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  • verbatim
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Aug 2010
    • 261

    The two main problems with MRA4, IMHO, have been first and foremost the costs of keeping them up to date, i.e. within 15 to 20 years from now UK would have faced a huge expense to upgrade an highly advanced asset by itself alone, and the quite mad choice to keep the Nimrod airframe.

    It is not the same about the 707s, they were built in the hundreds, against the Comets coming in the dozens.

    The point of scrapping MRA4 has been likely on the basis of both the short term savings of no operating and mantaining them, and in the long run to avoid any huge future cost to continue to service them.

    At least scrapping the airframe and opting for a true modern liner, as for the A320 family, would have eased a lot the cost of airframes supporting and manteinance, and looking for some convergence with foreigner ASW electronics, would have eased a lot future upgrade programs.

    I would bet that past 2015 SDR, finances and RAF allowing it, P-8 could find its way in the UK's inventory.

    Comment

    • Guest's Avatar
      Guest

      I have to agree with verbatim. The MRA4 might have shaped up to be a great plane, but for some time I was worried that we were throwing good money after bad. Even when we'd finally got it in service there would have been more problems down the line.

      Sometimes you have to admit you've made a complete hash of something and start again.

      Comment

      • 19kilo10
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Sep 2010
        • 770

        Originally posted by swerve View Post
        If you don't have any contribution to make except repeating the same gibberish, I suggest you refrain from wasting bandwidth.
        Same with you. Friend.

        Comment

        • 19kilo10
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Sep 2010
          • 770

          Keep up the good work liger! Heaven forbid you disagree with Swerve in hip personal forum. He DOES NOT like to hear opposing points of view. Particularly if he's wrong.

          Comment

          • Portagee
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Nov 2007
            • 598

            Getting back to the CVF's construction ( a novel idea I know)

            Going past Rosyth the other day, there was a forrest of cranes around the dock that's being modified but as yet no sign of the Goliath Crane that's supposed to be up by now.

            Or have I missed an announcement that they aren't using a Goliath afterall ?

            Comment

            • Fedaykin
              Fueled by Tea
              • Dec 2005
              • 5295

              Apparently the Goliath crane will take four months to set up on its rails.
              Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXNAp3mKepc

              Comment

              • Jonesy
                Neo-conversative
                • Jan 2000
                • 5097

                Two misconceptions to dispell here

                1) "we have had to rely on US P-3's to track a Russian sub for us"

                Russian subs arent tracked by anyones aircraft. They are localised and prosecuted by aircraft...they are tracked by SURTASS, SOSUS and SSN's. In the endurance game the aircraft always loses out against a competent sub. NATO can track subs in deep water just fine without any kind of MPA. If they want to do something about them quickly then you need the aircraft.

                2) "There are missiles widely available today that make helicopter AEW near pointless"

                Nope there aren't. There are antiship missiles with 200-300km maximum ranges. These tend, at the moment, to be big, uncomplicated and fast and there aren't all that many sensors that can give a positive target identification at those ranges without alerting the target as to what is coming. Chopper AEW needs to be used differently than fixed-wing AEW but they are a very, very long way from 'pointless'.

                Comment

                • Fedaykin
                  Fueled by Tea
                  • Dec 2005
                  • 5295

                  As Jonesy said even the rather crude Seaking AEW.2 would of made a huge difference if it had been available during the Falklands.

                  With it up on the days that Sheffield and Atlantic Conveyor had been attacked the task force might well of been able to launch CAP against the Super Etendard before they reached launch point. At the very least Sheffield could of been warned to actually defend herself! Chaff was proven to be effective against early Exocet.

                  Imagine the Falklands campaign if Conveyor had survived! The land forces would of had their helicopters so no walk Stanley, several bloody battles could of been avoided by bypassing the Argentine defence line.

                  So Seaking AEW.2 was certainly not useless by any measure and ASaC.7 is by all accouts a very effective platform.
                  Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXNAp3mKepc

                  Comment

                  • Fedaykin
                    Fueled by Tea
                    • Dec 2005
                    • 5295

                    This is the email and reply I got from the carrier alliance website about updated information:

                    Dear Sir/Madam,

                    When will the website be revised to take in account that the carriers will now be in CATOBAR configuration rather then STOVL.

                    The website at this moment is reflecting incorrect information and I among many would be interested in seeing how the carrier alliance intends to change build strategy to reflect these developments.

                    Many thanks

                    *********


                    And the reply:

                    Dear ***,



                    Thank you for your interest in the ACA and our website.



