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Royal Navy without CVF

Purpletrouble

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An impression of underlying aggression through an inability to agree where we can agree.... speaks volumes.
Because there is scope to agree and obviously so.

Strictly if we wanted to run a minimum of 4 JSF (ensuring availability of 1 aircraft), and 2 AEW helicopters (risking lack of availability) and 2 SAR helicopters (mitigated risk due to lower operating tempo). Then a getting practical ship below 15,000tons would be impressive, even now, some 40 years after this was first realised.

Invincible expanded capacity initially to sustaining 2 fast jets (total of 5 though ideally 6) and added the full ASW helicopter compliment. Factor in a full Sea Dart fit and you get to over 20,000tons rather quickly and that's with the lower fuel and stores 'burn through' rate the Sea Harrier imposes.

Going for JSF and wanting to sustain a total of 24 (implying availability between 8-12) along with a compliment of helicopters for ASW or Lift, means there will be precious little tonnage left. Hence why Tarawa and Wasp etc are over 40,000tons.
Because otherwise your cheap Cavour (it isn't thanks to the systems fit) is going to either need so much landbased airpower you'll wonder why you bother or a second Cavour to deliver the capacity and cost you far more than had you just bitten the bullet and gone to over 40,000tons instead of below 30,000. Penny wise Pond folly....or should that be Cent wise Euro folly......

Because Cavour makes sense for the Italians operating in the Med. Doesn't mean it makes sense for the RN, who might be in the Med, but might be off the Malacca Straights and might be in the Gulf of Guinea or a dozen other areas. Including that balmy sunny calm millpond known as the North Sea ;)
Aggression? Wtf?

When operating fast jets the rule of thumb is the number of aircraft in “your” fleet is the serials you can fly a day. So 6 jets gives you 4+2. That isn’t sustainable however, and to sustain that you need a 50% margin, or no fly days.

Over the longer term you’ll get showstoppers requiring an airframe replacement, and of course you’ll be burning hours so need regular swaps anyway. Those hours need careful management so you cant always use your available ac to conserve hours. A fine balance and a whole world of work in itself!

So 6 jets of each type in Akrotiri delivers a 4 ship or 2 pairs a day ad infinitum for each type. This gives scope for the odd surge which is then averaged out by a no fly day for recovery.

No fly days make a disproportionate impact on sustainability as all engineering can be focused on maint vs running maint and line ops. It also allows you to work on the “good” jets which otherwise you keep going til they f

This has been routine UK Air Ops now for 30 years.

Why we need the ability to deploy 48 and operate them is beyond me.

Cavour can comfortably operate 12 F35s (6x pairs a day or 3x 4-ships although only for a couple of weeks) and a supporting helo force. That is the acheivable UK force level, the force level we use and one which we can afford to sustain. If we need more, aka once every 20 years war - send 2.
 

Purpletrouble

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A LPH nearly 2 decades after the US had proved the LPH concept was flawed and had gone LHA, is daft.
I wish I could learn more about this. Always been intrigued by the Iwo Jimas and the large numbers build. Was there a "turning point" when the Iwo Jimas proved all wrong ?
(shame they weren't passed to thers navies but well...)
wasn’t it Lebanon where they couldnt land with helos and went to landing craft?
The Tarwaras were laid down from the start of the 70s as a lesson of the previous LPD/LPH(carrier) ops being to have an integrated ship.

2 decades later we went for dedicated LPH and LPDs. France immediately showed how backwards we were with the Mistrals, whilst the Dutch with their LPDHs (ie decent aviation capacity) also showed us up.
Meanwhile despite 4 decades of experience showing the usefulness of an embarked helo flight, we built the LSDs without a hangar too.

Our foresight/wisdom has been entirely lacking and it is really quite embarasing.
 

