All at sea

Discussion in 'The Front Room' started by Deadmanwalking, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. Deadmanwalking

    Deadmanwalking Fledgling Freddie

    In a big break from my usual reading habits i was browsing the Guardian today and came across this article.

    It concerns the proposed mothballing of 4 Royal navy Destroyers. This is in line with the new defence plans to cut back on bulk in the armed forces and replace with new light, mobile forces.

    Anyones thoughts on this?
     
  2. Brynn

    Brynn Can't get enough of FH

    Now what Foreign Superpower are they gunna sell them to?
     
  3. xane

    xane Fledgling Freddie

    There's only one "foreign superpower" and they have enough ships thanks.

    You mean what "foreign tin-pot dictatorship" are we going to sell them to prior to negotiating a regime change ?
     
  4. DaGaffer

    DaGaffer Down With That Sorta Thing

    Not really surprising tbh. British forces (like it says in the article) are designed mainly as a subset of NATO (e.g. American) forces anyway (and not just at sea; we've got big capability gaps in the Army and RAF that are filled by the Americans, while we do specialist stuff they don't bother with much, like low-level interdiction). Modern frigates and destroyers are generally about carrier protection/asw or are missile carriers, and we don't really need either, so we shouldn't get too emotionally attached to them. Of course if the Russians or the Chinese ever got frisky, there's a pretty long lead-time to build up a decent navy...
     
  5. Deadmanwalking

    Deadmanwalking Fledgling Freddie

    If they ever get "frisky" ships won't save us.
     
  6. Vae

    Vae Resident Freddy

    It depends how you look at the situation.

    I don't see any details of when the 4 destroyers are to be mothballed but given that the type 45 destroyers (anti air) are due to enter service at the tail end of this decade any reduction in naval power is likely short term.

    As it is at the moment the Royal Navy is rather outdated/outmoded. The threats is was designed to protect against are very diminished and any future conventional conflict is likely to to involve us "plugged" in as part of the US force as the uK armed forces are uniquely able to do. The frigates are designed to be anti submarine of which there is a very low threat: India and Pakistan have a few noisy diesel subs, Russias navy is almost non-existent now and the only other significant force is China but then they again have mainly old diesel and electric subs.

    The destroyers are designed to be anti air which is a potentially more significant threat but again the coverage from land bases and the likelihood of action alongside the US covers any lack of air defense. In addition as the type 45 destroyers come online and the existing aircraft carriers are replaced by the 2 new larger carriers with Joint Strike fighters the air defence increases again.

    Conflict today is tending more towards littoral warfare such as in both Iraq wars and Bosnia. In those situations the significance of the frigates and destroyeres is greatly reduced. During peacetime those ships tend to be more involved in anti fisheries/drugs roles and goodwill visits all of which it could be argued could be done better by other means.
     
  7. Deadmanwalking

    Deadmanwalking Fledgling Freddie

    Those 2 new larger carriers are infact not as big or high-tech as planned. And the existing "large" carriers are to be turned into amphibious (sp?) support vessels. Much like the HMS Ocean is at the moment. Escort carriers i think are the correct term.

    The whole focus is shifting from big, heavy and ultimately immobile forces to lightweight, mobile and relatively hard hitting. Destroyers are still used (currently anyway) as the launch point for Royal Marines and a few other specialist troops during operations. Any reduction of this capability is not going to be a good idea.

    But like you noticed it is still only at it's idea phrase so will take some time to actually happen, if it does at all.
     
  8. xane

    xane Fledgling Freddie

    The Navy has always been a victim to aircraft technologies, a ship is a poor defence against aircraft/missile, unless the ship itself, or one nearby, is the target, even then it is unlikely to survive a persistant airbourne attack.

    The power in the mobile strike force of the US Carrier Group is being diminished, as missile technology becomes better and the range of air delivered munitions improves.

    The US is looking at hypersonic transport technology right now. With high speed bombers originating from the homeland that can hit any target in the world within a few hours, the need to project military power via the navy becomes redundant.

    When you no longer have ships then the enemy submarine also ceases to become a threat, so a knock-on redundancy occurs with anti-submarine ships.

    The only real excuse for a navy is the transport of heavy equipment, and the reasons for that are getting fewer every day, again because of precision strike weaponry.
     
  9. Deadmanwalking

    Deadmanwalking Fledgling Freddie

    As i pointed out above. The actual strike capability of ships may not the defining factor for their existance anymore, but they still play a vital role in military operations.

    Sending a missle or payload to a target is relatively easy, but try sending a few hundred heavily armed nutters the same way :)

    Even for landlocked countries this still rings true. The US spent alot of political power and time gaining access to bases and resources within nearby countries. The navy allows striking at a target without the need for these bases and all the hassle associated with them.
     
