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Trident Renewal Is Given Greenlight

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
From

BBC News - Trident delay shows Lib Dem influence - Lord Ashdown

to

BBC News - Work on Trident nuclear renewal gets go ahead

A good decision by the Government :thumbsup:

Trident is by far the best and most efficient nuclear option. Ultimately it is also the safest and a cheap (all things considered) solution. The decision to commit to the purchase of the PWR3 Reactor and structural steel for construction of the new boats effectively commits the taxpayer to the renewal which, IMHO, is a good thing.

Naturally the Lib Dems are insisting we save them face by wasting taxpayers money on a study of alternate options. Given by the time the study reports the Government will have signed a £3bn contract for the above items you really have to asked how many people are going to fooled by such a pointless exercise? Are Lib Dems supporters really than dim?
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
BBC said:
Dr Fox said the Ministry of Defence would also commission a study into alternative deterrent options to see whether they were "feasible and credible" - to be overseen by Lib Dem Armed Forces minister Nick Harvey
Is that just the obligatory gesture to involve the Lib Dems, given they have always been very loud about Trident but very short on actual substance in stating what they would do?
 

phil t

Well-known Member
Got to love the BBC.

Originally Posted by BBC

Only one submarine is on patrol at any one time and it needs several days' notice to fire

WRONG.

They need a bit more reseach me thinks.

:)
 
D

Deleted member 293381

Guest
@ Rasczak

I like the the title of this thread - Trident Renewal Is Given Greenlight.

Perfectly pitched! :)
 

icstm

Active Member
Personally, though I used to be pro these things, I would rather than 4 nuclear powered (thus with cats and traps) aircraft carriers, than have these.

That would be a much more visible show of strength around the world and would still leave you with the ability to deliver a message when necessary.

You would not need a Nuclear option to inflict crippling problems on London, NYC, Delhi or any other city/country using 21century weapons.
Our carrier capability has been poor for the last 30+ years. The sea harriers were not upto snuff (even in the falklands). The new carriers with F35Bs are not much better.

At the end of the day cost has to be an issue and we pay, directly or indirectly to be part of the ERRF (european rapid reaction force), NATO, UNSC. With that comes partnerships with other nuclear states.

Middle east countries have the weapon, but they cannot project it. Power projection is impressive. Moaring the Royal yacht Britannia was impressive. SF capabilities are impressive.

We have astute, great sub, but an expensive way to launch cruise missiles, but used in the right way (Lybia was an expensive and wrong way as we could have used less covert and cheaper delivery mechansims) they provide a decisive message when necessary.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
The new carriers with F35Bs are not much better.
Following the SDSR in October, the new carriers will be operating F35C and be fitted with electro-magnetic catapults and arrestor wire recovery. For those interested here is a diagram showing the JSF (Lightning II) variants and here is a quick intro to the Queen Elizabeth class carriers. In the last link you will see that the new carriers offer alot of real-estate and don't look too bad against a Nimitz. When you add in that the Nimitz class is to big to dock into any British port you can understand why we need something a bit smaller. The new carriers are impressive bits of kit - portable Main Operating Bases capable of deploying fighter jets, helicopters and/or Land Forces. They will serve this country well in the decades ahead.

As for Trident versus Carriers, they really are different tools. I don't dispute there any many ways to cripple major cities and inflict widescale damage without nuclear weapons, but having a resilent nuclear force provides a clear deterrent to states who would support such actions. Moreover it also provides assurance against States using nuclear weaponry to win a localised conflict, e.g. during a future NATO-Iran war it would deter the latter from using low yield nuclear weaponry in the Arabian Gulf. As a carrier is vulnerable to a nuclear strike - and is limited to the range of it's aircraft - it would therefore clearly be unwise to use that for our sole deterrent. Especially as aircraft, however advanced, can be shotdown and it takes time to deploy a carrier into range of the enemy force.
 
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Deleted member 293381

Guest
... Also, with a Carrier (huge surface ship) all the eggs are in one basket and very much 'in ya face'. With a Trident sub though, stealth is the key and very much harder for the enemy to hit.

It would seem both are useful if the money is available. If there was a choice which would be better for the defence of the realm (in purely defence terms)?
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
It would seem both are useful if the money is available. If there was a choice which would be better for the defence of the realm (in purely defence terms)?
In purely defence terms it would have to be Trident as, whichever way you cut it, carriers are about expeditionary warfare. This said if you factor in conventional Defence of remote locations such as the Falklands, where a Carrier provides the ultimate guarantee of success should the runway there fall, the situation becomes greyer. Furthermore if you subscribe to the view that engagement overseas - such as in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq - is linked with defence of our way of life here in the UK, then I would say both are about equal.

