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 Post subject: Playing politics
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Edward Leigh – he of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – is at it again, his committee this time reporting on the ill-starred Type 45 Destroyers. This warship type, as readers will know, is to form the backbone of the Royal Navy's air defence capability, replacing the ageing Type 42s. To that effect, the ships are fitted with the French manufactured Aster missile, known by the acronym PAAMS (Principle Anti-Aircraft Missile System).

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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:26 pm 

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All this Euro-integration on military kit strikes me as a bit wrong headed. Suppose these projects had actually come about as they were originally intended. Suppose we had a Euro fleet of NFR-90s bristling with latest technology the French have insisted we buy, and we're scooting around in LAVs and putting A400Ms into service. And then one of us has to face a competent enemy and the technology in the ships, planes or armoured vehicles is for nought. Say, the ships are vulnerable to Iranian missles or there is a deadly weakness in the design of the LAVs. We're buggered.

A piecemeal approach surely is better in the long run. Take different routes and see what works. The integration that makes sense can be fuel, ammunition, language and computer systems. It needn't be identical kit across Europe and the anticipated economies of scale never seem to materialise.

We're spending a lot and getting relatively little for it. If I were one to wear a tin foil hat I could almost believe they are trying to demilitarise the EU by stealth.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:24 am 

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I don't follow Naval Ship Building programs much. It isn't that I am not interested it is just I have enough to do following Land Forces and holding down a daytime job. Mind you I get more interested in Naval matters than in RAF projects. I have not followed the Daring Class project in detail but I see, Richard, that you say ' and the British elected for their own radar, the missile system – known as the PAAMS (Principal Anti-Aircraft Missiles system) – was to be French-built by EUROPAAMS'. So we have the British developing a radar system separately from the missile development being carried out by the Frogs. Other than the Exocet, which was an anti shipping missile, I can't think of many successful French missile systems. More seriously developing the missile and radar by separate consortia in two different countries is a recipe for disaster. The compatibility problems could easily take years to sort out with each 'party' blaming the other for the problems. We could well see some very nice frigates wandering around the place with no usable weapon systems well into the next decade. I suppose that will be OK for the French, they always send their ships on 'peacekeeping' missions where no live ammo is ever fired.

I am amazed at Gareth's comment 'Integretion that makes sense . . . . . . computer systems' W**t the F">k !! So the whole of NATO, for example, should use a common computer system !! If there is an area that that computer system does not react to, a 'black spot', then the whole of NATO is vulnerable in that area ! As some as our enemies know about that 'black spot' they will attack us in it. Also if someone can introduce a 'virus' into that common computer system then we are all screwed. You can imagine the Iranian ayatollahs brandishing their whips in a smoke filled cellar beneath the Ayatollah Khomeini Mosque in Teheran cracking the leaded ends above the heads of the young Islamic IT students bent over their consoles : 'Anyone who can write the computer code that stops the computers of the ''Great Satan'' and its decadent Western lackeys . . . . will go to heaven with 72 virgins. Allahu Akbar'


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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:40 pm 

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Ivan The Yid From Bradfor wrote:
I am amazed at Gareth's comment 'Integretion that makes sense . . . . . . computer systems' W**t the F">k !! So the whole of NATO, for example, should use a common computer system !! If there is an area that that computer system does not react to, a 'black spot', then the whole of NATO is vulnerable in that area ! As some as our enemies know about that 'black spot' they will attack us in it. Also if someone can introduce a 'virus' into that common computer system then we are all screwed. You can imagine the Iranian ayatollahs brandishing their whips in a smoke filled cellar beneath the Ayatollah Khomeini Mosque in Teheran cracking the leaded ends above the heads of the young Islamic IT students bent over their consoles : 'Anyone who can write the computer code that stops the computers of the ''Great Satan'' and its decadent Western lackeys . . . . will go to heaven with 72 virgins. Allahu Akbar'

No. Just that they should be able to communicate with each other. They do not need to be one system. They do not need to be one program. They just need to do what the fleshy bits of the system do - speak the same language between ships.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:42 pm 
Even though I am no NuLab fan I believe the money is there. It is just not being spent properly. For example £135 Million pounds spent on FRES for Piranha V and nothing to show.
£400 million spent on the FRES predecessor Boxer and nothing to show.

