Friday, October 22, 2010

Towards a Maritime Doctrine, A Super Power on a Budget (RSDR)

 

The defence force advicated here is based on a defence review conducted in a previous post RDSR

 
Even with defence cuts the British military budget will still be on the order of $60 billion per year. That is a significant investment in any one’s eyes on behalf of the British public. Defence budgets are usually justified on a basis of defending the nation. It is possible to justify around a quarter of the United Kingdom’s defence budget on actually defending the United Kingdom mainland and Over Sea’s Territories.




The rest of the budget is devoted to support for allies and our diplomatic standing. It is worth the British peoples while to support armed forces that can project the countries Independent foreign policy.



Having a substantial army with a small navy means that we can only act as part of a coalition. Generally the coalition will be American lead and dominated. A substantial British Army presence in a US coalition amounts to a subsidy by the British tax payer for US foreign policy. We may hope to influence US foreign policy as a result of our contribution however even if we spend everything we have on the Army we will never amount to more than 20% of any US force. Historically this has proven an insufficient amount to gain any significant influence over US foreign policy.



A naval strategy centred on the second biggest blue water navy allows us to project force and act independently. While we will be unable to sustain occupation forces we will be able to strike hard and fast. We will be able to plant the only other banner other than the USA that the west can act around. This large naval strength will give us an enhanced diplomatic standing beyond that whic we enjoy today.



Every country in the world has an Army. Most have brown water navy’s. Arguably the USA is the only remaining true blue water navy. If we were to rebuild a true blue water navy then we would be one of two rather than one of 180.



While army’s fight wars navy’s win them. The reason that Britain and America have been undefeated in major conflict except with each other in the last 300 years was domination of the sea. The ability to purchase weapons, raw materials and even man power from abroad. Not to mention being able to maintain their domestic economies. With the increase in global trade the seas are more important today than ever. He who controls the sea controls the world.

China is likely to be the number two power of the early 21st century, Then number one power after 2050. If Britain went to war with China in a non nuclear exchange with a large army even with the use of friendly neighbouring bases we could not hope to win. China could build an army with more soldiers than the United Kingdom has people. No matter the quality of our forces the sheer over whelming numbers of China would win the day.



However China is predominantly a land power. We could build a navy that was bigger with far more advanced technology. We could maintain this position for at least fifty more years. If China went to war with Britain where Britain had a very large blue water navy capable of beating the Chinese navy then all we need to do is blockade the Indian Ocean for six months. The inability of China to import oil, minerals and most importantly food would cause the Chinese economy to collapse. If we are able to defeat the second most powerful country in the world then arguably we become the second most powerful country in the world in military terms.



Indeed this is the strategy we used to defeat Germany in World War I. While the British and French Army held the line it was mass starvation which eventually brought Germany to the table. Even though its army was much larger and arguable more capable than the British and French Army it mattered little. If it was unable to feed its people it could no longer fight.



Having a large navy allows us to veto the foreign policies of other large powers. For instance if the combination of the Chinese and British Navy’s was able to defeat the US Navy then we effectively gain an ability to veto US action. A large Army only gives us the ability to support US action, not discourage it.



Navies are very hard to build. The ships themselves take years, the technology decades and the training and ethos centauries to perfect. We maintain a force today comparable in technology to the US Navy. Something the RAF cannot claim against the US Air force which is perhaps 20 years ahead. For countries like India, China and Brazil even being able to match us in spending terms would still leave them with decades to catch up on technology .



Navy’s unlike army’s rely principally on machines to define their capability and strength. “How many ship’s in your navy” rather than how many sailors. Army’s rely principally on numbers of people “how many boots” rather than how many tanks. For a high income nation with very advanced technology a navy capitalises on our strength’s. A force which relies on number of people highlights our weakness.



Armies are also much quicker and easier to re generate. The British Army went from a professional force of around 100,000 men in 1935 to a force of over 1 million by 1940. Arguable these men were the equal of any army the Germans could field man for man. Other than the ASW frigates the navy we fought with for most of World War II was either built or ordered before the outbreak of war. If we reduce the Army and find ourselves in need of a large army in future we will be able to relatively quickly rebuild it. If we lose our Navy we will never be able to regenerate it.



