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RN Deploys Influence Squadron South

February 21, 2010

RFA Wave Ruler (A3900) leads an international naval squadron in a 2007 exercise.

Couldn’t help but notice the interesting makeup of the Royal Navy Task Force currently deployed near the Falkland Islands, as the tiny British Territory is once again under threat from the Argentine Mainland who still lay claim to what they call las Malvinas. Perhaps this wasn’t intentional on the Navy’s part, but most of the basic framework of the modern Influence Squadron advocated by New Wars and others is right here:

  • Air Defense Ship-HMS York
  • Mothership-RFA Wave Ruler
  •  Large Patrol Ship (Survey Vessel)HMS Scott
  • Coastal Patrol ShipHMS Clyde

 Backed by the Royal Air Force’s  “unsinkable aircraft carrier” on Mount Pleasant, the Falklands, the force should be able to deter any renewed Argentine threat however unlikely that may be. If the two nations would again come to blows, HMS Ark Royal loaded with RAF Harriers, and HMS Ocean with troops and helos would spearhead a more capable and powerful Task Force to plug into the HMS York group already there.

It’s an entirely new concept of war at sea. Where you can’t have enough carriers to constantly forward deploy, certainly don’t need them for the everyday task of deterrence, patrol, and presence, the Influence Squadron is an effective and drastically cost-efficient measure to handle most contingencies. What exactly is an Influence Squadron, you ask? Though the idea has been bouncing around the blogosphere for a few years, Commander Henry Hendrix, USN recently compiled the notion and especially invented the title in a USNI Proceedings article titled Buy Fords, Not Ferrari’s:’

The next step on the Navy’s path to a new future should be the creation of “Influence Squadrons” composed of an amphibious mother ship (an LPD-17 or a cheaper commercial ship with similar capabilities), a destroyer to provide air, surface, and subsurface defensive capabilities, a Littoral Combat Ship to extend a squadron’s reach into the green-water environment and provide some mine warfare capabilities, a Joint High Speed Vessel to increase lift, a Coastal Patrol ship to operate close in, and an M80 Stiletto to provide speed and versatility….

These forces, operating every day around the world, would represent the preponderance of visible U.S. naval power. Their understated capabilities would epitomize America’s peaceful, non-aggressive intent, and would carry out the new maritime strategy’s stated purpose of providing positive influence forward. However, the Influence Squadron, carrying credible firepower across a broad area of operations, could also serve to either dissuade or destroy pirate networks that might seek to prey upon increasingly vulnerable commercial sea lines of communication.

Just exchange “America” for “Britain” in the exert and it still fits. Also note that Wave Ruler can load troops as well in the amphibious role, and there are plentiful helicopters within this little fleet.

11 Comments leave one →
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  4. February 21, 2010 2:28 pm

    Hello,

    Mike Burleson said:

    “RN Deploys Influence Squadron South”

    The Royal Navy has not deployed any squadron to the South Atlantic.

    Mike Burleson said:

    “Couldn’t help but notice the interesting makeup of the Royal Navy Task Force currently deployed near the Falkland Islands…”

    There is no Royal Navy Task Force deployed near the Falkland Islands.

    Mike Burleson said:

    “…..as the tiny British Territory is once again under threat from the Argentine Mainland who still lay claim to what they call las Malvinas.”

    The Falklands are not under threat from Argentina.

    Mike Burleson said:

    “Perhaps this wasn’t intentional on the Navy’s part, but most of the basic framework of the modern Influence Squadron advocated by New Wars and others is right here:”

    If this is the definition of an influence squadron then just about any group of warships which has sailed the seas any time in the last seventy years was an influence squadron.

    Mike Burleson said:

    “Mothership-RFA Wave Ruler”

    In the past you have given various definitions of a “mothership”:a vessel armed with Aegis which protected smaller vessels;a depot ship/tender which provided logistic support to corvettes,now you seem to be suggesting that any fleet oiler is a “mothership”?

    Mike Burleson said:

    “Large Patrol Ship (Survey Vessel)-HMS Scott”

    H.M.S. Scott is an unarmed hydrographic survey vessel,she is not a patrol ship.

    Mike Burleson said:

    “Backed by the Royal Air Force’s ”unsinkable aircraft carrier” on Mount Pleasant, the Falklands, the force should be able to deter any renewed Argentine threat however unlikely that may be.”