Type 45 £1.5 Billion overspend, 6 ships instead of 12 and a platform that will not have it primary weapon system until 2011, 2 years after acceptance. We will be in possession of the world’s most expensive gun boat.

Vector, an armoured vehicle that the user did not want but was forced upon because the factory that made it needed to be kept open. Now admitted by the MoD to be not the best choice they have ever made. Ah, that's nice. I am sure the boys on the ground thought that too.

£150 Million spent on project Beldevier to reduce the number of bases for the helicopter forces to find out that the best solution is the one in place.

Are we all adding up the numbers so far?

£1.5 Billion overspend on Astute submarine that were costed at £300 million a piece. The first one to cost over £1 Billion.
£100 million on MARS to find it cancelled due to budget restraints.
£2.1 Billion on 21-18-13-9 Nimrod MRA4's making it £233 million per aircraft.
£1 Billion on future Lynx for 70-62 helicopters, that is £16 million per helicopter. You can get a NH90 for less.

Countless other projects that the Public Accounts and Defence committees have raised issues about. And how does the MoD deflect the argument, simple. Well that was before SMART procurement etc, procedures have been improved and lessons have been learned.

Who has been punished for these issues? No one. Those project managers are now today’s senior managers presiding over the system that they hold dear, the system that protects them from actually having to achieve anything, activity is everything. If you don't believe me go to Abbey Wood and see the cranes that are building more office accommodation to generate more activity and spend more money. The money is there to be spent. It is just how it is spent.

And it is just not DE&S that are at fault. Just look at the service chiefs pontificating, trying to protect their services when their job should be the adequate provision of fighting men and equipment to the front line. There is no Tomahawk cruise missile system on the Type 45 because deep strike is an RAF role yet Type 45 is supposed to have a multi role capability and has been designed but not fitted with those missiles. But because it was potentially treading on someone else’s "turf" it was not done. Whilst these tribal battles go on the troops on the ground, the "user", gets equipment rapidly brought into service.

