No end in sight to the Army's dependence on airpower

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by alfred_the_great, Dec 13, 2016.

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  1. Ok, you're just being silly now.
     
  2. B1 - The RAF accepted a capability gap (with a mitigation plan which has worked well) to secure a future solution. It also put a Seedcorn plan in place (at it's own expense and pain) to ensure it had the people/skills required.

    B2 - It's not difficult is it? The days of the Army being the big kid on the block in terms of operational relevance are over, at least for the rest of my service and probably yours too (I am guessing you're a lot younger than me).

    B3 - Which are what, exactly? The RAF has the equipment and personnel to deliver the roles that are required of it, now and in the future. The Army manifestly does not.
     
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  3. Ah a flag waver.

    Luckily if you spend any time in a Joint Environment, or even better a Combined, Joint HQ on Shader you will find RAF Officers with the intelligence to approach this discussion with a bit more analysis than 'RAF RAF RAF!!!!!'
     
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  4. There's no link between comment on the relative service equipment programmes and my views on jointery. And it makes no difference how Joint one is or is not, the fact that the army is the least operationally employed of the services is fact, and likely to remain so.
     
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  5. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    1. The RAF failed to plug a major capability gap which is now a serious problem. The only equivalent capability gap in the army is AA, but again we have a seedcorn capability. Some of our stuff is old, but at least it still exists.

    2. All three forces will remain operationally relevant, there just won't be a series of massive army dominated ground holding operations. Strictly speaking, JFC and the Navy are and will be the most operationally relevant for the foreseeable future.

    3. Let's start with Jock Stirrup as the paradigm example of a self interested, awful VSO. Then we can look at a tanker fleet that can't fuel most RAF aircraft, a self-generated capability gap in ground attack aircraft (again, just when we need it) that has been hastily plugged by extending F3 and using Typhoon out of role, A400m, Libya, MPA, etc.
     
  6. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Of course they did. There were major cuts to the equipment budget so higher priority items were retained while the replacement of extant capabilities slipped down the priority order. It was either do that or stop funding a different programme. It's not as if the army had money and then just chose not to bother spending it because it seemed like a waste of time.
     
  7. Assuming you are talking about MPA, not they didnt and no it isn't.

    You could argue that JFC is an organisational construct around capabilities which the sS actually deliver, but ... It's an interesting POV. Why?

    I know his Fan Club is short on numbers, but again why?

    What can't Voyager refuel that it needs to?

    Being generous I know you know the difference between an F3 and a GR4, so putting that aside ... What gap? The rates of effort required on ops have necessitated the retention of additional sqns. How is Typhoon being employed out of role?

    What about it?

    That's the one where the RAF "promised" to "stabilise the country" isn't it?
     
  8. jrwlynch

    jrwlynch LE Book Reviewer

    Cuts happen to everyone, as do pauses and gaps: the question is, what did the Army do to cover them and ensure that if priorities changed and money became available, there was (a) a coherent plan to regenerate the capability, (b) a cadre of experience able to train up the crews, (c) the industrial capacity to deliver the hardware?

    The last step in that direction I can detect was CLIP (Challenger Lethality Improvement Programme) a decade ago which demonstrated that (a) you could mount a 120mm smoothbore to CR2, (b) unfortunately you couldn't fit the ammunition inside; at which point it seems to have all gone into the "boring, difficult, leave it for my relief" bin.

    If there is any coherent plan to improve CR2's capability against the current and near-term threat it faces, it's an extraordinarily well-kept secret.
     
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  9. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer


    Can't do the multi quote thing, so:

    1. Yes they did. We don't have MPA while the Russians are stepping up their submarine warfare game. QED.

    2. If you argue that JFC is an organisational construct, then you have to face the fact that the army bits of it are doing the most.

    3. Why is Blair's yes man who was in charge for most of the period when defence really suffered from both cuts and misguided campaigns a bad VSO? Dunno.

    4. Brimstone.

    5. Extremely expensive and can't do parachute jumps.

    6. No, the RAF did everything that the army did in Iraq and more. Got really excited about bombing stuff but failed to explain to the politicians that there was a lack of phase IV planning and that the inevitably succesful mission would lead to a breakdown in civil order.
     
  10. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer


    We kept the tanks and guns in service.
     
  11. 1. We have MPA capability, it's being used right now.
    2. You may be right. Which ones and what?
    3. I don't think you can hold CDS responsible for budget cuts. Misguided campaigns, now he shares some responsibility for that I grant you. He should have stamped on nonsense like 6 month tours for Bde HQs and the associated set-piece operations.
    4. How many DMSB have we not used because because we couldn't, as opposed to didn't want to?
    5. All aircraft are expensive and A400 is a type that reflects political direction and wishes; like Merlin as another example,albeit for differing reasons. If you are offering the inability to do mass para drops as a critical capability gap then I think we will just have to agree to differ.
    6. What's the point you are trying to make here? You still haven't explained how the RAF has failed to deliver what was/is required of it (noting that I haven't suggested that the Army didn't either)
     
  12. jrwlynch

    jrwlynch LE Book Reviewer

    It would have been surprising if you hadn't, since they weren't out of life (Harrier, CVS) or experiencing serious safety and airworthiness problems (Nimrod) to force their withdrawal.

    But where was, let alone is, the sustainment plan for "when we need these to fight an opponent not mired in the 1990s and have some budget"?

    In at least one area, the main effort is to buy a bit of kit that would have been useful in Afghanistan but of very limited utility elsewhere, because that's the comfort zone and experience of the people involved and it's really, really painful to look at the threats and missions and start honestly confronting the gaps...
     
  13. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Isolating a couple of points:

    2. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/elite-sas-troops-pictured-syrian-8590815.amp?client=safari

    3. I don't either. But I have seen it argued on here repeatedly that army budget cuts are due to our stupid VSOs not arguing the case better with ministers. I just want some parity across the services, that's all.

    6. The point I'm trying to make is that I would like some parity when it comes to comparing the services. The army is blamed for mission failure in Iraq when it did exactly what was required of it, failed to do phase IV planning but then stayed long enough to dig itself out. In Afghanistan, the lack of political direction is usually blamed on VSOs failing to persuade politicians to set a coherent aim prior to engaging in the conflict. The early withdrawal is similarly blamed on VSOs either for failing to persuade politicians to stay or for failing to anticipate that political will would evaporate. But when the RAF engages in a bombing campaign with zero phase IV planning and the clearly insane idea that rebel ground forces would be able to maintain a stable country afterwards, it's nothing to do with their VSOs because all they were asked to do was bomb stuff. By that logic, both Afghanistan and Iraq were successes from the army point of view...
     
  14. I don't blame the Army for the lack of political direction in either campaign, but I do think that the way in which they were conducted left a lot to be desired. No one is immune from criticism, but let's not pretend that the Army didn't have the whip hand in military decision making, planning and execution.

    I'll let the point that the SF Group, whilst Army dominated, is not an Army unit, pass.
     
  15. I agree. Out of interest how many people do the RAF have deployed abroad operationally?