Monday, June 20, 2011

Italy shames the Royal Navy


The Royal Navy speaks so it can sleep at night.
Adml Sir Mark Stanhope said the campaign would have been more effective without the Government's defence cuts.

The aircraft carrier and the Harrier jump-jets scrapped under last year's strategic defence review would have made the mission more effective, faster and cheaper, he said.

Sir Mark warned that the Navy would not be able to sustain its operations in Libya for another three months without making cuts elsewhere.
...
"The pros would have been a much more reactive force," he said. "Rather than deploying from Gioia del Colle, we would deploy within 20 minutes as opposed to an hour and a half, so obviously there are some advantages. It's cheaper to fly an aircraft from an aircraft carrier than from the shore." Scrapping Ark Royal and its Harriers was perhaps the most controversial decision made in last year's Strategic Defence and Security Review. The Coalition has said it could not afford to maintain the ship or the planes. Military analysts and retired defence chiefs have said the cuts have limited Britain's military capabilities.
The later exactly spells out what I discussed over at USNIBlog back in March and how this operation has played out.

That is a very substantial argument - but it looks like the politicians over in the UK are a bit more interested in saving face than facing their error.
Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, defended the defence review last night. He said: "We continue to have the resources necessary to carry out the operations we are undertaking."

An MoD source said: "Unfortunately Harriers wouldn't have been able to carry the precision weapons needed for these operations."
Did that get your targeteering senses a'ting'n? It did mine. Shall we fact check the Honorable Gentelman? Yes - let's.
The Harrier GR9 is an avionics and weapons upgrade of the standard GR7. The £500m Joint Update and Maintenance Programme (JUMP) upgraded the Harrier fleet during normal maintenance periods, in a series of incremental capabilities.[14] These started with software upgrades to the communications, ground proximity warning and navigation systems, followed by the integration of the AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile.[14] Capability C added the RAF's Rangeless Airborne Instrumentation Debriefing System (RAIDS), Raytheon's Successor Identification Friend or Foe (SIFF) system and the Paveway guided bombs. The Digital Joint Reconnaissance Pod (DJRP) was added as part of Capability D and handling trials of the MBDA Brimstone missile started on 14 February 2007. However the Brimstone was still not cleared for the GR9 as of November 2010.
Sharkey Ward says it better.
... it was disgraceful for the MoD to contradict Sir Mark Stanhope in a most blatant manner by saying, “Unfortunately Harriers wouldn’t have been able to carry the precision weapons needed for these operations.”

“Disgraceful”, because the MoD source responsible for this statement was not telling the truth (there appears to be a pattern here, does there not?). The Tornado is now delivering the Paveway Mk III 2000 lb bunker-busting bomb instead of the unreliable Storm Shadow missile. Harrier delivers Paveway Mk III and Paveway Mk IV with the same or better accuracy as Tornado. Harrier also delivers the Maverick anti-tank missile and the CRV7 rocket – neither of which is carried by Tornado. It is true that Harrier does not carry Brimstone – it was to be fitted with the same prior to SDSR 2010. But the Apache helicopter deploys Hellfire, the equivalent of Brimstone, as well as 30 mm cannon fire.

Harrier and Apache are both maritime capable aircraft that have been designed specifically for the Close Air Support task. Both have supported our ground forces in Afghanistan extremely well – unlike the Tornado which is not fully suited to the Close Air Support task.

Official MoD sources (RAF?) should be taken to task on the lies and obfuscation that they present to the press.
What does Italy have to do with this?
As the Harrier II Plus fighter rips down the runway and launches into the skies on a mission to Libya, chaplain Vincenzo Caiazzo is on deck in his dog collar to see it safely off.

The amiable chaplain has been with the ITS Garibaldi — the flagship for NATO's embargo mission — since October, when he signed up to provide troops on the light aircraft carrier with psychological support.

