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Thread: US/UK SSBN news

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    Yes I am John K because unlike you I have actually done some research. There is no evidence that the five fleet carriers were lost due to Polaris. CVA-01 would of cost about £100million pounds according to the treasury whilst one Resolution class submarine cost £40million pounds. Each Polaris missile cost £350 thousand pounds at the time. Total cost of the deterrent was approximately £350 million at 1960's prices.

    A like for like replacement for five carriers is £500million plus and that is not counting the type 82 Escorts or the airgroups (forgot those didn't you).

    CVA01 was a victim of a cost squeeze certainly and the RAF didn't help albeit the rumours of the RAF moving Australia are not true and the MOD worked on the principle the Navy would get both CVA01 and TSR2/F-111. Cancellation of both types contry to popular belief was not directly connected. Cancelling one wouldn't of saved the other.

    Yes anything less then CASD is worthless as it is about the guarantee of retaliation not the system itself as Jonesy pointed out. No other system has the capability to do that.

    I think Invincible and her sisters were worth it I don't see why you bring that up?

    Replacing Trident is idealogical for the current government, their advisor's in the MOD will push CASD with Trident successor. The current Labour party have made no sign of changing that if they win the next election.

    Sorry I have said I respect your opinion but I think you are into point scoring hence your rather shrill reply. Best leave it be.

    There is no need to get snarky, you are not the only person who can read up on a subject.

    If you are looking for a memo saying "CVA01 will be cancelled to pay for Polaris" you won't find it. But you have to look at the politics of the time. Denis Healey was trying to keep the defence budget under £2 billion, and maintain the deterrent and East of Suez commitments. The cancellation of Skybolt meant the huge investment in V bombers was now effectively wasted, and money had to be found for Polaris, an unexpected new cost factor. The biggest cost on the horizon for the navy was CVA01, so it was sacrificed, the RAF having sold the idea that 50 new F111Ks could provide sufficient air power East of Suez.

    You mention the cost of five new carriers, in fact I doubt more than three would ever have been built, the figure of five was merely arrived at because the RN had five fleet carriers in the early 60s. In reality, HMS Centaur was already out of service by 1965, and Ark Royal was not going to be modernised. New carriers were going to replace Victorious, Hermes and Eagle in the 70s. It is true that only one out of eight Type 82 destroyers was built, but then again 14 Type 42s were eventually built, to cover the fleet's lack of air cover after the demise of the carriers. As to the air groups, the RAF ended up with the Phantoms and Buccaneers which would have flown off the new carriers. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but the defence budget was as stretched in 1966 as it is now, and the cost of Polaris had to be borne by the cancellation of other programmes, and the most damaging one to the Royal Navy was CVA01 and the fleet carrier force.

    By the way, the RAF didn't move Australia on the map, I think most people would have noticed that. They moved the island of Gan, to give the impression that F111Ks flying from the air base there could reach Australia if need be, though in fact they could not. It's amazing what you find out if you do a bit of research.
    Last edited by John K; 29th October 2012 at 16:23.

  2. #62
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    Yes it shows how little you have done, the RAF moving Australia or the Island of Gan is a myth. There is no evidence of it in the public records office of such event happening. That you believe this silly myth that has spread across the aviation blogosphere is rather unedifying.

    So if there is no memo saying Polaris was the reason for CVA01 cancellation and a huge body of evidence stating otherwise we have to believe your hunch? Stroll on! Polaris came out of central budgeting not what was allocated to the navy.

    Look I'm wasting my breath, I tried to be respectful of a different opinion all you are clearly interested in is finding a sacrificial lamb to bring up fleet numbers and are making up all sorts of tosh to back your idea.
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    Yes it shows how little you have done, the RAF moving Australia or the Island of Gan is a myth. There is no evidence of it in the public records office of such event happening. That you believe this silly myth that has spread across the aviation blogosphere is rather unedifying.

    So if there is no memo saying Polaris was the reason for CVA01 cancellation and a huge body of evidence stating otherwise we have to believe your hunch? Stroll on! Polaris came out of central budgeting not what was allocated to the navy.

    Look I'm wasting my breath, I tried to be respectful of a different opinion all you are clearly interested in is finding a sacrificial lamb to bring up fleet numbers and are making up all sorts of tosh to back your idea.

