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Thread: UK Drawdown?

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  1. #1
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    09 Aug 03

    UK Drawdown?

    Nothing really new here as its been speculated on before but it will be interesting to see the fall-out from this most recent of news stories.:

    £3.8bn carriers contract on hold until after pollsIAN BRUCE, Defence Correspondent April 17 2007
    Comment | Read Comments (5)The Ministry of Defence will confirm the £3.8bn contract for two new aircraft carriers after the Scottish elections, according to Whitehall sources.

    An announcement has been delayed by hard bargaining between the UK yards sharing the work and Lord Drayson, Procurement Minister, and the need to avoid accusations of using the promise of jobs to influence voters ahead of the May 3 polls.

    But the Royal Navy will then face the mothballing of two Type 42 destroyers and four Type 22 frigates to help save a £250m overrun in fuel, maintenance and other costs.

    The cutback, which includes HMS Cornwall, the warship whose crew members were taken hostage by Iran's Revolutionary Guard forces, could also mean scrapping one or even two major global naval commitments.

    Insiders say the tasks under threat are the Falklands guard ship, whose removal would leave the islands vulnerable for the first time since the 1982 war with Argentina, and possibly the Indian Ocean anti-drugs patrol.

    Axing or reducing the South Atlantic cover would be particularly embarrassing at a time when the UK is preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the recapture of the islands and Argentina has lodged new claims over their sovereignty.

    The reductions would leave the Navy with just 19 destroyers and frigates until the six Type 45 air defence destroyers on order from BAe's Clyde yards enter service between 2009 and 2013.

    The current 25-strong surface escort fleet has already reduced patrols in the Caribbean and North Atlantic because of shortage of numbers and cut its two-ship presence in the Indian Ocean by half.

    The First Sea Lord, Admiral Jonathon Band, warned in February that he needed a further £1bn a year simply to keep the existing warships operational and to improve pay and living conditions for sailors under his command.

    A senior naval source said yesterday: "The RN had 98 ships in service in 1997. A decade on,we have 75. Only 25 of those are escort vessels and many of the others are supply and support ships, inshore and offshore patrol craft and survey vessels.

    "The carrier Invincible is effectively out of the picture at low readiness', although she remains on strength. It would take a minimum 18 months to make her seaworthy. Five other ships are at extended readiness'. It would take more than 180 days to make them operational."

    A review is also under way to slash costs at the UK's three naval bases. It cost £183m to operate the Clyde submarine base at Faslane last year, £185m for Devonport and £151m for Portsmouth, which is seen as the most vulnerable.

  2. #2
    Contributor Stan's Avatar
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    11 Jul 06
    this is getting silly now.

    really wish we could have a general election now and get the conservatives in and get the navy sorted

  3. #3
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    You guys need to straighten these people out. Is Britain supposed to suffer some kind of attack over the Faulklands before these people understand that the RN is in dire need of a revamping? Sheesh your forefathers rulled the oceans and gained countless territory in the name of the King/Queen. They are surely rolling over in their graves at the thought of desk bound land lubbers making a complete shambles of the RN and reducing them to a mere pitance of what they once were.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

  4. #4
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    Alexandria and Everett and various other locations.
    The British Government has decided that France is going to be the dominate EU Naval power in the new Socialist Europe. This makes the Royal Navy redundant and unnecessary. Also, eliminating the Royal Navy would go a long way in eliminating National Pride and Nationalism in the UK, which is the precusar to forming a single Socialist European Nation. First break down national currency, national identity, national pride and nationalism and than no one will care about national sovereignty anymore. Since the days of defeat of the Spanish Armada in the English Channel, England, Great Britain than the UK has always been identified as a Naval Power, which is precisely why the UK Labour (Socialist) Government wants to eliminate the Royal Navy.

  5. #5
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    25 Apr 06
    Quote Originally Posted by JMH View Post
    The British Government has decided that France is going to be the dominate EU Naval power in the new Socialist Europe. This makes the Royal Navy redundant and unnecessary. Also, eliminating the Royal Navy would go a long way in eliminating National Pride and Nationalism in the UK, which is the precusar to forming a single Socialist European Nation. First break down national currency, national identity, national pride and nationalism and than no one will care about national sovereignty anymore. Since the days of defeat of the Spanish Armada in the English Channel, England, Great Britain than the UK has always been identified as a Naval Power, which is precisely why the UK Labour (Socialist) Government wants to eliminate the Royal Navy.
    lordy, you do keep beating this drum, but you have absolutely no real insight into the reasons for the drawdown. Probably said all this before, but here goes...

