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Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 13 Jan 2019, 17:56

Lord Jim wrote:What classification would people give the T-31e beyond "Patrol Frigate", if they are, as is most likely, built to the RFI so few if any Sea Ceptor, no Sonar, no AShMs, Simplified electronics
I guess the question is rhetorical, and so is the answer: none other ;)

There is a very closely related question, namely once we have got the issues such as the integration of off-board vehicles into future minor warships, appropriate levels of survivability, and pragmatic levels of modularity straight in our heads, where do we draw the line between 'escorts' and 'minor warships'?

The link to a paper from two authors from BMT explored these themes, illustrating the aspirations for a future “Patrol Frigate” . That was in 2013 and within a year from today we should be clear how these aspirations and economic realities can be made to match: then it could well be that the true escorts are allocated to what SW1 was listing above, and within other surface combatants the trail blazer will be the Patrol Frigates
- in that kind of future minor warships would be other than combatants
- the USN LCS saga has highlighted this dilemma: is it enough to do patrolling and presence, and perhaps a 'recce' - perhaps jointly with forces on land - when the shooting starts
- or is it a requirement to stay afloat and continue to be part of that shooting... only the latter to be counted into combatants?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 13 Jan 2019, 18:25

Jake1992 wrote:I agree with everything you've just said but the problem is the politians, they set budget then expect the RN and other services to do a lot more than the budget allows.

Just look at what they expect on top of CSG and CASD they want the RN to up its ASW in the North Sea and N.A + increase presence in the Arctic + increase presence in the far east ( working with Aus and Japan a lot more ) whilst still maintaining the gulf,the med, the Caribbean and S.A.


The problem isn’t the politians it is both them and the senior officers. The budget and what is possible is both agreed at an sdsr. The problem is the service chiefs add equipment they know they cannot afford based on hopeful accounting, the politians don’t over question it as it make them look good in the papers and can help industry in there constitutance. The service chiefs will be gone by the time cost actually hits so there not that fussed. The services and MoD base a lot of this on making efficency saving they have no idea how to achieve and so the budget quickly starts to run away compounding the issue. If we did a defence review with considering efficiencies in the budget and on worse case financial planning it would likely look much more like sdsr2010 than sdsr2015.

Yeah CASD is North Atlantic asw and artic as that’s were Russian ssbns will be hiding and we’re ares are likely going. I take a leaf out of the USN deploying destroy squadron 60 to rota. We assign 4 type 23 plus supply/tanker to asw tasks in the North Atlantic, this along with mpa and ssn assets covers the CASD and asw in the high north.

You then have your carrier group it will deploy every year where it goes is up to the navy and government but if it deploys east then if it’s made up of 2 ff 2 dd a tanker, stores and a carrier then it can undertake defence engagement if the Far East or gulf. Like a US task group they spread out and under take different engagements coming together for exercises or passage thru areas of higher threat. Should this group be tasked to an operation then it won’t be doing defence engagement with allies at the same time.

A similar group is in refit back in the uk to stand up the following year.

Mcmv and hydrographic can continue to carry out there vitals tasks both at home abroad and in the south Atlantic.

The Caribbean and south Atlantic have assets over and above that discussed and need nothing more adding systems to the bays using other RFAs to provide support or the opv vessels for engagement and support , neither of these regions require high end military capability.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 13 Jan 2019, 18:29

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Littoral manoeuvre is the third one (CEPP fully operational in 2026; the definition for what that is I haven't seen yet), but it is often omitted or counted as a half as without carrier support it is/ will be very limited


Yeah they’ve tried to attach that on I purely see that as one of two things adding an Albion and bay to the carrier group and an subtle tweak as reality of what the small merlin mk2 and f35 fleet will be able to sustain in that your second carrier maybe available the following year it’s just there isn’t a airgroup to put on it. I know chinooks apaches and wildcats and green merlins.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 13 Jan 2019, 18:35

SW1 wrote: take a leaf out of the USN deploying destroy squadron 60 to rota. We assign 4 type 23 plus supply/tanker to asw tasks in the North Atlantic, this along with mpa and ssn assets covers the CASD and asw in the high north


