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USA Should Heed Britain’s Defense Woes

June 28, 2009
US Special Forces on Horseback in Afghanistan

US Special Forces on Horseback in Afghanistan

Currently the struggle for the soul of the British military is ongoing, what the outgoing Army chief of staff describes as the “horse and tank moment“. Our motherland across the Atlantic isn’t the only nation facing tough defense choices in the next few years, but here in America a struggle is waging for the future course of our military strategy, which will in turn define our national security. The F-22 Raptor battle ongoing between the White House and Congress might be the catalyst of whether we have a force able to defend us from the rising asymmetrical threats facing the nation, or should we plan for future imaginary wars against peer adversaries. Everyone wants reform, but no one wishes to give up a particular pet project, as this recent article from the UK Telegraph “Big guns don’t win today’s wars” reveals:

The RAF will not give up its attachment to strategic bombing and the Royal Navy ardently clings to its aircraft carriers, advanced destroyers and fighter wing. There are many unglamorous parts of the Air Force that quietly go about achieving a great deal – from air transport to helicopters and surveillance. But those leading the RAF are fighter pilots who are loath to yield to the realities in front of them.

Some might also argue we must have a very costly Ballistic Missile Defense to counter rogue missiles from Third World nations like Iran or North Korea, aside from the colossal delusion that we can have an arms race against impoverished nations who would care little to see most of their citizens starve first. Most likely it would be us spending ourselves into bankruptcy by attempting to copy Reagan’s strategy against the Soviets in this new era.

Getting back to Britain, it seems equally ludicrous that soon they will build two giant supercarriers which may not even have planes for their spacious decks. This is not as unthinkable as it sounds, seeing as how the RN was forced to give up her excellent Sea Harriers a few years back for her three light carriers for economy reasons. Why have carriers at all if you can’t deploy enough adequate planes to use from them? Imagine the battleships going to sea in the 1930s without their guns! Such enormous and costly platforms then become hollow shells.

This is not to say that conventional weapons are still not important, just that in wartime other weapons become more important and should receive the bulk of attention and funding. No more weapons for the “just in case” scenario. No more decades long development and procurement cycles. No to billion dollar warships used to fight Third World countries. No to jet fighters built to fight an enemy long gone. No to multi-billion dollar R & D and whiz bang superweapons.

Yes to more UAVs and missiles. Yes to more troops, battlefield robots that save lives, and light armored vehicles. Yes to small corvettes, high speed vessels, and auxiliary multi-role ships. Yes to ground attack planes, helicopters, and tactical transports. Yes to off the shelf weapons.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11, 2001 should be our focal point, where a group of non-state actors wielding box cutters used our own airliners as weapons of mass destruction. In such a case, our giant supercarriers, main battle tanks, and fast stealth fighters were of little use, but more information, more troops, agents, shoreline-hugging warships, and foreign workers lurking in the terrorist havens overseas will garner vast rewards.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike Burleson permalink
    June 30, 2009 10:00 am

    We’ll try to get back on topic please.

  2. Mike Burleson permalink
    June 29, 2009 6:26 pm

    Thanks Scott. Don’t think I need to read anymore.

  3. Scott B. permalink
    June 29, 2009 6:18 pm

    More Sven Ortmann on America :

    “The USA was never really necessary to protect Western Europe against the Soviets, simply because the Soviet military power as we remember it was in great part a fantasy of U.S. intelligence services.”

    Read the rest here

  4. Scott B. permalink
    June 29, 2009 5:54 pm

    Sven Ortmann on America :

    “Americans don’t defend freedom and democracy. That’s the propaganda, but in fact it’s neither about defence, nor about freedom or democracy. At least not all at once.

    It’s not about defence because they have never entered a war on their own to defend any democracy. They were either declared war on by their enemies or they defended non-democratic states. The entry into WW1 was not about freedom either, but a plain meddling in another continent’s war among similar powers. It could be argued whether the Republic of Korea was a real democracy in 1950, but that’s an exception.

