Priorities and Options for SDSR 2015 – Introduction

GUEST POST FROM ANDY C

This paper seeks to amend and update a series I wrote for Think Defence way back in July 2014.

Since then I have incorporated the results of more research, many of the comments received on this website and correspondence with serving members of the Armed Forces.

Considering that according to the Secretary of State the MoD is only half way through the process of SDSR 2015 it is amazing just how much has already been decided.

I originally thought that the biggest decision to be taken was going to be about Carrier Capability but that decision has already been made.  We’ve also had a whole stream of contracts announced – Ajax specialist reconnaissance vehicles, the first order of F-35Bs, a whole series of enhancements to the Typhoon, Crowsnest radar, three Offshore Patrol Vessels, an upgrade for ASRAAM and Spearfish plus Sea Venom and Martlet missiles.  Any uncertainty over the Trident Successor Programme has also been removed.

But, some big questions still remain.  Has the Army been ‘hollowed out’ while keeping too many Infantry Battalions?  Does the RAF really have enough fast jets to meet its commitments around the globe?  Can a maritime nation survive without a Maritime Patrol capability?  Can we afford enough F-35Bs to equip both carriers?

After the criticism of SDSR 2010 there is a clear need to develop thorough and transparent strategic thinking to define the UK’s military forces, disposition and capabilities.  This needs to include a realistic assessment of medium and long-term threats to the security of the UK, take into account current capabilities and the financial constraints that future Governments will have to operate under.

To ensure long-term planning, stability and value for money every attempt should be made to achieve a political consensus to influence the priorities and options for SDSR 2015.  This is especially important in a world where procurement projects are increasingly taking 20 years to move from conception to deployment and where threats can evolve over much shorter time periods.

We should start by defining our key defence priorities and the minimum necessary force levels that can achieve these goals through a series of scenario plans.  We should then analyse the strengths and weaknesses of both our current defence forces and those of our European allies to see where there might be gaps in capability that need to be addressed.

So what should be the United Kingdom’s key defence priorities?

  1. The security of the United Kingdom itself, our airspace and territorial waters and our ability to remain a free democratic country.
  2. The defence of our remaining sovereign territories throughout the world.
  3. Our defence and security obligations to treaty partners and regional neighbours in NATO.  This should include any potential threat from the Middle East or Africa and increased Russian assertiveness from the east and north.  The analysis here only considers the position of European NATO members as the strength of US forces available is highly uncertain in a period of significant budget reductions and a marked change of focus towards Asia
  4. A capability to operate in defence of our national interests and other international obligations on a global basis either (a) in co-operation with our allies or (b) on our own, including the ability to sustain long-term operations.

After examining each of these scenarios and what forces and equipment would be needed for the UK to be secure we should then use this information to inform the proposed structure of our armed forces.

For each service we need to examine the minimum requirements needed to meet planning objectives, decide whether current plans are adequate, whether new equipment or additional forces are required and if there is adequate support to deploy forces on a large scale or for long periods of time.

In total four Options are outlined starting with Option 1, which is based on the minimum requirements needed for each Command, to those where the defence budget is increased slightly in real terms.

Finally, all of this information will be brought together to outline the Options for Change available in the 2015 SDSR.

The rest of the series

1 – Introduction

2 – Defence of the UK

3 – Other Sovereign Territories

4 – NATO

5 – A Southern or Middle Eastern Threat

6 – An Eastern and Northern Threat

7 – Global Intervention

8 – Land Command 2025; Appendix 1 – Army 2025

9 – Naval Command 2025; Appendix 2 – Royal Navy 2025

10 – Air Command 2025; Appendix 3 – RAF 2025

11 – Conclusion – The Options for Change; Appendix 4 – An Abundance of Riches: MoD Procurement 2015-25

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Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 8:56 am

Both carriers are not going to be “equipped” so this is not a question.

The most important SDSR questions are thus:

What does the future combat air fleet look like?
What does the future ISTAR fleet look like?
Does the Army get both its political manpower cap and its planned massive upswing in equipment spending?

