UK Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Tyrant King
Pressure mounts on UK defense chief over pick of Boeing surveillance plane
@Jura and I got into this a week or two ago.
The British MOD seem Skittish about the A330-Erieye. There is a history here for why though. Before the British bought Boeing's E3 they had tried to go the indigenous route.
British history of AEW though is... Well when they get it right it's good when they get it wrong.... oh boy.
The last attempt was the British Areospace Nimrod AEW3.
As the name implies it was based on the old Hawker Stanley Nimrod MPA. But the issues of the program caused it's its cost to balloon the system was plagued with issues it's first flight was 82, introduced in service 84 retired 86.
Before that the "Stop gap" Shakelton AEW2 based on a retrofit of a post world war 2 design derived from a world war 2 bomber. Introduced in service as an AEW in the 1970s. Fitted with a radar taken from the "Stop gap " Fairey Gannet AEW.3 it's predecessor which intern took that radar from the Douglas AD-4W Skyraider a world war 2 vintage American aircraft.

So yes the British MOD are being conservative. Because a consistent theme of there AEW is being offered a new design down the line only to have it cut and interim stop gaps remaining in long after they were supposed to be replaced. The A330 Erieye combination has never been built. It's easier for the Parliament to cut a paper airplane then a existing product. The MOD feels the need to get a AEW right now, and they don't want approval today cancelled tomorrow because the integrator is suddenly upping the price estimate.
Aug 12, 2017
Ministry of Defence Facing Tough Financial Choices
29 June 2017
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and the author doesn't even talk the RN, I mean directly:
sorta update:
UK defense spending faces $9 billion hole
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The UK Ministry of Defence has issued a new Defence Equipment Plan, detailing how the government will spend £186 billion ($243 billion) on military wares over the next decade amid an expected £7 billion ($9.1 billion) shortfall.

The plan sets out to ensure that sufficient funding for all major programs is applied, while in turn meeting the UK’s pledge to maintain a commitment to 2 percent of GDP on defense. Of that amount, 20 percent is earmarked for equipment.

Both the MoD itself and the National Audit Office (NAO) have highlighted that there is an affordability challenge in the new plan, however, with the coming four years predicted to pose the biggest test to the procurement proposal. Annual budget variances between 6.5 percent and 10 percent are expected during that time, according to government analysts.

The plan says that the central estimate for the cost of the plan at April 2018 exceeded the allocated budget by an average of 3.7 percent over the coming decade, adding that this prediction will fluctuate as projects play out.

The NAO’s published response to the new plan claims that it remains unaffordable, and forecasted that costs of £7 billion will come due over the coming ten years. Most of that shortfall, 84 percent, will be felt in the first four years.

“This variance could increase or decrease depending on different circumstances, with the department estimating a worst-case scenario of costs increasing by £14.8 billion should all the identified risks materialize. However, some of its analysis remains optimistic and costs could increase further,” NAO analysts wrote.

Auditors are unconvinced by some of the defense ministry’s underlying assumptions for the plan, specifically the accounting of expected efficiencies.

The government stressed that it is addressing the risk to affordability, and during the 2017/18 financial planning worked with the Treasury to ensure the budget was sufficiently allocated where required.

“We are confident that with appropriate spend control and oversight, we will deliver the equipment plan within budget for 2018/19, as we did in 2017/18,” the plan says.

Officials said they are looking longer term, ensuring that affordability is maintained by improving financial management. For example, a new executive agency is now in charge of leading the procurement, maintenance and decommissioning of all UK nuclear submarines.

Submarines have the largest budget allocation from the £186 billion set aside under the new plan, taking a £44.6 billion share.

Combat air programs are set to receive £17.8 billion, with associated surveillance and target acquisition systems set at £4.9 billion. Support of aerial platforms is slated at £18.6 billion, followed by land systems at £18.4 billion, weapons at £13.8 billion, and rotorcraft at £9.6 billion.

Successes that fell under the previous equipment plan include the commissioning of the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier, the pending delivery of the first Ajax vehicle, and a deal for the acquisition of 50 AH-64E Apache helicopters.

