Questions for your thoughts please

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HeyfordDave111
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Questions for your thoughts please

Post by HeyfordDave111 »

Hi chaps, with the imminent withdrawal of the Tornado, i got to thinking.....dangerous i know :biggrin:

Is the USAF the biggest air force (fighter / bombers / logistics / tankers) in the UK at this time? thinking F-15's, tankers, etc? Obviously we have more helicopters but that's about it isn't it?

And i'm also thinking 'mission capable' rather than "we have a strategic reserve to call upon should Ivan or Europe decide to come calling".

Also if we decided to go to war with those pesky Argentinians again, how long would it take, in your opinions, to generate a big enough effective force to take back the Falklands?

I hope this can bring about some good healthy debate and thoughts, as i don't have a 'Scooby', myself.
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cg_341
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by cg_341 »

So I'm going to ignore the SOG element of USAFE as there's no comparable UK force:

RAF Lakenheath - ~75 F-15C/D/E
RAF Mildenhall - ~15 KC-135R/T

RAF Coningsby - ~54 Typhoon FGR.4, if you don't include 29(R) then that's ~40 Typhoon FGR.4
RAF Lossiemouth - ~45 Typhoon FGR.4
RAF Marham - 9 Lightning II
RAF Brize Norton - 12 Hercules C.4, 6 Hercules C.5 (I think these are due to be retired?), 9 Voyager KC.2/3

Short answer is no, but not by much.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Spiny Norman »

It wouldn't be possible to mount a Falklands-type operation, unless a country like Argentina allowed bases to be used...

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Ouragan
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Ouragan »

I think the 48th FW have about 72 F-15s, though what the daily availability rate is I would not like to guess. The RAF has over 100 Typhoons, but how many of them are available on a daily rate is, again, unclear.

As regards the Falklands, have you seen the capabilities (or lack of) of Argentina's armed forces recently? Their Skyhawk force is in single figures, they have no Mirages, no amphibious landing capability, and the tragic loss of the ARA San Juan two years ago shows what state the rest of the Navy is in. Add to that the country is broke and I think you'll find that having another go at the Falklands is furthest from their minds. And that's even before you look at the readiness and capabilities of our forces based in the Falklands.

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st24
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by st24 »

I always recall a news report back in late 1979 or so when the A-10s started to arrive at Bentwaters/Woodbridge stating that after full deployment the US would have more combat aircraft in the UK than the RAF. I still find that hard to believe considering the variety and number of types back then - Vulcan, Buccaneer, Phantom, Lightning, Jaguar, Harrier vs 7 Sqns of F-111s, (ultimately) 6 of A-10s, 1of RF-4Cs and F-5Es. Perhaps they meant offensive/strike types which would make more sense - it was a long time ago!! :tumbleweed:
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Brevet Cable »

Ouragan wrote:Add to that the country is broke and I think you'll find that having another go at the Falklands is furthest from their minds.

That's one of the reasons they had a go last time around, though.

And that's even before you look at the readiness and capabilities of our forces based in the Falklands.

Unless/until we have a drawdown of those forces and - as with the last time - give the impression we aren't interested in the FI.
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CJS
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by CJS »

Brevet Cable wrote:
Ouragan wrote:Add to that the country is broke and I think you'll find that having another go at the Falklands is furthest from their minds.

That's one of the reasons they had a go last time around, though.



They'd be having a go with the same aircraft they had a go with last time Yes I know, not the A-4s... - I'd fancy our chances I think :surrender:
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AMB
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by AMB »

Spiny Norman wrote:It wouldn't be possible to mount a Falklands-type operation, unless a country like Argentina allowed bases to be used...

That's a double-edged sword question? If we had to mount a Falklands-type operation, Argentina would be the LAST country to allow us to use its bases, as we would be defending the Falklands against Argentina! Shortly we WILL be able to mount such an operation, when enough F-35s are delivered and embarked in HMS Queen Elizabeth - isn't that what the ship and aircraft are for? Merlins are already on board and it only takes some Army Apaches to join them.
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ericbee123
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by ericbee123 »

Argentina has a lot less of what they had in the 1980s

We have Tomahawk enabled nuclear attack submarines , Apache helicopters, one QE class carrier, with another soon to be starting sea trials, arguably the most capable air defence destroyers in the world, Sea Ceptor enabled frigates, 2 Albion class Assault Ships equipped with close in defence weapons, Bay Class Landing Ships, a plethora of heavily armoured , proven assault vehicles, troops that have been fighting almost constantly since 1980, better personal armour, better personal weapons, better support weapons, hovercraft

That’s not to mention Typhoons based on the islands with about 1500 troops stationed there with undisclosed modern defensive weapons.

Argentina are not taking the Falklands and if br a miracle they did, the only feasible war the U.K. could undertake on any grand scale is an Amphibious Assault with Carrier Strike. Bad news for Argentina and we only get stronger in this role as the decade rolls on,and we get more F35s and another carrier.