Think Defence
Admin
September 30, 2015 9:01 am
Reply to  Hohum

Hohum, I just don’t see this massive upswing in Army equipment spending. Looked again at the EP, it rises in line and proportion with the other services.

In any case, what is it going to spending all this cash on. Not many major equipment projects in the pipeline that are land focussed, maybe it is facility spend for forces returning from Germany and we know about Ajax and Warrior, but these are relatively small in comparison.

Just not seeing it

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 9:22 am

TD,

Again, you are not looking hard enough:

Land Equipment spend goes from £1 billion per year in 14/15 to approximately £2 billion by 2021/22 then remains stable- it doubles.

Combat Air falls from a peak of £2.25 billion in 2018/19 to £1.5 billion in 2023/24- its falls by £750 million

Air Support falls from a peak of £1.95 billion in 2015/16 to £1.15 billion in 2023/24- it falls by £800 million

The ships spend is broadly stable but submarines grows from just over £3 billion to just over £5 billion but that is mostly driven by successor.

There is also a big fall in helicopters but whats left is heavily land weighted (Apache).

In short, Air capability spend is to be reduced in order to fund successor and a doubling of the land equipment spend.

Also, not many projects?

Ajax and Warrior procurement phases happen over the next 5-10 years, then there is ABSV, Challenger CSP, Morpheus, MRV-P, and MIV. Land domain has a huge pipeline.

a
a
September 30, 2015 9:27 am

“The security of the United Kingdom itself, our airspace and territorial waters and our ability to remain a free democratic country.”

I am assuming that this heading also covers non-warfighting tasks such as disaster relief, search and rescue, operations in support of the civil power etc?

Chriscript
September 30, 2015 9:27 am

This is a clearly thought out paper and I agree totally with the conclusions but as a Hampshire Lad who knows both Southampton and Portsmouth well I am all too aware of the importance to these islands of shipping trade and for its defence. In June 1939 the RN ordered 145 Flower Class Corvettes, a design based on a commercial whale catcher, which were cheap, lightly armed and designed to escort merchant ships in an anti-submarine role. It seems to me that the (gone very quiet) “Black Swan” proposal for a class of basic OPV’s with various fits of containerised or bolted on equipment would provide the necessary backbone for the Fleet – as a workhorse for patrolling – leaving the high end assets, Type 45 and 26 to act as the escort and support for Carrier Battle Groups. Whilst it was lucky that HMS Daring was close enough to assist in the Philippines last year it surely cannot make sense for a major, high end unit to be engaged in relief work when we have Russian Submarines pottering about in British waters.
It’s bad enough politicians talking big when we don’t have the resources to do all their grandiose bidding but it’s about time the Senior Officers got their act together too and presented a cogent plan for the future.
I am a complete layman in Defence matters but the defence of our seaways must be a priority.

Think Defence
Admin
September 30, 2015 9:41 am
Reply to  Chriscript

Chris, welcome to TD

We are all here to learn my friend !

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 30, 2015 9:52 am

I’ve made a detailed comment before on why Land looks like having a boost in the EP (2014 version).

It is like the Russian revolution. Industrial production went down to almost zero in the chaos of 1917, so just returning to “normal” produced fantastic looking growth percentages (to be used in a propagandistic way, for sure).

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 30, 2015 10:10 am

Chriscript is right,
The priority is to have an aircraft carrier, with at least 24 F-35 and its Carrier Battle Group.
It’s a little piece of the UK that can move around and hit our enemies.

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 10:12 am

ACC,

Yes, and I made the point that that is actually not a particularly useful way of looking at it. The operational use of the Army over the next ten years or more is going to be minimal. By contrast the RAF is already struggling to maintain it’s ISTAR capability (let alone add to it) and has a shortage of combat aircraft whilst it is engaged in operations.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 30, 2015 10:14 am

There is a recurring theme in many other posts which is that the main problem all three services are having is not the lack of funds for new equipment but the lack of people to actually carry out their mission. I know personnel costs are a major part of the budget, and also an apparently easy black and white target for the bean counters, but it is going to have a greater and greater impact on the operational effectiveness of our armed forces if the issue is not dealt with.

