aonestudio

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BAE Systems has revealed to Janes that it conducted its first demonstration of its new 155 mm extended range (ER) high-explosive (HE) artillery projectile, which was developed using some UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) funding and some internal funding.

The demonstrations occurred in late 2020 but were not revealed until now.

The trials were carried at the QinetiQ Eskmeals artillery proving range in the northern United Kingdom with a BAE Systems AS90 155 mm/39 calibre self-propelled (SP) artillery system and a 155 mm/52 calibre firing stand to show compatibility with the UK MoD's forthcoming Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) acquisition programme.

BSP_1914-IDR-13056.jpg

BAE systems said that, when fired from the AS90's 155 mm/39 calibre ordnance, the 155 mm ER HE projectile has a range greater than 30,000 m, which would provide a step change in capability over the currently deployed 155 mm L15A4 HE projectile.

The company added that, when fired from the 155 mm/52 calibre range stand, the projectile proved a maximum range beyond 40 km.

The new 155 mm ER HE has a payload of about 10 kg and achieves the increase in range via a base bleed (BB) unit that was designed and manufactured at the company's Glascoed facility.

The 155 mm ER HE trial was done using a European in-service modular charge system (MCS).

Demonstration and firing trials of the 155 mm ER HE were completed in 2020, and in November 2020 the company was awarded a contract under the UK's existing ammunition contract, “a tasking to qualify the 155 ER HE projectile in the UK service environment. This programme started in 2020”, a company spokesperson told Janes .
 

zen

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Is this a news thread in alternative history?
Is this Future Speculation?

Wouldn't a debate on the balance side composition of UK forces really be a subject for Theory?

Where is the Alternative History and Future Speculation in this thread?

Sort of scratching my head over this one as it seems to have veered off into just news.

I find the best news on defence has been The Fifth Column for what must be the last 20 years.

 
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Hood

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I always felt this belonged more in the military section as its morphed into news reporting, though I do accept some of it is future speculation given how political plans vary over time.
Same with the Re-arming the Bundeswehr thread.
 

Wyvern

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Is it possible that a UK news thread can be created out of the posts here, and this thread remains in Alternative History? (although I think it should be moved to the Future and Speculative section)

I didn't realise this was even in the Alternate History section until it was pointed out. Doh! o_O
 

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It seems HMS Diamond is currently out of action, possibly due to a WR-21 failure.

https://www.navylookout.com/hms-dia..._ZMC8Y19zQ91jVVRPcwfay13AYicFsaH72VqjtC5i9LSw

A turbine replacement in itself isn't much to worry about, but posting due to the update on the Power Improvement Package at the link. Progress seems to be slower than planned. The PGMU programme for the T23s seems to be even slower progress at present.

And it does reveal that for all the current PR of having two carriers at sea at once (QE now East of Suez and PoW West of Gib), that the escorting fleet is spread very thin with not much cover for unforeseen events.
 

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Only one of Royal Navy's flagship destroyers is operational, ministers admit
Only one of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers is operational, ministers have admitted.
HMS Defender, recently at the centre of a diplomatic row with Russia following a voyage off the Crimean peninsula, is the only vessel of the class without an issue.
The other five Type 45s all need work, either planned or due to problems developed while at sea.
Tobias Ellwood MP, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, suggested the situation was “operationally unacceptable”.
Both Defender and HMS Diamond were part of the carrier strike group (CSG), the UK’s attempt to demonstrate its naval power around the world.
But Jeremy Quin, the Defence Procurement Minister, said HMS Diamond had experienced “some technical issues” and was having maintenance, inspection and “defect rectification”.
HMS Daring and HMS Duncan are having planned “deep maintenance”, while HMS Dauntless has been upgraded and is due to return to sea for trials this year.
HMS Dragon is undergoing “planned maintenance” in advance of further operational commitments.
Mr Quin told MPs on the committee: “We have two Type 45s embarked with the CSG, Diamond has got current issues but I hope they will be able to be rectified shortly.”
Mr Ellwood said: “HMS Defender is now our only current operational Type 45.
“If that ship experiences propulsion problems as we have seen across the Type 45 family, then our carrier group would have to be forced to lean on a Nato ally to ensure that we have destroyer protection.
“That really indicates - bottom line - we need a bigger navy.”
 

