Friday, 30 July 2010

Its just occured to me

The "West" is now three years into its "lost decade".
Doesnt time fly?

Renault Fail!

No, my car hasnt just broken down, and its a Skoda, but Renaults advertising team have come up with a whopper.

"Buy a Coupe-Cabriolet, summers going to be over in a few weeks"
At which point you will have a bog standard hatchback, that weighs a few hundred kilograms more, has a smaller boot and cost you £10k extra.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Centre Cannot Hold

Centre being the rubbish bit between the two important bits

Eurozone GDP E8.4t
EU zone GDP E17t

Eurozone banking liabilities E24t

Even if we assume a relativly tame 25% loss the ECB will have to soak up 8x what it has already done its special liquidity scheme, and somehow hide the fact these are loans that cant possibly be paid back, and prevent the Eurozone members engaging in a nice game of chicken to screw the ECB for every penny.

The Tragedy of the Commons on a loop, into a firey pit.

Back in 2007, when "Sub Prime" was contained and Gordon Greenanke had saved the world, the raging tory, under a different name, said on a telegraph story that this crisis would need money printing so vast that at least £50,000 would need to be printed and handed out to every man woman and child in the country.

Just these banking liabilities have already breached that ceiling in EUrope, and this hell storm is no where near finished.
I used to worry and try to make plans for the future, now, I just want to sit in a comfy chair and watch it all come crashing down. Bugger all else I can do

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Nuclear Deterant - The Dangers of hope

RUSI have issued another paper, this time on the nuclear deterant, and for the first time, not only must I disagree with some of the options (rather the point of the papers I find) I must seriously question the thought process that led to them.

The first point they make is that, although the UK's conventional armed forces are organised on the basis that we do not face a strategic risk, and will get several years of warning before we do so, the nuclear deterant is organised on the basis that we do face a strategic risk and could face attack with no warning.

The simple answer to that is that, yes, the UK doesnt face a conventional threat, and couldnt without years of rearmament by Russia, who although they outnumber us by large margins in aircraft and ships, are outclassed by even larger margins in the quality of those aircraft. The other threat would be a major change on the geopolitical level (Reformed Roman Empire, South American Union ect), which although possibile, isnt really plannable.
But several foreign states could make a decision now and have turned the UK into a nuclear wasteland within a few minutes.

The UK does not face a serious conventional threat but we do face a serious nuclear threat, and our armed forces are structured on those grounds.

Although only three nuclear powers maintain a CASD, there are only 7, the other 4 dont only because they have dispersed their weapons over a vast area, an option simply not available to the UK or France.
If you believe Israel has a nuclear weapons capability, then there are 4 with CASD and 4 without.

The next mistake is about the cost of the program, and how the government has decided it must be met from "Core Defence Spending".
The simple fact is no such thing exists.
The government and the armed forces have a meeting, they agree a set of likely risks, the equipment and people needed to meet those risks, and the cost of those assets and people.
Much as I might argue that the armed forces should have a fixed budget as a proportion of GDP, they dont, and the lie should not be repeated.

The paper then gives four options

The First, is to maintain a CASD deterance, with an option to relax what that actualy means.
The problem with "giving an inch" is that we will quickly lose a mile, once we've been without a submarine by accident for few days on a few seperate occaisions, we'll be without one on purpose for a few days, then a few weeks, and before we know it, we'll be at option two

The Second, is to maintain only the capability to, at some point in the future, begin running CASD patrols, that point in the future being the time for a strategic threat to arise, but as I said earlier, that threat already exists.
This option also comes with the (possible) loss of the ability to build our own submarines at all. A decision rather beyond CASD.
The most serious worry here is the decision to restart CASD patrols could escalate a spat into a nuclear war all by itself.
Just when would the decision be made to send a submarine out to sea?
When the diplomatic spat turns nasty? When border guards take pot shots at each other? When artilery support becomes an artilery dual? When fast air meets fast air? When a general mobilisation is ordered?
Its a huge escalation to suddenly put nuclear weapons into a useable position, because the other side can easily mininterpret it as preparations for an attack.