                    Following the SDSR, there will be changes made to the programme and the website will be updated once all the final outcomes are deemed suitable to be put in the public domain, specifically with regard to updated imagery, etc.



                    Thank you once again for your interest in the QEC programme.



                    Kind regards,



                    Catherine



                    Catherine Thurogood

                    Communications Manager

                    Aircraft Carrier Alliance



                    Queen Elizabeth Class Project Office

                    Building 100

                    Rosyth Business Park

                    Dunfermline

                    Fife

                    KY11 2YD.



                    01383 425 757

                    07801 717 860



                    www.aircraftcarrieralliance.co.uk

                    Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXNAp3mKepc

                    Comment

                    • nocutstoRAF
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • May 2010
                      • 954

                      Originally posted by Jonesy View Post

                      1) "we have had to rely on US P-3's to track a Russian sub for us"

                      Russian subs arent tracked by anyones aircraft. They are localised and prosecuted by aircraft...they are tracked by SURTASS, SOSUS and SSN's. In the endurance game the aircraft always loses out against a competent sub. NATO can track subs in deep water just fine without any kind of MPA. If they want to do something about them quickly then you need the aircraft.
                      Thanks Jonesy for the correction - but beyond the sour grapes in the press from "sources" at Kinloss, do you know why the US decided to operate two P-3 from Kinloss after a recent exercise ended for at three days and possibly as much as week after the exercise ended.

                      Also I am interested in your take on how well the UK will cope without a dedicated MPA.
                      If having a little knowledge is dangerous then I must be bloody deadly

                      Comment

                      • 90inFIRST
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Oct 2008
                        • 240

                        [QUOTE=Liger30;1656354]Pool Hawkeyes is feasible because it would benefit both countries. A single, larger fleet from where to pick up planes to ensure the french and the UK carrier have 3 Hawkeye on board when they deploy is no so big deal.
                        Crews would train in the US with a trinational agreement. Mainteinance costs would be shared like it'll be done with A400.


                        Your still not saying how it will work, the french need three they have three, if we need three will they give us theirs and we buy hours from them.....what happens when we both want them? If we buy our own three then we dont need to pool with them!

                        As you say you have shown how you would produce 15-16 billion in cuts, you have spent a billion on hawkeye and mistral and added there running costs to the budget and are now some 20 billion short of the nessacery cuts, what's your plan for those?

                        Sorry for going off topic, will stick to CVF from now on.

                        Comment

                        • Liger30
                          Armed Forces supporter
                          • Jul 2010
                          • 901

                          Correction: France has 3 and dreams a 4th to ease the pressure on the other 3.

                          And buying 3/4 for the UK does not mean that pooling them makes no sense. Pooling would make it easier to maintain crews trained for both countries and would ease the mainteinance costs and complexity.

                          I've produced more than 16 billions of savings in my list: for example, i've not quantified (because i can't produce accurate enough estimates by myself for obvious reasons) the savings of my revised MARS programme, nor can i say how much would be saved from my additional cutbacks on the deterrence force (i expect this to be in the order of the billions, however, especially if i build 3 Trident subs instead of four and halve the cruises at sea for year by taking on a bi-national CASD procedure, 6 months coverage from a UK sub, 6 months of French one and so along)
                          Nor have i considered the cuts already made and their long term effect. (i'm guessing the overspend figure included the running costs of Nimrod, Harrier and all what is already gone...)
                          Also, if you read correctly the reports, of the mythical 38 billions overspend figure, only about 20 are related to the equipment programme, so i have possibly more than covered that figure.

                          Costs in personnel have already dropped by unknown percent with the 17.000-worth cut in frontline numbers and by the even greater cut in MOD personnel, and i expect defence estate and the rest to be the cause (and thus the solution too) of the rest of the overspend. The bases that are about to close, the end of the German stationing, and also the termination of the 14 billions St Athan college programme cut away a great chunck of that to say the least.
                          Without any increase on the average current budget of the MOD after the SDSR cuts, i believe that the programmes i outline are affordable.

                          This is, of course, merely a quite empiric exercise to show that it is not impossible to balance things, even without throwing away the whole of the military.
                          Was the 38 billions figure all-equipment related and the only solution put forwards was "CUTS!", the UK would face no less than 10 years of ZERO equipment procurement, save (hopefully) for ammunitions, which sincerely is simply impossible to even conceive.