Equipment at a higher cost because poor planning, procurement and inter service rivalry is more important than actually delivering what is needed. Privatise the procurement part of the monolith that is DE&S and get people in that actually know what they are doing and by that people that actually practice procurement and project management - not take a 1 week course and pass an exam.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:41 pm 
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This all adds up to the case that there is no shortage of money ... eliminate the waste and the budget would be able to cope. As much to the point, there is no good argument for throwing money at defence ... the more they are given the more they will waste. The system has to be sorted out first.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:35 pm 
That is the problem. Defence could even cope with a cut if you think about it.
Privatise the Procurement and project management arm of DE&S. Incentivise private industry to provide best value when it comes to picking the product.
Manage requirement, that is strategic requirement and stick to it. No scope creep.
Trust the user, those on the ground who will actually use the equipment. Do not add caveats on at the DEC and DES stages of the process.
Separate politics from requirement. If the user requires x but it is not built in a constituency that is marginal then so be it.
Rationalise the command structure. The three services are manpower and equipment providers to PJHQ. Simple. They provide assets that are trained and ready to go with the correct equipment. Remove duplicity. Why does each service require a 1 star equality officer for example?
Get services to take the hit. If a Type 42 has no Sea Dart system then it doesn't deploy for example. A 4500 tonne warship with 280 men on board to do what exactly? With a 4.5 inch gun and a helicopter. If it cannot be afforded then decommission and invest the money in advancing development of Type 45 and PAAMS, fully man both Type 22 and Type 23 and that includes equipment and invest more money in the refit and turn around time when they enter home port. Do we not still have 3 small frigates that were built by BAES for Brunei with a British weapons suite sat in dock in Scotland? Couldn't we use those? Cheaper and with less manning. It is a short term solution but a solution never the less.
Restructure the 3 services to provide what PJHQ require, all arms battle groups up to all arms brigades that can deploy within certain time frames world wide.
Cancel FLTA and buy the aircraft, the correct number of aircraft. The airline industry is going through a painful time which for the customer is great news. Engage with Germany, Australia and all the other countries including the US who have either bought or are thinking of buying the aircraft and jointly buy with them.
Cancel FRES and start again. Sounds painful but the project is now poison and should go. Go back to the user and ask for what they need not what senior officers and civil servants think they need. It has now been proven that these individuals cannot buy what the user requires. Panther and Vector are two prime examples of cost over run, requirement creep and a lack of understanding of what the user needs.
Withdraw the Puma fleet and begin replacement with NH90. Puma is now pretty much non deployable. It cannot operate in the flight envelope and environment that the user requires. DSF have already requested NH90. It can replace both Puma and Sea King fleets, it has the same engine as the AW101 therefore reducing supply and engineering costs, unit price is cheap, it is in service and in production, it is marinised so can work with amphibious fleets, it can be armed and for the politicians out there built at Westland. Whilst the NH90 is coming into service and the Puma is withdrawn those pilots can fill the gaps that are now appearing because we do not have enough aircrews to fulfil the hours of flying required whilst on operation.
Instead of disbanding the Harrier force transfer it to the Royal Navy. Capital cost would be handed over for what is an aircraft that is launched of an aircraft carrier and will be replaced on day by JSF.
Delay and reduce order for A400M and purchase with France C130-J and C-17 aircraft. The French have said they cannot purchase enough C-17 aircraft to make it financially viable. Share. We buy extra C-17 and French buy extra C130-J and will pool resources. Provide French access to C-17 for transits to Afghanistan and like wise C130-J. The Europhiles would love that and the RAF loves the C17. With 12 C17 the RAF would have credible strategic lift for the first time since the 1970's when the Belfasts were withdrawn.
Reduce the footprint of bases that the RAF have. Not many aircraft, lots of bases. RAF Kinloss for example is a ghost town. Once a base of 30 Nimrod MR2 soon to a base of just 9. RAF Waddington once the home of the Vulcan fleet now the base to the five remaining operational E-3D, 5 ASTOR and 3 Nimrod R1. Take the hit and move the remaining MR2's to Waddington and turn Waddington into an ISTAR super base.

I could go on but I think I have made my point.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:20 pm 
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Start at the top ... political level ... define clear and realistic strategic policy, then open up a real debate as to what is needed, set it all out in detail and then stick to it. As for privatising procurement, not sure ... that is putting the fox in charge of the hen coop. It actually boils down to leadership and appreciation of value for money. The military, I am sure, believe money grows on trees - they expect to snap their fingers and the Treasury deliver the money, and then sulk when they don't get it.

Much of the problem though is political ... the Type 45 was a politically induced choice, where military procurement was used deliberately as an instrument of policy to promote defence co-operation. The same goes for the A400M and sundry other projects, not least the Panther. The Future Lynx is there to keep the Navy happy while giving the work to Westlands and thus maintaining a military helicopter design and manufacturing capability in the UK. All sorts of different reasons affect different projects - there is no one problem and no one cure.

As to user-defined equipment, very often the people on the ground have very little idea of what is needed - their knowledge of kit and capabilities is very often poor. What is missing here is a proper hierarchy ... where the kit should be procured to meet strategic and doctrinal needs. At the moment, the tail tends to wag the dog ... they buy the kit and then modify doctrines and tactics to find a use for it. Hence FRES was kit looking for a war, not the other way around.

Another factor is the best as the enemy of the good. We need "good enough" not perfection which takes so long to develop that it misses the war. The JSTARS/Sentinel saga is a good example ... Sentinel is brilliant, but it completely missed the Iraqi war.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:26 pm 
Firstly, I would exhort readers to read the actual committe report. My personal reading is slightly different to Richards.

"What the committee does not identify is that PAAMS is another of those ghastly European co-operative ventures, with the French having the design lead on the Aster missile."

- Much though I have a large degree of, er, antipathy for "cooperation' with French military companies, it is important to judge each program on it merits. ASTER is an Franco-Italian design, for which R&D was completed before the MoD selected it. (As a result, they are paying more for each missile, to make up for - but not exceed - the French & Italians having already paid the development costs.)