We are an Island, that’s obvious however our island status is of little use in a world where jet aircraft can cross the channel in seconds. However we live in a continent where we consider every nation an ally. Even on the boarders of our continent we do not see any truly dangerous adversaries. In essence our continent is an Island. Any future threat we may face will have to come across the oceans. Having the ability to deny our enemy use of the sea insulates our continent from attack and hence keeps us safe. Navy’s can not only intercept threats on the other side of the world they can deter that aggression in the first place. What’s the point in China trying to invade Europe if it knows its troop ships will be sunk in the Ocean before they ever arrive? Better not to even try in the first place.

Maintaining a large navy where others do not have one allows us to keep a prominent place in the world. With the number two navy we could be certain of independently retaining our seat on the Security Council. Having the world’s 4th largest navy, 20th biggest Army and 7th biggest Air force gets us nothing. We could do these two force structures on the same budget.

What do we need and what can we afford

We will always need basic air defence for the UK mainland as well as Falklands and other overseas territories. We will need a sufficiently large reserve force of army personnel in the UK both as an ultimate guarantee of our security as well as to assist in civilian unrest and disasters. We will always require a small fleet of frigates and OPV’s to protect our EEZ and sea boarders. Everything else is essentially forces used to support our allies and project our influence abroad. As such these other forces are up for grabs in conducting a maritime doctrine.

Budget

We can expect to maintain a budget of £40 billion for defence over the longer term with real terms increase after 2015. This will represent around 2% of GDP. Of this budget around £10 billion is consumed by the ministry of defence and central bureaucracy. A budget of around £30 billion goes to the three armed forces themselves.

Army

At present the Army consumes almost half of the defence budget. These funds give the army the ability to deploy 9 brigades as well as Special Forces under 22nd Special Air Service Regiment and a brigade of Ghurkhas. In addition the Army has a Territorial reserve force of some 30,000 men.

At present the Army can deploy a division sized force for 6 months and sustain a reinforced brigade indefinitely in theatre. After SDSR this force will drop to a light brigade sized force. That will be 30,000 for 6 months then around 6,000 after that.

In a maritime focused strategy we will have to consider very draconian cuts. The ability to sustain a force the size of a brigade will not be required. We will need to be able to strike from the sea hard and fast. Follow up peace keeping forces will have to be provided by allies.

The regular Army force I will recommend will be three brigades. Able to deploy two brigades in a single Marine Army Expeditionary Force. These brigades will be enhanced with 3 armoured battalions as well as organic aviation capabilities. In a long running peace keeping mission this force will be able to maintain a single battalion sized battle group. Deploying in a brigade sized force we will be able to sustain an operational duration of no more than 18 months. In addition this force will be supplemented by a national guard built around 5 brigades. Unlike the present TA these forces will be deployable if needed in the form of an armoured division. The reserve force will constitute the bulk of the Army’s heavy weaponry. I will set a budget of £4 billion per year to cover this force.

Royal Air Force

The Royal Air force will be amalgamated with the Army. All we can justify for the Air force would be three squadrons of Typhoon fighters in the air defence version. Three squadrons with around 84 typhoons would provide sufficient cover for the UK as well as allowing for some deployments to over seas’ territories however these would be limited. Other Air force planes would be transferred to the Marine Expeditionary force such as A400M and C17 as well as helicopters. AWACS would be gone to be replaced with a navy E2 D aircraft. The Rivet Joint aircraft would be kept along with a handful of tankers. I will allocate a budget of £2 billion per year to cover this force.

Marines

The marines would go under an amalgamation with the Army to form a Marine Army Expeditionary Force.

Navy

The entire point of this exercise is not to create balanced force but a dramatically unbalanced force.

The Budget we can now spend on the Navy is approximately £24 billion per year. This is three time what we spend today. For this budget I would expect to be able to sustain a substantial blue water capability.

