CDS - the Royal Navy needs to get bigger in future...

#1
CDS gave a speech at the RUSI on 17 December, where he made some very interesting and pertinent points about the state of the UK defence and our future policy.

A key part of the speech focused on the fact that the Royal Navy is probably too small, and needs to grow in future, but does not necessarily need more high end ships. At the same time, he noted that the Army is going to be spending its post HERRICK future working on regional engagement in the Gulf and Far East, so get ready to revisit your old haunts gents!

I strongly recommend reading the full speech, over at think defence (Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards speech to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), 17 December 2012 | Think Defence) as its a bloody good read and very illuminating thinking about the way that the SDSR 2015 may shape up.

Finally, I shamelessy want to plug the old blog as a site where I've put up a more detailed analysis of what was said - comments are always most welcome!
Thin Pinstriped Line: General Richards speech to the RUSI - Will the Royal Navy really get larger in the future?
 
#2
By larger, did he mean tumescent?
 
#4
No problem with a larger Royal Navy.

Could you manage to maintain the number of Admirals or would you need to get some more braid?

Actually, could you cull several admirals?

Kromeriz
 
#5
Having just completed a Counter-Piracy patrol (CP), I would offer the following. If you are going to do Oceanic CP (such as Somalia), you need the following: long endurance, an ability to conduct long range target acquisition, sustained high speed capability, C3I infrastucture and the right type of people to do something about it all when you find the buggers. Whilst you may be able to find some of those traits in a ‘sloop’, they only really come together with a ship that is frigate size, with many (if not all) of the characterisitics one would associate with a modern Frigate or Destroyer. If oceanic range is not your thing (either you run from local bases, or are willing to only influence a relatively small piece of sea) then you can reduce the endurance and sprint requirements, but not the others.

I would suggest that this would lead to a requirement not for small vessels, but rather much bigger vessels than a FF/DD. The USN are currently procuring a further 5 Afloat Support Bases (modelled on the USS PONCE) for operations around the world. An AFSB is large (i.e. not much smaller than OCEAN), can carry lots of enabling units and can support others. If we are to accept CDS’ premise that these are not war-fighting vessels (which I fear will be quickly forgotten if we go to war), then a large ‘flat-top’ could be built to civilian standards and then painted “haze grey and got underway”. Modern MVs are designed for a reduced number of personnel to run them (but the RN would probably triple or quadruple that!), and we could ensure the supported units bring their own CSS/CS personnel.

There is also a point to be made about very small vessels. Operations inside the Gulf require a specific skill set, one that could make use of the very short lines of support (assuming Bahrain remains our “stone RFA”) and thus change our entire CONOPs. What say you to a combination of Cyclone class patrol vessels and SOC-R Riverine Craft/CB-90s to dominate the cluttered and congested waters of the Gulf?

Lots of the TEPID OIL questions haven’t be answered, but the ‘sloop’ concept (which is a masterful piece of intra-RN posturing written by an Officer not qualified to Command anything apart from P2000s) is not the way we should be heading.
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#6
A-T-G. Good points and something people forget. Having small Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) style vessels will boast the numbers but they are no use for modern Maritime Security Operations (MSO). Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) needs good Command, Control, Comms, Computers (in essence networks to exploit information) Intelligence Surveillance and Recon (C4ISR) facilities to conduct Information Exploitation (IX) within the Information Domain. Radar needs height and it needs power. Something a FF/DD can give you but OPVs struggle with. Maybe use of UAVs to extend range but downlinks and bandwidth come in to play.

You need endurance to ensure your time on task remains high as this feeds your search re-visit times and ensures any Recognised Maritime Picture (RMP) is valid. It is useless to DETECT something if you do not ID and then TRACK it.

You need crew endurance to ensure all of this is a 24/7 operations. In essence double the manpower to just sail the ship.

By dumbing down your fleet you reduce the ability to react to what on land is the Three Block War. A FF/DD gives you options, within a timescale, that having lots of smaller units does not. If we had only OPVs around we would still need FF/DD to do the shit kicking bits but now you have to decided where to put them (numbers reduced to accommodate the new OPVs) or build in time lines of weeks not days to respond to events worldwide.

I am much more in favour of the mission module T26. Steel and air are cheap. Power trains for ships are getting cheaper. The expensive bits you stick in modules and take what you need when you need it. Your manpower can be pre-positioned or even at home.