Archibald

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we built the LSDs without a hangar too.
Our foresight/wisdom has been entirely lacking and it is really quite embarasing.
Sounds rather logical. The 70's counter-culture taught us one thing: LSD really don't help foresight and wisdom... o_Oo_O
 

uk 75

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I am going to pretend to be HM Treasury.
Please could you set out the area of operations and scenario where you believe your proposed amphibious warfare force (3 LHDs and RM Commando Brigade) would be necessary as opposed to the current force (1 CVF, 1-2LPD, Bay and Head class, and RM Commandos available).
Assuming a 20 year minimum life for the three ships based on previous experience,HM Treasury regard it as unlikely that the full force will be needed more than once in that period.
Alternative force options (including no capability)will be submitted Cabinet.
 

Purpletrouble

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I am going to pretend to be HM Treasury.
Please could you set out the area of operations and scenario where you believe your proposed amphibious warfare force (3 LHDs and RM Commando Brigade) would be necessary as opposed to the current force (1 CVF, 1-2LPD, Bay and Head class, and RM Commandos available).
Assuming a 20 year minimum life for the three ships based on previous experience,HM Treasury regard it as unlikely that the full force will be needed more than once in that period.
Alternative force options (including no capability)will be submitted Cabinet.
I think it’s more that a single LHD/CVL (and these replace CVS/LPD - not the LSDs/RoRos) offers flexibility vs a huge STOVL strike carrier and is manifestly cheaper.

Instead we now have specialised ships- CVF and the LPDs, the latter of which are very one-trick-pony and expensive ones at that.

We are now in a “send everything or nothing” position.

3 CVHDs (I’m creating that acronym!) vice 1-2 CVF and 1-2 LPD offers scalability and greater persistence and can do any of: fixed wing deterrence and air support to cdo raiding to HADR, all in one hull with one crew and yes, not to the scale that specialised hulls can - but to a scale that is good enough for UK needs.

Arguably a Brigade which is needed in full every 20 years has more utility than anything the Army has...

What is happening to the RMs is nakedly the Naval Service prioritising its own core interests, and to me is evidence the RMs should be seperate or just go whole hog in with the Army.

Given 3 Cdo is more useful than 16 Bde, a merger would be better (thus leveraging supports) than losing 3 but still having 16.
 

uk 75

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The US Navy moved from the LHA to the LHD. Apart from a ski-jump your ship seems to be another British attempt (like Fearless) to build a more expensive (jobs for BAe) version of a ship already built in numbers by the USN.
The Spanish/Australian and French designs are not much cheaper.than a CVF/LPD combo (given we already have them).
I have a feeling (no proof) that the US Marines welcome our CVF as a better air platform than their LHDs.
On the.need for three Bns of specialised infantry able to deploy by sea and air, reinforced by artillery as necessary. We have at present six Bns. Effectively this is the Light Division we sent to the Falklands.
I dont think this size of light infantry formation is sustainable with present resources of money and people. A new UK Mobile Force should take command of One Paratroop Bn and two RM Commandos plus artillery and an armoured regiment together with Merlin/Chinook/Apache squadrons.
 

zen

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I am going to pretend to be HM Treasury.
Please could you set out the area of operations and scenario where you believe your proposed amphibious warfare force (3 LHDs and RM Commando Brigade) would be necessary as opposed to the current force (1 CVF, 1-2LPD, Bay and Head class, and RM Commandos available).
Assuming a 20 year minimum life for the three ships based on previous experience,HM Treasury regard it as unlikely that the full force will be needed more than once in that period.
Alternative force options (including no capability)will be submitted Cabinet.
This is sort of daft.
If this had been the question prior to CVF and the replacement LSDs. Suggesting that Treasury officials grasped such military matters. Then that would have been fine.
But what comes through the repeated No.11 question and MoD answer studies to that, is that No.11 was never asking that question.

As to having 3 CVHD, that pretty much is a force of only 2 available most of the time and 1 available nearly all the time. So the idea it's even worth trying to staff up all 3 is ludicrous.

What it would deliver is more efficient operations that only need a CVS and LSD (most of the higher profile operations for the last 30 years).
Essentially one ships crew instead of two, and resulting in less fuel and stores consumed compared to a CVS and LSD.

Where it falls down is the very high profile and intense operations. Such as where we've used Tornado, Jaguar and Harriers combined as well as the need for LSD and Ro-Ros.