Furthermore, the Eurofighter Typhoon is being upgraded via Project Centurion, the Rivet Joint achieved full operational capability, and an order was placed for the seventh Astute-class submarine, to be named HMS Agincourt.

However, there were shortfalls in four key programs over the previous reporting period, with aggregate forecast costs increasing on the following: £309 million on F-35; £278 million on Protector unmanned aerial vehicles, £199 million on Astute vessels 4-7; and £149 million on the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

Notably, Protector was delayed by 24 months, Astute vessels 4-7 by nine months, and Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme by 13 months. Those factors may have made the spending plan look more affordable.

In the 2018/19 plan, Navy Command plans to spend £32.5 billion over the next decade, Army Command some £30.2 billion, and Air Command £34 billion. The latter has notably been handed over the funding responsibility for the P-8 Poseidon from Joint Forces Command (JFC).

JFC plans to spend some £30.2 billion, meanwhile, and the Defence Nuclear Organisation is in the region of £40.9 billion.

The Strategic Programmes Directorate is mainly focused on the Complex Weapons Programme in concert with defense contractor MBDA, with 80% of the £10.5 billion budget over this period allocated to this work.
Yesterday at 8:30 PM
Aug 12, 2017
sorta update:
UK defense spending faces $9 billion hole
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A British defense official talked up the good news about British defense spending in DC this week -- including on many US-built weapons -- but some dark clouds hang over the ambitious plan.
The UK’s head defense procurement official came to Washington this week to deliver a simple message: London wants to keep its defense industry humming even after it leaves the European Union next year, and it is ready to spend more money in order to remain a big player in NATO.

“NATO is at the heart of our defense strategy,”
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said at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. “I can’t see any of that changing.”

But London’s impending exit from the EU continues to send ripples of concern across the continent, as allies in NATO and the EU remain uncertain what real impacts the move will eventually have on trade and security across the continent.

Andrew sought to put a good face on the controversial Brexit policy, saying that in the end, “we can get a good deal for Brexit because it’s not just in the UK’s interest to do that, it’s in the EU’s interest as well.”

But major issues remain, according to European Union officials.
Andrew talked up the coming defense spending boost the UK government is planning, which includes a full 20 percent of its yearly budget earmarked for modernization of aging platforms.

London’s recent 10-year budget outlook said that the UK should spend $243 billion on a range of new weapons platforms over that time period. That comes on top of a recent unexpected infusion of about $1.3 billion for pressing needs like cybersecurity and initial investments in nuclear submarines.
During a
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, the director general of the European Union’s military staff told me that Brexit is causing him to lose 15 British staff officers. Brexit has “hindered the progress we could have made together with the UK on their contribution to external international security,”
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said. But with the Brexit date rapidly approaching, the Finnish general continued, “now we are in an ambiguous situation where we need to just follow the rules and procedures” and press on.

At a time where the EU is pushing ahead with plans to create its own military force that its leaders insit would compliment NATO, not compete with it, the exit of the Brits — who were once expected to play a large role in the EU force — has created “quite a lot of work,” Pulkkinen said.

Pre-Brexit, the EU was planning to deploy a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force which was to be made up of British and French troops. “We don’t yet know what the UK government will consider but it’s likely that we will lose the UK capabilities. It’s quite hard,” he added.

After years to budget austerity and shrinking military capabilities, the UK is trying to rebuild some of what it had lost. A new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is currently off the East Coast of the United States conducting F-35B trials — at such an urgent pace that
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— while a second new carrier, HMS Prince of Wales is under construction.

This buildup relies heavily on US-made products. The Royal Air Force and Navy took ownership of their first
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earlier this year, with an agreement to buy 138 of the planes from Lockheed Martin in the coming years. There are also plans to
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submarine hunting planes from Boeing. Four new Dreadnought-class nuclear ballistic submarines will have the same American-built Common Missile Compartment as the US Navy’s new
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SSBNs. (
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recently alarmed both nations).

