For those who actually support the Royal Navy...

This group features some of the most distinguished Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm and Royal Marine officers of recent times, including:Admiral Sir John Woodward, Admiral Sir Michael Layard, Rear Admiral Jeremy Larken, Major General Julian Thompson, Commodore Steven Jermy, Commodore Neill Thomas, Captain Mike Clapp, Captain Bob McQueen, Commander ‘Sharkey’ Ward, Commander Tim Gedge, Commander Graham Edmonds, etc.

Given their huge, successful, experience, What they write is well worth reading.

The Phoenix Think Tank « The Phoenix Think Tank
On the basis it's got Sharky Ward involved, I doubt there's going to be much credibility associated with it.
On the basis it's got Sharky Ward involved, I doubt there's going to be much credibility associated with it.
I really do not think you can dismiss all those highly experienced and battle proven, officers so very easily.
Well, having read Sharky Ward's book, I can dismiss such a massive egotist, who dislikes fish-heads, none voomies and the RAF.

I admire the rest of them, however, as I have said elsewhere on this site, the Phoenix Think Tank will be immediately dismissed as a Dark Blue only, naval case drum-beat, group of single issue fanatics. Unless they are very very smart (and I hope they are), they will probably fall back onto a theme of massively expanding the RN, probably at the cost of the rest of the Armed Forces.

If they were truly radical, I would look forward for their plans on how to dominate the Brown Water battlespace, the use of the RN in COIN, a replacement of nearly all manned attack/ISTAR aviation with UAVs (probably based from large container ships/RFA type ships), and a massive proliferation of corvettes at the cost of more conventional FF/DD. To do so would have the concomitant result of removing the RN from "true" "blue water" operations, but they'd be making a new point, and possibly one that sat in the "war amongst the people" ethos that seems to be en vogue at the moment...
With all due (and genuine) respect to the distinguished and gallant gentlemen who form this think tank, how many have operational experience post-1982 or any service at all post 9/11?

A question for the Think Tank;

If CVF is the answer, what was the question?
Cdre Jermy retired in 2008.

I don't think that their age is necessarily the issue; it's the nimbleness of their thought.....
And obviously not...

INTER SERVICE RIVALRY « The Phoenix Think Tank

is written by Sharky Ward, and I will summarise:

The RAF want to kill the fixed wing FAA. That is all that needs to be said on inter-service rivalry.
Lots of Love,
ps - have I said how the RAF want to kill fixed wing FAA?
It's a trap!

"Today’s contract signature marks an important step forward in the Carrier Strike programme. These ships will provide additional options for projecting offensive air power at a time and place of our choosing, and I very much look forward to the arrival of both the carriers and the extremely capable Joint Combat Aircraft on the frontline”.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, 3 July 2008
Sorry I am not sure one could assemble a more impressive group of successful operational officers from the RN, or the RAF, than these people. Scoff away if you like, but here we have RN, FAA and RM officers who have not only been and seen, but won, against the odds as they did. I will take their word against most, as will many others not lacking in common sense.
I know I shouldn't argue with people on the internet - I'm ill as it is at the moment (dinosaur flu before any one asks) but here goes....

This think tank would have far more credibility if it wasn't so obviously one-eyed. As an example, (The Framework for an objective comprehensive Strategic Defence Review « The Phoenix Think Tank) piece reads quite well until you get towards the recommendations. Having re-iterated the need for operational control of the airspace, it then attacks the utility of land based air bases, whilst blithely recommending Carrier Air as the answer to nearly all questions*. Even a modicum of evenness would recognise the inherent ability of land based air, and that we are unlikely to achieve the FEs to produce the Carrier Air solution they recommend.

The real pity is that at least 2 of the contributors (Sandy Woodward and Steven Jermy) made some very interesting contributions about strategy (House of Commons - Who does UK National Strategy? - Public Administration Committee), and Woodward also had a contribution about a single "General Staff" service to act as a counter-weight against the 3 services in MoD Centre. I'd like to see some of that thought being published on the think tank's site, instead of the formulaic "CVF is the only future, the RAF are evil, lets grow the FF/DD fleet" that gets trotted out by nearly every Naval commentator. It means we can be easily be sidelined, as our arguments never change and we lack the agility to take the fight forward.....

*with an added bonus recommending that we increase FF/DDs to protect our CVs
I have huge respect for these individuals in the context of their victory and service in 1982 and the Falklands War. I am also keenly aware that they are of a generation brought up where the RN was predominantly a big gun, big carrier force (e.g. Woodward joined the RN in 1946).

While they are a useful mine of historical information, the vast majority of them have been retired for 20 - 25 years. Their current exposure to tactics, operations, procurement, capabilities etc is near zero. They have no experience of the RN in the wars and operations that we have fought since 2001 which have shaped current Defence thinking and doctrine.

As a historical interest group, they are of value. As a group representing current RN thinking they are of no value at all.
Will this decade be more like the previous one, or the preceding one?

Jim once again I see irony in your choice of signiture.
Although Cdr Ward can speak with 'been there, done that' experience. He has unfortunately become a totemic emblem that can be thrown into any argument by many on the basis that his opinion is Gods Holy Writ on carrier avaiation and any dissenting opinions are heresy.

The Falklands was fought 28 years ago. Would we have sought out the views of an RNAS flyer from 1917 as the definitive thought on carrier operations in 1945 or the views of Cdr Carmichael on how to fight the Falklands?

Time has moved on.
I also rather suspect that had the RAF done the same thing, and formed a think tank involving Falklands commanders, then IronDuke would be screaming in apoplectic rage about how utterly obsolete and irrelevant their thinking is to any situation.

Yokel - I am well aware of the irony, but given our dire fiscal situation, I'm not sure of any other way out of the mess but cuts.
Can I make the point Ironduke that for all the good intentions you have, in the localised area that is ARRSE, ranting, raving and posting threads like this one is actually hurting the RN's credibility...

Agreed on Sharky mind you - amusing to read, pinch of salt required.

Deleted 20555

As a mildly interested onlooker it seems to me that it's the RN or more specifically the current leaders thereof who are killing off the RN rather than anyone else.
Yeah, we rather took the hit on that one didn't we. Who knows what they've been thinking since 1995 - I have no doubt they were all individually good men*, with the greatest interest of the RN at heart, yet some how we've ended up here. Rather connects with my post on "strategy" in the Staff Officers forum.......

* In fact, having met all of them, they are intelligent, personable and Dark Blue through and through.
Thats an interesting one Alfred - if back in 1995 (when the RN had 12 DDGs, 23 FFGs, 12 SSNs, 4 SSBNs, 20 (building to 25) MCMVs, and roughly 20 patrol boats in the main fleet) , the person writing the staff requirement for CVS replacement had been told that the price to pay would result in an RN of 6 DDGs, 13 FFGs, 7 SSNs, 4 SSBNs, 14 MCMVs, and 4 patrol boats in the main fleet, would they have endorsed 'CVF' or felt the price was too high?

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