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Christopher Waterman

Hope this article actually gets to the hands of someone who cares enough to listen!

Anonymous

we’ve no ships, the type 26 programme is like monty python on acid, but there are 3 perfectly good type 22’s in portsmouth harbour just swinging at anchor! we’ve no subs apart from the 19 laid up! including the decomissioned trafalgars and the whole swiftsure class, will somebody bloody wake up. and get hulls to sea?!!!!!

AR

i’ve written concerns via my local m.p. about the palyry fleet we now have. the farcical monty pythonesque way the R.N.IS managed’we’ve no ships they say, never mind the 3 type 22’s swinging at anchor in pompey. we’ve no submarines is the cry.. except th 19 laid up in rosyth and devonport!get these ships off the wall and back to sea, never mind the bloodsucking continent of africa, lets get our own world right before we throw 1.7 billion down the ‘black hole.

Peter Ash

Its not a recent developmen. They have been using small craft and small coastal towns an beachs for years.. and its not just a few immigrants in rubber boats. Suggesting that is nothing short of dangerous ignorance.It used to be drugs its also been arms and its certainly terrorists.. Now if thats NOT the RNs concern who’s is it? The RN has about 13 surface ships of any size left to do its blue water navy posturing. But the danger is at present much closer to home and thats were it should be deployed. Lord West highlighted these dangers a few years ago. No one took notice.. Now its becoing a focus this page decideds its still just a few immigrants in rubber boats. You have no idea.

CJH

The Telegraph article confirmed that the old, wasteful Army v Navy rivalries still exist but in an era of financial austerity it’s time to consign them to history. Again and Again we come up against the power of the multinational contractors like BAEs who seem to use Gvt work as a cash cow. I note that AT LAST this stranglehold is being challenged with the Apache renewal programme being undertaken in the U.S. where it will be tacked on the end of a U.S. contract which will reduce costs significantly. The same with P8 Poseidon, off the shelf.
The OPV contract is nothing more than a costly job creation scheme and you only have to look at Cunard and P&O who build all their new UK based huge cruise liners in France or Italy because it’s cheaper. We even send decommissioned ships to Turkish breakers yards – forget EU health and safety rules – because the UK is not competitive.
However BAE have huge contracts and even own yards in the USA where it supports the USN.
It’s even managed to get its 5inch gun on the Type 26 and as we know, it owns Bofors and SAAB Aero which makes the effective Grippen aircraft.
It’s time for some charity at home with discounts for the UK and for UK politicians to climb out of the pockets of these huge suppliers who use the “home based defence industry” and “job creation” card constantly.
Sorry to bang on but if some of our naval contracts were presented before a Dragon’s Den panel they’d be laughed out of court.
Innovation is missing too and the idea of a fleet of home defence patrol vessels crewed mainly by reservists may well attract a large number of part time personnel who would see purpose and a genuine role in joining. Now that would be money well spent.
A fleet of Patrol, Fishery Protection, Anti Terrorism and Mine Countermeasures vessels based in our many ports would be a great way to promote the Royal Navy and attract local recruitment to the reserve. I make no apologies If it sounds a bit like a return to the RN Patrol Service of the past but if we are to carry on counting pennies then it’s time to think radically and look at a form of local “Defence RNLI” to secure us from the most serious of threats we face – sea blockade.

4thwatch

Local RN patrol craft are an entirely feasible proposition. They could have the benefit of training numbers of cadets and volunteers while drawing on local knowledge.
Meanwhile the Solent water police presence is being cut back.
We don’t just need a National Ship Building Strategy; we need a National Marine Strategy

CJH

As a Southampton based leisure sailor the cuts to Hampshire Police Marine Section is very worrying. False economy on so many levels.

4thwatch

Summer 2015 I saw some very suspicious craft coming into my harbour with shady characters aboard.

AR

i wonder how big the backhanders from BAE are for the contracts they don’t deliver on

Peter Ash

Good post we need action not compacency. The idiot who suggest it was over reaction to worry about small baots entering our coastal ports is beyond contempt. The fact is we have no navy and the one they want us to belive in doesnt exist. Even when it does it cant operate independantly. We have been sold up the river by our own politicains.

