Thoughts on Future Force Design

Based on the #SDSR18 series in which I defined a number of general conditions, risks and approaches this post is a few thoughts on a resultant force structure.

Part 1 – Breaking the Crisis Cycle

Part 2 – Risks

Part 3 – Alliances and Politics

Part 4 – Defending Europe

Part 5 – Middle East and Africa

To summarise…

The RAF needs to be able to deploy a force package of Typhoon, F-35B and support aircraft to Norway and sustain them there in order to provide air power in defence of the north. Deploy and sustain means the same in both well found and austere locations, and also force protection. The RAF Regiment will need cold weather capability (including mobility) and the Royal Artillery air defence units, the same. The Royal Engineers will need an enhanced air support capability that can both be air landed and parachute delivered.

It is proposed that expeditionary air logistics and support will be enhanced and expanded

The major war role for the UK’s amphibious force would be to prevent Russian Special Forces infiltration from the sea that would interdict the RAF’s deployed air power. 3CDO would therefore be reduced in size, lose many of the Army CSS /CS functions and concentrate on small craft, raiding and in support, the Royal Navy will need to be augmented to deliver an enhanced shallow water ASW and MCM capability. Outside of this, the same function will act in support of Special Forces, provide security for expeditionary theatre opening, littoral/maritime security and capability development in support of conflict reduction.

It is proposed that the Royal Marines and supporting elements will evolve to form a Littoral Security Group

In Eastern Europe, the British Army should provide a powerful and fully resourced armoured brigade as part of a multinational division, trading mass for capability, as a counter attack force based in southern Poland. In addition, the UK should contribute a range of divisional capabilities that might include rear area security, combat engineering and other support functions. In the Baltic States, the UK should concentrate on capability generation and unconventional means of providing a delaying capability that enables the counter attack force to reach the area.

It is proposed that the British Army combined arms armoured manoeuvre capability be reduced in size but enhanced in capability, essentially, trading size for punch and depth. This will be in the form of a single high readiness Armoured Brigade but with oversize supporting capabilities from a sufficiently sized pool of forces to enable the readiness cycle to be maintained.

In Africa, again, focus should be on local capability generation but in addition, a highly mobile light mechanised force and supporting enablers to engage with emerging threats in support of French, USA, and local forces across the ‘arc of instability’ is required.

It is proposed to generate a light to medium weight capability at Brigade strength that is capable of sustained operations in support of an enduring commitment over large distances

Other suggestions include increasing the size and capability of Special Forces and their supporting functions, creating a multi-agency stabilisation and defence capability generation group that comprises air, sea and land, re-role some of the British Army’s light role infantry into specialist urban operations group and creating a light cavalry air manoeuvre brigade that has no parachute capability.With an icreased focus on ASW operations in the North, a reduction of standing committments and a more modest approach to RN activity in the Gulf with Carrier Strike, we might also have a conversation about Type 31 and other planned RN capabilities.

The above is just a very short abbreviation, for more details read the linked posts above.

Each of these proposals will be outlined in future Journal articles so consider this a look forward, in addition to the Reference articles described in the previous post.

Fundamentally, this is a philosophy of doing a fewer number of things really well and breaking the crisis cycle by focusing on achievability and sustainability, or, doing less with less

Watch this space but have at it in the comments.

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December 30, 2017 10:08 pm

“unconventional means of providing a delaying capability that enables the counter attack force to reach the area”

I like the sound of this. I’ve had this image that light infantry is regarded as suitable mostly for stability operations but properly armed and trained they provide great capabilities at a bargain. In forested and urban areas defending/delaying light infantry can really cause a headache. In Finland most of the army is what is internationally called “light infantry” and it fits our geographic and light infantry would fit Baltics too. Brits ought to come and take a look at how it’s done.

December 31, 2017 10:58 am

Good thoughts on how to do more with less… by the sound of it. with MUCH less?

The New Year will show…

December 31, 2017 11:24 am

Any further thoughts on the readiness cycle (from a deep pool)?