CVF Essentially allowes the equivalent of Tornado operations (deep strike), and Harrier/Jaguar operations (Attack) with Fighter operations from the one 'airbase'. Even if that means surging the RAF's force of JSF onto her deck and loading her up to full capacity in the stores and fuel.
The only offboard ops would remain ASTOR, Tanker, and SIGINT/ELINT.....and depending on situation AWACS.
However what the current AEW system showed was utility over land as a lower capability, cheaper helicopter ASTOR. Which is why it proved quite useful over Afghanistan of all places.

All these big assets that are often flying from RAF airfields avoid the HNA and supply issues.
 

Purpletrouble

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I am going to pretend to be HM Treasury.
Please could you set out the area of operations and scenario where you believe your proposed amphibious warfare force (3 LHDs and RM Commando Brigade) would be necessary as opposed to the current force (1 CVF, 1-2LPD, Bay and Head class, and RM Commandos available).
Assuming a 20 year minimum life for the three ships based on previous experience,HM Treasury regard it as unlikely that the full force will be needed more than once in that period.
Alternative force options (including no capability)will be submitted Cabinet.
This is sort of daft.
If this had been the question prior to CVF and the replacement LSDs. Suggesting that Treasury officials grasped such military matters. Then that would have been fine.
But what comes through the repeated No.11 question and MoD answer studies to that, is that No.11 was never asking that question.

As to having 3 CVHD, that pretty much is a force of only 2 available most of the time and 1 available nearly all the time. So the idea it's even worth trying to staff up all 3 is ludicrous.

What it would deliver is more efficient operations that only need a CVS and LSD (most of the higher profile operations for the last 30 years).
Essentially one ships crew instead of two, and resulting in less fuel and stores consumed compared to a CVS and LSD.

Where it falls down is the very high profile and intense operations. Such as where we've used Tornado, Jaguar and Harriers combined as well as the need for LSD and Ro-Ros.

CVF Essentially allowes the equivalent of Tornado operations (deep strike), and Harrier/Jaguar operations (Attack) with Fighter operations from the one 'airbase'. Even if that means surging the RAF's force of JSF onto her deck and loading her up to full capacity in the stores and fuel.
The only offboard ops would remain ASTOR, Tanker, and SIGINT/ELINT.....and depending on situation AWACS.
However what the current AEW system showed was utility over land as a lower capability, cheaper helicopter ASTOR. Which is why it proved quite useful over Afghanistan of all places.

All these big assets that are often flying from RAF airfields avoid the HNA and supply issues.
What is ludicrous is trying to say manning 3 CVHD is harder than 2 CVF and 2 LPD.

1 ship available for reaction, 2nd in training or surge or relief. Simples.

The idea we need, by sea, to be able to do what we have done from land is the massive and vastly expensive erroneous thing. It is simply a complete waste of money to try and put the entire UK FJ force at sea. It isn’t needed and it clearly isn’t workable.

And your air bridge, AAR and ISTAR are coming from Host Nation airfields - thats why we had/have them in Oman and UAE, the latter also housing Tonkas on permament det. and being a major UK base.

Talk to some RN people who have actually done forward ops and they’ll tell you just how dependent they were upon the local HN airport.
 

zen

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What is ludicrous is trying to say manning 3 CVHD is harder than 2 CVF and 2 LPD.
Who said that?
1 ship available for reaction, 2nd in training or surge or relief. Simples.
Indeed, though I doubt Meerkats are required.
The idea we need, by sea, to be able to do what we have done from land is the massive and vastly expensive erroneous thing. It is simply a complete waste of money to try and put the entire UK FJ force at sea. It isn’t needed and it clearly isn’t workable.
At the rate we're shrinking the entire FJ force, I'd say we'll be lucky to fill it by the time we need to use it.
But we have the carriers now so the option is there. Money spent, whether it was wise or folly.

And your air bridge, AAR and ISTAR are coming from Host Nation airfields - thats why we had/have them in Oman and UAE, the latter also housing Tonkas on permament det. and being a major UK base
Well there's a hell of an assumption!

And how does Oman help operations off the Malacca Straights or the Gulf of Guinea?
And why would you fly from Oman instead of Cyprus or Gib when operations are in the Med?
 

