At least the RFA still has ships

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#1

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#2
more problems and bodged up solutions, is there a naval variant of the apache?

Britain to send Apache helicopters to Yemen - Telegraph
The Westland version of the Apache, which we chose has always been partially navalised, this was envisioned during the creation of the requirement back in the early 90s, numerous components have been marinised and the type includes a folding rotor for shipboard stowage. It is not however fully marinesed or indeed as extensivley marinsed as the Cobra and it's subsequent iterations (SuperCobra/Venom) and therefore cannot be deployed at sea for extended periods. Guess what we actually thought about this one.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
I'm impressed then for a change - it didnt have anything to do with it not being able to fly in the rain or leaky cockpits back in the 90's then when it was grounded to make the maintenance figures better in the run up to GW1. I dont think we could have flown that version anywhere cept cyprus :)

you're sure the folding rotors aren't so we can hide them in a hangar at witham surplus easier? like the 60 gazelles they've got
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#4
My complaint regarding Apache (and the rest of the Helo fleet) is there is not a reasonable ratio of Helos to troops, the USMC has an approximate ratio of 1:1000, for each type (Attack, Med Lift, Heavy etc etc) we have a ratio of 1:2000, 1:3000 1:4000or therabouts depending on type. I don't have the comparative analysis I did on Rotor Fleets in NATO so can't provide the exact figures. If we were to emulate the USMC we should have c.110+ Apache (Down to 98/100 post SDSR)
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
the comment on them having to strip the antisub gear out of three merlins says a lot. someone lost the plot and bought too many posh fighters I reckon :)
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
My interpretation is that the Merlins are going to do the lift while the Apaches ride shotgun for them. Clearly the appropriate helicopter for such a lift is the RAF Chinook but perhaps we do not have a capable marine platform for it, as our one and only is busy off Libya. So the Andrew has to hop in and make one, as usual.
 
#7
#8
Surprised they've used the Merlins, I'd have thought they could have found some of the Sea King Mk4 or 6C which would be better than the Mk1 Merlins. The Mk1's don't have any troop seats and I'm pretty sure some of the sonar/radar kit is structural and so can't easily be removed.

Saying that been many years since I played with them so it might have all changed by now.

S_R
 
#9
Fort Victoria is currently operating Merlins. Swapping them for Jungly Sea Kings might pose a bit of a logistical problem. The Merlin might also be performing an ISTAR role. I guess there would be a frigate involved too - these are dangerous waters.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
The RFA have had to operate in those waters independently quite a lot recently. They're slightly more heavily armed than they use to be, but not much
 
#11
I know, however, I would suggest that its the sensors and communications that are as much an issue as the close range weaponry.
 
#12
Interesting to note that the vessels that are clearly in demand are LPH and RFA LSDs and other and NOT pointy escorts.

Of all the lessons learned about current naval mission and tasks (and for the forseable future), that of all things should be a key determiner of where future cash is spent on new builds.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
Actually the lesson is that the Navy will make do and muddle through with what they have available to use, even if its not ideal for the job. The LSD(A) is not ideal for the job, lacks, as Yokel says, any command and control facilties or sensors other than her navigation radars and is incredibly vulnerable without an escort. Ocean is doing what she's doing because the better solution, GR9's off a carrier, doesn't exist anymore.

The reason we don't have the escorts available is because most of them are waiting to be turned into razor blades - see the unseemly haste to decommission the T22s and T42s - and the rest are already busy.

To define military procurement by the tasks being performed and the assets doing them in a single snapshot in time is the act of a fool
 
#14
Interesting to note that the vessels that are clearly in demand are LPH and RFA LSDs and other and NOT pointy escorts.

Of all the lessons learned about current naval mission and tasks (and for the forseable future), that of all things should be a key determiner of where future cash is spent on new builds.
In demand? Or just all that is available?
 
#15
Actually the lesson is that the Navy will make do and muddle through with what they have available to use, even if its not ideal for the job. The LSD(A) is not ideal for the job, lacks, as Yokel says, any command and control facilties or sensors other than her navigation radars and is incredibly vulnerable without an escort. Ocean is doing what she's doing because the better solution, GR9's off a carrier, doesn't exist anymore.

The reason we don't have the escorts available is because most of them are waiting to be turned into razor blades - see the unseemly haste to decommission the T22s and T42s - and the rest are already busy.
Regarding Yemen:
Indeed, the LSD(A) is not optimal for the job for the reasons you provide and the lack of a permanent hangar. However, it is FAR more suitable than an escort - unless RN escorts are now capable of operating more than a single aircraft at a time. How many escorts would it require to provide deck space and operational support to 3 Merlin and 2 Apache?

