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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 15th Sep 2015, 22:27
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I suspect Airbus, Kawasaki, Alenia, and Lockheed at a minimum could make powerful arguments against the above notion.

I'm sure that they would. But "flying ops in three years" means "flying ops in three years" in the Queen's English. Since nobody appears to have started on the process of having a competition or evaluating anything (other than the P-8A's eval-via-Seedcorn) the process would have to begin by writing a requirement. inviting bids and evaluating them. Airframes would have to be built or modified, and tested to the extent that any OTS system available matches the requirements. Three years is a ludicrous impossibility, which is why "we must have capability in three years" = "buy P-8s".
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 05:36
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bb

If you don't get the spec right in the first place - all the above will happen, and the MoD will blame the contractor.
Long time since MoD were allowed to write specs; or indeed consciously employed anyone trained to. What happens is you get a fanny URD from London and quietly, without telling anyone, draw up a "clarification paper" (spec) and slip it in the envelope to bidders. And just hope it's a fatter envelope than that tabled during the "political impact" lobbying.

In the mid-90s I spent 2 years on a competition for a new Mark of aircraft. Only one of 4 bidders was remotely compliant. One withdrew because it was too difficult. On the verge of awarding the contract to the runaway winner, a political overrule came down - it was to be awarded to a company who hadn't bid, but who happened to be (conveniently) relocating to a constituency whose MP had lobbied best. They were then bought out by the company who'd withdrawn. Each spent millions not realising they were in an unfair competition. Bidding for that job meant they couldn't bid for others. (Who has multiple bid teams for whole aircraft?) They recouped the cost by simply increasing the price next time. Good job we had Boscombe and Westland to step in and do most of the job. I've lost count of how many "RMPA/N2000/MRA4" and "Chinook HC3" gold standard cock ups we'd have had without those two.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 05:37
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Training ...

Buying the airframe is the easy part ...

It will probably take up to three years to train sufficiently capable crews to operate whichever jet we get.

There has been ample time since the capability was 'gapped' for enough studies into which jet it should be to be completed.

The decision process does not start on the date that the SDSR report is made public, enough time has already been lost.

Just get on with it ...!

It's a plain as the nose on your face what's going to happen ...
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 06:09
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The decision process does not start on the date that the SDSR report is made public, enough time has already been lost.
A point well made; a point lost on many, including the hapless authors.

To be specific...

The last operational MPA we flew was the Nimrod MR2 (retired 2010)

The requirement to replace that aircraft (ASR 420) was issued in 1993.

That was 22 years ago.

We're still waiting.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 11:45
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Three years is a ludicrous impossibility, which is why "we must have capability in three years" = "buy P-8s".
If Airbus, Kawasaki, Alenia, and Lockheed can't do it in three years, then what is so special about Boeing that they can? In my opinion, if the former can't do it, neither can the latter. Conversely, if the latter can do it, then the former should be able to as well. I personally don't see the P-8 or its manufacturer possessing anything special in this arena.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 13:47
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HAS59 - and there in lies one of the strengths of the P-8, we have trained crews in the US, who have been involved in the development and intro to service with the US Navy.

I believe some of the Seedcorn crews went to fly P-3 with other friendly nations, so maybe we have a cheaper prop option available too.

Increased Defence links with Japan allows the Kawasaki a look in but we have no-one ready trained in how to fly/fight it.
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Old 17th Sep 2015, 21:19
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Maritime Patrol Capability: The SDSR’s Wolf Whistle

As much as the MOD/JFC/RAF may have a view on the capability gap and its solution, it is ultimately funded by the Treasury. They will want to be satisfied on the vfm of buying a U.S. or Japanese aircraft rather than one that supports British industry. Equally they will take a view on "off the shelf" vs "new platform" and the likely success of certifying it to MAA regs. I don't know the answer but I do know it will not be in service (all DLODS) before the next election!
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Old 18th Sep 2015, 05:54
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If Airbus, Kawasaki, Alenia, and Lockheed can't do it in three years, then what is so special about Boeing that they can?

First, I think it's generally agreed that for many reasons, including Seedcorn and a long history of operating U.S. aircraft, the P-8A is the only type that the UK would ever select without a competition.

Second, Boeing has a hot production line and the USN has a substantial inventory and backlog. This opens up many options (such as leasing aircraft initially).

However, the tenor of discussions at DSEi this week suggests that nothing (at least nothing permanent) is going to happen soon.
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Old 21st Sep 2015, 14:03
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However, the tenor of discussions at DSEi this week suggests that nothing (at least nothing permanent) is going to happen soon.
Industry: Let's Compete for UK Maritime Patrol
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Old 21st Sep 2015, 15:25
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Holding a competition has the great benifit (in the eyes of the Treasury) of kicking the decision several years down the road.........