Michael Dyson

Why not reform the volunteer force RNXS to spot ship intrusions on the East Coast

The Ginge

This is not impossible. It just needs some joined up thinking and a joined up organisation. All EEZ operations should be conducted by HM Coast Guard upto and including all tidal Rivers, inlets etc. It should cover anti pollution, anti smuggling, Tracking of Shipping, Rescue, arest and armed intervention.
The 3 Rivers should be transfered and it should be looked in to the possability of providing 3 more of the simpler Trance 1 items without a flight deck, but a Quadcopter drone capability.
All the university, police, border Force cutters/patrol Boats/Ribs etc should come under that one command with the RNLI, Local Volunteer Organisations having a information provision liason in each area.
In the air the Coast Guard should use the Rescue Helicopters and fixed wing pollution control etc aircraft to provide aerial monitoring to support the Boats on the Sea. They should be deployed locally, the farse that is East Anglia being covered from Manston or Hull should end and every major port should have a Coast Guard presence and aerial cover on 30mins call out. This could be worked in conjunction with aerial units of Coast Police Forces.
The equipment is there, the people are there, it is an ideal job for RN Reserve to be transfered in to the Coast Gurad Reserve to get active training and be available if needed for the RN. It is not hard, but its having the will to knock together the heads of HM Coast Guard, HMRC, Border Force, etc etc etc in to one organisation. But as always the Chiefs and well paid civil servants at the top of these organisations are not going to be Turkeys voting for Xmas are they. Self interest will rule, whilst places like the Suffolk Coast will be wide open to abuse.
What it will take is probably a Sea launched attack on a Nucleur Power Station etc before people will act, unfortunaltey are rulling elite be they politicians or civil servants really don’t care about effectiveness but more about their own money grabbing jobs.

Peter Ash

Some good ideas there but I do feel its still far short of whats required. it isnt just the south coast and Thames estaury. I know from years ago boats were smuggling drugs and people up the Humber andu the Ouse as far as York.. The lengh of coastline is about a lot more than the French use 40 cutters to patrol. But the worrying this is the attitude. imagining its a recent problem and beliving its just a few refugees and not a real risk to our security.

Peter Ash

PS The reference in the last sentance was to the original post.

Racing Chicken

What about asking the question as to whether or not the UK has enough capable mariners/law enforcement officers to form enough of a standing force of personnel to crew any fantasy surge in coastguard/border force?
Border Force budget of what, around £600mn, enough to meet the extra hiring fees? Ships, ports, training, maintenance?
The UK borders are a busted flush. Why bother getting exciting just because we find out they can’t do their job properly.

Peter Ash

They hve to be trained its been a long standing deficiency. If we manage to get out of the EU we nee to build up this force and spend money wasted on the EU on just such security.

4thwatch

I am strongly of the opinion that we need to redress our precipitate decline into Sea Blindness. We need a Minister responsible and knowledgeable to oversea(!) Britain’s Maritime scenario. There is gloss ignorance in High Places that has been and is now being increasingly translated into Gross Negligence in all Maritime affairs.

shark

A reasonable response to the increased pressure on our maritime border would be to sell off the bath 1’s and use the proceeds for a shopping trip to Damen, much like the Bahamas Defence Force, and purchase some additional cutters.
This is the role of the Border Force, not the Navy.
The navy is already under enough pressure and does not need to burden of coastal patrol as well.
There is no need for a military response to the current situation, a well trained civilian force is more than capable of boarding, searching and detaining. Deploying the military to counter ad-hoc smuggling operations is a disproportionate use of force. The scale of the military is not effective to counter the ad-hoc nature of the threat, smaller specialist units will be much more effective.
A modest increase to the Border Force is reasonable, along with reinstating a fixed wing surveillance. Since they’re both Home Office funded perhaps the police and border force should cooperate with their fixed wing assets.
The Royal Navy is correct to focus on delivering its core capabilities of Nuclear strike, Amphibious strike and Carrier strike, fisheries protection and anti-smuggling are unneeded distractions.

