Monday, 25 April 2016

BSEs problem

Matthew Goodwin on the state of referendum polling…
“Once again, the latest opinion polls bring more evidence of an ‘enthusiasm gap’ that exists between Remainers and Leavers. It is the Brexiteers who consistently appear more committed to turning out on June 23rd. To give only one example, last week 72 per cent of voters who said they were planning to vote Leave said they were ‘absolutely certain to vote’. The equivalent figure among Remain voters? 63 per cent.
You can also see this problem for the Remain camp from another angle. According to the most recent poll by ICM, 83 per cent of Ukip voters, who spend their days dreaming of Brexit, say they are ‘certain to vote’. This compares to the notably lower figures of 67 per cent for the generally demoralised Liberal Democrat voters and 64 per cent of Labour voters, some of whom will still be confused about whether Jeremy Corbyn likes or loathes the European Union. This could be a very real problem for Remain.”

BSE has a problem.
Its campaign has been resolutely negative on every front.
Effectively, the EU is shit, but leaving is shitter.

This might be an effective message to stop people voting to leave, however its going to be at least as effective in stopping people voting at all.
Its still two months away, but the only people talking about it in my world are the political fanatics, and even then, they are primarily the leavers from both ends of the spectrum, maybe 5 to 1.

The odds are still strongly favouring remain, but unless things pick up after the locals, BSEs in trouble.

Resistance by Existence

Maintaining the ability to employ force, is, particularly for the weaker side in a conflict, usually a better stratagem than employing and losing the ability to further employ force.

This is a topic that I've danced around a few times at Navy Matters and finally have a coherent idea of, at least coherent for me.

Day one of a war, the aggressor launches large scale airstrikes with escorting CAPs to destroy enemy C4i, ground based air defences and interceptors.
The defender obliges by launching all of his fighters and activating his air defences.

One side wins, one loses, either the defenders destroy enough of the day one strike to prevent a day two strike, or the aggressors destroy so much of the defenders ability to resist that they can run rampant from then on.

A day one F18 strike might be 6 air to air missiles, 2 anti radiation missiles and 3 guided bombs,
A day two F18 strike might be 2 air to air missiles, 2 anti radiation missiles and 7 guided bombs.
No need to carry the extra air to air if you have already shot down the enemy air force

If you dont fancy your chances destroying the enemy airforce on day one, you can, to a point, force day one to occur over and over and over.

If you maintain the ability to launch 30 interceptors, you force the enemy to maintain a very large fighter force escorting its strike packages, every air to air missile carried and returned unfired is a bomb not dropped.
If you maintain the ability to turn on an IADS and inflict heavy losses on a strike package, you force said package to fly jammers, to fly indirect routes, to fly low, to make a single pass to sight and engage the target.

The aggressor cant overfly at medium altitude and laze its own targets if theres a risk that suddenly a few dozen launchers will pop up and shoot back,
The aggressor cant fly essentially unescorted bomber wings if theres a risk that suddenly afew dozen fighters will launch and engage them.

Simply existing is a viable resistance.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Chinese Steel isnt going away

Walling out Chinese Steel is easy, the problem is, its useless, we would need to wall it in, and thats impossible.

EUrope can wall out chinese steel, quite easily, but to what end?
Turkey is rapidly growing its light manufacturing industry, white goods, like washing machines and fridges, its doing so at the expense of places like Portugal and Italy.
If Turkey has access to significantly cheaper steel than Portugal and Italy, that its only going to get more difficult for Portugal and Italy

A tax on the import of steel used for train tracks can rapidly lead to the import of train tracks instead.

There are only 43 countries in the world that make even small quantities of steel, the remaining 140 are going to buy it wherever its cheapest, and thats going to be China.
If the EU and US team up, they can wall off a large portion of the worlds steel demand from Chinas access, but they cant prevent that steel demand relocating to a location where it can access cheap Chinese steel.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A follow on F16

Pakistan is trying to buy 8 new top spec F16s, at a contract price of $87.5mn per aircraft, $70.5mn per aircraft and another $17mn of support costs, spares, munitions, training and such.

The F35 is currently coming it at around about double that.

I like to consider myself fairly neutral on the F35, its not a wonder weapon, nor will it be "clubbed like a baby seal", but thats a significant amount of money.

Much of the world is relatively poor and, from a conventional war point of view, relatively peaceful.  The F35 could be the greatest thing in the world, but if that mattered, we would all drive Bugatti Veyrons, what much of the world needs, is far more modest.

Even today, The A4 Skyhawk, upgraded, is still in front line service, as is the Mirage series, operated because they are cheap, and although barely competent, they remain competent.

A new F16, built around ease of maintenance and operation, with modern equipment, built around reliability and ease of replacement rather than cutting edge performance would likely have a huge market.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The ANSF is going to go on the offensive....

No longer will the ANA be tied down at check points throughout the country, it is going to consolidate in strategic areas, wait, what, that doesnt sound like it is going on the offence, it sounds like its retreating to its supports....

Musah Quala and Now Zad have already been abandoned, Lashkar Gah isnt expected to remain within ANA control by the end of Summer.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Political Odds 11.04.16

The odds appear to be shifting somewhat, the Tories are still favorites by a vast margin, but Labour are slowly advancing, reaching very unlikely, rather than laughing stock...

Monday, 4 April 2016

Moderate suicide bombers.....

The Moderate Rebels are trying to reopen a corridor in to Homs, with suicide bombers....
Because nothing says moderate like suicide bombing...

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Is Russia being tested?

I wonder if people have seen Russian wrath in Georgia, Ukraine, and now Syria, and decided that actually, they can win.
Scary as the Russian Beast is on paper, it is demonstrating a marginally better throw weight than France has, or the UK will have once QE goes live.

36 jets, some attack helicopters, a few thousand armoured infantry.
Thats all they've really been able to field really, plus a bit of long ranged support from a VLS equipped ship and a flight of bombers.

Now, in many ways, thats quite a lot, I CONSTANTLY argue that the UK should concentrate on being able to rapidly deploy and sustain such a force, but the UK has few overseas commitments and faces no existential threat.
We can enforce our world view by crossing the globe, kicking an enemy in the nuts, and then going home, leaving our enemies local enemies to finish the job, not because they like us, but because who doesnt kick their enemy when he's already bleeding in a gutter?

Russia however, has many overseas commitments and faces existential threats across a broad front, it cant really set the pace of a conflict, its fighting a war in Ukraine, its propping up a vassal in Syria, its facing a fairly cold insurgency in Chechnya that could heat up with little notice, can it rescue a second vassal?

Personally, I believe it can, messily, perhaps, but the ability of the Russians to simply flatten large areas shouldnt be underestimated, the BackFire can carry 60 250kg bombs, useless for precision bombing troops in the field, but for causing random carnage in downtown Baku, plenty.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are fighting!

Armenia has a large Russian Military base.......