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British Future MPA

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British Future MPA

Old 9th Mar 2011, 23:30
  #41 (permalink)  
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Time to stick my neck out again!

A poster has argued, or rather stated, that the tasks associated with an airborne maritime patrol capability could be achieved better and more economically by a civilian organisation. I suggest that does not stand up to scrutiny.

I confess that my knowledge of MPA is limited to what any professional military officer in the days of jointery would be expected to have. That said, my reading of the core maritime patrol capabilities, as a minimum insurance cover, that we, as an island trading nation with overseas dependant territories and a submarine based nuclear deterrent, need to possess are as follows.

Military capabilities. Long range maritime patrol; surveillance, detection and attack of surface and sub-surface threats. Interoperability with and protection of friendly air, surface and sub-surface assets far from land, including coordinating long range search and rescue tasks.

These tasks could only be planned and carried out by the military. While the RN is a more logical military owner of the these capabilities than the RAF, as someone wisely said in an earlier post, in the end the owner is not so important provided the required result is delivered. A civilian organisation, however, could not deliver the required result.

Non-military tasks. Littoral commerce surveillance and policing. Coordination of and assistance with Short Range search and rescue tasks.

Logically these tasks would be carried out by civilian Coastguard/Border Agency aircraft. The military could meet these tasks but it would not be economical for them to do so.

This seems self-evident to me, if not to the government and probably a few Pruners.

The really difficult horse-trading hinges on defining realistically the scale, sophistication and ultimately affordability, if at all, of the military hardware, role equipment and associated support, while avoiding being over ambitious.
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 06:26
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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CM,

You have a good grasp of the requirements - perhaps a little better than the present incumbent of 10 Downing St and those that would advise him.

My knowledge of MPA is limited to 27 years operational service, 6 frontline sqn tours, 5000 flying hours and an annual assessment in my log books (two) that reads "above the average" more times than not.

What is not being appreciated in these endless MPA threads, is that the vehicle is the smaller part of the picture.

You are totally correct in both your statements, that the RN is a more logical keeper of the capability, but it does not really matter if the RAF has it, and that no civilian organistion could mount this overall task. However, not only are the aircraft being dismantled and scrapped, much, much more importantly, so are the people who currently hold the chalice bearing 70 plus years of history, experience and training.

Because of that, the UK fixed wing long range maritime patrol capability is finished, kaput, extinct, gone to meet its maker and shuffled off its mortal coil.

And it ain't never coming back.

And if you wish to know why those that served before the "Galley Master" get so bent out of shape by some of the stuff on PPRuNe which appears on all these MPA/Nimrod threads, it is because not all the non-maritime posters have your educated view and they have no compulsion in posting the most utter geeky rubbish about the aircraft and service many of us proudly were part of for much of our lives.
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 09:25
  #43 (permalink)  
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TOFO

Thank you for your enlightening contribution to a thread which I know you did not like me starting. Your hurt shines out of your post and I sympathise with you and your mates. To see what amounts to your lifeís work suddenly trashed unnecessarily and in such a cruel way is gutting.

While we are in danger of losing forever the accumulated wisdom and experience built up by the RAF MPA fleet, perhaps a brief window of opportunity still remains. If the RN is serious about picking up the chalice, and the indications are positive, then they would be foolish not to tap into that RAF expertise before it evaporates and save what they can. There ainít much time and God knows how they can do it, but I hope they will try.

Despite your understandable pessimism about the future of the capability, I cannot believe we will never regain it. For our national security we cannot afford not to.
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 12:29
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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God knows how they can do it
Making it carrier capable would probably help (genuine comment, not meant to be facetious).

... shame they can't convert the GR9 to MPA. Harrier/Carrier/MPA solved in an instant and it would halve the number of threads / posts on PPRuNe in a stroke!
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 12:45
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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TOFO,

The expertise is still here - albeit possibly only till Mar 12 (tranche 1 rendundancy exits)!

keesje,

I'm not sure what you mean with your last post regarding A330, A400M, F22 and F16.

Wrathmonk,

Carrier capable may work for some of the roles - and support deployability; however, for the present at least, in order to carry out passive ASW properly you need to be able to carry a lot of sonobouys (or have a lot of aircraft carrying out regular handover procedures) which increases the size and weight of your platform.

Duncs
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 15:33
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Duncan

You are, of course, quite right on the roles and the immediate needs.

However, in the same way that any capability involved in 'the war in Afg' has been "immune" from the SDSR (at least from the Army perspective) once QEII is floating on the water (and with F35 perhaps late) there will be a clamour to put something (anything) on it to fend off the 'white elephant' tag (and perhaps save it (or the PoW) from the 'Sales and Wants' ad when the second carrier is launched). And actual capability requirement will play little in the decision process when it comes to saving face (or gaining the political high ground seeing as if DC/NC continue as they are going we could have Ed in No 10 by the time the QE II launches ....).
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 15:47
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Wrathmonk,

Milliband or Balls...?
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 15:54
  #48 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Clockwork Mouse View Post
Non-military tasks. Littoral commerce surveillance and policing. Coordination of and assistance with Short Range search and rescue tasks.

