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UK Maritime Patrol Aircraft - An Urgent Requirement

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UK Maritime Patrol Aircraft - An Urgent Requirement

Old 3rd Aug 2015, 12:47
  #1521 (permalink)  
 
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Come on guys, please apply at least a modicum of common sense. The RAF/MOD is generally cash strapped, and operating a large military base is a very costly affair.

Running a base (e.g. St Mawgan) for just 5, 8, 10 aircraft alone makes no sense at all from a cost point of view. Indeed many years ago a 4* told me that Kinloss wouldn't be cost effective with less than 15 aircraft. When there was talk of only buying 9 MRA4s, then staying at Kinloss didn't make monetary sense. Unfortunately, closing an airbase costs money, which, ironically enough, you often can't afford to do when you're broke - the classic case of not being able to spend to save!

If you're going to talk about St Mawgan, at least throw a few other items into the mix to help justify it - talk of moving the Red Arrows there as well would be a classic example and a good way of generating some controversy!
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 12:52
  #1522 (permalink)  
 
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Culdrose - Keep the ASW assets (and training) together?

Although I do have a vague memory that the runway isnt able to take large AUW aircraft on a routine basis?
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 13:09
  #1523 (permalink)  
 
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Surely if the principal mission is defence of the Clyde in support of the Nuclear Deterrant then a Scottish base makes sense? Re-investment in HMS Gannet perhaps (be quick though as it decommissions shortly with the removal of Gannet SAR Flight)?

Although a multi-misison aircraft like a P8 is an excellent ISTAR asset Waddington doesn't make a lot of sense IMHO. Airseeker is the replacement for Nimrod R1 isn't it?
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 13:34
  #1524 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Willard Whyte View Post
It'll be Waddo, which is of course as far from the sea as it's possible to get as far as raf basing is concerned.
Job done, objective achieved surely??

On a more serious note, unless the additional 45mins before getting on task is a game changer (which it might be depending on AAR options, or lack thereof), it'll probably be Waddo.

If time to task is really critical, they'll have to see how much room can be found at Lossie and live with having two types on base.

Cornwall is probably a non-starter. If you need in-contact time, our boats will all be at Faslane, not Guzz. If its simulated training, you can do that remotely from Waddo.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 14:03
  #1525 (permalink)  
 
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The world is a rapidly changing and unstable place these days, with the old order and way of thinking disappearing fast (Labour lurching to the left, Corbyn as leader whether he is credible or not?), look around you at the world outside the defence bubble.


Scotland will either be independent, or on the way to it, by 2020. As JiV said, basing any new asset north of the border would be a mistake, and if it is done, it will only be as part of a political game that will ultimately fail at considerable cost!

Where will your follow on SSBNs, if they are purchased, be based in 15 years from now?
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 14:49
  #1526 (permalink)  
 
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Protection of the approaches to the Clyde needs only to extend by a few 100s of miles off the coast so why have a very small number of shiny jets when a fleet of smaller cheaper ac will do the job. There are lots of options, some of which are true MMA, which can get out to 1000nm on the very rare occasions that is needed.

Culdrose would be a good option along with a forward operating base at Prestwick/ Lossiemouth etc would do nicely. Most of the smaller ac options have less demanding requirements for operating surfaces etc thus operating from small airfields become an option.

Imagine a sqn with high moral at RAF Waddington, its against the rules.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 15:02
  #1527 (permalink)  
 
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So how exactly do I avoid turning this into another Scottish independence thread, but actually get people to listen/appreciate that during the lifetime of a new MPA/MMA, the area of interest will no longer include the Clyde approaches?
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 15:06
  #1528 (permalink)  
 
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Correct - SSBN fleet no longer in Faslane, no need to protect the approaches.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 15:08
  #1529 (permalink)  
 
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By Biggus,

"Where will your follow on SSBNs, if they are purchased, be based in 15 years from now?"

When Polaris was procured extensive studies identified only 3 suitable locations for an SSBN fleet - Faslane, Milford Haven and Falmouth. Given that there must be some fear that Wales will go the same way as Scotland, if the latter does eventually go independent then there is only one place - Falmouth.