That idea is already (but only marginally) in use in the triangle-basing of MPAs: Norway, Iceland and Scotland
... but you did remind me that very little was written about 2018 Trident Juncture naval exercises part (apart from amph. support, from the sea). I would guess a large scale ASW scenario would have been part of it?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 13 Jan 2019, 19:22

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
SW1 wrote: take a leaf out of the USN deploying destroy squadron 60 to rota. We assign 4 type 23 plus supply/tanker to asw tasks in the North Atlantic, this along with mpa and ssn assets covers the CASD and asw in the high north


That idea is already (but only marginally) in use in the triangle-basing of MPAs: Norway, Iceland and Scotland
... but you did remind me that very little was written about 2018 Trident Juncture naval exercises part (apart from amph. support, from the sea). I would guess a large scale ASW scenario would have been part of it?


Yes to an extent your back to your 3 Cold War bases and operating areas with mpa aircraft. It may already be happening and they aren’t told us it’s just a suggestion that if we say the North Atlantic is a priority we could prioritise assets like that. It means we can’t do other things like base a frigate in the Far East.

There was another nato exercise for asw can’t remember its name but I remember it was notable because no RN ships were involved. Don’t mind if the don’t talk about it you don’t want to tell the Russians everything but it’s a balancing act for pr purposes The bit that I think needs reversing is instead of sending 3 ships to the Far East and then saying we have no assets to combat the Russians in the North Atlantic and ask for more we send those ships to the North Atlantic and ask for more cash to send ships to the Far East.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 13 Jan 2019, 22:59

Repulse wrote:I used to see value in this argument also, but I think the world has changed and will do so more over the next few years, in that behind every non peer nation we are in conflict with will be a peer (Russia or China) who will be playing a modern version of the “great game”. This means we should expect the proliferation of “peer technology” in almost all future conflicts.

The days of simple patrol Ships enforcing western rule is over - the U.K. needs real warships and “patrolling” will either be with a RN CSG, SSN or in partnership with allies.
I don’t think needs for presence will disappear.

But, if uk think they need to prepare peer to peer war against Russia or China, then all warefare will be with allies.

In other words, there will be little requirement for UK singleton ops.

But, I do not think so. UK must also think of fighting minor war or conflict with lesser opponents. I think this discussion is similar to 1980 defense review and Falklands war.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Lord Jim » 14 Jan 2019, 02:01

There is a key issue that seems to appear in quite a few threads on here when discussing the future and that is the roles/tasks the military can do as compared to what they are asked to do. Regarding the Royal Navy there is a conflict between its core tasks which are CASD and the Carrier Group and the wish to have a global presence. Into the mix we must add the need to be able to operate effectively in a littoral environment which cover the ARG and the need to protect and support it whilst it carries out it tasks.

These issues must be dealt with in the next SDSR along with related or similar issues for the other two services. We need to take a serious step back and look at things as a whole. Political interference together with the Military's laudable can do attitude have hindered this to a great extent over the past few decades. The Government still carries on about the need to act on the global stage, still reading the notes written by the Labour Government under Tony Blair. The 1998 SDR actually addressed this pretty well but since then it has all been down hill. The World has changed greatly for the worse over this time period and the days of elective interventions should have ended, but it is still too tempting to Politicians to wave the flag and show we still have a role globally.

In the mean time the need to rediscover our skills and doctrines from the Cold War have resurfaced, this time not just in historically familiar areas like the Atlantic but also in the Far East. This has sown confusion amongst out Political leader, most of whom believed these threat we in the past and they now controlled events. They do not what to face up to how things have changed in any way except for the odd sound bite that is repeated from the back of the same fag packet time after time.

NATO is not far form being broken and this adds further confusions to things. The military command structures have at nearly all level been made subservient to Politicians from the various member states greatly reducing the alliance's effectiveness. Decision at almost every level now require political approval from one committee or another. Like our Government many nations do not want to full accept how the world has actually regressed.