Peter Ash

We have not the ships to support an amphibious strike we have not the ships or the aircraft for an independant carrier strike (even when we get the carriers and the aircraft we still wont have the ships to support them) we hardly need fisheries protection as we have now allowed any EU country to take our fish and sell them back to us at inflated prices (or fishing industry is decimated) Fisheries protection ships spent most of its time arrestting Spanish,Danish and Dutch ships that now have open access. .. The RN has a duty to protect the country. If that comes from drug smugglers, arms smugglers ,terrorism or people smugglers its the Royal navies duty. Its quite clear the navy has been reduced to these dismal levels as the goverenment of the UK has no intention ever of deploying them independantly. Its been groomed and trimmed for its place in an EU defence force. We have heard some justified criticism from ex senior RN officers whos pensions are safe…….. we should be hearing a lot more from serving senior RN officers. They dont have the tools to protect this country and its their job to say so.

David Stephen

I think that is slightly pesimistic. Just because US navy deploys carriers with a dozen consorts does not mean the UK has to. CVF will carry a full 9 strong squadron of Merlin ASW helicopters, add a Type 23/26 with a TAS and that takes care of ASW in all but the most extreme scenarios. A Type 45, added to the CVFs own CAP, takes care of the AAW in all but the most extreme scenarios. These ships would require a Tide/Wave for fuel and a FSS to cover the CVFs RAS needs. So carrier, 1/2 RFAs, and 2 escorts, well within our operational capabilities. Adding an extra escort or even a SSN is not beyond us either. The carriers are not built to fight China or Russia. They will enable an independent operation, just not WW3.

Peter Ash

The US does it because its the right safe way to do it.. Carriers are extremely vulnerable and we wont have the ships to support one of them properly let alone 2 without other navies. One Type 45 certainly doesnt take care of air defence.. Thats asuming they eventaully can be relied upon not to break down. What planet are you on? Your obviously far too youngor far to senile to remember the Falklands.The Carriers are not meant to fight anyone at present they are a vanity project without substance or purpose. They are only being allowed to be completed in the hope of using them with an EU defence force or for sale to save face.One Type 45 dont make me laugh.

shark

The carrier’s are no more vulnerable that any other ship, in fact thanks to their air wing they are possibly the least vulnerable ships in the RN.
Thanks to a fleet of F35 we will be able to maintain a 200 mile exclusion zone around the carrier, and it’s escorts. In many instances it means the carrier will actually be escorting it’s escorts , it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
Where the carrier is most vulnerable is to submarines, where is is no more vulnerable than every other platform. Thanks to some variable depth sonars and a bunch of Merlin’s we mitigate that risk.

Peter Ash

Fleet of F35s ? If we are lucky by 2022 ..and assuming they work.. Not to mention its only the F35B with shorter range and reduced weapon fit. You are eternally optomistic and talk like a carrier can look after itself.. Completely impossible. It needs Ships capable of downing aircraft positioned many miles ahead and others for point defence. F35s cant stay airbourne long and need early warning to even meet any threat. We wont have enough ships and the carriers will be white elephants… Look good but not much use.. In fact I dont even think they look that good with the ski jump looking like an addon. Proper aircraft could have been carried with very little extra investment in a catapult. It all smells of compromise as usual with our armed forces.. There is no way these ships can operate independantly at least not effectively on anything other than a showing the flag visit or in opertions with the US or NATO.

shark

It will take time yes, but they will be there, they will work, and the B has a longer range than an F18, the range issues have been overstated.
I never said it can take care of its self. I said it is no more vulnerable than any other platform, all have their strength and weakness, which is why we build a task group to work together. It will be an extremely credible force, the ‘second only to the Americans’ sound bite the George Osborne likes to throw out will actually be true.

Anonymous

Nothing that boy Osbourne says is true. He knows nothing about defence and even less about naval warfare. Are you still at school? A carrier is more vulnerable than any other platform that’s why they need protection and always have.. The range issues are a matter if design. FFS.

4thwatch

Who knows for sure how the carriers will operate. In many cases they will be part of a much larger Nato or other alliance Task Force. They may also benefit from shore based AWACs who can reach far out into the Ocean. The only occassion where I would see them operating without a fully coordinated and interlocking defence would be in deep mid Ocean. in a full scale Midway type operation.
The point is they throw any potential enemy off balance.
Would the Argies really have a go at the Falklands again?

shark

Ok qualify that. What makes a carrier any more vulnerable?