Carrier task force – Carriers are no longer the key to open ocean warfare. Submarines are far more capable. However carriers afford two main benefits. They offer substantial power projection capability especially in support of a Marine Expeditionary Force. They are also excellent platforms for visible demonstrations of power such as flag flying and gun boat diplomacy. However they are expensive when the cost of their escort’s and aircraft are taken into account. For that reason I will select to have Three Queen Elizabeth Carriers. That gives us the ability to permanently deploy one to the India Ocean while having at least one more in reserve. The Carrier strike force will be escorted by four Type 45 destroyers which will be enhanced with TLAM, Towed Array Sonar, SSM’s, CIWS, and ASW Merlin Helicopters. In addition a single Astute SSN will accompany the task force as well as a fast fleet tanker and a logistics ship.

Carrier Air Group- With the removal of the RAF’s expeditionary capability we will now need the fleet air arm to provide all of our required forward deployed air assets. Firstly the carrier air group will have four E2D Hawkeye AWACS aircraft to replace the current fleet of Mk7’s and E3D’s. In the fighter and strike role the carrier will deploy 24 F35 C Lightning II’s. The carrier will also have to deploy additional ISTAR and deep strike capability. This should be provided by twelve Sea Taranus UCAV’s In addition there will be four ASW Merlin’s onboard. The ship should also have a complement of four Greyhound C2 aircraft for COD.



Submarines – Submarines provide the Navy’s most powerful blue water capability for offence against an enemy navy. In fact modern SSN’s such as the Astute Class or Virginia class provide such a major capability it is unlikely that any surface platform would survive the onslaught of an advanced SSN force. While SSN’s cannot give us sea control they can give us a sea denial capability. Denying our enemy the use of the sea. For this reason I would opt to increase our SSN force to 32 boats from the present force of eight.



Amphibious Task Force – The Amphibious task force will now be required to land a division sized force on a beach. For that reason I will essentially double the force. This would see Two Juan Carlos style LHD’s Four Albion Class LPD’s and 8 Bay Class LSD’s.

In addition the Task force would be escorted by two Type 26 Combat Ship’s and Two Type 45 Destroyer.



Escorts-For diplomatic as well as security reason it will be necessary for the Navy to have a visible presence in every ocean. This presence will have to be from a powerful surface combatant. In the past we used cruisers to provide this. However today if built to the correct standards an Up Gunned Type 26 Combat Ship could be considered a cruiser. Essentially if built right it will be a general purpose destroyer. The vessel should be equipped with SAMPSON light Phased Array radar, Aster 15 SAM, TLAM and a 155mm main gun. Our ambition should be to have one of these vessels deployed in every significant body of water in the world. We would look to have one of these vessels deployed at all times in, The North and South Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf, Western India Ocean and South China Sea. To provide this patrol’s we will need twenty four T26 vessels.

In addition to the Type 26 we will need a smaller cheaper frigate able to deploy to many places and carry out a number of general roles. The Type 27 frigate vessel will supplement the T26 in ocean patrols. We would require a fleet of 20 of these vessels.



Minor War Vessels

Minor War Vessels-To maximise our visibility in World Ocean’s we would require a large number of vessel’s able to conduct counter piracy, disaster relief, EEZ patrol and Mine Counter Measures. These vessels would be cheap, versatile auxiliaries with little armament beyond a main gun and flex modules. However they should be fitted with at least CAMMS for AAW protection. The C3 vessel would fit this role. We should expect to maintain 64 of these vessels. Four of these vessels should also be equipped with an Ice Breaking hull to replace HMS endurance and provide the ability to deploy a force into an Arctic or Antarctic Environment.

Logistics-Logistics ships would be vital for such a globally deployed Navy. We would require a fleet of two repair ships, two medical ships, twelve logistics ship’s, six fast fleet tankers, six smaller fleet tankers and six support tankers. We would also maintain a heavy sea lift capability with 6 Point Class RoRo’s.

