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British Future MPA

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British Future MPA

Old 7th Mar 2011, 15:22
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British Future MPA

British Future MPA

As we are a maritime nation, it is inconceivable that we will not reestablish our military airborne maritime patrol capability when the nationís finances are eventually back out of the red. The Nimrod saga was an object lesson to both politicians and the MoD in how not to procure a complex piece of military equipment and its demise was shocking, but the requirement has not gone away. I am sure that a great deal of useful knowledge and experience has been gained from that sad episode and planning must surely be going on in MoD in preparation for regaining the capability.

Assuming it will eventually happen, a number of questions about the future MPA spring to mind:

a. Should the platform be a domestic or a foreign development?

b. Should the full raft of sensor and performance capabilities that were deemed necessary in Nimrod be included in its replacement?

c. Should it be operated by the RAF or the RN?

I have my views of course, but would be interested first to unleash the massive collective intellect contained within Prune on the subject before daring to offer my own lowly, personal perspective.
Clockwork Mouse is offline  
Old 7th Mar 2011, 15:51
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Firstly, are you sure that it's an 'MPA' which is needed?

Surely it would be preferable first to examine which defence capabilities you now consider to be missing - e.g. anti-submarine, long-range surface surveillance, long range SAR, electro-optical reconnaissance, (classified) role etc. Then decide whether these need to be met in a single platform, or in multiple specialist platforms.

No doubt the airship and drone fantasists will attempt to dream up useful applications for their air platforms, but my gut instinct is that airships are a complete and utter waste of time and drones do not yet have anything like the flexibility or load carrying capability of manned aircraft.

Who should operate over the sea? RAF, RN or an enhanced coastguard? Does it really matter, so long as the task needs are met?
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 16:14
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Who should operate over the sea? RAF, RN or an enhanced coastguard? Does it really matter, so long as the task needs are met?
Whoever can accomplish the task without allowing 'Inter-Service-4-Star-Whitehall-Back-Stabbing' to get in the way

As I sit gazing out into my Cornish harbour, I notice that we are now patrolled by the UK Border Agency in their own HM Cutters. Could this be the surface fleet of a future, enhanced HM Coastguard which deals with anything from smuggling French brandy to drugs to illegal immigrants to Search & Rescue?

Then, we could have a dedicated MPA for ASW or ASUW, leave the overland surveillance to Astor, Rivet Joint, AWACS and all the other bits & pieces, with dedicated taskings?

Then we might start having some semblance of order in our orbat.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 16:33
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Oh good, another MPA thread!
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 16:57
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FFS! ..........
Lottery Winner is offline  
Old 7th Mar 2011, 17:01
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Alternatively, if you don't like what is being discussed - read another thread!

Duncs
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 17:06
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CM,

Before you determine who is going to man (or not!) your MPA - and I am assuming that there is a requirement - you need to get some higher level direction regarding its task/role. Only then can you work out what sensors it needs and who is going to operate it. (but probably RN/CG dependant on the ASW threat and/or requirement to support future RN deployments)

Duncs
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 17:09
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Clockwork Mouse

it is inconceivable that we will not reestablish our military airborne maritime patrol capability when the nationís finances are eventually back out of the red
It is very conceivable, au contraire.

If/when the economy returns to moderate health, and after years/decades of not having the capability, it will be a hard sell to pump up the threat to the point that a politician will want to be known the person who started Nimrod 5, and reinstate the capability as you suggest.

This all assumes that the MOD deficit has been resolved as it is still entirely possible for the country to be in good health, and the MOD still managing projects like the way a drunk on a Saturday night manages their drink budget for the week. In such as case, I doubt anyone will pony up any more cash. They have duck houses to buy.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 17:31
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My apologies for opening another MPA thread. I was not aware that the subject has been done to death elsewhere. I have not, until now, read the MRA4 thread as I assumed it was all about the destruction of the Nimrods and did not want to be further depressed.
Consider this thread closed.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 17:47
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CM, this thread originally looked quite promising until that Chinook doorman ruined it.

Please continue; the children can play somewhere else.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 18:52
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The argument is initially flawed... It should be broken down to get a better idea of things.

The questions you need to ask are:

Do we need a Longe Range Fixed Wing Land-Based ASW aircraft?

Do we need a L.R.F.W.L-B.ASUW aircraft?

and

Do we need a L.R.F.W.L-B.SAR aircraft?

I know Nimrod did a whole lot more, but these 3 tasks effectively cover everything you could want from a LRMPA.

First of all, ASW. Ask anyone at Kinloss what asset the MoD needs to hunt submarines, and the answer will be an aircraft. Ask the same question at Faslane, and you'll be told that Sub vs Sub is the best scenario. I'm sure if you asked a Frigates crew, then the answer would be supporting their capability.

The obvious answer is that you need a layered defence, but you could argue the 'Nimrods' job can be done by SOSUS/IUSS (details available on open source), and as such the 'Long Range' element for UK defence is done by these systems.

ASUW, it's another argument against the need for a large aircraft such as the P-8 or Nimrod. A Dash-8 or King Air 350ER could do an excellent job with simple kit (probably still more capable than the MR2 or P-3), and still give around 10-12 hours endurance.

Finally SAR. Do we need a Long Range Search and RESCUE aircraft, or would a Search and LOCATE aircraft fulfill the required role. It is unlikely that this argument would every be finalised with an answer, but in theory the C-130 or A400 could do a good enough job to cover this role. Or if the rescue element is not needed then your ASUW aircraft comes into the fore.