"It's a whole other world. There are exciting moments and others when some of the guys feel frustrated or homesick," said Don Vincenzo, who swapped his parish in southern Italy for masses held amidst acrid oil fumes in the bowels of the flattop.

"He brings us a welcome oasis of calm," said one young officer as another fighter shot off down the 174 metre long runway with a shuddering roar, sending shock waves through the Garibaldi.

Normality, for those manning the enormous carrier, is blaring sirens, blinking warning lights and sailors sprinting up ladders, down warren-like corridors and into crowded control rooms.

Political spats about the cost and wisdom of taking on Libya are not an issue on board ship, where radars scan the sea for suspect vessels and helicopters and fighters engaged in civilian protection touch base.

"I've just got back off a mission, we're going to have a quick debrief and then a much-needed wind down," said a tired-looking pilot after clambering out of his tiny cockpit and collapsing in a chair in the mess room.

Though the details of his sortie were confidential, an official in the command centre who asked to remain anonymous said it had been "successful", though he would not confirm reports the jet had deployed one of its missiles.
There should be a Royal Navy Carrier there right now. Instead - we have the Italians and the French using what little they have. Carriers cannot deploy forever.

When they leave?

One final note - listen to Admiral Lord West.

42 comments:

ewok40k said...

look for more pocket carriers in unusual places...
Italy? check
Spain? check
Thailand? check
Japan? - they dont classify them like that yet, and dont have Harriers, but I bet when F-35 goes online they will consider it...

FDNF Squid said...

Don't believe the JMSDF built a nearly 700ft 'DDH' (and plan to build an even bigger one) for s&its and giggles, that was just to be IAW Article 9 of their post WW2 Constitution....they'll be flying STOVL Tacair from those decks within a decade!

Retired Now said...

"pocket carriers" are just toys.....   for "showing the flag" primarily.

LHA-6 USS AMERICA will displace well over 40,000 tons when she deploys later this decade.

HMS ARK ROYAL recently decomm'ed and displaced only 22,000 long tons total.

The size of LHA-6 really dwarfs French, Spainish, Italian, Japanese, etc. large deck amphibs/pocket carriers.   Just chew on  this fact:  LHA-6 will be carrying about 7,000 tons of just cargo aviation fuel.  Not counting own ship propulsion fuel, V-22, helo's, jump jets, ordnance, etc.    7,000 tons is a large number, bigger than all the world's frigates.     You can bet your retired monthly paycheck that HMS Ark Royal sized "pocket carriers" don't carry 2 million gallons of JP-5 reserved just for their air wing.   Unfortunately,  USS AMERICA may likely end up in the hands of Navy air-dales vice Marine Corps pilots, so LHA-6 might qualify was a super-pocket carrier !   Certainly not in the same category as the toys being operated by Japan, France, Italy, Thailand, and formerly by UK. 

Retired Now said...

"pocket carriers" are just toys.....   for "showing the flag" primarily.

LHA-6 USS AMERICA will displace well over 40,000 tons when she deploys later this decade.

HMS ARK ROYAL recently decomm'ed and displaced only 22,000 long tons total.

The size of LHA-6 really dwarfs French, Spainish, Italian, Japanese, etc. large deck amphibs/pocket carriers.   Just chew on  this fact:  LHA-6 will be carrying about 7,000 tons of just cargo aviation fuel.  Not counting own ship propulsion fuel, V-22, helo's, jump jets, ordnance, etc.    7,000 tons is a large number, bigger than all the world's frigates.     You can bet your retired monthly paycheck that HMS Ark Royal sized "pocket carriers" don't carry 2 million gallons of JP-5 reserved just for their air wing.   Unfortunately,  USS AMERICA may likely end up in the hands of Navy air-dales vice Marine Corps pilots, so LHA-6 might qualify was a super-pocket carrier !   Certainly not in the same category as the toys being operated by Japan, France, Italy, Thailand, and formerly by UK. 

ewok40k said...