                          Now, if that's what politicians envisage, we can shut down the UK as a whole, put a "For Sale" sign on it and stop talking altogether, because it makes no sense to worry at that point. But thanks god i think we are far from such a situation if some good sense is used.
                          Also, Cameron has said he expects an increase in military spending from 2015. I'm the first who says it is a "smiling-face" promise of no real value... but some increase i really do expect nonetheless.
                          The MOD can't always pay disproportionately for a budget deficit it is not the cause of or for whatever government wish of the moment.
                          Last edited by Liger30; 28th October 2010, 13:49.
                          "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

                          Comment

                          • Geoff_B
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Jul 2010
                            • 507

                            Jonsey

                            Wasnt the Sonar network in the GUIK gap dismantled when the US pulled out of Iceland, got a feeling they are down to just SSN patrols now .

                            Comment

                            • 90inFIRST
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Oct 2008
                              • 240

                              [QUOTE=Liger30;1656629]Correction: France has 3 and dreams a 4th to ease the pressure on the other 3.

                              Is it 3 or 4? If its 3 I'm right. If its 4 you can correct me!

                              Comment

                              • X07
                                X07
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Nov 2006
                                • 70

                                [QUOTE=90inFIRST;1656726]
                                Originally posted by Liger30 View Post
                                Correction: France has 3 and dreams a 4th to ease the pressure on the other 3.

                                Is it 3 or 4? If its 3 I'm right. If its 4 you can correct me!
                                3 hawkeyes, flotille 4F, BAN Lan Bihoue, near Lorient, Morbihan, Britanny.

                                Regards

                                Comment

                                • LordJim
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Jul 2005
                                  • 343

                                  The SOSUS network as almost totally been dismantled and the SURTASS has been discontinued to the best of my knowledge thougn I am not infallible as is my spelling. Tracking Russian submarines is no longer the big issue it once was, as the rarely conduct long range patrols into the Atlantic or Pacific any more and their numbers are far fewer.

                                  Turning to the Hawkeye, if the UK decides to follow this path, creating a joint maintenance and support structure would make sance, together with the possibility of training. Both navies need to be able to deploy 2-3 when their carrier deploys so we would be looking at a force of around 8. Is the USN rebuilding all its E-2C into E-2D version or are they purchasing new build. IF they have any spare airframes couldn't we purchase 4-6 and pay for them to be fed into the existing upgrade programme, where they are re-build to zero hours, re-engines and have all their electronincs replaced. If this is possible would it be cheaper? especially if we kept any bespoke equipment to the bare minimum.

                                  Comment

                                  • Liger30
                                    Armed Forces supporter
                                    • Jul 2010
                                    • 901

                                    Is it 3 or 4? If its 3 I'm right. If its 4 you can correct me!
                                    As i said already, they are currently 3, with a long standing, never fullfilled requirement for a 4th.

                                    The $17.5 billion E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program aims to build 75 new aircraft with significant radar, engine, and electronics upgrades in order to deal with a world of stealthier cruise missiles, saturation attacks, and a growing need for ground surveillance as well as aerial scans.
                                    For what i know, so far the USN is favoring the "new-built" approach, also because, when the navy asked if it was feasible to upgrade existing planes, Northrop Grumman was reported to have said: "we can do it, but it might come close in cost to building a whole new plane".

                                    However, this should mean that there will be a lot of E-2C that could be leased or bought for an advantageous amount of money.
                                    It wouldn't be the latest model, but it would be common to the existing 3 french Hawkeye, cost less and still beat any Merlin AEW conversion, thus still filling the RN and french requirements brilliantly.

                                    Upgrades could follow in time, funded cooperatively by UK and France, when funds are a bit less of a dream and a bit more of a reality.
                                    I'd still take a deployable 3 Hawkeye, even E2C, over 8 Merlin AEWs any time. Much as i love the Merlin, there's a whole ocean of difference in performances that can't be overlooked. Merlin was the best choice if the carrier had no catapults and trap wires. But since this is not the case anymore, other considerations take importance.
                                    "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

                                    Comment

                                    • Jonesy
                                      Neo-conversative
                                      • Jan 2000
                                      • 5097

                                      Nocuts,

                                      do you know why the US decided to operate two P-3 from Kinloss after a recent exercise ended for at three days and possibly as much as week after the exercise ended.
                                      Its either going to fall under routine and boring or sneaky-beaky and OPSEC. I'd not expect to find out anything if its the latter and the former wont be very interesting anyway!.

