Britains new defence review: more nukes and a regional pivot

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Napp
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Shocking as it may seem there is actually some relatively sound stuff in here *he says from his armchair* but nevertheless, it all seems to be relatively cancelled out by some glaring inconsistencies the government insists on sticking its fingers in its ears and going " lalalalala nukes lalalala".
I'm not exactly anti nuclear weapons per-se but the fact of the matter is anyone who thinks Britain needs them as anything other than an exploding version of the latest Gucci jacket is a twit. There is no conceivable scenario we could ever use them where we wouldnt be turned into blast glass ourselves. The idea of 'limited nuclear war' itself being a patently absurd idea even the likes of Schelling were forced to concede. The fact the UK continues to waste its money on these useless weapons, which we cant even use without permission from uncle sam, being a national shame. Not helped by the fact we're out classed by the French on the matter.
Consider this as well, the reason we dont have a real carrier battle group (making these two over priced hunks of steel wastes of money) is entirely down to the fact we renewed the white elephant that is Trident. Money on a system we will likely never use that could have gone to useful forces.

As i said, an interesting article, if a great cause for pessimism, mirth making and wistful reminiscing for the days when Britains military could stand its ground and not be humbled by a rag tag militia. That particular incident being before some of the most deep cutting of the military. Ironically, something we're likely to see again quite soon - which further begs the question why the government is wasting precious pounds on warheads they cant use (aside from them being tied into a specific treaty with the Americans we only have so many of the things, having given up our air launched version).

What does everyone else make of this bit of the defence review though? Do you take a somewhat less pessimist view than humble old me?



https://www.defensenews.com/global/e...efense-review/
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Starship Trooper
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Completely agree - virtue signalling writ large. But you've missed the elephant in the room.

Defence Contractors are going to do very nicely out of this , which appears to be a good chunk of what makes our "defence" policy now, rather than outdated concepts like realpolitik or the national interest.

But what do I know, I'm just a backwards "little Englander isolstionist' 🙄😉
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Pythian
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I wonder if there's any mention of cyber security? I believe China is responsible for the recent Microsoft Emails Hack.
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Napp
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(Original post by Starship Trooper)
Completely agree - virtue signalling writ large. But you've missed the elephant in the room.

Defence Contractors are going to do very nicely out of this , which appears to be a good chunk of what makes our "defence" policy now, rather than outdated concepts like realpolitik or the national interest.

But what do I know, I'm just a backwards "little Englander isolstionist' 🙄😉
The really irritating thing is its not even British ones. I accept that buying other countries (american) weapons is par for foreign policy and always has been but deliberately rubbishing native industries to prop up Boeing or what not seems mildly galling.
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MatureStudent37
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(Original post by Napp)
The really irritating thing is its not even British ones. I accept that buying other countries (american) weapons is par for foreign policy and always has been but deliberately rubbishing native industries to prop up Boeing or what not seems mildly galling.
Just as an FYI, BAe is the worlds 4th largest defence contractor .

Lockheed Martin is the largest defence contractor. The F35B for example, although a Lockheed Martin aircraft is 15% British.

Politically, many of these big deals may be badged as foreign, but the workload tends to get outsourced to British companies. Governments aren’t stupid and want to see taxpayers money reinvested back in the U.K.

Ajax is being built by general dynamics through its British based subsidiary general dynamics U.K. the vehicle is a modification of a joint Austrian/Spanish design acquired by general dynamics, modified for export and then modified again for British requirements to be built in wales.

British army chose the German MAN design for its replacement for medium lift vehicles. Although German designed, they’re built in Britain. Part of the contractural agreement.

The ever increasing cost of new platform development due to cutting edge technology means that fewer companies have the required skill sets and capability to bring these things to market.

The U.K. doesn’t always buy American. We’ve tried the pan European approach and with the exception of euro fighter generally end up with overpriced tat.

US kit is generally good, and as long as it meets our requirements then it works out cheaper. Not too long back we decided to redesign the AH64 in order to save British jobs. We’d have been cheaper giving all of those who would’ve lost their jobs £1 million each and still saved several million.

We ended up with an overpriced piece of kit with no export potential.

It would be nice to see a return to domestic defence manufacturing. The Cold War saw the end to that. Post Cold War, the EU emerged and the idea of Pan europeanism. In the 90s there was a big push to promote Europe and reduce costs due to the the Cold War piece dividend.