By the sound of it, there would be two bdes (of different types, plus the aircavalry… I like that, why on earth did they (the Cousins) drop a good name:
I Love The Smell Of Napalm In The Morning – Apocalypse Now …
Video for apocalypse now smell of napalm
▶ 2:20
Apr 11, 2017 – Uploaded by Soapy Soap
This is the definitive version of Francis Ford Coppola’s stunning vision of the heart of darkness in all of us …)

Anyway, on the topic I am trying to raise: elements at the Regiment level being rotated through the Standing Bde (i.e. each of them)?
– or something else?
– just having 2+2 and doing rotation in that way would require reinventing the rotation and force generation cycle

December 31, 2017 12:31 pm

If we’re left with 2 AI, 2 Strike and 16th why not consider rotating battalion battlegroups instead of brigades. Suddenly we have 15 battalion to rotate and to top if off flexibility to decide what sort of battalion would be best for given situation.

December 31, 2017 12:59 pm

That TehFinn post is pretty much what I meant (had I missed it in texts, as the post first appeared in a different colour… as if it was a quote?).

Nevermind, let’s elaborate. 15? How do we get there? Are Art Rgmnts included as Bn equivalents (they would, part or parcel, be divvied up to support battle groups – some central reserve might be kept… once we get better guns, with better range!).

2 AI= (1+2)x2=6
2 Str= (2+2)x2=8
AirCavalry = 4 (as in 16X, at its peak, not counting the AH Rgmnts)
Arty= min. 5, if there is to be rotation

So, I get, as a basis for rotation (6+8)/2=7
Fielded (joke-joke!) artillery, at a time=2
Not rotating =4+1=5 (not counting either the Apache Rgmnts nor JHF transport helos)

So the rotation basis (need) is appr. 9
– but if we include AirCavalry (dedicated, not rotating), then 14 would be in that mentioned “ball park”
– of course the idea is to exceed expectations and hit the ball out of the park… hehh-he

Barbarossa Dave
Barbarossa Dave
December 31, 2017 3:33 pm

Taking your first paragraph, there are problems with the RAF’s capability to deploy as an expeditionary force. Although they have the force structures in place (the Expeditionary Wings) they simply haven’t got the manpower. The Baltic deployment has only happened by stripping aircrew, engineering and ops from multiple squadrons…. You get a short tour syndrome, which means RAF tours are short but they deploy more frequently (the Chinook sqns in Afghan, deployed for two months a go, but frequently returning, ultimately doing 18mnths in 3 yrs).

We need to get back to the idea of RAF sqns being self-contained deployable units, with sufficient resources to, a). not affect/ disable other units (as happens now- there is the absurd situation that deploying units often have to strip other units of needed men, equipment and MT- the non-deploying units then hire in equipment and MT to continue with their tasking, or are forced to restrict or delay their activities), and, b). to maintain availability even at austere basing.

It’s time the RAF had it’s own organic air support (yes, I’m advocating the return of the Airfield Construction Branch- sterling men who were very good at building an airfield from f**k-all). The RAF need its own organic ground air defence capability too. Maybe not Rapier, (after reading Jerry Pooks experiences as a Harrier pilot in the Falklands) but decent AAA. So yes, I’m advocating the return of the LAA Sqns of the RAF Regt. Frankly, I also think that charging around in WMIK’s is not going to cut it, either. The question then becomes what do you give the Rockies, and do you then give them an offensive role, i.e. a ‘Take & Hold’ capability (they already have a parachute capability), specifically for airfields? So, yes, I’m advocating the return of the Light Armoured Sqns of the RAF Regt.

If you do all of that, an RAF ‘Expeditionary Wing’ becomes a self-contained unit able to deploy within a reasonable notice period, able to create, maintain and defend an air-head, or airbase, even at an austere location.

We need to consider the air transport fleet in this, ‘Call me Dave’ talked about re-capitilising the AT fleet. I would argue this should mean more A400m Atlas. I would like to see the RAF with more C17s, but I can’t see that happening unless the USAF release some of theirs. Much as the Voyager is a sensible aircraft for normal trooping, it doesn’t work for surging without a cargo door. Although there is a QC variant, under the present crappy, PFI arrangement it is not feasible (not really good material for an airliner, see). So to give the army some vehicle flexibility, and the RAF some operational flexibility, it has to be Atlas.

