The Royal Marines amphibious role ?

Correct, HC4 is not able to conduct the Crowsnest role.

But HC4s being used from LHD will dilute the numbers available for QEC and add further pressure on the small HMA fleet.

I won't mention Crowsnest! :eek:

Regards,
MM
Which would appear to suggest that there needs to be a sustainment / force increase buy of Merlin. Latest FOIA info on total vs forward fleets dated Feb 2018, suggest the following :

Merlin HMA 2 30 aircraft of which 20 in fwd fleet (~66%)
Merlin HC 3/4 25 aircraft of which 11 in fwd (distorted by HC4/4A upgrade)
Puma HC2 23 aircraft of which 15 in fwd (~65%)
Chinook HC 4/5/6 60 aircraft of which 39 in fwd (65%)

Assume for a minute that the Merlin HC force will hit a 65% forward/total value and you've got 16 frames for a total of 36 Merlin frames in the forward fleet. From which you've got to give 824NAS around 4 frames for training / continuity, 814NAS at least 6, leaving only 10 frames for 820/849 to do pinging and bagging. You can probably get another 6 from 845 to do lift/HDS aboard QEC, leaving 10 for 846 to cover training/continuity and the "traditional" CHF tasking. That's eyewatering for the HMA fleet and tight for the overall Merlin fleet, if Merlin had a good serviceability record. If.......

I'm sure SHF can help out with their Wokkas, but it does seem that the FAA is a tad short in comparative terms. That analysis above shows that each CSG deployment could soak up over half the forward fleet.

It would be interesting to understand where the SHF cabs are committed, because - and not intended in a derogatory way - it seems there's a disparity in demand, noting of course that everyone wants a Wokka when they're in the poo. Seems a little strange then that a new Chinook buy is being contemplated - although I'm sure that's more to recapitalise the older cabs.
 
Which would appear to suggest that there needs to be a sustainment / force increase buy of Merlin...
I'd agree entirely with ASW being the most pressing need.

In my view, we're now feeling the consequences of poor decisions over the last 20 years. We should never have bought Merlin HC and the Puma upgrade was also very questionable; we'd have been far better off operating Chinook, a mixed fleet of MH-60s and Wildcat.

However, we are where we are.

...It would be interesting to understand where the SHF cabs are committed, because - and not intended in a derogatory way - it seems there's a disparity in demand, noting of course that everyone wants a Wokka when they're in the poo. Seems a little strange then that a new Chinook buy is being contemplated - although I'm sure that's more to recapitalise the older cabs...
Chinook's unique capabilities remain essential and they are heavily committed to ops in Africa, the ME and NATO. The plans to replace them is as you say largely a result of the need to recapitalise a mixed and in some cases elderly fleet (the oldest is around 40 years old now). The small Puma force is similarly heavily committed to Afghanistan.

So, if I were to play devil's advocate, it's CHF who are currently undertasked, particularly from a JHC/Land (who own them) perspective. However, their association with QEC, clever positioning in the JPR realm, and recent expensive upgrade will probably ensure they're protected (although the JPR task may ironically see them getting pulled away from carriers when on ops!).

To me, Puma will be the most vulnerable over the next few years.

None of which of course will fund or address the most pressing rotary need for UK PLC which in my view is Pingers, a situation which will be aggravated by Crowsnest (and a paucity of escorts, SSNs and MPA).

It's a mess.

Regards,
MM
 
Wasn't aware how heavily tasked the SHF is.

Real issue I think is the clusterf8ck during the mid-noughties (FASH/SABR/BLUH/SCMR) all tied up in FRC, which was then binned because Broon didn't want to spend any money. Then panicked when he realised he was getting blamed for the resultant Snatch Landy / IED / lack of airlift, compounded by the HC3 farce, which ended up with SK4 Carson, Puma 2 and a whole raft of short-term measures to fix the problem du jour with no money.