    There are not enough aircraft at Mount Pleasant to protect the runway,let alone to protect ships at sea,how can they deter an attack when they can’t even protect their own base?

    Mike Burleson said:

    “If the two nations would again come to blows, HMS Ark Royal loaded with RAF Harriers, and HMS Ocean with troops and helos would spearhead a more capable and powerful Task Force to plug into the HMS York group already there.”

    The “HMS York group” consists of… H.M.S. York,but otherwise this is correct,unlike in 1982,Argentina is well aware that it has little hope of countering a Royal Navy task force and there is little point invading the Falkland Islands if they can’t hold them.

    Mike Burleson said:

    “It’s an entirely new concept of war at sea. Where you can’t have enough carriers to constantly forward deploy, certainly don’t need them for the everyday task of deterrence, patrol, and presence, the Influence Squadron is an effective and drastically cost-efficient measure to handle most contingencies.”

    Mike Burleson said:

    “It’s an entirely new concept of war at sea. Where you can’t have enough carriers to constantly forward deploy, certainly don’t need them for the everyday task of deterrence, patrol, and presence,….”

    Standard practice for the Royal Navy over the last five hundred years or so has been to do routine sea control duties with cruising ships while retaining capital ships (ships of the line,battleships of today sircraft carriers) for the major warfighting which creates the conditions in which the sea control assets can do their job.
    Which is why the South Atlantic is today being patrolled by H.M.S. York and not a carrier battle group.

    Mike Burleson said:

    “….the Influence Squadron is an effective and drastically cost-efficient measure to handle most contingencies.”

    There are very few contingencies which can be handled by a destroyer with (almost) no anti-ship or anti-submarine capability,an unarmed survey ship,a fisheries protection vessel and a fleet oiler.
    Certainly these assets would be completely ineffective in combatting the Argentine Navy.

    tangosix.

  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 21, 2010 2:21 pm

    Really, the Argies are less well off than the Brits in terms of equipment. As I said, this wasn’t an intentional deployment of the Influence Squadron, but certainly a logical one barring war. So, you think the admirals will get it and spend their future funds more wisely? Shrinking the fleet clearly isn’t a smart choice.

  6. Matthew S. permalink
    February 21, 2010 12:25 pm

    Yes it is hard to believe that 28 years later, the main Air Defense ship is still the same Type 42 destroyer with 2 phalanx attached. I realize Sea Dart has been upgraded but that has got to be sobering news to think that this destroyer was the main air defense picket in 1982 as well.

  7. February 21, 2010 10:28 am

    I wonder if we are heading more for a repeat of the Cod Wars more than a repeat of ’82?

  8. February 21, 2010 8:57 am

    Incidentally the RN has not really ‘deployed’ this squadron – all the ships part of a routine Royal Navy presence in the South Atlantic which has been maintained continuously (and part of an effective deterrent) since 1982.

  9. February 21, 2010 8:53 am

    Well it’s a lovely idea but I’m glad I’m not a sailor at sea with the “influence squadron”. In the event the Argentines attacked, these 4 ships could be at the bottom of the sea before you could say “sea-skimming missile”. If the Argentines could muster a few aircraft to launch modern anti-ship missiles then the sum total of weaponry this squadron could muster would be – 1 x Sea Dart (upgrade of system used in last Falklands war 28 years ago!), 1 x 4.5″ gun, 2 x Phalanx CIWS, 3 x 30mm cannon and assorted light machine guns, 1 x Lynx helicopter. (the most potent weapon remain the RN’s attitude of ‘can do’ will ‘make-do and mend’, bravery and heritage!)

    Unfortunately there is the small matter of the 3-4 weeks and 8,000 miles needed to ‘Plug-in’ HMS Ark Royal (no air defence aircraft only ground attack aircraft) and HMS Ocean (top speed 18 knots).

    Everything would really depend on the untested RAF Typhoons based on the islands (of which there are only 4.) They would probably be unbeatable in air-air combat but have very short range and with just 4 of them could not maintain continuous CAP.

    The only salvation is that the Argentine forces are even more clapped out and under-funded than the UK’s!

Trackbacks

  1. Carrier Alternative Weekly « New Wars
  2. Oil Row Revives Falklands Tensions Between The UK And Argentina (News Updates For February 22, 2010) « Read NEWS

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