We need as well to talk about CAS as well. Although increasing manpower, spares provisioning and engineering support would increase availability of the Typhoon fleet, there aren’t enough and frankly it isn’t the best aircraft out there for CAS. The same case can be argued for Tonka and F35. The question then becomes how do we supply the army with proper, on-demand Close Air Support. Much as I like the Apache, there aren’t enough, and frankly they should be embedded with Brigades for ops on the FEBA (Forward Edge of the Battle Area); they’re flying tanks and supporting advancing troops is their best utility, escorting Chinooks while very, very important just demonstrates that there aren’t enough aircraft. You could of course buy more for the RAF for the SH force, to operate alongside SH helicopters. However, What is needed is a proper COIN/ CAS aircraft, something like ‘Frogfoot’. You could of course buy a load of Hawk 200s or similar modern type, which would at least give you the option of having a few RAuxAF squadrons equipped with the type, as a reserve. I would also like to see the AC130 ‘Spooky’ in the RAF- the units that have benefitted from the support of USAF ones have raved about them.

Moving further on, I think the army should have an airmobile brigade, able to be deployed by air into the defended air head, and able to develop from there. It makes sense for the various parachute-capable units to be the core of this formation, albeit with an RTR as its armoured unit. Where I’ll probably differ from other posters, and it does hark back to something I said on this site a while back, is equipment- I would be looking at this formation being equipped with something like the Centauro and its variants, the key things being commonality, and the ability to be deployed by Atlas , Chris’s ideas, postulated on this site recently, of a modular vehicle system would be ideal- It would probably serve the RAF Regt. requirements well too.

Dump the whole concept of the medium brigade- make it a Rapid Intervention Brigade- or merge it into the Heavy Brigade to make it a Sustained Operations Division, with heavy elements like Challenger, Warrior, Ajax, AS-90 and MLRS
The medium component can have the same equipment as the airmobile Brigade.

I would view the Royal Marines as littoral ‘Take and Hold Brigade- I would operate them as a complete brigade, with organic air, enginering, fire support and armour. delegated to establishing, maintaining and defending a beach-head from which they can develop or allow the Sustained Operations division to develop.

The Air Cavalry concept didn’t work in Vietnam- and I can’t see it working now, it certainly failed in Somalia, despite some very brave actions by very brave men. Doesn’t matter what operations you’re carrying out, you need to take and hold ground:
‘In war, possession is 9/10s of the law, and Infantry the Bailiff’s men’.

The French tried the whole heavily armed patrols from a fixed base, and the US did the same, just in helicopters, and it didn’t work, it just turned into endless returns to the same areas, doing the same things, losing men every time to no gain.

In asymetric warfare, or low-level warfare, troops need to be on the ground to take and hold, hearts and minds, as well as territory.

In full blown warfare, troops need to be on the ground to deny the enemy use of the ground and manoeuvre.

December 31, 2017 4:29 pm

My take-away from Barbourossa was this:
“We need to get back to the idea of RAF sqns being self-contained deployable units, with sufficient resources to, a). not affect/ disable other units (as happens now- there is the absurd situation that deploying units often have to strip other units of needed men, equipment and MT- the non-deploying units then hire in equipment and MT to continue with their tasking, or are forced to restrict or delay their activities), and, b). to maintain availability even at austere basing.

It’s time the RAF had it’s own organic air support (yes, I’m advocating the return of the Airfield Construction Branch- sterling men who were very good at building an airfield from f**k-all). The RAF need its own organic ground air defence capability too.”

– it does not matter whether that is for a Wing or for A Sqdrn
– the problem is that everything is configured for the peace time
– have one Wing ready-to-go; augment the others from contarctors/ manufacturers, should it come to a war, not a mere inetervention

Errm. if the manufacturers can only deal with the wings… then we might have a problem.

Simon Costain
Simon Costain
December 31, 2017 4:49 pm

Does Norway want to be re-inforced by the UK?

January 1, 2018 4:28 pm

So, take the strongest amphibious capability in Europe, and in NATO outside of USN / USMC and bin it, even though it has the highest utility of dual use (HADR) – and reduce the RM to a raiding force even though they have decades of cold weather training / experience / “corporate knowledge” from their old role of, oh yes, reinforcing Norway; but then transfer that role to the RAF Regiment, who will have to mostly build the capability from scratch ??? I don’t understand your logic. Why not just use the RM for force protection of an expeditionary air wing if deployed to Norway ? If not fighting / deterring the red menace in the north, they can still be used elsewhere for other tasking as mentioned – like protecting the port opening capability you have mentioned.

