Marco Ramius Pops Home for a Battered Mars Bar

The news broke earlier today that it seems the UK has joined Sweden in a game of hide and seek.

Read the initial report here;

[browser-shot width=”500″ url=”http://aviationweek.com/defense/canadians-french-us-hunt-submarine-scotland”]

A bit of speculation here and some fun on Twitter there :)

It’s getting beyond a joke now isn’t it?

 

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Phil
December 9, 2014 8:43 pm

What should get deleted for the MPA capability?

The Other Chris
December 9, 2014 8:49 pm

Nothing. Unallocated/Contingency budget close to £15b which far exceeds the cost of a respectable 15 aircraft MPA fleet which will cost Australia £3.5b.

We can’t grow the fleet quickly however, returning Seedcorn personnel would only supply so many crews and although we have facilities, we do not have the support infrastructure in place yet. We have to build up at a respectable pace which allows further amortisation.

Phil
December 9, 2014 9:00 pm

Nothing? With Osborne about to whip out the meat cleaver and the defence budget being more than what is given in block grant to the DA in Scotland, or the DAs in Wales and Northern Ireland combined then I think something will be going to pay for MPA.

Outsider
Outsider
December 9, 2014 9:15 pm

This is one of the major downsides to Britain’s aviation industry going down the toilet. If we were still making mid sized civilian aircraft prior to the Nimrod’s scrapping then we could easily have a viable aircraft in production or even as we speak. Seeing as the UK designs and builds practically every part of an aircraft, methinks a far looking person would see if we can’t get some kind of proper aviation company going again in order to get capability back online.

Outside the realms of fantasy and looking at cheap ways to get something in the air, perhaps the Kawasaki P-1? The aircraft completely outfitted comes out at roughly £128 million. Of course, the MoD will most likely balk at buying a Japanese aircraft.

As for anything getting the cut, I think the RAF and Royal Navy will be making MPA a big focus at the next SDSR. We might see the Navy give up a few Type 26s if need be, but as The Other Chris says, there is room in the budget. Whether this is properly allocated or we have another expensive disaster which results in nothing happening remains to be seen. I personally will remain pessimistic as good news and British Defence are not two things that go together.

The Other Chris
December 9, 2014 9:18 pm

Yes. Doubly so if the funds are already in the Allocated portion of the budget.

This is all from the equipment programme budget which is almost impossible to cut back as the majority is tied up in contract. Operational/Resource budget (i.e. Personnel) is where cuts would land.

That’s currently around the £9b per annum mark. Contrast to capital outlay of (for the sake of argument) £3b amortised over a ten year build up to outlay for your fleet.

An MPA squadron would also be personnel-light in terms of impact to that particular budget. How much does a cap badge cost? Almost money down the back of the sofa territory by comparison, if that hasn’t been hoovered up already.

Stewart Hitchen
Stewart Hitchen
December 9, 2014 9:22 pm

The fact is if the sub surfaced outside the’ London gas works’ our members of the said gas works wold only produce more hot air.As defence does not get your vote out or the gas workers back in the gas works. I am afraid to say this sad state of affairs is going to carry on as the M.P.A. requirement will be forgotten.The treasury will claws back the underspent allocated funds. from defence budget. And future defence cuts post 2015 will kill Seedcorn

Phil
December 9, 2014 9:29 pm

TOC

Not sure I share your optimism. I see a Government making in-year cuts to budgets unexpectedly, whilst the equivalent sums of money are being lost to sheer inefficiencies. And as pressure mounts on public body budgets and more and more public bodies start to shut libraries and close A&Es I can’t see Defence being immune to some political money grabs.

The Other Chris
December 9, 2014 9:43 pm

It’s not really optimism, only looking at where cuts can actually land to save the treasury money in the required timeframe.

If you’ve signed an equipment contract, you’re pretty much going to have to hand over the money whether you decide to receive the kit or not. An employment contract on the other hand can be terminated by the employer with the specified notice.

The government cannot achieve near-term savings by hitting equipment. Large numbers of personnel (and their pensions) is unfortunately the easiest target.

The Other Chris
December 9, 2014 9:47 pm

Informative FT article with some reference figures:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7b8fbca4-4b30-11e4-b1be-00144feab7de.html#axzz3LRAclIkC

Hohum
Hohum
December 9, 2014 9:57 pm

Just cut few infantry units, then you can have your MPA.

Though come 2015 it ill probably just get cancelled again as the next government suddenly remembers the UK is still running a fiscal deficit of 5% of GDP and that foreign aid budget is just vital to the African mansion building industry.

as
as
December 9, 2014 10:49 pm

I am shore the Americans would love to get a look at a Borei class ,Yasen-class or even a conventional Lada-class. But the chances of one getting caught is very narrow. Saying that accidents happen and if one could be captured, even if they turn out to be a piece of crap would bee useful. The Russians have had a lot of accidents such as groundings in other country’s home waters so anything is possible.

Jules
Jules
December 9, 2014 10:53 pm

SDSR and an election just around the corner, budgets to be squeezed, everyone turning on everyone else to defend their own square yard of turf, and suddenly a mystery submarine surfaces off the coast of our Ballistic Submarine base… Yeah right!
Sorry but someone has to be Devils Advocate, bet they just couldn’t miss the chance when they heard about all the shadow chasing the Swedes were doing, everybody sending the P3’s they no longer want to show us what we’re missing, I just don’t buy it!

Stewart Hitchen
Stewart Hitchen
December 9, 2014 10:57 pm

The problem is that for our Political Masters the fist duty of a government is not Defence, but getting returned to power. The only way we will get back M.P.A . is if the M.O.D was to follow the Globe master path and build a 10 to 14 slowly. But that would require The Defence Minister to get some spine with the Treasury over keeping the unallocated funds and the Royal navy and Royal air force making it a high requirement in the 2015 S.S.D.R. But what would they have to give up to fund it?

NG
NG
December 10, 2014 1:33 am

with this and everything else about the royal navy being undermanned and the royal air force short of fighters i think the soldies in the adaptable force need to start looking for jobs outside of the military. this is depressing

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
December 10, 2014 9:06 am

Was it coincidence that while the Fleet Ready Escort was sub-hunting off the Western Isles, a Russian flotilla was sailing down the Channel? Or were we being tested to discover reaction capacity?