There was a time you couldn’t go anywhere in the world without seeing an offshore patrol vessel built by Vospers. We appear to have decided to step aside and let the German fill that gap. It’s almost as if people decided willing major players would specialise in certain areas. Germany became a massive arms manufacturer, the U.K. seemed to focus on the service sector and the French continued to become even more schizophrenic.

I’m surprised nobody has commented on the increase in nuclear warheads?
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Napp
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(Original post by MatureStudent37)
Just as an FYI, BAe is the worlds 4th largest defence contractor .

Lockheed Martin is the largest defence contractor. The F35B for example, although a Lockheed Martin aircraft is 15% British.

Politically, many of these big deals may be badged as foreign, but the workload tends to get outsourced to British companies. Governments aren’t stupid and want to see taxpayers money reinvested back in the U.K.

Ajax is being built by general dynamics through its British based subsidiary general dynamics U.K. the vehicle is a modification of a joint Austrian/Spanish design acquired by general dynamics, modified for export and then modified again for British requirements to be built in wales.

British army chose the German MAN design for its replacement for medium lift vehicles. Although German designed, they’re built in Britain. Part of the contractural agreement.

The ever increasing cost of new platform development due to cutting edge technology means that fewer companies have the required skill sets and capability to bring these things to market.

The U.K. doesn’t always buy American. We’ve tried the pan European approach and with the exception of euro fighter generally end up with overpriced tat.
No we dont, and in fairness i didnt say we did. However, a significant proportion of our defence kit is American built. Thats not to say its not good. with some notable exceptions where we bought dangerous rubbish at the expense of domestic kit, the F111 (if memory serves) being a case in point.
To label the European stuff as overpriced tat seems somewhat specious though, it tends to not be any more expensive, relatively speaking, than American built stuff and most of it is rather good. EADS being a prime example.
US kit is generally good, and as long as it meets our requirements then it works out cheaper. Not too long back we decided to redesign the AH64 in order to save British jobs. We’d have been cheaper giving all of those who would’ve lost their jobs £1 million each and still saved several million.
No one claimed defence procurement decisions were smart, the QE class being a case in point

It would be nice to see a return to domestic defence manufacturing. The Cold War saw the end to that. Post Cold War, the EU emerged and the idea of Pan europeanism. In the 90s there was a big push to promote Europe and reduce costs due to the the Cold War piece dividend.
True but that didnt really have anything to do with 'europeanism' or anything like that. It was a common phenamna across the world with companies merging being the literal order of the day - many American firms experienced the same.

There was a time you couldn’t go anywhere in the world without seeing an offshore patrol vessel built by Vospers. We appear to have decided to step aside and let the German fill that gap. It’s almost as if people decided willing major players would specialise in certain areas. Germany became a massive arms manufacturer, the U.K. seemed to focus on the service sector and the French continued to become even more schizophrenic.
Its a shame that Britain let its broad spectrum, as it were, defence procurement sector atrophy. On the flip side at least we're exporting vessells such as the new frigattes again. Albeit they'll be built in Canada and Australia. The irony that they will have more 'British' vessels than the RN didnt escape me though :lol:. On the German/French remarks, in fairness, say what you will about them but their stuff is top of the line in most regards. French jets and German tanks being highly regarded.
I’m surprised nobody has commented on the increase in nuclear warheads?
Indeed, whilst the 'pivot' to Asia is simply weird the massive jump in the nuclear armoury has made rather few waves to be honest.
I stand by my comment in its nothing but an exceedingly expensive bit of posturing though. We neither have the subs nor the missiles to do anything with spare warheads after we retired our freefall bombs. And of course, as has been privately admitted in government for decades, Britains holding such weapons is a spectacular waste of money and utterly pointless. As i said, it is nothing more than the explosive equivalent of buying a pair of Gucci shoes in that their sole purpose (for practical purposes) is to show off and keep our pretense at being a global power, in spite of the fact everyone knows it to be a farse. Alas, the money could be much better spent on ET, the fact we're being pummeled by the big 3, whilst not surprising, is still shameful. Especially if, depending on whom you listen to, the advance of hypersonics and DEW should supersede the need for nuclear weapons.
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Tempest II
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(Original post by Napp)
No we dont, and in fairness i didnt say we did. However, a significant proportion of our defence kit is American built. Thats not to say its not good. with some notable exceptions where we bought dangerous rubbish at the expense of domestic kit, the F111 (if memory serves) being a case in point.
To label the European stuff as overpriced tat seems somewhat specious though, it tends to not be any more expensive, relatively speaking, than American built stuff and most of it is rather good. EADS being a prime example.