Rocket Banana
January 2, 2018 2:30 pm

I think there is too much “you do this, we’ll do this” in the above plan.

You mention combined arms once. But if we really want a proper expeditionary capability on a limited budget we need a Panzer Division with organic air power. Not the Army+RAF. Float this Panzer Division around with organic air power and you get the RM+FAA supported by the RN and RFA.

I therefore believe the British Army and the Royal Air Force should be merged into a coherent force structure. Not the RM supporting an expeditionary air wing, but the British Army doing it. This leaves the RM to support and defend an F35B and Apache FOB sustained by the carriers and amphibs (happy for the latter to be Flo-Flo and Bay).

Simply put I don’t see a need for an RAF expeditionary air wing or the British Army if we focus our efforts in the Baltic and North/Norwegian seas. What we need is a proper carrier battle group and the ability to force carrier air power onto a land FOB with RAF surveillance and long-range strike operating from UK bases.

Barbarossa Dave
Barbarossa Dave
January 2, 2018 2:34 pm

@ ACC,

At the moment an Expeditionary Wing simply consists of a headquarters, an Operations, and force protection (i.e. an RAF Regt sqn)- and whatever bits of flying units that can be built from what we have to best fit the need.

I suppose what I’m proposing is that an expeditionary wing be able to deploy the above as well as a Airfield Construction Sqn (the name was a misnomer really, ACS’s could build an airfield, maintain it and repair it), and force protection being a AD Sqn and a LA Sqn, as well as flying units, all complete with their own support (engineering, ops and spares etc). Effectively an airfield in a (rather big) box.

There’s nothing wrong with the idea that you could maintain one or two units at 100% regular and the rest at 50% regular, augumented by reservists. Rotate personnel through the readiness units, to maintain effectiveness. Job done.

Basically, I’m just taking a lesson from history- 2TAF and the Desert Air Force in WW2 demonstrated that airpower is most effective when it’s able to act quickly and effectively- sqns were self-contained units, able to move with the front-line (and in some cases beyond!) The RAF could defend itself from ground and air threats without recourse to possibly overstretched army units, the RAF operated mobile supply columns that could actually supply while on the move (stuff was kept in the vehicles, every driver was a storekeeper and the vehicles travelled in a precise order, so everone knew which gharry the spark plugs for a Merlin were in, and where it was in the convoy).

Easier to achieve that than ever now, if the RAF can have more Puma’s or something Like a small twin-donk turboprop cargo ‘plane. An-30 would be my fave.

January 2, 2018 3:34 pm

Barborossa, the nail and the hammer…
“Effectively an airfield in a (rather big) box.

There’s nothing wrong with the idea that you could maintain one or two units at 100% regular and the rest at 50% regular, augumented by reservists. Rotate personnel through the readiness units, to maintain effectiveness. Job done.”

I been commenting about the US Bare Base concept and kit (was a while back… what on earth was the context?).
– anyway, they were aiming for 50-ish;when the first GW broke out, I think they could scrape together 1-3 sets (and of course training had been let to lapse, too).

The French had a good showing in Mali, by getting something that wasn’t fir for purpose (but did exist) up and running in no time at all. The troops jumped in and the Caterpillars were soon coming out of transport planes… whose? Curiously, the later stages are well photo-reported, but not this one.

I think the loggies though, esp. in exp. contexts, should be on a joint basis, but also train for extreme scenarios like mentioned :FOB “out of the box” and limited sea basing in its support.
– your ref to the past is valid, though. The RAF probably had as many armoured cars ion Egypt as the army had tanks
– inherited from policing Somalia and then Iraq, on the cheap, i.e. from the air? You still have to secure and supply the basis, and by then they were well into 2nd decade of practice.

TD probably has the stats: a fully functioning FOB was shipped South, but it was reduced to more of a petrol station by the massive loss of equipment
– still worked

January 2, 2018 8:38 pm

They were the RAF servicing commandos, would be relatively easy to form today if someone saw fit.