Historically we have provided substantial naval and air assets in the Atlantic and have played a leading role second only to the USN. We provided ASW groups based arounds our Invincible class CVLs as well as contributing to NATO joint task forces. We has Nimrod fleet which was a major component of NATO's MPA fleets and out SSNs we key assets up north. Finally we had our ARG to allow the Royal Marines together with certain Army formations to reinforce NATO's northern flank.

The situation has now totally changed. The Royal Navy will now provide NATO with a Carrier Group that will probably be the foundation of NATO's naval presence in the Atlantic and especially further North. This contribution is all the more important as the US has switched its focus to the Far East and wished to still deploy strong assets in the Gulf and Indian Oceans. This has halved the number of USN Carrier Groups that are likely to be available in the Atlantic. NATO needs to re-establish more capable joint standing forces in this area as well, but can no longer rely on the RN providing naval units to join these. Our greatly reduce SSN fleet means that NATO is going to have to rely on the USN assets, supported by the conventional boats of other nations. We are finally regaining out MPS capability but on a greatly reduced scale. Again where once the UK could have managed certain NATO roles by contributing substantial assets to tasks such as patrolling the GIUK gap, this is no longer the case. We will still be able to make a contribution but like the SSN fleet their primary role will be support the RN's Carrier Group and any littoral operation by the ARG.

Will all of the above, the political aspiration to act on a global stage becomes very hollow. Any assets deployed outside the areas mentioned above reduces the ability of those remaining to carry out their roles effectively. This is where the next SDSR much clarify things. In a nutshell nearly all our responses to events occurring in the Far East for example must be prefixed by "Only if" with regards to other threats. If the UK Government decides to send forces, especially naval assets out there it must be willing to bear the responsibility. Any operations in that region must be conducted by a substantial force, not a singleton. Other nations will look to join our formation and look to the RN for tactical leadership. But we cannot be in two places at once and the absence of our naval assets will greatly diminish NATO ability to counter any threat from our more traditional foe.

But to add to all this the RN lacks or has insufficient capability in many areas. Anti-surface warfare is becoming more and more an issue. NATO and the RN more than most have a very low density in offensive weapons for this kind of conflict. The RN's Carrier Group for example will possibly only have thirty two medium to small warheads on it available AShMs. The vessels being deployed by Russia and China can match that number with only one platform in some cases. The Self defence capability of our platforms is insufficient whilst those of our potential adversaries is becoming more so, which makes the situation worse. We would take losses and we have no capacity to absorb these.

The T-26 has the capability to address some of these issues, but the required decisions seem to be a low priority for the MoD and Government. The area all efforts seem to be focused on is ASW, itself an important task, but this is now to the detriment of other important capabilities.

I strongly believe the UK needs to reduces the roles its Government would like the MoD and the RN in particular to undertake. With our current resources, all should be directed at our traditional commitments to NATO. We cannot do this alone and NATO itself need to rediscover its naval strategy. This is happening slowly, mainly driven by policy changes in the US. Until out resources or capacity increases this must remain our focus for naval operations. The establishment of bases in the Gulf and Far East is fine, but this should not be accompanied by the deployments of warships, diluting our capacity to support NATO. It is illogical to expect the RN to conduct global operation with forces far smaller than they were in the 70s, 80s and 90s when we were only really committed to NATO operations and those in other regions were not on the radar with the exception of the Armilla Patrol in the Gulf.

Well that has got that out of my system, phew!

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Scimitar54 » 14 Jan 2019, 03:49

A Good catalogue of what is currently wrong with our UK Defence! However, cutting commitments will not solve the problems faced by NATO, which has also recognised the need to be able to conduct "Out of Area" Operations. It will create other problems instead. We cannot expect the US to make the major contributions to the defence of Europe and counter threats from other countries across the world. US power is not limitless either, they are facing the same pressures as us, but in different scale. We must increase defence spending to preserve our way of life and maintain freedom of navigation, or inevitably lose influence in World affairs and become poorer as a Nation. :mrgreen:

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 14 Jan 2019, 07:08

Lord Jim wrote: Decision at almost every level now require political approval from one committee or another. Like our Government many nations do not want to full accept how the world has actually regressed.
Quite true, but let's also note that the SACEUR has been given the authority to set the wheels for a 55 000 strong force moving... while ;) the committees are being convened
Lord Jim wrote: Finally we had our ARG to allow the Royal Marines together with certain Army formations to reinforce NATO's northern flank.
In the days of ACE we were roughly at the same scale and while nothing has been heard of a full Canadian bde being earmarked anymore (they were present at Trident Juncture, though), the German medical Bn has turned into a full Mech Bde
- the other side has not stood still in capability, sure, but they do not have the numbers any more to do a three-pronged manoeuvre anymore - the third prong, thru the North of Finland and then Sweden is not only demanding due to the terrain, but send one bde and it will be sure to be cut off
- so we come to the point I think you were making: we must make sure that the prong from the sea is also pre-empted/ cut off by having sufficient naval forces committed to the N. Atlantic; not just us, but Nato overall. As per the exercise concluding note from navy.mil "More than 70 ships from across the alliance to the largest NATO exercise since 2002.
- U.S. Forces participating in the exercise included the II Marine Expeditionary Forces, the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, and the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.
- “Trident Juncture served as a powerful deterrent against any country looking to contest the sovereignty of another,” said Adm. James G. Foggo III"

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 14 Jan 2019, 12:58

Lord Jim wrote:There is a key issue that seems to appear in quite a few threads on here when discussing the future and that is the roles/tasks the military can do as compared to what they are asked to do. ...
Good summary, thanks. Here is comments to some issues.
In the mean time the need to rediscover our skills and doctrines from the Cold War have resurfaced, this time not just in historically familiar areas like the Atlantic but also in the Far East. This has sown confusion amongst out Political leader, most of whom believed these threat we in the past and they now controlled events. They do not what to face up to how things have changed in any way except for the odd sound bite that is repeated from the back of the same fag packet time after time.
Having a memory of the cold war myself (albeit as a child), current situation is far from the same, I think. In 1970-80, the two hegemonies had two independent economy worlds, much easier to destroy the other. Now, it is much more "united". Even Russia and USA has big economical relation. But, I also agree it is now different from the situation in 1990-2015. It is new, not the same to cold war nor a decade ago. So, new approach is needed.

We see comments such as "high-tech missiles and SSKs is increasing", but it is only around east Asia. At the same time many of the navies which had SSM missile boats now do not have it. Many of the "modern air forces" which existed in 1980s has disappeared. Now the high-tech weapon is so expensive, that not many nation can possess. Yes, high-tech weapons will be there, but will smaller number. Therefore I think there are many tasks for Patrol Frigates, a good rationale for T31e (even though I personally do NOT like it).

A fleet of 7 SSN, 6 T45 and 8 T26, with 2 CV and logistic, added with 5 Patrol Frigates and 5 OPV, is the current model of RN for near future. I can say "I like this, and do not like that", but overall, it is so-so well designed within current budgetary limitation.
NATO is not far form being broken and this adds further confusions to things. ..
Without NATO, UK cannot not fight against Russia, not to say China. There is zero possibility UK can win against China in singleton if it comes to peer-to-peer war. Zero. If Russia and China are the primary threat, and NATO has problem, then fixing NATO is the first thing to do.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby RetroSicotte » 14 Jan 2019, 13:18

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Without NATO, UK cannot not fight against Russia, not to say China. There is zero possibility UK can win against China in singleton if it comes to peer-to-peer war. Zero. If Russia and China are the primary threat, and NATO has problem, then fixing NATO is the first thing to do.

Depends where on the planet it's being fought, really. In Russia or China's backyards, then certainly the RN could not hope to. Further afield in a clash of interest requiring logistical trains to reach and operate away from home, RN would thrash them even in its weaker state right now.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 14 Jan 2019, 13:22

donald_of_tokyo wrote:UK must also think of fighting minor war or conflict with lesser opponents.


Hi, the point I’m making isn’t that the U.K. will not need to fight solo, in fact that is increasingly likely given the current shifting sands in our traditional alliances, it is more that the “lesser opponent” is likely to be supplied by a peer nation who is trying to get global power by proxy. Look at what the French sold Argentina and they were supposed to be friends.
"For get this quite clear, every time we have to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we shall choose." - Winston Churchill

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 14 Jan 2019, 13:34

RetroSicotte wrote:Further afield in a clash of interest requiring logistical trains to reach and operate away from home, RN would thrash them even in its weaker state right now.