"The delays in the deployment of the weapons system, therefore, owe as much to our French partners as they do the MoD."

- The weapon system is in service, ergo it is complete, before the Type-45s are. Although I enjoy mocking the French as much as the next guy, it is not entirely fair in this case.

"The project comprised two separate but linked projects – the basic platform (ship), and the missile/radar complex. And while the platform was a common venture, and the British elected for their own radar, the missile system – known as the PAAMS (Principal Anti-Aircraft Missiles system) – was to be French-built by EUROPAAMS."

- As an aside, these two systems have been opperated (successfully!) together on the weapons barge "Longbow". So any interface issues that may have existed initially, have demonstrably been overcome, which is good news.

"To reduce costs, we could also have shared Spain's philosophy. Put off by the French insistence on a new European combat system, it went for the "proven and ready to go" US sales pitch for its F100 frigate, which features the Aegis system and Standard missiles, the current US maritime anti-aircraft systems."

- This is one approach. But how much worse is AEGIS/Standard compared to Sampson/ASTER? After all, to determine value for money, we must quantify not only the cost, but also the capability.
The former can engage 3-4(?) targets at once, vs. 12-16 for the latter. But is this important in practice?
What are the differences is detection range, vs. stealthy targets? (I've not seen this published anywhere - I presume it is classified.)
What are the differences vs. low altitude sea skimmers? Sampson would be better, being higher for a start, but is the difference significant? (Again, I presume this is classified.)
The Sampson is advertised as being much better in an environment with jamming / EW. How much better?
As you point out, the Standard is an anti-aircraft missile, conversely, ASTER was designed from the ground up as an anti-missile missile. (Like Seawolf.) How much better does this make it, than either Standard, or a hypothetical evolved Seawolf?

"Spain's IZAR shipbuilders formed industrial bonds with Lockheed Martin, enabling it to build its own platforms while benefiting from state-of-the-art technology, delivering ships with greater capabilities than the Type 45 which included Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-submarine missiles – at around half the cost for each platform."

- I thought the latest Arleigh Burkes were costing the US Navy $2 billion? Or is that just due to the US shipyards being expensive?
- Also, Harpoon is anti-surface, not anti-submarine. I guess you were thinking of ASROC. Though in practice, aircraft (such as the embarked helicopters) seem to be the prefered means for delivering weapons for these tasks, in both cases. Does anyone have some accurate figures on the number of rounds of helicopter-carried missiles/topedoes stored on these ships?
- I don't understand the interest in carrying Tomahawk on an anti-air ship. The Navy seems to prefer to opperate its Tomahawks (that don't need radar cueing) from submarines (that don't have radar), rather than having them occupying VLS cells on a ship with really expensive radar, at the expense of radar-cued missiles. I cannot see a flaw in their thinking. Maybe if Tomahawk was cheap and expendible, then it would be nice to have some on the T-45s, on the "off chance", but my understanding is that they aren't cheap. (Nobody regards a Swordfish as being more capable than a Spitfire because it can carry torpedoes, after all.)

However, your main point I totally agree with: reviews of modern weapons programs seem to attract some very silly political "spin" nowadays.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:20 pm 
Commander Mike on the subject of Type 45. Why two radars? Both can do the same thing cant they?

I understand the platform/weapon system argument but if the service were really interested with the amount of missiles it has on board why did it settle for 48? Arleigh Burkes have at least 64 etc or was it minimum we could get away with so in affect not giving us the scope to put Tomahawk or Storm Shadow (As the French are doing I believe) in any of the tubes. (Do you think that those ships will actually deploy with a full compliment of 48?)

Quitin Davies talks about the extra power systems in a Type 45. What for? To add extra weapon systems and their C4I? But you have just said that it would take away from its current capability of defending the fleet.

These ships will deploy at some point as a General Duties warship. What weapon systems define general duties? It has an anti air system PAAMS (from 2011), amphibious support (4.5 inch gun), some point defence torpedo's and a helicopter that carries more torpedo's. What about anti ship for example? Or have we learnt nothing from the Falklands where ships had to be deployed in two's (Type 22 and Type 42) to give the balance?