    It’s not about freedom or democracy because U.S. wars are about “national interest” or “national defence”. The “freedom” and “democracy” part is just the propaganda to build up and maintain support for the wars at home.”

    Oh, by the way – it’s also a strong counter to American claims that we should be grateful for the defence that the USA provided to us during the Cold War. The “Nuclear umbrella” was in reality just a “Sword of Damocles”.

    Wanna read the whole *piece* : click here, at your own risk.

  5. Scott B. permalink
    June 29, 2009 5:20 pm

    Below are some quotes from Hideki Tojo :

    “To advocate a New Order was to seek freedom and respect for peoples without prejudice, and to seek a stable basis for the existence all peoples, equally, and free of threats.”

    “Thus, it was to seek true civilization and true justice for all the peoples of the world, and to view this as the destruction of personal freedom and respect is to be assailed by the hatred and emotion of war, and to make hasty judgments.”

  6. Scott B. permalink
    June 29, 2009 5:07 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “What you said makes no sense at all, and has little basis in reality, equating the brutal fascists with the Western Democracies.”

    Mike,

    Ortmann is just serving the usual revisionist / negationist stuff : Tojo’s Japan was *not that bad* because it helped Asia’s nations emancipate themselves from the Colonial Powers, Hitler’s Germany was *not that bad* because it helped Africa and the Middle East emancipate themselves from the Colonial Powers, and everything else was a *Detail of History*…

    Don’t be sorry to disagree with this kind of cr*p…

  7. Mike Burleson permalink
    June 29, 2009 4:25 pm

    Sven, I can’t imagine the British and Dutch “oppression” was worse than what the Japanese did to China. This was the real cause America went into the war, to stop the firebombing of whole villages and the mass slaughter of the Chinese civilian population. The Bataan death march and the slave labor, with American prisoners little better than skeletons. I’m sorry but I disagree with your Pat Buchanan-like hypotheses completely.

    I won’t say that American imperialism in this area in the early century was smart, but it certainly turned to good, with peaceful and prosperous democracies like Japan and South Korea, and the rest wishing they were, even China. Would the same have happened were Japan or communits Russia in charge? Hardly.

    What you said makes no sense at all, and has little basis in reality, equating the brutal fascists with the Western Democracies.

  8. Scott B. permalink
    June 29, 2009 1:01 pm

    Sven Ortmann said : “They also fail to grasp that aggressive policy violates the Kant’s categorical imperative. It’s immoral, and immoral actions provoke sanctions.”

    Which is exactly why Germany and Japan eventually got annihilated in WW2.

  9. June 29, 2009 12:32 pm

    That’s difficult to tell, albeit it’s doubtful whether Japan would have had the resources and stamina to really rule East and SE Asia directly.
    China was already too large to subdue, the Vietminh would have caused a lot of trouble, and there were already guerrilla movements forming in Malaya, Philippines and elsewhere.

    Keep in mind that WITHOUT the Japanese operational successes in WW2, the UK might have oppressed the Malayans and Burmese for several more decades.
    Same about the Dutch and Indonesia.

    The U.S. was quite fine with the British Empire, it could have tolerated a Japanese empire. Inf act, it was still a colonial power at that time (albeit one which had already promised independence to most colonies).

    Finally, Japan might have faced the Soviet Union later on; its army wasn’t even close to the class needed for defeating the Red Army in battle.

    The most interesting part is this:
    In worst case (from the point of view), the colonial powers in SE Asia might have changed. There was no real reason for any direct military conflict if the U.S. hadn’t been a great power with involvement in the West Pacific region.

    Many people are quick to point out the few advantages of aggressive foreign policy and high readiness to go to war. They’re also quick to point out that most extreme forms of peace policy can lead to disaster.
    They do always ignore how often their preferred policies have led to disaster and unnecessary wars/hardship, though.
    They also fail to grasp that aggressive policy violates the Kant’s categorical imperative. It’s immoral, and immoral actions provoke sanctions.