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And so the long shadow cast by Gordon Brown reaches out from the early 2000's. We could have had another 5 Type 45s for a fixed price, that would literally seem like peanuts compared to what is thrown around now.
 

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Yeah we could have could have had another five Type 45s, then we might have two of them operational now!
Also, the Navy would have needed five additional crews and its certain to have laid up some T23s even sooner to have freed up the necessary manpower. And I'm not sure that's a sacrifice that would have been wise, and let's face it without any carriers between 2010-2020 an aerial defence platform was of less necessity. Now we have 2 carriers, more T45s might be more attractive but I'm still unsure if the Defence White Paper was calling for both carriers to be operational at the same time or not depending on how you read it.
 

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Yeah we could have could have had another five Type 45s, then we might have two of them operational now!
Also, the Navy would have needed five additional crews and its certain to have laid up some T23s even sooner to have freed up the necessary manpower. And I'm not sure that's a sacrifice that would have been wise, and let's face it without any carriers between 2010-2020 an aerial defence platform was of less necessity. Now we have 2 carriers, more T45s might be more attractive but I'm still unsure if the Defence White Paper was calling for both carriers to be operational at the same time or not depending on how you read it.
Well recalling what I can I seem to reccal it was just putting the decision off at the time. There was no official statement about reducing AAW ship numbers for years after. Most of us onlookers were still hearing about plans to order 07 and 08 at least.
Which made sense as this meshed with other numbers.
This all dragged on in a degree of suspence and it became increasingly obvious the window on more Type 45 was closing.

At the time Iraq and Afghanistan was sucking resources away while budgets were still shrinking.

As to lack of need...
If anything the lack of Carrier Airpower made the need for AAW ships greater. Thankfully that was never needed.
But now.....
 

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Just a food for thought:

As is clear from the title, the UK is potentially looking at conducting drills from motorways and dispersal strips, as tensions between the UK and Russia are at an all time high.
 

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Maybe they shouldn't have kept closing down RAF stations every couple of years since 1992? Notable he only mentions Typhoon, I presume CAS is assuming the F-35 really is a go-anywhere VTOL asset? Or is he not worried if Marham's runway gets a few holes in it and hopes the Lightning just hops over them?

There are only a certain number of civil airfields that this would be possible, the article mentions places like Bournemouth and Doncaster, there are a couple of others, places like Southampton, Blackpool, Carlisle, St Athan and Torquay. Most of these out of the way places and probably not ideal for QRA sorties. Some might not have suitable LCA ratings though.

Maybe they could use Cosford and Duxford too? At least those runways are still operational. Places like Elvington, Bentwaters, Woodbridge, Alconbury and Bruntingthorpe are long out of use and probably not feasible.

The motorway plan seems a non-starter. The M55 Jaguar trial is I think the only UK example. Most important motorway routes (Smart Motorways) now have gantries at regular intervals and a lot of street furniture along their length and traffic levels are immense on the main network. Even if the road surface could withstand a Typhoon landing on them (debatable), there is no where to fuel and rearm them.
 

timmymagic

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Maybe they shouldn't have kept closing down RAF stations every couple of years since 1992? Notable he only mentions Typhoon, I presume CAS is assuming the F-35 really is a go-anywhere VTOL asset? Or is he not worried if Marham's runway gets a few holes in it and hopes the Lightning just hops over them?

There are only a certain number of civil airfields that this would be possible, the article mentions places like Bournemouth and Doncaster, there are a couple of others, places like Southampton, Blackpool, Carlisle, St Athan and Torquay. Most of these out of the way places and probably not ideal for QRA sorties. Some might not have suitable LCA ratings though.

Maybe they could use Cosford and Duxford too? At least those runways are still operational. Places like Elvington, Bentwaters, Woodbridge, Alconbury and Bruntingthorpe are long out of use and probably not feasible.

