jedibeeftrix wrote: ↑15 Sep 2023, 08:53
I take note of the recent resurgance of carrier blaming - where if only we'd binned one in 2010 or built smaller ones in 2000 we would have now a perfectly formed fleet. Instead, we apparently have a situation where attempting to operate two carriers has eaten everyone else's lunch.
SDSR2010 ate RN’s lunch so the funding evaporated to install a £20bn CSG capability whist also maintaining a balanced fleet.
If it’s funded properly it’s great. If it’s not funded properly RN is living beyond its means.
Maritime ambition within foriegn policy is every bit an internal political calculation as it is external military calculation. Anyone who doesn't believe this, thinking their understanding of the UK's foriegn policy need is more important than what Gov't considers electorally saleable is frankly barking. Right now you have John Healey firm in his belief that disavowing the IP tilt and going all in on EUropean Nato is politically saleable. If you chose to withdraw a carrier next year, maintaining one carrier at any one time then you put a bloody great political hole under the waterline of the RN's public perception: You invite endless speculation on when the other one is going to be sold off, endless headlines about a 'part-time' royal navy, and erode public acceptance of a RN role beyond defence of home waters. Above all, you ruin the growing acceptance over the last decade that if the UK is to retain an 'activist' foriegn policy then the RN is THE primary tool to enable it. You make John's conviction firmer, you sell his argument to the public for him.
It may have escaped your notice but there is no need to make John Healey’s case firmer because there is currently about an 80% chance that he will be the next DS.
The UK’s foreign policy can change in 24hrs with a change of government. It’s naive to think otherwise.
If the tilt is to be undone and the focus is to be the Euro-Atlantic with maximum available funds pumped into UK manufacturing to rebuild the Army what is RN’s plan B?
If the F35 purchase is stopped at 48 to fund different priorities like more Typhoons for the RAF where does that leave Carrier Strike?
I am not suggesting any of this is a good outcome. I am simply stating that the general direction of UK foreign policy and Defence posture has been heading in the same direction for 13 years. It may radically alter its trajectory within 12 months.
Priorities will change. RN needs to be ready for that.
People might be tempted to brand this a sunk cost argument. I would reply that ignoring the public politics of such a choice will end up doing far more damage to the RN than the decision to maintain an additional 600 crew manning PoW. Think the scale of ambition of FCF is underwhelming right now? Or that we haven't got enough RFA assets to maintain force at distance? Roflmao!
The 600-700 crew on PWLS is a fraction of the cost. The US aside, there is a reason why no other country in the world is trying to operate two 65,000t CVFs concurrently with a plan to acquire 138x F35b.
The decision to pursue it has had massive implications on the rest of the fleet as the funding has been progressively squeezed.
- RN can barely find 6 operational escorts at any one time and this will not improve for a decade and will likely get worse.
- The UK does not currently have a reliably serviceable SSS so not even one credible war fighting CSG can be formed. This will not improve before the 2030’s.
- The UK will barely be able to find enough F35b to fill one CSG by the end of the decade never mind two.
So in the next 10 years what do you expect the second CVF to achieve apart from diluting one permanently available UK CSG and ensuring the tabloid press don’t write anything unpleasant in the newspapers?
Live with it. Embrace it. Extract every ounce of value that can be squeezed from it. Move on.
I hope Mr Healey agrees with you and prioritises the funding for UK carrier strike.