I’d say we were close to being maxed out.

mickp
mickp
December 10, 2014 9:22 am

Accepting there will be an ill researched journalistic angle to this but it is clear that Russia has ramped up to a level of probing not seen since the cold war. We should not get too wound up about it, just keep a close eye on them and we’ve got the big stuff round the back to deal with them if they push it too far. Oh wait a minute, we haven’t. We are even stretched to keep an eye on them. For years we have been playing away and thinly stretched at that and all the time we’ve left the gate open and the key in the plant pot. I hope SDSR refines DPAs accordingly and any cuts fall to expeditionary capability, overseas taskings and standing forces with any savings that can be kept used to fit new locks at home.

The Other Chris
December 10, 2014 9:29 am

@RT

Wouldn’t put it past them. It’s something we’re doing to them after all!

The Other Chris
December 10, 2014 9:47 am

@Stewart Hitchen

Slow build up is the only way to do it, both from a funds and a practicality point of view.

We can put together a number of crews from Seedcorn personnel, however not enough for a whole fleet. They’ll also be needed to pass on training and experience to incoming personnel.

Supporting personnel also need to be assembled and trained.

Let’s say Lossiemouth is selected as a squadron base. That’s potentially a lot of highly skilled jobs for the region. Both Angus Robertson and Douglas Ross are very pro-RAF in this particular regard, you’d receive both SNP and Conservative support locally accounting for over 2/3 of the votes politically.

Standing up a new Son of Nimrod* Squadron is also a great headline to focus the tabloids and bloke down the pub on while simultaneously salami slicing cap badge pension funds.

See, I can be cynical too!

*Sir Humphrey Appleby style spin-doctoring to make the P-8A more palatable

John Hartley
John Hartley
December 10, 2014 10:00 am

The Autumn Statement, means that post Election, whoever wins, non ringfenced budgets will be squeezed. Nearly all on this site think UK Defence has been cut too much already.
I know I am a stuck record on this, but if we cut overseas aid from 0.7% GDP to the G8 target of 0.5% we would save £3.5 billion a year. I would use that money to cut the deficit & thus spare further cuts in defence & transport.

The Other Chris
December 10, 2014 10:09 am

Hartley

I think you’d find a lot of support here for that, given that Defence is often the delivery mechanism and enabler for a large amount of the support provided.

Topman
Topman
December 10, 2014 10:24 am

@ Stewart Hitchen

‘The problem is that for our Political Masters the fist duty of a government is not Defence’

In fairness they aren’t bothered about Defence because the population aren’t bothered. This little incident won’t change that either.

Jeneral28
Jeneral28
December 10, 2014 10:32 am

I would cut all of you first before DFID. I don’t see the US cutting USAID or MCC.

The Other Chris
December 10, 2014 10:39 am

Could you expand on why please Jeneral28?

I’d be very interested in “the other point of view”.

Unlike some sites, the commenter’s here will often change (and have done) their opinion based on new information.

If you see something we’re missing, please do contribute as we all want to improve!

The Other Chris
December 10, 2014 10:43 am

@TD

Money-wise MPA is just the kind of announcement SDSR 2015 would need and fits your bill entirely.

It would represent a small fraction of potential annual operational budget cuts via a comparatively small contribution of a fixed, known capital that can either be spread over a number of years or bonded or both, if it isn’t ring-fenced already of course.

Aubrey's Shadow
Aubrey's Shadow
December 10, 2014 11:32 am

It’s all been said really; cuts rolling in with SDSR15, yet some political leadership could grab half a dozen P-8 production slots and pay for them from contingency with comparatively little financial or political consequence. In C-17-style build-a-fleet style, then squeeze a few more in up to a dozen or so over the next 5 years. It’s the best we can hope for, and yes, I feel an announcement is due…

I came across this in the entrance to an overseas Government building recently; quite sobering….

“The condition upon which the God hath given freedom to a nation is eternal vigilence, which condition – if broken – servitude is at once the consequence of the crime, and the punishment of the guilt”

Guess we’ll have to test it again, seeing we’re not convinced about the results from the last century.

Hohum
Hohum
December 10, 2014 11:32 am

I largely agree with TD, though I am less confident of there being an MPA announcement beyond “our allies helping us out shows how wonderful our policy has been”.

The UK is running a fiscal deficit of 5% of GDP this year and there is little appetite for tax rises yet the NHS is untouchable. Foreign aid is ridiculous in this environment but it his become totem for all parties (despite the public being against it)- in short, defence is right in the cross hairs. Things are going to get worse before they get better.

Rocket Banana
December 10, 2014 11:57 am

I don’t think @thinkdefence mentioned anything of the sort. He said he would cut @DFid down to emergency response only.

Good call really. I also agree with the fact that SDSR2015 will be more cuts but the politicians will need to be “doing something” so will probably push forward with MPA and T26 as there is evidently a “Russian problem”.

Hohum
Hohum
December 10, 2014 12:09 pm

Anyone who thinks foreign aid, whilst running a deficit, is a good idea is an idiot.

Simon,

Don’t get excited about the Russia thing, it has not gained public traction, there are zero votes in it and if anything the anti-politics mood means claims about Russian activity are actually seen as some sort of conspiracy.

Lindermyer
Lindermyer
December 10, 2014 12:29 pm

Jeneral

Would you explain how you got to this

https://twitter.com/ForcesReviewUK/status/542628439745110016

From my comment

Is the answer because he is an ignorant trolling twunt that has been banned from every forum except ARRSE and Navweaps and in both those cases it has been requested by most users.

I gave up with him when I tried to explain the concept of deterrence and he simply kept repeating I obviously love nuclear war and Trident hasn’t helped in Afghanistan.

Like yourself Im banned from his blog.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 10, 2014 12:30 pm

@ TOC, and when I saw TD’s note:

“Jeneral28
December 10, 2014 at 10:32 am
I would cut all of you first before DFID. I don’t see the US cutting USAID or MCC.

The Other Chris
December 10, 2014 at 10:39 am
Could you expand on why please Jeneral28”

We all think of Don Quiote and the J actually being a H.

The H is actually a G as in for the Russians
– Hitler is Gitler, or
– a Homo(sexual) is a Gomo.

Thisguy has been sitting here, and on other defence blogs, taking duty turns, for a decade… And nobody picks up on it. See also
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f7e4c1e8-69ab-11e4-8f4f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3LTpcT9WD

Makes me sad

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
December 10, 2014 12:54 pm

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development lists countries by the amount of Overseas Development Aid they give as a percentage of their gross national income.