I don't think MH60 is the answer - unless the question is what replaces Lynx - because it's too small for lift at range / USL and the Wokka doesn't fit in places we want to go, or ships we want to go on.

I still think the answer was probably a combination of medium lift (Merlin sized) and heavy lift, just not bought in a panic with what could be transferred / wasn't wanted right this second for no money and certainly not without considering the wider force (eg Pingers / Baggers).

And most certainly with an adequate logistics and support package that delivered good availability.
 
Last edited:

ugly

LE
Moderator
Is puma still flying? Gordon Bennet
 
Wasn't aware how heavily tasked the SHF is.

Real issue I think is the clusterf8ck during the mid-noughties (FASH/SABR/BLUH/SCMR) all tied up in FRC, which was then binned because Broon didn't want to spend any money. Then panicked when he realised he was getting blamed for the resultant Snatch Landy / IED / lack of airlift, which ended up with SK4 Carson, the HC3 farce, a whole raft of short-term measures to fix the problem du jour with no money.

I don't think MH60 is the answer - unless the question is what replaces Lynx - because it's too small for lift at range / USL and the Wokka doesn't fit in places we want to go, or ships we want to go on.

I still think the answer was probably a combination of medium lift (Merlin sized) and heavy lift, just not bought in a panic with what could be transferred / wasn't wanted right this second for no money and certainly not without considering the wider force (eg Pingers / Baggers).

And most certainly with an adequate logistics and support package that delivered good availability.
Apologies, I wasn't suggesting MH-60 is the answer now.

Rather that it was what we should have procured 20 years ago instead of Merlin (HMA and HC) and the Puma HC2 upgrade.

Otherwise, I agree completely, particularly with the need for greater focus on trg, personnel, Info and Logs elements rather than the normal approach of:

TEPIDOIL!

Regards,
MM
 
Wasn't aware how heavily tasked the SHF is.

Real issue I think is the clusterf8ck during the mid-noughties (FASH/SABR/BLUH/SCMR) all tied up in FRC, which was then binned because Broon didn't want to spend any money. Then panicked when he realised he was getting blamed for the resultant Snatch Landy / IED / lack of airlift, which ended up with SK4 Carson, the HC3 farce, a whole raft of short-term measures to fix the problem du jour with no money.

I don't think MH60 is the answer - unless the question is what replaces Lynx - because it's too small for lift at range / USL and the Wokka doesn't fit in places we want to go, or ships we want to go on.

I still think the answer was probably a combination of medium lift (Merlin sized) and heavy lift, just not bought in a panic with what could be transferred / wasn't wanted right this second for no money and certainly not without considering the wider force (eg Pingers / Baggers).

And most certainly with an adequate logistics and support package that delivered good availability.
I would contend that it wasn’t that Broon didn’t want to spend money, it was the sS didn’t come up with a plan to spend money. In particular, the pissing-match between the Army and RAF as to who would own Support Helicopters, resulted in total stalemate. Add in the good Rev’d’s role as Colonel Commandant of the AAC (after a very deft piece of getting him his Army Flying Badge), and it was a classic case of “not invented here”ism. Of course, the RN just kept it’s head down as CHF was not in the mix.

The MH-60 has a fairly good load lift, is a decent size (but not too big), and bomb-proof. Of course, the question is are you buying a single fleet for all roles (maritime, littoral, SH, medium lift) and it’s a bit rubbish for everything, or multiple fleets with extra overheads. A classic procurement decision making process.

For my preference I’d go with more EH101 in every role. But that ain’t going to happen.
 
Is puma still flying? Gordon Bennet
2021 will see the 50th anniversary of their entry into service!

...In particular, the pissing-match between the Army and RAF as to who would own Support Helicopters, resulted in total stalemate...
It wasn't a stalemate; Land got them (and the funding lines) after complaining that the RAF didn't care about helicopters...and then promptly cut funding!

