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How to destroy the Royal Air Force (?).

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How to destroy the Royal Air Force (?).

Old 2nd Aug 2020, 23:42
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
Sir, who are Joe public? I thought they wanted to see every last penny spent on the NHS? And the rest spent on Furloughs for everyone. What do you think should happen for the best? Do you think that every F-35 is a waste and has no purpose? How does that explain the current defence planning across NATO and other allies across the planet? Should we be contributing to the defence of Baltic Airspace with Typhoons? And what about the expansion in conventional arms pursued by countries like Russia and China? Don't tell me that it is all for show and not for blow and that the only threat at all that we need concern ourselves with is that one day a Russian cyber hacker will get lucky and shut down the Work & Pensions Department's department dealing with attendance allowance payments. If a serious cyber attack on our software reliant systems is comprehensively successful, then what happens? Does it mean that Russia, for example, will have one the war? If so then what?

FB
I am definitely not arguing for an end to military hardware expenditure . Far from it . My argument is that there should be a balanced approach and value for money in what the military buys. It is my personal opinion that the F 35 is a waste of money for the conventional air war role it may ( or may not ) have to fight . Typhoon , Gripen , Rafael are great aircraft and much cheaper . But politics (for whatever reason ) has dictated that countries fork out exorbitant sums to the USA for the F 35 . So be it .

What I do know , from personal experience , is that , oftentimes , some of the fancy ( and expensive ) kit on board did not perform quite as well as advertised in front line use . There were some times when I felt a WW2 Mosquito could do as good a job putting iron bombs precisely on target ( which of course they did , lobbing stuff through windows to free prisoners in Amiens and Copenhagen).

The term "Joe Public" simply refers to those who are not well informed in the precise nature of military matters . It is not an insult . But information is out there for one to be better informed . " The Limits of Air Power "-(Mark Clodfelter) does a good job of explaining why the greatest military force the world had ever known was still unable to win a conventional war against a basically peasant Vietnamese army . Worth a read .
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 23:43
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Racedo

Just who wishes to invade the UK ? and for what purpose ?
Good question.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 23:59
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Don't start me off on that one, have believed from the start that energy, water, transport, communications and our digital infrastructure are just as important as our military and we should have none in foreign ownership.

I am also a strong believer in built in Britain, Phantom was about the start of the rot, buying in means UK Plc loses the ability to design and build in the UK, that then sets you on the slippery slope of being dependant on other country's for your military assets, as you lose your ability to come up with the goods, fine while friends but something that's never guaranteed.
Never ceases to amaze me why this point is not getting more attention . Why weren't more questions asked earlier on about the alternatives to Huawei , for example . Instead , the drive for cheaper ( and therefore more profitable ) alternatives has led to the demise of British industry , be it in aviation , shipping , car manufacturing , trains , you name it . It is all outsourced / foreign owned and UK is reduced to assembling products designed and manufactured abroad . Some point to the excellence of UK service industries (financial); true , but surely a desire for homegrown technological innovation is equally important . The brilliance of the Victorian inventors seems a distant memory .

A nuclear power station being built in the UK by China ? One wonders what questions were asked in the House when this decision was taken . Maybe there are different perspectives on what constitutes "Global Britain" , but it is a rather sad state of affairs when media personalities generate more interest than technological achievements amongst many of the younger generation upon whom lies the nation's future .

So back to the original topic , it is easy to see why the RAF ( and other military entities )are shadows of their former selves . Something is missing . Let's hope it's not too late to address some of these issues.
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 03:20
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Originally Posted by Phantom Driver View Post
I am definitely not arguing for an end to military hardware expenditure . Far from it . My argument is that there should be a balanced approach and value for money in what the military buys. It is my personal opinion that the F 35 is a waste of money for the conventional air war role it may ( or may not ) have to fight . Typhoon , Gripen , Rafael are great aircraft and much cheaper . But politics (for whatever reason ) has dictated that countries fork out exorbitant sums to the USA for the F 35 . So be it .

What I do know , from personal experience , is that , oftentimes , some of the fancy ( and expensive ) kit on board did not perform quite as well as advertised in front line use . There were some times when I felt a WW2 Mosquito could do as good a job putting iron bombs precisely on target ( which of course they did , lobbing stuff through windows to free prisoners in Amiens and Copenhagen).

