Spot the Mistooks

The MoD has issued a glossy brochure that yet again, tries to hammer home the point that we are globally engaged, spend gazillions on defence and meet NATO 2% GDP and 20% on new equipment targets, unlike the other slackers in NATO.

This is of course, all to try and counter the perceptions that the Conservative party is responsible for allowing the UK to exit the world stage, left.

FireShot Capture 6 - UK defence in numbers - Publications -_ - https___www.gov.uk_government_stati

It starts with the following;

From our overall annual defence budget – the fifth largest in the world – to our global footprint and our £163 billion investment plan for equipment, it provides the key information on UK defence

Just in case you were going to possibly forget that we have a global footprint and the fifth largest defence budget in the world.

They are trying a bit too hard though and indulge in selective quoting, errors of omission and just plain errors.

Page 1 gives us a bag of money infrographic that says we spend 2.2% of GDP, despite it falling to 2% of GDP this year, and we all know the feint of hand and creative accounting used to get to that.

Page 5 shows the dark arts of the graphic designer at work, with the total service personnel using a subdued colour yet the total personnel count that includes civil servants, in bold. No side by side comparisons with today and 2020 either, let alone a comparison with 2010.

Page 7 is particularly amusing, not sure how they put this together, have a look for yourself.

FireShot Capture 7 - - https___www.gov.uk_government_uploads_system_uploads_attachment_data_file

Are we really counting FH70’s and Jet Provosts, would you classify a Gazelle as an Attack Helicopter and count Challenger 1 tanks and Wessex helicopters as part of the UK’s combat strength?

See how many you can spot?

H/T HMAF

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HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 13, 2015 2:13 pm

Are there really 4 Landing Assault ships? Only are they double counting?

GibMariner
GibMariner
October 13, 2015 2:25 pm

@ HMArmedForcesReview

I think they’re counting HMS Illustrious – using 2014-2015 figures as HMS Illustrious was still active for most of 2014 until decommissioned in August 2014. Doesn’t take into consideration HMS Albion’s status either.

Likewise counting 7 Trafalgars & Astutes – HMS Tireless decommissioned June 2014, HMS Artful still not commissioned = 4 Trafalgar & 2 Astute SSNs.

AndyC
October 13, 2015 2:32 pm

125 Tornados and only 108 Typhoons? Might have been true about 2012. More like 127 Typhoons now and 89 Tornados at the last published account!

jim30
jim30
October 13, 2015 2:38 pm

It could be that they’re listing as per CFE declarations, in order to prevent problems with the UK saying it has X equipment in one listing, then Y in another. The downside of arms control regimes is that they can make things which seem silly to us be a requirement.

617
617
October 13, 2015 2:55 pm

Supposedly according to that report there are only 39 Mastiffs and 3 Wolfbacks. I also want to point out that they didn’t mention any of the other vehicles on page 7 (Jackal, Husky, Panther, RWMIK and Snatch) they also didn’t mention Scimitar or Foxhound.

George
George
October 13, 2015 3:54 pm

Viking and Vigilant Gliders?? Seriously why are JPs counted? Ah – 6 at DSAE in Cosford, 1 at the Apprentice School at Boscombe Down perhaps? but as they are not flying examples they cannot be counted surely?
http://www.demobbed.org.uk/aircraft.php?type=635

What is the criteria for this? Surely active use or near-active reserve perhaps – anything else should not be counted.

Funnily enough they don’t count the Grob Tutors – probably because they are a private contract?

Mark1603
Mark1603
October 13, 2015 4:30 pm

No Trojan, Terrier or CRARRV. I also thought Titan numbers were 33. Sadly another great publication from someone who has done media studies, but has no idea about the military
Just makes them look stupid

A Different Gareth
A Different Gareth
October 13, 2015 6:20 pm

Armoured Combat Vehicle Look-alikes? Also to be joined by Royal Navy Ship Impersonators and Attack Helicopter Tribute Acts.

Repulse
October 13, 2015 7:07 pm

Page 9 is also interesting – I assume the 2 carriers are QE and PoW, which means HMS Ocean is definitely toast :(

Also the 24 “24 Offshore Patrol Vessels/Mine Hunters/Survey Vessels” suggest, the Batch 1 Rivers will be disposed off along with HMS Gleaner.

mickp
mickp
October 13, 2015 7:31 pm

Never mind all that what the heck are Saudi Arabia spending 80bn on? With no SSBNs (one hopes), that’s an awful lot of kit. Shame they don’t put it to good use and the western nations can back away and let the region sort its own problems

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective
October 13, 2015 7:34 pm

24 Offshore Patrol Vessels/Mine Hunters/Survey Vessels

So 15 minehunters (or 14 – isn’t one being decomissioned shortly?), 5 survey (inc. Gleaner), leaves another 4, so yes, It looks as if the 3 batch 1s may well go. Have I missed any? Possibly room for one more patrol if one of the Hunts goes and another if Gleaner goes. What about the Archers, though – they are usually counted in as part of the patrol strength?