1. Norway – 1.07%
2. Sweden – 1.02%
3. Luxembourg – 1.00%
4. Denmark – 0.85%
5. United Kingdom – 0.72%
6. Netherlands – 0.67%
7. Finland – 0.55%
8. Switzerland – 0.47%
9. Belgium – 0.45%
10. Ireland – 0.45%
11. France – 0.41%
12. Germany – 0.38%
13. Australia – 0.34%
14. Austria – 0.28%
15. Canada – 0.27%
16. New Zealand – 0.26%
17. Iceland – 0.26%
18. Japan – 0.23%
19. Portugal – 0.23%
20. United States – 0.19%
21. Spain – 0.16%
22. Italy – 0.16%
23. South Korea – 0.13%
24. Slovenia – 0.13%
25. Greece – 0.13%
26. Czech Republic – 0.11%
27. Poland – 0.10%
28. Slovak Republic – 0.09%

To me dropping to 0.5% is reasonable, this would leave us 8th in the table still, and in comparison the US gives less than 0.2% and Russia and China aren’t even listed.

0.7% is a nice goal when the economy is fine, but in tough times we should recognise the need to maintain ourselves as well.

I would personally advocate pressing other countries to raise their aid levels to 0.5% and also reducing the waste regularly pointed out in the media.

monkey
monkey
December 10, 2014 1:19 pm

@Hohum
“that foreign aid budget is just vital to the African mansion building industry.” A politico on an overseas visit (@ tax payers expense) has to have a decent place to stay you know!
That’s it in a nutshell , if the said beneficiary was ‘means tested’ like our pensioners before they can claim and put under public scrutiny a lot less ‘aid’ would be donated.

Rocket Banana
December 10, 2014 1:23 pm

Hohum,

But… but… today’s Telegraph says:

Britain forced to ask Nato to track ‘Russian submarine’ in Scottish waters
Defence experts said it is ‘hugely embarassing’ that defence cuts mean Britain can no longer patrol its own waters

Does no-one read the Telegraph ;-)

Rocket Banana
December 10, 2014 1:26 pm

Hohum,

But… but… the BBC say:

UK called on Nato help in sub search
Britain called on the help of aircraft from Nato allies after a reported sighting of a submarine periscope off the west of Scotland last month.

Does no one look at the BBC web site ;-)

Rocket Banana
December 10, 2014 1:28 pm

Hohum,

But… but… the Daily Mail… etc, etc, etc.

I’m looking forward to Prime Ministers Question Time :-)

Topman
Topman
December 10, 2014 1:33 pm

@ Simon

People might read but they take little real notice of it. Outside of the defence bubble, this type of thing doesn’t interest people. It has little impact on their life day to day. I’ve chatted to people about the Russian acitivity who don’t really follow defence matters. Just political posturing and stuff that’s being happening for decades. Honestly if some think that because of a few flights and a possible sub near Scotland is going to see an increase in defence speading, I think they are extremely optomistic. I think a small to modest cut is on the cards.

Rocket Banana
December 10, 2014 1:46 pm

Topman,

Okay, I accept that but just think of tomorrows newspaper headline.

Russian sub NOT spotted off Scottish coast
Experts claim that the cancelled £1b, nine-year late Nimrod upgrade would have found it. This government seems to seriously have it in for Scotland leaving them vulnerable as tensions increase with Russia.

Topman
Topman
December 10, 2014 1:51 pm

@ Simon

What are you driving at? That a headline that would make people think, or something else?

monkey
monkey
December 10, 2014 1:52 pm

@Topman
I have the same experience when I mention things about the defence.
I discussed the dismantling of Bastion programme with some who watched it and the general response was ‘why?’ as in why were we there and why did we spend all that money on achieving what? That I found difficult to answer other than we had to try to give the people there a choice , support what we offered them or the previous governments style, the Taliban. Again I was asked why bother to help those who choose not to help themselves. In terms of defence of the homeland it matters little to most unless they have a specific interest I find.

Hohum
Hohum
December 10, 2014 1:55 pm

Simon,

So what if it is the headline, nobody will care and it will probably be in the middle pages anyway. It is also very easily spun as successful collaboration with allies.

The problem is the budget deficit, something has to go and defence is the biggest pot not politically difficult to cut.

Topman
Topman
December 10, 2014 1:58 pm

@ Monkey

Yes, it’s not something that interest most people. I’m not critising people for that, people are entitled to prioritise whatever they like. However some on here think that a few headlines about overflights and subs will suddenly have people wanting big increases in defence, it won’t happen. Not until we have something very extreme event and people are scared of some threat, but I would say that is highly unlikely.

monkey
monkey
December 10, 2014 2:08 pm

@Topman
Indeed we would need some form of major event to take place for the public to be interested and then the lead time on large capital items is so long it would be to late anyway. As TD keeps on pressing we have to learn to do as much with less to remain in the game and to project a credible counter-threat to whoever and make them wary of us and make them plan accordingly.

Kent
Kent
December 10, 2014 2:21 pm

Hey, here’s an idea! There are some C-5 Galaxies sitting at Davis Monthan AFB that could be refurbed/repurposed as MPAs! Range/load carrying/space wouldn’t be a problem with them.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
December 10, 2014 2:51 pm

Halve the DFID budget, the remainder being used for useful equipment, research and knowhow rather than handing over cash to be frittered away on whatever mansion overseas leaders want next.

Split the saved cash between MoD and the UK Border Agency.

MPA No 1 priority here.

Any MOD assets used for supporting disaster areas overseas paid for by the DFID.

Cut some Infantry Battalions from the adaptable force to help pay for MPA, grouping the remaining Battalions in 3 properly resourced and deployable Brigades rather than the 7 now of which 4 are pointless.

Agree with other comments, and bang on Stewart Hitchin, HMG first priority is votes for re election. They do not give a stuff for defence until it loses them votes.

Darkest
Darkest
December 10, 2014 3:27 pm

We need to be brutal with pointless light infantry battalions in the adaptable force and purge the mess created by ring-fencing cap badges. If the right decisions are made, we could still maintain an expeditionary focused army with 65,000 – still able to do another Afghan, or Iraq if required (albeit on a smaller scale). MoD cut down again too.

Doing so would enable the RAF and RN to largely escape any cuts and remain in the 1st division.