Cardigan Bay and Fort Victoria are on the job because they're the most appropriate and NOT because, as you indicate, there are not enough escorts to go around. The only alternative that could be a more approriate choice would be an LPH.

However, I do wonder how much all this is costing to evacuate no more than 40-50 personnel. It's a major military adventure to extract a handful of diplomats and a platoonish of our own military forces. Good PR for the RN if it goes ahead.


Regarding Libya:
Would Ark Royal/GR9 be stationned off Libya rather than Ocean/Apache at this time if the former were still in service. Quite possibly. Which is more appropriate boils down to which form of CAS is more needed at this point.

Nevertheless, my main point still stands, not a job for an pointy escort.

To define military procurement by the tasks being performed and the assets doing them in a single snapshot in time is the act of a fool
Indeed. But I suggest you look back over the past 2 decades at the operational taskings and missions, and look forward for the next decade. I don't see too much specialised ASW or AD effort. Do you? Also consider what actual missions the CVS's conducted during that period. :wink:

Do we need escorts? Yes of course. Should we continue to focus spending on escorts during the next decade. Perhaps not.
 
#17
For the benefit of the uninitiated, FF/DD (Frigates and Destroyers) are only 'escorts' when they are escorting something. However, the term is also bandied about by those who wish to imply that they are constrained to this role.

In peacetime, DD/FF are mainly employed as multi-role surface platforms, able to take care of themselves against most threats but also trained and equipped for intelligence gathering, surveillance, MIOPS (Maritime Interdiction Operations) including anti-piracy, anti-drug running, anti-gun running and anti-human trafficking patrols plus fishery protection, rendering humanitarian aid, disaster relief, search & rescue, defence diplomacy, etc. The are able to deploy worldwide independently and their speed, agility, endurance, seakeeping and C3I (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) facilities are particularly useful qualities while their embarked helo(s) give them especially long reach and versatility. At their heart is a ship's company whose skills straddle everything from engineering to medicine.

FF/DD are not just "escorts". However, when the balloon goes up, it's good to have one nearby.
 
#18
In which case, no RFA's are not the most appropriate tool. HMS Ocean would be.
However, with the distinct lack of ships available to the RN these days Cardigan Bay and Fort Victoria are all that is available to substitute.
HMS Ocean is currently active in the other maritime operation this government has commited to, despite swearing blind in the SDSR that no such event would happen before 2020

HMS Ocean should be off Yemen, but she can't be because she's of Libya doing the job HMS Ark Royal should have been doing.
 
#19
For the benefit of the uninitiated, FF/DD (Frigates and Destroyers) are only 'escorts' when they are escorting something. However, the term is also bandied about by those who wish to imply that they are constrained to this role.

In peacetime, DD/FF are mainly employed as multi-role surface platforms, able to take care of themselves against most threats but also trained and equipped for intelligence gathering, surveillance, MIOPS (Maritime Interdiction Operations) including anti-piracy, anti-drug running, anti-gun running and anti-human trafficking patrols plus fishery protection, rendering humanitarian aid, disaster relief, search & rescue, defence diplomacy, etc. The are able to deploy worldwide independently and their speed, agility, endurance, seakeeping and C3I (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) facilities are particularly useful qualities while their embarked helo(s) give them especially long reach and versatility. At their heart is a ship's company whose skills straddle everything from engineering to medicine.

FF/DD are not just "escorts". However, when the balloon goes up, it's good to have one nearby.
It is quite correct to say that "escorts" can perform missions and tasks other than escorting.

It is quite correct to say that "escorts" do perform missions and tasks other than escorting.

It is also quite correct to say that just because "escorts" can & do perform missions and tasks other than escorting, it does NOT necessarily mean that they are the most approriate platform for those missions and tasks or even that they are particularly good at them.

You are right to say that the embarked helicopter is a significant asset. The problem with our "escorts" is that they can only carry one of them. The limitions of such were cruelly exposed in the Gulf with "Mr Bean's Ipod" incident and further embarrassment in front of BBC cameras onboard HMS Northumberland.

Several people have emailed to ask why the taskforce is not mandated to retake captured ships. There are several reasons.

First, it is an operational one - the Northumberland's captain Martin Simpson was at pains to stress that he would need a much more robust force - including two helicopters - to ensure that his crew were not at risk.
I ask again: How many "escorts" would it require to provide deck space and operational support to 3 Merlin and 2 Apache off Yemen?

And, how many "escorts" would it take to perform an effective anti-piracy operation beyond flag waving PR?
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
So because we have a need to evacuate some people possibly under fire for the fist time in a long time we should plan all our operations and warship design around it? Do grow up
 

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