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Defence review 2021 (was - RAF Hercules to be withdrawn?)


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This came up as a MSN news items

 

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/technology/death-of-hercules-fleet-of-planes-favoured-by-sas-is-to-be-grounded/ar-BB1e3ysE?ocid=msedgntp

 

I will leave others to comment on the source etc but one thing that did catch my eye was the article quotes the top speed of the A400 as 889mph - the first supersonic transport aircraft in military service?

 

Edited by Paul821
title now reflects thread
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Another rumour......the first C130J to have a new wing box extending its life until 2035 has already been delivered back to the RAF with 13 remaining aircraft to receive one. There is also a rumour about scrapping the RN Wildcat helicopters, more inherent lunacy. Rumours like this are good for the press, but let's wait and see.

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What's more worrying is the comment about the future of the  R.A.F. fighters.  It looks like it's heading the same way as the RNZAF!

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 The fact that one of the refurbished  C-130s has apparently been returned to service should not be taken as a inferring that the fleet won't be scrapped. The MOD will still save on not having to refurbish the remainder.

The phrase "Integrated (or Strategic) review of defence spending"  has always been a euphemism for spending cutbacks so, nobody should be surprised. The bean counters always prevail.

In truth, it bothers me little. Maybe we need to be more concerned with the even larger cutbacks that are likely to be imposed on spending plans that are actually publicly beneficial and, socially useful?

The simple reality is that military spending is not popular with the voters and, is an easy target for politicians looking for cash.

Governments will get away with as big a cutback as they think necessary.

Faced with a question of cutting back military spending or, cutting spending on(for example) education, health and infrastructure, what do you think is going to more popular?

Sorry for the cynicism by the way. As far as the article is concerned, I think there may be an element of truth in it. This could be the MOD drip feeding us news to guage public reaction.?

Doubtless we will find out the truth soon enough. The Sentinels have now gone.Who is next?

John

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This article seems to be reffering to the C-130J's, the Hercules C5. According to the RAF website, these were earmarked for retirement in 2022 back in 2010. So has the Mail got the wrong end of the stick or do they actually mean the C4 aircraft.

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What's happening here is something quite normal in a Defence review. It's not the MOD leaking a proposal in order to gauge public reaction. One of the Services is proactively lobbying against a potential outcome that the lobbyists feel would be against its interests (Tobias Ellwood says he has "been asked by anxious military commanders to raise concerns on their behalf"). The withdrawal of the C-130J fleet will be one of the many alternative options that are always presented during a review, not a done deal. It would be very interesting to know exactly what the "official documents" are that the Mail claims to be quoting from and how it got hold of content from them, because any genuine official document that throws light on how SAS operations are conducted will be highly classified. The Mail knows that its readers are agog for SAS stories and loves to pretend to them that it regularly receives inside gen on the Regiment's activities, which frequently appear complete with alleged quotes from SAS soldiers. It doesn't, no more than any other media outlet does. 

 

Similarly, "a cut of 10,000 soldiers, fewer tanks and armoured vehicles and the withdrawal of [some] RAF fighter jets" are options under consideration, not decisions.

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You can actually only save on operating costs when retiring fully functional and paid for fighter jets. (Typhoons if course)

If you really want to save you need to operate those for longer and at least defer further F-35 purchases....

My 2cats anyway.

 

Is Britain actually trying to expand or reduce its global influence footprint after Brexit? Not sure how defence spending cuts could go well with the former. 

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15 minutes ago, exdraken said:

You can actually only save on operating costs when returning fully functional and paid for fighter jets. * Typhoons if course)

If you really want to save you need to operate those for longer and at least defer further F-35 purchases....

My 2cats anyway.

 

Is Britain actually trying to expand or reduce its global influence footprint after Brexit? Not sure how defence spending cuts could go well with the former. 

The UK has suffered badly with defence cuts for decades now, and still suffering from the effects of the Cameron fiasco in 2010. The world is a very unstable place, and rather than continually axing capabilities we need to retain and expand them, if we do not we fail our armed forces personnel and its small wonder we have recruiting problems.

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Well we'll see in a few weeks or so. There is likely to be cuts in every government department except for health to pay for the pandemic. Defence is no exception and the pivot towards the Far East region means the navy will probably get priority for funds. I expect the Trance 1 Typhoons will go soon and be replaced with 20 or so more F-35s to make up a third squadron for the carriers (which are too big and new  to be cancelled). The C-130s will go. The Navy may lose the batch 1 River class (despite them being some of the hardest worked ships in the fleet), some frigates will be retired early with a promise of jam tomorrow and the army will lose big. 10,000 soldiers, the Challenger refit will be pegged at 100 to 150 vehicles , the Warriors will go and the last 12 Apaches won't be ordered. To be honest it would be better that we realise we can't do it all and concentrate on a few things. And as a island that should be the Navy and Air Force. The army can be reduced in size. We're not going to war with any of our neighbours and we're not going to be invading China with our army. 