  10. Mike Burleson permalink
    June 29, 2009 12:03 pm

    “Japan would have skipped a war with the U.S. if the U.S. had not been more powerful than Canada.”

    It’s good she wasn’t so weak then. Where Asia be today with Japan in charge? Sort of puts the Spanish American War in a different light!

  11. June 29, 2009 9:17 am

    Lol, what bias?

    Japan would have skipped a war with the U.S. if the U.S. had not been more powerful than Canada. In fact, it would certainly not have felt compelled to launch a preventive/pre-emptive strike on Pearl Harbour if no powerful battlefleet was present.
    Neither is really disputable.

    I can’t even imagine what you might imagine that you assume a ‘bias’ to be in effect.

  12. solomon permalink
    June 28, 2009 11:30 pm

    “Pearl Harbour happened despite (and perhaps because) the USN was powerful.”

    End of conversation. That type bias is unexcusable.

  13. June 28, 2009 7:57 pm

    “I concur Solomon, Sven has focused on defensive warfare; I will point that the lastime such a focus on disarnament was considered we ended up with world war II.”

    The same for Germany, except that it was its last time it focus on arms buildup and offensive warfare. So what’s the point?
    There was no real “disarmament” for the USN in the inter-war years, just arms control treaties that limited other great powers as well. Pearl Harbour happened despite (and perhaps because) the USN was powerful.

    The last major attempt of non-defensive wars led the U.S. into WWI (hundreds of thousands of dead for absolutely no gain), Vietnam and Iraq.

    I fail to see how wars of choice may be a good idea.

  14. Mike Burleson permalink
    June 28, 2009 7:00 pm

    Concerning the abilities of SSK’s:

    During the Second Battle of the Atlantic, the German Type VII was the workhorse of the U-boat arm, with 700 built. They were 871 tons full load. These also participated in Operation Drumbeat in 1942 off the US coast with mothership (milch cow) support.

    The first boats in Drumbeat forced to operate without mothership support were 1100 ton Type IX.

    What was done before can be done again, but now the new U-boats are even stealthier, quieter, and faster. More ominous, they are far better armed than the ASW hunters with long range cruise missiles and better anti-ship torpedoes.

    More on the new SSK’s next week!

  15. June 28, 2009 4:06 pm

    I concur Solomon, Sven has focused on defensive warfare; I will point that the lastime such a focus on disarnament was considered we ended up with world war II.

    and Sven, I am not sure why you say about the soviet navy, as they are no longer the principle naval threat…that is China (in big navy terms), Somalian Pirates (in terms of constant conflict) and various humanitarian interventions which are progressively relying more and more on naval power; it is the focus on the soviets which is the problem with governments, they are so fixated on the one nation that they have forgotten that their navies do not have one opponent; which only has one dimension of attack. their is now a malestrom of possible opponents, all armed with multi-dimensions threats…therefore building a navy focused on just one dimension or building a navy which is focused on just on one other navy, can only be described as negligent, if not criminally negligent.

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  16. June 28, 2009 3:53 pm

    “I think the boys and girls in Mississippi and up in Maine might disagree with your point about our shipyards.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipbuilding_industry#Modern_shipbuilding_industry

    “Again your arguments against SSN’s is mysterious to me. SSK’s are notoriously short legged and even with the latest advancements are only coastal boats in nature, not the ocean going subs that the US, UK and France depend on.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_212_submarine
    “8,000 nm (14’800 km, or 9’196 miles) at 8 knots (15 km/h) surfaced
    3 weeks without snorkeling, 12 weeks overall”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collins_class_submarine
    “9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) (snorkel)”

    Submarines were already more than coastal assets back in 1915. SSKs are inferior in top and cruise speeds, but high speed means loud noise and is therefore of limited utility.
    You can get several ocean-going SSKs for the cost of one SSN.

