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Maritime Patrol Capability: The SDSR’s Wolf Whistle

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Maritime Patrol Capability: The SDSR’s Wolf Whistle

Old 23rd Sep 2015, 19:09
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From the Yank word "Solutionize"?
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Old 23rd Sep 2015, 20:05
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Solutionise

Any organisation with too much time on their hands who talk about rather than do seem to come up with such buzzwords.

It was closely followed by followership (I think), roughly translated as subordinates making up for their leaders lack of leadership.

You can imagine how team building days were.
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Old 23rd Sep 2015, 22:19
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Hi KenV, my comments were based on a P-8 purchase as I consider this the only sensible and least risky option to regenerate the capability. For any other option I would add at least another 3 years, however there are other factors to consider if it drags on that long such as the loss of remaining experience (not just those on seedcorn).

In my opinion this should be seen as a UOR and P-8 purchased ASAP, piggy back off the USN if practical (OCU, Sims, servicing, weapons, etc.), then bring it into core later.

IF (Big if), we get P-8s they look more expensive initially, however with their growth potential (including benefiting from US R&D) it is highly likely that they will be around for 50 years plus. I can't see any of the less capable platforms coming close to matching that.
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Old 24th Sep 2015, 20:38
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The arguement of what to buy will be driven by one major factor - cost of ownership. The P8 is an expensive first world capability, we are no longer in that league and can not afford to own enough platforms to provide a viable force capable of several concurrent ops including soveriegn ops.

Unless the rules have changed UORs are funded to support an operation....what operation are we currently involved in that would allow such an acquistion.

The E3 experience has shown us that developing and deploying our own capabilities on Boeing platforms requires an additional expensive premium. RJ is not so bad as we have bought into the program and as such we get the regular upgrades. I think a P8 acquisition would unfortunately be more like E3 than RJ.

US R&D solves US problems....we have allowed our R&D capability to fade. The P8 option will snuff the residual capability out.

The RJ experience has shown how massively expensive training crews in the states is. I believe it has cost more than twice the amount originally budgeted, and I fear they are still not fully manned with a UK based trg solution still not in place.

Why will a Sea Herc, C27J, Saab, Airbus 235/95 or a Q400 not last 50 years?
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Old 24th Sep 2015, 22:19
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I'm guessing there are some standing UK Ops that require the capability, plus enduring Ops in the Gulf area and Mediterranean, contingency Ops and .... I would also suggest that our relationship with Russia has rapidly deteriorated and we have a gap in capability that needs filling urgently.

I understand in a classic context UORs have supported direct kinetic type Ops, but think there have been a few that have stretched the 'rules' as bigger and more ambitious purchases. Second Reaper purchase took 3 years for Afg and is now over Syria? Sentinel became a UOR for Lybia, etc.

There is some suitably ambiguous language on UORs, rapid procurement and single-source contracts here
House of Commons - Defence Acquisition - Defence Committee

Ref. the platform choice, only one of those is actually real, the others are powerpoint presentations, models and empty promises from salesmen who will say anything to secure the deal. Based on the performance of procurement programs from the last 20 years they will run in to delays, significant cost increases, removal of essential support and training packages to try and get back on budget and a dumbing down of the requirement to meet poor performance. Also all those platforms have a huge flaw when it comes to ASW, current generation subs wouldn't struggle to hide from them, future ones could potentially destroy them.

Ref. E-3D, I believe the problem is we have created a bespoke UK fleet and now have to do all the development, support cost are therefore very high. Better to have kept to a US or NATO standard and benefited from shared R&D and reduced cost, even if that capability wasn't quite as good in 1990. However through 30 years plus the capability retains effectiveness rather than becoming rather dated The future is common standards with other nations for larger fleets and shared R&D, see Reaper, C-17, C-130J, AH-64E, F-35,....P-8?

I am aware of the training issues of using the US and believe they only look expensive as the initial costings were naive or disingenuous. When set against the full cost of a UK training solution (building Sims and infrastructure in the UK and providing all the staff to man an OCU, provide airframes that we don't have, fuel costs, etc.) I would guess they are actually cheaper, however UK training is required long term to control the content and output.

