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UK Strategic Defence Review 2020 - get your bids in now ladies & gents

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UK Strategic Defence Review 2020 - get your bids in now ladies & gents

Old 28th Aug 2020, 18:50
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy
And whatever the leaks say before the report is complete never mind made public, the Shadow Defence Secretary will accuse the Government of incompetence, waste, incoherence and so on.

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Maybe, but taking the politics out of it, would he be wrong?
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Old 29th Aug 2020, 18:05
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Given the record of the current Govt so far it would be a great leap of faith to assume competence on just about anything .......................

Anyway we know they're open to U-turns if the heat is turned up
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 09:37
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Originally Posted by Doctor Cruces
Maybe, but taking the politics out of it, would he be wrong?
I imagine he'll be spot on, but by what right he'll point the finger I don't know. I appreciate John Healey is little known about, I don't imagine he's at all extreme, however, the difference between Labour and Tory cuts, is one imposes cuts for no other justification than to increase spending elsewhere, the other does so because we're in a financial hole or the shift in the international climate (options for change) means maintaining the military posture of the day can't be justified. The other point, if I may be a tad subjective, one of the two parties has always had a venomously anti-military left-wing, usually that crowd don't get too close to senior cabinet posts or No. 10, save unrelated cabinet posts here and there, but they've come close before, Foot, Corbyn?

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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 16:42
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According to today's Times the Chancellor of the Exchequer wants to divert the Aid budget to the cyber warfare budget....

we live in interesting times.....
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 08:54
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Presumably that’s a big thumbs up to Tempest then.....

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/w...tary-76wb7kwx8

We must sacrifice tanks and sell more arms to fund hi‑tech warfare, warns defence secretary

The armed forces will have to give up assets such as tanks if they are to have drones and other modern equipment, the defence secretary has said, setting out plans to transform the military.

In a warning shot at service chiefs, Ben Wallace today signals a shift away from static ground forces towards aerospace equipment such as drones.

In an article for The Sunday Times website, Wallace also says the government needs to build products that can be sold to other countries to generate cash to help pay for Britain’s troops.

He writes: “We desperately need to reform and modernise our armed forces if we are to be able to meet emerging threats. For too long we have had a sentimental attachment to a static, armoured-centric force structure anchored in Europe, while our competition has nimbly spread out across the globe.”

Wallace, who is this week visiting Oman and Qatar, also reveals that he will publish a “defence industrial strategy” alongside the security, defence and foreign policy review this autumn.

“Our aerospace industry isn’t just a domestic concern — its exports amount to £34bn. Their exports enable us to afford the best for the men and women of the services. No country that wants to keep ahead of our enemies can afford to not export.”.......
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 10:19
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'Export' is an easy thing for politicians to aspire to in throwaway sound bites but the practicality is another matter. Building something which can be sold cheaply enough to be competitive is likely to entail compromising on our own requirements due to our disadvantages of scale (low) and labour cost (high), while developing separate export variants adds cost and (if disclosed) introduces an awkward 'second-class customer' consideration which needs a certain amount of un-British arrogance to brazen out. If we tried to sell properly cutting-edge kit, you can bet your life that the US would manage to 'acquire' a supplier of vital washers and screws and slap on ITAR restrictions to protect its own interests. That's assuming we could even get close to ITAR-freedom without losing the US interoperability which is so central to our own operating concepts, especially in the air. And that's before we get to domestic and international partner opposition to exports to certain countries... countries upon which our industries have come to rely. I am bemused by the Swedish angle to Tempest: what chance of them associating themselves with exports to KSA? Finally our 'baggage' - of Empire and now in Europe, too - doesn't help; we're not always easy for foreign governments to associate themselves with.

Better IMHO to accept that maintaining a domestic industry comes at eye-watering cost. Build what you need, otherwise what is the point, beyond being an inefficient alternative to cash handouts to workers? Treat any exports as a bonus. Basing industrial strategy on them will lead to disappointment. That £34bn would probably look a lot less attractive if spread over the appropriate time period and offset against associated costs, tangible and otherwise.