    “And lastly your idea of using ships built to mercantile standards for combat use will probably get someone killed.”

    War gets people killed. Major naval warfare has ALWAYS sunk ships. Look at the losses of the British against Argentine, a 3rd grade naval power.
    It’s all about optimal compromises, and ‘survivability’ must not be a holy cow if it badly limits the available quantity in wartime.

    “As a matter of fact, their will be more South American and Asian countries with Leopard 2 tanks than exist in all of Europe.”

    Leopard 2 equivalents possibly, but even then it’s more about the quantity of tanks than the quantity of countries. Only PRC, South Korea, Japan, India, Chile, UAE, Saudi-Arabia and soon probably Brazil+Iraq have really modern tanks on those two continents. Several of these countries are not hostile to Western powers, some even friendly.

    The EU plans to solve challenges, not so much on being a military power. The predominant answers to European challenges are non-military. We’ve got no ‘weaponized Keynesianism’.

  17. solomon permalink
    June 28, 2009 3:26 pm

    Sven,
    I think the boys and girls in Mississippi and up in Maine might disagree with your point about our shipyards. Remember problems with our vessels exactly mirror the issue had in Europe. Secondly, land based air power might be good for MOST of the European nations but those that are actively involved in world affairs (you might label it neo-colonialism) such as Britan, France, Spain and Italy desperately need to maintain effective fleets. Without basing rights in nations close to the area in contention, then trouble will occur. Additionally Germany doesn’t have far flung protectorates …the Falklands, Hawaii, Guam, Diego Garcia all necessitate having a fleet that can act. I don’t know if you are aware of the Rand study focusing on the vulnerability of US pacific air bases but it was not pretty. Again your arguments against SSN’s is mysterious to me. SSK’s are notoriously short legged and even with the latest advancements are only coastal boats in nature, not the ocean going subs that the US, UK and France depend on. Upgrades to older ships is expensive and their replacement might be more viable. And lastly your idea of using ships built to mercantile standards for combat use will probably get someone killed. I realize that you’re espousing a policy of reduced arms spending world wide but I must remind you that nations as small as Singapore and as large as China are rapidly acquiring state of the art weapon systems. As a matter of fact, their will be more South American and Asian countries with Leopard 2 tanks than exist in all of Europe. That is surprising for an alliance (the EU) that plans on being both an economic and military power.

  18. June 28, 2009 3:05 pm

    “…the decline of ship numbers and Western seapower in the last century is too great to ignore…”

    This needs to be seen in international and tactical-technical contexts.

    international:
    There’s simply no competition with the Soviet Navy any more.
    Think of the 80’s. Now imagine away all ASW assets and naval forces meant to fight the Soviet Navy only.
    We’ve got more today than what was left in that example.

    tactical-technical:
    – land-based aviation and satellites can detect and track surface ships easily. We don’t need dozens of RN cruisers to patrol the seven seas. We only need a few small ships to inspect what aerial and space-based sensors have tracked.
    – most naval actions happen close to shore. The Bismarck sinking and the two Battles of the Atlantic are the only major exceptions.
    Land-based aviation dominates the surface of oceans and seas close to shore (and aerial refuelling redefined ‘close’ quite a bit).
    This land-based aviation is available not only for defence (by design), but also for offence against Russian or PR Chinese navies.
    The classic sea power has therefore been augmented by air power, and air power is in great shape.