    If you listen to Royal Navy officers involved, the RAF did move Gan on the maps used, the RAF of course deny it. My point is that it was Gan which is said to have been moved, not Australia, which would be ridiculous.

    Please feel free to cite any of your huge body of evidence that Polaris did not end up costing CVA01 any time you like. I would point out that "central budgeting" is not the magic money tree you seem to think it is. If the Secretary of State was trying to keep defence spending under £2 billion, it does not matter what folder the money comes out of, once it's gone, it's gone. Frankly, I am only surprised that you don't think this is the case, but if you have any evidence to the contrary I would be interested to see it, I like to keep an open mind.

  4. #64
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    No evidence in public record office or anywhere else for that matter. Anything you heard from a Royal navy officer down the pub has to be treated with laughter!

    I have spent too much time explaining the evidence to be bothered any further.

    You believe your fantasies if you want I'm done.
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K View Post
    Please feel free to cite any of your huge body of evidence that Polaris did not end up costing CVA01 any time you like. I would point out that "central budgeting" is not the magic money tree you seem to think it is. If the Secretary of State was trying to keep defence spending under £2 billion, it does not matter what folder the money comes out of, once it's gone, it's gone. Frankly, I am only surprised that you don't think this is the case, but if you have any evidence to the contrary I would be interested to see it, I like to keep an open mind.
    See Annex C - http://filestore.nationalarchives.go...9-101-c-97.pdf

    So, instead of a sum estimated up to as high as £115mn in 1967 £'s going straight into the US economy in return for 144 Skybolt missiles, we spent £160mn roughly building the R class bombers at Lairds in Birkenhead and at Barrow. Clearly we needed to cancel CVA-01 after that kind of financial blow to the budget.

    You've been told how this works John there is no separate 'Navy budget'....there are allocations from the core budget. The '£20bn' tasked to Successor SSBN will come out of this and will mean projects for all three services will be pushed to the right or otherwise amended on a case-by-case basis so we arent going to see T26 cancelled so we can get Trident!!!.

    Also, once AGAIN, that money is going back into the manufacturing sector of our economy so we will see all the indirect benefits from investing in our own industry. Not least the direct taxation revenue from the yard itself and the, speculated, 20000 jobs it supports in the wider local community for the duration of the build!.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    No evidence in public record office or anywhere else for that matter. Anything you heard from a Royal navy officer down the pub has to be treated with laughter!

    I have spent too much time explaining the evidence to be bothered any further.

    You believe your fantasies if you want I'm done.
    You brought up the question of the RAF "moving" Australia, I pointed out it was meant to have been Gan. If that has upset you so much, I can only apologise.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    See Annex C - http://filestore.nationalarchives.go...9-101-c-97.pdf

    So, instead of a sum estimated up to as high as £115mn in 1967 £'s going straight into the US economy in return for 144 Skybolt missiles, we spent £160mn roughly building the R class bombers at Lairds in Birkenhead and at Barrow. Clearly we needed to cancel CVA-01 after that kind of financial blow to the budget.

    You've been told how this works John there is no separate 'Navy budget'....there are allocations from the core budget. The '£20bn' tasked to Successor SSBN will come out of this and will mean projects for all three services will be pushed to the right or otherwise amended on a case-by-case basis so we arent going to see T26 cancelled so we can get Trident!!!.

    Also, once AGAIN, that money is going back into the manufacturing sector of our economy so we will see all the indirect benefits from investing in our own industry. Not least the direct taxation revenue from the yard itself and the, speculated, 20000 jobs it supports in the wider local community for the duration of the build!.
    Jonsey:

    Yes, I'm afraid it was a huge financial blow, I don't see why you are arguing the point. The Skybolt purchase was meant to allow the V Force to continue to provide the deterrent into the 70s and 80s. The bombers had already been bought and paid for, the cancellation of Skybolt effectively meant that they were a waste of money. Not only did Britain then have to build the four "R" class (at a cost which escalated from £60 million to £156 million), but also buy the Polaris missiles. Obviously, these were bought from the USA, the money went into their economy.