January 3, 2018 2:54 pm

What I’m about to propose it just speculation at the moment but could become reality in the future, one way or the other. What I’m talking about is Finlands role in Norwegian defence. Should Finlands airspace and especially airports become available to UK that would effectively rule out any russian amphibious attacks against the planes and ground personnel leaving ballistic missiles and limited special operations only threats. Smaller threat would also reduce amount of personnel needed to protect supporting and allows allocating more troops into combat.

Link below to map of airstrips or airports in FInland. Auxiliary landing strips on highways used by Finnish Airforce not included.

January 5, 2018 5:25 pm

@TehFinn, google translate could not make out if the map was just airstrips (or with airports included). Regardless, a lot
– but what can land and take off from an airstrip?
– crop dusters, for sure, but how much bigger a/c

January 6, 2018 8:57 am

It’s both. If you zoom in enough you’ll see is it airstrip or port. There are 24 civilian/military/multiuse airports in Finland and some ~50 smaller airstrips and emergency landing strips on highways.

Atleast F-18 and Gripen can take off from such places. In some places the highway airstrip are miles long so pretty much anything, maybe? This video should explain.

January 6, 2018 10:46 am

Nice link, at the very end there were the clear signs of “the rubber having hit the road”.

Sweden has put some money in their defence budget to restore that capability (including in the winter: ploughing etc,)
– we had the RAF Commandos, esp. in N. Africa and Burma, but of course as soon as the war (WW2) was over, so was the application of that idea
– came back with the Harriers with BAOR (briefly) and now mainly lives on with the AAC Apache Rgmnts

January 6, 2018 12:34 pm

NAO has put together a nice “drawing” that at least tangentially falls under our heading; of course only text carries over, but… let’s see:

Apr 2017
DG Nuclear
and Submarine
Delivery Agency
set up with the
Agency to achieve
full agency status no
later than April 2018

Summer 2017
Type 26 frigate
first ‘cut of steel’

, first
of class??? [as this is IOC Land],
expected to
be operational

Delegation of
budgets [i.e do you want to cut your overheads, or the yearly budget!]
to front-line

aircraft due to
arrive in UK
Dec 2019

Completion of
Germany Army
All of almost
100 army units to relocate,
reconfigure, disband or
re-role by 2020 [First Strike Bde stood up, too… brought fwrd to 2019?]
Dec 2020

HMS Queen
expected to be able
to operate
Dec 2020 [IOC fixed-wing later, see below]

Future events

Government commitment to having
one carrier and two squadrons of
Lightnings ready to deploy at the
same time

Armed forces fully implemented
joint force

Atomic Weapons Establishment
contract ends […what next???]

January 6, 2018 2:38 pm

How far South in Poland are you going to send British Armour? There are a lot of mountains on the Polish border with Slovakia. Not many places suitable for heavy armour, though the choke points would be good for ambush.

January 6, 2018 6:00 pm

While acknowledging the perils of a “very informed discourse” with myself, I would like to offer the following, fitting in v well with the dimensioning of our intended future contribution to any major build-up:

“Current divisional HQ organization is in some
aspects nearer to that of a Second World
War army than that of a division. This is not unique to the British

in 2004 the G1-
4 Branches of a US division are led by lieut
enant colonels, whereas they were led by
majors in 1945. In the Second World War a
head of arm or service (for example, the
engineer and maintenance commanders) was in
practice the CO of
a battalion-sized unit
of about 3-4 companies. Because the nomi
nal organization of divisions has become
considerably bigger, there ar
e now several such
units (typically discriminated between
‘close’ and ‘general support’),
with a colonel’s staff to coor
dinate them. That would be
entirely justified if such a division at fu
ll scale were ever de

However, only 2
Army brigades were deployed for both
Operations GRANBY and TELIC, and the
existing staff structure was adapted to fit.