We always seem to be fixing personnel and equipment levels and then deciding what we are able to do with them. This is a great plan from the Treasury’s point of view, but puts severe limits on what can be achieved by holding a SDSR. This issue is usually covered up by layer upon layer of spin churned out by various Government departments.

The foundation of any SDSR must be a realistic look at what we intend the role of out armed forces to be. This need to be an honest statement, not some aspirational fiction barely rooted in reality. This is the part to be played by the Politicians and Civil Servants. In reply to this the MOD needs to come up with a list of assets, material and human it believes it needs to carry out the above. Importantly the MOD must be able to provide accurate data to support its proposals, and avoid any temptation to inflate requirements. If the MOD is able to do this and present a unified argument then it has a much stronger case to defend itself form the Treasury. Also of importance is transparency, this country has a habit of using secrecy to hide a whole heap of short comings when it comes to defence. The public need to be shown what and why we are doing things and although there are areas where secrecy is needed, it should not to be used as a political tool.

In an ideal world the SDSR should, in a simplified format run as follows

1. What is our role to be?
2. What do we need to carry out our role?
3. What is the cost to purchase and maintain what we need to carry out our role?
4. Is it affordable?

If the answer to part four is YES then the SDSR is published and everyone moves forward. If the answer is NO then the Politicians etc. need to return to part one, not tinker with part two.

mickp
mickp
September 30, 2015 10:24 am

I see a land focus as being the reinstatement of a necessary and postponed recapitalisation after the distractions of UORs in the ME. As a counter to the equipment uplift I believe there is a case to rationalise further the structure of the army and possibly reduce numbers into a small number of more effective formations. The commitment to army numbers was unwise.

Aside from that, in terms of ‘air’, MPA and the ISTAR piece should be dealt with. They are both top tier game changing capabilities and we have discussed at length the options. There does appear to be a shortage of fast jets in the short / medium term as F35 comes on line and Tornado moves to OSD. That gap should be met by the retention of an additional two squadrons of Typhoons, we can debate tranches 1s or extra tranche 3s but again that has been done to death. I think the longer term issue is future offensive air; UAVs / manned etc. Personally, in the longer term I would see 5 squadrons of Typhoons largely for air defence, 3/4 squadrons of F35 for the carriers, Reaper style drones / Apache for specialist CAS and some sort of UAV (or manned – silver bullet fleet of LRSBs anyone?) plus TLAMS for long range strike.

If the RN gets 2 QEs, 13 T26s committed and (at least) 7 Astutes it will be in decent shape. The MHC programme will be important and interesting. It may lead to something like mentions in a black swan type class to support the main fleet (by mentioning BS I am only referring to vessel type and not the BS operating concept to replace major surface combatants). I don’t dismiss lower class vessels as there is a lot they can do but not at the expense of a core high level fleet, sufficient to support the carriers and high risk standing commitments properly

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
September 30, 2015 10:31 am

Toss: ISIL or Russia?

QEC or Taranis research?

Ajax all the way or enough money for it, plus MIV/UV and MRV?

Dump HMS Ocean or keep her till she rusts?

Better yet, ensure Corbyn doesn’t win in 2020 or let it be?

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
September 30, 2015 10:32 am
Reply to  mickp

13 plus 2 plus 7–the bare minimum. Wonder what Labour and possibly the SNP thinks is the minimum.

LouisB
LouisB
September 30, 2015 10:55 am

Three suggestions with a choice and one all encompassing – I like it.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 30, 2015 11:11 am

@HoHum

‘The operational use of the Army over the next ten years or more is going to be minimal.’

What are you basing this assumption on? After the cold war and the peace dividend a lot of people said the same as what you are saying now but it never really materialised. Who knows what will come of Russia’s involvement of Syria, it would not be beyond the realms of possibility to see the UK deploying forces as part of a peace keeping mission to that country within 5 years if the diplomatic efforts bear fruit and Assad agrees to a transitional government, just by way of an example. I don’t think planning on political assumptions is a good start for the next SDSR especially after the last military/security assumptions for the 2010 SDSR were blown out of the water pretty quickly.

