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3rd rate force?

Old 28th Nov 2010, 09:51
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3rd rate force?

In an article today, the Sunday Times says that we will shortly have less attack aircraft than Sweden, 120 as opposed to 121 in Sweden. It goes onto suggest that with so few pilots now needed for fast jets it would be cheaper to train them at the NATO facility in the States and then shut Valley saving even more money, it notes that the SAR training unit there is due to close shortly.

US 3150
China 3000
Russia 2180
India 600
France 300
Italy 227
Spain 140
Sweden 121
UK 120
Belgium 72

Cant link you to the article as it's subscription only.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 10:03
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GG

The Swedes also use their motorways as runways with purpose built turnround sites that look like rest areas. Landed at one a couple of times in 1969.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 10:11
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A more sensible comparison would be to look at front line strength in service, and also whether they can be deployed or not. You can make up anything with statistics, and it looks like the Sunday Times has ignored the Typhoon in its calculations, which adds another 140, to take us up to 260, or just above Italy.

I'd be dubious about the article anyway as it lists 72 F16s in 2005 for Belgium, but thats the entire fleet strength (which according to Wikipedia is cutting to 60 in 2-3 years time anyway), and not the front line strength (which is apparently 2 squadrons totalling 16 aircraft designated to NATO).

I can't be bothered to trawl through the other stats, but if we're listed as having 120 jets, when it should read 200 plus, and if the author can't tell the difference between total fleet size and available fleet, then I wouldnt rate it too highly.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 10:21
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and it looks like the Sunday Times has ignored the Typhoon in its calculations, which adds another 140, to take us up to 260, or just above Italy.
You obviously did not read the article or at least not very well.

" The actual total - 48 Tornadoes and 72 Typhoons - is much lower than expected."
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 10:33
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Didnt read the article as I dont have a ST subscription.

Actually your point merely serves how innacurate the article is - the list looks like its using UK front line squadron strength, but then lists it against full fleet strength for other nations. (According to Wiki we have 82 Typhoons in service at present with 160 in total planned)

As I noted - Belgian has got about 60 F16s, but only about 16-20 of them are in front line available service at any time. Similarly, it compares us to Sweden, but the Swedes have got 130 odd fighters in their full fleet according to WIKIINT, and are likely to drop to 100 odd, or possibly only 60 under current plans. Similarly, the article lists the Italian total fleet strength of 227 aircraft, and not the front line strength.

So, this article is innacurate as it is comparing our front line available strength against the total strength of other nations. A much more sensible (and far less printworthy) article would have compared like for like which would show very different stats.

I'm well aware that I could be wrong here, but my understanding on [email protected] is that until about 2015, we're looking at approximately 40-45 GR4 in the [email protected] calculations, but dropping significantly once HERRICK is over. I'm not sure what [email protected] Typhoon is calculated at, but think I saw 16 here for overseas trips, plus the UK Air Defence & FI commitments, which take it up to around 70 front line aircraft.

Will publicly apologise and eat my salty blue beret if I'm wrong though
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 11:35
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Quote

"according to Wikipedia"

That's got to be Gospel then!!
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 12:53
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Are you suggesting that the Times has used erroneous statistics to make a political point? Surely the very idea that a Newspaper from the same stable as The Sun, The News of the World, and the magnificent Fox News, lacks complete editorial independence from its antipodean organ grinder is preposterous.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 13:59
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From Chapter 4 UK Defence Statistics 2010

Table 4.13 Aircraft Holdings in the UK, Germany, Cyprus and Gibraltar within the scope of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, at 1 January each year

UKDS 2010 - Chapter 4 - Formations, Vessels, Aircraft and Vehicles of the Armed Forces

Table 4.9 Aircraft fleets by type of aircraft for the Royal Air Force Air Command including Operational Conversion Units and Training Aircraft, at 1 April each year

UKDS 2010 - Chapter 4 - Formations, Vessels, Aircraft and Vehicles of the Armed Forces

Table 4.10 Aircraft fleets by type of aircraft in the Joint Helicopter Command and Joint Force Harrier, at 1 April each year

UKDS 2010 - Chapter 4 - Formations, Vessels, Aircraft and Vehicles of the Armed Forces

Table 4.15 Declared Attack Helicopters and Combat Aircraft Holdings and Ceilings by country within the scope of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, at 1 January 2010

UKDS 2010 - Chapter 4 - Formations, Vessels, Aircraft and Vehicles of the Armed Forces

From

UKDS 2010

TJ
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 14:19
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3rd rate force? Yes, probably, but what we have now is an armed forces that reflects the size of our country and not the size of an Empire which we once had.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 14:37
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We down-sized to a military capability commensurate with our station in the world minus the empire in 1968. Since the end of the Cold War we've disbanded, shall we say units we could argue existed purely to make up our commitment to maintaing the line in Germany. Since then, while doing our bit for the sake of oor future and democracy, we've had troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and.... We've had immense success at the Treasury in cutting slashing and lopping of chunks of the Armed Forces ever since.