No one claimed defence procurement decisions were smart, the QE class being a case in point


True but that didnt really have anything to do with 'europeanism' or anything like that. It was a common phenamna across the world with companies merging being the literal order of the day - many American firms experienced the same.


Its a shame that Britain let its broad spectrum, as it were, defence procurement sector atrophy. On the flip side at least we're exporting vessells such as the new frigattes again. Albeit they'll be built in Canada and Australia. The irony that they will have more 'British' vessels than the RN didnt escape me though :lol:. On the German/French remarks, in fairness, say what you will about them but their stuff is top of the line in most regards. French jets and German tanks being highly regarded.

Indeed, whilst the 'pivot' to Asia is simply weird the massive jump in the nuclear armoury has made rather few waves to be honest.
I stand by my comment in its nothing but an exceedingly expensive bit of posturing though. We neither have the subs nor the missiles to do anything with spare warheads after we retired our freefall bombs. And of course, as has been privately admitted in government for decades, Britains holding such weapons is a spectacular waste of money and utterly pointless. As i said, it is nothing more than the explosive equivalent of buying a pair of Gucci shoes in that their sole purpose (for practical purposes) is to show off and keep our pretense at being a global power, in spite of the fact everyone knows it to be a farse. Alas, the money could be much better spent on ET, the fact we're being pummeled by the big 3, whilst not surprising, is still shameful. Especially if, depending on whom you listen to, the advance of hypersonics and DEW should supersede the need for nuclear weapons.
Generally, the European kit isn't advanced, has more problems, turns out to be more expensive, and can often use US tech in it anyway which then requires US government permission to export it.
The Airbus A400M, meant to enter service circa 10 years ago to replace American made RAF C-130s, is only now reaching maturity. While on paper, the Atlas is the superior aircraft, in reality it so far hasn't really turned out that way.
The US built C-17 the RAF operates has very much been a success story. It's also good to see that some kind of common sense (and commonality) has broken out over the P-8A Poseidon and Wedgetail programmes; both are based on the 737 meaning that it should make it cheaper to buy spares, train crews, maintainers etc on these aircraft.

Mature Student has already mentioned the UK (W) AH-64 programme. While Westland's modifications arguably improved the performance of the baseline US AH-64D model, were they worth the extra cost?
In order to upgrade the Apache to the AH-64E model, they'll need to be sent to the US.

A similar situation has emerged with some of the RAF's Chinook force. Generally, the CH-47 buy has been a success story and they've been vital to the UK military, especially during Afghanistan.
However, the MOD tried to modify, on the cheap and without Boeing's help, Chinook HC3s back in the early 2000s. After many years and far too much money spent, they still couldn't be used in Afghanistan for special forces operations and to this day, apparently aren't at the same standard as the rest of the fleet. This could probably been avoided if the MOD hadn't penny pinched and bought the MH-47 special forces variant off the shelf.

It's also worth pointing out that UK-Italian built Merlin helicopter has been a bit of a failure when it comes to supporting ground troops. The RAF I'm sure would have preferred extra Chinooks, but instead got a helicopter that couldn't effective operate in "hot and high" Afghanistan. No wonder the RAF were happy to give them all to the RN and, in fairness, ASW was a role they were originally built for.

During the height of the Afghanistan insurgency, the MOD was offered US UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters as a immediate fix, but instead opted to upgrade the Puma fleet.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.the...wk-helicopters

The QE class carriers themselves aren't an issue. They're not just powerful symbols; the fact that they carry the F-35B gives them real teeth too. The biggest flaw in their design is the lack of inbuilt air / missile defence - unfortunately the MOD cut the SAM requirement back in the early 2000s to save money (surprise surprise). Hopefully, CAMM / Sea Ceptor will be added but I'm not too optimistic about it.

https://www.navylookout.com/should-h...sile-defences/

Again, the lack of organic SAM protection wouldn't be such a big issue if the RN had more Type 45s. Only having 6, 2 of which need to be on carrier escort duties, is a pitifully small number.