Think Defence
Admin
September 30, 2015 11:16 am
Reply to  DavidNiven

I love it when people confidently predict the future, makes one somewhat amused

Just wondering when the last three divisional sized outings were predicted beforehand?

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 30, 2015 11:19 am

We already knew this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34399565 but it is pertinent here – we all assume if the nation pays for defence that the elected leadership will use it in our defence. Not put their own sensibilities first, as if their personal conscience is more important than the nation, its citizens, its dependants and its allies…

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 11:24 am

Ah, history rewriting on TD.

Post cold war peace support operations were always envisioned as large manpower intensive activities. Thats what the force structure coming out of SDR97 was designed to provide.

The UK is not going to be sending large land forces to Syria.

Peter Elliott
September 30, 2015 11:42 am

Just if Putin and Obama ever cut a deal with Iran, Turkey and Sadui Arabia to stop pissing on each others bonfires in Syria then there may well be a UN mandate for a large multinational peacekeeping force. And we might even contribute to it. Just to keep the Russian contingent on the straight and narrow if for no other reason.

And leaving out Syria why wouldn’t we send the army to Poland or Lithuania to create convenional deterrence? Or Ukraine or Trans Dneister or ar any of the adjacent countries? They are all scenarios of varying likelihood but I don’t see we can rule them absolutely out?

Then theres North, East and West Africa. And almost certainly somewhere none of us has heard of or given a thought to for years will suddenly kick off right when we don’t need it to.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 30, 2015 11:46 am

@Hohum

Do you mean the strategic defence review of 1998? which in itself was written with peace support operations in mind after the UK sending a very sizable contingent of land, sea and airforces to the Balkans after the 1990 options for change had failed to foresee.

Syria as I stated was just an example of would could happen, I never said we would deffinately be sending forces. But once again how do you know that? what are you basing your assumptions on?

Defiance
Defiance
September 30, 2015 11:51 am

Very much looking forward to reading this!

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 12:03 pm

DN,

All through the early 90s it was understood that peace support (not to mention invading other peoples countries) was a large scale activity. We no longer have the political will to do that.

John Hartley
John Hartley
September 30, 2015 12:13 pm

Much as I love to play fantasy fleets, I think we should also be willing to look at the law. If we need a new act to allow the government to take military action abroad, that protects them & the troops from spurious/political/financial motivated lawsuits, then so be it.
Also limit asylum to the innocent. The guilty (murderers, terrorists, pirates, hijackers & similar) should not be allowed to claim it.
Also bring back the crime of treason. If UK nationals fight for daesh, take pot shots at UK planes or troops (& we have it on video), they should face a treason charge on their return.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 30, 2015 12:51 pm

Hohum, if
– capitalised and in bold
you are right, then I would agree with you
” The operational use of the Army over the next ten years or more is going to be minimal.”

However, I took my degree in strategic planning in the ’70s (remember how only one of the Oil Majors was prepared for it, and only because they used scenario planning?).

Been in many jobs since, Chairman of an Exchange in the ’90s just as an example, and a Planning Guy coming with “point estimates” would have got the “immediate boot” – and that is not a computer term. I can now see why we don’t get along (not that it bothers me the least).

Observer
Observer
September 30, 2015 1:11 pm

@JH

Problem is how do you separate the sheep from the goats?

@Andy

Maybe it would help if we categorise the possible problems

1) Future land operations (COIN)
2) Future land operations (….I’m so hesitant to use this term….warfighting)
3) Sea Control
4) HADR/OOTW

My thinking on the Air Force is a bit “Soviet”-ish, it exists as a supplement to the ground forces, either as an air denial umbrella, ground support or air transport. The RAF isn’t going to be doing deep strikes on enemy infrastructure like back in the days of the V-bomber anymore, so the Air Force is sub-classified into the other 3. No insult intended to the RAF.