    Shortcomings persist, but I have different suspects in this regard:

    – lack of sonar technology upgrades to 80’s/90’s warships

    – limited munition stocks (missiles, torpedoes)

    – limited quantity of naval helicopters (limited ability to compensate for losses in combat)

    – land-based air power insufficiently trained for naval warfare

    – limited mine countermeasure capabilities (quantity-wise and in regard to torpedo mines)

    – few SSKs (with AIP), too many expensive SSNs

    – terrible state of shipyard industry (especially in the U.S. – ridiculous)

    – lack of readily available designs for rapid quantity production of warships (MCM boats, simple aircraft carriers, convoy escorts, container ships turned into auxiliary cruisers/auxiliaries in general)

  19. June 28, 2009 3:05 pm

    I know, the ‘Party’ has been the RN’s traditional method of diplomacy for centuries…many a nacent conflict has been nipped in the bud by a good bottle of wiskey.

    Mike you do have many good ideas; I just think concentrating on the army in britains case would not be wise..we are afterall an island…the complete reverse of switzerland or Austria in fact, so a navy is a necessity; and to reiterate my point a nation which depends on the sea for 90% of its supplies and trade; a majority of that coming through those 5 famous sea choke points…a blue water navy will always be a necessity; and if the British governments forget this then it is the responsibility of the british people to remind them.

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  20. Mike Burleson permalink
    June 28, 2009 2:46 pm

    I realize my ideas are a bit controversial, and certainly long-ranged, but the decline of ship numbers and Western seapower in the last century is too great to ignore. Remember when the “sun never set on the British Empire”? Wasn’t very long ago, and even the mighty American Navy will all its power in no way can lay claim to the littorals as did the Royal Navy 100 years ago. Back then some British steamers and a few Army Regiments guarded the largest Empire in all history. Today, the most powerful and expensive warships ever imagined are used to maintain an often fragile world peace in the USN’s very costly form of “gunboat diplomacy”.

    Also Alex said “the vast majority do not mind a ship popping by to say hey…fancy a party?”

    Well put! Now that is real gunboat diplomacy!

  21. June 28, 2009 1:48 pm

    I concur solomon, what I find funny, is that the french are considering building their 45,000ton carrier, nuclear powered; we could have done the same, bought three (I would like four but doubt we would get them), probably slightly enhanced nuclear powered America designs (they would be our flagships, so I am sorry mike but yes we would want to kit them out a little fancy…i.e. Admirals state rooms and the like), maybe slightly bigger so that they carry a few more JSFs in standard load, and that would have been britain happy; instead we are building a design which in many ways, will actually cripple the RN – especially as it will be more expensive to maintain than the slightly more expensive to build nuclear equivalent.

    I would also like to point out for show the flag operations; most countries don’t like other nations fighters overflying them (and you can’t hold a party in them when they land) and very few countries like you sending battalions of infantry to say hallo, whereas the vast majority do not mind a ship popping by to say hey…fancy a party?

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  22. solomon permalink
    June 28, 2009 1:11 pm

    Alex,
    I couldn’t agree more. Additionally with not only the UK but the US becoming more insular as the world deals with its economic crisis, the necessity for short term military engagements in the form of humanitarian assistance, rescue of nationals on foreign lands, show the flag operations etc will become even more important. Air Forces can’t do that job and the Army should be reserved for either peacekeeping or war. Also, I find it funny that the UK did not sign onto the LHA(R) project. Its in the 45,000 range and would seem ideal for your nations type of operations. The USN even has projected it in the role of a sea control ship in which it carriers a full compliment of F-35s and SeaHawks (I imagine Lynx or Merlins in your nations service). A recurring theme that I find disturbing is the focus on smaller, less advanced platforms. Ocean going ships that are stable platforms will by design be larger than their coastal cousins. If we are to copy the Nordic countries and build ships that are designed to operate within sight of our shores then this might be the way to go other we must go large and hi tech. Lastly, this fight that the Navy is talking about waging in the Littorals is a by product of the Rumsfield era. The USMC is designing a forcible entry force that enables the fleet to operate outside that danger zone. That’s why the EFV is so important. Operations in the littoral area will yield more dangers than just swarms of small boats. Shore based artillery, guided missile batteries and even anti-tank missiles would doom those combatants. Leave the close in fight to the Marines and let the Navy when the fight on the high seas.