The fleet Size would now be:

3 * CVF

32* SSN

2 * LHD

4* LPD

8* LSD

14* Type 45 destroyer

24* Type 26 Combat Ship (C1)

20* Type 27 Frigate (C2)

64* Minor War Vessel (C3)

2* Repair Ship

2* Medical Ship

12* Logistic ship

6* Fast Fleet Tanker

6* Small Fleet Tanker

6* Support Tanker

6* Point Class RoRo



Budget

To achieve this force we would allocate an annual budget as follows

Aircraft Carrier’s £523 million

Frigates and Destroyers £4,146 million

Minor War Vessels £1,155 million

Amphibious Ship’s £706 million

Strategic Sea Lift £33 million

Fleet Support £932 million

Survey £259 million

Naval Aircraft £5,241 million

Submarines £10,092 million

Total £23,087 million



Comparison with other Great Powers



The table above gives a comparison of the new enlarged Royal Navy with other world Navy’s. Numbers alone cannot compare a navy’s capability. The US Navy and Royal Navy operate a large force of SSN’s while most of the rest operate just a handful of old SSN’s and SSK’s. It is the same with other platforms such as amphibious vessels and destroyers where the RN and USN have much larger more capable vessels.

However this enlarged Royal Navy would have around 40% of the combat power of the US Navy. It would likely be able to defeat the Navies of India, Russia and China Combined singled handed. As the US Navy is forced to deploy most of its combat power in the Pacific to protect its western coast the Royal Navy could easily outnumber the US navy in the Indian ocean which is likely to be the most important Ocean of the 21st century. I would argue that a Royal Navy of this size and capability would define us as a narrow spectrum super power as opposed to great power. Indeed this is not dissimilar to our position in the 19th and early 20th century at the height of Empire.

17 comments:

  1. I love your thinking, its a sensible considered military and political answer.

    I was RAF in my youth but your answer is the most sensible answer for the NATION.

    Wish the politicos gave it this much independant thought.

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  2. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for you comments. As I see it we have only two options. Concentrate our power on one service or scrap them all and have a small defence force. Our politico's have lost what made us a great nation in the first place. The ability to look deep into the future and play what we use to call the great game. I think I have shown that money is not the problem it's purely a lack of vision and leadership. China and even America are not gazing at 2015 but 2050 and beyond. What they see in 2050 is a very much more unstable world than we have today. It will take us a generation to be ready for this challenge and we must start planning today.

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  3. Again spot on its just a shame its not going to happen, the Tories have never been a friend of the services despite all the pretense to the contrary.

    A fully equipped RAF for air defense and the rest in the hands of confident aggressive RN & Army MANAGERS would really develop the abilities of our forces.

    Heavily reduce the brass and admin elements in line with sensible management needs and see how we go then...

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  4. Hi Paul, You are right about the Tories record. I don't know why they have ever got an image as pro defence. It was Thatchers cuts that were to get rid of Hermes, Intrepid and the rest of the amphib fleet. She was even going to sell Invincible to the Aussie's. Any one in the RAF can remember front line first. What a cock up that was. Keep all the cold war relics and scrap all the logistics. Now the farce of SDSR which personally I think is the worst. Atleast the other cust programs attempted to justify the cuts with some form of strategy.

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  5. Shame about Nimrod, it would be needed for your expanded submarine force I would have thought, ingress / egress protection from Faslane.

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  6. logistics was a UK services specialty across the board now we cannot do a thing ourselves its a crying shame, capabilities we had barely 10 years ago gone never to return, we finally have a superb amphib capability now and they tie up a bay and an Albion its madness

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  7. Yeah I should have put Nimrod in actually but I forgot about the need for Trident ingress/egress.

    Maybe I should apply for a job at the MOD or Number 10. With an omission like that I am definitely qualified

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  8. Martin

    I am broadly with your strategy, but I would argue about the details.

    Yes we could live with a much smaller regular army, with some slight enlargement of the TA. So I won't quibble about any of that.

    However the "merge RM with Army" is a frankly ridiculous comment. What good would that do for a maritime based, "strategic raiding" conops ? You can't train all of your smaller army to the high standard of RM, but you don't need to. Even if Army forms the bulk of amphibious brigades, along the lines of a USMC orbat, not everyone needs to be a "Commando" - they have a specific role, and are highly trained to carry it out. A small increase to 4 x Commando's would mean there would always be one to undertake initial insertion by Hovercraft / CB90 / Helo etc as required.

    RAF would need 200 Typhoon to take care of training, UK air defence and have two squadrons available for deployments - this is still a much smaller single type fleet. Equipped with RAPTOR, StormShadow etc it would provide a useful capability. I would also invest in the Nimrod MR4 fleet - the sunk costs are already done and dusted - the original 21 of these aircraft could do highly valuable Maritime patrol, ASW, overland ISTAR, SigInt etc.