"of course we want an MPA but taxpayers would expect us to aim for a full and open competition and evaluation - nothing less will do"

The only was we'll get an MPA quickly is to buy Boeing
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 10:20
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Define Quick? can't see anything flying in UK colours in the next ten years.
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 10:24
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only took three years to get the Rivert Joint into the RAF..............
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 19:20
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HH,

So in the case of the RJ it was three years from which event to "flying in UK colours"? Was that mention in parliament, firm orders being placed, what?

Also in terms of the RJ, presumably the back up support systems for an aircraft conducting that role were largely carried over from the R1, so were already in place with manned and experienced staff. How many 51 Sqn aircrew were ready to convert, enough to man the whole fleet of RJs maybe.

Now look at a new MPA/MMA. How many trained, experienced support staff, with the right equipment are ready to go. How many trained and experienced aircrew are available, 20-30 maybe. There has already been a 5 year gap in UK MPA ops, and most (but not all) of the experienced UK MPA aircrew no longer wear a blue suit.

Comparisons between the R1 to RJ transition and the MR2 to ?? "capability gap" closure are not valid - in my opinion.
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 19:50
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The only was we'll get an MPA quickly is to buy Boeing
Any particular reason why the Japanese offering couldn't be got hold of quickly?
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 20:09
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Biggus

I think 51 Sqn manning had been run down somewhat, but they were often still serving. It seemed like everyone and their dog who'd worked there previously was dragged back to Waddo to staff the RJ.

Unfortunately the similar maritime cadre would have to be retrieved back from their big money jobs in the oil and gas industries, which would be more difficult I feel.

On aircraft choice, would the fact that RAF aircrew have been embedded in the P-8 Test/Eval unit for several years speed up it's introduction into UK service (compared with other types)?
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 20:54
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Define Quick?
3 years from order to Ops with 3 or 4 crews is quite possible. Platform is off the shelf, nucleus of trained crews exist, Ops support can be done by existing A2 and A3 planning set up (with slight uplift in manning). It won't be the same as we used to do it but it would work. The rest of the outfit would follow, precedent has been set by platforms introduced in the last decade.
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Old 23rd Sep 2015, 14:00
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3 years from order to Ops with 3 or 4 crews is quite possible. Platform is off the shelf, nucleus of trained crews exist, Ops support can be done by existing A2 and A3 planning set up (with slight uplift in manning). It won't be the same as we used to do it but it would work. The rest of the outfit would follow, precedent has been set by platforms introduced in the last decade.
May I ask if the above assumes a particular platform or would the above be possible with platforms from either Airbus, Kawasaki, Alenia, or Lockheed, as well as from Boeing?
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Old 23rd Sep 2015, 14:23
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Procurement

Alas the fact we have serving personnel on P8 will have no bearing on procurement. If we do go the route of a new ac, it will use the standard procurement process of Requirement et al. No where is there facility for asking serving members their opinion. To do so would be to solutionise, one must use the procurement process properly. After all, the answer may not be an aircraft!!

Solutionise, the process of writing a requirement around a known product. i.e. I want an aircraft to defend the skies of Britain, therefore I need a fighter. But no, lets do the job properly and examine the requirement closely and look at all the options objectively. Oh look, the answer is a missile defence system, does the same thing only cheaper.

Well that's how it all seemed to me, but that was 14 years ago, it may have changed.

Of two exchange officers I knew, one Brit WSO one USN pilot. The Brit came back and was posted to a maritime sqn, he complained that no one de-briefed him on his return as to what he had learned. The posting was just another posting. The USN chap was a very good pilot, in much the same way his next posting in the US was as a deck officer on a frigate. His experience this side of the pond was of no interest, logic would have thought a training post on VP30, but no. He, of course, had a transferable skill and I, believe, now flies for an airline in the States.

So all of you who think logically about the subject, forget it. It will be done, if at all, by process.

Mind you, Mr Boeing will offer a complete package in a way that Abbey Wood will find hard to resist.
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Old 23rd Sep 2015, 14:46
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Originally Posted by AQAfive
Solutionise, the process of writing a requirement around a known product.
Like the one that got us the C-17 at the second time of asking
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Old 23rd Sep 2015, 16:10
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Lt Col Fred Clifton....

.....have a look at how HIS exchange experience on the Mig 29 was used by his service and all his follow on Exchange officers were employed by the USAF. It isn't only in the maritime world that these missed opportunities occur.
Two exchange officers of my acquaintance were asked what two items they found of most use during their tours in the sun. Link and mode 4 IFF was their answer.

Nah we don't need any of that was the reaction.

Oh until we needed to interact with US forces in the gulf all of a sudden.

The Ancient Mariner

PS where did we find that wank word "solutionise!"

Last edited by Rossian; 23rd Sep 2015 at 16:11. Reason: A sudden attack of retching
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