The U.K. is now equipped to fight the Falklands, as I guess we will be equipped for desert warfare about 40 years from now !! We always gear up for the last big war not the next !!
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Adie1980
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Adie1980 »

cg_341 wrote:So I'm going to ignore the SOG element of USAFE as there's no comparable UK force:

RAF Lakenheath - ~75 F-15C/D/E
RAF Mildenhall - ~15 KC-135R/T

RAF Coningsby - ~54 Typhoon FGR.4, if you don't include 29(R) then that's ~40 Typhoon FGR.4
RAF Lossiemouth - ~45 Typhoon FGR.4
RAF Marham - 9 Lightning II
RAF Brize Norton - 12 Hercules C.4, 6 Hercules C.5 (I think these are due to be retired?), 9 Voyager KC.2/3

Short answer is no, but not by much.


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Ouragan
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Ouragan »

ericbee123 wrote:Argentina has a lot less of what they had in the 1980s

We have Tomahawk enabled nuclear attack submarines , Apache helicopters, one QE class carrier, with another soon to be starting sea trials, arguably the most capable air defence destroyers in the world, Sea Ceptor enabled frigates, 2 Albion class Assault Ships equipped with close in defence weapons, Bay Class Landing Ships, a plethora of heavily armoured , proven assault vehicles, troops that have been fighting almost constantly since 1980, better personal armour, better personal weapons, better support weapons, hovercraft

That’s not to mention Typhoons based on the islands with about 1500 troops stationed there with undisclosed modern defensive weapons.

Argentina are not taking the Falklands and if br a miracle they did, the only feasible war the U.K. could undertake on any grand scale is an Amphibious Assault with Carrier Strike. Bad news for Argentina and we only get stronger in this role as the decade rolls on,and we get more F35s and another carrier.

The U.K. is now equipped to fight the Falklands, as I guess we will be equipped for desert warfare about 40 years from now !! We always gear up for the last big war not the next !!


Indeed. Many people, however, believe that any future conflict with Argentina over the Falklands would be a repeat of 1982. Then it was to retake, this time it would be defend and reinforce. In 1982 there was a platoon of Royal Marines; as you say we have rather a larger force insitu now. If we lost the Falklands to an attack and invasion something very seriously would have gone wrong.

Argentina has one amphibious transport ship, the Bahia San Blas, which would have to reach the Falklands without being detected by British forces. She may also be able to drop paratroopers from its C-130s, if they too could manage to get by the air surveillance radar. It could send A-4s as an escort, but I wouldn't fancy their chances against RAF Typhoons -arguably the most capable fighter aircraft anywhere in South America. I think it would be fair to say that any C-130s disgorging paras would also find themselves in the sights of the Typhoons or ground-based Rapiers very quickly. Special forces could be landed to take out the various defences, but the size of that operation would entail more than a handful of commandoes offloaded by submarine. In all of this Argentina would have to prepare its forces without any hint to the outside world to prevent any reinforcement by British forces before it started its operation -the first of which will have arrived within 24 hours of being notified.

I might be accused of being complacent, but it does not take Sun Tzu to work out that while the British garrison is maintained in the Falklands a fresh attempt to take the islands would be an even bigger humiliation than last time for Argentina and political suicide for the country's leadership who, unlike 1982, are elected into office rather than not having to bother with such trivialities as democracy and public opinion.

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Brevet Cable »

Ouragan wrote:I might be accused of being complacent, but it does not take Sun Tzu to work out that while the British garrison is maintained in the Falklands a fresh attempt to take the islands would be an even bigger humiliation than last time for Argentina

Hence my comment about potential future drawdowns of forces ( and not just those based on the FI ) and future SDSRs.
We'd also need the military leadership capable of using those forces & weaponry effectively - look at the bad decision-making & utter cock-ups during Operation Corporate.....Our military have just spent the last couple of decades concentrating on fighting insurgencies & even the Americans have now realised that they have to get back to training for conventional warfare against well-equipped opposition.
We deployed more Destroyers & Frigates for Corporate than we actually have in total now.
Ditto the various type of Landing Ships.
Ditto Aircraft Carriers.
Not to mention the dozens of STUFTs used.
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Abbo46
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Abbo46 »

The above is precisely the reason we've recently been involved in "Trident Juncture" and other associated exercises.

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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Spiny Norman »

AMB wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:It wouldn't be possible to mount a Falklands-type operation, unless a country like Argentina allowed bases to be used...

That's a double-edged sword question? If we had to mount a Falklands-type operation, Argentina would be the LAST country to allow us to use its bases, as we would be defending the Falklands against Argentina! Shortly we WILL be able to mount such an operation, when enough F-35s are delivered and embarked in HMS Queen Elizabeth - isn't that what the ship and aircraft are for? Merlins are already on board and it only takes some Army Apaches to join them.


Forgive my facetiousness, but the point I was making was to retake the Falklands as in 1982 we are up a south American creek without a funnel. The UK aircraft carriers will be ready at some point in the future but they're not ready now, and I'm sure once they are we could sail down and mount another invasion. It's an interesting exercise which I'm sure has been mounted in the halls of Sandhurst, Cranwell, etc.