As I have said before on here, armies are cheap and quick to build if an national emergency ever arose. The RN and RAF are not. We need to preserve those two services as much as we can, they are the first line of our defence and the true enablers of our nations power projection which keeps us at the top table.

cky7
cky7
December 10, 2014 3:35 pm

That Jeneral is like Dare2 and a very small number of other strange people that hang around defence sites getting obsessed by certain posters and getting furiously angry if someone says something they don’t agree with. They all have no job and are deeply unhappy in their everyday life. Sad really that this sort of behaviour is their only way to get attention. Thankfully the vast majority of posters have lost their virginity and have real friends so try to ignore them!
I refuse to vote for any party advocating the current level of DFID spending and would happily see it cut to well under half its present level. IMO we’re far better off encouraging ‘developing’ nations to deal with their own problems by developing long term solutions and offering assistance only in emergencies and to facilitate their own work towards solving problems. For example Africa cannot support its current population so needs to reduce it until things change. Rather than expecting others to feed them they should be working towards this with one child policies. In order to make that practical or fair child mortality rates need to be reduced, help with research and education in this field would be far better than what we’re doing IMO.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 10, 2014 4:34 pm

I’d rather think there is a paid legion, making the aliases accepted (ie. Can only be barred after repeafed bad behaviour, and they can behave badly taking turns).

Only when there is a crucial moment, when someone in the broader politics might take notice of what us ” saddos” here say, these guys turn on the ones who have the information, and try to attack them in such a way that they would be better off using the time in their real jobs/ private life rather than fending off such attacks?

Or have you have you noticed when such crescendo moments may, or may not, have occurred in the past year?

Jonathan
Jonathan
December 10, 2014 4:40 pm

Are the muppets we voted in (yes it’s our own fault) following some mad 10 year rule ( it was stupid then, it would be stupid now).

We seem to have slipped into a “no existential threat” defence is a “tool” of policy trap.

You fund your defence to the level that guarantees against the possible threats that are out there ( it’s like travel insurance, only silly people think its a waste of money). You do not only spend “what we have left after all the other stuff” so we can “put up a bit of a fight if we have to” on the assumption the yanks will save us if “it looks bad and Ivan wants our fracking rights in Sussex”

Slave nations don’t get to choose anything, including how much they can save from the defence budget, ask some older poles.

Rant over, time to write to my MP.

Phil
December 10, 2014 4:40 pm

DfID budget is about the only long-term programme the UK has. Commentators are quick to tear apart UK Gov for being short sighted but are constantly all over the DfID budget like a tramp on chips.

I think TDs idea is best. There’s all sorts of ways of supporting research and education in the developing countries whilst also supporting UK organisations. A win win.

Instability is our enemy and Syria shows how problems in far flung corners can begin to creep up and cause regional and then global issues if the right players are involved. You can’t even begin to combat instability with just military kit.

a
a
December 10, 2014 4:46 pm

Well, with NHS, education and DFID ring fenced, everything else is going to have to get cut by more than 30% from 2010 levels in order to meet the “deficit reduction” targets. Everything else… want to bet whether defence will do better than the average?

monkey
monkey
December 10, 2014 4:51 pm

The Dfid budget is £10.3bn (US$16.1bn) in 2014/15
From the GiveWell website
http://www.givewell.org/international/technical/programs/immunization
” In Sub-Saharan Africa, available estimates claim that it costs approximately $14 to fully vaccinate a child ” (That’s every thing including Yellow fever and Meningitis A)
lets say that’s out of date and spread the costs to the rest of the third world so $16.1 per child vaccinated so our aid ‘could’ vaccinate 1 billion children per year in the third world so in two years that’s all of them.
Drilling boreholes is a bit more varied depending very much on local geology and available equipment but varies from $2000 to $20000 so we go deep and say $16100 so we could pay for 1 million boreholes per year. Say 350 people use each bore hole for drinking only , not irrigation that is the third world, 3.5bn, supplied with clean drinking water in a further 10 years.
http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/9185/1/CEB%20Danert%20Draft%204%20UNESCO%2022%20April09.pdf
I could obviously go on but this is not what is happening is it?
As Hohum says its been squandered by a few on a few and not going where it is needed so unless we get proof of use we don’t give.
Pakistan received £338m last year that spends a fortune developing and buying weapons , India £269m ,that sends probes to Mars and the moon , Nigeria ,you know that oil rich Nation, £249m . These are direct payments they also benefit from regional payments.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/368798/SID-2014a.pdf
See page 28 for a full breakdown and graphically page 32

Phil
December 10, 2014 4:54 pm

Pakistan received £338m last year that spends a fortune developing and buying weapons , India £269m ,that sends probes to Mars and the moon , Nigeria ,you know that oil rich Nation, £249m . These are direct payments they also benefit from regional payments.

Those figures are only useful to start a row and are grossly over-simplistic. The UK is one of the richest countries in the world with a nuclear deterrent and world class armed forces, yet gets convergence funding from the EU like Romania does…

Observer
Observer
December 10, 2014 5:18 pm

Anyone tried seeing this from the Russian point of view? What would they gain from such an action?

My call is that it isn’t primarily a probe of the UK, but more of trying to re-establish their navy after the massive losses post-USSR. They are building a lot of new ships and boats and those things need trained crews. Unless they want their navy to become a brown water fleet, that means some blue water training, and one of the very few routes out of their local seas involve the GIUK gap, same as it has been during the Cold War. The fact that it tweaks NATO’s nose for their Ukranian support is probably just a bonus to them.

Or it could be something even simpler.

Finland -> Sweden -> Denmark -> UK is the only route out of their ship building facility in St Petersburg through the Baltics. If they want to use ships built there elsewhere, they have no choice but to go past these countries.

Mark
Mark
December 10, 2014 5:46 pm

The mpa decision is very simple IMO we should be able to provide cover around the UK, the problem as always it’s how is it afforded because no one wants to give up those sacred cows that military careers, politicians constituency workers and big business lobby on.

No point building bases in the Mid East promising all sort to countries around the world and going head first from one long term operation to another, if you can’t look after your own back yard first. It was the same at the last defence review we were told we had to make the cuts to various capabilities that we did because there was no other option, but there was another option that was get out of Afghan and reduce our commitment there, but it was too politically sensitive.

The MOD is no different to everyone’s own personnel finish you prioritise the essentials and cut back on the nice to haves to meet you yearly budget. At times it appears mod is not paying the mortgage so it can afford the expensive foreign holiday to keep up with the Jones.

monkey
monkey
December 10, 2014 5:57 pm


“yet gets convergence funding from the EU like Romania does…”
Indeed that’s not right either. These the people in countries I mentioned desperately need to have the basics in life ,clean water ,safe and sufficient food ,basic medication and education and all the rest. The point I was trying to make is that much of the money sent does not seem to be used efficiently and that the nations governments involved need to shift their priorities away from buying F16’s and more towards providing the basics of its own people.