T26 on MSO in the Indian Ocean. Mission fit is boarding, Surface Warfare and Aviation. Does what it needs to do but things hot up. Ship in modules swapped around and now you have ASW added. Personnel have been in the UK doing quality training and fly out to join.

For what it is worth.
 
#7
Guns, what you forgot to mention was there will clearly be a need for a sharp increase in the number of three-letter-abbreviations (TLAs) acronyms and staff buzzwords to accomodate this.
 
#8
A-T-G. Good points and something people forget. Having small Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) style vessels will boast the numbers but they are no use for modern Maritime Security Operations (MSO). Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) needs good Command, Control, Comms, Computers (in essence networks to exploit information) Intelligence Surveillance and Recon (C4ISR) facilities to conduct Information Exploitation (IX) within the Information Domain. Radar needs height and it needs power. Something a FF/DD can give you but OPVs struggle with. Maybe use of UAVs to extend range but downlinks and bandwidth come in to play.

You need endurance to ensure your time on task remains high as this feeds your search re-visit times and ensures any Recognised Maritime Picture (RMP) is valid. It is useless to DETECT something if you do not ID and then TRACK it.

You need crew endurance to ensure all of this is a 24/7 operations. In essence double the manpower to just sail the ship.

By dumbing down your fleet you reduce the ability to react to what on land is the Three Block War. A FF/DD gives you options, within a timescale, that having lots of smaller units does not. If we had only OPVs around we would still need FF/DD to do the shit kicking bits but now you have to decided where to put them (numbers reduced to accommodate the new OPVs) or build in time lines of weeks not days to respond to events worldwide.

I am much more in favour of the mission module T26. Steel and air are cheap. Power trains for ships are getting cheaper. The expensive bits you stick in modules and take what you need when you need it. Your manpower can be pre-positioned or even at home.

T26 on MSO in the Indian Ocean. Mission fit is boarding, Surface Warfare and Aviation. Does what it needs to do but things hot up. Ship in modules swapped around and now you have ASW added. Personnel have been in the UK doing quality training and fly out to join.

For what it is worth.
I nominate this post for the ARRSE lingo-bingo award 2012. Well done sir!
 
#9
No problem with a larger Royal Navy.

Could you manage to maintain the number of Admirals or would you need to get some more braid?

Actually, could you cull several admirals?

Kromeriz
We could sack all of our Admirals and save all of the money we'd be paying them. In about 140 years we could probably afford to buy a Type 45 destroyer with it all.
 
#10
We could sack all of our Admirals and save all of the money we'd be paying them. In about 140 years we could probably afford to buy a Type 45 destroyer with it all.
That says more about your Type 45s than about your admirals...
 
#11
Of course... an abilty to deploy medium range organic / maritime based weapons platforms with VTOL capability...

There...said it before someone else did!
 
#12
Of course... an abilty to deploy medium range organic / maritime based weapons platforms with VTOL capability...

There...said it before someone else did!
Ah, but you have failed to ask the single most important question: Do they come equipped with SLRs?

m-s-r
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
Guns, what you forgot to mention was there will clearly be a need for a sharp increase in the number of three-letter-abbreviations (TLAs) acronyms and staff buzzwords to accomodate this.
Well I'd like to claim that you stole my thunder re-TLAs but I only read Guns' post at 0120. But even pissed I to think he went over the top with the ****-word bingo.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#14
Having just completed a Counter-Piracy patrol (CP), I would offer the following. If you are going to do Oceanic CP (such as Somalia), you need the following: long endurance, an ability to conduct long range target acquisition, sustained high speed capability, C3I infrastucture and the right type of people to do something about it all when you find the buggers. Whilst you may be able to find some of those traits in a ‘sloop’, they only really come together with a ship that is frigate size, with many (if not all) of the characterisitics one would associate with a modern Frigate or Destroyer. If oceanic range is not your thing (either you run from local bases, or are willing to only influence a relatively small piece of sea) then you can reduce the endurance and sprint requirements, but not the others.

