CVF and Carrier Strike thread

Brown boots look odd.

Anyway - back to ships, aircraft, and ASW: Merlin magic hunts down ‘enemy’ submarines in NATO war games | Royal Navy

Two Merlin Mk2 helicopters joined frigates HMS Northumberland and Westminster as part of NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise off Norway.

Their mission, in tandem with the frigates which are also dedicated sub hunters,
was to ‘protect’ a task group of more than half a dozen ships, especially flagship USS Iwo Jima, from underwater attack.

The reason I am highlighting this is all too often the role of ASW helicopters is painted as protecting their own ship, as opposed to the entire task group. Likewise air defence aircraft.

Not long into the exercise, the ships came up against their first live submarine from the host nation, Norway.

This submarine was operating in its backyard, making use of the ‘water space’, such as knowledge of temperature and salinity, to try to outwit sonar operators.

HMS Northumberland’s Merlin was frequently launched late at night and disappeared into the darkness to locate, track and prosecute the ‘enemy’.


The Merlins are equipped with sonobuoys, listening devices typically dropped into the ocean in a pattern across the likely path a submarine might take, and the even-more-accurate ‘flash sonar’.

The latter is lowered or ‘dipped’ with the Merlin in a hover. Once in the water, Petty Officer (Aircrewman) Elton Dobson monitoring the display in the back of the helicopter immediately got a ‘sniff’ of a contact.

He had to work hard to regain and hold the contact, which was clearly using its knowledge of the oceanography in the area to try to evade the Merlin, but soon the classification rose and the command team gave their consent: Weapons free.

Two simulated attacks later, with the enemy neutralised, the Merlin could return to her floating home.


Meanwhile, in warmer waters: HMS Diamond joins submarine to safeguard skies and seas of the Mediterranean | Royal Navy

Observing much of these goings on were the crew of the submarine who joined Diamond for a combined anti-submarine warfare exercise – where the two try to ‘sink’ each other.

The destroyer used her sonar and Wildcat helicopter – armed with Sting Ray torpedoes – to hunt the Trafalgar-class boat, which in turn sought to get Diamond in her periscope cross-hairs without being noticed, a challenge made harder by the near-glass like state of the Mediterranean.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
In Nelson's day, frigates were an accessory to the battle fleet and his requirement was to send them hither and yon searching for the enemy, and for that, numbers were essential. That role has now passed to air and Sigint.
Indisputably incorrect....

seaweed said:
IMHO T31 is a joke and we would do better spending our money on more T26, albeit ending up with fewer hulls, because the T31 is planned from the outset not to be fit for proper war-fighting, a sort of overgrown OPV.
Disagree - we simply don't need more high end warfighting platforms that end up on constabulary duties, but we do need a bit more capability than an OPV, particularly if it frees up a DD/FF to go where there is a more credible threat and where wider capabilities are needed.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
I am no naval person but from my outside perspective the RN seems to be veering towards very high end type limited force with not much going on in the bread and butter type variety. You know, not enough medium spec work horses which can chug away in various roles around the world. You have very good shiny toys, but not enough of them or enough of mid spec toys to make up for the numbers.
That'll be because the real maritime threats are significantly modernising and in greater numbers. Where we once might have held a technological advantage we can no longer assume that holds true. A lack of investment and sitting on laurels has allowed our potential adversaries to catch up, in spades.

But a force mix of T45/T26, with T31 and OPV B1/B2 will allow the RN to work at both high end and bread and butter levels...
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
Constabulary (and disaster relief and all the other odd jobs, even Defence Diplomacy) is what the RN does to keep busy when there isn't a war on. It is NOT a primary role for a warfighting force. WAR is the RN's business and everything else is gravy.
 
That'll be because the real maritime threats are significantly modernising and in greater numbers. Where we once might have held a technological advantage we can no longer assume that holds true. A lack of investment and sitting on laurels has allowed our potential adversaries to catch up, in spades.

But a force mix of T45/T26, with T31 and OPV B1/B2 will allow the RN to work at both high end and bread and butter levels...
Taking into account refits/breakdowns/maintenance, will we have sufficient high end assets to form & protect a Carrier Battle Group against a peer/near peer threat?
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Constabulary (and disaster relief and all the other odd jobs, even Defence Diplomacy) is what the RN does to keep busy when there isn't a war on. It is NOT a primary role for a warfighting force. WAR is the RN's business and everything else is gravy.
Quite clearly 1SL, Fleet Commander, MoD and HMT disagree.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Taking into account refits/breakdowns/maintenance, will we have sufficient high end assets to form & protect a Carrier Battle Group against a peer/near peer threat?
In that context, when a threat is that significant firstly it would be unlikely we'd operate unilaterally and secondly in crisis/transition to war refits/maintenance gets resolved very quickly.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Anybody expecting anything but the BAe contender for the T31 to be successful?
If I knew anything about the bid process, and the way the candidates were going to be assessed, I'd say that it was an open competition and whichever got the best score - on a JSP507-compliant tender process - would win it. Anything else will just bog down in lawfare.

But since I don't, I can't.
 
Some pretty senior managers at Babcock, Thales, TKMS Atlas think its open enough to invest some millions in it.
For what it's worth (nowt) my choice would be Babcock's Arrowhead 140, looks handy, proper frigate design (not a beefed up OPV) already in service and it's a competitve price. NIH though. Will toddle off to the T31 thread and have a read.
 
