Statistics in Pictures

The snappily titled Statistical Series 4 – Equipment Bulletin 4.01 Formations, Vessels & Aircraft Annual: 2014 edition from Defence Statistics was published earlier this week.

Read it in full here

A picture (or two) says a thousand words

RAF
RAF
screenshot-www gov uk 2015-02-19 11-44-54
RN

 

 

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ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 19, 2015 12:51 pm

A nice piece, could save us from speculating about the past (Møre fun about the future?) IF we had a useful links Tab.
– end of that doc has a nice collection of links, too!

The Limey
The Limey
February 19, 2015 1:01 pm

I don’t think these graphics are that great actually. They would much better show the overall (rather than just by type) decline if they were stacked area rather than line.

El Sid
El Sid
February 19, 2015 1:28 pm

So let’s see the threats. What’s happened to the Russian airforce in the last 10-20 years? Then compare with the number of militarily- and industrially- significant hacking attempts. What’s happened to the number of cyber personnel in the last 10 years? Our satellite bandwidth? Communication intercepts? The nature of the threat and our capability to respond to it are both changing, and not reflecting that is like plotting the number of battleships 1910-1945, without also plotting the number of aircraft carriers.

There’s also some cap-badge issues, like the RA now fly a lot more planes (albeit small ones) than they did in the Cold War. Even a Type 23 can be an aircraft carrier now and a T26 might perhaps carry something more serious. Things are just different now.

Donald of Tokyo
Donald of Tokyo
February 19, 2015 2:03 pm

Why not somebody make the vertical axis in log scale?
You will directly see the “relative increase/decrease” in percentage.

I know log scale is not popular, but sometimes it help a lot!

Hohum
Hohum
February 19, 2015 2:32 pm

Hideous charts, they would be much better as stacked bars.

I await the usual “but all our stuff has got much better so these are not helpful” ranting. Sorry, but our stuff has not got that much better, in most cases its the same damn platforms at each end of the chart- just in smaller numbers. As I have said before, RAF fast jet fleet is down 80% since 1990.

monkey
monkey
February 19, 2015 3:15 pm

I like the presentation of these graphs by types as generally discussed , ff/dd , tactical transports , fighter jets , flat tops etc . These are two graphs pulled from one document as illustrative of the state of capital equipment we have in the front line year on year.
On El Sids point on adding new types of warfare equipment an additional graph would have been useful , dedicated cyber warrior stations such as the new 77th but all else no hope as GCHQ and MI5/6 might get the hump but check WikiLeaks if you must . The number and type of drones , short range pure optical surveillance to full on long range armed to the teeth behemoth’s.
You can argue increased capabilities or not ( T26 will have the same kit as T23 but there will be less of them in the future) but you should not expect your OPFOR to sit on their hands either . Both the Russians and Chinese have a pair each of LO fighters starting production , hedging their bets, both have new brand new MBT’s/APC/AFV starting production,both new classes of HK Subs in the water etc etc .

El Sid
El Sid
February 19, 2015 4:25 pm

@monkey
Russia and China are subject to the same pressures as us – new planes may be more capable, but also less affordable, so a given budget buys fewer of them. Russia has around 400 Flankers and 300 Fencers – do you seriously think they will be replaced 1:1 with PAK FA and Fullbacks?

monkey
monkey
February 19, 2015 4:40 pm

@El Sid
On replacing their existing frontline fighters no , they like us will introduce the extra dimension given by a passive sensor laden LO aircraft to their doctrine. They will keep both for sometime to decide their bed plan.Just like us in all likelihood as the F35B’s turn up the Typhoons will be reduced from frontline service and sold/scrapped (rather than kept for a UK Air National Guard) and we all know the Tornadoes are due for scrap in the next 3 years. The Chinese and Russians will probably follow theirs and the US’s practice of mothballing their old fleet for just in case scenarios.

Hohum
Hohum
February 19, 2015 4:41 pm

El Sid,

In China’s case 1:1 has actually been the pattern in recent years, in the case of the navy the fleet seems to be growing. In Russia’s case the problem is that nobody really knows what “1” is to start with so it’s hard to judge the replacement rate but they have procured a lot of aircraft in the last ten years.