 

Really we should join with France and Germany in their new tank project (Leopard 3?) as a minor partner. Better to buy an off-the-peg design than persist in thinking we can design our own MBT which no one else will buy and which will cost a fortune. But it's all about jobs for the boys and what the Daily Mail will say.

 

I'd like to see more Poseidons as they could be very useful in a variety of roles but I doubt there will be the money for them. 

 

Stuart

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@Stuart Wilson

 

I can't find anything I disagree with there (regardless of whether I think the decisions may be right or wrong). 

 

I certainly agree that the Navy and Air Force should be prioritised for the exact reasons you mention. After all, Britain has historically never had a large standing army - instead, using the Navy to project power.

 

Unless the UK intends to have a land battle with China or Russia, the tanks aren't going to be doing an awful lot.

 

Two fully operation carrier groups would have a huge impact on Britain's ability to project power and have a global influence.

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47 minutes ago, wellsprop said:

@Stuart Wilson

 

 

Two fully operation carrier groups would have a huge impact on Britain's ability to project power and have a global influence.

Why do we need to "project power" and, have a "global influence" at all?

Britain ceased to be a "world power" long ago and, sadly no amount of looking though rose tinted spectacles by politicians and officials is going to change that.

"Two fully operational carrier groups" is nothing more than a hideously expensive waste of money to spend on what is little more than macho posturing.

If severe cuts in military spending make it more difficult for the UK to go to war then I will not complain.

It rarely achieves anything other than a waste of young lives and a temporary boost to politicians egos!

If we are to have armed forces then surely better by far to reduce to a level commensurate with ensuring our own domestic security within borders and territorial waters rather than embarking on futile  foreign adventures that will only serve to increase hostility and instability?

 

John

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@Beermonster1958 also a good argument!

 

However, Britain does have overseas territory to protect (or provide disaster relief to). A huge part of what the Royal Navy does day to day is protecting shipping lanes (of vital importance due to the UKs dependance on imports), providing humanitarian relief and anti piracy/drugs work - not going to war as such. 

 

The Royal Navy is what allows that to happen.

 

I however struggle to see an argument for getting rid of the C-130s as the whole point they were kept is they can do tactical work the A400M isn't ideal for (low level/special ops). 

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3 hours ago, Beermonster1958 said:

The simple reality is that military spending is not popular with the voters and, is an easy target for politicians looking for cash.

Very true. At the same time, I believe our "leaders" are still planning to waste £100 Billion on renewing our Trident missile system ( a weapon that you pray will never be used). 

 

The thing that really vexes me.... the politicians are always keen to cut the Forces spending to the bone, but are also not shy in sending our troops off to fight in completely unjustified, un-winable wars. 

 

Isn't politics a wonderful thing? 

 

Chris, 

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5 hours ago, exdraken said:

You can actually only save on operating costs when returning fully functional and paid for fighter jets. * Typhoons if course)

If you really want to save you need to operate those for longer and at least defer further F-35 purchases....

My 2cats anyway.

 

Is Britain actually trying to expand or reduce its global influence footprint after Brexit? Not sure how defence spending cuts could go well with the former. 

Agree but cutting back or defering F35 will effectively make the floating car parks redundant not that there are a lot of helos to go on board either. 30 mk2 and 25 mk4/4a merlins....take out the cabs in depth and training doesnt leave a lot ....maybe 15 mk4s and maybe 17-18 mk2s which of course now have two completely different roles to contend with.

My two cents make a comprehensive force or scrap the lot and make us a defence force....does me out of a job but its pathetic 

 

As for scraping c130s if you are loosing 10 k troops well meh 

 

Edited by junglierating
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3 hours ago, wellsprop said:

@Beermonster1958 also a good argument!

 

However, Britain does have overseas territory to protect (or provide disaster relief to). A huge part of what the Royal Navy does day to day is protecting shipping lanes (of vital importance due to the UKs dependance on imports), providing humanitarian relief and anti piracy/drugs work - not going to war as such. 

 

The Royal Navy is what allows that to happen.

 

I however struggle to see an argument for getting rid of the C-130s as the whole point they were kept is they can do tactical work the A400M isn't ideal for (low level/special ops). 

Exactly, the whole C130J issue has already been looked at in fine detail and a sensible decision made based on operational requirements. You have to ask why with a smaller army we are seeking to overhaul warrior whilst paying billions for Ajax and Boxer? Cutting the Navy or RAF further would be pure insanity! Setinnel is gone - with no replacement, and we are short of fighters. Buy additional P8s with pods enabling them.to double up in that role of required. By all means take out a couple of Type 23s early abd sell them.to Brazil with Sea Ceptor along with maintenance and supply contracts, but speed up Type 26 and Type 31, including purchase of weapons for Type 26 Mk41 vls......