    3 Carriers - grand idea, and yes we could probably afford them if we based the air groups on the far, far cheaper F18E Super Hornet.

    I think we really could do all this with no increase in budget. However as for your massive increase in SSN, and amphib shipping, I would guess that is pure "fantasy fleet" as I don't see how we could afford all that on the current budget. Mind you, if we could afford it, it would be great :-)

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  9. The force structure I have recommended is fully costed and affordable inside today's reduced budget. My Idea of getting rid of the Marines was because the Marines would be taking over the Army entirely. Very much the same as the US Marine Corps. While If you look at the size of professional army I have proposed it's Basically 3 Commando, 16 AAB and 1 other. I feel confident that we can from the rest of the Army raise 1 more brigade with the capability of 3 Commando.

    I do agree that the MRA4 should be in that was an omission on my part. This aircraft is far to useful to get rid of. As for Typhoon the RAF is only going to get 160 and is expected to be able to deploy 2 squadrons. In my force structure Typhoon will not be a deploy-able asset. The number would allow for two active squadrons in the UK for Air Defence as well as sending 4 to the Falklands and 4 to Diego Garcia. That would be everything. The Uk's amphib fleet costs pennies to build and run. Its essentially a small group of cargo ships. Doubling its size is not difficult. The SSN's are expensive however my main aim with 32 was being able to go toe to toe with any one in open ocean including the USN who will soon come down to 40 attack boats. Not that we ever would fight the USN but if we want to rate ourselves as a narrow spectrum super power then that is the bench mark we need to set.

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  10. Thats some Fleet!

    Comments follow
    "Indeed this is the strategy we used to defeat Germany in World War I. While the British and French Army held the line it was mass starvation which eventually brought Germany to the table."
    Had a German Scientist not figured out how to make nitrates for explosives on the cheap, the war really would have been over by christmas as they ran out ammunition.

    "Having a large navy allows us to veto the foreign policies of other large powers. For instance if the combination of the Chinese and British Navy’s was able to defeat the US Navy then we effectively gain an ability to veto US action"
    I think we're a long way away from that yet.
    The US is still at the point where it can win a war against the entire world.
    The UK aimed for 8:5:3 before the first world war and achieved 5:5:3 after it.
    The US has ratios more like 10:3:1 at the moment.

    Carrier comments
    "In addition there will be four ASW Merlin’s onboard."
    Thats a waste of extremely limited carrier space. Buy somerthing like a bay and call it a Carrier Escort ASW.
    Theres simply no reason to put anything on a carrier that can go on another ship

    Submarines
    "For this reason I would opt to increase our SSN force to 32 boats from the present force of eight."
    Marry me!
    In all seriousness, I think maybe 32 is a little bit excessive, although it depends on the specific vessel(s) I suppose.

    ATF
    See, I dont see how this lands a division.
    A "Big" assault ship still struggles to carry more than 1000 men and equipment.
    The Albions are more like 350 and the Bays 500-600. Thats around 8000 men, less if you want Heavy equipment and stores for a shooting war.
    First Armoured in Iraq was 45,000 men with several hundred heavy tanks.
    We can still land a reinforced Mechanised Brigade, probably enough to call it two mechanised Brigades with cross spectrum capability.
    Its still "good". In open country the fleet fire support and our technology advantage would enable it to beat the stuffing out of any army its likely to fight, but its not going to be seizing enemy capital cities.
    However, the Bays are so cheap and multipurpose, we could have 16 of them and still be finding uses.

    Cruisers and Escorts
    I always viewed a modern "Cruiser" as an all purpose warship. A one ship fleet.
    A ship carrying the Towed Array Sonar of the T23, the T45 Radar, a cruise missile battery and hanger space for a couple of Lynx/Apache/Merlin would easily fit the bill.

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  11. Hi Raging Tory,
    You are correct about the present US NAvy. However much of the funds of the US navy are pissed up the wall on its 10 CArriers which are extrodinarily expensive and of limited use in modern blue water combat. My idea with massivley increased SSN numbers was to give us the ability to confront the US navy in open ocea. This is what the Russians seeked to do with their fleet in the cold war. Arguable if they had better technoligy they might have succeded. After cuts I think the US Navy will end up with just 40 Virginia's. A force of 32 Astutes should be able to match this.