I would argue that UK defense procurement needs stop making the same mistakes by getting wrapped up in legacy and dogmatic processes, getting outsmarted by companies who's priority is their shareholders and become more flexible and able to adapt quickly to the real world.

The argument for getting the high end solution is the same as the FJ rational, the requirement is to win against a high end capability, to do that you need to overmatch their capability. This is a basic principle of warfighting, go in at parity or below and you stand an equal or worse chance of coming second

Still this is all hot air, hopefully SDSR will settle this one way or the other
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 08:19
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Article in the FT quoting the spraffing tossers who inspired this thread. If the article is to be believed the decision will be "influenced" by...

Academics with a questionable/marginal maritime knowledge
Business Development Managers (double glazing salesmen to you and me)
Politicians with highly vested interests and agendas
And the military folk that helped scrap it in the first place.

Cynical...me
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 15:04
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Ivan,

Ref. the platform choice, only one of those is actually real, the others are powerpoint presentations, models and empty promises from salesmen who will say anything to secure the deal.

That's a bit of an overstatement. Airbus for one has delivered ASW aircraft to Brazil, Spain and Chile - in some cases using the Merlin HM2 acoustics or a version thereof.

Also all those platforms have a huge flaw when it comes to ASW, current generation subs wouldn't struggle to hide from them, future ones could potentially destroy them.


I haven't seen any sub-based air defense systems deployed, although they've been played with since the 1970s. It's still poor odds, particularly against a platform with DIRCM (which is pretty standard on large military aircraft). If you don't succeed with the first shot you are toast.

That said, I have occasionally heard this as a reason for doing high-altitude ASW, but it's not the one I hear most often.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 15:26
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you might be talking to the wrong people
Boeing to make flying torpedoes able to attack enemy submarines from 30,000 feet - Military & Aerospace Electronics
Airborne weapons experts at the Boeing Co. got the go-ahead Wednesday to start building add-on kits for the U.S. Navy Mark 54 lightweight torpedo that will enable the weapon to glide through the air from altitudes as high as 30,000 feet and enable the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol jet to attack enemy submarines from long ranges.

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Old 25th Sep 2015, 15:32
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Sorry, but where does that story talk about evading submarine-launched missiles? Since it doesn't, do you have some kind of point?
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 15:33
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timeframe - Helix was the 2003 programme to look at how to extend (maybe) the R1 to mid/late '20's

They added Rivet Joint into the study in 2008

The MR4 was cancelled in 2010 and that left the Rivet Joint as the only show in town so three were ordered in March 2010 - first one arrived in late 2013 - crews had been on training attachment since Jan 2011

So IF we go with Mr Boeing we have crews already training, a working production line - three years to delivery looks possible

If we go the full on spec, competitve bid road it'll be a lot longer - and plenty of time for the next govt to change it's mind......... which is the big risk IMHO
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 15:37
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LO If they don't foresee missiles, why do you think they are bothering with high alt and stand off torpedos?

Just because you aren't aware of a deployed missile system, it doesn't mean they aren't deployed.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 15:54
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As designers go to enormous lengths to make subs as quiet as possible it seems a bit odd that you'd fire off a couple of SAM's and broadcast your exact position to the whole world

Unless you came up to take a peek (visible or radar - ye gods) you'd never be sure how many aircraft were up there and where they were - maybe listening woud give you an idea but you could very easily be horribly embarrassed if they were flyng in pairs............
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 17:42
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a1troll - Why don't you read something about MAC and the reasons for high-altitude ASW, instead of wasting bandwidth and oxygen?

Let me explain this in very simple terms. I am well aware of high-alt ASW, including the gliding torpedo. However, the most often stated reason for doing it is that multistatic active coherent acoustics and very large sonobuoy loads allow you to cover a wide search area, and you therefore stay high to keep your buoy field within line of sight.

