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Is Ben Wallace the 21st Century Sandys?

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Is Ben Wallace the 21st Century Sandys?

Old 28th Jul 2020, 15:10
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Is Ben Wallace the 21st Century Sandys?

Just been reading in the Telegraph that Ben Wallace reckons by 2040, the RAF will be 90% unmanned. He seems to base the bulk of this expectation on the Tempest project. I don't know if they're currently building a prototype, but even if they are, just inside 20 years for such a major proposition to be near full operational deployment, given the typical gestation period of such endeavours in recent times, seems a tad ambitious? Then again, there is always the likelihood that his and Cummings ears have been bent toward the Naval claim that Aircraft Carriers are all you need. Therefore, what we're about to see in the 2020 Foreign, Security and Defence review is a Charles Manson 'Helter Skelter' style bloodbath of current and pipeline RAF assets. ie, more F-35s, As or Bs.

FB
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Old 28th Jul 2020, 16:37
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
Just been reading in the Telegraph that Ben Wallace reckons by 2040, the RAF will be 90% unmanned. He seems to base the bulk of this expectation on the Tempest project. I don't know if they're currently building a prototype, but even if they are, just inside 20 years for such a major proposition to be near full operational deployment, given the typical gestation period of such endeavours in recent times, seems a tad ambitious? Then again, there is always the likelihood that his and Cummings ears have been bent toward the Naval claim that Aircraft Carriers are all you need. Therefore, what we're about to see in the 2020 Foreign, Security and Defence review is a Charles Manson 'Helter Skelter' style bloodbath of current and pipeline RAF assets. ie, more F-35s, As or Bs.

FB
1. It's unpersonned. Didn't you get the memo from CAS?
2. I suspect you'll find that the expectation is coming from within the RAF - just as in NCHQ unpersonned systems are the future for MCMV and eventually most other things. Both services are playing catch up with the Army and their Capita programme.
3. Even as far back as FOAS, unpersonned was always an assumed option.

None of which is to suggest that it's either feasible or desirable - or will come to pass.

It's briefing silly season - and it's not like the Telly has a real defence correspondent anymore.
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Old 28th Jul 2020, 16:45
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Also N A B, there's some ex-Navy person, not Sharkey I think, who has been saying airfields are useless in modern warfare, far better an Aircraft Carrier?

FB

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Old 28th Jul 2020, 17:19
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Since when could you sink an airfield?
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Old 28th Jul 2020, 18:08
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Originally Posted by ExAscoteer2 View Post
Since when could you sink an airfield?
Quite. But then again the Navy are still smarting that they think the RAF moved Australia to prove a point. Even though itís urban myth, it would be incredibly sloppy staff work not to pick up on such tectonic activity.

That said, when youíve got so few airfields, it only takes one runway to go black, one fuel supply to be contaminated, one freak accident to wipe out half the aircrew in the Mess and youíve got a problem. Times they are definitely a changing. And a resilient and flexible global posture needs more not less.
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Old 28th Jul 2020, 18:24
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Strikes me also as a Stanley Baldwin style conviction that the bomber will always get through.

FB, did he actually say 90% unmanned? The quote I have seen is:

"Today, well in excess of 90 per cent of RAF combat air vehicles are manned and the rest unmanned. I fully expect a major reversal of these proportions by 2040," he said, adding that the UK's combat air sector was "the pride of Britain"
A major reversal say 40/60 or even 30/70 manned/unmanned would not seem unlikely - especially if "Cyber" Cummings is driving the Integrated Review. I assume this was in the context of Wallace's appeal for new members to join Team Tempest on the virtual Farnborough?

I assume there is a lot of work going on around the world into how to degrade the data links and scramble the sensor input in preparation for the AI generation of aircraft. IMO these aircraft are only justified for peer to (near-)peer conflict with the expectation of a heavily contested battlespace full of defensive swarm technology and leading to a high probability of (pre-emptive) strikes on the C6ISR infrastructure. I assume Tempest and LANCA are seen as a force multiplication but how effective will the additive component be if the loyal wingmen's leader is taken out by a force divider? I see a parallel with taking more vulnerable out Tankers and ISTAR assets.

This also completely ignores the requirement under international law to hazard one's military personnel to ensure the safety of civilians. It has been ignored when the threat is terrorist in nature but when it gets to state level thing will be trickier. With RPAS (in the UK and I assume elsewhere) there are multiple human checks and aborting a strike is I understand more likely that with manned aircraft. With autonomous AI we will become reliant on the algorithms and that will make people very nervous.
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Old 28th Jul 2020, 20:17
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SLXOwft,

The report I read was more of a headliner, but attached Wallace's name to it. The claim was more the inverse intention, that is that no more than 10% of the RAF by 2040 would be peopled! As for the nautical sweeping aside of airfields, I wonder how things like Tankers and Transports, of the current form, would get on with a carrier? Or aircrew training indeed? Once again, I think the pro-carrier anti-airfield case is more of an anti-RAF attack again. The point this Herbert made is clearly sweeping. Further, what about the current in demand need for QRA? Should that be addressed by positioning the QE or POW permanently in the North Sea?

FB
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Old 28th Jul 2020, 22:30
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
SLXOwft,

Once again, I think the pro-carrier anti-airfield case is more of an anti-RAF attack again. The point this Herbert made is clearly sweeping. Further, what about the current in demand need for QRA? Should that be addressed by positioning the QE or POW permanently in the North Sea?