Regards,
MM
 
Rather that it was what we should have procured 20 years ago instead of Merlin (HMA and HC) and the Puma HC2 upgrade.
Sadly going down that route takes us to WHL/Hezza and all that, which is closer to 35 years ago!! God I feel old.

Don't think the 60 would have cut it as an HMA capability though. Don't forget the USN had Viking and proper layered defence at the time, so the 60 was very much a close in asset. Again, time on station at range and weapon loadout would not have fully exploited the force sensors. Would have made Crowsnest an iffy proposition as well.
 
Of course, the RN just kept it’s head down as CHF was not in the mix.
Right up until FASH was subsumed into SABR. But then there was still just enough life left in SK4 to kick the can down the road for a bit.

For my preference I’d go with more EH101 in every role. But that ain’t going to happen.
Yup. Me too. Only with a much better support contract and f/h allocation.
 
2021 will see the 50th anniversary of their entry into service!



It wasn't a stalemate; Land got them (and the funding lines) after complaining that the RAF didn't care about helicopters...and then promptly cut funding!

Regards,
MM
For the period of 07-10?
 
Are you talking about the stalemate of funding cut?

Regards,
MM
Stalemate which was routinely blamed on G Brown. There is no evidence he ever denied or turned down requests for UOR helicopters for either TELIC or HERRICK. There is plenty of suggestions that was because neither sS could agree on how and where the “new” helicopters would sit.
 

Yokel

LE
I doubt you can fit many Merlins aboard the LPD or LSD(A) - a couple perhaps? At the time they were built it was thought that no hangar was needed ad in an amphibious operation either CVS or LPH (both replaced by QEC) would provide the helicopters - including Chinooks.

But if we are looking at small scale raids then that might mean using other ships as platforms - just like in the Falklands
 
Stalemate which was routinely blamed on G Brown. There is no evidence he ever denied or turned down requests for UOR helicopters for either TELIC or HERRICK. There is plenty of suggestions that was because neither sS could agree on how and where the “new” helicopters would sit...
Fair call.

RAF SF and RN CHF have been under Land financial control when JHC was formed in 1999 iirc after which funding was reduced. There was I believe disagreement between the 2 services over at least one suggested procurement of UH-60s.

Iirc, the primary disagreement was that it would've added yet another type to JHC's mixed bag, the AAC/REME (who wanted them) couldn't have manned them (as was proved with similar arguments over Shadow), and we'd have been expected to pick up the pieces.

Regards,
MM
 

Yokel

LE
I doubt you can fit many Merlins aboard the LPD or LSD(A) - a couple perhaps? At the time they were built it was thought that no hangar was needed ad in an amphibious operation either CVS or LPH (both replaced by QEC) would provide the helicopters - including Chinooks.

But if we are looking at small scale raids then that might mean using other ships as platforms - just like in the Falklands
I know I am replying to myself, but I thought talk of an amphibious element for CHF's Combat Service Support Squadron implied that in recent weeks they had deployed over land, but where looking to deploy from the sea next time. It seems I was wrong:


Will future exercises involve putting the support for the aircraft ashore via Landing Craft, or operating flights of aircraft from (multiple) non carrier/LPH ships?
 

Yokel

LE
This story on the RN website, about Royal Marines training aboard HMS Albion, is interesting.

The unit, based at Bickleigh just outside Plymouth, is undergoing a transformation as part of the reshaping of the Royal Marines under the Future Commando Force programme, with 42 in general focussing on seagoing operations – and each of its four companies assigned bespoke roles:

  • Juliet – board and search
  • Kilo – assaults
  • Lima – ‘Joint Personnel Recovery’, rescuing downed aircrew/British military personnel/civilians in a hostile environment
  • Mike – additional force protection for deployed Royal Navy/Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships
By saying Kilo Company of 42 Commando specialises in assaults, do they mean company level amphibious assaults/raids? Therefore in addition to the Royal Marine Landing Craft squadron, the LPD would deploy to hotspots with a dedicated force?
 

Bluenose2

Old-Salt
This story on the RN website, about Royal Marines training aboard HMS Albion, is interesting.