I would suggest that this would lead to a requirement not for small vessels, but rather much bigger vessels than a FF/DD. The USN are currently procuring a further 5 Afloat Support Bases (modelled on the USS PONCE) for operations around the world. An AFSB is large (i.e. not much smaller than OCEAN), can carry lots of enabling units and can support others. If we are to accept CDS’ premise that these are not war-fighting vessels (which I fear will be quickly forgotten if we go to war), then a large ‘flat-top’ could be built to civilian standards and then painted “haze grey and got underway”. Modern MVs are designed for a reduced number of personnel to run them (but the RN would probably triple or quadruple that!), and we could ensure the supported units bring their own CSS/CS personnel.
Something like this then: UXV Combatant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
#15
A-T-G. Good points and something people forget. Having small Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) style vessels will boast the numbers but they are no use for modern Maritime Security Operations (MSO). Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) needs good Command, Control, Comms, Computers (in essence networks to exploit information) Intelligence Surveillance and Recon (C4ISR) facilities to conduct Information Exploitation (IX) within the Information Domain. Radar needs height and it needs power. Something a FF/DD can give you but OPVs struggle with. Maybe use of UAVs to extend range but downlinks and bandwidth come in to play.

You need endurance to ensure your time on task remains high as this feeds your search re-visit times and ensures any Recognised Maritime Picture (RMP) is valid. It is useless to DETECT something if you do not ID and then TRACK it.

You need crew endurance to ensure all of this is a 24/7 operations. In essence double the manpower to just sail the ship.

By dumbing down your fleet you reduce the ability to react to what on land is the Three Block War. A FF/DD gives you options, within a timescale, that having lots of smaller units does not. If we had only OPVs around we would still need FF/DD to do the shit kicking bits but now you have to decided where to put them (numbers reduced to accommodate the new OPVs) or build in time lines of weeks not days to respond to events worldwide.

I am much more in favour of the mission module T26. Steel and air are cheap. Power trains for ships are getting cheaper. The expensive bits you stick in modules and take what you need when you need it. Your manpower can be pre-positioned or even at home.

T26 on MSO in the Indian Ocean. Mission fit is boarding, Surface Warfare and Aviation. Does what it needs to do but things hot up. Ship in modules swapped around and now you have ASW added. Personnel have been in the UK doing quality training and fly out to join.

For what it is worth.
Not that I know anything but if you are suggesting a T26 for the Indian Ocean, it should be built for and fitted with everything - and that includes ASW. China is pushing into the Indian Ocean now and both her and India are creating blue water navies with both carrier and submarine ability. Pakistan also have submarine ability. And the times they are a changing...
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Historically our attempts to get by with cheap ships have always come unstuck, for instance the Flower corvettes which were not tough enough for the North Atlantic, the Type 14 which which was not tough enough for the Cod Wars and the Type 21 which was not tough enough for the South Atlantic. The frigates we built for the Battle of the Atlantic ended up being used in the Persian Gulf and in the Far East where their inadequate habitability became rather obvious.

Other mistakes include designing Bristol with no helicopter, therefore predictably useless, designing Ocean on the cheap so that she is not fit to lie in the line, and shortening the QE carriers which has cost more in redesign than it saved in steel and has compromised the hangar space and funking the Cat and Trap decision so that they cannot cross-operate with the USN or even the French.

Something wrong with our bloody ships today? Now CDS is trying to ensure there is something wrong with our bloody ships tomorrow.

I could go back to the R-class battleships and the F-class submarines to show a trend here.
 
#18
Historically our attempts to get by with cheap ships have always come unstuck, for instance the Flower corvettes which were not tough enough for the North Atlantic, the Type 14 which which was not tough enough for the Cod Wars and the Type 21 which was not tough enough for the South Atlantic. The frigates we built for the Battle of the Atlantic ended up being used in the Persian Gulf and in the Far East where their inadequate habitability became rather obvious.

Other mistakes include designing Bristol with no helicopter, therefore predictably useless, designing Ocean on the cheap so that she is not fit to lie in the line, and shortening the QE carriers which has cost more in redesign than it saved in steel and has compromised the hangar space and funking the Cat and Trap decision so that they cannot cross-operate with the USN or even the French.

Something wrong with our bloody ships today? Now CDS is trying to ensure there is something wrong with our bloody ships tomorrow.

I could go back to the R-class battleships and the F-class submarines to show a trend here.
What would be your opinion of the Leander Class?
 
#19
The rn seriously needs an overhaul in the manpower it is selecting, how they are utilised etc also. There needs to be a serious culture change in the mob. I will explain my opinion better when im at a pc.
 
#20
Buy the time you've built a decent sized opv with a helicopter and drone hanger put radar and comms on it.
A few more whizzy bang things isnt going to break the bank.

Modules are bullshit and simply not going to be built
 

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