally replace RFA Argus but also contribute to a whole range of RN commitments.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 16, 2014 9:53 pm

‘However one problem is the familiar lack of not just a hangar but also of even a basic flight-deck as well!’

We could make a flight deck from some of the containers carrying stores, it would only be used for vertrep or picking up personnel. Accomodation can be added with something like this

http://www.ferguson-group.com/ferguson-modular/product-info/10.3m-accommodation/

Or if the points are not large enough we could get something larger?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 16, 2014 9:57 pm

@DN

I have lived in a container though it was on land. No need for a flight deck to vertrep or winch personnel but it is an extremely sub optimal solution.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 16, 2014 10:06 pm

@APATS

I’ve lived in one too both military and civilian, my company charters off shore modular accomodation or hotel ships all the time. The standard of the accomodation is pretty good 2 man en suite etc you could also get a modular flight deck to throw on your containers or use M2 matting.

http://www.aluminium-offshore.com/xe-enhanced-safety-helidecks

Obviously weights and such would need to be looked at but you could practically flick through any off shore brochure and get the stuff you need.

mickp
mickp
October 16, 2014 10:07 pm

@TD, yes re the spec. Argus is pretty near it but I assume nearly knackered now?. Also didn’t we have to make all sorts of ballast adjustments to get it to float? I think they key is a more balanced fleet, yes that will mean less fight ships but those fight ships then do what they were bought for – escort CVF. One of these ‘motherships’ and say 3 ‘OPVs’ with an oiler could act as a decent 2nd tier task group for disaster relief, anti piracy (if we want to), nationals evacuation etc. And yes its not high end fight but we have to realise 95%+ of the time it doesn’t need to be. It all could be pimped up if needed

Challenger
Challenger
October 16, 2014 11:10 pm

@mickp

I don’t really see why you would also need an oiler and a clutch of OPV’s as well.

2-3 large RFA’s to officially replace Argus but actually also provide a nice big hangar, host a small group of Royal Marines with a few small boats on davits and also have loads of internal space for humanitarian aid ticks most if not all of the boxes.

1 in the Caribbean and 1 in the Indian Ocean and you’d be saving the RN from at least 2 standing commitments (so 2 ships on active ops at any 1 time or as many as 6-7 from the overall training/deployment/maintenance cycle). That’s frigates and destroyers which could bulk out the RFTG and actually work as ‘escorts’ for a change!

It would all be pretty cheap to enact and run as well, especially if DFID put up some of the cash, plus it would have the benefit of not threatening the future health of the wider RN surface fleet in the way that things like OPV’s or corvettes/light-frigates almost certainly would.

Why hasn’t this already happened! I can’t think of a downside.

Mercator
Mercator
October 17, 2014 3:33 am

Nothing about that Caribbean specification screams “must be military” to me, so why bother?

Australian Customs deploys the Ocean Protector 300 days year to places like the Southern Ocean. 22 civilian crew with room for 50 other government types and 120 evacuees/detainees in austere conditions. 1000 m² for deck cargo and a huge crane. The sister ship to this vessel cost $120M.

Why not buy one and just leave it there? Doesn’t have to be crewed by RFA and much easier to pass off to DFID. And unlike most other military vessels, there is a decent market for this vessel if you decide you wish to trade in or trade up.

http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/SouthernOceanPatrolVesselACVOceanProtectorFactSheet.pdf

The Other Chris
October 17, 2014 6:10 am

Why bother?

For all the reasons explained in the OPV Evolution thread…

Mickp
Mickp
October 17, 2014 6:20 am

@challenger normally not but just demonstrating how it could be scaled up as a mini task group eg if it had to wait offshore for a while before acting or needed the OPVs to ride shotgun v asymmetric threats

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 17, 2014 7:32 am

@all

The reason I suggested the Points was that it is in service and available, plus the additional cost of acquiring some modular accommodation and a helipad would be modest compared to procuring/leasing a new vessel.

Do we have a spare £100m for a new vessel, and if we did have that money would we not just take the amphib out of extended readiness and use that?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 17, 2014 7:34 am

btw, how is the update for SIMMS coming?
“is it time to dust off the plans for SIMSS?” at the end of the linked older piece reminded me

The Other Chris
October 17, 2014 8:06 am

An MHPC redux could be a useful piece, especially if the River-class Batch 2 are being treated as the ‘P’.