    As for your last point about economics, I'm afraid you are wrong, and badly so. Defence spending is a cost, it does not provide economic benefit. If it did, the USSR would have been the richest country in the world. The Trident jobs and all their associated costs represent money diverted by way of taxation from productive uses. Defence spending is necessary, at times vital, but it is not in itself a source of economic benefit to society. If it were, the government might just as well build 8 Trident boats, to make us twice as well off as we would have been with just the 4. I hope you can see the fallacy of your argument.

  8. #68
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    Yes, I'm afraid it was a huge financial blow, I don't see why you are arguing the point.
    I'm arguing the point because you are wrong on almost every key point here John.

    The bombers had already been bought and paid for, the cancellation of Skybolt effectively meant that they were a waste of money.
    Complete nonsense I'm afraid. The V-force provided 15yrs of deterrence and went on to serve in other roles after Polaris took over. The funding for Skybolt, its subsequent upkeep, and the money that would have gone on keeping the bombers viable into the 80's was simply redirected into the R-class boats. The additional costs, for the submarines, was money spent in our economy and was nowhere near the magnitude of what you are trying to make it out to be. Polaris did not come at the expense of CVA-01.

    As for your last point about economics, I'm afraid you are wrong, and badly so. Defence spending is a cost, it does not provide economic benefit.
    Now you are generalising John. A nice try at obfuscation but not the point that was being made. I wasnt talking about defence expenditure in general I was talking about necessary expenditure going back into our own manufacturing sector instead of heading out of it. Your underlying point is wrong as well though I'm afraid.

    Defence spending is necessary, at times vital, but it is not in itself a source of economic benefit to society. If it were, the government might just as well build 8 Trident boats, to make us twice as well off as we would have been with just the 4. I hope you can see the fallacy of your argument
    Not at all I see you trying to modify the premise of the argument!. What you are trying to make out here is that defence spending doesnt generate new revenue and that it is just a drain on the exchequer right?. Off the top of my head there have been at least 4 classes of OPV and light frigate exported by BAE over the last few years....not prolific but definitely merchantable product sets supported in no small part by govt. spending.

    In specific terms of this argument its an even starker economic decision. There is no current or solidly-planned future weapon that allows for a deterrent to be deployed from our SSNs, so, following on from Astute-7 is either nothing or something tied in to Successor SSBN. As of right now its that simple a decision matrix. Without Successor SSBN Barrow is closed.

    So in addition to a billion in lost direct tax revenue the govt suddenly has to shell out billions in benefits and incentives to try and get businesses to start up in the region. Thats not money gone to get a capability we need....its just billions gone in dead money. Thats also before we get to the fiasco of the next SSN buy which weve covered before.

  9. #69
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    I especially like how:
    1. building 4 new SSBNs with missile compartments jointly-developed with (and development mostly funded by) the USN, and
    2. buying missiles also jointly-developed with (and development mostly funded by) the USN

    is supposed to be so much more expensive than:
    1. building several new SSGNs with missile sections developed (and funded) solely by the UK, and
    2. developing and buying a new long-range nuclear-capable cruise missile developed (and funded) solely by the UK!


    Really? And yes, the Astutes cannot be reasonably modified to carry that new missile... as there is simply no way anything longer-ranged than a Tomahawk can fit in Astute's launch tubes.

    I suppose you could cut them in half and insert a missile section, like the USN did with one incomplete Skipjack class SSN to create their first SSBN (all the others of the first group were laid down to the plans drawn up for the modification, with follow-ons built to a "clean-sheet" design)... but as that would cost nearly as much extra as simply building a new, longer Astute with the missile compartment added from the start, it is NOT a "reasonable" option.
    Last edited by Bager1968; 31st October 2012 at 15:52.

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    Complete nonsense I'm afraid. The V-force provided 15yrs of deterrence and went on to serve in other roles after Polaris took over. The funding for Skybolt, its subsequent upkeep, and the money that would have gone on keeping the bombers viable into the 80's was simply redirected into the R-class boats. The additional costs, for the submarines, was money spent in our economy and was nowhere near the magnitude of what you are trying to make it out to be. Polaris did not come at the expense of CVA-01.