RN managed to take the Falklands back with just 2 "toy carriers"... do not underestimate them. Of course that means with LHA-6 USN gets good deal of strike airwing, to be sure.  But in realities of second class navies, pocket carrier offers tremendous deal of capability for a price. And I expect them to pop up in more places within aptly named G-20.

Salty Gator said...

Ewok, I disagree with you.  The American pocket carrier, LHA-6, will not have the space in the hangar to execute an engine swap.  that means you will have to do it topside, and yes, you will have to cancel all flight deck ops to do that.  Additionally, you will have to drop that engine in via a CH-53 because you can't UNREP it.  You won't carry enough planes or people to do "around the clock" air operations.  And if you take on the defensive counter air mission, your strike potential is even more limited by sortie rate.  LHA's give a tremendous capability, IN SUPPORT OF AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS.  however they should not be viewed as long range strike assets.
Now, let's remember that starting with LHA 8, we're going to be putting a well deck back in there.  Which means, you guessed it, even LESS hangar space and LESS aircraft on board!  HOWEVER, you will be better at accomplishing the real mission, AMPHIBIOUS WARFARE!

butch said...

Not sure you should classify USS AMERICA as an L-type without a well deck; CV would be more accurate.

Salty Gator said...

Navy Air Dales don't fly F-35Bs.  Don't understand your point.

Wharf Rat said...

Quick question:  There were 3 carriers of that class.  The name Ark Royal keeps coming up, but the RN still has one in commission.  But the few pieces I've read that state the one left is not harrier capable?  Or, is it simply because their are no more Harriers able to fly?

My point - if they have a carrier still in commission, what prevents them from reactivating harriers if they're complaining about not having them?

Of course - it's money.

Wharf Rat said...

I can understand why you might say that, but the fact is the it's a marine airwing, so it's an amphib.  But the fact is - this is an LHA.  It's going to carry 2,000 marines.  They may not be using LCAC's, but they are an assault group, on an assault ship.  Not typically was a CVN/CV does.

SouthernAP said...

South Korea has a Escort Carrier as well. When the JMSDF announce they were building new helicopter cruisers to replaced the Haruna class of helicopter desroyers. A number of nations that use to be extra special friends of the Imperial Japanese Government sought to build something to offset that the Hyuga class helicopter cruisers. So the South Koreans built the Dokdo class of amphibious support ship. The problem is that if you look at when time some of those other ships deployed there are some serious questions. Just as the SPS Principe De Asturias and the HTMS Chakri Naruebet haven't seen open ocean in about four or five years. I know I sailed with the SPS Principe De Asturias back in 2007 during a NATO exercise off the coast of Morocco when I was with CVW-3. Even now with NATO conducting operations in Libya it would only seem right to see the Spanish Carrier just off the coast even if it was operating as the ready SAR asset, instead carriers are expensive to operate and the Spanish government that came into power in 2005 has chosen to retreat from world events.

SouthernAP said...

The Fleet Air Arm does not exsist anymore again in the UK. Most of the aircraft that now fly off the decks are RAF Harriers or RAF helicopters. The Sea Harrier was more expensive to fly then the RAF variants simply cause the Sea Harrier F/A.2 had the same air intercept radar that was installed in the pure fighter version of the Tornado. Which if I remember right from talking to friends in the UK defense establishment, had more issues then the USN's submarine torpedoes during World War 2. Plus add in that it would have been cost-prohbitive to upgrade the Sea Harrier to the latest GPS guidance packages. So the MoD decided it was easier to cut the albatross from their neck as an attempt to appease thier political overlords, all in an attempt to preserve some form of defense. I would also note that the retirement of the Sea Harrier was completely dependent on the fact that the F-35 variants would be ready for flight testing/conversion training by the end of the decade.