Anything else that anyone can think of? Any objections? Other than Hohum, he objects to everything, even oxygen.

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 1:39 pm

ACC,

Charming. If you want to argue that air spending should be reduced to fund the Army when the Air Force is already being stretched by combat operations and the Army is doing not very much (and nobody is suggesting it do much more) then be my guest, but surely even you can see that makes little sense.

mickp
mickp
September 30, 2015 2:06 pm

@Observer – the deterrent perhaps as a discrete requirement; SSBN plus supporting assets.

As to “The RAF isn’t going to be doing deep strikes on enemy infrastructure”, we did a fair bit in GW1, GW2, if not Libya, albeit the strike assets were shorter ranged assets than Vulcans. Its a (slightly ill defined as yet) question rather than a fixed view but do we need a ‘global strategic conventional strike’ capability? Be it any or all of SSNs / TLAM, T26 / TLAM, UAV, big plane carrying storm shadows or similar, backed up by high end ISTAR?

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 2:18 pm

Observer,

Wrong, the RAF is doing “deep strikes against enemy infrastructure” right now, it just happens that the enemy has no AD capability. It also did some in Libya with Storm Shadow and probably would have done more if had been closer sooner.

Observer
Observer
September 30, 2015 2:23 pm

@mick

I was thinking more TLAMs in the future rather than aircraft for the strategic targets role, but even that is arguable, it is a rather nebulous classification as I would admit, but it is using aircraft for the support of a land based war too isn’t it? As for “global strike”, what would be the advantages? Is it worth it? Or is it simply doing the enemy “a small injury”?

The deterrent is one question that I cannot have a say in. For one, I don’t have the mindset and exposure for thinking like a citizen of a nuclear armed country and for another, the acceptability of nuclear weapons to the public is different from country to country (even person to person, but the % of the population thinking that way is different too). All I can say is that the MoD budget won’t be affected by the deterrent, it is funded out from the treasury IIRC and if cancelled, will go back to the treasury and I suspect the MoD will never see a single cent of it.

clinched
clinched
September 30, 2015 2:38 pm
Reply to  Observer

@observer As far as I am aware Osborne moved the nuclear deterrent into the defence budget when he became chancellor. So conventional forces suffered even more.

Observer
Observer
September 30, 2015 2:49 pm

… ouch?

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
September 30, 2015 2:55 pm
Reply to  clinched

I’m reasonably sure that funding for Deterrent has been in the defence budget since the original Trident programme. Polaris was procured under a ring-fenced arrangement largely outside the budget, but Vanguard and her missiles were in the EP and ESP – as it caused quite some pain back in the late 80s.

clinched
clinched
September 30, 2015 3:01 pm
Reply to  Not a Boffin
John Hartley
John Hartley
September 30, 2015 3:18 pm

OBS. One example of sheep from goats. The Daily Mail today is saying that the Libyan Cadets who were convicted of sexual assault & rape, may claim asylum to avoid being sent back to Libya. The daft UK “yumanrites” agenda, may let them stay, when in a straw poll done by the Telegraph, 99% wanted them deported.

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 3:19 pm

There is a bit of myth around deterrent funding:

Polaris was supposedly funded from a special budget when the Navy made it very clear they were not going to be losing conventional capability to fund it. In truth that cash came from money previously allocated to Skybolt (may have been topped up from elsewhere) that was tagged as being a special budget.

Trident in the 80s came out of the core defence budget but it coincided with period of significant increases in the defence budget (at least the front end) followed by favourable exchange rate moves in the late 80s and early 90s. That said there was real anger about the perception of large portions coming out of the Navy’s equipment budget.