Also – if we are spending 8.6 billion on surface ships over the next 10 years, how can T26 cost 11.4 bill over the same period? Are the carriers already paid for? 6 of the Hunts are 30 years old or more – we are going to have to start on replacements at some point.

stephen duckworth
October 13, 2015 7:55 pm

With all the other ‘mistooks’ you can’t rule out the have counted HMS Belfast and HMS Victory (still the flag ship of 1SL ) and with twice as many heavy guns as the rest of the fleet combined probably very impressive on paper to the poli’s :-)

617
617
October 13, 2015 7:58 pm
Reply to  Repulse

I think Ocean is included in the 4 “Landing Platform Helicopters/Docks” section. If so then Ocean might be safe for now at least.

stephen duckworth
October 13, 2015 8:17 pm

@mickp
“me they don’t put it to good use and the western nations can back away and let the region sort its own problems”
Call me an old cynic but Saudi is using Western forces to do its fighting. I cant be the only one to think its odd that the more trouble there is in the MENA region the lower the price of oil gets? Once all an Israeli solider had to do was shout across the wire at his Egyptian counterpart and oil would go through the roof. As the chief producer in OPEC methinks Saudi keeps the price down for two reasons ,1) to aid world recovery ( if we are all broke nobody at all is buying and .2) so we keep on doing their dirty work for them.
( P.S. I do understand something of the macro economics of the world oil situation ,falling Chinese demand , rising US output , Iran able to sell openly now etc but still something smells a bit.

Rocket Banana
October 13, 2015 8:45 pm

The “book” is a blend of past, present and future, picking the biggest numbers from each.

Just look at the export figures. Those dates were picked specifically.

PS: 4 x LPH/LPD is Ocean, Lusty, Albion and Bulwark. Lusty can still sail if required.

Frenchie
Frenchie
October 13, 2015 9:06 pm

@mickp

About France, on an initial order for 73 armoured vehicles 4×4 Aravis passed in 2011 by Saudi Arabia to Nexter Systems, it’s actually 264 units in question today.

24 Rafale to Egypt and a FREMM with their weapons systems to 5.2 billion euros financed by Saudi Arabia.

Last year, France has benefited from the contract Donas equipment (helicopters, anti-tank missiles, communication systems, armored and guns) of the Lebanese army … financed by Saudi Arabia to the tune of $ 3 billion.

In addition the two Mistral sold to Egypt have been financed by Saudi Arabia.

That’s a lot for a country that cut heads :(

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 14, 2015 6:33 am
Reply to  GibMariner

Oh well that figures. But the truth should be shown not ready-to-be-decommissioned stuff.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 14, 2015 6:34 am
Reply to  Repulse

An no replacement for the 2 older Forts?

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 14, 2015 6:35 am
Reply to  mickp

Saudi Arabia–money to the Kingdom first.

Obsvr
Obsvr
October 14, 2015 7:23 am

Five FH70, h’mmm. P&E establishments for ammo proving? And one at Larkhill to show what a towed 155mm looks like? I think there is one on display at Firepower, perhaps it still belongs to MoD, which invites the question as why all the other antiques at Firepower aren’t listed!

Hohum
Hohum
October 14, 2015 8:30 am

Some explanation of the $80 billion Saudi figure is required.

That number is not just defence spend, it is the gap between the total government expenditure figure the Saudis announce and all the things they say they spend that total government budget on (schools, health , infrastructure etc); it also covers a host of things in addition to defence, notably their entire security spend and probably some other opaque bits of spending. For some reason certain institutions (probably copying from each other) have decided its all defence, which its not.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 14, 2015 8:42 am

Only 12 AFV 432 81 mm?! Is that for real?

Brian Black
Brian Black
October 14, 2015 8:55 am

FH70 / L121 left TA service probably over ten years ago. The five guns referred to could indicate training examples, but as there are also apparently only five Viking vehicles remaining in service (and other suspect numbers), that five could just as easily refer to the five medium regiments that used to use it.

If they are counting gate guardians and display pieces, there must surely be a highly polished 25pdr or two outside every RA RHQ, and a Lance missile knocking about somewhere.

The compiler of this information seems to have used outdated reference books, probably very detailed and accurate in their day. I think Jet Provost went out of service as a trainer about a quarter of a century ago (not including airframes sacrificed to airframe repair training).