Hohum
Hohum
December 10, 2014 6:03 pm

Observer,

Nice try but there is plenty of blue water between the UK and Russia and if you want to go into the Atlantic there is plenty of open water without having to be within visual range of the Scottish west coast. Also, Russian SSN and SSBN production is undertaken by Sevmash and that organisation is based at Sevrodvinsk on the White Sea, that is also where the big ship (Kirov) overhauls are being undertaken, thus nowhere near Denmark and Sweden. The Black Sea only does SSK and frigate/corvette production focused at the Yantar yard in Kaliningrad and the Northern Shipyard in St Petersburg.

It does not take a rocket scientist to work out what a Russian SSN would be doing off the West Coast of Scotland either, given that’s where the UK SSN/SSBN fleet is based (on the Clyde) and transitions from to its operating areas not to mention the test range at Benbecula (Hebrides).

Hohum
Hohum
December 10, 2014 6:05 pm

Phil,

You fail well, EU convergence funding is just a case of the UK getting some of its own money back, the UK being a net contributor to the EU- completely different to the ridiculous foreign aid budget.

Phil
December 10, 2014 6:11 pm

Err Hohum, you made my point for me.

Headline, state level figures are not very meaningful.

Not that I agree with you on the character of convergence funds.

Phil
December 10, 2014 6:13 pm

The point I was trying to make is that much of the money sent does not seem to be used efficiently and that the nations governments involved need to shift their priorities away from buying F16’s and more towards providing the basics of its own people.

Yet we come here and often shout that security is the most basic and fundamental duty of a state government. Which I agree with to a very large extent.

Anyway, I agree with you that lots of it seems poorly spent – that is an issue, partly unsolvable because 10 billion attracts a lot of flies.

But I don’t agree that (a) the pot for intentional development should disappear or (b) the MoD should get any of the pot if it was to be dispersed.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 10, 2014 6:15 pm

,

I think you are making a good point, but you did not make it?

“Headline, state level figures are not very meaningful.

Not that I agree with you on the character of convergence funds.”

Phil
December 10, 2014 6:22 pm

Not following ACC sorry.

Hohum
Hohum
December 10, 2014 6:28 pm

The idea that foreign aid, aside from direct military assistance, meaningfully contributes to security is laughable. It is an excuse dreamed up by politicians looking to justify their ego driven largesse with other peoples money.

Phil, Foreign aid is net loss for the UK, much the same as the EU contribution, just in the case of the latter we get a little bit back.

Phil
December 10, 2014 6:35 pm

The idea that foreign aid, aside from direct military assistance, meaningfully contributes to security is laughable.

Laughable with someone with a clear case of myopia and who considers the world to be made up of isolated non-interacting components maybe.

Phil, Foreign aid is net loss for the UK, much the same as the EU contribution, just in the case of the latter we get a little bit back.

We get money from the EU because we have regions which are considered poor – or rather they are less developed. So you could say that the UK receives money because its poor but still spunks money on Trident and MPA. Maybe they should get their priorities right? Maybe other EU countries think that? But it doesn’t tell the whole story does it? That’s my point. Listing countries spunking money on kit and then asking why we give them aid, belies a more complex situation. It’s not hard to understand mate.

cky7
cky7
December 10, 2014 6:47 pm

I hope i’m not being myopic but I’m not sure i believe aid does contribute to UK security. I’d be interested to see any hard evidence to support this over the long term.

Hohum
Hohum
December 10, 2014 6:47 pm

Phil,

Charming as always. Isolated non-interacting components? Hardly, I am actually someone who understands that those components are moved by considerably greater forces than those that can be generated by 0.7% of UK GDP spread over multiple countries. If you want to buy security with aid you need something akin to the Marshall plan and there is still no guarantee it will work.

As for the EU, once again I must point out that the UK is a net-contributor, meaning it actually has less money to spend on anything (be it thermonuclear weapons or handouts for the lazy) than if it did not hand money over to the EU. I have never said we should not give aid to countries that buy weapons, we should not be giving aid to anyone unless it is an emergency response.

Phil
December 10, 2014 7:29 pm

I am actually someone who understands that those components are moved by considerably greater forces than those that can be generated by 0.7% of UK GDP spread over multiple countries.

But then you’re just considering the UK contribution in isolation. I don’t argue that the money is being well spent – there needs to be more focus and I think TDs idea is a winner and would benefit UK organisations as well.

As for the EU, once again I must point out that the UK is a net-contributor

I’m not arguing that! Every time you dig a little deeper into the reality of the EUs structural funds vis a vis the UK you’re making my point that the situation is more complicated than some simple headline figures suggest. Saying we give £150 million to Arseholeistan when they’ve just bought 150 Eurofighters is a very simple statement that does no justice to reality.

monkey
monkey
December 10, 2014 7:40 pm


I agree every nation has the right to defend itself and if an long term ally can contribute their military force to the greater whole but should limit their spending based on priorities and the same goes for us regarding the CASD spending . If we spend money from the 2% NATO promised target on the Successor programme we are as you say spunking money on something we will almost certainly never use but will be a burden on budget for decades to come.
I think Dfid budget is an honourable aspiration ,one as you say we can afford, but we need to find a way of directly helping the poorest and most needy bypassing corruption ridden governments and also get the countries listed by Engineer Tom to boost their spend up to the 0.7% target and focus their spend more efficiently too so it can do the most good. People who can for see an every improving future for themselves tend to be less susceptible to extremist views , take the effect Hitler had on Germany in the 1930’s depression of the Weimar Republic.

Phil
December 10, 2014 7:53 pm

@Monkey

We don’t agree about successor but certainly, you won’t get other countries to spend 0.7% of their GDP on international development without you yourself spending it. Maybe we’re the first ones to tread this path – maybe it’s worthwhile if it motivates others to do the same and all of a sudden we have a good deal of money that’s available to be spent on helping to prevent wars and instability so my kids (should I ever sire an heir and a spare) can get old and fat in warm, comfortable houses and worry about nothing much more than MPs expenses. I think the trick is focus (difficult when such large pots of money will attract more blowflies than a dead cat in Marrakesh) and spending on education and research – something that is proven to improve outcomes and something which is relatively easy to control.

monkey
monkey
December 10, 2014 8:18 pm


I agree with the sentiment of us putting our money where our mouth is , other Nations would just laugh unless we spent the 0.7% figure. I all ready have sired an heir and three spares to boot who have also produced two grandchildren so far and I would like them too have a safe world to live in.
Its the in-efficiency of the spending that pisses me off not the amount. I bet there is many a Swiss bank account stuffed with UK taxpayers money from this programme. As we know from our own MP’s behaviour corruption is a part of human life and I am thankful for the society I live in I am not afraid to type that into a public domain for fear of a knock on the door late at night. Sometimes one has to accept a certain amount of wheel greasing needs to be done but for the Global spend on aid by both Governments and NGO’s such as charities, like Bill and Melinda Gates foundation whose spend alone is in the Billions , there seems to be little effect after decades of effort. Children have to still drink out of ditches and die of cheaply preventable disease’s before they reach their 5th birthday in the 21st Century.