The motorway plan seems a non-starter. The M55 Jaguar trial is I think the only UK example. Most important motorway routes (Smart Motorways) now have gantries at regular intervals and a lot of street furniture along their length and traffic levels are immense on the main network. Even if the road surface could withstand a Typhoon landing on them (debatable), there is no where to fuel and rearm them.

Getting RAF Leeming more use would make sense in the interim. Wattisham, Cottesmore, Leuchars, Kinloss, Upper Heyford, Linton on Ouse, Brawdy, Mona, Boscombe Down and Scampton could all be reactivated. Think Bentwaters and Woodbridge are too far gone....but Elvington's runway is still in regular use...and is colossal (and the hardstanding is epic).
 

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I thought Elvington's runway was not operational but actually it seems to still be open for visiting aircraft.
 

timmymagic

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I thought Elvington's runway was not operational but actually it seems to still be open for visiting aircraft.

Saw a HondaJet there last time I was over (back in 2019), parked up at the end of the runway not far from the Victor. Some GA uses it occasionally as well. Seems to still be in good nick, last time I was on the hardstanding it was still pretty solid as well.

The RAF's retreat to a few super bases was always going to end in failure, thank the lord that the Army returned from Germany at the same time and made use of so many airfield sites. Hopefully like Kinloss they can be re-used if necessary. The perimeters will still be secure after all.

We also lost a lot of HAS with the closures. Neither Lossiemouth, Marham or Coningsby is overly blessed with them (check out Upper Heyford, Bentwaters or the remnants of Bruggen to see a properly HAS'd up base)...there we were thinking that HAS didn't make any sense in a world of precision guided munitions post GW1...then along came cheap loitering munitions and UAV's...just think what damage a Spetznatz team could do with a small truck load of Switchblade like munitions....
 

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Personally on historical form I'd say don't trust such investment companies owning such critical assets and don't allow them to consolidate.
Promises aren't worth a damn of this sort. History is replete with examples.
 
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Grey Havoc

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Bloody glitchy paywall.

Second story first:
Sheffield Forgemasters has been nationalised amid fears that a crisis at the firm would jeopardise the £40bn programme to build next-generation nuclear missile submarines for the Royal Navy.
Ministers will use £2.6m of taxpayer money to buy out existing shareholders including former chief executive Graham Honeyman, and the state is taking on £17m of the troubled steelmaker's debt.
The rescue, by the Ministry of Defence, will end concerns that poor financial performance at Forgemasters could hold up the manufacture of parts vital for building the new Dreadnought class of Trident missile subs.
Forgemasters - which is known for working on an aborted long-range "supergun" for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1989 - has struggled financially for years. It was forced to beg for a £30m emergency loan underwritten by customers BAE Systems, Babcock and Rolls-Royce five years ago to stay afloat.
Although Forgemasters has a regular supply of defence work, mainly from Britain's nuclear subs programmes, it has made only small profits and was left unable to invest in new equipment needed for projects essential to national security.
Accounts for the year ending December 2019 show the company had sales of just £79.3m and made a pre-tax profit of £800,000. During the period it also landed contracts worth £66m, mainly from defence customers, which the business said would provide "core revenues" through to 2022.
David Bond, chief executive, said: "This is an unusual deal, but public ownership of this key sovereign capability is a sensible outcome.
"We are the only company in the UK capable of this kind of work and the Government wants to preserve that capability. There are very few companies around the world who do what we do, and many of them are in countries we would never do business in."
He said that it would be difficult for the Government to even buy parts from the US if Forgemasters went bust, as American defence companies are struggling to keep up with demand from existing customers in the American Navy.
Forgemasters was not in danger of failing without government intervention, Mr Bond said, but it could not afford to make the huge investments needed to match MoD requirements.
He said: "This is a hugely capital-intensive business.
"The reality is that we could carry on with a 'sticking plaster' approach and made do but we could not afford to invest in new equipment."
Forgemasters would be forced to spend more time on maintenance as the company's equipment aged, Mr Bond said, as well as cutting production rates and incurring higher costs, all of which could endanger the Dreadnought programme.
Nationalisation paves the way for the MoD to invest £400m in new equipment over coming decade, a sum which Forgemasters could never manage under its current ownership structure.
About 600 jobs will be protected by the arrangement to refinance the business, which can trace its history back to the mid-18th century.
Under the terms of the agreement negotiated over the past two years, the MoD will pay 121p a share to the existing shareholders, made up of Mr Honeyman and staff through an employee trust arrangement.
Although Forgemasters will be owned by UK Government Investments, a part of the civil service, the Ministry of Defence said this did not mean it would automatically win contracts that other companies could compete for.
The Government said that it ultimately hopes to return the business to private ownership.
Mr Bond said he will now seek to seize on opportunities arising from the UK Government’s net zero carbon agenda, including offshore winds projects and the civil nuclear market.
The company also hopes to work on a new generation of mini nuclear reactors which are far cheaper to design and build than conventional powerplants.
Mr Bond said that the nuclear plants - known as small modular reactors - are similar to the devices used in submarines.

