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Rearming the UK: What equipment? and how much?

Moose

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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

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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
 

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red admiral

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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To be fair, the Treasury is a major obstacle to any sane defence policy at the best of times.
 
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steelpillow

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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...
 

Grey Havoc

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Flyaway

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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
 

Grey Havoc

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I have a feeling that this isn't going to work out too well.



By the way this thread, and it's sister thread, Re-arming the Bundeswehr: Which Projects?, should really be over in the Alternative History and Future Speculation forum.
 

Hood

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The National Audit Office is still damming the MoD's spending, now has a shortfall of £13bn in the 10-year re-equipment plan.
It sounds likely that RFA Argus won't be refitted or replaced after 2024.
Also, Boeing was paid £6.4m just to delay submitting invoices so that the main spending would take place in future years and with retrospective Treasury approval.
Still seems there are only funds for 48 F-35s and delays to Protector will add £187M to future budgets plus £50M to retain Predator in service.
Meanwhile the MoD claims £7.8bn in efficiency savings.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...ebukes-mod-over-3bn-military-budget-overspend
 

Purpletrouble

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To re-arm the UK would basically first:
- Improve pay and living conditions to retain and recruit people so the current force is manned.
- Acquire sufficient spares so the current force can be utilised efficiently.

Doing the above will cost a lot. It won’t involve any more actual platforms and certainly not additional ones.

After that, look at scales of efficiency - so only buy what we already have, no new systems.

Then look at the things we are always short of in every conflict:
1) helicopters. More chinny’s, Wildcats (don’t like it, but it is what we have), Apaches and Merlins. Do not ever buy Osprey. Replace Pumas.
2) troops we can get somewhere and which generate SF. More RMs and light-medium infantry (but properly supported).
3) warships able to do GP tasks, ie gun/c4istar/RMs & boats/helo. So any of T26/31/45/“46”. Get the ships deployed on stations again to show flag and vitally, build a collective picture of what occurs in these places plus build those ships experience of operating. Balance that with Task Force Ops to restore the RN’s historic advantage - inherant flexibility from single ship ops to battle actions. Do not try to specialise the types - every ship must be used and thus able to do both.
4) supports - logistics logistics logistics. Should have been (1) really, but all the aircraft, ships and vehicles to actually move and sustain the above.
 

uk 75

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I fear that in the post-corona budget there will be liitle scope for increasing Defence expenditure. The UK tax base has been slaughtered while the needs of the health and social care sectors plus pressure for a virtual wage for the slew of people whose jobs will not return.
Added to this, there is no appetite for any wars of intervention. A version of Trumpian foreign policy in a Brexit UK will force us to even look at our NATO commitments. Why should the UK pay to defend Eastern Europe while Germany is free to spend money on its own people as shown by the disparity in corona response? Trident will continue because it allows a Tory PM to nuke Putin's Russia.
I fervently hope the above scenario does not happen but it does seem likely.
 

Jemiba

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This thread started a bit more emphasizing hardware and maybe it would be better, to keep it this way. That the current situation
quite probably will affect procurement probably in all armed forces worldwide is a fact, but this thread is in the "Alternative History" section.
And I know, it's extremely difficult, totally bothersome and annoyingly uncomfortable, but point 2 of the forum rules still is valid and,
let me stress this: For ALL members !

There are no problems with discussing politics, though most real crackerbarrels probably aren't usable due to COVID-19, but there

are many political fora for exchanging political opinions. But, please, not here !
 
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Grey Havoc

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zen

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Right now the UK is heading towards a critical choice.
Accelerate or deccelerate.
Accelerate and borrow more on the basis inflation and a falling Pound draws the sting from it.
Or raise taxes and contract the economy further.
At this moment the interests of the ruling class and those at the top will prefer to make the rest pay more.
Rather than accept a lesser differential between them and the majority.
But such a path is ultimately self defeating and can literally destroy the order they sit at the top of.

Clear eyes and a determination to make the UK a success requires nerves of steel. To betray the top tier's increasing advantage and jam the foot hard on the accelerator.

Betray defense now is complete madness considering just how unstable things will become.
 

uk 75

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I started this thread back in 2015 in the Bar as a then topical discussion because the UK had been operating under the then-Coalition's 2010 defence policy.
Five years later I think it still belongs in the Bar. We have a Military Section for announcements and discussions of individual bits of kit.
My original question about what kit? and how much? was broader. In 2015 we were still involved in wars outside Europe and Syria in particular was open for consideration.
Now in 2020 we are more or less out of the quagmire of the Middle East and the War in Terror. Many are keen to get into a new Cold War with Russia and China, probably believing it has already been forced on us.
This is a very political topic but it does drive how we answer the question I posed back in 2015.
 

Grey Havoc

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Via the SNAFU blog:
Meanwhile:

Talk about doubling down on boneheadedness!
 

Fluff

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I would suggest there are 2 main types of missions we will be undertaking,

1- peacekeeping, training, war on terror etc. Small contingents of all services, APC's and wheeled armour. No tanks, air support from apache(flying from CV if needed) plus fast jets in the area.

2- All out war, allied with the US/Nato/EU/G20. Everyone's focus on this seems to favour the Pacific(AKA China). This seems very neat to ignore/reject any serious threat from Russia. Russia = Tanks. Pacific = Ships plus aircraft, plus marines etc.

So we keep our challenger 2, do an update, keep 100 in use, park the rest up.

Buy Osprey for its speed and range, good for deploying SF/marines.

Recon seems like a good idea, so more drones, long range, maritime.

We have P8 on order, so thats good.

Strike - drones/loyal wingman/more submarines to carry cruise missiles.

Arsenal plane? C17 lobbing paletized weapons, and a P8 or drone to guide them in. Mass attack covered.
 
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