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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Brevet Cable »

Abbo46 wrote:The above is precisely the reason we've recently been involved in "Trident Juncture" and other associated exercises.

All of which are contingents of various sizes from a multitude of Countries.
What the Americans are looking at is a series of 'one-on-one' exercises run as 'free play' ( no set scenarios or phases, they'll be allowed to develop on the fly ) operations......the first ones scheduled are at 29 Palms, which will be USMC versus the Royal Marines.
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Abbo46 »

Wasn't aware of that, thanks for the info. :up:

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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by starbuck »

Brevet Cable wrote:We deployed more Destroyers & Frigates for Corporate than we actually have in total now.
Ditto the various type of Landing Ships.
Ditto Aircraft Carriers.
Not to mention the dozens of STUFTs used.


And that's providing the Type 45's we do have can get off the wall, still at least it's not that hot in the Falklands! I know the S1850M has a decent range on it but I think it might struggle to pick up anything coming out of Argentina from South railway jetty. :grin:

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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by pbeardmore »

I think there are other things to consider like behind the scenes infrastructure. It's not just about how many ships, it's about putting everything together quickly and effectively. One of the great stories within the Falklands War was how quickly the Task Force was out together. When you think about the logistics, it was an amazing effort.

I wonder if behind the scene cuts plus the creeping privatisation would mean we would struggle now to do things so quickly?

A also remember reading One Hundred Days and how the author was convinced that we coud not win with just one carrier. I know the tech has changed but I wonder if it could be done with one carrier? The other factor is how the layout of the Task Force provided several layers of defence, making the carrier hard to hit? Could we do that now?

One last thought, we have great tech but how much of it has been tested under such dreadful conditions?
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Brevet Cable »

starbuck wrote:And that's providing the Type 45's we do have can get off the wall, still at least it's not that hot in the Falklands!

Funny you should say that....I think two of the T-45s are currently undergoing 18-month-long refits to sort out the propulsion issues & the rest are due to follow over the course of the next few years.

And not forgetting that both the T-45s & T-23s have a number of 'fitted for not with' systems.

pbeardmore wrote:I think there are other things to consider like behind the scenes infrastructure. It's not just about how many ships, it's about putting everything together quickly and effectively. One of the great stories within the Falklands War was how quickly the Task Force was out together. When you think about the logistics, it was an amazing effort

Aided by having enough British-owned/registered shipping companies to get the required STUFTs from.
Can you imagine Cunard lending the RN one of it's 'Queen's these days?
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by starbuck »

Brevet Cable wrote:Aided by having enough British-owned/registered shipping companies to get the required STUFTs from.
Can you imagine Cunard lending the RN one of it's 'Queen's these days?


Actually I can. Cruise ships is one of the areas where there has been a large growth in the British register since 1982.

With the ending of the Cold War do you think that we could rely on the help of NATO now? We have conducted real ops as part of a NATO force now in various theatres around the world which we hadn't done before 82. If Argentina invaded would it be a NATO taskforce that went south?

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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Tmyers123 »

starbuck wrote:With the ending of the Cold War do you think that we could rely on the help of NATO now? We have conducted real ops as part of a NATO force now in various theatres around the world which we hadn't done before 82. If Argentina invaded would it be a NATO taskforce that went south?


We wouldn’t need help. :grin:

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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by HeyfordDave111 »

Well one things for sure....... not enough tankers to fly the triangle on a round robin from Ascension. Actually........ no tin triangle available either.

How about enough Nimrod type aircraft? do we have enough Ars.....sorry, Air....seekers available for long range Maritime patrols?

Certainly anything flat topped like a container ship wont be able to carry F-35's, even if we had enough, which i'm not sure we have (serviceable at any one time) they couldn't take off from a container top for fear of melting it, and then the legs of the 35B are so short, they would need to be well within 200 miles and have a tanker handy, which makes a lovely target.

Do we have enough proper ships to defend a 'flat top'? I know the Americans have a proper task force.... 1 or 2 subs permanently detached to the carriers, then picket ships out a distance, with others, plus some AWACS aircraft positioned out a fare way form the carrier group etc.

Could we seriously do something like that to protect the carrier? I seem to remember when asked about our carrier, the Russians said 'it makes a big target'.

Please don't think i'm doing the UK military down here, i'm just after opinions and general thoughts.
If the Argies couldnt best us, then who could....... Canadians? Australians? Japanese? Windward Islands?

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Abbo46
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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Abbo46 »

In terms of carrier capability, we are/will be the second most capable country in the world.

I can't see why we wouldn't be able to muster the amount of ships necessary to protect a carrier, I believe the plan for deployments is to follow the US lead and station subs a certain distance away from the main flotilla to counter any potential threat.

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Re: Questions for your thoughts please

Post by Tmyers123 »

HeyfordDave111 wrote:Could we seriously do something like that to protect the carrier? I seem to remember when asked about our carrier, the Russians said 'it makes a big target'.


Ironic, I imagine it’s quite easy to see the Kuznetsov with all that smoke bellowing out of it, it looks like it’s powered by coal!

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