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Bloke down the pub

Oooh, does being a commenter here, does that make me part of the defence diaspora?


A successful full deployment to the Pacific is a clear statement that the UK can go anywhere to defend its interests and allies. Close ties with Japan, Australia and India with a few joint exercises on the way, prove the value of the alliance. As the US reduces its commitment to the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Middle East future annual deployments to those areas helps maintain clear deterrence. While the UK probably doesn’t need to go to the Pacific more than twice a decade as a CSG, going to the Med or Arctic annually, along with the French, and covering the gaps in US carriers in the Middle East make us all safer.


I am very proud of how far carrier strike has developed. We have some truly world class assets. However, if we put a strike group into harms way without proper EAW, point missile defence on the carrier and so few F-35 weapons options then I think we’re totally bonkers. Don’t T-45 me…


Lack of EAW and point defence missiles isn’t great. 24 F35B is a good number for the first deployment if achieved but i agree weapons options seem limited at the moment. What will they actually be carrying, Paveway IV and ASRAAM. Anything else?

Peter S

I worry about such an early deployment to the Far East when key systems are not ready: too few aircraft, test version only of Crowsnest, main aircraft weapons not yet integrated (Spear3 ,Meteor). I can’t imagine China being very impressed never mind influenced. Western commentators rightly derided the Kuznetsov foray to the Eastern Mediterranean. If we want to demonstrate strength, then wait until full operating capabilities have been achieved, rather than expose current weaknesses.


Totally agree. China knows a paper tiger when it sees one. I think the mission will be useful for building operating experience for this type deployment but with so little teeth on our F35’s, no AEW and no TBMD or Co-operative Engagement Capability on our AAW escorts, this group couldn’t undertake combat operations independently against any first world power and would struggle against some second world powers as well.

Last edited 3 years ago by Sunmack
Trevor H



It’s good to make the nation and government aware of our assets and in turn not cut cut cut like they no doubt are pondering over with the F35b…. maybe “we didn’t have enough aircraft” might help to keep the orders we originally planned for. But hey who really knows. It’s easy to cut cut cut when 97% of the country doesn’t know anything about the vehicle, aircraft ect and makes things easier for the cutters…

Last edited 3 years ago by Cam
Peter S

Agreed: raising the profile is a sensible aim. But is it sensible to organise a foray to the Far East? There are no vital British interests there and the deployment might even strengthen the view that the carriers are an unnecessary expense with no real role. A deployment down to the South Atlantic, calling in at Gibraltar and Ascension might be a better way of demonstrating a re- acquired capability.
If the aim is to assert freedom of navigation in disputed waters, the best way to do this is a multi- national task force- US, Japan, Philippines, Australia etc to which UK could contribute. That would send a message.


There are historic british interests there though and we have commitments to help the security there, and we still have gurkhas based in the Far East.


As an follower of the Westland Enthusiasts fan page, the crowsnest Merlins are doing a lot of flying…. if they are embarked surely they will have had quite a bit of time flying with the F35s. Agree they need to get a move on with Meteor (although I believe the RAF have AMRAAM stocks and thats already integrated?)


The Merlins may be flying, but the kit inside isn’t! Any Merlin MKII can be fitted with CROWSNEST equipment if the Link 16 Terminal is present inside! What you have seen flying is just an airframe with pretend equipment bolted onto it.

Phillip Johnson

Influence isn’t about a single deployment to the Far East (or any where else for that matter). A single deployment will make the headlines and then disappear very quickly. What matters is the ability to persist.
What is the UK’s ability to persist with meaningful weight in the Far East, or any other distant part of the world?


We don’t have that depth. The USN need four carriers and about fire air wings to keep one forward. That is an operational momentum. We don’t have enough ‘escorts’ to even hand over station now let alone carriers and aircraft.


Just a question, for the second day in a row, Prince of Wales, doesn’t appear to be flying the white ensign, is she decommissioned???


Sunk I heard.


Always tricky when that happens in a commission. A craftily hidden Mars bar won’t turn Jimmy’s head at rounds if your messdeck is completely flooded……


Good article, thank you.
I think you touch on something that has a lot of impact domestically- how are the armed forces viewed by the population. I know that it can sometimes be a fine line before propoganda is reached, but it is so much easier to keep informed about genuinely interesting and exciting developments in the US than it is for the UK. Well managed communications could very well improve recruitment and retention across all branches, as the military becomes viewed as a positive contributor and defender of society and an eventful and fulfilling vocation. At the moment that is hardly the case, as information is so controlled you either have to be in the military or interested/invested in defence to have the determination to go digging. This souldn’t be the case.
I know this is quite a long way down on your “audience” considerations when it comes to communications, but I think it would change a lot for the better.


I have to say, what a Stunning Picture. Wish I was in the RN, Wow, I can only imagine being on a ship like that.


You would die of agoraphobia.


It’s OK, I like Spiders.