Observer
Observer
December 10, 2014 8:39 pm

Charming as always Hohum.

I was thinking of the St Petersburg Admiralty Yards. Not to mention that I do not see any mention of sub type in all the reports, so how do you know it is not an SSK?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 10, 2014 8:57 pm

, RE

“Not that I agree with you on the character of convergence funds”

You tried to explain @ 6:35…will keep reading on from there

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 10, 2014 9:15 pm

Observer, we know where different types of ships are built. The last”nukes” in St. Pete were built in Finland, and then fitted with the nuclear plant… They were icebreakers!

monkey
monkey
December 10, 2014 9:18 pm

@Observer
The yards at St Putinsberg (in the tradition of great Russian leaders naming cities after themselves) are being rebuilt and are where the wholly Russian built Mistrals will be built on the new extensions on Kotlin Island and according to wiki they also build subs there including the new Lada class ,also known as the St Petersburg class, as well as Kilo’s built for export.
Why are we assuming this periscope was from a Russian sub, it could be Chinese , Algerian or North Korean, any number of countries now have submarine fleets for that matter.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 10, 2014 9:40 pm

Delighted by the Lada Class… Going back to their roots, when the 1938 model Opel, called Moskvich, finally ran out of legs (the factory having been moved lock, stock and barrel after the War):

The original Lada was widely exported in sedan and station-wagon versions, and with over 20 million units sold before production finally ended in mid-2012, it had become the highest-selling automobile to be produced without major design change.(that means: as a copy)

The Lada badge depicts a shallow-draft river sailing ship (a form of Viking Longship) known as a lad’ya in Russian.

… And to bring us to the present day: those ships made Kiev their home port, established Russia… No wonder they want it back?

Observer
Observer
December 10, 2014 11:50 pm

Good point monkey, all we got was “periscope sighted”. It would be ironic if the sub turned out to be the Astute or Ambush.

ACC, SSK is a diesel sub. SSN is nuclear.

Martin
Editor
December 11, 2014 5:10 am

I agree with TD

SDSR 2015 will be a massive cutting exercise, possibly even more than 2010. In 2010 everyone thought the deficit was cyclical, we now know it’s structural. The NHS will get more money and pensions will go up more.

MPA in the form of 4 P8’s is almost certain to be in there as a way of distracting the press. I’m guessing that due to the industrial and political implications of major cuts to the RN and RAF that the brunt of the cuts will go on the infantry battalions.

Expect to see an Army of 65,000, disbandment of the RAF regiment and a cut in T23 frigates to 8.

I also recon that the RM will be added to the army along with RAF transport helicopters to give a nominal army strength of close to 80K. This way the government can package cuts as efficiency savings. We will be lucky to get away with a 10% real terms cut this time. No doubt part of the DFID budget will be repackaged to make it look like defense spending to keep us above the NATO 2 % figure but it will be what ever aid we are giving to Afghanistan or Somalia and it will be called security assistance money or some such nonsense.

Hohum
Hohum
December 11, 2014 9:34 am

Observer,

Russian submarine doctrine makes it highly unlikely it was an SSK (they tend to keep them closer to shore), secondly, this sighting was on the west coast of Scotland, that’s the wrong side for a transit from the Baltic to White Sea.

It won’t be Chinese, their boats have never been detected any further away from China than the Indian Ocean and it definitely won’t be North Korean (for obvious reasons).

Phil,

Even adding the UK’s fragmented portions of a small sum to the fragmented portions of even smaller sums will not buy you security. Aid buying security is a myth.

Hohum
Hohum
December 11, 2014 9:37 am

Martin,

Good realistic thinking. I concur that the Army will be a major target, recruiting has not been happy and we are not prepared to use it anyway, it should be the main target for cuts. The combat air fleet is over tasked as it is so will probably get to remain intact, the ISTAR fleet is one to watch- there is a lot of capability there in a lot of airframes. I would expect to lose at least one frigate and possibly up to three.

Phil
December 11, 2014 10:29 am

I’ve never argued that aid alone buys security Hohum. You’re either twisting my words or you’re unable or unwilling to demonstrate the ability to join some dots up.

Hohum
Hohum
December 11, 2014 10:49 am

I never claimed that you were arguing that aid alone buys security- it is you who are twisting words.

monkey
monkey
December 11, 2014 1:01 pm


“The Lada badge depicts a shallow-draft river sailing ship (a form of Viking Longship) known as a lad’ya in Russian.”
That boat is how the traders from the Baltics moved up the river systems to trade as far away as the Byzantine (the Emperors Varangian guard being recruited from these warrior traders) and later the Ottoman Empire. They ported the boats from one river system to another. The very name of Russia comes from them ,the Rus .

Observer
Observer
December 11, 2014 1:32 pm

Hohum, it’s the delivery. If you sound hostile, he’s going to assume you’re against him even though you guys are actually on the same side of the argument. And yes, you sound hostile even when trying to be polite. You are trying are you not?

Rocket Banana
December 11, 2014 2:24 pm

Martin,

You are brave, but I admire someone that puts his money where his mouth is.

However, I’d suggest that the rolling up of the RM into the army is unlikely to happen. Either we’ll ditch our rapid reaction capability or not. If we do then yes, the RM can go into the army, 16AAB can go in too, the carriers can be sold, the amphibs can be scrapped, and we can build more destroyers and frigates to police the world.

Salami slicing can only go so far and I think the last SDSR took it to the limit. There is no happy medium with for example the number of carriers and amphibs we have, if we have one of each we no longer have “guaranteed rapid response”, we only have “possible rapid response”. With only two SSBNs we do not have CASD we only have high-tension-work-em-to-the-bone boats.

IMO, it’s an all or nothing this time or not much change at all.