Those 45 Gazelles have surely long gone. The ten figure looksn more likely, and the surplus must have been flogged off by now.

a
a
October 14, 2015 8:55 am

“As the chief producer in OPEC methinks Saudi keeps the price down for two reasons ,1) to aid world recovery ( if we are all broke nobody at all is buying and .2) so we keep on doing their dirty work for them.
( P.S. I do understand something of the macro economics of the world oil situation ,falling Chinese demand , rising US output , Iran able to sell openly now etc but still something smells a bit.”

Actually, a lot of people in the market seem to think that the Saudis are doing it because they’re terrified of losing market dominance to fracking (and renewables) and so they’re dumping oil on to the market to drive the price down below the point where their rivals are profitable. Once all the fracking companies have gone bankrupt, they’ll turn the taps off again.

“I also want to point out that they didn’t mention any of the other vehicles on page 7 (Jackal, Husky, Panther, RWMIK and Snatch) they also didn’t mention Scimitar or Foxhound.”

Yes, I clocked that too. I suppose Snatch might have been omitted because it’s not armed (they haven’t included the MAN trucks and DROPS either) but Scimitar is a very weird one to leave out.

mickp
mickp
October 14, 2015 9:00 am

@Hohum, thanks. Otherwise they are either building a huge secret arsenal or getting ripped off massively by those selling them things.

My point still stands though that they have the resources to be a force of good in the region if they chose to use them to that effect. They won’t however.

stephen duckworth
October 14, 2015 9:03 am

@a
Indeed the big oil/gas producers must be very concerned about fracking as all of their major customers are sitting on half a century or mores worth of resources. Two generations without pertrochemicals income and the Saudis etc would be back where they were a century ago.

Hohum
Hohum
October 14, 2015 9:10 am

Saudi has multiple reasons for holding down the oil price, it punishes Russia, it punishes Iran, it temporarily kills much of the planned capital intensive investment in higher cost fields elsewhere (not just fracking but fields in the arctic and deep ocean) and slows investment in renewables in theory allowing Saudi to ride a subsequent oil price surge when demand next rises.

They are playing a dangerous game though, they have barely curtailed their own spending and its unclear how much control they actually have over the price.

Two generations would be more than enough, they would be stuffed after 25 years.

A Different Gareth
A Different Gareth
October 14, 2015 9:31 am

RE: Gazelle. Although the numbers don’t agree with that table, the Out of Service date is 2018 according to this £4.4m tender from a couple of years ago.

Gazelle Future Support

“The UK Army Gazelle AH1 Mk1 is a light multi-purpose helicopter, the effective fleet of 34 aircraft currently supports a forward fleet of 24 aircraft. As part of the Gazelle Capability Sustainment Programme, Gazelle Platform Through Life Support is required to ensure the continuity of best value, effective and appropriate support.

The current Gazelle Platform Through Life Support contract is due to expire on 31/12/13. A replacement for the Gazelle Platform Through Life Support contract is required to commence on 1/1/14 and continue until the Gazelle Out of Service Date (currently expected to be 31/3/18). “

Brian Black
Brian Black
October 14, 2015 9:36 am

Looking up the Wessex, it stopped being a ‘combat support’ helicopter over 15 years ago. The last ones in service were search and rescue in Cyprus until a few years ago.

The Army’s BN Defender is not on the list.

WW
WW
October 14, 2015 10:45 am

Worldwide military presence (deployed personnel + stationed) – Brunei : 150
I thought a whole batallion was in Brunei (2nd Bn The Royal Gurkha Rifles). 150 sounds more like a company. Where is the remainder of the batallion (or was in April 2015)? Afghanistan?

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
October 14, 2015 11:28 am

@DN are there two Cheiftain AVLB still in service?

Perhaps they are on loan to Museums the Tank Museum has one and IFIRC The RE Museum.

There is a lot of other stuff in museums – and if we include museum exhibits how about the Quick Firing 13 Ponder Gun paraded by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery? Missed a trick there.

Julian
Julian
October 14, 2015 11:58 am

I don’t get the timing of this. Summarising the current state of play is fine, inaccuracies and misrepresentations not withstanding, but listing 2020 strengths only weeks in advance of the SDSR seems odd. I’m hoping, maybe with an enormous amount of naive optimism, that the 2020 figures are to clearly restate the current working assumptions on 2020 force strength in order to set low expectations against which certain SDSR announcements can then be portrayed as significant uplifts.