£550-600 Million per ship? Doesn't that seem like a lot? Does it seem like value for money? Is six enough? Will we be able to keep 5 at sea at all times?


On a different subject. Yes, doctrine (the way we fight) needs to be equipment exempt. No interference. But we know that is not the case. Airpower doctrine for example states that fighters clear the way for the bomber/interdiction strike packages that follow. Explain that to the Royal Navy who now have only Harrier GR9A's on board.

Don't be so hard on the user. The chain of command is there and experience is everything. Who are your best users? The SNCO and S02 level individuals that actually have to fight the battle but are experienced enough to understand the requirement.

I thought the DEC role was to mix the user and the strategic requirement together and come up with the best requirement definition to pass on to DES to issue to industry for selection?

I admit there is a risk with the privatisation of the procurement part of DES but it doesn't need to go to a defence contractor. Are they the best buyers? Not by a long shot. But privatisation is the easiest way to change the ethos of the organisation. Moving it from activity based and following the process which they set themselves to an achievement based organisation that rewards for good practice and good procurement.

On the issue of FRES. The Army want it because it secures the budget for years to come. Where is the doctrine that supports its use? Lets see that first before stating that they want this and that.

ASTOR is a great system in a poor aeroplane. It is far too small which offers no expansion opportunities and as it is a civilian airframe the structure is not strong enough to take a probe for refuelling. And why only 5? One always on training, one in a minor or major so only 3 deployable. That means one on mission, one just off mission and one going on mission. Therefore only one theatre of operation can have full 24/7 coverage. So if we are scaled to support two mediums and a small which medium is going to go without?

With Future Lynx or Wildcat as it is now known why is that just to appease the Royal Navy? It is only the Type 42 that cannot accept a Merlin so why does the Royal Navy want to keep Lynx? Doesn't the Merlin offer more operational flex? Why not mix Merlin with NH90 in the Commando role? Same engines for example and that reduce supply chain and engineering issues. What is their fascination? I think Lynx is a fantastic platform by the way, ideal in the BLUH role and ideal for small ships but in 5 years all of our ships bar Endurance will be Merlin capable? Is it that the Royal Navy has written their doctrine to support Lynx?

With Panther (I have experience on this) we are deploying a vehicle that from inception is not fit for purpose. And at £710,000 per vehicle, that is what it is costing to have it modified to send to theatre, we have a vehicle that is £500,000 more expensive than that battle proven platform RG-31 that is already deployed by other nations in theatre at present.

Why can we not simplify what we need for example: Medium Lift helicopter - (DEC and User)To lift at least a section (8 men) 100 miles and return from land or from ship. Simple, clear and consise. That is all it needs to do in its basic form. (DES) Competition, NH90, Blackhawk and AW149. Trials held. Winner chosen. Job done.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:11 pm 
"Why two radars? Both can do the same thing cant they?"
One is a pure surveillance radar, which goes round and round looking for things.
The Sampson is a surveillance and tracking radar, which locks on to incoming objects. It also communicates with the Aster when the missile's in flight.
I don't think North appreciates the jump in capability when he suggests upgrading Sea Dart as an alternative. Aster is far more agile, so that it can hit weaving missiles. I don't think North realises how much the American taxpayer forks out for military equipment either. By US standards, Type 45 is good value for money.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:32 pm 
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I don't know what is the T-45's problems if any, i read that it's more about the lack of storage facility for the Aster.

Our equivalent AA ship have made a test in fébruary, Images : Tir de missile Aster 30 sur la frégate Forbin and another one is in the pipe for 2011 vs a sunburn like missile.

Quote:
Le Centre d'essais de lancement de missiles (CELM) de la Délégation générale pour l'armement (DGA) basé sur l'Ile du Levant, dans le Var, a commencé la préparation d'un tir de missile anti-missile en conditions réelles qui devrait se dérouler en 2011.

Il s'agira de simuler l'attaque d'un bâtiment de surface par un missile anti-navire attaquant en vol rasant et son interception par une frégate de défense aérienne de type Horizon (sans doute le Forbin). La DGA a acquis pour cela un missile américain Viper qui effectuera l'attaque à une vitesse de Mach 2,5 (3000 km/h) et une altitude d'environ 6 mètres au-dessus de l'eau.