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30 minutes ago, Slater said:

Is it possible for the A400M's to eventually take over the C-130 missions?

Don't know if they are cleared to paradrop from the side doors yet. Another aircraft designed by a committee.

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5 hours ago, Beermonster1958 said:

 

If severe cuts in military spending make it more difficult for the UK to go to war then I will not complain.

It rarely achieves anything other than a waste of young lives and a temporary boost to politicians egos!

If we are to have armed forces then surely better by far to reduce to a level commensurate with ensuring our own domestic security within borders and territorial waters rather than embarking on futile  foreign adventures that will only serve to increase hostility and instability?

 

John

 

Spot on. It makes me sick how much misery and anger is caused by such idiocy. Home defence by all means, and rightly so, but no more boots on the ground in hostile sandpits far away.

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1 hour ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

Don't know if they are cleared to paradrop from the side doors yet. Another aircraft designed by a committee.

I was actually on that committee, the problem was Airbus, who had no idea about how military transports operated, thought they knew better than the committee.  

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2 hours ago, Slater said:

Is it possible for the A400M's to eventually take over the C-130 missions?

 

That IS the question!

 

28 minutes ago, Aeronut said:

I was actually on that committee, the problem was Airbus, who had no idea about how military transports operated, thought they knew better than the committee.  

 

My engineering knowledge isn't in military transports (so please correct me if I'm wrong!), but I get the impression that the A400M is well suited for more of a strategic transport role, rather than the tactical - is this vaguely correct? It seems odd, it's almost too big to be a tactical transport yet too small to be a strategic transport, what role does it fill?

 

I haven't yet had the chance to chat to any A400M crews, all the Herc crews I've spoken to (a good handful) have said that it is absolutely the only tool for the particular job (tactical transport), the only downside is they are a bit old!

 

 

I do wonder if the Chinook can fulfil the special ops side of the C-130s role and (in the longer term) the A400M could carry out the paradropping. I just really struggle to imagine the A400M flying low level and dropping into a small rough strip, before turning around and heading off. But what do I know ;)

 

I do suppose that, long term, some of the C-130's tactical transport (insertion/extraction of small spec ops teams with small amounts of cargo), could be carried out by a tilt rotor aircraft - but a tilt rotor is never going to match a C-130 for payload! This also requires a carrier capable aircraft to get it within range. There is a lot of interest in this at the moment from governments/militaries.

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14 minutes ago, wellsprop said:

 

That IS the question!

 

 

My engineering knowledge isn't in military transports (so please correct me if I'm wrong!), but I get the impression that the A400M is well suited for more of a strategic transport role, rather than the tactical - is this vaguely correct? It seems odd, it's almost too big to be a tactical transport yet too small to be a strategic transport, what role does it fill?

 

I haven't yet had the chance to chat to any A400M crews, all the Herc crews I've spoken to (a good handful) have said that it is absolutely the only tool for the particular job (tactical transport), the only downside is they are a bit old!

 

 

I do wonder if the Chinook can fulfil the special ops side of the C-130s role and (in the longer term) the A400M could carry out the paradropping. I just really struggle to imagine the A400M flying low level and dropping into a small rough strip, before turning around and heading off. But what do I know ;)

 

I do suppose that, long term, some of the C-130's tactical transport (insertion/extraction of small spec ops teams with small amounts of cargo), could be carried out by a tilt rotor aircraft - but a tilt rotor is never going to match a C-130 for payload! This also requires a carrier capable aircraft to get it within range. There is a lot of interest in this at the moment from governments/militaries.

Chinook already does SF roles it certainty wouldnt be be able to do C130s role .

Incidentally C130J arent that old if you compare them to the K varient that said they are well used but....it is a herc.

 

As for A400 from what I hear its not as bad as people say and as I say the same about Merlin ....an aircraft /helo is better than none so ....careful what you wish for.

It is kind of noisy though

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1 hour ago, IanC said:

 

Spot on. It makes me sick how much misery and anger is caused by such idiocy. Home defence by all means, and rightly so, but no more boots on the ground in hostile sandpits far away.

Then don't expect to have much of a military left if the time ever does come. We will end up like the Germans where the largest military unit is cerimonial. And as was mentioned above, we do have over seas territories. But i guess the people of the Falklands, Gib etc don't really mater.

 

I certainly didn't join to spend 22 years sat on my backside looking like a toy soldier. I know guys, including my brother, who left in the early 2000's because Ireland and the Balkans were drawing down, and a couple of years later were kicking themselves when we started deploying to Afghan and Iraq.

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  • Paul821 changed the title to Defence review 2021 (was - RAF Hercules to be withdrawn?)

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