I wouldn't be so quick to hold up the French and German militaries or their kit as the model to follow. The French were originally part of the Eurofighter programme but left as they wanted it to be carrier capable and to be the lead country. Calling the French Rafale superior to the Typhoon isn't fair as both have advantages and disadvantages. The Rafale should outperform a Typhoon at lower levels whereas the Typhoon has the edge at higher altitudes. Both carry state of the art PGMs, have advanced HMIs, excellent manoeuvrability, advanced ESM / ECM capabilities and world class Meteor missiles.
While the MOD has been guilty is messing up aspects of the Typhoon programme (the arguments over the 27mm cannon being one that springs to mind), the UK has the most advanced Typhoons in the world, bar radar. Some Typhoon users have opted to buy the Mk1 AESA but the RAF is going for the more advanced Mk2. There have been other modifications talked about, such as engine and AMK upgrades, but so far no customer has bought them.

https://hushkit.net/2020/09/17/eurof...20-comparison/

https://www.defensenews.com/global/e...ronic-warfare/

Both the Typhoon and Rafale are more than a match for the latest Russian Flanker aircraft, although pilot skill, ROE etc would play a major impact on that.
It's also worth pointing out that both the Typhoon and Rafale would (and have at Red Flag) lose to US F-22s and F-35s in BVR comfortably. The fight becomes more even WVR / in a dogfight, but the US jets, especially the F-22, still have superior kill ratios.

The German armed forces, are in even more trouble than the UK's. Buget cuts mean they can barely field any tanks or jets. Their Typhoons are barely airworthy, their Tornados are outdated, and their tanks aren't in a much better state than the British Army's.

https://militarywatchmagazine.com/ar...ks-serviceable

Despite what it's critics may say, the UK's nuclear deterrent is quite cheap when you break it down to an annual cost. I'm going to take CND's figures as these are probably (and hopefully) worst case scenario numbers. They estimate it costs £200 billion, but this is spread over circa 50 years. Therefore, having a nuclear deterrent that costs less than £4 billion a year is rather cheap, in comparison to many other functions of government.
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imlikeahermit
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(Original post by Pythian)
I wonder if there's any mention of cyber security? I believe China is responsible for the recent Microsoft Emails Hack.
This should be where the majority of spending goes. We’re not in the Cold War anymore, mutually assured destruction can be achieved on a minimal budget.
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Napp
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(Original post by Tempest II)
Generally, ..
I've deleted this bit because i dont really have much to add to it in that i dont necesserily disagree outside of the comments calling European kit 2nd rate.
The QE class carriers themselves aren't an issue. They're not just powerful symbols; the fact that they carry the F-35B gives them real teeth too. The biggest flaw in their design is the lack of inbuilt air / missile defence - unfortunately the MOD cut the SAM requirement back in the early 2000s to save money (surprise surprise). Hopefully, CAMM / Sea Ceptor will be added but I'm not too optimistic about it.
Indeed theyre not, its the fact we cant properly use them that is in my book. After all, theyre nothing but sitting ducks as we dont have a strike group to accompany them anymore. It boggles the mind the government built 2 carriers without the support infrastructure to make them viable.
In terms of missile defence though, personally im a great fan of ET to defend them. Alas, thats where nuclear generation would be much more handy.

Again, the lack of organic SAM protection wouldn't be such a big issue if the RN had more Type 45s. Only having 6, 2 of which need to be on carrier escort duties, is a pitifully small number.
True say on that.
I wouldn't be so quick to hold up the French and German militaries or their kit as the model to follow. The French were originally part of the Eurofighter programme but left as they wanted it to be carrier capable and to be the lead country. Calling the French Rafale superior to the Typhoon isn't fair as both have advantages and disadvantages. The Rafale should outperform a Typhoon at lower levels whereas the Typhoon has the edge at higher altitudes. Both carry state of the art PGMs, have advanced HMIs, excellent manoeuvrability, advanced ESM / ECM capabilities and world class Meteor missiles.
In fairness i dont recall saying it was, merely pointing out that French jets are rather good (not necesserily better than the typhoon though)
Out of interest, do you work in the defence sector or is this a pet interest?
While the MOD has been guilty is messing up aspects of the Typhoon programme (the arguments over the 27mm cannon being one that springs to mind), the UK has the most advanced Typhoons in the world, bar radar. Some Typhoon users have opted to buy the Mk1 AESA but the RAF is going for the more advanced Mk2. There have been other modifications talked about, such as engine and AMK upgrades, but so far no customer has bought them.

https://hushkit.net/2020/09/17/eurof...20-comparison/

https://www.defensenews.com/global/e...ronic-warfare/

Both the Typhoon and Rafale are more than a match for the latest Russian Flanker aircraft, although pilot skill, ROE etc would play a major impact on that.
It's also worth pointing out that both the Typhoon and Rafale would (and have at Red Flag) lose to US F-22s and F-35s in BVR comfortably. The fight becomes more even WVR / in a dogfight, but the US jets, especially the F-22, still have superior kill ratios.
I wold be interested to see who would come out on top vs. a Russian pilot. After all, this is mere speculation at this point as the only Russia jets ever engaged have been flown by incompetent Arab pilots, by and large. The Russian ones, especially with the new kit and accessopries coming into service should be happily a match for any other 4th gen plane.