Hopefully that choice would never come up anyway - there are plenty of other options for cutting first - not least removal of the 20,000 British soliders awaiting a Russian invasion in Germany. This cutback alone will fund Trident, Carrier Strike (both ship's and two tranches of F35C), Nimrod replacement and retention of Sentinal. And I expect that is exactly what the 2015 Defence Review will say ;)
 
D

Deleted member 293381

Guest
Didn't Cameron say last year all British troops stationed in Germany will be out by 2020?

I have a suspicion what has happened in Libya has highlighted that aircraft carriers were not actually needed. Stormy seas would have rendered take-offs and landings impossible and Malta proved to be useful for the rescue operations anyway.

Like battleships, aircraft carriers have had their day. There are of course situations where aircraft carriers could be required, but they are few and far between these days. It would be better if we could share carrier resources with other nations or 'hire' their deck space when required.

Submarines are a different kettle of fish and IMO a much better method of deterrent in defence. Not only that they look scarey - frighten anybody off!
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
Didn't Cameron say last year all British troops stationed in Germany will be out by 2020?
He said 5 years before the Election and that morphed into 10 at the SDSR. I was in Germany a few weeks ago witnessing the new build barracks - unless pushed hard the Army will not leave.

I have a suspicion what has happened in Libya has highlighted that aircraft carriers were not actually needed. Stormy seas would have rendered take-offs and landings impossible and Malta proved to be useful for the rescue operations anyway.
Actually it has been quite the reverse - despite the brave face put on things by the Government, Libya highlighted the very real shortcomings of not having a carrier available and this has been well noted at the highest levels. Had they not ripped ARK ROYAL's engines apart as soon as the SDSR announced its demise, it would probably been granted a life extension for Libya.

The biggest problem, highlighted by the Libyan campaign, has been the reaction times. A carrier can launch an aircraft and it can be in action 10mins later. The RAF in Italy need to launch, clim to altitude, R/V with tanker, air-to-air refuel and then proceed to target. This is of course assuming the aircraft is available and has been turned around from his previous long range sortie. We have already seen this cause problems for NATO and will continue to do so for the time being.

Both France and Italy were and are perfectly able to operate their aircraft carriers off Libya despite 'stormy' seas. It is also worth noting that Harrier and HMS ARK ROYAL could operate aircraft in sea states that even Nimitz class carriers cannot thanks to the slow approach speeds of the Jump Jet. Malta was of course unsuitable for fighter jets.

Like battleships, aircraft carriers have had their day.
It's an interesting argument but I disagree. In any combat operation air support is essential - even in Afghanistan we use the full breadth of air options including fighter jets, helicopters and UAVs. A carrier offers all of this as a ready to go package deployable anywhere in the world. Either of the new carriers will be able to deploy as many aircraft as the UK currently operates out of Camp BASTION. Had we had one off Libya now Britain would be at the forefront of operations rather than being a bit player.

There are of course situations where aircraft carriers could be required, but they are few and far between these days. It would be better if we could share carrier resources with other nations or 'hire' their deck space when required.
Sharing is of course an option assuming you have a politically agreeable nation that has deployed a carrier to the area. But this needs to be a standing arrangement planned in advance - you can't just 'fly on' UK aircraft when needed. Even low tech aircraft such as the Sea King require specifically trained support personnel and a huge stores inventory to be pre-embarked on the ship in order to maintain operations. Fighters such as the Harrier and, when it arrives, JSF will be an order of magnitude greater.
 
D

Deleted member 293381

Guest
Rasczak - thanks for the interesting response.

I can see now that we are talking from totally different perspectives or philosophies. I see Britain as part of Europe, much smaller and very much less world dominant - a bit player. Our days as a powerful world-leading rich nation with large industrial assets at home and overseas are long gone.

The problem is our premier politicians love the world stage - they like to be seen making the big decisions on countries we have no interest in, like Libya and Afghanistan. They like to splash British money about the world in aid and occupying or bombing these countries with our military assets. This is money we do not have because we are now a small nation without the powerful industrial base we had in the past.

As a small island perched on the edge of Europe we cannot support such a huge army we have at present and, fundamentally, we do not need this military might with it's associated support such as aircraft carriers. Those days have long gone.

If we built up our industrial base again and manufacture things like cars, TVs, trains, ships, fridges, telephones etc etc rather than purchase them from other countries then we can join France, Germany, US, China and India on the world stage.

To sum up: this could be seen as small-minded but, sooner or later, reality must be faced - without a large industrial base, large military assets cannot be supported.
 

phil t

Well-known Member
......fundamentally, we do not need this military might with it's associated support such as aircraft carriers. Those days have long gone.