David Stephen

Wind your neck in Peter. I remember the Falklands perfectly well. I remember that our two carriers survived despite having crap AAW destroyers and limited aircraft. Outside China and Russia few nations could launch multi pronged attacks from different platforms, which is what it would take to get past even 1 Type 45. As to them not working, only a propulsion issue so perhaps it is you who is senile as everyone else knows that a refit will address those issues. Also a fleet of F-35Bs is not needed to make a carrier powerful. An air wing of 24 F-35Bs and 14 Merlin (9 ASW & 5 AEW) makes the carrier the most powerful and effective anywhere outside the US navy. Give the cats & traps a rest, if you had any idea what you where talking about you would know that the STOVL option was best for the UK and enables the carriers to be ready sooner and use aircraft from a joint pool with the RAF. I can assure you that nobody in the Royal Navy agrees with your assessment. Not sure why you are worried about protecting the carrier as you seem to feel it will be useless and devoid of aircraft.

TheGinge

Dear All
Having just read this article descend in to a debate (?) about Carriers. Lets look at the evidence.
1. The proliferation of Long Range Land Based Anit Ship Missiles sold both by Russia and China makes air defence a tricky question for Aircraft Carriers. The days of Harriers shooting down Mirrages that had to drop dumb iron bombs right over a ship are long gone. A little investment by Argentina now a number of missile systems could render the concept of sailing a QE LHA close enough to launch a Helicopter based assualt as impossible. Hence the need for not only T45’s that work, but T45’s with an anti Ballistic Missile capability, that carry more than 48 missiles, hence the need for at least 2 T45’s in close in Air Defence Posture just to have enough missiles for anti ship swarm attack. Really in the modern world Missiles are the main threat.
2. Secondly F35’s are not going to be able to operate fully with Meteor our BVR air defence missile until Block 4f is launched on the F35 to upgrade the Computer systems. In fact until that upgrade F35’s are really not going to be operationaly capable apart from Sidewinders and dumb bombs with Laser Trackers on them. The fact is the F35 is no dogfighter and relies on BVR missiles to be anywhere near capable of taking on any Gen 3 or 4 aircraft and that ain’t happening until at least 2025 with all the F35’s purchased before then having to be upgraded to that standard with the British Tax Payer paying for the priviliage. And even then there is talk in the US that the JPO may can all non US intergration for Block 4 because of the workload on the programers and testing units to get Block 4 done, which could push UK missile intergration StormShadow, Meteour etc out to 2030.
3. Range. Hence the US Navies worries. The long range land launched aircraft killing missiles now have a range of 400 miles, you really want to keep you hulking great big lump of Metal called an Aircraft Carrier out of that range. But the F35B’s really are stretched beyond a Combat Radius of 300 miles allowing for long approach to target routes and avoiding radars. We have Zero Refueling capapbility because we are using a Ski Jump rather than Cats and Traps. It is not just the F35 that suffers but all the support aircraft such as fixed wing AEW, Refueling, and fixed Wing ASW assets. A lot of people for example with the long range Russian and Chineese torpedoes are concerned over the range of a Helicopter ASW Shield. But we are wedded to both inadequat AEW and ASW concepts mounted on Helicopters at least until the 2030’s when QE will have a major refit.
i agree fully that protection of UK Coastel Waters is not a Navy priority, it just if an all out War in any form occured then it just about has enough escorts to launch one or two Aircraft Carriers sailing close together protected by one set of escorts, and one Amphibouse Group slightly less protected. That is it. The Navy assets need to train and deploy to do that and that only.
That is why I say the 3 batch 1 Rivers should form a core of a single agency force to provide UK coastel waters protection, using the assets and people already crewing Police Launces, Border Agency Cutters etc etc. In one cooredinated force. Thus relieving the RN of any commeitment to provide any type of Ship do this work that can easily be done fby the River type boat at the top end down to local Police Ribs.
The Budget is an issue, but as usual we want a Rolls Royce Service for a Mini’s Budget. The fact is you pay for what you get, if the UK public want protection of the UK coast they will have to pay for it. The assets are there it just needs some imaginitive leadership to force the issue, something we solely lack as per the comment above about the Navy not sharing anybodies concerns over the F35B, because they all but in to the “group” think espoused by the very senior political and unifomed officers who have seen the pointy end of anything in along time if at all. The maniacal desire of the Senior RN commanders that the only way they would see Aircraft on ships is to have them supplied by the RAF. Nobody actualy ever steps back and gets rewarded for pushing against the concensus or for asking that most important of questions “WHY ?”