The German armed forces, are in even more trouble than the UK's. Buget cuts mean they can barely field any tanks or jets. Their Typhoons are barely airworthy, their Tornados are outdated, and their tanks aren't in a much better state than the British Army's.
True say, their lack of spending and upkeep is infamous. However, that is somewhat beside my point on the quality of the stuff they build - whether they then ignore it, whilst silly, being beside it.

Despite what it's critics may say, the UK's nuclear deterrent is quite cheap when you break it down to an annual cost. I'm going to take CND's figures as these are probably (and hopefully) worst case scenario numbers. They estimate it costs £200 billion, but this is spread over circa 50 years. Therefore, having a nuclear deterrent that costs less than £4 billion a year is rather cheap, in comparison to many other functions of government.
Relatively speaaking you're right but on the other hand thats 4 destroyers (unless the price has increased since i last looked) merely on keeping this rubbish IN storage. After all, as i said, no one takes the UK deterrent overly seriously, our American allies included. It is a well known fact that it is just there for bragging rights and to keep up the pretense of our belonging at the top tier of military affairs. The Americans, Russians and Chinese can all plausibly make this claim as they have ful spectrum militaries, we do not unfortunately. In ones opinion, the decision to turn the UK into nothing but a support node for the US was one of the most egregious blunders in strategic history. Not to mention it makes the 'loss of sovereignty' to the EU look risible in comparison to what it entails.
Slight deviation aside, not our bombs (American derivatives), not our missiles (we only have half a say on when they can be used and we have no right to look after them) - its a money pit that has no benefit to us. After all, who would this realistically deter out of our enemies? The Russians? I doubt it.

My obvious distain for our current nuclear forces aside, ironically i would have no particular problem if they were actually British as opposed to funding the Americans, do you view them as particularly useful? Or do you fall into the camp that the money could/should be used in beefing up our CF?
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(Original post by imlikeahermit)
This should be where the majority of spending goes. We’re not in the Cold War anymore, mutually assured destruction can be achieved on a minimal budget.
In fairness, cyber can only achieve so much. It might temporarily put the lights out or crap out a damn but energy weapons are where the real damage can come from. Let off a EMP over Britain and society will quickly revert back to the stone age :lol:
That being said, i'm a decided fan of ET such as DEW and hypersonic things that go bang
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(Original post by Napp)
In fairness, cyber can only achieve so much. It might temporarily put the lights out or crap out a damn but energy weapons are where the real damage can come from. Let off a EMP over Britain and society will quickly revert back to the stone age :lol:
That being said, i'm a decided fan of ET such as DEW and hypersonic things that go bang
The point is though traditional warfare as some of the dinosaurs would like to think of is not viable anymore. I actually support the cut in numbers because unless we go meandering into conflicts which have nothing to do with us the chances of us actually needing a ground force for any active fighting is very low. Technological warfare on the other hand knows no bounds, and is not at the discretion of individual countries, more of individuals. Building our defence systems in technology is most certainly the way forward. Having a weapon or two stored away to enable MAD is the icing on the cake.
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If they're going to cut anything it needs to be the higher ups rather than the 'boots on the ground'. Like most organisations it's too top heavy.
There also needs to be a whole new approach to recruitment, these softy softy Army ads motivate and inspire noone as its been proved by a struggle to get numbers in and out. The Royal marines are still putting out good ads but aside from that the recruitment campaigns have been laughable in recent years.

More money for equipment and technology is good for me anyway since i work in that department. I feel bad for the infantry though who will likely bear the brunt of the cuts after working on covid frontlines for more than a year. I find it ironic that were this happening to nurses there would be uproar as there was with pay rises but the next group down in terms of covid involvement just get shoved under the rug after all they have done. They have answered the call when vaccine and testing centres needed staff and they get repaid like this.

Realistically we would be screwed if we had to fight any major war at this point. Our armed forces is the smallest it's been since Cromwell.

The government will just cut and cut until a military covid situation occurs and we will be overrun like the NHS has been.
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nulli tertius
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The regional pivot will be massively over-budget and ten years late. Then we will buy a readymade pivot from the USA.
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