Some things about the 2020 figures seem disturbing in light of some of the things we heard from people like Penny Mordaunt regarding the next SDSR addressing personnel issues. The document shows the navy going from total 33,220 in 2015 (30,060 exc reserves) to 32,100 in 2020 (29,000 exc reserves). Cutting personnel numbers seems an odd way to address a shortage of personnel and not at all in line with some of the rumours that have been flying around about SDSR 2015.

I really do hope that the 2020 stuff is deliberately lowering expectations before the 2015 SDSR makes improvements.

AKM
AKM
October 14, 2015 12:03 pm

Seems a bit odd to me to put the Sea King 7 in the same category as the Chinooks and Pumas rather than putting them in with Sentinel and Sentry, while leaving Sea King 4 as Billy-no-mates in its’ own category all by itself. Also where are the ASW/ASuW Merlins and Wildcats?

Finally if they’re going to count odds and sods like Challenger 1 and FH-70 why haven’t they added in the F-35Bs we own?

Julian
Julian
October 14, 2015 12:24 pm

I see on page 8 that “£163bn Planned Expenditure on Equipment and Support over the Next 10 Years” includes a total of £71.5 billion of individually itemised stuff. Is the “missing” £91.5 billion likely to be mostly Successor? I know that £20.8bn is listed for “all Submarines and Atomic Weapons Establishment” but that certainly doesn’t sound anything like enough to be covering Successor builds plus missile/warhead plus final payments for the 4 Astute class subs still under construction (5 probably since full payment on the Artful build probably isn’t due until after sea trials are concluded satisfactorily) and ongoing support on all that stuff.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 14, 2015 1:21 pm
Reply to  Think Defence

Maybe it’s JIAG or 77th Brigade playing a fool? :)

Martin Gibson
Martin Gibson
October 14, 2015 3:29 pm

Surely the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s aircraft are more air (and probably combat) worthy than any remaining Wessex helicopters and Jet Provosts? If instructional airframes are included, then doesn’t the RN still have a few non-flying Harriers for training of CV flight deck personnel?

Waylander
Waylander
October 14, 2015 5:55 pm

5 Vikings and 7 Warthogs?

More like 100 of each, the BvS10s are operated by the RMASG, and the Warthogs are being upgraded and transferred to the RA, where they will be used to support Watchkeeper UAV operations.

A few other errors/omissions:

1 x LPH (Illustrious) decommissioned
4 x Point-class RoRos not listed
1 x chartered tanker Mearsk Rapier not listed
12 x A330 Voyagers are in service/being converted
5 x A400Ms delivered
5 x BAE 125 being sold
2nd Airseeker delivered
24 x Puma are in service

Protected Mobility Vehicles:

30 x Cougar
450 x Mastiff
171 x Ridgback
125 x Wolfhound

Engineer Tom
October 14, 2015 6:44 pm

The points, Maersk Rapier and Airtankers won’t be counted as they are all leased/chartered and I think until Illustrious and the BAE’s are sold they will still be counted as they MOD property.

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 14, 2015 7:17 pm

Well there are rumours of contracts being padded to pay bribes/fees to members of the Saudi royal family (all 5000 of them). Of course, I have no idea if that is true.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 15, 2015 4:55 am
Reply to  WW

whoever wrote this counted only permanent based personnel. There are also FPDA personnel in Malaysia and Singapore, not on the list. Some Global Presence.

Wait, PJOB as well are missing

duker
duker
October 15, 2015 5:14 am
Reply to  WW

Its supposed to be more than even that:- from the MOD Army website
“The British Army in Brunei comprises an Infantry Battalion and a Bell 212 Helicopter Flight of the Army Air Corps.” Plus a jungle training team.
and a recent telegraph story about extending the agreement for another 5 years says there are “about 2000” personnel there.
Perhaps the number shown in report is missing a zero?

a
a
October 15, 2015 11:24 am

Well there are rumours of contracts being padded to pay bribes/fees to members of the Saudi royal family (all 5000 of them). Of course, I have no idea if that is true.

It’s so totally not true that the Saudis have openly threatened to permit terrorist attacks on the UK if we investigate how not-true it is, that’s how much. And you wouldn’t do something like that if it wasn’t absolutely not true.

Jed
Jed
October 16, 2015 3:23 pm

5th biggest budget, but not 5th biggest army, not 5th biggest navy, not 5th biggest airforce, not even the 5th biggest strategic nuclear deterent….. so where the frak does all the money actually go ? BAe & General Dynamics (Europe) shareholder dividends ??

Hohum
Hohum
October 16, 2015 5:55 pm

Jed,

Purchasing Power Parity. Chinese military personnel get paid significantly less than ours do, as do the workers in their factories. etc.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 18, 2015 11:53 am