    I am afraid you are wrong. Without Skybolt, Bomber Command was obsolete as a deterrent force. The fact that Vulcans were reassigned to NATO, and Victors converted to tankers, does not negate this fact. The V Force provided the deterrent only for about 12 years to 1968, after that the huge amount spent on developing and building those bombers was wasted as regards the deterrent. Skybolt would have kept the V Force current into the 80s, instead £156 million had to be found to build the four R class, plus the money for over 100 Polaris missiles.

    The decision not to build CVA01 was not taken because the government suddenly decided aircraft carriers were useless, or even because the East of Suez commitment was being abandoned. It was because the defence budget was being kept at £2 billion, and there was not the money to fund projects such as F111K, Polaris and CVA01. The RAF convinced the government that air power East of Suez could be provided by the F111Ks, and the government seized on that to save money on building CVA01. It's really as simple as that. If the RAF could have kept the V Force as the deterrent with Skybolt, there would have been money for CVA01, but it was not to be.

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    [QUOTE=John K;1946479]Complete nonsense I'm afraid. The V-force provided 15yrs of deterrence and went on to serve in other roles after Polaris took over. The funding for Skybolt, its subsequent upkeep, and the money that would have gone on keeping the bombers viable into the 80's was simply redirected into the R-class boats. The additional costs, for the submarines, was money spent in our economy and was nowhere near the magnitude of what you are trying to make it out to be. Polaris did not come at the expense of CVA-01.

    I am afraid you are wrong. Without Skybolt, Bomber Command was obsolete as a deterrent force. The fact that Vulcans were reassigned to NATO, and Victors converted to tankers, does not negate this fact. The V Force provided the deterrent only for about 12 years to 1968, after that the huge amount spent on developing and building those bombers was wasted as regards the deterrent. Skybolt would have kept the V Force current into the 80s, instead £156 million had to be found to build the four R class, plus the money for over 100 Polaris missiles. "



    Once ballistic missile attack was the established threat to the UK, I think bombers ceased to be an effective deterrent. There was simply not enough time to get them airborne in numbers (even if Sky bolt had come into service effectively).

    We couldn't say to the Soviets, "Attack us and we will try our hardest to vapourise 7 million of your population if you give us a chance," and maintain a deterrent.

    A bit like the whole cruise missile scenario now?

  12. #72
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    John

    The V Force provided the deterrent only for about 12 years to 1968, after that the huge amount spent on developing and building those bombers was wasted as regards the deterrent
    What I've got says V-force deterrent stood up on Valiant with Blue Danube at Wittering in '54 and stood down on Vulcan with Blue Steel at Scampton in '69. Truth of it though is that whether its 12yrs or 15 its still a fair period and, regardless of Skybolt, the Valiants would have been phased out anyway and the fatigue issue may still have seen the Victors re-roled. The term you use 'wasted as regards the deterrent' is meaningless...the aircraft were either a waste of money or not. More than a decade in a strategic role and two further decades in tactical and support roles suggests a decent return on investment to me.

    Skybolt would have kept the V Force current into the 80s, instead £156 million had to be found to build the four R class, plus the money for over 100 Polaris missiles.
    The savings from the Skybolt program plus the savings from continued investment into the Vulcan to keep it viable offset the '4 boatload' Polaris buy and warhead development. The costs for the R-class were largely pumped into Birkenhead and Barrow. I grew up in Birkenhead so I can tell you categorically that the investment that came from those orders was massively valuable to the local economy and put food on tables. For that 'cost' the Polaris system we ended up with was a massively more capable one than Skybolt.

    The decision not to build CVA-01 was due significantly to the pullback from EoS and the costs of that program plus all the ancillaries that went with it. Had Polaris not been built CVA-01 still gets scrapped. The F-111K thing was spurious, though a good carrot to dangle to rally RAF support for the anti-carrier lobby. No, realistic, number of F-111K's could replace the multiple roles a carrier air group could on EoS station so anyone suggesting that the F-111's had a significant part of the CVA-01 demise is missing the point.

    Entertaining as all of this is its moving us away from the core issue though. If you believe you are the keeper of the conspiracy theorist knowledge and know better thats fine I'm happy to leave it there.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    John



    What I've got says V-force deterrent stood up on Valiant with Blue Danube at Wittering in '54 and stood down on Vulcan with Blue Steel at Scampton in '69. Truth of it though is that whether its 12yrs or 15 its still a fair period and, regardless of Skybolt, the Valiants would have been phased out anyway and the fatigue issue may still have seen the Victors re-roled. The term you use 'wasted as regards the deterrent' is meaningless...the aircraft were either a waste of money or not. More than a decade in a strategic role and two further decades in tactical and support roles suggests a decent return on investment to me.