Amazing what happens when you build a defense plan on a house of cards with a two year old child in the house as well.

leesea said...

wet well docks do NOT define an L-type ship, ask any LST sailor~
Besides the LHA-6 is a amphib focused on airborne assault, what does it need a wet well for when most of the large tactical equipment and supplies are on the LPDs and LSDs.

Retired Now said...

Good Point.   Wondering if perhaps LHA-6 and LHA-7 carbon copy will be fatally flawed for jump jets op's ?    Max sustained speed for LHA-6 is predicted to be 22 knots wide open.   LHA-6/7 both will have some extra protection on their flight decks to handle the incredibly  hot F-35B downward exhausts.     And both LHA-6/7 will carry plenty of JP-5 fuel onboard.  

Question:  when you load up an F-35B with a couple of guided weapons, and fuel her fully,   can these jump jets make it off the decks and actually fly ?    What if there is only 5 knots of wind ?   Can F-35B's take off with less than 30 knots wind over deck ?    Fully loaded with fuel and some weapons hanging beneath each wing ?

What if there was zero knots of true wind speed ?   And it's 120 degrees in the shade inside the Persian Gulf ?   Can a fully fueled and armed F-35B get off the LHA-6/7 flight deck with only 22 knots of relative wind across the deck ?    Too bad these two new Gator's are so slow.   They might gain a few knots if they left off 5 or 6,000 tons of JP-5 fuel ?     Hope there is no fatal flaw in the Navy's plans for these large deck amphib's.  

Retired Now said...

Good Point.   Wondering if perhaps LHA-6 and LHA-7 carbon copy will be fatally flawed for jump jets op's ?    Max sustained speed for LHA-6 is predicted to be 22 knots wide open.   LHA-6/7 both will have some extra protection on their flight decks to handle the incredibly  hot F-35B downward exhausts.     And both LHA-6/7 will carry plenty of JP-5 fuel onboard.  

Question:  when you load up an F-35B with a couple of guided weapons, and fuel her fully,   can these jump jets make it off the decks and actually fly ?    What if there is only 5 knots of wind ?   Can F-35B's take off with less than 30 knots wind over deck ?    Fully loaded with fuel and some weapons hanging beneath each wing ?

What if there was zero knots of true wind speed ?   And it's 120 degrees in the shade inside the Persian Gulf ?   Can a fully fueled and armed F-35B get off the LHA-6/7 flight deck with only 22 knots of relative wind across the deck ?    Too bad these two new Gator's are so slow.   They might gain a few knots if they left off 5 or 6,000 tons of JP-5 fuel ?     Hope there is no fatal flaw in the Navy's plans for these large deck amphib's.  

Retired Now said...

Good Point.   Wondering if perhaps LHA-6 and LHA-7 carbon copy will be fatally flawed for jump jets op's ?    Max sustained speed for LHA-6 is predicted to be 22 knots wide open.   LHA-6/7 both will have some extra protection on their flight decks to handle the incredibly  hot F-35B downward exhausts.     And both LHA-6/7 will carry plenty of JP-5 fuel onboard.  

Question:  when you load up an F-35B with a couple of guided weapons, and fuel her fully,   can these jump jets make it off the decks and actually fly ?    What if there is only 5 knots of wind ?   Can F-35B's take off with less than 30 knots wind over deck ?    Fully loaded with fuel and some weapons hanging beneath each wing ?

What if there was zero knots of true wind speed ?   And it's 120 degrees in the shade inside the Persian Gulf ?   Can a fully fueled and armed F-35B get off the LHA-6/7 flight deck with only 22 knots of relative wind across the deck ?    Too bad these two new Gator's are so slow.   They might gain a few knots if they left off 5 or 6,000 tons of JP-5 fuel ?     Hope there is no fatal flaw in the Navy's plans for these large deck amphib's.  

Retired Now said...

the above was a reply to Salty Gator comments (below).