8 x Hunts
7 x Sandowns
2 x Echos
HMS Scott (Is she still in her refit this year?)

mickp
mickp
October 17, 2014 8:37 am

@DN, wish we could on Albions but annoyingly we have 5 LPD / LSDs that have no organic aircraft stowage. Yes of course they could provide some support but the lack of aircraft halves their mission capability. Let’s hope we never replicate that mistake with any future amphibs. Given the likelihood of use for their primary task they cannot be one trick ponies in my view. Now if we have 2 Oceans, they would fit the bill.

Simon257
Simon257
October 17, 2014 8:53 am

@ Caribbean

If you take the worst case scenario of a Major Hurricane or Earthquake hitting one of our Caribbean Territories. What exactly is a forward deployed River going to be able to do.

With no Helicopter, a couple of Rhibs, coupled with a small crew and limited supplies. With all the will in the wall in the world it isn’t going to able to do much. A T23/26 or T45 will bring more to the party. But a fully equipped Argus or a Bay would bring much much more.

Selling off RFA Largs Bay was the most stupidest decisions the UK Government ever made, seeing how useful she was during the Haiti Earthquake. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would have had her funding transferred from the MOD to DFID.

IMHO, we should be looking at buying a pair of these to replace RFA Argus, both funded by the DFID.

http://www.stengg.com/download/pdf/1145a3iazembefv3e5ef.pdf

One deployed to the Caribbean, the other kept in the UK for Training and ready for emergency deployments elsewhere in the world. Even better though would be three!

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 17, 2014 9:19 am

@Mickp

For the carribean would not one helicopter carried on the wave class be sufficient? after all you are only adding to the capacity for HADR for 6 months of the year the policing duties would be carried out by a vessel with organic helicopter facilities. Hence the reasoning behind the points or amphib.

‘Let’s hope we never replicate that mistake with any future amphibs’

I would seriuosly consider something like an Absalon design for use as future vessels for the RM etc. Without full hangar facilities, and apart from the well deck I do not see what we really get in extra capacity from our amphibs that could not be got from COTS designs. I know the well deck increases the state level that you can load/unload but in the scheme of things Is the well deck worth the extra money, considering our current amphib planning (ie 1 battle group at high readiness) capability is not that large?

Mercator
Mercator
October 17, 2014 9:20 am

@TD I remember – but worth a refresh!

@TOC So? You can still have an OPV for a threat that warrants it but this Caribbean task is not it. It’s an enduring civil and police task that screams out for a tailored civil vessel (in so much as your budget permits).

The Other Chris
October 17, 2014 9:29 am

There’s nuances explained quite succinctly by APATS and NAB in comments on the referenced thread that answer your question.

mickp
mickp
October 17, 2014 9:45 am

@DN, yes Wave would do for HADR, but I’m just thinking about a class (2 or 3) that would be part DFID funded, have more global flexibility, replace Argus (and Ocean essentially) and not tie up a Wave that in these days of scarce resources may need to support CVF (and supporting a CVF based task group is not something we’ve done for a while).

I fully agree on Absalon size for the RM. Perfectly adequate for task group support, ‘strategic raiding’ etc and self escorting (as well as adding extra escort capability to the task group). A CVF plus 2 of those would provide a task group with more than enough organic RM capability. Leave the well docks to the RFA Bays (and their successors – hopefully with hangers) and they can tag along when really needed. If the knife needs to fall on SDSR 2015 I would put the Albions at top of the list of RN sacrifices (once CVFs are in place) and regenerate a capability through OTS Absalons or possibly a T26 variant

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 17, 2014 9:56 am

@Mickp

I agree in the future we can plan for a few COTS support type vessel that could replace Argus and do a few other things, I was just thinking what we could do now with no extra money coming for a new vessel and therefore use what we have and take some pressure of the escorts. For a very modest outlay we could possibly solve the problem and maybe improve retention in both the Navy and Army, the costs I believe would be very minimal there is plenty of kit on Whithams web site that could be used for HADR by Army personnel and possibly funded by DFID.

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 17, 2014 11:48 am

Well my fantasy HMS DfID, would replace Ocean & Argus. So a new stretched Ocean, with a slightly reinforced hull for a longer service life, equipped with a fully functioning hospital unit. 2 birds, one stone.

mickp
mickp
October 17, 2014 12:48 pm

@JH – I can’t disagree – RN or RFA?

Shame we can’t modify the Albions with hangers for 4 helos and use those given the life left in them and RN construction standards. I think NAB said on another thread that it wasn’t feasible, but we did manage to put hangers on Tiger class cruisers…