    The savings from the Skybolt program plus the savings from continued investment into the Vulcan to keep it viable offset the '4 boatload' Polaris buy and warhead development. The costs for the R-class were largely pumped into Birkenhead and Barrow. I grew up in Birkenhead so I can tell you categorically that the investment that came from those orders was massively valuable to the local economy and put food on tables. For that 'cost' the Polaris system we ended up with was a massively more capable one than Skybolt.

    The decision not to build CVA-01 was due significantly to the pullback from EoS and the costs of that program plus all the ancillaries that went with it. Had Polaris not been built CVA-01 still gets scrapped. The F-111K thing was spurious, though a good carrot to dangle to rally RAF support for the anti-carrier lobby. No, realistic, number of F-111K's could replace the multiple roles a carrier air group could on EoS station so anyone suggesting that the F-111's had a significant part of the CVA-01 demise is missing the point.

    Entertaining as all of this is its moving us away from the core issue though. If you believe you are the keeper of the conspiracy theorist knowledge and know better thats fine I'm happy to leave it there.
    Whilst Polaris expenditure provided jobs in shipyards, I would point out that building 3 new carriers would have done the same or more. As I have said, the point of defence expenditure, which is a cost to the government, is to defend Britain, not to provide jobs, though that is an ancillary benefit.

    As to Polaris being more powerful than Skybolt, I doubt it. The RAF had 200 V bombers, based in the UK, Cyprus and Singapore, each capable of carrying megaton range weapons, two in the case of Skybolt. Polaris with 4 boats meant one on patrol at any one time, armed with 48 warheads in the kiloton range. Polaris represented a decline of strike power of over 90%, and it is for that reason that the submarine based deterrent was tasked with destroying Moscow, that was all it could really do reliably. The V Force could have taken out most of the USSR.

    As to quitting East of Suez, that decision was made in 1968, two years after CVA01 was cancelled. I agree the government was grasping at straws to believe that the F111K fleet could replace carrier aviation East of Suez, nonetheless that was the plan. In 1966 the government wanted to renew the deterrent and maintain the East of Suez commitment. Given the £2 billion cap on defence expenditure, CVA01 was sacrificed, that's not a conspiracy theory, it's a sad fact.

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    Although this has nothing to do with US/UK SSBN news - the cold war target for the UK SSBN's was not simply Moscow. The target was the Soviet leadership (who just happened to be in Moscow). The threat was immediate and personal from one leadership to another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockall View Post
    Although this has nothing to do with US/UK SSBN news - the cold war target for the UK SSBN's was not simply Moscow. The target was the Soviet leadership (who just happened to be in Moscow). The threat was immediate and personal from one leadership to another.
    The point is that with only one SSBN on patrol, and with Moscow defended by ABMs, Moscow was all that the Polaris force could reasonably target. V Force had over 200 bombers dispersed across Britain, Cyprus and the Far East, each armed with megaton weapons. A Skybolt enabled V Force would have been able to destroy much of the USSR, one Polaris submarine could not.

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    Over 200 at its peak, but with the retirement of the Valiants due to fatigue, we were no longer able to maintain that number. With the withdrawal of the Victors from the bomber role for the same reason (though they could have been fixed), the number we could field dropped to ca. 100.
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    Having read various accounts of what would have been involved in getting the Vulcans airborne and close enough to the USSR to launch the Blue Steel "bombardment" you talk about, I think that their time had definitely come by the introduction of Polaris.

    That is not to say that they were useless, but as a guarantee of deterrence (even with targets more diverse than an ABM defended Moscow) they had ceased to be effective.

    Particularly if you take into acocunt the fact that a UK nuclear strike would by its very nature have been reactive and reliant on lots of variables working in our favour to get significant weapons on target.

    Now moving on from this aspect of the discussion, if the slide to war was underway, would it really have been the case that just one SSBN would have been at sea?

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    The Target

    This still has nothing to do with US/UK SSBN news but –

    The old target set of destroying Soviet nuclear weapon launch sites with multiple air delivered weapons was changed once Polaris came in.