  23. June 28, 2009 12:50 pm

    distiller, I don’t like either of those options, Mike the Trouble is, we are an island nation, and fleets can not be built quickly anymore, plus you have to remember that 93% of the worlds population lives within 300miles of the coast…or standard strike range of carriers!

    Mike, furthermore to this, your point the army is the logical option for funding is only valid in the short term…the army is not the logical ‘long term’ option for funding, the army is at stretch in Iraq and Afghanistan (now largely just the latter), it can not go anywhere else and our committments are everywhere else as well – diplomatically, politically and strategically, a nation which is dependent for over 90% of all its supplies (including food, and fuel) on sea trade, can simply not afford to let its navy slip into just a light blue water role – we have to have the heavy bats in our bag of tricks, like carriers, destroyers, ssn’s and amphibious task group; but we also need presence forces like corvettes to make the fleet more flexible and to give more hulls for its money.

    The army will need to be restructed, probably best is brigades with 3 striker battalions, 1 mech infantry battalion, 1 armoured calvary squadron (with some MBTs as well as mech infantry), and its own logistics and artillery units for support; most likely with a few par battalions for those times when you need just pure, highly motivated, light infantry. The reason I chose the form I did was of my knowledge of both war fighting and peaceKeeping/peaceEnforcement ops, where you need an ‘enforcer’ unit (the armoured cav squadron) and an open area check point unit (the mech inf), whilst the general duties are handled by the three striker battalions.

    The navy will need its carriers, I would prefer three nuclear 75,000ton jobs, but I would settle for three 40,000ton conventional carriers; I am not a supporter of just two carriers, and I think 65,000ton is just to big to be efficient when non-nuclear, especially as the gas engine chosen will neither generate enough power or enough steam to operate catapults. The RN will also need at least 6 if not 12 more destroyers, to support its amphibious capability and the 48 corvettes it needs to maintain presence around the world – that is required by the commitments of its political masters.

    to pay for all this, as I talked about in my post http://amphibiousnecessity.blogspot.com/2009/06/logic-of-cutsnot-that-logical.html, I believe that this could all be paid for by base rationalisation; if we are going to kill sacred cows, then bases in germany, bases in saudi arabia which both cost far more than even the Eurofighter project did in total over any 3 year period would save more than enough money to allow the army to be modernised and restructured to fight 90% of conflicts well, rather 25% brilliantly; and pay for the RAF to be reformed to support them, and allow the navy to be brought back from the dead, to something which can (again) hold its own in 90% of conflicts and taskings, and be in a good form to take a leading role when co-operating with allies for the other 10%.

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  24. Distiller permalink
    June 28, 2009 11:30 am

    The problem is the U.K. doesn’t have enemies worth fighting, but then enemies it can’t afford to fight. Nothing between rudimentary third-class forces, and countries with 100+ million people and a nuclear capability. So something like an extended expeditionary raiding capability would fit the bill. But in the end Britain has the choice either use its energy to create a united Europe and stay relevant by becoming a driving force in such a construct, or become states 51 to 53 of the U.S.

  25. Mike Burleson permalink
    June 28, 2009 10:41 am

    Alex, I see your country’s problems a mirror image of what is going on here, only yours is more urgent. With a much smaller budget the British need to settle what type of army, navy, and air force its wishes to have now to avoid calamity. America just might weather the next decade but our time is coming.

    The Army seems to be the logical choice for increased funding. Americans are behind their army because of recent successes In Iraq and the need to settle the Afghan problem. British failures in Iraq might turn to good as many see the need for changes within the Army, to make it more relevant against the type of Hybrid threats most common in this new century. I predict the UK Army winning the budget battle, otherwise the RAF and RN infighting will destroy everything.