  10. DaGaffer

    DaGaffer Down With That Sorta Thing

    It'll be thirty years before a hypersonic plane is in service, although your overall point stands, except, subs will continue to be a threat as the Chinese are almost certainly development missile boats, which is one reason for the flurry of naval expansion in the far East. Satellites will do some of the ASW work, but you'll still need anti-sub ships/helicopters in conjunction with ASW planes.
     
  11. DaGaffer

    DaGaffer Down With That Sorta Thing

    True, but you don't a frigate or destroyer to fulfil that function; you really need a small carrier or transport ship. Carrying marines is very much a secondary function for a frigate, and not one it does particularly well; if its lightly armed special forces you need, a C17 can do the job far better and more quickly and if you need to deliver heavy equipement such as tanks, you need bigger ships anyway.
     
  12. Gef

    Gef Fledgling Freddie

    Just take off and nuke the site from orbit?
     
  13. Vae

    Vae Resident Freddy

    Although the 2 new larger carriers may not end up as large as planned (40,000 tons) they will still dwarf anything else in the fleet (and still be dwarfed by the US carriers) where the current aircraft carriers are the largest at 22,000 tons (In actuality they are pocket armoured carriers rather than full aircraft carriers).

    Although, as the previous poster mentions, the advent of the hypersonic bomber will affect warfare a lot there will still be a need for a carriergroup as a mobile airfield for operation in areas where there is no friendly land base. It also acts as a local C&C HQ
     
  14. Deadmanwalking

    Deadmanwalking Fledgling Freddie

    Once again yeah. But what it all comes down to is the timescale of all of these new ships and if and when the old ones are to be mothballed.

    Before these two new carriers come along we will have to manage with what will become the escort carriers. The current solution for marines are tiny, helicopter carriers which while surfice just don't handle enough equipment to do the job as best as possible.

    While alot can be said for planes as a means of delivering men and equipment, they just don't have the same threat or operational flexibility to compete with choppers and landing craft.
     
  15. xane

    xane Fledgling Freddie

    During that period aircraft and missile technology will improve anyway, right now the range of a single ALCM already extends to 1500 miles and the aircraft that carries it extends that range even further, over time this will improve and diminish the need for transport.

    The Chinese have already improved on their missile technology with space exploration, it is perfectly reasonable to assume they could launch ICBMs towards us anyway.

    If you don't have any ships, then submarines no longer pose a threat, so the ASW requirement goes away, the enemy can float his underwater boat as much as he likes but he wont find any targets.

    Submarine launched ICBMs are a different matter, they are more likely to be hunted by other submarines, not ASW ships.
     
  16. Tenko

    Tenko Fledgling Freddie

    I've copied this article from the times as it will not be available from tommorrow. It details the curent Sea Lord's preference for which naval programs he feels most necessary. In it he mentions the mothballing of the destroyers.

    From this I see a role of surface ships being solely for the defence of the carrier group, a role they are a match for against all but the most technically efficient opposing force such as say China or even India in the near future.

    Moving a carrier group to a hotspot is faster than moving ground based aircraft and is therefore much more useful.

    Things like the US FALCON program are a very long way off being deployable with long range conventional bombing with the like of the B2 being the only current alternative.
     
  17. Deadmanwalking

    Deadmanwalking Fledgling Freddie

    Great! So we nuke em with subs first then send in the Marines :(
     
  18. Cdr

    Cdr Can't get enough of FH

    Where does it say nukes would be used first?
     
  19. Scooba da Bass

    Scooba da Bass Fledgling Freddie

    I think he read nuclear powered and got excited.

    Anyway, our navy is beginning to follow the US thinking where Carriers are used pretty exclusively with support vessels as backup, not that it matters since I really can't imagine a situation in which a massive navy (or indeed army) is required.
     
  20. Deadmanwalking

    Deadmanwalking Fledgling Freddie

    Nuke in the Shock and awe way. The subs will be used for the launching of cruise missles. And no i didn't read nuclear power and 'get excited'. But hey patronising remarks makes scooba feel all nice and big.
     
  21. TedTheDog

    TedTheDog Fred's & Barry's co-founder

    Actually, the bottom feeders running the US Navy have announced in the last week that they intend to expand and modernise the fleet considerably. The fleet is currently 296 vessels (everything in the USN) and they're aiming for 375. They'll pay for this expansion primarily through personnel cuts.
    They obviously need more toys to play with.
     
  22. Jonaldo

    Jonaldo Can't get enough of FH

    I think it was just the phrasing :) using the term 'nuked' when discussing warfare would suggest you meant using nuclear weapons.

    I don't see losing these ships as any great disaster, although I think we may be taking the peaceful standpoint of several countries for granted at present and shouldn't reduce our military too much.
     
  23. RandomBastard

    RandomBastard Can't get enough of FH

    I doubt they would be sold, more likly to be decommisioned and not replaced as is the tradition.

    However I think its a bad thing. The royal navy does more than to project military power onto the world (its out last avenue of that anyway), it also helps in anti drug ops and protects countrys in the british protectorate.

    Lets not forget that there are also legititmate reasons why we might need a war machine in the future.
     

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