I'd love to see an indiginous maritime patrol aircraft, but thats not going to happen. Does the UK need a single platform that can do all of the roles above? Arguably no, arguably yes. Those roles must be filled and the government hasn't denied that, but they are being done by a half dozen different assets (at least). Would there actually be any benefit from a single platform fulfilling many roles? Or is it better to have simpler platforms filling a single role?

Devels advocate on that one.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 19:52
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CM, this thread originally looked quite promising until that Chinook doorman ruined it.

Please continue; the children can play somewhere else.
Beagle, Beagle, Beagle. If I didn't know how much sage advice you regularly provide for those left in the military, and looking to escape, I might have almost been offended.

Then, I'd have been forced to point out that actually, the thread was heading for the flushpoint, until some autopilot commando from a second rate airline [unless it's BA - in which case it's third rate] came along and resurrected it for reasons unknown.

I may have reminded you that as a child, this is my playground, and you have actually moved onto big school.

However, fortunately I took your low blows in the spirit in which they were intended, and chose to remember the positives you bring.

Play nicely, or I'll shoot your samsonite.
minigundiplomat is offline  
Old 7th Mar 2011, 20:03
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But do these proposals need to be service delivered?

More precisely - Why can't some (or all) of those functions be delivered by civilian organisations?

I suggest that there are many civilian organisations that could deliver all these services for much less cost and with more mission reliability.

...and sits back to await the incomming...
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 20:16
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More precisely - Why can't some (or all) of those functions be delivered by civilian organisations?

I suggest that there are many civilian organisations that could deliver all these services for much less cost and with more mission reliability.
As you suggested it, go on then. Name some? Which civilian organisations that can do LR ASW? And LR ASuW? These are military roles with a military end result - sinking boats. Which UK civilian organisations can do LR SAR (remembering that "our" SAR region goes to 30W)?
Roland Pulfrew is offline  
Old 7th Mar 2011, 20:39
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No, a civilian organisation could not provide a service, and I speak as someone who has won similar deals in the past. Notwithstanding all the military action potentially, the key issue is the design and delivery of a platform to perform a function. MOD could not resist tinkering and giving the Contractor a get-out.

Given a fixed function, and corresponding design to a specification it would in theory be possible - Northern Line train for example is a classic "design to timetable within certain design performance limits" contract and it would be theoretically possible to have an availability based platform design, for crewing by service personnel. The key thing would be to have an agreed specification for performance parameters, leave it alone and never change it, and have it delivered 'inclusive of MAR' - all of which are 'slightly tricky' for MOD to stick to.

For those unaware of the NL trains example and how it is a good contract example, the criteria which made that procurement a good case are;

Payments only start on the day the trains become available, and finish at the end of the N years from contract award i.e. late delivery means certain payments are never received and are not delayed.

No number of trains are specified - just a timetable for them to run to over the contract life. It is therefore up to the Contractor to either provide a smaller number of high reliability trains, or a larger number of lower reliability trains. If trains fail during the life of the contract, the Contractor has to replace them free of charge if the timetable is to be affected.

The weight of the train, its power consumption, it shape and height and set to allow it to work within the design environment. This stops the Contractor from making their system cheap and passing cost (such as larger electricity bills) back to the Client.

All maintenance is carried out at a fixed price set at Contract award, by the Contractor so skimping on maintenance just costs the Contractor in the long term. Above all, the cardinal points of the Contract were set at Contract award (12 months of clarification it took) and literally nobody changed anything until the trains were in service.

They were delivered to time and cost was irrelevant as the Client pays no more. This is how contract should be set up.

The NL trains is costing TfL exactly what was planned and budgeted and while in general I would not hold them up at TfL as a good case of many things, MOD could learn a thing or two from that experience. Sadly delays on NL are never down to train issues, but down to the rest of the cr*p infrastructure.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 21:43
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There are a great many aircraft capable of delivering the range - the difference with nimrod was endurance/dwell time.

Who knows, by the time this could be sorted the EU boundaries may be in use and the need to go to W30 may no longer be 'required' for the UK - perhaps that could be France's interest?

Equiping aircraft with the role equipment is key to the job. There are a plethora of aircraft already designed and approved for a wide variety of roles in civil and military guises. All could be operated by a civlian organisation.

The need for multi-roled aircraft is another consideration. It may not be cost effective to put all roles into one frame especially if some roles are not regularly used. This would possibly avoid the gold-plating approach and allow specialist stuff to be held back (or the percieved need scrapped).

What I'm trying to say is that there are many ways of skinning this particular cat. You may or may not be aware of some of the alternatives, but they don't all need to be nimrod or military operated.
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Old 8th Mar 2011, 05:14
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I would sugest you missed a couple of other options

1.New Builds
2.Refurbished/refitted
3.2nd Hand
NURSE is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2011, 06:02
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R U kidding me!!

MGD, I am in your gang.

Seriously, PPRuNe needs another MPA thread like a moose needs a hatrack.
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Old 8th Mar 2011, 06:28
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What about get an aircraft that does not really do anything well and advertise it as Multi Mission capable.
Bugger Boeing has stolen my idea.
Maybe if a long range OISTAR/MISTAR platfrom had been employed recently some booties would not need new underwear and three Dutch flyers would be somewhere safe.
No military asset works in isolation in convential wartime, they are all part of a layered offence/defence.
Charlie sends
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Old 8th Mar 2011, 10:02
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GrahamO

Did the train contract have any contingency such as having to go to Edinburgh or carrying elephants. Fixed service provision only works if you have a certain mission that will not vary.

regards

retard
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