    1) Procurement pileups By sheer incompetence (rather than malice) and happenstance, the MoD managed to have a number of massive procurement projects all due at mature roughly the same time. For eg, Typhoon, T45, Astute, Meteor, CVF. FRES, Bowman, FSTA etc. This was hugely unaffordably expensive.
    2) Cold War The Cold War ended just as the production of the T23 ASW frigates was about to commence. These cheap, effective, single-purpose vessels continued to be built. The Tory govt (in Options for Change) kept producing the T23's, when there was no real need for them. Quite simply, as good as they are, they are too small to be truly multi-role combatants. T22B3 (Cornwall et al) are better in that role but not truly suited to the jobs that they do.
    3) Afghanistan/Iraq Due to GB's penny-pinching, much of the cost of the war in Iraq has been sourced of O&M budgets. The service least involved in these conflicts (and therefore most vulnerable) - the RN.
    4) Procurement Cost Overruns Typhoon. And T45. Bad decision making that crosses both Labour and Tory governments.
    5) Apathy Britain could spend billions on defence with ease. The general public do not want to (much as I might disagree). Rightly or wrongly, they want the money spent on Health, Education etc. No political party is advocating massive rises in the defense budget.

    While I hate seeing the drawdown of the RN - in a twisted way it makes sense in the short-term, especially if it allows CVF to be built.

    In the longer-term, we need smaller OPV vessels capable of littoral ops to make up the numbers in the fleet - T42's (or T45's) conducting WHIGs ops is a nonsense. There is simply no need for bleeding-edge, state of the art in many of the RN's most common roles. The RN needs to be designed around 2 CSGs and 1 ESG (to use US parlance). It needs to have sufficient, high-level escorts for that role (T45 and Sonar 2087 equiped T23's for the forseeable future) plus SSNs. The RN needs the MARS program (replenishment ships) to be completed.

    It doesnt really need as opposed to would like 25 top-line escort vessels - the threats do not exist currently at that level. The "cheaper" OPVs need to be modular, and large enough to be upgraded should threat levels change.

    If we can see a realistic RN restructuring on these lines, then perhaps the pain will be worth it.

    Of course, I would like to see 3 CATOBAR CVFs, 12 Darings, 20 FSC, 30 Global Corvettes, 12 Astutes etc... and if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. We must be realistic in our expectations - while not excusing Labour incompetence and indifference to the RN.
    Nemo Me Impune Lacessit - Scottish Motto

    "They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion” Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan

  6. #6
    Contributor Stan's Avatar
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    11 Jul 06
    i cant put anything down that would match pubfather so i will just shut up and let him take you out jmh

  7. #7
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    09 Aug 03
    I wrote a small piece dealing with RN commiitments, operational considerations and assets almost two years ago now. It is somehat dated now of course and Im sure some will find flaws in it. Nonetheless it may be useful as a starting point for discussion.

    Navy Matters | RN Commitments and Operations

    In particular the recent news that two Leaf class oilers that were to remain in service until 2009 and 2010 will go away this year and one AOR placed in extended readiness.

    I find this more troubling than surface combatant draw-downs.

    Its interesting to note that a drop to to as few as 16 ships was considered. The thought being that the RN would then not be able to carry out a medium or large intervention scenario.

    However there are ways around this.

    Lets also remember taht while Invincible is essentially decommissioned the RNs official site is admant that she is still part of the fleet and will remain so until at leats 2010.

    Pubfather as always made excellent points and I will attempt to expand on one.

    But first as for OPVs the RN has one deployed to the Falklands this is deemed insufficient and part of the reasoning for the APT-S patrol medium endurance operation. Im sceptical on more OPVs(such as the Clyde or River class) being helpful to the RN as I am to such a ship being a replacement for the USNs OHPs as some have suggested.

    USN CSG & ESG parlance plus its FRP initiative to see how it can be fitted with existing RN assets, enduring operations and committments.

    The scenarios discussed in the white papers linked and discussed in the short article I wrote preclude the ships earmarked for the "enduring operations/standing commitment" being available for the "intervention scenarios".