Yes, I have heard the argument about defeating sub-based missile defenses, but not as often as the other one. And in case you have the wrong impression that is not the only reason for a gliding torpedo - it's to drop the fish in the right zip code.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 17:48
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SLAMs versus MPA - discuss. Remember having a massive drunken heated argument about that when I was kipper noob, round our pad in Forres at 3am, with a bunch of other kipper noobs (no available women in Forres)...when would that be, oh I don't know....1977.

Just because you aren't aware of a deployed missile system, it doesn't mean they aren't deployed
The technology has existed for 40 years or more. The reason they are not deployed is because (as any submariner will tell you) it is an insanely stupid idea for precisely the reason HH just posted.

Talking of insanely stupid ideas...why do I keep posting in MPA threads.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 18:07
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Ivan,
Ref bespoke E-3D fleet....the mission systems were very compatible with US and NATO fleets until the mid-life updates (I have operated all three). The US solution was considered too expensive and the NATO mid-term has a few issues which may well lead to similar solution to US model. Cash, as always, is the deciding factor.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 19:02
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a1troll - Why don't you read something about MAC and the reasons for high-altitude ASW, instead of wasting bandwidth and oxygen?
Is it just me, or did that sound harsh? And unnecessarily so.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 19:21
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My tolerance bank is running low because it is Friday. If you don't know, ask. Don't make snippy comments about "talking to the wrong people" and then cite something that would actually answer your own question (in this case, why do hi-alt ASW) if you read it.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 20:46
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AFAIK, LO said he was a reporter and as such would have no clearance to what is OPSEC and if and when a missile system is deployed within the CONOPS life of the P-8A.

Wouldn't it be simpler to fly within range the sub and drop the torpedo, let the parachute deploy, than to add a standoff winged kit to the kill chain?

Last edited by a1bill; 25th Sep 2015 at 21:40.
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Old 26th Sep 2015, 00:19
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From an interested outsider's point of view, it strikes me that the replacement of Nimrod R by Rivet Joint was much more than a simple change of platform, and that comparisons with P-8 are perhaps not very useful.

Quite apart from the different balance between Elint and Comint on the two aircraft (and the different way in which Elint was undertaken) it strikes me that big chunks of UK infrastructure were closed down in favour of a much closer operational integration with the US.

We seem to have gone from operating a fully independent (but linked in) Sigint system to operating three aircraft that are essentially effectively UK-manned elements of the 55th Wing - seemingly a rather easier proposition, and surely rather quicker to change over to?

I know that at times you might just as well have painted the stars and stripes on the side of the Nimrod R, since it was integrated into their flying programme, used their Int data bases, etc., and could even be tasked by US commands. But 51 could do independent ops (Falklands, anti-IRA, etc.) and I wonder whether it could still, and whether the UK could ever use RJ completely autonomously without the planning, the targets, the "take" and the results going straight (and first) to the US, whereas previously I guess it used to go to the UK (Cheltenham? etc.) first? There are a whole bunch of unanswerable questions - Where is the inflight data downloaded to now? Do the US now even have a veto on when and where and how the UK deploys the aircraft?

Do the UK need an independent, sovereign MPA/ASW capability, or do we want to invest and integrate into the US MPA force? Either could be done with P-8, but other platforms could fulfil the first aim, including the Japanese P1, which promises to be cheaper than P-8 but equally (or perhaps more) capable.

And if we do want the independent, sovereign MPA/ASW capability, then can we afford sufficient P-8s to actually do that? Airbus claim that you can buy twice as many C295 MPAs for half the cost - or four times as many for the same cost. So four P-8As, or 16 C295 MPAs? Eight P-8As or a staggering 32 C295s.
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Old 26th Sep 2015, 08:03
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And if we do want the independent, sovereign MPA/ASW capability, then can we afford sufficient P-8s to actually do that? Airbus claim that you can buy twice as many C295 MPAs for half the cost - or four times as many for the same cost. So four P-8As, or 16 C295 MPAs? Eight P-8As or a staggering 32 C295s.
I'm firmly of the realist school that says we can't afford gilt-edged everything, so choose carefully what has to be state of the art.

For MPA I feel that something is distinctly better than the nothing we have now, and that reasonable numbers of something decent is better than low numbers of the gilt-edged. So 16 C295s please!
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