The Third, is to build a fleet of dual purpose boats, capable of both nuclear deterant and general purpose submarining.
I actualy favour this option, although I would prefer 6 tubes not 4, the long term cost savings would be massive cutting 4 active submarine classes down to 2 and the capability uplift of each submarine being able to mount 48 nuclear weapons or 42 verticaly launched cruise missiles, along with its torpedo tube launched weapons can hardly be ignored either. If the situation warrented, we could maintain 4 CASD platforms in the short term and 3 indefinatly.
I feel I should note, although the smaller warhead count would make it much easier to defend against the attack, the massive cost of the defence means the enemy will never be able to defend enough important targets. China might be able to defend Beijing, but every other port city could be hit along with any internal "hubs".

The Fourth, is to do away with sea basing and instead build a survivable deterant and consider surface ships, special forces and airpower as delivery mechanisms.
This breaks into several problems.
The first is survivable. The majority of the nuclear powers control vast landmasses, they can disperse nuclear weapons across dozens if not hundreds of sights, safe in the knowledge that no enemy can get them all.
The UK (and France) is tiny.
20% of Russian weapons would render the UK an actual nuclear wasteland, not a wasteland Nagasaki, a teeming metropolis.
Anyone who had just exterminated a people would not be lax enough to allow a successful death strike to come to fruition.

There is a simple thought process to follow.
Do you want to deter a nuclear strike on the UK?
What options are available to deter a nuclear attack on the UK?
The threat of massive retaliation
What methods of massive retaliation are available following an unexpected nuclear bombardment?
Continuous at sea deterance of a submarine carrying nuclear weapons.
Moon based mass drivers?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

FDR - Cruise Missile Cruiser

Ok, its a silly name, it'll proabably end up being called a "ship, large, missile, guided" but still, mine conveys the point.

A vessel, or group of vessels, capable of carrying and launching long ranged (1000km+) cruise missiles in large numbers (500-1500) for precision strikes against static or slow moving targets, so ships, buildings and formations.

There are to my mind two ways to go with this.
The first would be a large fleet of escort sized and built vessels carrying maybe 250each and the other would be a smaller fleet of Ocean sized and standard vessels carrying maybe 750 each
I prefer the larger ships built to RFA standards because they'll have much lower operating costs and should not under any circumstances be attacked anyway.

The Americans did some research and came up with about $500m to build the ship and $500m to arm it with 500 missiles.

In a naval war, even a smaller T45 derived vessel would have the ability to engage and destroy a full carrier group and escorts, most fleets lacking the ability to destroy or mislead anything like the required number of incoming missiles.
In support of a forced landing, the ships could decapitate the enemy command headquarters, render enemy airpower unviable by destroying its craft, runways and support infrastructure and still have missiles left to harrass "ready" formations and sever any important transport links.

The massivly increased range over the battlefield missile puts virtualy any target in reach without exposing the launching vessel and the difficulties of carrier aviation compared to ground based (increased airframe and airfield costs) tilt the sclae in its favour.

Daves War - The deaths keep on coming

Just shy of two months ago I asked WTF does "Dave" think he's playing at and more specificaly asked
How many more men will die in the time it takes for The NSC to actualy work out what "Support our Troops" means?

The poor sod who was ordered to dig in the dirst with a shovel looking for mines brings it up to 35.
Just since my post.
And the Moron in Chief thinks this can be kept up till 2015?

Landing Platform Dock

Each Ship would need accommodation for its crew along with spare capacity for the Battalion to be deployed, its equipment and supplies for the first several weeks fighting.
Ships should have some self protection capability, a CIWS and if cost allows a short range missile system as fitted to Frigates

The current Bay Class can carry 32 tanks, which is fine for a tank Battalion consisting of 25-30 tanks however the mechanised infantry forces may struggle with their 50 Warriors, there is also the problem of additional support vehicles.
This leads me to believe we need to be able to deploy 5 vessels each somewhat larger than the Bay.

Since there are currenctly only 4 bay class vessels, an additonal, slightly larger one would need to be ordered, along with several spares for repair/refit cover.