    But where in fact are those scenarios to be played out?

    IMHO most likely where a ship is already on patrol.

    Also with an FRP initiative such as the USN(my apologies if the RN already had or has implemented such a plan) could quite easily surge a # of assets. Although this would require that the "extended readiness" status for surface combatants be eliminated.

    Plus the UK patrol/defence(FRE)(Fleet Ready Escort) could easilly allow that ship to be replaced by a unit in surge and staus and actually fulfill the implied connotations of its designation.

    Back to the ESG/CSG concept.

    With Ocean/Ark Royal as LPHs and Illustrious/Invincible as Harrier carriers the RN has potentially the ability to deploy two CSGs and two ESGs.

    The USN now has three escorts assigned to each CSG/ESG. Although some USN CSGs have recently deployed with four.

    This for the RN would mean 4x3=12 escorts should be available but this should not preclude ships on patrol being seen as a part of a task group as seems to be the outlook now. In particular as two of the High-Value-Units will at least for the short trem be in a nominal "exteneded readiness" state or refit.

    Even a draw-down to even 18 ships will still provide six other ships for other taskings. Allowing two "enduring operation" patrols each with a deployment cycle of one of three escorts. Which I would earmark as APT-S and the Persian Gulf.

    APT-S is important not only for the Falklands but consistent and persistent engagement with the continent of Africa.

    All other commitments such the APT-N(Atlantic/Carribean, FRE,SNMG-1(Atlantic/NATO)(withdrawn), SNMG-2(MED/NATO), JRRF(European Union), IO(Indian Ocean), FE(Far East) should and could be filled by the assets of the CSGs and ESGs.

    Therfore while not optimum 18 escorts is certainly doable. Although sustaining combat operations for any length of time could become problematic.

    But then the USN has been battling such a predicament since the early 1990's. Leading increasingly to the use of task group assets for independent taskings away from the group. Although sixteen of 30 OHPs have proven to be a useful insurance and have been utilzed for other than war ops and Homeland water patrol its not likely that the LCS program will provide such a luxury.

    But those 16 ships have been increasingly marginalized even the 14 still used in CSG/ESG/SSG taskings because they basically now are nothing but glorified OPVs.

    Their main utility being able to house and suport two helicopters to complement the helo-less DDG 51 I/IIs.

    I know my extended mentioning of the USN will ruffle some feathers as this is an RN thread but Im really only trying to compare/contrast different possibiliies that did, are or may occur.
    Last edited by rickusn; 20 Apr 07, at 17:08.

  8. #8
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    Heres an intersting development I hadnt been aware of. Its great to see the officioal RN site greatly updated since my last visit.:

    Royal Navy

    News : HMS Edinburgh : Type 42 Destroyers : Surface Fleet : Operations and Support : Royal Navy

    "10-23 Mar 07

    This period saw the completion of Safety and Readiness Checks, a 10 day event consisting of various training exercises (simulated Fires, Floods, Helicopter Crash on Deck) conducted under the supervision of Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) staff. The trial period came after the entire Ship’s Company of HMS Exeter flew down to relieve those on HMS Edinburgh as part of the Sea Swap experiment. This required an immense amount of hard work and commitment from everyone onboard, which paid dividends when the Ship was given a clean bill of health to continue with the deployment. "

    Also the Monmouth is deployed on a nine-month Far East patrol and it appears w/o tanker support that in the past has been a normal part of such a deployment.

    Plus the Ocean is the APT-N ship.

    And it appears the FRE ship has morphed into:

    Fleet Rapid Reaction Units
    HMS St. Albans and HMS Argyll with Merlin helicopters from 829 Naval Air Squadron
    are UK based rapid reaction units available for short notice tasking.

    So from this official site.:

    We have:

    Edinburgh APT-S returning this summer
    Southhampton departing April 23 on APT-S patrol
    St Albans/Argyll RRU
    Montrose SNMG 2/MED
    Cornwall Gulf
    Sutherland IO
    Monmouth FE
    Ocean APT-N

    Ill be back later with where the other ships are either updated from the official site or from my somewhat dated notes..
    Last edited by rickusn; 20 Apr 07, at 18:17.