I don’t know where it came from but an assumption emerged in 2009/10 that for some reason the plan had been to fund Trident renewal outside the normal defence budget. The Treasury was having none of it and its thus coming out of the core budget.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 30, 2015 4:23 pm

@Hohum

‘All through the early 90s it was understood that peace support (not to mention invading other peoples countries) was a large scale activity’

I think you are mistaken with that assertion. Options for change was centered around how we could cut our forces and still offer support to NATO in Europe as the cold war was still not quite finished. It was never seen as creating deployable forces for peace support operations, The Iraqi’s invading Kuwait and the civil war in the Balkans were not even on the horizon, It was the 98 SDSR which recognised and planned in some way for these such eventualities after the lessons of the early 90’s.

Political will can change in a week let alone in 5-10 years time. Just consider how the migrant crisis has changed the UK’s stance on Assad from a month ago to yesterday.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
September 30, 2015 4:28 pm
Reply to  Hohum

Yep, that tallies with my understanding as well.

Lord alone knows where that myth originated from.

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 4:36 pm

DN,

SDR98 restructured the force and makes things explicit. But well before that it was known that such operations required mass. It is the mass thing we are now not comfortable with.

mickp
mickp
September 30, 2015 5:07 pm

@Observer ‘As for “global strike”, what would be the advantages? Is it worth it? Or is it simply doing the enemy “a small injury”?’ I guess I was thinking broader than perhaps punitive retaliatory strikes but also for ‘bombing’ in general whether a large aircraft with multiple stand off munitions is more effective (cost and actual effect) that half a squadron of Typhoons. I’m not saying that needs to be something as advanced as the US LRSB project (although let’s leave that one open), but for example a variant of the P8 (which we all know will be our MPA of choice!) as a standoff weapons carrier? Ok, I appreciate I’m speculating on kit searching for a role but perhaps we should debate whether such a capability to prosecute offensive operations can better cover (2) and part of (3) on your list?

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 30, 2015 5:07 pm

@Hohum

You Have no idea what the political will of the nation will be in 6 months let alone 5-10 years, ‘Events’ and all that, so it’s probably best not to plan on a hunch.

as
as
September 30, 2015 5:09 pm

When do you think SDSR 2015 will be released or do you think it will become SDSR16?
I did think it would be released in November but there has been no word as to weather it is even being carried out.

Hohum
Hohum
September 30, 2015 5:16 pm

DN,

Its a great idea actually. RAF onj operations and stretched now, Army not doing very much and no will to let them do anything. The solution is obvious.

Peter Elliott
September 30, 2015 5:17 pm

as the recent speeches of the CDS and the SoS at RUSI indicate that the process is well advanced.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 30, 2015 5:22 pm

@Hohum

Yes the RAF are stretched now and could do with an uplift of funds but you stated that the army will not be deployed for up to a decade.

Once again what are you basing this opinion on? Are you basing it on what is happening now or what you know is going to happen in 5-10 years time? If so I suppose your phone call to the FBI regarding 9/11 just didn’t get through?

Repulse
September 30, 2015 8:59 pm

Wouldn’t it be great to invest in a capability that could fulfil all 4 areas (UK, BOT, NATO / EU and Global), fit within our budget and be able to have at such a level that allies would see its value. What would be amazing if this capability can move where it’s needed with little fuss and independently with or without support from our allies – almost like it can float.

Now if we make that capability “purple”, so all 3 services could buy in…

http://www.europeangeostrategy.org/2015/09/why-britain-needs-a-more-flexible-military-posture-for-europe-and-the-world/

Observer
Observer
October 1, 2015 3:26 am

Like an “Aircraft carrying, missile launching cruiser”? That sounds almost… Russian. :)

Brian Black
Brian Black
October 1, 2015 7:48 am

Large scale peace support operations were not envisaged in the ’90s at all.

It was intended to keep the ability to amass large scale land forces for a short-duration war only (ie, Gulf War-like operations). Other than that, the emergent doctrine was for high-tech, high-mobility, rapid response forces, and for manoeuvre warfare. Peace keeping was expected to be done by allies with relatively lower-tech, slower to deploy, but more manpower intensive forces that would follow on from an initial British vanguard.