                                      Also I am interested in your take on how well the UK will cope without a dedicated MPA.
                                      May be just for pleasure these days but I am still a sailor and them removing the best SAR command and control platform for a thousand miles in any direction is never going to be a good thing to me. In ten years time I hope someone looks back and adds up the number of sailors who could have been saved, if Nimrods excellent sea search capabilities had been present, but weren't and gives that to the Whitehall mandarins as the real price of their savings. I hope after hope that some alternate system is worked up to put that capability back in some measure.

                                      Thats probably not what you are looking for though is it Nocuts!. In LR ASW terms Jim hit the nail on the head below - there isnt much bluewater ASW left to do. Russia no longer has the inclination or, consequently, the capability to close the Atlantic with a massed sub surge. MPA's with sonobuoys against cutting edge SSN's are a hit and miss proposition now. Big choppers with advanced pinger arrays are FAR more capable, useable in the littoral as well as deepwater and deployable from anything with a helideck. For ASW then I dont think we'll miss Nimrod.

                                      My understanding was that MRA4 was much more multirole than just an MPA though. We will miss having a moderately high endurance sensor platform with an ability to detect, identify and track surface targets-of-interest for extended periods. The problem is to provide seamless coverage of surface shipping requires relays of aircraft and the few MRA4's that would have remained would, in my view, been insufficient to guarantee coverage. Maybe, when funds are available, BAE can do something with Mantis along the lines of the US BAMS system. Perhaps a Searchwater Mantis could even carry airdrop liferaft packs on the wing stations and do something to put back the long range SAR capability we will lose.

                                      Originally posted by LordJim View Post
                                      The SOSUS network as almost totally been dismantled and the SURTASS has been discontinued to the best of my knowledge thougn I am not infallible as is my spelling. Tracking Russian submarines is no longer the big issue it once was, as the rarely conduct long range patrols into the Atlantic or Pacific any more and their numbers are far fewer.
                                      Nope. SURTASS is very operational....cast your mind back a year or so to the Chinese incident with a SURTASS boat off their prime sub base!.

                                      SOSUS is still quite operational as well although now tasked principally, through the lack of real targets of interest, to civillian oceanography (http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/vents/acoustics.html). The simple fact is though that the IUSS still has the arrays to use if they require it. The dismantling that happened with SOSUS were the ground monitoring stations that were running the arrays. Comms technology moved forward so stations like St Mawgan and Keflavik would have been redundant anyway as all functions could be monitored from the US.
                                      Last edited by Jonesy; 29th October 2010, 09:01.

                                      Comment

                                      • 90inFIRST
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Oct 2008
                                        • 240





                                        On anther tack, I see on the Naval News thread that the French are continuing to fiddle around with the PA2 design, & it's getting further & further from CVF. It's shrunk to 60000 tons, & a single island.[/QUOTE]
                                        Last edited by 90inFIRST; 29th October 2010, 12:29.

                                        Comment

                                        • nocutstoRAF
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • May 2010
                                          • 954

                                          Originally posted by Jonesy View Post
                                          Nocuts,

                                          May be just for pleasure these days but I am still a sailor and them removing the best SAR command and control platform for a thousand miles in any direction is never going to be a good thing to me. In ten years time I hope someone looks back and adds up the number of sailors who could have been saved, if Nimrods excellent sea search capabilities had been present, but weren't and gives that to the Whitehall mandarins as the real price of their savings. I hope after hope that some alternate system is worked up to put that capability back in some measure.

                                          Thats probably not what you are looking for though is it Nocuts!...
                                          Actually that is pretty close to what I was looking for. I do not sail, but I do occasionally get on a commercial flight over the Atlantic and I very much concerned that we do not really have any long range SAR assets, not to mention the fact that they are in the next ten years likely to start building oil rigs off Rockall, and the area that UK is meant to provide SAR over is massive. My secondary concern is security of the deterrent and from the sounds of it a squadron of Wildcats or Merlins covering the Vanguards as they transit is more than enough.

                                          All my suggestions for the S-3B have been very much about a) have something that can do over flights for SAR, b) covering the Vanguards at transit and c) trying to address the loss of capabilities (ideally in way which allows the RAF to keep Coastal Command and RN to keep some pilots qualified on fixed wing aircraft).

                                          From what I read MRA4 was a massive overkill for most routine missions and I suspect they tagged all the other capabilities on to it to try to justify its existence. Maybe we should look at converting 10 - 12 BAE 125's or Bombardier Global Expresses with a basic maritime search radar, good comms gear and then just rely on the C-130's to drop life rafts if need be.
                                          If having a little knowledge is dangerous then I must be bloody deadly

                                          Comment

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