So I suppose that leads to a question, which is what whole capability can we cut?

The Other Chris
December 11, 2014 2:56 pm

If the Lancaster House treaty with France is firm, does the UK need its own “balanced” services or do France and the UK only need “balanced” services between us?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 11, 2014 3:29 pm

Agreeing with TOC, about how to approach the affordability riddle. Not much heard about that joint-intervention force, for starters, though?

@monkey, you will be glad the hear that king-of-England to be NOT served on the Varangian guard, and in the process was part of making three different emperors… They sure got through them fast, and we got the expression Byzantian politics
– you know, the chap who only made it to Stamford Bridge

monkey
monkey
December 11, 2014 5:07 pm

@ToC
“If the Lancaster House treaty with France is firm, does the UK need its own “balanced” services or do France and the UK only need “balanced” services between us?”
I agree we could be more co-operative in spreading the loading of certain specialisations between our countries , say for instance the French providing the bulk of the Rapid Reaction Force as they will have 50 A400M in service supported by 12 A330 MRTT as well as almost 30 C235 and for a while at least 30 Transall C-160. The do not have the C-17 capability but then again that would be set aside for us providing the bulk of the Medium/Heavy follow force. Alternatively we could maintain an independent balanced force but alternate on readiness with each other , in one cycle we have the RRF on a high state of readiness and they the Medium/Heavy and then reversed. Similar with sharing air assets when whoever needs the 70+ A400M shared fleet it is used by whose ever forces are dispatched, same for the C-17 etc. Maybe it could be spread as an idea around Europe. Spain/Portugal partner Greece/Italy , Germany partners Poland/Baltic states etc in their readiness cycles. Thus still maintaining the overall NATO commitments but still allowing operations like Mali.
That way we could get by with reduce forces but still maintain the operational experience that is vital if you are to hit the ground running.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
December 11, 2014 5:16 pm

– Possible although far from certain that Harold Godwineson also served with the Varangian Guard as a young man…and many of his surviving Huscarles and dispossessed Thegns certainly signed up after Hastings; they came up against the Normans again, sometimes with greater success than they had enjoyed on Senlac Hill.

For those in need of holiday reading, The Last English King by Julian Rathbone is a pretty decent novel about the period; and his Kings of Albion (about the Wars of the Roses) is as good a summary of the English character as I have ever read…

GNB

Darkest
Darkest
December 11, 2014 11:28 pm

I agree with Simon in response to Martins post, salami slicing can only go so far, and yes, the last SDSR took it to the limit, especially with regards to the Navy and Air Force. That limit is not an arbitrary conclusion, rather, it is based on industrial necessity. If anyone thinks a British government is going to cut down to just 8 frigates, then you are seriously misguided, overly pessimistic and ignoring the realities of maintaining a viable complex warship industry in this country. I put forward that 11 or 12 is realistically the bare minimum to provide a slow drumbeat in construction and maintain the industry. 8 and killing the industry just isn’t going to happen.

Considering we are looking to balance the budget within the next parliament, cutting Type 26 orders doesn’t really make sense anyway. Likewise, cutting the present T23 fleet down to 10 or 8 doesn’t really make sense. Unlike the T22s who were orphans, a maintenance and logistical headache and expensive to operate, cutting T23 numbers would only save a merge amount of money while resulting in a drastic shrinkage in capability.

At most I could see a single frigate cut, rounding the fleet down to an even 12.

As I said before on this thread, expect the Army and MoD to take by far the biggest cuts. About 35,000 personnel between them – So an army of ~ 62,000. Majority of cuts coming from the adaptable force.

RAF Regiment cut to the bone, and the Royal Marines scaled down too, but not too much, it can’t.

I don’t see the Air Forces rotary assets being handed over to the Army. If “efficiency savings” want to be made then disbanding the Air Corps and all Army helicopters going to the RAF would be cheaper than the other way around.

Personnel and operations expenditure is the most vulnerable, the equipment budget is all tied up in contracts and commitments too late to cut in the short-term. Thus no money can be saved during the next parliament from this area of expenditure, simply because there is nothing to cut.

Martin
Editor
December 12, 2014 5:59 am

@ Darkest, I agree with your logic but the British political establishment is far from a logical or professional body. I would not underestimate there ability to continue salami slicing no matter how much it f**ks up the services. They will take the path of least political resistance.

I am guessing the real reason we keep having under spends is that the MOD has already pre allocated areas to cut going further than was necessary in 2010.

Looking at the army the heavy forces are safe. HM ability to field a division sized force and deploy it anywhere in the world is a major political capability. Any government in future wanting to deploy a brigade on an eduring op would need to have its head examined so if there are to be army cuts they will come from forces designed for eduring ops.

No amount of infantry cap badges would offset the end of ship building on the Clyde or UK participation in F35

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 12, 2014 7:39 am

I see, speculation time, why not?

RE “RAF Regiment cut to the bone, and the Royal Marines scaled down too, but not too much, it can’t.”
– I could see the Rgmnts turned into something more akin to an MP type of force (how many bases could be facing a conventional attack? Aki, mt Pleasant? They have other units assigned even now). I could see the sqdrn that is para-trained for being part of taking/ reactivating an airfield moved lock, stock and barrel into the SFSG.
– fine tuning the manning level of each of the ‘normal’ Commando (recognising that Fleet Protection does not operate in the same way, and is of different strength anyway) so that it can be deployed by a QE & a Bay combination, and I don’t mean in overload. It is a short hop to Norway, but a long way to anywhere else. That would also recognise the command nature of the single purpose built amphib (available at any time) tailored around a Commando; Ocean, designed similarly, will be going anyway.

Defiance
Defiance
December 12, 2014 10:37 am

Jeneral is a tit, in the tweet TD linked, @DFid is some random woman rather than the actual DFID.

Kent
Kent
December 12, 2014 1:46 pm

If you want to make cuts in the Army yet spare the “cap-badge chaps,” you could move them to a reconstituted Home Guard and man them with former/retired soldiers. You could equip them with their old uniforms and issue them plugged-barrel SMLEs and blunted bayonets. Then, around the pub they can proudly state that the Queen’s Own Northumbrianshire Yeomanry Borderers have kept Northumbrianshire safe from invasion for….ever.

Oh, and to keep TD happy, they could use containers to store their kit when not marching in parades.