Logically these tasks would be carried out by civilian Coastguard/Border Agency aircraft. The military could meet these tasks but it would not be economical for them to do so.
The last statement is not necessarily correct. It depends on the level of tasking and the exactness of procurement of assets to tasks. Suppose the Coastguard tasking did not require all its assets to be used all the time and similarly the military requirement was less than continuous then you would have spare capacity on both. Equally if a surge was required either might find itself short of assets.

A single force capable of both roles is potentially more economical.
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 16:00
  #49 (permalink)  
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PN

The Coastguard/UKBA funding is outside the Defence budget, so no point in the RN/RAF volunteering for the guardroom! Of course any available resources would be offered by either side in a crisis.
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 18:26
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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keesje,

I'm not sure what you mean with your last post regarding A330, A400M, F22 and F16.
Duncan those are dominant "jack of all trades". The MRTT is a tanker transport, the A400M a tactical-strategic transport-tanker, the F22 a stealthy strike-air superiority platform and the F16 the classic fighter-bomber.

Contrary to the Typhoon fighter (that has yet to become a good attack aircraft, if ever), the Nimrod ~dedicated ASW, VC10 ~ a dedicated tanker and Tornado IDS a strike, ADV a ADV aircraft.

The USAF made the switch to with the KC-X. The previous 700 KC135s primairy task was waiting for a large scale tanker supported operation. The KC46's will make many more hours doing people, pallets and containers, at less then half the cost a C-17 can.

IMO the best way to prevent a new MPA for the UK happening is to basicly copy 1983 requirements and say a domestic product must be developed to fulfill the UK's unique requirements and its historic role on the Ocean.. Killing.
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 19:07
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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I was SO determined not to post on this thread,
but I've been reading it and there's the same level of rubbish here as on all the other Nimrod threads.

1 - (To paraphrase) 'we'll have carriers, so we might as well have an MPA asset onboard' is quite the worst reason I have yet seen for having an MPA sometime in the future. You determine the requirement, then decide how to fulfill it, anything else is complete nonsense.

2 - Civvy inshore capability and a military long range one: Nothing in human history has ever been improved by having two organisations for one role, outside of dodgy videos. Inshore/LRMPA overlap - who will protect SSBN inshore? CG? Where does the miltary LRMPA take over? Why complicate the matter? Make it all military, then you don't have a civvy crew inshore with no ammo when the BN deploys and you find a hostile SS/SSN waiting.... by all means have subdivisions for inshore/LRMPA, but one organistaion to control both and interoperability to maximise platforms where possible.

3 - F16 etc 'jack of all trades' - last I saw the F16 was an A-A, A-G fighter, whilst the proposition for the MPA was tanker, transport, MPA, limo service and "helo lift as soon as we can bolt the extra rotors on".... Nimrod was not dedicated ASW Keesje, the MRA4 was a damn sight more 'jack of all trades' than any of the aircraft you mention - by a very long way. You list several aircraft that can do tanker and transport, as if that's somthign wonderful, while the Nimrod did ASW, ASUW, SAR, Coastguard, Customs, ISTAR... I would suggest the Nimrod was going to be a damn sight more 'multi role' than anything you've mentioned.

Sorry CM, but if I had a gun I'd shoot this post in the head, it's full of the same bollocks as all the other Nim threads, from the same bunch of suspects! (including me).

Give it to the navy - as soon as ANYONE starts trying to 'do' ASW etc they'll discover the crews were the important part of the capability, not the platform.

Dave
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 20:14
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Apart from UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Norway, just about everybody else with LRMP has it as a Navy job.

Apart from career progression for pilots, there are good arguments to be made both ways.
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 22:47
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Does anyone actually care who is best to do a job that doesn't exist?

With the axe that's sweeping through every aspect of military existence at the moment, the sooner we all stop inter-service rivalry and start thinking like civilians and employers, the better.
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 23:12
  #54 (permalink)  
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Davejb

I presume from the anger apparent in your post that you are another Nimrod orphan. In that case what has happened to you is rotten and you have my sympathy. Since your resolve cracked and you did post, please let me make a couple of points.

Of course there is a lot of rubbish on this thread, indeed on ALL threads. That is because of the wide range of interest, knowledge, ignorance, experience, ego, prejudice and aggression spread throughout the posting fraternity and it goes with the territory. That is also why forums (fora?) like Prune are so interesting and thought provoking. It is not a valid reason for shooting a thread in the head, in fact quite the contrary. If what is being posted upsets you, donít read it, but don't advocate silencing it. If one keeps an open mind and looks closely, there are usually a lot of valuable nuggets to be found hiding among the rubbish.

It also helps if posters read and understand what other posters have written before letting go with both barrels. For example, your para 2 suggests that I advocate a civvie inshore capability and a military long range one. I apologise for not making myself clear. I advocate the military carrying out military tasks, such as protection of military assets like submarines, wherever they may be, much of which will be long-range, and the civvies carrying out non-military tasks, such as customs work, surveillance and policing of merchant vessels around our coasts, which is by definition short-range. You suggest having one organisation responsible for doing both. That implies having a mega-expensive military asset like a LRMPA tasked with checking merchant vessels in the channel to see if they are illegally cleaning their tanks, and makes no financial, management or any other sort of sense. The Defence Budget is for defence, not for customs and border control duties.