    The individual target then became the leader of the Soviet Union – the man (Brezhnev). The whole thing was designed to be clear and personal; if Brezhnev attacked us with nuclear weapons he could not hide he would die. Multiple warheads from our sole SSBN would have defeated their ABMs (and he knew that). That is why we no longer needed a fleet of nuclear armed bombers, however useful they may have been previously.

    Out of interest the French SSBNs declared target was the agricultural land of the Soviet Union. Again it was a clear threat, if the Soviets attacked France with nuclear weapons they would eventually starve.

    Significantly neither the British or French strategic nuclear weapons were for ‘first strike’.

    Back on topic, what do we imagine the next generation of SSBN launched ballistic missiles will be targetted against?

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    Quote Originally Posted by swerve View Post
    Over 200 at its peak, but with the retirement of the Valiants due to fatigue, we were no longer able to maintain that number. With the withdrawal of the Victors from the bomber role for the same reason (though they could have been fixed), the number we could field dropped to ca. 100.
    The Valiants had been withdrawn from V Force in 1964, and retired soon after due to metal fatigue. A total of 217 Victors and Vulcans were built, at a cost of about £1 million each. This expenditure of £217 million was not meant to provide a deterrent only until 1968. The cancellation of Skybolt meant an extra £156 million had to be found to build the four Polaris boats, quite apart from the cost of the missiles. It is this £156 million, which had not been budgeted for when CVA01 was being planned, which led to the cancellation of the carrier programme.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmalaya View Post
    Having read various accounts of what would have been involved in getting the Vulcans airborne and close enough to the USSR to launch the Blue Steel "bombardment" you talk about, I think that their time had definitely come by the introduction of Polaris.

    That is not to say that they were useless, but as a guarantee of deterrence (even with targets more diverse than an ABM defended Moscow) they had ceased to be effective.

    Particularly if you take into acocunt the fact that a UK nuclear strike would by its very nature have been reactive and reliant on lots of variables working in our favour to get significant weapons on target.

    Now moving on from this aspect of the discussion, if the slide to war was underway, would it really have been the case that just one SSBN would have been at sea?
    Skybolt was an air launched ballistic missile, nothing like Blue Steel, which was a cruise missile. The V bombers would not even have had to penetrate Soviet air space to deliver them. With dispersed basing in Britain and at air bases in the Middle East and Far East, the V Force with Skybolt would have remained effective well into the 1980s. Each V bomber would have carried two Skybolts, which had megaton warheads. One V bomber so equipped would have had more destrucive power than the entire Polaris fleet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockall View Post
    This still has nothing to do with US/UK SSBN news but –

    The old target set of destroying Soviet nuclear weapon launch sites with multiple air delivered weapons was changed once Polaris came in.

    The individual target then became the leader of the Soviet Union – the man (Brezhnev). The whole thing was designed to be clear and personal; if Brezhnev attacked us with nuclear weapons he could not hide he would die. Multiple warheads from our sole SSBN would have defeated their ABMs (and he knew that). That is why we no longer needed a fleet of nuclear armed bombers, however useful they may have been previously.

    Out of interest the French SSBNs declared target was the agricultural land of the Soviet Union. Again it was a clear threat, if the Soviets attacked France with nuclear weapons they would eventually starve.

    Significantly neither the British or French strategic nuclear weapons were for ‘first strike’.

    Back on topic, what do we imagine the next generation of SSBN launched ballistic missiles will be targetted against?
    That might work provided the Soviet leadership were in Moscow. The USSR is a big place, and frankly the loss of one city would not really deter the Russians, who had come through worse in WWII.

    As to who the new SSBN fleet is meant to deter, that's the big question isn't it? It seems to me that we only went for a 4 SSBN force by accident whern Skybolt was cancelled, and since then it has become set in stone as a symbol of British military might, without being subject to searching review.

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    We would have got Brezhnev (etc) wherever he was hence the 'he could not hide'.

    Four boats is enough for the French to have a minimum deterrent force. Four being the minimum number required to guarantee a minimum of one boat at sea at all times.

    I know it's outside the thread title but would it be impossible to buy a force of 'Le Triomphant' class?