    One reason I propose low cost platforms here so much, mainly to restore reasonable numbers of equipment to the services (which can be affordably replaced as needed) but also save them from themselves. Their insistence on buying ever costly and fewer platforms that are rarely used in time of war, or only against barely industrialized states when they do see combat, is turning the politicians off. The people who allocate funds are desperately wishing for more social programs so any seen as non-essential will be cut. These cuts will focus on the more high tech, equipment dependent services like the Air Forces and Navies. These two services risk becoming completely irrelevent and defunded because they can’t control costs.

    The days when the ocean and airpower defended us is nearing an end. Porous borders and weakened immigration laws are more of a threat than battleships and bombers, or even ballistic missiles. Civil disobedience is rampant even within tyrannical regimes like Iran. We must have more ground forces to stave off complete collapse of nations. Historically this is where the world has always been, with armies dominating while fleets could be built in an emergency, and only as needed. The British changed everything and opened up the world through seapower, but most of the world’s population don’t dwell in maritime states. This era of seapower ruling all has only been with us a few centuries, and airpower even less. It is an anomaly I don’t see surviving this century.

  26. June 28, 2009 10:17 am

    well lots of people are thinking, one nation, no airforce; afterall we don’t have the strike arm of the US Airforce, we only need air defence, Long-Range UAVs, Long-Range ASW & carriers (which could be RNAS) and ground support & transport planes/helos (which could be army flying core); I am not sure about this plan, but I do understand the logic, afterall a defence budget split two ways is better than three. It would also ensure that the army got what it needed – ground support aircraft – which could carry the missiles for air defence. Whilst the Navy needs the performance fighters for fleet air defence, so it would just get enough of those for homeland defence as well.

    its an idea, but not a popular one, as the RAF’s media machine is far more powerful than the other services combined; and the army is to busy attacking the navy’s carriers, in fact the whole concept of a navy to notice what the other service is doing.

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  27. solomon permalink
    June 28, 2009 9:59 am

    Very well said Alex. I knew the costs of the Eurofighter were staggering…but…wow. Don’t feel bad. Inter service rivalries are alive and well on our side of the “pond” too. The “one nation, one air force” story has died out do you have any idea on the thinking now?

  28. June 28, 2009 8:59 am

    we do certainly have a problem with infighting between the forces; and you must remember whilst carriers and their aircraft will cost £5billion, the Typhoon’s have cost £20billion and its still rising…its just too much money for to little benefit; the British governments comit its forces around the world, they will always need air support of some kind, and thus the carriers have a rational…air defence fighters that need bases which have to have multi-billion pound maintenance facility (so times that cost by however many bases, and this has not been added to the total cost of the eurofighters yet) are very difficult in my mind to justify; especially when its only the third tranche (about 25% of all fighters procured under the Typhoon program) can carry the all the munitions required to support troops fighting on the ground.

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  29. solomon permalink
    June 28, 2009 8:42 am

    The British problem is one of Service Rivalry run amok. The Royal Navy was the leading service without a doubt up to and shortly after the Falklands Campaign. The Royal Air Force then began acquiring EuroFighters which have consumed a larger part of the budget. It was a Euro-project so when it came time to balance the budget, they were unable to make substantial cuts to that program. Add to this issue the A-400 mess and you have the Royal Air Force consuming a larger part of the budget at a time when the other services are scrambling just to maintain the equipment they have. The Royal Navy also suffered from bad bargains and bad actions on the part of the Air Force. The Joint Harrier Force was suppose to be simply a stop-gap to streamline the training and logistics base of the service. It has resulted in a virtual take over by the RAF. Same with Helicopter Command. All this has led to the RN not having funds currently to fund F-35’s to go on their carriers (which are also Euro-projects). The RAF is also attempting a pre-emptive strike to limit F-35 purchases by ridding the RN of fast jets. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/08/slug_balancers_strike_again/
    The RN is just a victim of a sister service acting in a predatory manner. They’ll get their carriers and F-35’s. If for no other reason but jobs.

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