Last edited by Easy Street; 6th Sep 2020 at 11:00.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 11:06
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Some really good points raised ref "buying domestic". Question from someone who's never been involved in procurement:
We all know that something bought in the UK doesn't actually cost the (exorbitantly high) sticker price as the treasury sees a lot of the money back in tax etc in the long run. Has anyone ever heard of the MOD being given a budgetary "reward" for buying British ? Take Merlin 3 Vs Chinook - to buy equivalent lift from Westlands costs (for the sake of argument) twice what Boeing are asking - does the treasury flex the MOD budget to allow for that?
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 12:06
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Originally Posted by pba_target
Some really good points raised ref "buying domestic". Question from someone who's never been involved in procurement:
We all know that something bought in the UK doesn't actually cost the (exorbitantly high) sticker price as the treasury sees a lot of the money back in tax etc in the long run. Has anyone ever heard of the MOD being given a budgetary "reward" for buying British ? Take Merlin 3 Vs Chinook - to buy equivalent lift from Westlands costs (for the sake of argument) twice what Boeing are asking - does the treasury flex the MOD budget to allow for that?
It's not expressed like that but, for example, any aircraft under a certain tonnage is (or was) free of VAT.

There have been various 'Defence Industrial Strategies' over the years, aimed at protecting certain sectors or technologies; sonics used to be one, with procurers directed to Buy British (GEC-Marconi), regardless of cost or quality - which was high and relatively poor when compared to, for example, CD(C). My experence is that the bigger problem was a current defence minister insisting on contracts being awarded to manifestly unsuitable companies in their constituencies. Then, 6 months or a year in, the company would ask to be released fom the contract, delaying matters for years. On one notable helicopter programme, the work causing the problem was then carried out by a young RN officer at Boscombe, and two other companies, but the original company paid in full. No, I don't know of any Committee who has dared mention that one!

Very often the perceived high sticker price is caused by low volume production, and bespoke designs. Neither is the fault of the procurers. Before any contract is let the person with the technical and financial signature (in practice the technical project manager or director) must actually make a written declaration that the price is 'fair and reasonable', and sign it. It's nothing to do with financiers. To aid the decision he/she has Tech Costs people, and Commercial ensure contracts can be post-costed, and excess profit recovered through alterations in the QMAC.

As an aside, Westland (as was) were well-known for declaring any excess profit ASAP, often in time for the project manager to ask the Service if they wanted to add any 'nice to haves'. Everyone benefitted, as negotiating an amendment to the QMAC was a nause, diverting scarce resources for months. You'd have to ask someone who had the misfortune to work with Boeing if they did the same. I should add that this excess profit was usually as a result of efficiency, not a high quote. Getting the Trials Installation right first time saves on one production installation, which can be a significant percentage in a small fleet.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 15:30
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Well they've managed (amazingly ) to sell warship designs to the Aussies - who are no doubt going to modify them out of all recognition and then complain about the cost.....
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 22:07
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I guess what he is trying to the point the government are trying to make is

we invented the tank, the jet etc why don’t we invent the next thing rather than keep with the old. What’s the next tank

if they are serious about this I think it could be quite exciting but as per usual it is probably all a load of bollocks
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 20:36
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Originally Posted by Easy Street
'Export' is an easy thing for politicians to aspire to in throwaway sound bites but the practicality is another matter. Building something which can be sold cheaply enough to be competitive is likely to entail compromising on our own requirements due to our disadvantages of scale (low) and labour cost (high), while developing separate export variants adds cost and (if disclosed) introduces an awkward 'second-class customer' consideration which needs a certain amount of un-British arrogance to brazen out. If we tried to sell properly cutting-edge kit, you can bet your life that the US would manage to 'acquire' a supplier of vital washers and screws and slap on ITAR restrictions to protect its own interests. That's assuming we could even get close to ITAR-freedom without losing the US interoperability which is so central to our own operating concepts, especially in the air. And that's before we get to domestic and international partner opposition to exports to certain countries... countries upon which our industries have come to rely. I am bemused by the Swedish angle to Tempest: what chance of them associating themselves with exports to KSA? Finally our 'baggage' - of Empire and now in Europe, too - doesn't help; we're not always easy for foreign governments to associate themselves with.

Better IMHO to accept that maintaining a domestic industry comes at eye-watering cost. Build what you need, otherwise what is the point, beyond being an inefficient alternative to cash handouts to workers? Treat any exports as a bonus. Basing industrial strategy on them will lead to disappointment. That £34bn would probably look a lot less attractive if spread over the appropriate time period and offset against associated costs, tangible and otherwise.
Dassault essentially designed Mirages for export - the French Air Force got a much cheaper but less capable machines.