That concept existed all through the ’90s. The 1998 SDR gave us 16 Air Assault Brigade and the Joint Rapid Reaction Force and Joint Helicopter Force. We also got the Boxer programme (forerunner of FRES), and the A400 and C17. All this was geared towards rapid reaction, not large scale and long duration occupation.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 1, 2015 8:03 am

BB, all valid stuff.

What was forgotten is that when you build a spearhead force, for the spear to follow is actually the political dimension. I guess to a degree the EU BGs were meant for that function (or to be the spearhead themselves, in lower intensity situations), but with hardly any use of them even the most ardent supporter countries are starting to question the expenditure.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 1, 2015 8:06 am

btw, as readiness is costly, the Anglo-French joint intervention force (evening out any gaps the respective parties may have on the enablers side of things) makes perfect sense.
– very little heard, considering that it should be operational next year?

Think Defence
Admin
October 1, 2015 8:26 am
Reply to  ArmChairCivvy

ACC, have a quick look here

https://www.facebook.com/16AirAssaultBrigade

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 1, 2015 8:36 am

@BB

The 1998 SDR did plan for large scale sustained peace support operations.

‘Once all these factors were examined, the MOD decided that the shape of the armed forces should be guided by a requirement to plan for: either two concurrent small-scale operations, one six-months long
warfighting operation and another enduring non-warfighting operation; or, a single
full scale operation, utilising the bulk of the UK’s armed forces’

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCMQFjABahUKEwjh6IKG66DIAhXLWz4KHc65DQM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.parliament.uk%2Fbriefing-papers%2FRP98-91.pdf&usg=AFQjCNHZHrqzC8QRZWPA9QKPh_rxEHpoNQ&cad=rja

TBH a revisit of the 98 SDR would probably not be a bad starting point for the next one.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 1, 2015 8:45 am

@TD, yeah, saw that one (not on facebook, though).

“their French counterparts from 11e brigade parachutiste prepare for a mission on Exercise Eagles Amarante.
The joint exercise is about improving the ability of the two brigades, which both serve as their armies’ rapid reaction forces, to operate together.”
– is that it, then?
– the early announcement was that both sides would contribute a bde-sized force (or was it: the combined force will be of bde size?)

Or should the above rather be read as : the two bdes contribute parachute force elements?

I think this just reiterates my point that the make up of what will be available has not been widely publicized.

mickp
mickp
October 1, 2015 9:18 am

@DN “TBH a revisit of the 98 SDR would probably not be a bad starting point for the next one.” Yes

Simon257
Simon257
October 1, 2015 10:03 am

Interesting post on the possible future MMA purchase. The full article is posted here on The Fifth Column. The article is locked at source.

http://www.w54.biz/showthread.php?768-Maritime-Patrol-Aircraft/page19

Frenchie
Frenchie
October 1, 2015 10:19 am

I do not know if that interests you but the 11th Parachute Brigade will go from 7,500 men to 9,000 men in 2016.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 1, 2015 11:10 am

@ Simon257, yes, there was a new angle (at least to me)

But significant concerns about P-8 remain. The first is its considerable cost; it is the most expensive solution available at this time. Some senior officers question the readiness of the aircraft’s overland surveillance capability, which is currently restricted to the electro-optical sensor capability, although a wide-area surveillance capability will be developed for use in the early 2020s. But it is unclear whether Britain would be able to access it”

Surely without such an assurance UK should not proceed? On the other hand, for the US JSTARS replacement Boeing was at one stage offering both the P8 derivative AND the same core mission systems on a Bombardier bizJet (sound familiar?). The move was in response to the operating costs of the larger airframe (in the first two years post 9/11 the JSTARS fleet averaged over 17 hrs/ day of flying).

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
October 1, 2015 11:16 am

i still have an unjustifiable attraction to the Selex/UltraElectronics/Bombardier proposal for a DASH Q400 based MPA…

Overseas
Overseas
October 1, 2015 6:34 pm

Funding for a tri-service UK-manned Death Star sitting in geo-syn over our ‘new’ responsibilities East of Suez. That way we don’t need the carriers, can out manpower and concentrate on automation.

It might give those of us not well suited to the sun some shade too.