Le Forbin devra le détruire avec son armement de bord en tirant deux missiles, un Aster 30 de 30 km de portée et un Aster 15 de 15 km de portée, dont est également équipé le porte-avions Charles de Gaulle. Le missile assaillant qui a déjà été baptisé "Coyote", ne devrait avoir aucune chance d'en réchapper...

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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:34 pm 
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gareth007 wrote:
"Why two radars? Both can do the same thing cant they?"
One is a pure surveillance radar, which goes round and round looking for things.
The Sampson is a surveillance and tracking radar, which locks on to incoming objects. It also communicates with the Aster when the missile's in flight.
I don't think North appreciates the jump in capability when he suggests upgrading Sea Dart as an alternative. Aster is far more agile, so that it can hit weaving missiles. I don't think North realises how much the American taxpayer forks out for military equipment either. By US standards, Type 45 is good value for money.


Perhaps unfortunately phrased ... the enhanced Sea Dart was cancelled in 1981 so it is old technology. By then, we were throwing our lot in with the Europeans and have basically given up on new missile design. Had we continued development, it is possible that a newer missile would have emerged with capabilities close to Aster.

A propos Aegis, that is of course the acquisition and control system for the Standard missile (and other weapons). It is independent of the platform and has been fitted to a variety of ships, including the F100 and three Australian AWDs. If the Spanish could do the total package cost for about £0.5 billion, I am sure we could have done the same, bearing in mind that the original platform cost for the Type 45 was £270 million. And yes, I did mean ASROC. The F100 has therefore an ASW capability and a land warfare capability - plus ship-to-ship with the Harpoon - which the Type 45 lacks. The problem here is the Sylver launch system which, at the moment, can only handle Aster, making the Type 45 a very specialist, largely single-purpose ship. With such small navy, we need multi-purpose ships. £1 billion for a specalist AWD does not seem to me good value. It may be very good but the is the trouble with the MoD ... the best drives out the good. We end up with too few ships, when twice the number of good ships would have been better.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:29 pm 
Disclaimer #1: My handle is from University days, due to winning too much at a wargame. Please don't read any official knowledge into it.
Disclaimer #2: Please don't get the impression that I think the T45 program is a shining example of good military procurement. I don't. I think there was far too much luck, and unpaid overtime by skilled engineers, involved in the resulting ship being as good as it is.

"Commander Mike on the subject of Type 45. Why two radars? Both can do the same thing cant they?"

- They are meant for different things. I've heard rumours that the Sampson is so good that they could do without the other radar. Maybe there is cost saving to be made there?

"I understand the platform/weapon system argument but if the service were really interested with the amount of missiles it has on board why did it settle for 48?"

- 48 is good enough for any war we might fight on our own, according to the MoD.

"(Do you think that those ships will actually deploy with a full compliment of 48?)"

Yes. Ther might be a shortage of spares back home, but I think the magazines will be full.

"Arleigh Burkes have at least 64 etc or was it minimum we could get away with so in affect not giving us the scope to put Tomahawk or Storm Shadow (As the French are doing I believe) in any of the tubes."

- The reason the tubes are above the deck, rather than flush with the deck, is that it makes it much easier to refit with a larger magazine. I understand that there is space to expanded to 64. However, with only 6 ships, I can't see there being any "spares" to deploy away from a fleet defence possition, to instead deploy to a position good for firing a cheap land-attack missile (such as the French hope to derive from the currently air-launched Apache/Storm Shadow). So, there is "scope" to put them in, but whether or not it would be a good addition to the T45, I have no idea.

"Quitin Davies talks about the extra power systems in a Type 45. What for? To add extra weapon systems and their C4I? But you have just said that it would take away from its current capability of defending the fleet."

- 2 years ago, the official answer was "a 64 MW railgun where the 4.5 inch currently is", which would not reduce the ASTER magazine. As of a year ago, the answer became "we aren't allowed to talk about that". The optimist and the pessimist in me come up with two opposing explanations for this.