First story:
The Royal Navy is to ditch a 200-year-old tradition in which the Captain of the ship gives a “grilling” to new officers, replacing it with a “holistic” feedback session in a major shake-up.
Following a sailor’s first spell at sea, they would normally be quizzed by the ship’s captain once ashore, where they would demonstrate what they had learnt over the three months of the Common Fleet Time.
Known as the Fleet Board, the assessment marked the culmination of an officer’s official training.
The tradition, described by the Royal Navy’s Training Management Group in its review as a “grilling”, will now be replaced with the officer expected to explain how they might respond to an emergency, demonstrating leadership, knowledge and the ability to think on their feet.
The first group of 80 newly commissioned officers will go through the overhauled Common Fleet Time and final assessment at the end of August.
As well as the new final assessment, the refreshed training will involve a considerably shorter “learning journal’’, also known as a task book, for officers to complete onboard.
The training will be more modular and students will work in each department, rather than their chosen specialist branch such as logistics or warfare.
Trainees will also be encouraged to shadow senior ratings, while the final assessment will no longer be carried out solely by the commanding officer, with other members of the ship’s company encouraged to sit on the panel to build their command, leadership and management skills.
The Navy said the overhaul would introduce some of the “biggest changes in decades’’ and will be “mirroring the way industries assess high-flying candidates’’.
Meanwhile, in order to be “robust for the modern age”, the final training package has been designed with templates for development journals and ship-specific assessments hosted on the Navy’s learning portal, allowing them to be remotely accessed by those who deliver training while ships are deployed.
The Navy said they made the changes in order to adapt the experience “making it more relevant” to the fleet, which introduces most junior officers to the day-to-day running, routine and life aboard an operational warship.
It also said that the training package had not been reviewed for sometime and was “falling behind the industry standard for equivalent training for junior managers”.
Lieutenant Alexandra Head, who has led on the changes, said: “The new assessment is designed to give modern-day learners holistic feedback in line with current coaching and mentoring practices, allowing individuals to identify areas for self-improvement.”
Lieutenant Head added that “people today expect modern training”.
“Our sea training needs to reflect that,” she said. “This is a different way of assessing Royal Navy officers, much more modern, much more in line with the commercial world and also much in keeping with the expectations of the candidates themselves.”
Colonel Ade Morley, Commandant of the Royal Navy Training Management Group, said:
“This review of our sea-based core training allows our young officers to broaden their skills and continue their learning journeys onboard ships, and modern learning and development techniques ensure learners are engaged by their training.
“It is essential to a modern Navy that individuals can learn anywhere.”
 

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I fear the worst of modern management practices is seeping into the RN....
 

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:rolleyes:
james may.JPG

In other news, the UK seems to be taking space more seriously, with a dedicated Space Command in order to protect its assets and interests in space:

Meanwhile, the Royal Navy has stated that its Littoral Response Group in the Gulf is to be based out of Oman. This group will allow for rapid deployment of Royal Marines and their assets to hotspots in the Indian Ocean, and beyond.
 