    (going deep and silent expecting incoming anti-French noise...)

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    My point John, was that the V bomber force came into being when the idea of ballistic missile attack had not been fully realised and was still to cause Whitehall plenty of sleepless nights.

    The idea of RAF bombers within the UK launching an effective strike (rather than piecemeal reprisal) by the late 1960s has to be questioned.

    As to Skybolt, which I appreciate was a different beast to Blue Steel, it didn't happen. It is therefore questionable whether it would have got close to its design aims surely?

    I agree though that targeting Moscow to get at the leadership was unlikely to be successful. Its not as if the PM was to be ensconced in the Admiralty Citadel by that stage is it?

    I think we are off topic are we?

  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K View Post
    The Valiants had been withdrawn from V Force in 1964, and retired soon after due to metal fatigue. A total of 217 Victors and Vulcans were built, at a cost of about £1 million each. This expenditure of £217 million was not meant to provide a deterrent only until 1968. The cancellation of Skybolt meant an extra £156 million had to be found to build the four Polaris boats, quite apart from the cost of the missiles. It is this £156 million, which had not been budgeted for when CVA01 was being planned, which led to the cancellation of the carrier programme.
    John, my tuppence worth off topic. There were 45 Vulcan B1s built that would not have been equipped for Skybolt, and of the 89 Vulcan B2s built only 28 of the last produced had the pylons fitted for Skybolt.(British secret projects) The B1s could not carry Blue Steel either (a modification was possible but never ordered), and only B2 numbers 26-61 were modified for Blue Steel. (and with HTP fuel, apparently a horrible weapon to arm, with just a 100mile range)

    None of the Victors built could carry Skybolt, there was a possibility of a Victor development that could but that would have cost money the country didn't have.

    Vulcan phase 6 was proposed in May 1960, heavily modifying the B2, but by the time of Skybolt being cancelled, there had only been a tiny amount of money spent on phase 6.
    There were also numerous, almost pie in the sky plans for supersonic victor missile carriers, all of which, with the track record of the time would have cost a huge amount of money. But the fact was Skybolt was killed, because it was not needed once Polaris came on the scene.

    Vulcan B3 would have taken money to develop, and the RAF plan to have 84 Skybolts in the air on a continuous alert on 28 B2's and an unknown number of B3's would have eaten up a vast percentage of the defence budget, and bearing in mind that 14 Vulcans crashed in accidents between the 1950' and 1970's would have been quite a terrifying prospect for the public to think they might be flying above their heads 24/7. The V force had 36 dispersal airfields across the UK, all of which would have been destroyed within 4 minutes by soviet IRBMs.

    So even hypothetically, had Skybolt arrived, there would only be 28 B2s that could carry it, the B3 was unfunded and was just a proposal at that stage, as was any Victor carrier. The Vulcan is more of a medium ranged aircraft so needs tanker support etc etc, the rest of the V force would be restricted to Blue Steel (35 Vulcans and 21 Victor B1s) and free fall bombs. Fielding Skybolt in numbers would I believe have been vastly more expensive than 4 SSBN's, seeing as the polaris deal was considered at the time to be the bargain of the century. I don't think the RN would have benefitted at all, and could have even been starved of funds further.

    The V force was impressive, but far more vulnerable than a submarine based solution IMO.
    Last edited by Hambo; 7th November 2012 at 19:36.

  25. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K View Post
    The Valiants had been withdrawn from V Force in 1964, and retired soon after due to metal fatigue. A total of 217 Victors and Vulcans were built, at a cost of about £1 million each. This expenditure of £217 million was not meant to provide a deterrent only until 1968. The cancellation of Skybolt meant an extra £156 million had to be found to build the four Polaris boats, quite apart from the cost of the missiles. It is this £156 million, which had not been budgeted for when CVA01 was being planned, which led to the cancellation of the carrier programme.
    A total of 217 Victors & Vulcans built does not add up to over 200 bombers operational after the withdrawal of Valiant. Deduct crashes, deduct aircraft temporarily unavailable, & don't forget that the Victor B.1s were already being converted to tankers when the Valiant tankers were grounded in January 1965.

    I think there was only a very brief spell in the early 1960s when we had more than 200 V-bombers, & that was unsustainable without building more Victors or Vulcans, even without turning Victors into tankers.
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  26. #86
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    What names would we like to see the new SSBNs called - if we get them?