On reflection:

If the Army expects that it will not ge
nerally send more than 2 brigades on
a large-scale operation, there might be sc
ope for rationalizing the command chain
and reducing rank representation.
It cannot be said that a unit comma
nder cannot also function as the arm or
service advisor to a divisional commander.
That practice was the norm during the
Second World War, because the mission of
the unit was identified as that of
supporting the division, as a Br
itish divisional HQ and
Signal Regiment still does
Similarly, the apparent complexity
of modern war should not be used to
justify increased rank representation. As
previously discussed, that apparent
complexity is at least in part a conseque
nce of the real complexity of HQs. Any
such argument is self-fulfilling.
The attachment of a third brigade (3 Commando
Brigade) in the case of Operation TELIC cannot be
taken to justify retaining those rank levels, since the internal rank structure of 3 Commando Brigade is
appreciably greater than that of
an Army Brigade”

Extracted from:

January 13, 2018 1:46 pm

Any ideas of reducing the role or size of the Royal Marines are quite simply dumb in my book. They are by far the most capable, deployable and credible unit we have at our disposal. Great Britain and her armed forces should always look to the sea for our wealth in peace and our salvation in war. History has always and will always prove this to be the case. Everything we do should be centred on the maritime environment. As such the British Army should be heavy weight Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force the heavy weight Fleet Air Arm.

January 14, 2018 9:03 am

Mike, just to point out, operationally, the Marines do not do much in the way of maritime security, or at least not the kind which keeps SLOCs open.

They’re more often than not VBSS teams, which can often be done with naval crews or smaller squads/fireteams. Their only other function is raiding or beachhead securing.

Not to say I approve of military cuts but I don’t think the Marines affect your SLOCs to the extent you think they do.

January 14, 2018 12:07 pm

Agree with the high readiness armoured brigade, though would see this as globally deployable also, via a suitable number of RFA ships.

The global high readiness low/medium brigade for me is exactly what the RM / 16AAB should remodelled into. Sure specialisms should remain for amphibious landing and parachute drops, but the primary focus should be helicopter lift, so should be as capable from the deck of a CVF/LPH/LPD/LSD as it would from an airfield.

I know I will not win many fans for this, but why not also drop the “enduring” bit from our expeditionary capability. It did us no good in Iraq / Afghanistan and often leads to politicians making promises their cheques cannot meet. Wouldn’t it be better to have clear exit strategies and capabilities (training, weapon stocks etc) to hand over and go home.

January 14, 2018 3:14 pm

Mike that’s about as sensible as sending repulse and prince of wales to show the Japanese what for.

Anyone still talking about global brigade deployments is still living in a pre sdsr2010 mind set let alone the one coming next. A Global deployment of a brigade with full supporting arms for a combat operation is simply no longer possible. Numbers of about 1000-1500 personnel total force more realistic for global deployment

January 14, 2018 11:57 pm

The key thing that is needed here is honesty about capability. no talk about divisional deployments, unless a direct national emergency. One high readiness fully supported armoured brigade at readiness to deploy on suitable notice, not globally – Europe, ME and Africa only. Not for enduring operations but for short deterrent / high intensity combat. That probably needs we should revert to the 2020 plan of three armoured brigades on rotation. MIV replaces Mastiff in these Brigades. If we have strike bridges they should be fully MIV based and self supported. The current concept makes little sense to me. Whether we have three to rotate readiness like the armoured brigades or for the time being just one to act as deployable medium support for the Paras and RM as the rapid reaction force will depend on resources. I suggest starting with one as an experiment. The rest of the army to be rationalised into protected mobility units for UK resilience, BOT protections, overseas engagement and other duties. Perhaps a focus on smaller battalion sized units with one on high readiness for air deployment stabilisation / security role

I think we will see a RN restructuring, particularly of the frigate force and a re-evaluation of T31. If we are focussing on CASD and carrier strike rather than single deployments, then T31 needs to fit in that otherwise it has no value. We need more ASW capability. That is the clear from strategic analysis. I hope we preserve 8 T26s but fear it will fall to 6. That only works if T31 has ASW focus

I think we will see F35 curtailed to no more than 3 operations squadrons to support primarily the active carrier.

January 15, 2018 10:22 am

I have always regarded this blog and it’s contributors as very anti Royal Navy so why not go all the way and advocate scrapping the RN & RM and it really is time you changed the name to think army and air force. Pathetic

January 15, 2018 1:16 pm


Think you might be attributing too much to your own bias, we got a fair few Navy blokes here who are fairly well respected, like NaB or APATS.

Most of the problem stems from the fact that some here have an unrealistic expectation of the effectiveness of the Navy or what the Navy really does day to day, like the comment on the Marines. They’re light combatants, not the USMC with MBTs and medium/heavy armour. The heaviest vehicles they have are BVs10s IIRC. Or BV206s.