Ergo, base the LRMPA at Culdrose.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 15:11
  #1530 (permalink)  
 
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andyy,

I appreciate that thanks, it was a rhetorical question.

Waddo has ISTAR support in place. Brize would be one option if a long runway in the south is required. I believe the RAF aim to be down to 9 bases (I'm not sure if that is airfields or bases generally) in the not too distant future!
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 15:28
  #1531 (permalink)  
 
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It'll be P8 and it'll be Waddo. God knows I've been wrong before, but I'll be genuinely very surprised if it isn't.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 15:52
  #1532 (permalink)  
 
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With the investment in Plymouth to support current SSBN I would assume that the safety case would support Sucessor SSBN as well. If they were based in Plymouth then Culdrose, St Mawgan, St Athans etc. become possibilities. That would involve significant investment in infrastructure, but that seems inevitable wherever this MMA capability is required.

Close in defence of the Clyde for SSBN could probably be done effectively by increasing the fleet of RN Merlin Mk2 and basing them at Prestwick, but then that would perhaps undercut the business case for the MMA...

Edit: Concur that I'd put my money on P-8 and Waddo if I was a betting man. Having been round a P-8 a few times it's a good piece of kit and the Seedcorn guys have been instrumental in getting it up and working well.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 16:07
  #1533 (permalink)  
 
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Basing SSBN and Refitting them at Plymouth are 2 very different things. The current boats can only get into and out of Devonport in the very light condition (ie just prior to, and on completion of being refitted) and with certain heights of tide. It is not viable to base and operate the SSBN force there permanently unless they were very much smaller vessels.

Given that we are committed to retain the Trident system, and that defines the diameter of the submarine hull I don't see that as being an option.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 16:13
  #1534 (permalink)  
 
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RAF down to 5 Bases.


ISTAR Hub: Waddington
Transport Hub: Brize
AD (Typhoon): Coningsby/Lossie
Muds (Typhoon): Marham/Lossie
JSF joint base with RN (Culdrose or Yeovilton) plus Carriers of course.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 16:16
  #1535 (permalink)  
 
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Cranwell?

Valley?

Halton?

Odiham?

...etc...

Last edited by Biggus; 3rd Aug 2015 at 20:14.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 16:17
  #1536 (permalink)  
 
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Ergo, base the LRMPA at Culdrose.
Culdrose?

RTOW from an 1800m runway would severely limit payload. Did you work on the Rivet Joint project?
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 16:23
  #1537 (permalink)  
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When we had two MPA bases and a UK requirement then St Mawgan and Kinloss made sense (Ballykelly better?).

With only one base Kinloss was perfect for north and west and east but not for swapps. St Mawgan was bad for Skaw, GIUK.

Waddington is both less than ideal than both Kinloss and St Mawgan but is a better compromise than either. Also, as a mounting base, it is probably better for deployment to the east Med and beyond. It is also well placed for AAR should that be needed.

Phony Tony - Protection of the approaches to the Clyde needs only to extend by a few 100s of miles off the coast so why have a very small number of shiny jets when a fleet of smaller cheaper ac will do the job.
Superficially that might seem a solution but it would lead to the procurement of an aircraft with limited versatility. More, smaller, aircraft might be less expensive but would require more operating crews, more engineering support (more turn rounds), more administrative infrastructure and ultimately might lack essential multi-mission capability, viz ASW and ASuW on one platform.

A parallel would be with surface forces - few T45 or lots of patrol vessels. Now remind me, what has dark blue always gone for and still is?

PS, I concede that loss of one smaller aircraft from 24 would represent only 4% of the fleet whereas loss of one of 8 . . .
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 16:31
  #1538 (permalink)  
 
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...and it's still active.


Q. Isn't Dave-B going to Marham?
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 16:35
  #1539 (permalink)  
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Brian Potter, that makes Culdrose an ideal solution. New base and new runway. Whereever a new aircraft is based, or a sqn moved to, the existing infra structure is always inadequate.
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Old 3rd Aug 2015, 16:47
  #1540 (permalink)  
 
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New runway? You just added 500m to the cost.
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