The term "Joe Public" simply refers to those who are not well informed in the precise nature of military matters . It is not an insult . But information is out there for one to be better informed . " The Limits of Air Power "-(Mark Clodfelter) does a good job of explaining why the greatest military force the world had ever known was still unable to win a conventional war against a basically peasant Vietnamese army . Worth a read .
PD

We've been at cross purposes, I now comprehensively agree, all facets an the whole spectrum has to be available, at least as far as the Politicians and Advisors (Cummings) I suppose, can be convinced. The F-35 I'm afraid we're stuck with, and the runt of the litter in terms of ordnance, range etc. Its really disappointing to think that the whole exercise started out as a simple cheap alternative to the F-22. To think we we're only looking at a Harrier/Sea Harrier replacement. It has ended up as about the most expensive project of its kind.
In fact, I read somewhere the most expensive project to mass produce anything. I certainly used to hope our leaders would eventually see sense when the F-35 appeared to be heading toward the buffers, hence the early thread title on PPRuNe, and look at Rafale, Super Hornet or something else ready and available. Then there is our tier one participation etc. But I'd rather we'd bought a lot more of the former than a tiny handful of F-35Bs.

FB
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 14:31
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Back in the 1970s Time magazine published an interesting article which has stuck with me ever since. It stated that for each new generation of combat aircraft (with respect to the USA as I recall) one aircraft had cost roughly the same as a whole squadron of those it was designed to replace. The article postulated that eventually the entire defence budget would be required to purchase one new aircraft although I cannot recall the timescale it applied!
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 15:05
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I remember about the time Tornado came on line, people were saying we were getting less and less aircraft taking on more and more roles, that eventually we would end up doing everything with firk all.
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 15:29
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Originally Posted by Phantom Driver View Post
Racedo

Good question.
Apart from the occasional decrepit Cold War relic from Russia, there's precious little to trouble the homeland's skies. I do struggle to see what more we need, certainly nothing like the numbers we had even a decade or so ago. Personally I think the balance is more-or-less right nowadays.

Someone mentioned the two carriers. On a side-note, I saw both in dock in Pompey a couple of weeks back, v impressive and all that, but it struck me how incredibly vulnerable they looked in such a setting. I understand there are police vessels on patrol when they are tied up, but it really wouldn't take that much for a determined attacker to disable one or both in a 'spectacular'. It reminds me of the AQ plot to send IEDs from the ME to Europe using international couriers, subsequently mocking our security services for missing this fairly obvious means of attack.

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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 15:49
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Originally Posted by Ken Scott View Post
Back in the 1970s Time magazine published an interesting article which has stuck with me ever since. It stated that for each new generation of combat aircraft (with respect to the USA as I recall) one aircraft had cost roughly the same as a whole squadron of those it was designed to replace. The article postulated that eventually the entire defence budget would be required to purchase one new aircraft although I cannot recall the timescale it applied!

That's paraphrasing Augustine's Laws = - Norman R Augustine CEO of Martin Marietta published them in 1983
In the book, Augustine states 52 laws, one for each week of the year. - I quote:

"I will start with the cost of performance. Lord Kelvin once observed, “Large increases in cost with questionable increases in performance can be tolerated only for race horses and fancy women.” It seems that we have forgotten this advice when purchasing military hardware, new cars, and the latest electronic toys. In the days of advancing technology, it always seems to be that by waiting a little longer we can design, produce, or buy a product that is a little bit better. So the way to get nothing is to insist on waiting for everything. The high cost of performance is illustrated by Law Number XV.

Law Number XV. The last 10% of performance generates one third of the cost and two-thirds of the problems.

Managers are well aware of a similar law. Twenty percent of your employees will cause 80% of your problems.The cost of new systems follows a very predictable pattern. The per-unit cost of tactical aircraft is plotted as a function of time in Figure 1.
The cost has increased by a factor of four every decade. There is no ceiling in sight. Figures 21 and 22 in the book show a similar trend for commercial aircraft and bomber aircraft. This leads to Law Number XVI.

Law Number XVI. In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one aircraft. The aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy, 3.5 days each per week except for leap year, when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day"
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 13:02
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Originally Posted by dead_pan View Post
Apart from the occasional decrepit Cold War relic from Russia, there's precious little to trouble the homeland's skies. I do struggle to see what more we need, certainly nothing like the numbers we had even a decade or so ago. Personally I think the balance is more-or-less right nowadays.