January 15, 2018 7:43 pm

At its peak TD (discussions on the forum, even though it was a blog; not a forum) started to lean heavily towards RN ships – crayoning this and crayoning that into the proposed designs… and can we afford two, or may be, three.

Luckily none of that anymore (it is all going on @ the Heir Apparent forum… and that is a forum, so the bronco has been let out of the stables – with no one on the saddle
– never mind; why am I saying these things here, anyway?

Oh yes: Andy was making a statement

January 16, 2018 9:17 am

I am guilty of playing fantasy fleets for the RN (new cruisers, I’ll take two), but looking at the size of the UK national debt, makes me realise there is precious little cash for new shiny kit.
We need money not just for defence, but also the NHS, schools, social care, new dual carriageway building, new nuclear power stations, rebuilding our industrial base, etc.
All at a time when the global debt bomb will soon explode leading to lots of regional wars.
In the words of Ralph Richardson in the Battle of Britain movie “We are not ready. We have been playing for time … & its running out”.

January 18, 2018 4:24 pm

Yes the RM are nowhere near the USMC but equally 16AAB are also a “light” formation and light years away from the “screaming eagles”. Can you imagine the ass kicking i would get if I dared suggest the reduction of the paras and it”s support to a token force aka “littoral security group”.

January 18, 2018 10:50 pm

Well Andy it’s a proposal that’s been put fwd many time on here. In fact it’s been mentioned a number of times that parachuting is irrelevant on a modern battlefield for any force outside the special forces. Same could be said in general for all light forces.

Those immersed in the dark blue cool aid are usually the most resistant to any talk of change, and tend to come across as the hard done by crowd.

Rocket Banana
January 19, 2018 2:40 pm

Aster 30 consists of a booster and interceptor/warhead. They are owned, operated and commanded by the Royal Navy because they defend the navy’s area of responsibility.

Apache is owned, operated and commanded by the AAC because it supports troops in the domain in which the army operates (the ground).

F35B is just a booster to take Meteor/AMRAAM interceptor/warhead a bit futher. They are owned, operated and commanded by the Royal Air Force because the RAF lay claim to anything that flies.

Chinook is owned, operated and commanded by the RAF because, well… it supports troops on the ground and, er… flies.

January 19, 2018 7:45 pm

Well that anti-navy barb was probably aimed at the likes of me, but I stick by what I’ve always said: there’s absolutely no justification for more than three carriers.

When are the force reductions actually going to be announced – anyone know?

January 20, 2018 5:05 am

Not really, lots of people have pointed out airborne insertions and massed flights of transport aircraft flying into the teeth of AA is a thing of the past like Mark said. You probably just skimmed through and missed those.

These days, it’s more about heli-insertions and you don’t need as much intense training for those. It’s a lot safer too.

You were probably just too focused on the Navy and missed the parts calling for Army restructuring.

And just to revive an old topic by ACC on how heavy a fighter can be launched from roads, we did test out F-15s last year and they’re about as heavy as they come.

Clean pylons though, but at least it shows it can be done.

January 20, 2018 1:27 pm

@Obs, I was watching this for a good while (how a ski jump comes in handy also when breaking; learning to use all the lanes simultaneously), but only a close up on a plane told me that they were actually ruskies, not twin-tail Hornets!

January 21, 2018 5:10 am

hmmm…ACC think the link’s missing. lol.

February 14, 2018 5:03 pm

Is this a Government or thinkdefence proposal?

If it’s Government then they need an extra Armd Inf Bde & Strike Bde (minimum)

robots2005 AI32080
robots2005 AI32080
March 5, 2018 5:56 pm

I view the future of the navy as centered around a future Russian VTOL fighter. I am concerned about AI and robot threats over the horizon. A ship a little bigger than a frigate and smaller than a destroyer is about the smallest size it is safe to operate a VTOL fighter jet. China has a new battery powered cargo ship. I envision these ships carrying a VTOL fighter or two, patrolling an area in between dielectric polymer wave power stationary floating islands. The ships are recharged and continue patrolling for drones, hacked subs, attempted missile launches to GEO, seabed fibre-optic hacking, etc. The ships can power lasers, but the rail guns may need to stay at the wave power stations.