El Sid
El Sid
February 19, 2015 4:42 pm

@Hohum – what’s happened to the threat though? Russian air force as a whole dropped 72% just in the Nineties, long-range bombers and ground attack dropped 77% in that time. They’ve also been forced to rebalance their forces so that (relatively) more are in the East and fewer in the West.

Hohum
Hohum
February 19, 2015 4:59 pm

El Sid,

I dont know where you get the idea the Russian’s have been forced to re-balance from, the split is the same as it always was. If anything they have swung back towards the West now they are on good terms with the Chinese.

What has happened to the threat is that it all but went away, then in the last 5 years has started to reappear with people only just noticing.

Kent
Kent
February 19, 2015 5:28 pm

@monkey; @El Cid – The idea of reservists for the RAF could work just like the Air National Guard. Aircraft no longer used by the active force could be stationed/maintained locally, or at nearby RAF bases, and reservist mechanics could maintain them, aircrew could fly them to maintain basic proficiency at a minimum or even support the QRA mission. The F-16s at our local ANG wing have been scrambled or diverted from training missions to do intercepts of aircraft that have lost contact with air traffic control. (The most notorious of these locally was when golfer Payne Stewart’s Learjet lost pressurization, incapacitating the pilots and occupants. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do.) Our ANG wing has also deployed in support of operations in Iraq, from the no-fly zones to close air support missions, and in Afghanistan, close air support missions. In fact, just a short while ago I heard “the sound of freedom” as four ANG F-16s on a training flight passed overhead downtown Tulsa, OK. :D

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 19, 2015 6:06 pm

Re

“I dont know where you get the idea the Russian’s have been forced to re-balance from, the split is the same as it always was. If anything they have swung back towards the West now they are on good terms with the Chinese.”

Well I do, as you only need to read the docs that correspond to our SDSR… Just that “they” do a much more thorough job on threat scenarios… The means to counter are not much changed; the biggest two changes have been the switch from tracks to wheels and the same as in the West (the RAF one of the laggards in this) , to multirole combat aircraft.

That ” However, there”might be true to some extent, even more so by the Southern (Caucasus included) Military District being quiet, and also v close to where things are hot now, so not only the Western Military District being taxed…. VVD, though, is the strategic reserve at the President’s direct command and disposal.

Hohum
Hohum
February 19, 2015 6:35 pm

acc,

There has been no major realignment of Russian forces Eastwards, the major mobilisation capability and best forces remain west. There has also been no shift away from tracks to wheels, the ratios on the ground remain the same as they also were. They have put greater emphasis on strategic mobility for key units but Russia still has a railway system designed for just that- so tracks are fine.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 19, 2015 7:01 pm

I thought you were in the know, but maybe you juzt usegoogle translate to quote from”there”?

No need to say that we disagree… But that is fine

Hohum
Hohum
February 19, 2015 7:49 pm

ACC,

We certainly do disagree. I have seen no evidence of a major realignment of Russian forces. Certainly for a period the best units were (unsurprisingly) held in the Caucasus but the modernisation process has followed the historical trend of favoring the Western forces. Certainly thats where the really key bits of kit (Mistral’s aside and there are obvious reasons for that) have been going. People forget that in the Cold War the Soviet’s were as strong in the East as the West.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 19, 2015 8:59 pm

You think Ussuri 69 was a strong showing?
It was disstressingly bad (hey! Whose perspective?) and set the alarm bells ringing.
The UK policy of producing a couple of”template” examples of world leading kit (fiscal constraints) has no match? Well, in the years Russia was broke, all the best kit was sent out to the units in the Far East. Mainly in”specimen” quantities.

As for Caucasus, yes VVD, Spetznatz, but if you look at body count OMON mainly. So good training levels, high proportion of kontraktni, but not what I was referring to.

dukeofurl
dukeofurl
February 19, 2015 10:46 pm

The idea that reserves could man aircraft like in the US has one in surmountable problem.