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:rolleyes:


Meanwhile, the Royal Navy has stated that its Littoral Response Group in the Gulf is to be based out of Oman. This group will allow for rapid deployment of Royal Marines and their assets to hotspots in the Indian Ocean, and beyond.
With Jetpacks, I hope!
 

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Seems feasible enough, companies like Pipistrel are developing electric light aircraft.
Replace those Grobs with Pipistrel Velis Electros and job done. Don't even have to wait until the end of the decade (oh you do because the MoD doesn't own them and has to wait until the PFI contract runs out, whoopsie).

As to further news, well of course, they've just built a new repair facility in Oman so that's a no brainer. EoS has certainly returned with a vengeance after a 50 year interlude.
 

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timmymagic

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Seems feasible enough, companies like Pipistrel are developing electric light aircraft.
Replace those Grobs with Pipistrel Velis Electros and job done. Don't even have to wait until the end of the decade (oh you do because the MoD doesn't own them and has to wait until the PFI contract runs out, whoopsie).

The cost decrease in going electric will be colossal if they work as planned. Might even see a return of air experience flights if it gets really cheap.
 

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timmymagic

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However there is scepticism about his move:
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58266643

After Meggitt, Cobham and Newport Wafer Fab I wouldn't trust this government as far as I could throw them. The price of everything but the value of nothing springs to mind...
 

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Cobham though is still a UK-based company, yes its now owned by US venture capitalists but doesn't mean that Advent International are going to be getting secrets directly as they have multiple interests in multiple economic sectors - I mean these guys own Poundland and DFS as well... they just want the share dividends.

So I don't really see the objection, Cobham is already an international company regardless of who owns the shares and Cobham must already have some safeguards in place to maintain UK national secrets from its other international operations. Likewise I'm sure they aren't channeling every overseas secret they obtain from their international contracts to the MoD.

Certainly the decision to allow Advent's takeover of Cobham originally was a far bigger headache. The US private equity issue rather shrouds the real effect, which is the continued shrinking of the UK defence industry - regardless of who owns the shares the actual industrial base and competition is rapidly shrinking, even not counting the loss of control should US investors decide to asset strip or close sites or sell off juicy bits for profit.
 

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Advent flogged off at least half of Cobham within a year of its acquisition though, in blatant violation of commitments given to the UK government and the more reluctant of the existing shareholders among others at the time they were allowed to go ahead with the takeover. And the long term future of the remainder is in serious doubt. Advent are considered more to be along the lines of asset strippers than real investors these days. Not that hasn't stopped certain parties lobbying for the Ultra Electronics deal to be allowed through:


EDIT: Indeed, as of now according to the Daily Telegraph article above, Advent has sold off most of Cobham's assets. So much for being a 'good custodian'.
 
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Advent flogged off at least half of Cobham within a year of its acquisition though, in blatant violation of commitments given to the UK government and the more reluctant of the existing shareholders among others at the time they were allowed to go ahead with the takeover. And the long term future of the remainder is in serious doubt. Advent are considered more to be along the lines of asset strippers than real investors these days. Not that hasn't stopped certain parties lobbying for the Ultra Electronics deal to be allowed through:


EDIT: Indeed, as of now according to the Daily Telegraph article above, Advent has sold off most of Cobham's assets. So much for being a 'good custodian'.

Indeed...Private Equity is just the new name for Asset Strippers...I can't think of one Private Equity deal that has been beneficial to the country, the employees, the environment....anything other than the shareholders.
 

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Good to hear, maybe not all from the current situation is bad. Every cloud has it silver lining. Maybe the funds that have been freed by pulling out of Afghanistan will help certain programs.
 

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Wonder if that will end up like the situation the Gurkha's faced when most of those who retired before 1997 were initially denied the right to settle in the UK and now are fighting to gain equal pensions despite all the very long period of loyal service they have given to the UK?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58159773

I know its close to politics but the Gurkhas have been shabbily treated by recent governments. If this is an attempt to get some cheap military manpower to boost the ranks then lets hope the MoD have done all the sums correctly.
 

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