Army and Navy clash over ships

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by ukdaytona, Jun 3, 2009.

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  1. Just read this on the beeb news site, so any thoughts as to who is right ?

    The head of the Royal Navy has defended the commissioning of two new aircraft carriers, rejecting claims that they were outdated "Cold War relics".

    Admiral Sir Jonathon Band warned that Britain would always need "higher end capabilities" in the future.

    His speech was seen as a riposte to Army chief General Sir Richard Dannatt, who said many new equipment programmes were "irrelevant" to modern warfare.

    Work on HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales is expected to begin soon.

    The two ships planned will be the Royal Navy's largest vessels, each capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft.

    We will always need some high value, high capability clubs in our golf bag unless our ambition is only to play pitch and putt

    Speaking last month, Sir Richard said that forces had been guilty of clinging to "the Cold War paradigm of interstate industrial war" for too long.

    He said future defence procurement needed to reflect that Britain's troops were now more involved in counter-insurgency operations, such as in Afghanistan.

    Only 10% of the MoD's equipment programme between 2003 and 2018 was to be invested in the "land environment" - at a time when Britain was engaged in two land-based military operations, he added.

    But Admiral Band insisted that the Navy still needed the ability to mount the full range of maritime operations - from air-sea rescue and anti-drugs patrols to full scale military interventions.

    "I am not volunteering for the second division," he said. "While Afghanistan is rightly our priority it is not the only show in town."

    He warned of a growing "sea blindness" towards the importance of naval power, and insisted Britain needed a Navy "big enough to have a meaningful presence, whether to deter or defeat an enemy".

    While frigates and destroyers were important, he said that "when it comes to the push" they needed to be backed up by "higher end capabilities" like the new carriers.

    "There is a school of thought that sees the carriers as, some would say, Cold War relics - but really as spare airfields that would only be deployed in specific operations where air-basing ashore is not available," he added.

    But he called this a "minimalist view" that failed to understand the maritime environment.

    "We will always need some high value, high capability clubs in our golf bag unless our ambition is only to play pitch and putt," he said.

    Admiral Band, like Gen Dannatt, is retiring later this year but their interventions would appear to reflect the fact that the forces face a fierce battle among themselves for resources as public spending falls in the wake of the recession.
  2. Would it make any sense to defray the building costs by using Harriers on these new carriers, a proven technology, rather than something newer?
  3. I believe they're considering a STOVL version of the F35, similar to that of the USMC variant.

  4. It's a pity that the Army and the Navy have to scrap it out like this, though it's always going to be the way with the defence budget in the state it is.

    I mean, we have become embroiled in two wars in the last ten years, not to mention the myriad deployments british soldiers and sailors always find themselves being subjected to.. and the defence budget has barely flickered.
    You could buy 4 aircraft carriers for the cost of the olympics. You could probably raise the british army twice over again if you cut spending on all the bowlarks this government has taken us into. How much do the devolved assemblies cost? they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to horrendous beurocratic waste.. the civil service has become gigantic under labour. Taxpayers are paying for mothers and fathers who shirk jobs and have loads of children.. the NHS is bulbous and drowning under targets and money wasted in inappropriate places. Same goes for local councils.

    As I say, it's a shame, but these men at the top have to claw at the budget as best they can, since they know speaking out about how scandalously little money is spent on defence would only get them fired.
  5. It is a pity, that the Government has a "assertive" foreign policy, while it refuses to fund it adequately.
    Without doubt the Royal Navy has a justifiyable claim to needing the two carriers.
    However as the Government has committed British troops to two campaigns, it "should" see to it, that those troops are equiped to a scale equal to the commitment entered upon.
    Of course, this will not happen (has not for many decades), but it simply shows that politicians, of both major parties, have Lilliputian ideas towards defence! If only they could be as creative about defence funding, as they are about expense claims, then all things would become possible!
  6. Yes, it very much has the feeling of 'same old, same old' about it.
  7. Not to mention that according to a briefing given by an RN officer I attended last year, there is a huge question mark on how the RN, which is a "bottom fed" system, will be able to generate the thousands of sailors needed to crew the two new aircraft carriers. According to the briefing, the RN should actually start to grow now IOT have the relevant pyramid of ranks, esp. PO to be able to operate the two A/C when they are admitted into service.
  8. Since both the CGS and Admiral Brand are retiring this year, are we going to see a similar outburst about the way that Defence is managed as we did when CGS took up the job; knowing that he is on his way out?
  9. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    Despite years and years and countless evidence it sems service chiefs never learn

    The tactic used by governments to introduce 'creative tension' between the services in order to keep in check spnding ambition always works because when times get tough, purple goes out of the window and the squabbling begins

    Divide and conquer writ large in the press
  10. Well he was talking out of his hoop. CVF and CVS have similar manning profiles (but not exactly the same), indeed a lot of the way stuff is done on a CVS has been changed to reflect our intended practices on CVF. We've exchanges to the USN to build a cadre of big deck trained pilots etc etc. I hope we'd be prepared for this since we've bidding so bloody long for them!!
  11. I believe the STOVL version of the F35, won't be available in the numbers needed to equip the carriers on there complition so the RN will have no choice but to use the Harrier until there are!
    have we got 80 harriers to put on the two carriers ? I think not! :lol:
  12. As much as a like Danatt he is wrong on this occasion.

    How do we know the next war wont need carriers? The carriers will go along way in ensuring Britain still has a global presence.

    I wish service chiefs would stop fighting each other and fooling for 'the divide and conqueor' tactics used by the government. The fact is there should be enough funds to finance both the Army's and the Navy's projects.
  13. The carriers won't be much use without destroyer escorts and tankers - I believe that the Type 45 order has been cut to 6 (from 12) and the oilers have already been cancelled. BTW, RN sources tell me they are having difficulty crewing the reduced number of ships that they are left with - and there are more manning cuts in the pipeline.
  14. Personally I believe both are correct.

    While current thinking is focused on land based ops with focus on Counter Insurgency capabilities are we in danger of losing our war fighting capability. The current CI focus suits the bean counters as it allows them a justifiable get out clause on most large procurement projects (carriers, eurofighter, trident, Type 45's, Harrier replacement and A400 and FRES to name but a few).

    There will always be squabbling between the Heads of each service for scant resourses but as already mentioned if procurement is sorted out by well paid business leaders (completely out sourced with contractual penalties) then the defence budget will be easier to balance.

    We have already paid more for the two aircraft carriers than it cost to build the QM 2, both projects had similar start dates one delivered 2-3 yrs ago the other not to be delivered for another 6-8 yrs. The keels haven't even been laid yet.

    More funding required? - stop the PFI projects (pay a little now but alot more further down the line), an example is the NHS PFI projects;

    Now if my maths are correct one fifth of 50bn is 10bn therefore we the taxpayer are paying 40bn extra for these projects - does not seem like good business to me.

    This extra 40bn (if we hadn't already squandered it) pays for Asute/Trident, two a/c carriers and Eurofighter in their entirety, simples.

    Figures from here;

    Focus on CI Ops by all means but dont forget the primary role, I'd rather have kit in mothballs awaiting rapid deployment (not the current state of affairs at Pompey) with enough personnel than bugger all when it all goes wrong, you can't just magic up resources if you havn't got them.

    So either stop sending us on merry jaunts all over the globe or fund us correctly and allow us the expensive toys we require to do the job you (the government) expect/send us to do.
  15. It seem to me a crying shame, that our brand spanking new multirole aircraft can't be put on carriers. In a time where defense spending is a joke, we need to be more purple to get the job done.... not less!