In the hope of getting this back onto carrier related topics....

1. Merlin helicopters and frigates protect US assault ship in war games

This shows that the carrier is not the only high value unit that needs protecting by frigates, destroyers, and aircraft, and it also shows that an effective ASW screen depends on ASW helicopters as well as frigates with towed array sonar.

2. I see that when FS Charles De Gaulle deploys next year her task group will include a Danish frigate.

Denmark wants to deploy a frigate with France’s carrier strike group in 2019

Denmark’s defense ministry noted that Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen would express his country’s interest in deploying a frigate with French units to French president Emmanuel Macron next week.

Should France invite a Danish Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate for exercises, the deployment would last between three and four months and see the joint task group operate in the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The ministry said the main goal of the deployment for Denmark would be to allow Royal Danish Navy sailors to train with French and other partner units including those from the US and the UK. At the same time, the Danish frigate will be tasked with providing air defense commander capabilities for the carrier strike group.

This would not be the first deployment of a Royal Danish Navy frigate with a carrier strike group as HDMS Peter Willemoes (F 362) joined US aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) for six months of operations in the Middle East in early 2017.

I think carriers and multinational task groups do seem to go together.

3. Returning to the news article from HMS Diamond I posted above, apart from the ASW aspect of the exercise:

The destroyer made extensive use of the facilities and equipment at Britain’s bases in Cyprus. The variety of aircraft using the airspace over and around the area tested the team in the ship’s operations room – especially the Fighter Controllers, whose job is to direct friendly fighters to intercept targets. They also control congested skies, observe and direct numerous different aircraft and operate with other UK forces.

All these things are very relevant to supporting carrier operations as part of a task group. I am not entirely sure if and how NATO warships are part of Operation Shader. @Magic_Mushroom?

4. HMS Prince of Wales is going to be at sea within a year, lessons having been learnt from building Queen Elizabeth.

HMS Prince of Wales to sail within the next 12 months

5. When will the next update (RN website or Twitter) from Queen Elizabeth and her exciting trials be?

6. When we see Chris Terill's next documentary, will he mention the years of effort, often behind the scenes, to keep skills alive to enable to rapid 6rogress with the F-35B integration and trials?
 
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...I am not entirely sure if and how NATO warships are part of Operation Shader...
US and French assets have occasionally conducted TLAM/MdCN strikes against targets in Syria. However, I’d say their main contribution is in monitoring Russian activity and assisting in broader C2 and ISR in the Eastern Med.

Regards,
MM
 
We should probably disband the entire armed forces immediately to avoid them becoming targets for Russian nuclear attack then. You spastic.
Surely a good case can indeed be made, for disbanding most of the armed forces of the UK. With one exception -we retain a fleet of RN submarines carrying nuclear-armed long-range ballistic missiles.

These missiles could inflict such heavy punishment on any country that attacked the UK, that no attack would likely be made. For example, in the case of a putative attack by Russia. Suppose the UK had sufficient nuclear missiles at sea, to pretty well guarantee the nuclear destruction of Moscow. Wouldn't that deter any rational Russian president from ordering a nuclear attack on the UK? I think so. Probably the Russian president would decide to leave the UK untouched.

After all, in the situation we're considering, where the UK has disbanded its Army and Air Force, and so has no other active military power, it can't harm Russia unless it gets provoked. Therefore, the Russian leader would most likely decide not to provoke it, and to simply ignore the UK. And give full attention to employing Russian nuclear resources against the USA.

Then once the USA is defeated, so the Russian leader would think, the war will effectively be won. And reasonable negotiations can take with place with the UK. That sounds quite good, from our point of view, don't you think?
The Royal Navy would have saved the country by virtue of its submarines. No aircraft carriers would have been required.
 
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Surely a good case can indeed be made, for disbanding most of the armed forces of the UK. With one exception -we retain a fleet of RN submarines carrying nuclear-armed long-range ballistic missiles.

These missiles could inflict such heavy punishment on any country that attacked the UK, that no attack would likely be made. For example, in the case of a putative attack by Russia. Suppose the UK had sufficient nuclear missiles at sea, to pretty well guarantee the nuclear destruction of Moscow. Wouldn't that deter any rational Russian president from ordering a nuclear attack on the UK? I think so. Probably the Russian president would decide to leave the UK untouched.

After all, in the situation we're considering, where the UK has disbanded its Army and Air Force, and so has no other active military power, it can't harm Russia unless it gets provoked. Therefore, the Russian leader would most likely decide not to provoke it, and to simply ignore the UK. And give full attention to employing Russian nuclear resources against the USA.

Then once the USA is defeated, so the Russian leader would think, the war will effectively be won. And reasonable negotiations can take with place with the UK. That sounds quite good, from our point of view, don't you think?
The Royal Navy would have saved the country by virtue of its submarines. No aircraft carriers would have been required.
So by your logic, any military task can be met with the Strategic Deterrent?

"Flooding in Cumbria you say Minister? No problems, I'll whistle up a bucket of sunshine."

"Good show Admiral. Err just one question though, how will we know if it's actually gone off or not?"
 

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