This is what we have traditionally told our self for comfort.

In reality its a total lie, China has the same ability to operate in the Indian ocean as we do.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby RetroSicotte » 14 Jan 2019, 13:49

shark bait wrote:This is what we have traditionally told our self for comfort.

In reality its a total lie, China has the same ability to operate in the Indian ocean as we do.

I disagree. The capability to get a ship to any ocean in the world, and the ability to fight a peer foe in any ocean in the world is not the same thing.

When has China last shown the ability to project a sustained taskforce to the other side of the world? Where are their prepared docks? How often are they trained to operate in an environment where home-command is not in realtime communication due to conditions and loss of coverage? How often are ships and subs sent on long patrol to be used to operating for so long at any one time in unfamiliar waters? When have they last braved storms with a large taskforce the like they don't see in their home area where they can soon go home again?

The Indian Ocean is fairly close to them, as things go. What about in the Atlantic? The Med? The Arctic? Even the far south Pacific? Their carrier for example has done nothing but move in green water.

Russia for example, took the coordinated efforts of their entire navy to send Kuznetsov to Syria, and it arrived horrendously late, understocked, accompanied by very few ships, and had such little experience that its actual effect was so pathetic that they eventually just moved the planes onto land instead after repeated crashes. And that's just to Syria, a friendly port not far from the Black Sea, their own territory of waters.

And China hasn't even vaguely tried that yet.

Operating far off from home is a hideously hard thing to do, and only the ease with which the US, UK, and France do it regularly makes it equally easy to forget that.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 14 Jan 2019, 14:17

RetroSicotte wrote:Where are their prepared docks?

Djibouti

Djibouti is the first of many, the Chinese openly claim their expansion is economic only but we know that is not true. Right now china have more ships in the Indian Ocean than we do, have openly said they use SSN's in the region, and is building a Royal Navy every year to accelerate the expansion.

Only by ignoring the inconvenient bits can you suggest the "RN would thrash them"
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 14 Jan 2019, 14:19

RetroSicotte wrote:..Operating far off from home is a hideously hard thing to do, and only the ease with which the US, UK, and France do it regularly makes it equally easy to forget that.
And that is the reason RN need to deploy globally. Just imagine when UK is to "fight" against China in Indian ocean. Also assume that it has been 10 years from UK disappeared from the Gulf, and somehow USA is not committing there. If China warns gulf nations to "do not help UK", will they keep supporting UK? Surely NO. They will support China.

Global deployment is thus important.

On the other hand, I think deploying a T31e or a Wave/Tide/Bay will be good enough. Backed up by "once in a few years" of UK-CVTF deployment (even only a month), a single vessel will keep the relation to the local nations. Military exercises, HADR operations, port visits, not only actually doing war, all of them will make "friends" with the nations.

An OPV is not good in these tasks, because it is very political/diplomatic. For example, when French Floreal-class visits Japan or HMS Montrose, a T23 frigate visits Japan, I think there is no big difference. The media says "a warship", and 99% of the folks cannot distinguish them. Then, why not T31?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby RetroSicotte » 14 Jan 2019, 14:23

shark bait wrote:
RetroSicotte wrote:Where are their prepared docks?

Djibouti

Djibouti is the first of many, the Chinese openly claim their expansion is economic only but we know that is not true. Right now china have more ships in the Indian Ocean than we do, have openly said they use SSN's in the region, and is building a Royal Navy every year to accelerate the expansion.

Only by ignoring the inconvenient bits can you suggest the "RN would thrash them"

Exactly, they have a single (new) base and...that's it. And the answers to the rest of my questions?

Building lots of ships is irrelevant if you can't actually get them to, have experience in operating them in, and support them in, the theatre itself. China has no reach into anything but their near oceans anything like that the three blue water navies of the world possess.

The future is another thing, but that's not whats being discussed.