  9. #9
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    09 Aug 03
    Exeter Sea Swap now manned by Edinburgs returning crew.
    Glouster Refit till Dec 2007
    Liverpool Post-refit/ Training
    Manchester Post-refit/Training
    Nottingham Training
    York Post-deployed
    Campbeltown Post-deployed
    Chatham Post-deployed
    Cumberland Refit returns to fleet in 2008
    Iron Duke Post-deployed
    Kent Post-deployed
    Northumberland Exercises with frigate Nansen in March 2007. Now in Home waters.
    Portland Post-refit/Training
    Richmond Training
    Somerset Post-refit/Training
    Lancaster Post-deployed
    Westminster Post-deployed

    So it appears we have:

    8 escorts deployed or deploying
    4 Intermediate training
    3 PR/Training
    2 Refit
    8 Post-deployed

    Make of it what you will.

    Of the remaining tankers:

    Wave Knight Post-deployed
    Wave Ruler APT-N Tanker
    Bay Leaf Gulf Tanker
    Orangeleaf in Home waters
    Gold Rover APT-S Tanker
    Black Rover FOST Tanker
    Fort George Training
    Fort Victoria Unknown to me
    Last edited by rickusn; 20 Apr 07, at 19:12.

  10. #10
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    "Standing tasks

    38. Before March 2004, the Royal Navy's destroyer and frigate flotilla was committed to meeting seven Standing Tasks, each requiring the deployment of one destroyer or frigate and where appropriate supporting elements. Two of these were contributions to Standing NATO Forces Atlantic and Mediterranean. One was escort duties in UK home waters. Of the remaining four, two were committed to Atlantic Patrol Tasks North and South and the final two were deployed east of Suez, the first in the Arabian Gulf and the second in the Indian Ocean and further east.

    39. Admiral Sir Alan West, First Sea Lord, Chief of the Naval Staff, told us that the Standing Tasks had been reduced from seven to six with the withdrawal of the commitment to the Standing NATO Force Atlantic in March 2004. "

    40. The paying-off of three Type 42 Destroyers and three Type 23 Frigates will require that those six tasks are reduced to four.[27]Admiral West argued that it was in the UK's interests to maintain a global (or at least geographically widely spread) naval presence.

    Its interesting to note that none of these tasks were eliminated in the draw-down to 25 escorts or since.

    In fact at times there has been THREE ships East of Suez. Like right now.

    And TWO vessels currently are designated as FRRU formerly FRE.

    Recent major deployments of Task Groups. One Amphibious and one Carrier.

    Here is the OOB for the Vela Deployment Sept 4-Nov 5 2006:

    The Commander of the Amphibious Task Group (COMATG) is Commodore Phil Jones ADC Royal Navy. The Commander of Land Forces (CLF) is Colonel David Hook Royal Marines. The Task Group includes: HMS Albion, HMS Ocean, HMS Southampton, HMS Argyll, RFA Wave Knight, RFA Mounts Bay, RFA Bedivere, RFA Fort Austin, HMS Enterprise, RFA Diligence, RFA Oakleaf, MCM1 and a Fleet submarine. Also involved are elements of: Commando Helicopter Force, Fleet Diving Unit 2, 849 Squadron (B) Flight, 820 Squadron, 845/846 Squadron, Fleet Lead Commando Group, 40 Commando Royal Marines, 59 Commando Independent Engineering Squadron, 29 Commando Royal Artillery and 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.

    Here is the OOB for the March 29-

    Admiral Morisetti’s command will include the Portsmouth-based Type 42 destroyer HMS Gloucester (which leaves next Monday, April 3), and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel RFA Fort Victoria, one of the RN’s most capable replenishment ships. France has allocated one of her most up-to-date frigates, the Surcouf, to the deployment as part of the ongoing co-operation between British and French military forces.

    At stages throughout the operational deployment – titled Aquila 06 – the Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster, the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Sovereign and the forward repair ship RFA Diligence will also complement the group.

    Also the oiler Brambleaf operated with the group during the entire deployment.

  11. #11
    Military Professional jeffpayne56's Avatar
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    Bloody treason by the government anyone for a revoloution
    Can the last person to leave the UK please turn out the lights
    cheers Jeff

  12. #12
    Contributor Stan's Avatar
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    11 Jul 06
    revolution sounds good right about now.

  13. #13
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    22 Apr 07
    Cambridge, UK

    Revolting messageboarders

    With all these cut backs, who would stop us?

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