Compare to say the Lightning

You could argue we managed to get the the worst of both worlds with our multi national projects.
Tornado was a long way from what the RAF wanted

And Typhoon is a model of how to not run an aircraft program
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Old 12th Sep 2020, 08:35
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54126146

Defence secretary denies plan to mothball British army tanks

By Jonathan Beale Defence correspondent, BBC News

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has quashed speculation that the Army will mothball all its tanks.Last month, the Times reported military chiefs were considering the idea, under plans to modernise the armed forces. But Mr Wallace told the BBC "the idea that tanks won't be there for the Army, upgraded and modernised, is wrong". However, he admitted a government review would mean "letting go" of some military equipment to invest in cyber, space and other new technologies.

Speaking on a visit to the Middle East, Mr Wallace said there would be a shift to forward-deploy British military forces around the world to protect UK interests and its allies. Mr Wallace said a joint squadron of RAF and Qatar Typhoon jets would be based in Qatar for football's 2022 World Cup. He announced a £23.8m investment in a UK logistics hub in the Port of Duqm to support more British army training in Oman, and which could be used to base the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers. He also confirmed that RAF jets would continue to target the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, with 23 strikes against extremist targets since March 2020.

'Overmatched by adversaries'

Last month, the Times reported on plans to mothball the Army's ageing 227 Challenger tanks as part of the government's integrated defence and security review - described as the most important defence review since the end of the Cold War. Mr Wallace confirmed the review would mean "letting go of some equipment that isn't serving any purpose or overmatched by adversaries". He said that would mean investing in new equipment for the RAF, Royal Navy and the Army. But he signalled that any cuts would not be as dramatic as some have reported.

That still leaves open the possibility of a reduction in the number of tanks. But Mr Wallace said that getting rid of all of them was not going to happen. "We're going to make sure we have an armed forces fit for the 21st Century and meets our obligations to Nato and elsewhere… "We are not scrapping all the British army's tanks and we will make sure the ones we maintain are up to date, lethal and defendable." Mr Wallace said Britain also needed to meet the threat of long-range artillery and drones, which have recently been used by Russia against Ukraine to destroy its heavy armour.

The new port facilities at Duqm will triple the size of the existing UK base in Oman. They will also be used for British army training in Oman.There's been speculation that the Army could switch its training for tanks from Canada to the Gulf state. While in Qatar, Mr Wallace also visited the US-led coalition headquarters co-ordinating the air campaign against the group calling itself the Islamic State. Despite IS losing most of its territory in Iraq and Syria, Mr Wallace said the threat was "not going to go away".

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Old 12th Sep 2020, 09:28
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Originally Posted by typerated
You could argue we managed to get the the worst of both worlds with our multi national projects.
Tornado was a long way from what the RAF wanted
In what way? they got the all-weather Strike aircraft which is what was primarily what they were looking for? Unless you mean performance wise it could have been better!?

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Old 12th Sep 2020, 09:55
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy
In what way? they got the all-weather Strike aircraft which is what was primarily what they were looking for? Unless you mean performance wise it could have been better!?

FB
The RAF wanted a bigger aircraft - something to fill the hole from TSR-2, F-111, AFVG . The Germans wanted something with the performance/size of a Jaguar.

Tornado was best compromise between the two.

and then someone thought what a great platform to make an Air Defence fighter.



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Old 12th Sep 2020, 12:54
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Originally Posted by typerated
The RAF wanted a bigger aircraft - something to fill the hole from TSR-2, F-111, AFVG . The Germans wanted something with the performance/size of a Jaguar.

Tornado was best compromise between the two.

and then someone thought what a great platform to make an Air Defence fighter.
Indeed, but what were the Italians looking for? I'll wager they got the best out of the whole exercise, I understand the Germans merely wanted to glean the technology from the involvement of BAC and then were hoping to go away ad do their own thing? Also, of course, the Canadians and Dutch were involved early on as well.

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Old 12th Sep 2020, 18:18
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If we take Wallace at his word it looks liek another salami slicing exercise - we'll keep "some tanks" but we'll also " shift to forward-deploy British military forces around the world to protect UK interest"

""letting go of some equipment that isn't serving any purpose or overmatched by adversaries" is an interesting metric......... what kit (and he's talking kit not roles here) is he thinking of? We've just bought the F35 and the Poseidons, the Typhoons are pretty necessary, the recce and sigint is needed more than ever, as are the tankers . Hard to be "forward deployed" without transports & helicopters. He must mean the BoB Flight......

As for the Navy - the old Argos could go but again getting rid of the Assault craft would seem to go against "forward deployment"

The Army - other than tanks there's the GRMLS and lots of transport and Rapier is due to be replaced but otherwise...