Finally, this is NOT another "Nim thread". Nimrod is dead and gone, though not forgotten, God rest its soul. This is a thread about a future UK MPA capability, if it can be resurrected in some useful form. Despite your own hurt and pessimism, Iím sure that you would support that aspiration.
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Old 11th Mar 2011, 07:53
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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davejb

You determine the requirement, then decide how to fulfill it, anything else is complete nonsense
You have clearly never had the misfortune to work in certain corridors of MB. Whether we like it or not a lot (if not all) of our procurement decisions have a huge political input (far bigger than the requirement input) and once the spotlight is off Afg, and we are all scrabbling around for an even smaller pot of cash, there will be certain phrases required in 'the design spec' to ensure a project gets through the PR process. One of those will be 'carrier capable'.

Madness it may be (and not being kipper fleet I do not know for sure all the roles that were carried out by the MR2 and not spoken about) but I have had the misfortune to work in MB and see first hand political input over rule requirement and common sense.

This thread is about British future MPA. IMHO it will be carrier capable. Whether it is flown by the FAA, the RAF or a mix of both who knows. Yes, it will probably be less capable but the government of the day will be able to say they have restored the role of MPA and justified the decision not to axe the carriers in the SDSR .... and the really sad thing is Joe Public will buy the spin hook, line and sinker .... and the military will just get on and make do.
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Old 11th Mar 2011, 08:02
  #56 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Clockwork Mouse View Post
PN

The Coastguard/UKBA funding is outside the Defence budget, so no point in the RN/RAF volunteering for the guardroom! Of course any available resources would be offered by either side in a crisis.
CM, while that is of course true, there is precedent for cost sharing between ministries. While it is not incorrect to talk of civil and military tasks it should be borne in mind that a CG and Mil MPA are both State aircraft.

A precedent was set in the 70s when the MAFF and DOE each funded a quantity of Nimrod hours under operation tapestry. IIRC their funding split was 70-30 and this funded 3 Nimrod.

As the Nimrod remained under Military control MAFF and DOE were not entirely happy and indeed the costs to them were higher than a cheaper civilian aircraft, so that confirms your counter argument.

Mine remains however the State was able to enjoy a larger MPA inventory by about 10% which was a useful reserve. Where two organisations with different aircraft, training and capabilties exist then the sum of the parts will add up to less than the whole. As a nation we really can't afford a properly funded maritime force and a coastguard - one or the other but not both.
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Old 11th Mar 2011, 08:27
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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MGD,

"Does anyone actually care who is best to do a job that doesn't exist?"

Looking at all the recent Nimrod/MPA threads, apparently the answer is - YES.

Moreover, the job does exist; it is simply that we, in the UK, cannot do it!

Duncs
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Old 11th Mar 2011, 09:07
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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To highlight how short sighted the governments decision to remove the UK's maritime patrol capability is look at whats happening in the the Pacific with the latest tsunami.
Apart from the military issues look at the humanitarian responsibilities the UK has and how useful a long range aircraft with radar and sensors would be in the event of a major disaster such as what is happening in the Pacific area.
The Nimrod was not just a fighting aircraft it was a aircraft which could undertake many roles many of which were to save lives and even those opposed to the military must see that that having LRMP even with limited capabilities is an asset in the event of a natural disaster.
The types of military threats to our nation maybe changing but the threat from "mother nature" is always there.
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Old 11th Mar 2011, 09:20
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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By DaveJb:

"Give it to the navy - as soon as ANYONE starts trying to 'do' ASW etc they'll discover the crews were the important part of the capability, not the platform".

I assume that by this Dave, you consider that the Navy can't do the job? Hmmm, no one doubts the professional competence of the Nimrod crews but I think you'll find the RN has always done a fair amount of ASW (& ASuW etc). Some of it from the air & some from the surface & sub surface. As far as I am aware the science (art?) of ASW (and ASuW) does not change just because you happen to be flying. The RN has Sonar, radar, EW, Comms specialists; some of whom have airborne experience. They are even pretty good at the picture compilation & integration & "running the battle".

If ever the UK gets another LRMP aircraft I wouldn't recommend that the capability was either RN or RAF particularly but a Joint Force Maritime capability would seem to be the way forward, with each service providing the specialists from the pool of experts in its core competency areas.
If the RAF continue to have and train ASW personnel then that's great but I expect that the decison to bin Nimrod will mean that the RAFs ASW & ASuW pipeline will (has?) closed down. In contrast the RN will always be training ASW & ASuW personnel, because that's what it does, and some of those people will be able to do the job at 400 knots.
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Old 11th Mar 2011, 09:54
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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Andy,

I think that Dave said - 'give it to the Navy'; not 'Don't give it to the Navy'.

His point, as I read it, was that which platform is used is (almost) irrelevant; you need to have competent crews. The longer it takes to re-introduce the capability, the more deeply the skill fade will have set in and the less competent the crews will be. Appologies to Dave if I have misinterpreted his words.

Duncs
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