Former First Sea Lord Calls It Like It Is

Note the selective use of references to above inflation spending after 2000.

I don't suppose that the MOD makes references to the reductions in the surface fleet since 1997, the retirement of Sea Harriers, the number of ships up for sale, or the number of ships which are stripped for parts and are unavailable without significant work.

I also wonder how old the navy's helicopter fleet is, the Sea Kings, Gazelles and Lynes are no longer cutting edge machines. On the other hand has any real progress been made in replacing the RAF's C130Ks, many of which were delivered in the late 1960s? How much progress has their been in replacing the RAF's air to air tanker fleet the VC10s and Tristars? There are some very, very old aircraft in the RAF, and it is a minor miracle that they keep them flying.

Does Broon have any strategic vision?


Book Reviewer
If the equipment is world class how come the world hasn't bought it?

Mind you, good to see him speaking out, but bear in mind he was in the chair during the worst of the cuts. Jolly nice bloke, though.
smartascarrots said:
Mr_Fingerz said:
I especially liked the "world class equipment" statement from MoD in response. :D
Perfectly true, it's just that it's the Third World.
What exactly does that phrase mean anyway? World class?
It is a typical politicians phrase, it means nothing, signifies nothing but sounds positive.

World class equipment, meaning equipment that can be used in the world as opposed to what?


Book Reviewer
Here you are AJ (c) BBC News

Ex-Navy head seeks spending boost

Sir Alan says "very different" threats could emerge
Britain's safety and prosperity depends on greater defence investment, the former head of the Royal Navy has said.
Admiral Sir Alan West said "an extremely dangerous world" demanded increased spending on the armed forces.

He also warned against an "arrogance" that assumed Britain's future threats would come only from terrorism and Middle East conflict.

The next 50 years could see "very, very unpleasant" threats, he said.

Sir Alan, who was First Sea Lord from 2002-6, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are in an extremely dangerous world.

"I'm afraid to say that in the next 50 years there might well be something very, very unpleasant and very different from anything anyone has predicted and I believe we need a powerful maritime force to look after this island."

He said Britain's future safety depended particularly on maintaining its maritime strength and called for extra destroyers, frigates and aircraft carriers.

'Grown-up debate'

"I think there needs to be a real debate about the amount of money spent on defence," Sir Alan said.

"If one looks at the things the government wants us to do around the world, we probably need more money for defence and there needs to be a very grown-up debate about that."

Sir Alan cautioned it would be "very dangerous" to assume Britain's future defence needs would be dominated by counter-terrorism and peace-keeping tasks.

Speaking on the 25th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War, in which he served, Sir Alan said maintaining Britain's sea power was also vital for the country's success on the global stage.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the defence budget had been rising above inflation since 2000.

"In 2007-8 the defence budget will be £33.4bn. We also spend some £6bn a year on world-class new equipment for the armed forces," the spokesman said.


Book Reviewer
Yokel said:
But he DID speak out whilst in office - he was very candid.
I know. I'm just feeling weary and cynical today. He was a good 1SL and genuinely a nice bloke but I can't help feeling the RN have become so obsessed by the carriers that they've dropped the ball on platform numbers. There's so much talk about how quality ships are more capable than more numbers of less capable ships but the most fantastic ship in the world is no good if its in the wrong ocean when trouble kicks off.

Frankly, I don't think his call for a "grown-up" debate will be listened to by anyone in authority in government. They've made it clear they don't care. And the public don't see the need because a vague "something nasty might happen in the next 50 years" isn't a great rallying cry to the masses.


Book Reviewer
'Ah, I have to disagree. If we had Third World equipment you'd all be carrying AK's'

at least they'd fire when you pull the trigger.

erm, not that the SA80 has ever had any problems.