Someone mentioned the two carriers. On a side-note, I saw both in dock in Pompey a couple of weeks back, v impressive and all that, but it struck me how incredibly vulnerable they looked in such a setting. I understand there are police vessels on patrol when they are tied up, but it really wouldn't take that much for a determined attacker to disable one or both in a 'spectacular'. It reminds me of the AQ plot to send IEDs from the ME to Europe using international couriers, subsequently mocking our security services for missing this fairly obvious means of attack.
Proponents of the ditch-the-RAF theory like to champion the aircraft carrier with its ability to sail anywhere in the world to defend Britain's interests yadda-yadda. Now while I do admit that the aerial threat to the UK is quite low, and agree that what we have is about right, neither would I agree that the defence of our nation is best served by sticking 24 jets on a ship and sending it out to the back end of nowhere to do some willy-waving while the combined air groups of three or four USN supercarriers undertake another urban renewal project all by themselves with us looking like the little kid running after the bigger kids shouting "wait for me!". Particularly when the rest of the surface fleet has been sold off or is short of personnel to enable such a deployment to go ahead in the first place.
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Old 6th Aug 2020, 19:32
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
" if we had a minor conventional skirmish with pro-Russia or Russian forces on the fringe of Europe that lead to a small but precise retaliation of conventional cruise missiles against 2 or 3 RAF bases "

Does anyone REALLY believe that this is likely? Its a fantasy........

And TBH what effect would that have? They're not invading the UK, we can retaliate by taking back their.................... their wives,.................and kids in London.
Asturias56, you're supposed to be discouraging them!
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 08:54
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Likelihood...

Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
" if we had a minor conventional skirmish with pro-Russia or Russian forces on the fringe of Europe that lead to a small but precise retaliation of conventional cruise missiles against 2 or 3 RAF bases "

Does anyone REALLY believe that this is likely? Its a fantasy........

And TBH what effect would that have? They're not invading the UK, we can retaliate by taking back their bank accounts, their houses, football clubs and all their wives, mistresses and kids in London - which would just about pay for the shiny new jets we'd order from BAe.
.

A little over 30 years ago, few thought the invasion of Kuwait very likely... The armed forces don’t exist just for what’s likely, nor are the Nation’s defences organised this way. Strategic shocks are also usually difficult to predict, otherwise they’re not shocks!

I would question the likelihood most people would have attributed to the Litvinenko and The Skripal attacks. Our judgement of the strategic value of radiological and chemical weapon terrorism by Russian elements in the U.K. against their tactical value was undoubtedly different from Russia’s. No rational government would pursue these courses of action, at least by our standards.... But then we wouldn’t have invaded Georgia, blown up our own apartment blocks to justify a war in Chechnya, annexed Crimea our sustained a conflict in Eastern Ukraine, just to cite a few examples of Russian behaviour. The Russians don’t think the way we do, and we’d be daft to believe their strategic calculus is anything like ours. When regime survival trumps everything else, all sorts of wise stuff becomes more likely.

Mirror-imaging our values and standards on the decision-making of others just makes strategic shock more likely.

Last edited by Rheinstorff; 7th Aug 2020 at 11:09.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 11:10
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The most credible retaliation from Russia is one they think they can get away with.

If they arrive in a situation where they think they can get away with a cruise missile strike, they might. But more likely is "an accident at an RAF base" resulting in loss of assets - a bunch of burning petrol cans in the back of the AT fleet at Brize would be "implausibly deniable" enough for the Russian MO.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:09
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Originally Posted by Rheinstorff View Post
.
But then we wouldn’t have invaded Libya Georgia, annexed Iraq Crimea our sustained a conflict in Syria Eastern Ukraine, just to cite a few examples of American/European Russian behaviour.
You don't have to rely on 'crazy Russia' to see that on internationjal level military power is used regularly to forward own interests (however justified they might even be from our perspective). China is massively starting to do the same. Sadly it is still part of human behaviour. If you have the power you (ab)use it. If you are too weak someone will understand this as an invitation for bullying.
And in that regard it is not only about really using Military Power but often the mere existance of an imbalance is used to do things you wouldn't do to a militarily massively superiour counterpart.
Deterrence is still THE most important capability of the Armed Forces. That is what makes me so angry about the downsizing and focussing of (all) the European Armies on asymmetric conflicts against peasant states of the last three decades. Everyone around (Russia, China, India, also the US) changed course >10 years ago. Just Europe kept sleeping.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 20:16
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Didn’t the Russians announce today that they would launch a nuclear missile down the bearing of any ballistic missile on a track towards Russian territory.

