• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Rearming the UK: What equipment? and how much?

Moose

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
1,048
Reaction score
40
The UK won't even pay to put booms on their tankers, so I guess there would be some poetry in choosing a "lowest cost" AEW&C solution that involves adding AESA panels to their boom-less refuelers.

More seriously, I don't think their Voyager + Erieye ER solution is as straightforward nor economical as they are attempting to portray. Offering to swallow costs does not immunize a program to difficulty, look no further than KC-45, and no matter how rosy SAAB's numbers I would want hard data on integrating Erieye ER panels into A330 before I weighed it against the in-service and proven 737 AEW&C configuration. I think it's fair to say "this alternative deserves consideration," but people insisting that this is obviously superior to Boeing's plane or that the only reasons to choose E7 are non-technical don't live in the same reality as me.
 

CJGibson

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,211
Reaction score
104
It's AST.400 all over again!

Hood is spot-on, this combined tanker/transport/MR/AEW platform has been looked at before with the MRSA (Multi-Role Support Aircraft) and appeared to founder as soon as priorities were discussed. Should have called it the BAe Camel - a horse designed by a committee.

Also, like MR types, there is an optimum airframe size for AEW. I'd expect the Voyager would be too big now that the kit has shrunk.

As for the lack of booms on the Voyagers. When they were ordered, the RAF didn't need boom refueling capability (The RAF did not intend to refuel their C-17s in flight) and that need only arose when the Rivet Joints arrived. Now they're looking at three, maybe four types.

When it comes to Voyagers, there are far bigger questions that need answered before we get to the lack of booms.

Chris
 

Attachments

red admiral

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
561
Reaction score
15
Hood said:
SAAB are opposing a non-competitive selection for the E-7. SAAB is planning an offer which would integrate the Erieye radar and SAAB ESM onto the current A330 Voyager fleet.
Don't need a competition to say that paying to put a much much smaller radar on a much bigger platform isn't as cost/effective as buying off the shelf.

I'm not sure why so many of the uk defence commentariat want a competition.
 

CJGibson

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,211
Reaction score
104
Of course, the MoD will quite probably put the SAAB kit in a G550 rather than the Global Express and flog the Sentinels.

Or am I being cynical?

Mind you, they could do the usual British 'leapfrog' and put the kit in a HALE UAV.

Chris
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,317
Reaction score
174
The Sentinel fleet is only scheduled to survive until 2021 (who knows if another reprieve will come in), but I guess rebuilding them into AEW configuration would be complicated and expensive.
Would a business jet really have enough endurance and internal space for the role? The MoD seem keen on having lots of operators and its not beyond the realms of fantasy to see them taking on some of the Rivet Joint/Airseeker role.

I think the desire for a competition is partly from the mistaken assumption that such contests are 'fairer' and provide 'value for money' etc. (yawn), partly because of the large amount of business that seems to be honing Boeing's way lately, and partly because the various oversight bodies have no faith in the MoD to spot and execute a good deal.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
326
Looks like the E-7 is more or less a done deal for the U.K.

“Final assembly of the E-7 aircraft and radar combination would be undertaken in the UK and Boeing have confirmed that it intends to use the same facility to meet any future E-7 sales opportunities for other customers. Through-life, we anticipate that support and training would be undertaken within the UK, directly leading to UK jobs.”
https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/final-assembly-of-e-7-aircraft-and-radar-combination-to-be-undertaken-in-the-uk/
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,317
Reaction score
174
The National Audit Office is still warning of an up to £14.8 billion shortfall in the MoD equipment budget over the next ten years.
It wants the MoD to be clearer about which programmes its actually going ahead with or dropping, the tendency to delay acquisitions adding additional costs for no benefit.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/05/mods-potential-14bn-budget-shortfall-may-make-equipment-unaffordable

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/uk-watchdog-concerned-by-defence-funding-shortfall-453465/

EDIT: added Flightglobal link. Of interest is that the E-7 acquisition is still unfunded at the current time.
 

Foo Fighter

I came, I saw, I drank some tea (and had a bun).
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
896
Reaction score
72
The MOD likes to prevaricate and 'update' specs at whim it seems and has done for longer than I have been on the planet. Get it done and PLAN for updates once in service, or go back to wasting more money as is the current/past practice.
 

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
9,007
Reaction score
198
To be fair, the Treasury is a major obstacle to any sane defence policy at the best of times.
 

steelpillow

So many projects, so little time...
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Messages
611
Reaction score
88
Website
www.steelpillow.com
Military procurement
A morality play in one (interminable) act.