I just can't see enough savings here to do all the nice new shiny tasks people like Cummings seem to want.
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Old 12th Sep 2020, 21:20
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Apart from the financial implications, does there not need to be a framework for a strategic review to have any utility?
Given the current Brexit mess, plus the parlous state of NATO, is such a framework even plausible?
In the financial community, investing under uncertainty is a well studied topic. The recommendations are usually to sell the losses and let the winners run. Sadly in things military that is just 100% wrong, weaknesses must be fixed.
Translating that into the national context, border control would seem to be an obvious weak point, while the front line military are excessively capable.
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Old 13th Sep 2020, 10:15
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Buying a lot more patrol boats from UK builders would be a cheap winner - crewing them??? Maybe just expand the Border Force. Maybe another Poseidon or two and more drones... again not too expensive.

I think you're asking too much of the UK Govt to come up with a plan - sorry "a World Beating Plan" - as all plans are these days - and then sticking to it...................
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Old 13th Sep 2020, 15:48
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Originally Posted by typerated
The RAF wanted a bigger aircraft - something to fill the hole from TSR-2, F-111, AFVG . The Germans wanted something with the performance/size of a Jaguar.

Tornado was best compromise between the two.

and then someone thought what a great platform to make an Air Defence fighter.
Typerated,

Just to further back up what Finningley Boy said earlier, the RAF got exactly what they wanted in MRCA/Tornado. The range issue concerned the TSR-2 and F-111K, and was predicated round the Far East requirement, not Europe. Even after the pull out from Singapore and Malaysia was announced, Healey was talking about basing long range strike aircraft (TSR-2 then F-111K) on islands in the Indian ocean or even in Australia.
The MRCA as was was conceived in a post Far East era and that long range requirement was no longer there. The idea of the RAF striking Moscow went with the end of the V-Bomber deterrent, and the tactical requirement was to strike Eastern Europe and the Kola peninsular, which is what Tornado was actually designed for.
It was THE best solution to this need, and gave the RAF the fast, low level, two seat radar equipped well defended strike aircraft it had sought to replace Canberra from the late 50's on. Buccaneer was an interim replacement, never really up to the job, and as for Jaguar...
The MRCA was in fact the REAL replacement for the Jaguar's predecessor, the Phantom FGR2, the aircraft I flew in Germany. This was the fast, low level two seat well equipped and versatile radar equipped strike aircraft that the RAF needed in Europe. Just so ironic that it had actually been a planned purchase to replace Lightning in the AD role. The fact that the RN no longer had a requirement for their FG1 fleet beyond the 28 they eventually took, meant that some one in the ivory towers realised just what they could do in Germany with the FGR2, especially as NATO had adopted flexible response and a conventional period of warfare, as opposed to the all out nuclear retaliation that the TSR-2 was designed for.

I realise that the MRCA range was woeful compared to that of the Vulcan, but in fact there never actually WAS a Vulcan replacement in the RAF, as the bulk of the RAF Tornado fleet was committed to Germany, thus restoring a level of credibility to the strike attack role lost when the Jaguar replaced the FGR2 in Germany. When the RAFG Jaguar squadrons re-equipped with Tornado the Vulcan squadrons just withered on the vine and were disbanded one after the other. The TRUE Vulcan replacement of course was Polaris, THIS was the UK threat to Moscow and other points east. The remaining Vulcans post 1969 being committed to theatre nuclear strike, the conventional capability also being left to wither on the vine, hence the hasty rushing around to resurrect it in 1982!

In fact, talking of the post 1969 theatre nuclear Vulcans, I always wondered at some of my allocated strike targets in RAFG. SAM sites and similar in Eastern Germany, they always to me looked like we were blasting a path for someone else...

And as for your snipe at the F3, it was NOT a fighter designed to mix it with Migs and Sukhois, it was a long range autonomous interceptor designed to loiter 400 miles off the UK coast at low level at night or in a snow storm and take out Regimental sized Backfire raids heading for the UK. NO other aircraft of the day, with the possible exception of the AIM-54 equipped F-14, came anywhere near meeting that requirement. It wasn't the fault of the F3 that the world changed in 1989.
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Old 13th Sep 2020, 17:45
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I think we should take the detailed Tornado history discussion somewhere else TBH - it has little to do with the future..............

I'm sure we can make new mistakes at least as bad as any old ones...................
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