Russian Attack Response

One more of these and our immigration problems would be over Norwegian Rocket Incident

The problem isn’t invasion, it’s paranoia and a convenient button.
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 13:00
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Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
Didn’t the Russians announce today that they would launch a nuclear missile down the bearing of any ballistic missile on a track towards Russian territory.
Russian Attack Response
Hmm, I don't see what's really changed here. Incoming ballistic missiles e.g. from US to Russia (and for sure before to Soviet Union) would surely have raised the question of response probably not waiting until a nuclear mushroom arose from the Kremlin. The same applies in opposite direction. I'm quite sure the US doesn't have to wait for the Mushroom over White House before considering firing back should there be ballistic missiles incoming from a state posessing nuclear weapons.
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 14:07
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""A little over 30 years ago, few thought the invasion of Kuwait very likely..."

well Iraq had threatened for long enough ' and of course they were right next door ' Russia is someway from the UK.......
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 17:53
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
""A little over 30 years ago, few thought the invasion of Kuwait very likely..."

well Iraq had threatened for long enough ' and of course they were right next door ' Russia is someway from the UK.......

And Iraq has claimed Kuwait as being territory belonging to it ever since the countries gained independence. As referenced earlier they had rattled swords in 1961, so there was a historical precedence.

Can't see any reason whatsoever why Russia would launch a cruise missile attack on a NATO nuclear weapon state that also has cruise missiles.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 09:20
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
""A little over 30 years ago, few thought the invasion of Kuwait very likely..."

well Iraq had threatened for long enough ' and of course they were right next door ' Russia is someway from the UK.......
I’m not suggesting invasion by Russia and the notion that there is a close parallel is not implicit in what I wrote; to interpret it that way is wrong. I was merely highlighting that things which seem unlikely can happen, particularly when we choose or neglect to see situations through the potential adversary’s eyes.

The fact that Iraq had ‘threatened for long enough’ points to a habituation to the threat and a consequent failure to recognise it was real and imminent in 1990. Sometimes, what seems like sabre rattling is actually more threatening. Sometimes, risks actually materialise, and sometimes the worst case scenario - often conveniently categorised as completely implausible - becomes the reality. Two instances of Russian CBRN terrorism in the UK - and the pre-event plausibility judgements associated with them - speak for themselves.

Post-WW2 history is replete with failures to see surprises that seem a lot more inevitable with hindsight (with due regard to the fact that hindsight is 20/20, etc).

As to Russia‘s proximity to the UK, surely what that means in effect terms depends on the context? Yes, it’s always physically going to be some hundreds of Km away. That would take a lot of time for a ship to traverse, but very much less for an aircraft (or cruise missile). Does Russia feel more proximate when its ships, submarines and aircraft are close to our territory? I’d suggest it does, and we should be clear-eyed about why they are there, and so frequently, and what it tells us about the underlying motivations of the Russian regime. Its primary motivation, regime survival, which it wraps up into the domestic-audience-pleasing recovery of great power status and historic victimhood neurosis, makes for strategic calculus that does not easily align with western risk management thinking.

When we find ourselves asking questions like ‘why would a country like Russia act so obviously against its own economic interests?’ (the sort of thing that sits at the heart of western thinking), we assume that prosperity is more important than, say, national pride. Nope. There are plenty of examples where that assumption has proven wrong in other places in the past. What we see as a rational or irrational choice might appear different to someone else. Add to that the perennial risks of strategic miscalculation (Iraq did not believe an international coalition would form to eject it from Kuwait (and Saudi Arabia - let’s not forget that it seized Al Khafji too)) and things look less certain.

Additionally, when it comes to geographical proximity and claims on the territories of others, we shouldn’t lose sight of Russia being very close to some allies who probably feel Kuwait-esque, and who we are treaty-bound to assist were things to ‘go noisy’...

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Old 9th Aug 2020, 14:50
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I'm still having trouble in visualising any meaningful scenario where a cruise missile strike against the UK on its own would make any sort of sense to the Russians??

You could convince me they might take a pop at the bases in Cyprus for example but the UK itself?? - and they'd have to be damn sure they didn't hit Fylingdales..............
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 16:35
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
I'm still having trouble in visualising any meaningful scenario where a cruise missile strike against the UK on its own would make any sort of sense to the Russians??

You could convince me they might take a pop at the bases in Cyprus for example but the UK itself?? - and they'd have to be damn sure they didn't hit Fylingdales..............
I too have trouble visualising it, but the point really is whether the Russians have less trouble visualising it than you and I.
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