Surely we have no idea what our future holds?
 
D

Deleted member 293381

Guest
Surely we have no idea what our future holds?

True, we have no idea what the future holds.

Er... So what? :)

What I'm saying is, Britain does not have the money (or the need) to support such large military assets we have at the moment.
 

phil t

Well-known Member
True, we have no idea what the future holds.

Er... So what? :)

What I'm saying is, Britain does not have the money (or the need) to support such large military assets we have at the moment.

We currently need all the assets we’ve got and in reality we could do with more, so in the here and now we “need” such military assets.

We have to plan for our future. Would you cancel your house/car insurance because you believed you were a good and safe driver, living on a quiet street in a quiet town?
 
D

Deleted member 293381

Guest
We currently need all the assets we’ve got and in reality we could do with more, so in the here and now we “need” such military assets.

We have to plan for our future. Would you cancel your house/car insurance because you believed you were a good and safe driver, living on a quiet street in a quiet town?

No we don't.

We do not need to be in Germany, Afghanistan, Libya, Kenya and quite a few other places where we have troops stationed. No need at all.

Regarding house insurance: all we require is defence of our shores and surrounding sea area. We no longer send gunboats up the river and that is exactly our position regarding Libya - the 'send the gunboat up the river' mentality. Those days are over, dregs of the past - now history.

Face reality - we cannot afford to maintain the infrastructure that holds up this huge, over-blown, over-patched, creaking at the seams, military force. No doubt if you are a member of the services or sitting in a nice office in the ministry of defence this is something you do not want to hear.

All this grandiose talk of capital ships and the aggressive domineering posturing by senior politicians concerning foreign countries. Who pays for it all? Where does the money come from? The coffers are empty.

Reality: the coffers are empty.
 

icstm

Active Member
sorry, been away from here for a while.

Are we sure we are getting F35C and not Bs?

Also electro-magnetic catapults and arrestor wire recovery is an expensive after thought.

Basically for what we are paying, if we had just said from the start we would take a proper carrier and a proper plane, then we would be in a better position that now.

These alterations to planes scupper all defence projects. Typhoon, Nimrod, amour vehicles, etc. If we just got on with it, we would be in a better place.

Eg, just building F16s in the UK rather than building typhoons. Do we really need the best dogfighting aircraft in the world?

HMS Ocean is a great example of spend a little get a lot!

The problem with capital ships is not themselves, but the flotilla they need around them and the expense we spend on those ships T45 anyone?

Our forces are the wrong shape and when we try to address problems we acquire the wrong equipment!

Someone write our foreign policy and then write our defence goals. Then get the directorate of force development to work out what we need.
The trick then is to buy of the shelf are much as you can and to only buy for the troops you can train to use the equipment (Apaches...) and don't over spec the equipment.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
Are we sure we are getting F35C and not Bs?

Also electro-magnetic catapults and arrestor wire recovery is an expensive after thought.
Yes, we are certainly getting the F35C variant. It largely went unreported at the time as the media focused on the loss of HMS ARK ROYAL and the Harriers. But you are quite right about it being a significant change to the design of the Carriers - which is why the SDSR granted a huge budget uplift to the project.

Basically for what we are paying, if we had just said from the start we would take a proper carrier and a proper plane, then we would be in a better position that now.

These alterations to planes scupper all defence projects. Typhoon, Nimrod, amour vehicles, etc. If we just got on with it, we would be in a better place.
I agree that we should make a decision and get on with it. But we stretch the projects out to keep jobs in the industrial sector - and then we need to spend more money eliminating obsolescence.
 

icstm

Active Member
are we having to pay any exit fees to either the US or the contractors for not ordering the 35Bs? Now only the Marines are getting them.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
are we having to pay any exit fees to either the US or the contractors for not ordering the 35Bs? Now only the Marines are getting them.
With the UK pulling out I doubt the F35B will continue - especially as much of the bespoke elements for the STOVL version were UK based. The project has already been frozen and given a tough review deadline. I suspect it will be cancelled and the USMC will look for other - more American - designs.

The cost of pulling out of F35B is the wasted 'test' aircraft we have already brought (albeit these can be used to support the UK F35C programme) and the loss of UK jobs and industry as we switch to a predomnantly US purchase. The benefits will be significant though - we buy inter-operability with the US and French carrier forces.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
A little OT but as we have been talking about them...

Liam Fox has cut the steel of HMS PRINCE OF WALES. This ship will be the second of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers that will replace the Invincible class and HMS OCEAN.

:thumbsup:
 

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