Actualy landing the forces embarked would likely be by dedicated landing craft, but I believe serious research should be done to see if barge ports are a realistic proposition in a war zone. It may even be worthwhile to simply beach the ships on order to get the forces landed quickly, writing them off as acceptable losses, or perhaps creating a one way road system with mexafloats.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Quasi Ballistic Missiles as a Fast Jet Replacement? No

I've had several discussions recently with a blogger I deeply respect on the possible use of long ranged missiles to replace (or supplement) close air support delivered by fast jets.

For the UK, I simply do not believe this is the case, and this is on the grounds of cost and utility.
The Eurofighter Typhoon, the UK's biggest ever procurement project is expensive, the jets themselves cost a fortune to buy, the pilots cost a fortune to train (and keep at peak) and the fuel and parts burn is phenominal.
All in, its costs £90,000 an hour to operate a Typhoon, and a combat ready pilot should really be getting 20 hours flying time a month.
Over its 20 year life span, a Typhoon will cost £432,000,000.
Now thats a lot of money.

A QBM costs somewhere between £500,000 and £1,000,000 depending, lets say £750,000 to purchase, has minimal training costs, operating costs, and as a sealed unit, no maintenance costs.
You can get 576 missiles for the cost of one Typhoon.
Not bad?
Well, that depends.

Do you expect your Typhoon to launch more than 576 weapons over its life time?
If you do, then its more cost effective than QBM's, and even if you dont, a QBM purchase would need to be funded today, whereas the operating costs of Typhoon 80% or more, are paid over the next 20 years.

Between 01/01/05 and 28/08/10 the RAF (and AAC)used 518 bombs, 159 hellfire missiles and an additional 4658 rockets.
Predominatly in Afghanistan, a warzone thats only gotten worse since then.
Its likely that the RAF Typhoon fleet WILL fire 500 or so weapons over their lifetimes, wheras the Austrian fleet may not.
(I'm ignoring the cost of munitions, because it is for the most part irrelevent)

There is an arguement that cost is irrelevent, the missiles would not be used in such a manner, they would be held until a hot war broke out, but even there, they only have use as a very short term boost to opening airpower.
That they do, to a point, the through life cost of a thousand missiles is merely two or three Typhoons.
Range of the weapons is limited by treaty to strategicaly short distances, UK basing would let us hammer Northern France and the RoI.
So they would have to be forward based, in I presume Germany, to fight off advancing Russians. Now, I'm not against Russophobia for the point of Russophobia, but cant help but ask that is a weapon that serves no real use in the defence of UK interests really a valid purchase?
I'm quite happy to deploy forces to support allies, but purchasing them for that sole purpose is rather questionable in my view.

Where I differ is in the naval setting, although the range limit is still ruinous, I shall have to check if it applies to shipping, the ability to deploy overwhelming numbers in a short period against high value targets skews the metrics, but I'll cover that in an FDR post.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

FDR - Power Projection Ship

In my last post, I explained what I thought a Future Brigade should be, and now I'll explain how it could deployed.
Now, the differences between an Infantry Battalion and a Tank Battalion are such that a single ship class just is not going to cut it. So, we need two types of ship.

I eventualy settled on what I called a "Power Projection Ship" for the infantry.
The primary role would be to deploy a 500 soldier battalion to shore, provide operational transport and to supply them for at least a week of high intensity warfighting, probably longer.

The initial deployment would probably be easier with a large fleet of small helicopters, allowing for much greater flexibility, however the ongoing supply and maintenance tasks call for a small fleet of large helicopters, and on the grounds that the less congested the airspace the better, I went for the small fleet of big platforms.

Five helicopters like the newest CH53 could deploy a force of 50 soldiers and 60,000 pounds of equipment to ten widley dispersed sites in under 12 hours.

Whilst in this infantry landing role, the PPS would also operate a detachment of helicopter gunships to provide air support to the landed troops.

Quite a few ships like this already exist, both the Italian and Spanish light carriers, HMS Ocean and the retireing Invincible class are good examples.
We would need 5 of them available for the task force, so a fleet of 7 or 8 would be great.
If we could fit a nuclear power plant for at least some of the needs, that would be very useful from fleet support point of view.