FB
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 15:17
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We've had immense success at the Treasury in cutting slashing and lopping of chunks of the Armed Forces ever since
HMG has actually invested heavily since the end of the Cold War in areas that are important in countering asymmetric threats that we now face - SIS, MI5, GCHQ, and UKSF have all had increasing annual budgets since about 1995.

We may have a fewer aircraft now in proportion to our European allies compared to twenty years ago - but that is because they have all been very slow and inefficient in readjusting spending priorities compared to UK.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 17:17
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Originally Posted by Trim Stab
We may have a fewer aircraft now in proportion to our European allies compared to twenty years ago - but that is because they have all been very slow and inefficient in readjusting spending priorities compared to UK.
Shouldn't there be one of those smiley things after that?

In the old days, there used to be competition over who had the the most ironclads/dreadnaughts. Is the competition now who can cut their Budgets the most and fastest? One of those aims looks more flawed than the other.

If the Sunday Times is using flawed stats to sell tickets to Joe Public for a trip on the outrage bus, is that such a bad thing?
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 17:24
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3rd rate, thats a bit optimistic.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 18:10
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"We downsized - - in 1968"

Well, I spent 1968 in Sharjah where we had a Sqn of Mk 1 Andovers, a Sqn of Wessex and a sizeable Shackleton Detatchment. We also had RAF Airfields at Masirah and Salalah and SOAF was RAF Manned. There were 2 FGA Hunter Sqns at Bahrain plus Comms aircraft. I think that you will find that these Sqns and the Far East ones did not withdraw until 1969/70.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 18:24
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The Swedes have been able to outgun us for quite a long period of time.
They had a large force of the excellent Draken.
They kept some of these going for a considerable time after the introduction of the Viggen.
It is only fairly recently that they cut on a large scale.
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 19:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trim Stab
We may have a fewer aircraft now in proportion to our European allies compared to twenty years ago - but that is because they have all been very slow and inefficient in readjusting spending priorities compared to UK.

Shouldn't there be one of those smiley things after that?

In the old days, there used to be competition over who had the the most ironclads/dreadnaughts. Is the competition now who can cut their Budgets the most and fastest? One of those aims looks more flawed than the other.

If the Sunday Times is using flawed stats to sell tickets to Joe Public for a trip on the outrage bus, is that such a bad thing?




Well I've not only bought a ticket for the outrage bus, but a first class one for the clinically depressed one. I'm afarid I can't help seeing the R.A.F. past through flame rose tinted bins. I still daydream about the Silver Jubilee show at Finningley in 1977 and devote time to trying to figure how the clock can be wound all the way back there.

However, Trim Stab old fruit, surely the point is that while these new concerns are demanding of attention enough. The truth is they are additional concerns to address, not replacement ones?

FB
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Old 28th Nov 2010, 19:32
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[QUOTE][/Well, I spent 1968 in Sharjah where we had a Sqn of Mk 1 Andovers, a Sqn of Wessex and a sizeable Shackleton Detatchment. We also had RAF Airfields at Masirah and Salalah and SOAF was RAF Manned. There were 2 FGA Hunter Sqns at Bahrain plus Comms aircraft. I think that you will find that these Sqns and the Far East ones did not withdraw until 1969/70.QUOTE]

My point here is the die was already cast. To say 1968 was probably being to specific. What I meant was that throughout the 1950s and '60s, the British military presence abroad was withdrawn for the most part. Indeed, a few outposts lingered right up to the 1990s. Look at Hong Kong. However, by 1968 the bulk had, if not already been withdrawn, was on the cards to. All largely to do with Healey's 1966 defence review I understand.

FB
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Old 29th Nov 2010, 14:18
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Sorry to be pedantic caz, 'twas in 1971 - eg, 8 & 208 Sqns left Bahrain towards the end of that year.
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Old 29th Nov 2010, 14:21
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According to The telegraph the UK had the 3rd largest defence budget globally.
Ignoring countries such as China and India etc. where wages would be far lower than those of western nations enabling them to have money available for equipment for a similiar budget where does our money go?
Either our equipment is far superior to that of the French or Japan for example or those who procure our equipment are been ripped off.
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Old 29th Nov 2010, 14:46
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However, Trim Stab old fruit, surely the point is that while these new concerns are demanding of attention enough. The truth is they are additional concerns to address, not replacement ones?
Yes, but we have to make a choice of where to spend limited resources.

The only deadly attacks on UK soil since WW2 have come from terrorists, and that is likely to remain the case for the foreseable future. MI5 are the lead defence agency for that threat. They have an budget of approx 400m. They have gone on record that part of the reason the 7/7 bombers slipped through the net is because they did not have enough resources to follow up every single lead.

We could double or triple the annual budget of MI5 by cutting (if it were possible) only a small fraction of our air defence budget.

We have to prioritise spending on the real threats that face us in the future, not on historic threats no matter how much "nostalgia" we may have for them.
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