The unit, based at Bickleigh just outside Plymouth, is undergoing a transformation as part of the reshaping of the Royal Marines under the Future Commando Force programme, with 42 in general focussing on seagoing operations – and each of its four companies assigned bespoke roles:

  • Juliet – board and search
  • Kilo – assaults
  • Lima – ‘Joint Personnel Recovery’, rescuing downed aircrew/British military personnel/civilians in a hostile environment
  • Mike – additional force protection for deployed Royal Navy/Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships
By saying Kilo Company of 42 Commando specialises in assaults, do they mean company level amphibious assaults/raids? Therefore in addition to the Royal Marine Landing Craft squadron, the LPD would deploy to hotspots with a dedicated force?
I'm not qualified to answer your question, but a few observations - firstly, surely 42 cdo are going to be too dispersed and specialised to play a proper role in a Bde level operation now?

Secondly, bar K Company, those roles look quite one dimensional to appeal in the long term. I'd imagine attrition and transfer rates will be pretty high.

Thirdly, if a patrol ship is deploying to an area known for drug trafficking, then who goes with them? Some of J company or some of M? Surely there's a lot of opportunity to cross-skill and have a broader pool to draw from?
 
I'm not qualified to answer your question, but a few observations - firstly, surely 42 cdo are going to be too dispersed and specialised to play a proper role in a Bde level operation now?

Secondly, bar K Company, those roles look quite one dimensional to appeal in the long term. I'd imagine attrition and transfer rates will be pretty high.

Thirdly, if a patrol ship is deploying to an area known for drug trafficking, then who goes with them? Some of J company or some of M? Surely there's a lot of opportunity to cross-skill and have a broader pool to draw from?
Interesting points.
The Foreign Legion’s 2 REP has five rifle companies that all specialise in certain domains, but they also serve as centres of excellence and subject matter experts in those domains for all the other troops in the regiment. These also receive a certain amount of training in the other fields.
Maybe that’s how it’ll work in 42 Cdo.
 

Bluenose2

Old-Salt
Interesting points.
The Foreign Legion’s 2 REP has five rifle companies that all specialise in certain...these also receive a certain amount of training in the other fields.
Maybe that’s how it’ll work in 42 Cdo.
I suspect so.

Do 2 REP draw from new recruits, and how attractive do postings to it appeal, when compared to the more varied roles of the other regiments?
 
I suspect so.

Do 2 REP draw from new recruits, and how attractive do postings to it appeal, when compared to the more varied roles of the other regiments?
Not sure what you mean by varied roles of the other regiments.

1 RE is the depot regiment.

2 REP just like all the other Legion regiments has Legionnaires posted in from 4 RE, the Legion training regiment, after completion of basic training. The principal choices for trained recruits are:

Mainland France (where the vast bulk of Legionnaires are now based):
Parachute Infantry: 2 REP (in a Parachute Brigade - 11 BP)
Infantry: 2 REI, 13 DBLE, (both in a Light Armoured Brigade - 6 BLB)
Light Armour: 1 REC (in a Light Armoured Brigade - 6 BLB)
Engineers: 1 REG (in a Light Armoured Brigade - 6 BLB), 2 REG (in a Mountain Infantry Brigade - 27 BIM)

Overseas Territories
Infantry: 3 REI (in French Guyana), DLEM (in Mayotte), both are smaller units and less likely to have Legionnaires posted in direct from basic training (DLEM in particular on both counts).

The only other current unit is the GRLE, which is the recruiting group.

2 REP is attractive if you want to serve in what is viewed as (arguably) the elite regiment of the Legion, jump out of aeroplanes on a regular basis, get significantly higher pay, and be based in one of Corsica's premier tourist spots; with a high chance of an emergency operational deployment to some fast developing crisis which needs a high readiness airborne unit dropped in. And just like all the other France based regiments you partake in an up-tempo rotational plot of operational deployments.
 

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