The military pay a capital charge or rent if you like back to the Treasury for all their equipment and real estate.
If its pulled from service and scrapped or sold they get to keep that rent for another project.
Theres no ‘boneyard’ for the RAF or handdowns for that matter.
You can see the hidden costs like this in the published costs for running say a Tornado. Direct running costs are about 20% of overall costs which include the ‘rent’

Hohum
Hohum
February 19, 2015 11:55 pm

ACC,

Its not the 90s anymore. The Western military districts are the ones getting most of the fancy new toys, even in the 90s such stuff was spread fairly evenly on the rare occasions it actually arrived. Also, they way the procurement cycle was the western units ended the Cold War with the most modern stuff anyway, what came in the 90s was either the same or not much better.

Caucasus; the 58th Army in general was pretty good- indeed there are reports/murmurings/rumours that some of its officers (possibly up to and including its Chief of Staff) are active in Ukraine.

The far East wasn’t just a China thing, it was a Japan, South Korea and US thing too- and as inept as the Chinese may have been there was still a lot of them and the Soviet’s still put serious force on their border.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 20, 2015 5:33 am

Hohum,

If you look back, you will see that I posted the news here: “including its Chief of Staff) are active in Ukraine.” I also said that (the 2nd time around) they put pros to Caucasus… As with Georgia, VVD boarding ships rather than planes. So we are in violent agreement there..btw, that is the Southern, not Western District. But even the most professional elements of the Russian forces fumbled somewhat, so that’s when the serious transformation was started, with spending to match.

When this has by now changed “as inept as the Chinese may have been there was still a lot of them and the Soviet’s still put serious force on their border” what do you think the Russians are doing now?

Hohum
Hohum
February 20, 2015 11:47 am

ACC,

My apologies, I misunderstood you.

Re China, the same they have always done, maintain a paranoid watching brief, but it is not as big a concern for the Russians as the West is or that it was for the Soviets. The ideological differences have gone and only the most rabid of Chinese extremists sustain notions of retaking lost imperial territory from Russia.

monkey
monkey
February 21, 2015 8:36 pm

@Hohum
The only territory that’s possible in any form of annexation (other than all that inside the disputed dotted line in the South China Sea ) is Outer Mongolia , resource rich and manpower poor with much much greater historical and ethnic ties to China than its previous ruler the Soviet Union. I can only see it being peaceable though , kind of an offer they can’t refuse type . The Mongolians are a fiercely proud people though so who knows. Annexing big chunks like Tibet are far in the past , client states are very much the future with the clients state leaderships bought with filthy lucre .

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 21, 2015 9:39 pm

@ monkey, there are a million people in Outer Mongolia. In China, they are not restricted to inner Mongolia, and they are seven million plus plenty Møre IF you factor in the genes that trickled down from the ruling white class (the Mongolians) to the rest. But the territory still unchanged. However Sinkiang used to reach much further West when the Emperors were still great (and the Mongols merely pesky nomads). Let’s not forget that Russia and Japan went to war over what part of Manchuria belongs to whom.

Right now it is only a commercial war – Kazakstan being wooed by both China and Russia.

I will post (from another machine) a link that supports Hohum’s view of the very latest developments, not since the 90’s but since 2008. RE. This end of Russia.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 21, 2015 9:46 pm

This leaves the Ukraine facing part of the Western Joint Strategic Command (military district) of Russia out, but gives a good overview of the build-up after the war with Georgia (especially the table, which of course can’t as such be linked to, or pasted in, as such for TD readers):
http://www.diplomaatia.ee/en/article/russian-armed-forces-in-the-baltic-sea-region/

monkey
monkey
February 21, 2015 10:54 pm


My other half is spending New Year in her him town of Hohhot , inner Mongolia . She is Han Chinese by extraction but born there and is of the general opinion that Outer Mongolia will join China at some stage by hook or by crook . A shame really as the potential wealth spread amongst so few will make them the Saudi of the East but that same wealth will be the lure to some Russian or Chinese oligarchs to manipulate the situation.