But for some reason everyone always takes the stance of "RN going to attack China in their near oceans" for 'scenarios'. No-one ever talks of how much China could legitimately project outside their close sphere. Answer was provided by the Russians who tried with similar vessels and similar (actually more) experience. Very little.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 14 Jan 2019, 14:37

Just like the British, who also have a single (new) base, and the Brits haven't sent out a task group in over a decade.

Building lots of ships is highly relevant and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. The Brits are a 20 ship navy, the Chinese have 200+ , in a war of attrition I know who I'd bet on.

Us Brits need to be a little more realistic, our strength lies in NATO which really means our strength lies with America. By our self there is no way we could 'thrash' the Chinese.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby RetroSicotte » 14 Jan 2019, 14:47

shark bait wrote:Just like the British, who also have a single (new) base, and the Brits haven't sent out a task group in over a decade.

Building lots of ships is highly relevant and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. The Brits are a 20 ship navy, the Chinese have 200+ , in a war of attrition I know who I'd bet on.

Us Brits need to be a little more realistic, our strength lies in NATO which really means our strength lies with America.

The British have a lot more than one base worldwide...

The point is that outside their small territory, China would heavily, heavily struggle to project force. As I said, the answers to my other questions are? The number of ships in their home docks is irrelevant. It's about how many you can support in the area of the theatre, how many of them you can locally coordinate without homefield infrastructure networks, how many captains are trained to handle their ships that far out for long periods, how well they can keep a cohesive force in unfamiliar waters. That's not a small hurdle, and China has effectively zero experience in it. They have their green water area, and one brand new base in their near-ocean connection.

Conversely, the UK has been sending taskforces out to several theatres in the living, experience memory of its sailors either still serving or trained by those who did, everything from the Falklands, to the Gulf War, to the strikes in '98, to Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya, to Syria, and to their ships receiving experience in far flung operation every single year to many corners of the world as regular, standard excursions.

The original point is that while China has a greater weight in its nearby areas, it has very poor capability to project wherever it wants in the same way that the USN, RN, or MN have. Those three can bring a more coordinated, more experienced, and much more organised weight to a given area. If that area lies outside what China has trained for, then they are going to suffer hard. It's a whole different game trying to fight a war on the other side of the world.

As exemplified. Russia tried. And Russia failed, against a foe with no hostile navy no less. And they had more experience in it than China does.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 14 Jan 2019, 15:10

As much as we would like them to be, they are not a coastal navy any more. For the last decade they have been developing blue water skills, and since they're not breaking new ground they're learning very quickly.

We have yet to see a combat example of this, but we do have a botched evacuation in Libya followed by a more proficient evacuation from Yemen. They gained experience and moved on. I'm sure they have done the same in their war games in Russia and Iran, or on the tours of Africa.

Yes Russia failed, and their surface fleet is an embarrassment in decline. The Chinese have the opposite, and over the last decade the Chinese surface fleet has been more active then the Russians.

Its dangerous to underestimate the Chineese as a 'brown water' Navy.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby RetroSicotte » 14 Jan 2019, 15:19

shark bait wrote:Its dangerous to underestimate the Chineese as a 'brown water' Navy.

I never called them a brown water navy. I referred by green water.

I also said that yes, the future may be different. They have aims to it. But I'm talking about the now. As of now, they lack the capability to match the "real" blue water navies in the ability to project to so many places. Put the Chinese requirement to win anywhere except their green water area and adjoining parts of the Indian Ocean, and they drop off the capability level so very hard. The RN and MN maintain that capability to much higher levels everywhere that isn't those 'near China' zones.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 14 Jan 2019, 15:57

donald_of_tokyo wrote:
Global deployment is thus important.

On the other hand, I think deploying a T31e or a Wave/Tide/Bay will be good enough.....Military exercises, HADR operations, port visits, not only actually doing war, all of them will make "friends" with the nations.
Exactly, so why the T31?
My preferred option is to upgrade the T31 programme into the £350m+ region or better still scrap it altogether and introduce a second tier of escort frigates based on the T26. This would then allow a class of highly versatile but technically basic global patrol vessels to replace the £250m T31's role.