Sanem said...

an interesting argument
although the most efficient system for fighting Lybia would actually be the UAV. which would also be the weapon of choice for Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, distaster relief like in Japan... and that for only $10 million each
yet the UK is putting billions into two huge carriers and a fleet of the most expensive fighters, which would still be way less effective and efficient than UAVs in say Lybia
by that logic, efficiency is last thing the RN is worried about

ewok40k said...

Spain has lots of internal troubles right now, about 30% unemplyment in the under 30 age sector, popular protests, the last thing government needs is unpopular military intervention... Though Principe de Asturias would be certainly of use off Libyan coast. I didnt knew Koreans created their own helo carrier, though. Who's next, Taiwan? Vietnam? Indonesia? Australia maybe? I bet both Argentina and Brasil will repalce their old carriers in the near future too. And btw that carrierless gap is spelling baaad karma towards RN capability to keep Falklands.

ewok40k said...

they have put their faith - and money - in weapons that needed to be developed while neglecting existing capability... and it backfired badly. lessons to be learned?

steeljawscribe said...

BTW, where are you going to dump the V-22's so your deck multiple comes down to an easier to manage number with F-35Bs making STO's but still keep them (relatively) available? 
FDR's final deployment in mid-70's is an interesting case study for mixed fixed/VSTOL ops (painful, but showed it could be done), but one ofthe critical factors contiubuting to the ability to conduct mixed ops was the angle deck - notably absent on the LHA-6/7...
w/r, SJS

Squidly said...

Ironically, the last USS AMERICA (CV-66) also carried 2 million gallons of JP-5 (plus another 2 million of F-76).

James said...

The San Paulo is coming out of a LONG refit and upgrade. So i expect her to stay operation for atleast another decade. But yea they could afford building one if they wanted.

James said...

Yes but the carriers allow both ampib ops by troops if nessesary and far faster reaction times for fighters as well as chopper ops.

Believe me want to see what happens when you say "hey we dont need a navy or carriers anymore we have! "<span>inscert magic weapon"</span> like we did before Korea. There is a reason the US has invested SO much into carriers and the way to safeguard them. Because really for long distances they are the only effective way of fighting a war.

Squidly said...

ITN orginally had a problem with GARIBALDI...when first commissioned they weren't allowed to operate STOVL from it due to "legal issues" (can't remember if constitutional or Montreaux considerations wre in play at the time).  It was, for many years, a carrier sans aircraft.

Squidly said...

<span>HTMS Chakri Naruebet, otherwise known as the royal cruise ship...</span>

MR T's Haircut said...

I was reminded of England's Glory as a Major Sea Power in 1805 when I was watching Master and Commander. That a 40 year old frigate would chase a French Man O War around the Horn to engage in combat spoke of a time when honor was everything and a world power was judged by her Navy. Napolean was defeated because he could not muster a Naval Force... WE are a Maritime Nation, yet we pretend we are not... look at the facts... look at China.

SouthernAP said...

Well the Aussies were looking at trying to get a ship similar in design to the Spanish Gator Juan Carlos 1. They calling this the HMAS Canberra class of ships. They are buying them to help power project just in the South China Sea, Coral Sea, Bismarck Sea, and a few other places close to home for themselves. However, the Aussies own issues with ship procurement and purchasing could make the fools running the LPD-17 and LCS look like rocket scientists. See the HMAS Collins Class of diesel/electric attack submarines and that sorry affairOh and does anyone know that thier own homegrown US$8bn destroyer follow on to replace the HMAS Perth class is overbudget and hasn't even left the drawing boards yet. So there are questions of whether or not the Aussies will be able to afford the Canberra Class or whether it will be a pipedream like what the HMAS Melbourne became after the retreat of the RN from west of the Suez in the 1960's.

If you take a serious look around except for a few places, and as the CDR has been banging the gong on now for years, most folks are depending on our muscle so they can afford social programs. It just isn't NATO, but very true as well for a good chunk of our friends in the Pacific as well.

English Bastard said...