Mike O

Really interesting article. It is always fascinating to hear what goes on behind the scenes. I will have to re-read this as it is a subject I know little about.

Navy lookout you are killing it in 2021 so far ??


Flight Global reports that the United States will be lending the Royal Navy a detachment of F-35B’s and a Burke-class destroyer for the next deployment of the Carrier Strike Group.


Yes. The USN supplying assets to help the carriers has been a long time in the planning. Very generous with the Burke considering they are running out of escorts too. The aviation push within the USMC plus the sheer size of F35b compared to Harrier means they are helping themselves as much as us. If there was ever a large naval action in the future the carriers will probably be with the Gator Navy hosting F35b to free up deck and hangar space for MV22 in the USN’s large amphibs. Our carriers are as much a USN as ours.


The lending of some F-35Bs and a Burke is definitely mutually beneficial. Its gives our Marines additional operational experience and the Royal Navy gets to work with a ship and crew experienced in carrier operations.


I wouldn’t go as far as saying our carriers are as mush US as our. We will no doubt fly from marine carriers in future and Italian and korean and Japanese, doesn’t make the, ours.


Well we could dance on the head of the pin on this if you like. I can’t see a national emergence where we alone would need a carrier. I refuse to play ‘Falklands what ifs’. And as the USMC could actually fill the ship with cabs and we can’t they will probably make more use out of it than we will. What you have to consider is that we are practically wholly reliant on the US for our ‘conventional’ defence. And in many ways our forces are just a reserve to theirs. And have been such for many decades.


How would such paper tiger “strike force” deference itself against China’s Ballistic anti-ship missile and Russia’s Hypersonic anti-ship missile?

Meirion X

An operational Hypersonic anti-ship missile does Not yet exist.
It is just Russian propaganda!

You would use ABM missile to defend from Ballistic anti-ship missile.


China already has DF-ZF hypersonic missile but do keep on underestimating the adversaries.

And RN has no operational ABM missile and too poor to afford any.

Remember HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales? All show and totally inadequate air defense, both sunk in the South China Sea.

RN does not even has enough escort ships for the paper tiger “strike force” and has to ask the US and Dutch navies to help out, let alone buying more F-35.

Keep on dreaming and ask Bojo for some money first.

Last edited 3 years ago by ToraToraTora
Supportive Bloke

OK, so you have made a hypersonic missile steerable against a moving and evading target – think not.

If a carrier was steaming in a nice straight line might stand a chance. But ICBM type missile are mainly OK at hitting fixed targets.

Any EM is blinded during reentry – unless basic physics has been reinvented. In Earth’s atmosphere the thing is blind unless it slows down a lot at which point it is JAM “just another missile”

I’m only being slightly facetious. I’ve never seems anything that convinces me that these things really exist or work. Putin’s CGIs made me grin rather than take it seriously.

Oh and BoJo did actually give quite a decent lump of money to modernise things……


The old saying, “We do not have it so the adversaries could not have it operational also” comes to mind.
Even India has the BrahMos-2 hypersonic anti-missile in development.

Fortunately, some navies take these threads more seriously, the US has the RIM-156 ER/RIM-171 while the French/Italian is developing the Aster30 Block 1NT/Block 2BMD.

RN does not even has any operational AEW assess with this “strike force”, so air deference is no better than 1982 Falklands war against subsonic Exocet.

Radar is still limited by the earth curvature, that is basic physics for you! While now supersonic AShM is already operational with many navies and this is no CGI.

And is there any passive deference on the carrier beside the 20mm Phalanx as last ditch?

Bojo is a politician and he will promise 350 million quid every week on the side of a bus, just wait till the Treasury and the next Deference review.

Even with the extra funding promised, sorry for the RAF and the Army, the total number of Type 26/45/31/32 altogether will just be barely 24 and some could only be armed with 40 years old design subsonic Harpoon or glorified Bofors 40mm. 

Keep living in Cuckoo land.

Last edited 3 years ago by ToraToraTora

Type 45, Merlin Crowsnest, P8, Satellite, Aegis, F35B, Sea Ceptor , Sea Viper, Phalanx. All unavailable in 82. Just Sayin.


Still won though !

4th watch

I would reroute the task force through Suez, India, Diego Garcia, Australia, New Zealand. Japan, Hawaii, Chile, Falklands, South Africa, South Atlantic and Home.
Send something through the South China Sea but forget the Carrier it isn’t ready to defend itself Fully.


Against Who exactly ?


Airplane, helicopter, car, steam engine, electricity, television, radio, telephone, machines gun, all unavailable at Trafalgar, is this a even better comparison? Just saying too!

In 1982, there were 60 destroyers and frigates in RN, now a grand total of 19 with one third not operational.  

Yes won, with enormous help from the USA.

So this “strike force” is only capable against some third world tinpot adversary for a 1982 re-match?

And where is South China Sea? It is not near Portsmouth.