Plenty can still happen to change these ambitious plans, however. On Monday, just a day before Andrew’s optimistic vision of the modernization of the UK’s military capabilities, the National Audit Office
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into question, calling the spending and equipping plan “unaffordable, with forecast costs exceeding budgets by £7.0 billion over the next 10 years.”

That number could go up or down depending on the circumstances, the report said, outlining a “worst-case scenario” of costs increasing by a staggering £14.8 billion “should all the identified risks materialise.”

In a commentary on the spending plan, deputy director-general of the Royal United Services Institute Malcolm Chalmers
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that “the MoD would still need to make hard choices to fund an ambitious programme of transformation and modernisation. If obtained, it would be the most generous, and sustained, increase in the MoD budget since the early 1980s.”
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Aug 16, 2018
Jul 24, 2018
while now
Type 31e Frigate programme restarted

August 16, 2018
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EDIT liked this comment:

"Attempting to build ships to an arbitrary and impossibly low cost and timeframe is an obvious admission that you have no strategy."

under Type 31e frigate competition restarted
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now inside
Type 31e Frigates to be ordered by ‘December 2019’
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“We plan to award a contract for Type 31e by December 2019 and for the Fleet Solid Support ships in 2020.”

let me see this again, spin doctors "plan" to award a contract one year from now
Aug 2, 2018
Jun 19, 2018
now (dated July 31, 2018)
HMS Tyne returns to service after being paid off in May
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tragicomic, also the status of that OPV guarding the Falklands
Royal Navy retaining its Batch 1 River-class OPVs
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The Royal Navy is retaining its three Batch 1 River-class offshore patrol vessels for at least the next two years, UK defense secretary Gavin Williamson announced on November 22.

The announcement follows the previous decommissioning of two of the ships in the class, HMS Severn in 2017 and HMS Tyne in May 2018. Tyne was returned to service earlier this year due to issues with the first of the Batch 2 River-class OPVs – the HMS Forth.

In March 2018, under-secretary for defense, Guto Bebb, revealed that the defense ministry had allocated £12.7 million in 2018-19 for essential EU exit preparations to fund preserving the three OPVs should they be needed to control and enforce UK waters and fisheries.

Announcing the decision on November 22, Gavin Williamson said that each ship would forward-operate from their namesake rivers – from Newcastle, Liverpool and the Cardiff area respectively – to boost rapid responses in British waters up and down the nation. The ships are also vital to the Royal Navy’s anti-smuggling and counter-terrorism work, and frequently escort foreign vessels, including those from Russia, through the English Channel.

“Britain’s patrol vessels are essential to protecting our waters, our fisheries and our national security. Safeguarding the future of these three ships in the Royal Navy will ensure we can respond quickly to incidents at any time, further protecting our waters as we exit the EU,” Gavin Williamson said speaking on board HMS Tyne.

By forward-operating these ships from their affiliated locations across the country, including the Tyne, it will not only allow them to react quickly, but also strengthen the bonds between the Royal Navy and local communities.

HMS Tyne, HMS Severn and HMS Mersey are each operationally available for 320 days a year. The ships are armed with a 20mm cannon, which can fire 700 rounds a minute at at a maximum effective range of 1300 yards, and can travel at up to 20 knots.

They will also be bolstered by five new-generation Batch 2 OPVs over the next two years. The Royal Navy is expected to have all the Batch 2 OPVs, named HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, by the end of 2020.


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With regards to UK/French military cooperation and Brexit it is much worse than that. Both countries currently even share some aerial assets to reduce costs. If that relationship is broken up then both countries will have to duplicate those capabilities on their own. The UK and France are Europe's only nuclear superpowers and both have similar interests with regards to expeditionary activities in overseas territories. So the collaboration always made sense since both their interests are pretty much aligned.

Now France and Germany? Meh.
November 23, 2018
Amongst a series of good news stories, Royal Navy ship numbers to be increased
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"Latest figures show the RN is currently 4.4% below intended strength, short of 1,350 people."