    As for 1 UK armourded you are right about the number of 45,000 but I belive this included 3 CAmmando as well. What a Division is is open to interpretation. 1 Uk amroured is actually a dvisional HQ that can be deployed rather than a formation in its own right. MY idea was essentially to deploy 2 Cammando Brigades under a divisional HQ that others can supplement.

    As for the Merlins, In some way this is over kill however we need helo's onboard for pilot rescue. We could gow with somehting cheaper however like Wildcat.

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  12. Hi Martin
    Without a GIUKF Gap to traverse, we wouldnt face most of the problems the USSR did, and 32 astutes should scare anyone, still lets avoid picking fights with people bigger than us, Japan was looking to be in good shape after sinking the US Pacific Fleet in Harbour...

    Fair Point about the Ground forces, and we both seem to have reached about the same number, which is always good.

    I think you misunderstood my point about the Merlins.
    The Carrier Fleet could use them, and should have them, but they dont need to be on the actual Carrier.
    Carriers are expensive, we dont have many. If it doesnt have to be on a Carrier, it absolutly should not be on a Carrier.
    The ATF has 64 Merlin landing platforms, the escorts have another 1 per ship and most of logistics ships can probably carry one at a pinch.
    Only the Carrier can operate the Fast Jets.

    As always, awesome article.

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  13. I aagree about the US, America will always be our ally. I take your point about the Merlins. To be honnest I have no idea about the use of Helo's for rescue missions covering pilots landing and taking off. I only know the US uses this system. Would the escorts always be close enough to rescue a downed pilot? I any one knows the answer plase let me know.

    Thanks for the comments guys. Getting a wide oppinion always helps to better understand the flaws in the strategy.

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  14. This article makes so much sense that it makes me angry that the MOD is not doing it.

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  15. Hey Martin, interesting line up of selected forces you would like to see fit in our future role in the world of tomorrow.
    Some things are questionable though, yet most I agree with totally and thought I would add my own assumptions.
    For a start, the £12 + billion we give to other countries every year such as India, Pakistan should be stopped.
    In a few years India will have overtaken us as an economic & some respects a military power.
    The defence budget should be increased to 3% of GDP to reflect global instabilities.
    The US for example spends 4.7% of it's GDP on it's armed forces (As per percentage of GDP, yet is till only 11t)

    We should also cut MOD civilian staff by around 18%, there as end of 2010 more MOD civilians in work than full time regular soldiers, this is not acceptable.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have drained the budget over the last decade by many billions of tax payers money, still dos so even now.

    Savings from abroad foreign aid, cutting MOD un-needed staff and realigning our budget after getting out of Afghanistan could potentially increase the budget even high as 3.7% (approx £60 Billion per year, with steady increases in line with GDP)

    First of, most importantly - British Army
    I think reducing the size would be more beneficial, keeping 1st armoured division and create a 2nd armoured division. Which can be created with our current armoured units all ready in service. Therefore not effecting manpower or resources, yet increasing Britain's armoured raw power on the ground which can be deployed at any time.

    The other four divisions can be reduced down to 1 HQ divisional with man power strength of 1 full strength brigade for regeneration in time of major war.
    Also, if need be, can be sent in to low intensity operations as a reinforced battle group with major air lift/support ability.
    The above formations with other units including the Special forces, Royal engineers, Royal signlas and Royal artillery would amount to around 46,000 full time personal, with also a small increase in regular reserves to 40,000.

    As researched for 2008, the 40,000 TA personal per year for allocated funds cost only £800m per year. To keep more men still actively ready for major operations or to replace losses for one of the divisions in other operations, I would propose increasing the TA strength to around 100,000.
    This large increase in man power would in fact make the army lager than at current levels, but at a small fraction of the cost, while keeping a large reserve of army personal if needed. Also, getting more currently unemployed people training in skills that can benefit them in civilian life. (No this is not national service. haha)

    As for the AAC - cutting helicopter numbers to 60 Westland Apaches and 24 Wild cats as trainers or possible attack aircrat would save Billions in costs and man power.