Let us be frank about the Ark Royal.

She had absolutely no material worth: a "carrier" holding 20 aircraft inc.13 strike?

No, anyone in Civilised Europe would wish that the UK would build 4 straightforward carriers of the same design (possibly including CANZ) carrying 60 planes that could come all over the tits and lips of any adversary rather than have a stupid dildo of an American frigate shoved up our twat and we find it impressive.

Britain´s phuqued...

LT Rusty said...

I have no idea whatsoever what you just said - cf. GB Shaw - but I think it might have been something I like.  Not sure, though.

Aubrey said...

Yes, we are in fact two countries divided by a common language...

Aubrey said...

Errr, isn't a carrier with no aircraft basically a floating strip club?

(Damn, I AM feeling snarky today!)

Aubrey said...

Isn't Austal an Oz company?  Give 'em LCS-2 and tell 'em to put the CV module on it!  Bingo, everyone's problems solved!

Salty Gator said...

Retired Now,
It will be interesting to see what the delta in the F-35B environmental effects is between what the SWAG analysis said (LHA (R) design) and what the actual data says (PAX RIVER test bed).  It would be tragic to find out that the flight decks on LHA 6, 7 need significant re-work after they are built in order to meet the External Environment / Cornerstone modifications.  Expected, but tragic none the less.

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

Funny, I read the Brit five by five.

Musta been Hong Kong stories I heard on the midwatch.

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

No, but the odds that several of it's fan rooms might be, mmm, inconceivable.

ewok40k said...

d'oh, Aubrey, dont speak that in loud voice, someone in DC can have idea od LCS based F-35... and try to force it to Navy...
(for uninitiated - I bet F-35 engine heat would melt LCS flight deck or set it ablaze...)

Salty Gator said...

leesea,

beaching an amphib doesn't make sense in 21st century warfare.  LSTs do not have enough topside space and weight allowance to allow for all of the self defense and C4I communications systems that they need.  I have done the analysis, have the specs, and can speak to them. As for an LHA needing a well deck, the vehicle squared and cubed requirements for the 2024 MEB have gone up exponentially from what previous MEB requriements have.  Simply put:  even if we chucked all of our existing LSDs and turned them into LPD 17s with even more cargo space, we would still be dink.  You need your big decks to be able to carry LCACs.  Period.  You need the gear to support the Ground Combat Element.  ACE requirements have grown as well; however, if you want to prosecute objectives inland you need two things:  a well deck on LHA(R) and MPF(F) (also with a well deck)

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Salty,

Disagree that beaching an LST doesn't make sense in 21st century warfare.  As a carrier to follow-on echelons which would otherwise be in on-call waves using LCUs and amphib vehicles, it is a very desirable capability to have.  Even in 1943 the LST did not land its cargo until the beachhead was secure. 

Working with 2024 MEB numbers now, and while larger than current MEB SQ/CU requirements, not exponentially so.  I would caution, also, building bigger and bigger amphibs, where the loss of one from the ARG means mission failure.  Putting some of your eggs (your motivated, short-haired, green eggs!) in smaller baskets (LSDs, LSTs) has its value in reducing operational risk.

Salty Gator said...

URR, a series of very good points. I'd love to continue this discussion on the SIPRNET.  If you are interested, Byron has my real name.  From there, I'm in the Navy GAL.

Hopefully MPFF will be able to fill some of what we are talking about.  The amphibs do need to be able to defend themselves against ASCMs and small boats, especially as we get closer to the shore now to set up our line of departure with the death of the EFV.  the shooters will only come in so close to set up the missle picket.  And you will have leakers from that pickett.  Even if you think that you have pacified the beachhead and surrounding areas, remember that it only takes two assholes driving a pickup with a small trailer to launch a C-802.  Ask the Israelis about that!

steeljawscribe said...

...and at what penalty in terms of topside weight?

steeljawscribe said...

...and at what penalty in terms of topside weight?