MOD: We want the moon - on a stick.
Treasury: Well, you can't have it.
MOD: Can we have the moon on its own, then?
Treasury: No. We'll let you have the stick, though.
MOD: Can we have a stick with a sort of moon-y bit on one end?
Treasury: Actually, we have just had to cut back. You can have one end of the stick only, for now. We'll fund the other end in five years time.
MoD: Dear Industry, please quote for a one-ended stick.
Industry: That's not possible.
MoD: Then you don't get the order.
Industry: OK, we've had a rethink, If you order a stick and specify one end, we'll deliver what you ask for.
MoD: OK
Industry: Here it is, then.
MoD: This stick has two ends. We only ordered one end.
Industry: We always told you a one-ended stick was impossible.
MoD: But you accepted our order.
Industry: That was on an unspecified basis for the other end, you never said /not/ to include it.
Treasury: This stick fails to meet our strict instruction. The other end will have to come off.
Industry: That will cost, and we give no performance guarantees of the result.
Treasury: How much?
Industry: [Whipser]
Treasury: HOW MUCH??!?
Industry: Take it or leave it.
MoD: We are getting desperate.
Treasury: Well, OK then, but just this once.
Industry: here you are, then.
MoD: It still has another end.
Industry: Yes, but it's not the same other end, we sawed that off.
MoD: And it's still useless, the moon-y bit is hopeless.
Industry: We can fix that - at a price.
Treasury: How much?
Industry: [Whipser]
Treasury: HOW MUCH???!!!?
Industry: Take it or leave it.
MoD: We are getting increasingly desperate.
Treasury: Well, OK then, but just this once.
ad nauseam...
 
  • Like
Reactions: DWG

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
9,007
Reaction score
198
https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/18/11/13/2045211/the-british-army-is-carrying-out-a-massive-test-of-military-robots-and-drones

Hmmmmm.
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,317
Reaction score
174
The MOD is conducting an operational analysis study to establish the size of its future helicopter inventory and capabilities.
Speculation is that a high-speed helicopter could be acquired to replace the Puma and Merlin fleets and may affect the planned buy of further Chinooks.
It would seem the FVL would be a logical contender (similar language of "urban canyons" being used as a justification), although I would be surprised if the MOD went entirely towards US-buys for the entire helicopter fleet given the industrial base Leonardo have in the UK.
Of course this could well be hints of an Osprey purchase too, which has been rumoured for some time.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/uk-military-studies-high-speed-helicopter-benefits-455543/
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,317
Reaction score
174
The latest announcements are somewhat out of the blue.

Two ferries or container ships will be converted into amphibious warfare vessels to operate alongside Bulwark and Albion. This seems to indicate a change of heart given both ships were slated for the axe (the cynic in me foresees the two merchant conversions taking their place in reality - the political wag could have fun with this, given the Conservative's problems with ferries lately).
Also, for £7m a squadron of anti-radar swarming drones which will be acquired by the end of the year.
Neither concept seems fully fleshed out yet though.

https://www.ft.com/content/4ee70c9a-2df6-11e9-ba00-0251022932c8?fbclid=IwAR032mKapJD9cwS8JCJ9a2m-ntRWaV47Qr16h0wVudsM0QMsvoONP-sDQKU
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/11/uk-will-deploy-drone-squadrons-after-brexit-says-defence-secretary-gavin-williamson
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,317
Reaction score
174
Harpoon was meant to retire this year but has been extended to 2023. A full replacement is not scheduled until 2030 so the MoD has issued an intention to purchase an interim SSM to fill the gap 2023-30.
First delivery of the ship installed equipment is required by December 2022, delivery of the first missiles December 2023 with a contract for 4 years with a potential option to extend to 9 years. The cost is estimated at £100-200 million. It's not clear if this is yet a funded line in the Modernising Defence Programme.

Possible off-the-shelf choices are:
LRASM, either air or ship launched
NSM which could also be carried by the F-35
RBS15 Mk3
Harpoon Block II+
Exocet MM40 Block 3 C

If this is an interim choice, I guess the money would be on Harpoon Block II+ but its hard to imagine the 2030 requirement not being one of these types anyway so it might make sense to make the change now if a new missile is desired.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/uk-looking-for-new-interim-anti-ship-missiles/
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,680
Reaction score
43
Website
beyondthesprues.com

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
326
GTX said:
Flyaway said:
Boeing seeks UK decision on Wedgetail jet buy this year - executive

AVALON, Australia (Reuters) - Boeing hopes Britain will decide this year on plans to buy E-7 Wedgetail early warning jets, an executive said, after talks last year sparked a row over competition in arms procurement.
Seems a good decision to me.

Maybe the USAF should consider it to rather than I believe the stalled E-3 upgrade.

Update: UK orders Boeing E-7A AEW&C
 
Top