"These ships will deploy at some point as a General Duties warship. What weapon systems define general duties? It has an anti air system PAAMS (from 2011), amphibious support (4.5 inch gun), some point defence torpedo's and a helicopter that carries more torpedo's. What about anti ship for example?"

- The helicopters carry the anti-ship missiles. They worked very well vs. Iraq's fast attack missile boats.

"Or have we learnt nothing from the Falklands where ships had to be deployed in two's (Type 22 and Type 42) to give the balance?

The 22/42 combo was because the 42 was needed to shoot down the Super Etendarts & Skyhawks, but couldn't handle Exocets, so the 22 (with seawolf) was to provide point defence to the 42.
This failed tragically when the evasive meneouvers of HMS Coventry took her infront of Broadsword, blocking its line of fire.
The lesson learnt was that all ships must have their own anti-missile point defence, in addition to any longer range missiles they might carry.
The T45 has this - the ASTER-15 is a point defence system - the ASTER-30 being a longer range fleet defence derivative. (It will also carry phalanx, recycled from retiring T42s.)

"£550-600 Million per ship? Doesn't that seem like a lot? Does it seem like value for money?"

- No, No, and Yes, respectively, having looked at what the US are spending. (The US Littoral Combat Ship is armed with, what, one sea-RAM mount, and costs $550 million per ship.)

"Is six enough? Will we be able to keep 5 at sea at all times?"

The official answer (in the commite report, incidentally,) is "no, not quite enough, but good enough". It gives the impression that the decision to stop at 6 was a navy one, to allow funds to be used elsewhere, which the politicians are questioning.
Can someone more knowledgeable pipe up and let us know who decided to stop at 6, and what happened to the funds that would have been used for 7 & 8?


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 Post subject: Re: Playing politics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:46 pm 
"With such small navy, we need multi-purpose ships. £1 billion for a specalist AWD does not seem to me good value. It may be very good but the is the trouble with the MoD ... the best drives out the good."

- It's funny: put 2 engineers in a room with a problem, and you will come up with at least 3 solutions.
Also, the version I heard was: "the best is the enemy of the good-enough". (Applied to US gold-plated ship designs, as it happens.)

If the "standard escort" is good at high-end AAW, and at ASW, and also at ASuW, then it will be expensive, and you won't be able to have very many of them. Conversely, the Navy is reporting that what it really needs right now, is more hulls in the water.
Also, the best way to deply & opperate for AAW differs from ASW, and differs again from ASuW. A single ship cannot be in 3 places at once.

If you downgrade the AAW, ASW, and ASuW so that you can have lots of ships, then they may well end up being not good enough. The Falklands experience may have a part to play here: the navy AAW was very nearly not good enough, and if it had failed, we would have been loosing carriers. Importantly, the requirement is not for all the ships to be "good enough" at AAW, (or ASW, or ASuW,) but for the ships on fleet AAW duty to be good enough (or better, of course) at AAW. (Etc. for ASW & ASuW.)

Meanwhile, for general, low intensity tasking, the ASW and ASuW of the helicopter is "good enough".

So, I personally cannot fault the logic of the RN for specifying dedicated ASW, AAW, and ASuW ships, each with a limited (but good enough) ability in other areas.

In an ideal world, the RN would have liked Sampson and the US Mk-41, with the ASTER being qualified in the Mk-41 VLS. With 12 ships, you could then have loaded 5-6 with ASTER for fleet air defence, and the remaining 6-7 carrying a mix of ASTER-15, SM-2, Harpoon, ASROC, etc.
But then, the remaining 6 wouldn't really need the full-spec SAMPSON... something cheaper than AEGIS would be "good enough"... and the 6 T45 on fleet defence duty would only be loaded with ASTER, so Sylver is "good enough"...
So essentially you would have 6 full-spec T45's, and 6 T45 derivatives for ASuW, but with limited sensors for AAW, ASW, or ASuW, "good enough" for low end work, but not able to fulfill a fleet / high-intensity requirement at anything.

(Since the T45 past the point of debate, I myself am more interested in the FCS development, and what the C1 / C2 / C3 should look like... but that really requires its own topic thread. I'll keep an eye out to see if you raise one.)


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