Last edited 3 years ago by ToraToraTora

No actually, as we are not at war. Just sayin again. I think you underestimate the UK and It’s history of Winning Wars when it matters. South China Sea seems to be getting closer to Portsmouth every Year or so it will if nothing is done to keep China from Bullying It’s neighbours. Crikey ToraToraTora Keep up with History Mate, Bullies always lose, you should know that from your reference to the attack on a peaceful Pearl Harbour.


You better start digging a hole to put your head in, by 2030 the PLA Navy will have 99 submarines, 4 aircraft carriers, 102 destroyers and frigates, 26 corvettes, 73 amphibious ships and 111 missile craft, 415 ships in total, plus a few from Putin.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arjun

Yes, I know, been saying it for years now, good job we are looking to counter their buildup by producing such Ships as the QE’s and such aircraft as the F35B’s, so on and so forth. Oh and I’m doing my bit by avoiding buying anything Chinese too ( as much as possible ) unlike the Rest of the World. Maybe we can export a deadly Virus to slow them down a bit…. smirky face emoji.


I am sure you have been saying out of your backside for years, wait for a Pakistani Hatf-VIII to plug it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arjun

Crikey, much love you are giving there, a veritable rocket up the Arse. you seem Angry ?


Think I might have attracted another Multi Account follower. !!! ( Smiley Face ).


derro drongo brain fart

Last edited 3 years ago by Arjun

Well that’s a new one on me….. Anyone able to shed any light ?

Meirion X

It is websites like Ebay are heavy promoting Chinese sourced items on their site. There needs to be political pressure on this big tech entity, to allow more alternative sources of listed items. The UK needs trade deals with countries like India, so to make it easier to import goods from them, so Ebay would have no excuse but to allow much more goods from alternative sources.
The UK should have a trade deal with Taiwan as well, a good alternative source of electronic products.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
Meirion X

You seem to have forgotten the UK has more then equivalent of the DF-ZF missile, it is called Trident.

The UK is returning to the Pacific as part of a coalition.
So we do not need to take there every single warpon now in existence.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

DF-ZF is not a nuclear weapon and it does not need to be, the amount of kinetic energy of a hypersonic anti-ship missile on impact would already be fatal.

So in order to deference against a conventional anti-ship missile is to use nuclear weapon, the weapon of last resort, this only highlight the inadequacy of the RN.

And does the PLA Navy has no nuclear SLBM of its own? It already has twice the number of ballistic missile submarines as RN.    

What about Russia’s 3M22 Xircon hypersonic missile that you insisted only as some CGI fantasy? But then it is easier to ignore reality and live in fantasy land.

So a RN carrier force can only sail as part of a coalition, this only prove the point that RN lacks the resource and capability.

Return to the Pacific, a dream for Empire 2.0 but don’t tell the Treasury when the bills of Brexit and Covid-19 start coming in.

Last edited 3 years ago by ToraToraTora
Meirion X

Obviously you have ignored Supportive Bloke’s post on the issues of hypersonic flight, which makes much more sense then all the propaganda from the Chicoms, and the Kremlin that you have been carried away with.

You are very much a fantasic here!

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

Log out, bring back Arjun, he makes more sense !


China pushing against the world again with its flights (Today and yesterday) into Taiwan airspace by fighters, bombers and other craft.

The UK FON deployment needs to go ahead to show China that the legal right of navigation remains, and that the SCS is not Chinese territory – as per the recent ruling.

I hope that Australia, New Zealand, and the nations surrounding the SCS all join the CSG for the FON. The world needs to stand together against Chinese expansionism


If you want communication to have maximum effect, you might want to use a proofreader before publishing to avoid spelling mistakes in your own communication! It’s ‘CNN have already stated’, not ‘started’.

As for our deployment to the South China Sea; the country is in the grip of Covid, being battered by Brexit uncertainty and in the grip of an economic downturn. I doubt we have the tax receipts to even pay for the modest defence spending increase promised by Boris. Whatever money is received now will be whittled down by future Defence Reviews.

We have other priorities closer to home to be dreaming of Empire 2.0. We are a Great power, not a Superpower like the US and increasingly China and must learn to live within our means. We simply don’t have the resources or appetite for power projection.

Last edited 3 years ago by Iqbal
Tom Sharpe

Thanks for proofreading but I meant ‘started’. It makes sense.

The Integrated Review is imminent. I agree that joining its ambition to the treasury, especially now, will be key. But we do know that overall spending is set to increase.

This deployment is nothing to do with Empire 2.0 and I don’t get the logic that because we’re not the US we shouldn’t bother. Are you proposing that we shouldn’t have carriers or that we shouldn’t send them to the Indo-Pacific?


Real power projection ?
During 2020 Prince of Wales had been at sea just 30 days”

Propaganda circle jerk.

Comms Team

Thank you for this very helpful post. A British Embassy expecting deployment to arrive soon. This has been very useful. I hope we can get access to great visuals in advanced to promote on our social media in advanced of the arrival.