And last on my wish list would be the ability to, when not in its helicopter assault ship role, operate a small number of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.
In the event of a sustained "Hot War" they would make ideal convoy escorts and indeed convoy hunters.

Monday, 19 July 2010

FDR - So whats a Brigade then?

To my mind, a Brigade is the smallest level of deployable force, if that force is expected to fight.
Its common to deploy a platoon to training, a company to garrison, a battle group to peace keep, but against even limited enemy action, a battlegroup will lack the resources to both protect itself and prosecute the enemy (As in Sierra Leon).
I also feel a Brigade should be a well rounded force, capable of, if not specialised in, most forms of warfare.

With that in mind, my Brigade would have a nominal strength of 5000 men divided between 10 battalions and contain its own armour, artilery, mechanised infantry, light role infantry, engineers and headquarters.
A rough mix of 1:1:2:4:1:1

The Armour Battalion would hopefully be able to manage somewhere between 25-30 tanks, which for now would be challenger 2 but in the future it might not be cost effective to design our own MBT with an order book of 180 +loss replacements

Artilery would also be about 25-30 hulls, and would also be responsible for vehicle based air defence. Artilery would be met by AS-90 for now, a vehicle born air defence system would have to be procured (if required). If a replacement hull can meet all three needs (Tank, Artilery, Air Defence) so much the better. Otherwise the replacement will likely be an existing design.

Mechanised Infantry Battalions would operate slightly differently than the above. A Warrior IFV has a crew of three and a dismount unit of seven, which should be more than enough manpower to carry out routine maintenance and repair work, so I'd expect each battalion to have 50 Warriors, 150 Warrior Crew and 350 Warrior Infantry.
When Warrior is up for replacement, it would seem sensible to look into mounting a variety of different turret types, perhaps even moving the artilery battalion onto warrior replacement hulls. Certainly consider offering a mix of direct fire weapon sizes, from multiple machine guns to 70mm cannons and indirect ranging from small grenade sizes up to 120mm mortars if feasible.

The Infantry Battalions would, in a Hot War, initialy be inserted and supplied by air (I'll explain more in a later posting) and in a peacekeeping role they would be equiped with Mine Resitant Vehicles of some description, I may dig out my proposal and post seperatly.

The Engineer Battalion would be responsible for building a beach head and providing engineering support to the Warrior and MRAP fleets.

The Headquarters Battalion would provide for any missing links, logistics, Intelligence, Medical ect, and hopefully my later posts will show that wont be insurmountable for the force as a whole.

So there we have it, 25 Tanks, 25 Mobile Support Weapons, 100 IFV vehicles, 700 Mounted Infantry and 2000 dismounted Infantry.
Hardly the deadliest army in the world, but with the proper support, an impossible obsticle for much of the world, in the short term at least.

Capable if not exceling in most theatres, from rolling plains to skyscraper cities.

Future Defence Review

I realise its a bit late to be discussing a future defence review because the treasury will by now have made up its mind about what to cut from where and when, but I've out quite a bit of work into this, so am going to publish it here anyway.

The Brief I set myself was that the UK should maintain the capability to deploy and supply a Brigade level force world wide (ish) on defended territory and then land another two Brigades on the secured territory, for an undetermined but short period, on no more than 3% of GDP.

Which is fairly broad.
I tried to be as out of the box as I could, but also stay within the constraints of what is doable today or at least under reasonable study.
Much as I would have liked Capsule Troopers (or Orbital Drop Shock Troops for those of you who have made the stupid mistake of never reading Starship Troopers) and Typhoons deployed from airships, they arent going to happen.

Posts will contain a mix of tactics, strategy and equipment, in varying amounts, and should be viewed through the lens of Work in Process rather than operations manual.

For the record, I considered joining the RAF, but didnt progress very far (poor eyesight) so have no particular tribal loyalty.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

A Brief History of the UAV

I'm a big fan of the UAV, since they dont come with killable pilots who need ll that expensive flight training, life support and escape seats.

So I decided to to write a series of posts on the past, present, and what I hope will be the future of these systems.