    The RAF -
    Britain needs a powerful but streamlined airforce. I think being equipped with 200 second,final & block Typhoons would be enough for home defence, support of expeditionary ground forces and other operations.
    Keeping the 6 current AWACS is vital for air supremacy.
    Also, cutting down the mixed Nimrod air fleet to the 12 MR4A new versions would be enough, again saving money while having more advanced assets.

    After cutting down transports and all eventually being replaced with a maxinum of 32 A400m airbus's and 6 C-17's would save billions.
    Also, cutting pointless training aircraft such as the Vigilants, Tutors and helicopters such as the Squirrels, Eurocopter which won't effect training or combat abilities.

    Also, as a final compliment for the RAF's strike/recon ability, another 48 RQ-9 UCAV's with supporting systems would be bought at a cost of around £500 million. For a total of 60 in the fleet.

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  16. Continued -------------

    The Royal navy -
    I think 4 CVF carriers with 42 f-35'cs and 4 EC-2 hawkeye's would form a very powerful strike force for the Navy, this would mean at least two could always be on patrol ready to meet any threats.

    A force of 16 Type - 45 destroyers with 8 Harpoon anti ship missiles would give a large pool to defend the CVF's.

    32 Type 26 frigates with submarines hunting equipment, very good sonar, Aster 15, small amount of Aster 30 missles and 16 harpoon missles would form the backbone of the Royal navy around the world.
    Costing approx £320m each with no reduced effectiveness (Taking into account large orders there by reducing costs)

    I think 8 Type 27 frigates should be larger, lengthened versions of the Type 45 destroyer - say length of 162, same beam, extra 2m draught. With more Sylver launchers with 32 Aster 30's, 32 Aster 15's, 8 of the US navy AIM - 161 BMD missles, costing around £6m each, but with a range of over 500km that can hit ICBM's and satalites.
    Also, with 16 harpoons, some form of torpedo system, 8 Tomahawks cruise missles and two Merlins each would make these Frigates become more in line with cruisers.
    Making them very powerful indeed.
    But would end up costing nearly %30 more than each Type 45 destroyer.
    But would be a far more capable ship.

    A fleet of 24 Astute SSN's would be cost effective and would be funded fully.

    An extra Ocean class LPH.

    An extra repair ship.

    An extra Medical ship.

    An extra 3 medium fleet replenishment ships.

    An extra 3 small/fast fleet tanker ships.

    The extra supply ships, refuel ships would help keep the RN able to move when it wants with available supplies at hand.


    The Fleet Air Arm -

    Increase the number of Merlin ASW and ASW Lynx wild cat helicopters by 24 each for ships.

    A combined large buy of 250 F-35C Joint strike fighters would be for the carriers and to mix with RAF units if need be.
    This purchase would be around £13 billion a lone, but the ability to penetrate an enemy's air space without being seen except by the most advanced systems is needed.

    One more thing, I think giving the RAF only 80 plus fast jets would be very dangerous, only around 35-50 would be available to defend the UK and other assets abroad at any given time, even then it would be strained.

    One way of dealing with this is building a powerful, layered ballistic missile defence system such as Russia.
    That coupled with the amazing Typhoon and stealthy F-35 would deter anyone, even the US.

    These purchases/changes would be over the course of 5/6 years, with a small enough surplus every year to put away and safe for any over budget rises and or to help sustain conflicts without having to delve into the MOD's forces resources.

    Well, hope I have sparked off some ideas.
    One note, the F-35 is fast becoming outdated before even entering service and becoming very pricey.
    Maybe we should get out of the project and try navalise the Typhoon?

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  17. "Well, hope I have sparked off some ideas.
    One note, the F-35 is fast becoming outdated before even entering service and becoming very pricey.
    Maybe we should get out of the project and try navalise the Typhoon? "

    Um what? The F35 is leauges above the Typhoon in capability preformance. It's got an equal payload but far more advanced avionics and electronics suite. It's also far more stealthy.

    That and the F35C has had very few problems, it is the F35B that is the problem. Given that we are buying the F35C I don't see what the problem is.

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