Pure fantasy I know but I think it's worth looking seriously at the merit of big capable commercially derived floating forward bases that don't cost the earth to operate and support.

For example:
If RN was to forward base vessels in Singapore would a T31 really be the right vessel? For major HADR deployments it would be little use. For military exercises it would probably be one of the least capable vessels taking part. For port visits it would be just about as impressive as an OPV (especially Leander). What's the attraction apart from a political desire to pretend frigate numbers aren't being cut.

Instead of a T31, what if HMG decided to operate RFA vessels from Singapore? Maybe 1 or both Waves and a £125m Global Patrol Vessel? The Waves could earn their keep supporting Allied Task groups operating in the area and the GPV could act as a cost effective multipurpose platform that could be surged at short notice if events dictate.

The Wave(s) and GPV combination could make an enormous contribution to HADR operations in the region. This would undoubtedly make the UK lots of friends. A modest number of 10,000t to 20,000t UK vessels turning up in anyone's harbour is going to be impressive, especially if a CSG joins them occasionally. Freedom of Navigation operations could be conducted by RFA vessels just as effectively as by RN vessels.

Maybe if HMG really want to increase the UK's global presence, the RFA might be a very good way of doing it.
An OPV is not good in these tasks, because it is very political/diplomatic. For example, when French Floreal-class visits Japan or HMS Montrose, a T23 frigate visits Japan, I think there is no big difference. The media says "a warship", and 99% of the folks cannot distinguish them. Then, why not T31?
In the same way, why not a 10,000t GPV? What's more impressive, a 117m stretched OPV with a single Wildcat or a 10,000t GPV with multiple helicopters, LCVP's/LCU's/LCAC's or CB90's? Even if it's just for an Exercise or as a PR stunt for the local media before all the kit is packed up and shipped back to the UK. It would show what kind of a surge capability the UK could provide in the region.

The strength in depth that these GPV's could add to any Amphibious Task Force would be an added bonus.

Effectively are the 2 proposed HADR vessels just GPV's with a different nomenclature?

Four £125m 10,000t GPV's could adequately perform virtually everything that is needed for the Caribbean, Falklands APT(S), East/West Africa HADR and Singapore or Brunei. This would leave an extra £750m for an extra T26 with effectively no loss of hull numbers.

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Poiuytrewq
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 14 Jan 2019, 16:31

shark bait wrote:Building lots of ships is highly relevant and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. The Brits are a 20 ship navy, the Chinese have 200+ , in a war of attrition I know who I'd bet on.
I agree, it is both relevant and impressive if not slightly disconcerting. But we must not forget how capable RN still is and will continue to be. History shows RN should never be underestimated even if heavily outnumbered.

How long would it take for 4 or 5 Astutes to even up the numbers a bit....

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby RetroSicotte » 14 Jan 2019, 16:36

Poiuytrewq wrote:
shark bait wrote:Building lots of ships is highly relevant and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. The Brits are a 20 ship navy, the Chinese have 200+ , in a war of attrition I know who I'd bet on.
I agree, it is both relevant and impressive if not slightly disconcerting. But we must not forget how capable RN still is and will continue to be. History shows RN should never be underestimated even if heavily outnumbered.

How long would it take for 4 or 5 Astutes to even up the numbers a bit....

In fairness the likelihood of 4-5 Astutes being in any one area is unlikely, but the core issue of Astutes being used to working far from home having a field day with so much room to lurk and strike from on an uncoordinated enemy not used to these distances is a very concerning one to the Chinese for certain.

Yes, they have their own SSNs. But to build a sub takes a few years. To build the understanding of sub tactics in different oceans and put them into nasty practice takes decades of experience and lessons.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 14 Jan 2019, 16:39

RetroSicotte wrote:In fairness the likelihood of 4-5 Astutes being in any one area is unlikely, but the core issue of Astutes being used to working far from home having a field day with so much room to lurk and strike from on an uncoordinated enemy not used to these distances is a very concerning one to the Chinese for certain.
True, but even 2 or 3 would have a massive impact.

Enough for a hostile force to turn around and head for home?


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