So, without fiurther a do, the history of the UAV.
Well, thats a problem, becauase what is a UAV.

In the end, I settled on it cant have an onboard crew, it must fly, and it must have some method of changing course in flight, either by being directed or by its own autonomous sensors.

On that criterea, the first could be traced to 1916, although it never really worked, or 1918, with the kettering bug.

Considerably further back than I would have thought.

Although these initial systems were expensive and of little military value, carrying small warheads and with limited accuracy, they were extremely long ranged, the only other weapon of similar capabilities being the Paris Gun, actualy remarkably similar.

What a WTF moment

A blog has recently spadvertised* itself on another blog I frequent, it is stunningly stupid.
Really really fucking stupid.

The snappy tagline

Campaign to oppose a privatised military academy for St Athan - biggest PFI/PPP ever, with arms dealers Raytheon Serco. John Pilger "a British "School of the Americas" is to be built in Wales, where British soldiers will train killers from all corners of the American empire in the name of "global security". Tony Benn “The thought of privatising the training for the Armed forces was morally abominable”

Is just bizare, what does that even mean? Are UK soldiers going to train Americans? Are American PMC's going to train British Soldiers?

My interest piqued, I went back to the beginning.
The first article, is a snazy little cartoon and paragraph explaining what "Metrix" is,

What is Metrix?

Metrix is a consortium provided by a private consortium of arms companies and educational bodies is made up of

Clear? Christ I'm incoherant most of the time, but thats just weird.

The next post moves onto an arms show, which it somehow equates to murdering grannies for their pensions, whilst getting wildly impressed by an indian multi barreled rocket system, which can incinerate anyone in a 700x500 box, asking "What do you say when the salesman shows you that? Do you go: "Yes, but have you got it in blue?" "
Personaly, I'd ask if they can sell me GMLRS, which does a 1000x1000 box, but hey.

*Spam advertised, Not Commie Cam advertising more none jobs for his mates.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Its been an arbitrary number of days

Since the change of government, in which we were promised change, from a government that promised to give power away.

I formed this blog as a way of doing something to hold the government to account, but so depressing has the

Has anything changed?
EUrope has marched onwards, if anything, at an ever increasing pace.
Major constitutional changes are being pushed through that no member of parliament mentioned before their election (except possibly the ecology party.)

ConHome has continued its policy of being fucking retarded
Its number one hoped for achievement for 2015 being paying off the national debt, despite the fact that "David"s best hope is that he'll *only* borrow £40bn in 2015, if they manage an equal draw down, the national debt will go up by five hundred billion pounds.

From there it just gets worse, they might as well have just written
2-10 - Repackage the same old shit whitehall forced on Labour and wholeheatedly claim its what we promised because we're either pig shit stupid and dont realise we're powerless chumps and we're pig shit stupid and so vain we dont care we're powerless chumps

The summer thunderstorm the MET office obviously predicted when for the third year running it announced a bbq summer has just arrived, so presumably we can expect another failed wheat harvest because the EU will delay giving farmers permission to harvest their own fucking crops out of the EU approved fucking season.

Whats the point?
Sometimes you just have to vent

the rather bizare solution of toyota

as those of you capable of teading this will be aware, toyota recently screwed the pooch by selling cars that would randomly accelerate uncontrollably and kill the occupants. they fixed this problem by denying it existed until the body count mounted and they were finaly forced to repair the fault.
Aware that this was a marketing disaster, by crashing sales, they have stumbled upon offering a five year warrenty, which would be great, if toyota hadnt picked a shorter warrenty period than its rivals, and hadnt just told its warrenty holders to go fuck themselves when their shiny toyotas accelerated them into walls

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

TrT's hob has also broken

Some sort of electrical short leading to the melting of the junction box inside the hob. Yes I looked, TrT laughs in the face of Part P.
Circuit isolated and oven working, so TrT will be casseroling for a while I fear.

A nice picture of a black currant crumble

Monday, 12 July 2010

trt is having pc problems

trt is having major pc problems and is off work with pups so updates will come via E72, which although in posession of a tits keyboard, is not ideal for long typing.
Also, if anyone knows why my pc restarts every 17 seconds, that would be good info to share

Friday, 9 July 2010

living tv

sam an dean are so hardcore, i named my hamsters after them.
So why ate they on fucking living!!!
In no way does supernatural chronicle one womans struggle against the evil patriarchy.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Is there any more road for the EUro?