Purpletrouble

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What is ludicrous is trying to say manning 3 CVHD is harder than 2 CVF and 2 LPD.
Who said that?
1 ship available for reaction, 2nd in training or surge or relief. Simples.
Indeed, though I doubt Meerkats are required.
The idea we need, by sea, to be able to do what we have done from land is the massive and vastly expensive erroneous thing. It is simply a complete waste of money to try and put the entire UK FJ force at sea. It isn’t needed and it clearly isn’t workable.
At the rate we're shrinking the entire FJ force, I'd say we'll be lucky to fill it by the time we need to use it.
But we have the carriers now so the option is there. Money spent, whether it was wise or folly.

And your air bridge, AAR and ISTAR are coming from Host Nation airfields - thats why we had/have them in Oman and UAE, the latter also housing Tonkas on permament det. and being a major UK base
Well there's a hell of an assumption!

And how does Oman help operations off the Malacca Straights or the Gulf of Guinea?
And why would you fly from Oman instead of Cyprus or Gib when operations are in the Med?
Err I read your “staff up” as manning. Perhaps this was a “why ask for 3”. Well, if you were replacing 3 CVS, an LPH and 2 LPD as in this case we would be, then I’d expect the treasury to bite your hand off for a mere 3 replacements. And as I said above, actually I’d go for 4, 3 active 1 in refit/reserve.

Err it is isnt an assumption. It is the reality of military operations. You know the old “amateurs talk tactics (or equipment), professionals talk logistics”. A HN airbase nearby is logistics. It is what the people who do this for a living (including me) actually spend their time thinking about and using to get to/from places.

Errr Oman and UAE are prima facia evidence we can and do use HN as we need. Quite obviously they pertain to Iraq and Afghan Ops but also East Africa and Iran. You are just being daft now.

We can if needed go into nauseating detail on other HN options such as Italy (vs Libya loads of stuff), West Africa (Tonkas and Sentinels) and say our partners in 5PDA for Mallacca in the event we go shooting there. Indeed a Typhoon Sqn went through that region in 2018 (or was it 19?) on exercise - in effect a practice for just that contingency in getting stuff there and operating from their bases
 

uk 75

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The Royal Marine Commandos post 1966 were very vulnerable, and even more so after 1975 and the decision to abandon the Mediterranean and focus on the North Atlantic.
I recall reading on the old Warships blog that carriers were very unpopular postings compared with escort ships. Finding crews for more than Ark and Bulwark/Hermes becomes harder and harder in the inflation years of the 70s. By the 80s only 1 Invincible and 1 LPD could be in service.
The growth in the size of ferries and roro ships in the 70s and the large numbers in service were the backdrop to Nott. If all the RM Commandos are doing is reinforcing Norway (and possibly Denmark) they have to get there in the expected "period of tension". Noone was envisaging a Narvik style assault landing if Soviet forces had arrived first. The Canadian Air Sea Transportable Brigade (cast) was removed from the reinforcement options because its heavy kit would take too long to arrive by civilian shipping. The US Marines became the main backup but our RM was expected to get there first ie in peacetime.
The confused period between 1990 and 97 almost saw the demise of the amphibious forces. The 1991 Gulf War and its aftermath gave the sole remaining Army Armoured Division the main role. The quagmire of the former Yugoslavia was mainly an army affair.
The Blair Government finally ordered new shipping (though not new artillery and MRL which were also supposed to arrive) but after Sierra Leone the force was hardly used. In the Iraq and Afghan wars, the bulk of operations were by mainstream army units.
Today the focus has returned to Central Europe. There is no requirement for "liberal intervention" The Johnson government likeTrump in the States does not contain any supporters of overseas intervention. In the UK even if unemployment soars, the armed forces are not likely to find many suitable recruits of the calibre they need.
The main role of UK land forces is likely to be reinforcing Poland and the Baltic States. A Commonwealth Brigade might find itself in some future Korean crisis or regional conflict with China. Beyond that, the Middle East and Africa will be left to regional powers to fight. The failures in Afghanistan, Iraq Libya and Syria coupled with Covid will lead to a return to the 1966/75 retrenchments.
 
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