    In an attempt to get back on topic ...

  27. #87
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    I'd be pretty surprised if we didn't see a Warspite in there.....

  28. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hambo View Post
    John, my tuppence worth off topic. There were 45 Vulcan B1s built that would not have been equipped for Skybolt, and of the 89 Vulcan B2s built only 28 of the last produced had the pylons fitted for Skybolt.(British secret projects) The B1s could not carry Blue Steel either (a modification was possible but never ordered), and only B2 numbers 26-61 were modified for Blue Steel. (and with HTP fuel, apparently a horrible weapon to arm, with just a 100mile range)

    None of the Victors built could carry Skybolt, there was a possibility of a Victor development that could but that would have cost money the country didn't have.

    Vulcan phase 6 was proposed in May 1960, heavily modifying the B2, but by the time of Skybolt being cancelled, there had only been a tiny amount of money spent on phase 6.
    There were also numerous, almost pie in the sky plans for supersonic victor missile carriers, all of which, with the track record of the time would have cost a huge amount of money. But the fact was Skybolt was killed, because it was not needed once Polaris came on the scene.

    Vulcan B3 would have taken money to develop, and the RAF plan to have 84 Skybolts in the air on a continuous alert on 28 B2's and an unknown number of B3's would have eaten up a vast percentage of the defence budget, and bearing in mind that 14 Vulcans crashed in accidents between the 1950' and 1970's would have been quite a terrifying prospect for the public to think they might be flying above their heads 24/7. The V force had 36 dispersal airfields across the UK, all of which would have been destroyed within 4 minutes by soviet IRBMs.

    So even hypothetically, had Skybolt arrived, there would only be 28 B2s that could carry it, the B3 was unfunded and was just a proposal at that stage, as was any Victor carrier. The Vulcan is more of a medium ranged aircraft so needs tanker support etc etc, the rest of the V force would be restricted to Blue Steel (35 Vulcans and 21 Victor B1s) and free fall bombs. Fielding Skybolt in numbers would I believe have been vastly more expensive than 4 SSBN's, seeing as the polaris deal was considered at the time to be the bargain of the century. I don't think the RN would have benefitted at all, and could have even been starved of funds further.

    The V force was impressive, but far more vulnerable than a submarine based solution IMO.
    You are making some good points. Nonetheless, with over £200 million sunk into V Force, if Skybolt had proceeded, the V Force would have been retained. The point I am making is that it was the unexpected expenditure of £156 million on four Polaris boats which sunk CVA01. In 1966 the government did not plan to leave East of Suez, they were faced with a shortage of money, and the RAF sold the plan to cover East of Suez with the F111K, a bad plan, but they fell for it. It's a shame the navy didn't see the writing on the wall, and accept CVA01 being postponed until after the Polaris boats had been built. As it was, £30 million was spent on Phantomising Ark Royal, and only £5 million would have done it for Eagle as well. Two Phantomised carriers would have kept naval aviation going until 1980 quite easily, but faced with the choice of all or nothing, Denis Healey chose nothing.

  29. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmalaya View Post
    My point John, was that the V bomber force came into being when the idea of ballistic missile attack had not been fully realised and was still to cause Whitehall plenty of sleepless nights.

    The idea of RAF bombers within the UK launching an effective strike (rather than piecemeal reprisal) by the late 1960s has to be questioned.

    As to Skybolt, which I appreciate was a different beast to Blue Steel, it didn't happen. It is therefore questionable whether it would have got close to its design aims surely?

    I agree though that targeting Moscow to get at the leadership was unlikely to be successful. Its not as if the PM was to be ensconced in the Admiralty Citadel by that stage is it?

    I think we are off topic are we?
    I am not saying V Force was perfect, far from it, merely that the money invested in it was wasted when Skybolt was cancelled. An air launched ballistic missile was a difficult prospect, but typically, the final test launch went perfectly, just as the programme was cancelled.

  30. #90
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    The point I am making is that it was the unexpected expenditure of £156 million on four Polaris boats which sunk CVA01
    No! The opinion you are expressing is Polaris cost the navy CVA01. It did not as you have been repeatedly shown.
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