Now, I'm not saying that the EUro is at the end if the of the road, but I'll happily admit, I cant see much more road in front of us.
Armagedon Ambrose as The Good Doctor named him, has comment piece on the a recent ING report, predicting hell, fire and canibalism if the EUro breaks apart.

The report is fairly standard stuff, but it lacks any guidance on HOW to prevent the EUro tearing itself apart, because it fails to diagnose the problem.

Greece is steamrollering to having debts of 200% of GDP.
Even at the "low" rate of 5% interest, that would require annual interest payments of 10% of GDP, for all time. To actualy pay down these debts, even more would have to be spent.
The accountant in me worked out if Greece was willing to spend 15% of GDP paying off its debts, it would be debt free in 22 years.
But then the realist in me worked out that (For the UK) 15% of GDP is a third of government spending, and would require cutting the health and welfare budgets by 90%.
For a generation, with no tax off set.

How does an EU stability fund change that?
No matter the size of the fund, unless its a gift with no need for repayment, it is of no use to saving EUrope.
But can anyone offer such a debt cancellation?

The Germans, who're already apoplectic at bailing out the lazy southerners, would be demanding lebensraum if it became wealth transfer.

But, back to the question, the breakup of the EUro would be catastrophic, but is there another road to travel?

The little banks were in trouble so the state made the big banks buy them.
The big banks were in trouble so nations bought them.
Nations are now in trouble.
Are bigger natons going to "buy" them? And if it didnt work the first three times?

A break up, followed by a soft or hard default is the only workable option.
If you were stupid enough to lend money to a nation already over indebted, thats your own damned fault.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

British Army Retreats from Sangin as MoD suffers Blue on Blue

The British army has abandoned Sangin, well, sort of, the Americans are supposed to be taking over and I cant imagine we've pulled out and left our PB's unmanned

TrT does so like to blow his own trumpet, so will, this is pretty much as I predicted before election. The forces will be pulled back to Bastion, from where they will operate as a floating reserve.
If our forces are actualy pulled back and used as a mobile hammer to crack anywhere the Taliban set up a visible shop, the purchase of those Jackals makes some sense.

It is interesting to The Field Moron in Chief attempt some more historical revisionism.
"'The intention when we went into southern Afghanistan was to try to get the country on its feet economically. We all know it didn't turn out that way."

What happened to killing Uncle Osama, spreading democracy and, god help us, Wimmins Rights?

He goes on to argue that he isnt responsible for the disaster, A charge The Good Doctor Hammers home, because our limited resources (always blame the quartermaster) were too widley scattered. Resources spread to thin? COMPLAINS THE F-IN HEAD OF THE F-IN ARMY!
Has Field Moron Dannatt forgotten that from August 2006 to August 2009 he was Chief of the General staff?

And one final point, this quite momentus decision was announced, not by the Minister for Defence to Parliament, but was leaked annonymously (By number 10).

Friday, 2 July 2010

THQ Mega Pack

Steam is running a pretty sweet offer at the moment.

Virtualy the entire back cataloge of THQ games for £27.
It was worth that just so I didnt have to dig out all my old Dawn of War games, getting Dawn of War 2 was a bonus, the other 20 games, well, thats me gamed up for another year.

Dawn of War 2 however, is not Dawn of War 2.
Its Dawn of War: Tactics, or Blood Ravens: The Tyranid Wars

Its nothing like Dawn of War.
Your limited to 4 squads in game (5 on one special mission), and your kind of limited on who they can be as well, I've been playing for quite a while and I've still only got a Force Commander, Assault, Tactical, Devestator and Scout.
War Gear is also limited to squad leaders, so any of you who enjoyed masses of devestators with heavy bolters, or maxed tactical squads with flame throwers (seriously, they broke anything in seconds) will be sorely disappointed.
You play how the designers want you to.

Unless this game is much much longer than it looks