:D

Challenger
Challenger
December 12, 2014 2:17 pm

Or maybe give each line battalion a cap badge or similar identification and group them into larger regiments.

monkey
monkey
December 12, 2014 2:24 pm

@Kent
How the hell did you get to read page 231 paragraph 7 of the SDSR2015 white paper before the PM? :-)

monkey
monkey
December 12, 2014 2:54 pm

@Challenger
Like the Rifles
1st Battalion -Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry ,Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry.
2nd Battalion -Royal Green Jackets (ex 1st Battalion)
3rd Battalion -The Light Infantry (ex 2nd Battalion)
4th Battalion -Royal Green Jackets (ex 2nd Battalion)
5th Battalion -The Light Infantry (ex 1st Battalion)
6th Battalion Reserve unit -Rifle Volunteers
7th Battalion Reserve unit -Royal Rifle Volunteers

Chris
Chris
December 12, 2014 3:09 pm

Monkey – ref page 231 – now won’t you look like a security risk if page 231 para 7 does indeed refer to Home Guard?

Many years back I worked at a manufacturer of expensive audio amplifiers. I found the storeman just starting a stock-take of amplifier baseplates – a big stack of them because many were used per day – so as I passed I thought there was room for a quip so I picked a number at random. “There’s 129…” I said and walked on. A half hour later he was by my desk looking a bit shaken; “How on earth did you know there were 129 there??” He never accepted it was just a lucky guess.

So when SDSR2015 comes out, we’ll all be flipping through to page 231 just to see if you had inside knowledge. Spooky…

Challenger
Challenger
December 12, 2014 3:53 pm

@Monkey

The British Army has always been small relative to it’s rivals outside of major conflicts, but their is a clear difference between pre 1914 and inter-war sizes of 200-250,000+ and the 80,000 odd we are now seeing. And yet through decades of downsizing the regiment remains the ‘home’ and center of tradition and lineage, well maybe it’s time for a change, one that is part of a comprehensive reorganization as apposed to endless bickering over cap-badge preservation and the salami slicing it produces.

I’d like to see fewer but larger regiments sticking to broad regional titles (Wessex, Lancastrian as well as the existing Anglian and Mercian) with the individual battalions embodying and continuing the lineages and traditions of historically famous or important regiments.

Won’t bring an end to cap-badge mentality, but it might as least help the situation, allowing certain names to live on whilst not getting in the way of substantial reductions (thinking of Adaptable Force battalions getting heavily trimmed during SDSR 2015).

monkey
monkey
December 12, 2014 4:14 pm


Didn’t they lock up a schoolteacher in WW2 who wrote the Telegraph crossword as his answers were the beaches codenames for D-Day , p.s. writing this in Heathrow departure lounge and now they say the air traffic control computer has ‘mal-functioned’ and my flight is cancelled and I am reading an article on the CIA and how their extraordinary rendition activities was assisted by the British Secret Services …. I am off to the loo to see if it has a window , I don’t look good in orange especially splashed with red :-)
EDIT
Halfway out the window and hard to typ , Challanger I too thing they should keep their heritage going and preserve the cap badge names for expansion at a later date if reqd … bye I hear them coming.

Phil
December 12, 2014 6:42 pm

How does having “regiments” impact on the operations of the Army? Considering that in practice we only deploy battle groups and company groups and blokes transfer between regiments anyway?

Stewart Hitchen
Stewart Hitchen
December 12, 2014 6:53 pm

The 2015 S.S.D.R needs to be a true review. Cross party (as it should be). Not distorted by a unfunded war as in 2010. Some real problems that were caused by the 2010 review need addressing . M.P.A requirement / Aircraft Carrier’ s
The explosive subject of Cap Badges. Is the true Elephant in the room That needs to be addressed. Along with the M.O.D. manning. P.F.I. contracts (true costs) They should start with the senior officer and their ranks. Because we have a hollowed out armed forces. But then the bean counters and the resident of no 11 would have to be told to leave the money in the defence budget. They would look to savings as claw back for the Treasury. Wrecking the S.S.D.R. As they would have cut the budget anyway as defence is un ring fenced.

Repulse
December 12, 2014 7:03 pm

: re “– fine tuning the manning level of each of the ‘normal’ Commando (recognising that Fleet Protection does not operate in the same way, and is of different strength anyway) so that it can be deployed by a QE & a Bay combination, and I don’t mean in overload. It is a short hop to Norway, but a long way to anywhere else. That would also recognise the command nature of the single purpose built amphib (available at any time) tailored around a Commando; Ocean, designed similarly, will be going anyway.”

I agree with the tuning of a RM Commando size – and I would question whether a full sized Commando operation is likely in the future. The primary purpose of the non-fleet protection element of the RMs should be for executing sea based commando raids or securing a landing area for the Army. In doing this I would also merge the SBS back into the RM, rather than have it just part of the SAS.

The optimal size of a “Commando” is about 400 marines in my view – which could be carried by a QE with an escort of 2 T45s and 2 T26s. Just need to get the T26 capable of carrying something like the CB90 and perhaps davits on the CVF. I cannot see why there would not be space on the CVF to have control and command facilities of a force of this size.

The Bays (and other RFAs) should be optimised to carry the Army’s Reaction Forces.

Phil
December 12, 2014 7:04 pm

In a 36 billion pound budget do 18 little badges cause that much damage? Or rather is it nothing more than an argument that diverts attention from more serious issues? I really don’t have a dog in the fight as I think whatever happens identities will coalesce. You can’t get much more utilitarian than the 93rd of Foot or a regiment named after a county or a weapon and yet look where we are.

Challenger
Challenger
December 12, 2014 8:04 pm

I agree that axing cap-badges themselves won’t save much money.

My thinking was that if what a lot of people suspect becomes a reality during SDSR 2015 and the adaptable force does lose a fair few of those light infantry battalions to protect other assets facing the chop then a comprehensive review of the infantry’s structure could put everyone in the same boat and avoid any protracted bickering between long-established but small 1-2 battalion regiments that understandably wouldn’t take too kindly to being offered up as a sacrificial lamb.

Otherwise we will see endless salami slicing that ends with a collection of single battalion regiments facing extinction as apposed to rationalization and downsizing.

Whatever happened to the good idea of large 3-5 battalion regiments coupled with the end of the arms plot. Just 10 or so years later i think only the Scots, Guards and Rifles have more than 3.

Kent
Kent
December 12, 2014 8:04 pm

@monkey – I have contacts in the Queen’s Own Northumbrianshire Yeomanry Borderers. The Colonel-in-Chief’s “niece” is a “typist” in the SSDR pool. She was responsible for pages 226 through 250 (inclusive).

:D