FB
What as, a target? Sink the carrier you have a major problem, you can't sink 20+ airfields.
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 06:25
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Originally Posted by air pig View Post
What as, a target? Sink the carrier you have a major problem, you can't sink 20+ airfields.
Indeed, its not my postulation air pig but this pro-naval fellow. I'll need to get the link.
Here's the link, the chap is a Boffin rather than a sailor but his claim that airfields no better than carriers is the headline, then he goes on to shoot down airfields, so to speak. He's accusing the RAF of not wanting anything to fly off a carrier, however, his real cause of upset is a Cummings comment about Carriers being leas than useless in a serious war so he's lashed out at airfields. its difficult to read the full article unless you pay the subscription.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/202...arriers-naval/

PS Still can't understand how Cummings, an advisor, has the prominence he has on the review. There's other stuff by Danielle Sheridan, the Telegraph Defence Correspondent, from various armchair critics and Boffins etc such as the need for the MOD to prioritise spending on childcare facilities etc and something about the current CNS banging on, as N A B said, about the use of the term 'manned'. Then there's another from Lord West, still introduced as a former First Sea Lord when you know who it is once you've read the headline, complaining about too much political correctness.

FB

Last edited by Finningley Boy; 29th Jul 2020 at 06:56.
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 08:58
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
SLXOwft,

The report I read was more of a headliner, but attached Wallace's name to it. The claim was more the inverse intention, that is that no more than 10% of the RAF by 2040 would be peopled! As for the nautical sweeping aside of airfields, I wonder how things like Tankers and Transports, of the current form, would get on with a carrier? Or aircrew training indeed? Once again, I think the pro-carrier anti-airfield case is more of an anti-RAF attack again. The point this Herbert made is clearly sweeping. Further, what about the current in demand need for QRA? Should that be addressed by positioning the QE or POW permanently in the North Sea?

FB
I doubt the contention is that one replaces UK airfields with carriers. Not having coughed for the Tellys paywall, I've not read the letter/article, but would suspect it is intended to offer a counter to the contention that carriers are somehow more vulnerable than airfields in theatre. They're two different things. In the event a carrier is seriously hit and damaged, then she's out of the game for a while (weeks or months), but it's very hard to hit a moving and defended target. An airfield won't sink, but it is relatively simple with the help of google earth to study an airfield in detail and identify those facilities that if hit will render it unusable, however much matting is available. Arguably, the same threats (alright not submarines!) that people worry about for carriers are even more dangerous for a fixed site with semi-real time BDA available.
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 10:02
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https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Disp...etition-readi/

Reading the article a second time round it does appear to be a reaction to Cummings' comment about carriers. I can see Wallace & Cummings (put like that they do sound like a stage comedy duo) doing immense damage, they will be driven first and foremost by cost reduction, which I doubt will be achieved, more likely the opposite. They will seek a binary shift in emphasis, which has more or less been admitted to with eager anticipation. There will likely be another ill advised heavy reduction in conventional assets, an inadequate development in cyber, AI and lost in Space and there will be an increase in outlay. The link above is from some months ago, the new USAF CAS is looking for a budget increase in real terms for a more realistic expansion in everything across the board. We will get a damaging compromise, because the wrong people will have the final say.

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Old 29th Jul 2020, 10:54
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Bit of a deadly duo, "Wallace and Gromit".
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 14:04
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The future is missile based you just wait and see... Some guy called Duncan Sandy told me this last night via my ouija board when I was trying to get the latest footy scores from beyond.


Probably means 90% unmanned due to cuts leaving the RAF at 10% its current strength in total.
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 15:47
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Did I dream this?

Don't the Chinese have swarms of surface to surface missiles, and ballistic type thingies that are specifically built to take out carriers and other surface
ships? Or have I been reading too many Tom Clancy books?

Another random thought: how does Tom Clancy write so many when he's been dead for a few years.......

Sorry, the pills are starting to wear off again.
Nurse!!
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 17:46
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Late last year, during an otherwise routine speech at RUSI, Mr Wallace slipped in a comment about achieving interoperability with allies. I'd wager few present knew that if you want interoperability even between our own Services, and often within a Service, you've got to sneak it in and try to avoid the 'I' word in requirements. He was in the Army until 1998, and there's a good chance he knew that. I always wondered if that policy changed, and my first thought was 'cost'. Perhaps he's thinking about where it will come from?
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 20:57
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He's just the fall guy - since when did the Minister at the MoD count for anything - probably back in 1978,,,,,,

all the decisions were taken at the Treasury since - and now at Barnard Castle

Imagine he resigned over cuts - what page do you think it would be on the Popular Press?
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 21:41
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Nutloose,

Precisely, if we see the peopled aeroplane fleet reduced to just 10% of all air assets it will be as a result of very heavy cuts. It would be difficult to quantify and find the balance but I don't imagine there'll be an expansion in the RPAS fleet to counter-balance the loss in the other. Further, is Mr Wallace alluding to such a thing as, well I suppose he is, an unpersoned Interceptor Fighter by 2040?!?

Asturia


Probably just before the sports section.

FB

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Old 30th Jul 2020, 15:26
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Is this why the Navy insist on calling their ground bases HMS and running airfields like ships? So when the great RAF airfield cull happens (again) they can avoid theirs being shut???
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 19:15
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Is this why the Navy insist on calling their ground bases HMS and running airfields like ships? So when the great RAF airfield cull happens (again) they can avoid theirs being shut???
Well ye 'ave ter get permizzion tu go ashore lad! Ha haar haar haar!

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Old 30th Jul 2020, 20:18
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Strategic lift, air tankers, ISTAR, support helicopters, fixed-wing trainers won't be crewless?
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