Monday, 27 February 2012

Can Fortress Falklands be Defence on a Shoe String?

Yes. It Can.

Defence of the Falklands is an economic nightmare, If the recent ThinkDefence think piece is correct, and it costs £400,000,000 per year to maintain the garrison, of one Infantry company, a Typhoon Flight and supporting staff, the current situation is both economicaly ruinous, the islands generate less than a quarter of that per annum, and would need to generate 10x that to be a military affordability and militarily pointless, the defence is successful only because Argentina is too weak to invade in the first place.
Its unlikely that wool, sheep and squid prices are going to increase that much, or that Rockhopper well is actualy another Saudi.

When you consider that since the last war, we have spent (in theory) £12,000,000,000 its clear something is wrong.
We'd be financialy better off refighting Corporate every decade.

Simply adding more forces isnt really an answer. 4 more Typhoons would be nice, but a pilot on 200 flight hours per year, and £80,000 per flight hour costs a stunning £16,000,000 per year to operate. 8 pilots alone would set us back £128mn, and unless you build a whole additional airfield, no number of planes deal with the underwater knife fighter carrying a few dozen ATGMS

So how do we defend the Falklands, without spending any money defending the Falklands?

Well, we cheat, and we book defence of the Falklands under other budget codes.

I think there are three larger organisations who could pick up the tab without really noticing it. All plans are essentialy varients of militarising the Western Islands, by differing bodies for differing reasons, NATO, the EU, and The MoD.

NATO, on the face it, has no need to get involved in the situation, the US provides huge land and airwarfare spaces, that far dwarf the land mass of the falklands islands, and the Atlantic Ocean provides all the room anyone could want for Naval Warfare. Except for perhaps one area, the Littoral / Riverine. The Falklands Islands are a chain of nearly 100 islands, a geographical occurance I dont believe is replicated anywhere else over such a small area, Greece has many more islands, but over a larger area, and lets be honest, withing a Greco-Turkish sparing ground and a frequent transit point for Russian intelligence ships.
If NATO is serious about the mastering the littoral warfare and amphibious assault sector, there dont seem to be many more demanding environments than The Falklands Islands to train for such a war in.

The European Union maintains that it should be viewed as a military, economic and political equal of the US. Now, TrT has a well informed view that this is bunkum, the EU is a paper tiger (Libyan intervention), with a collapsing economy (see share of world GDP over the last 50 years) and near as damnit self inflicted genocide (see birth rates).
However, if it truely wishes to be an equal, theres a great deal it must do, not the least of which is create indiginous versions of the services it currently receives from the US, Tankers and AWACS are the ones in the news at the moment, but just as, if not more important, are the land and air proving grounds in the Flyover States.
West Falkland is more than twice the size of the Suffield Block (BATUS) and, if you include the islands, significantly larger than China Lake

There simply no where in Europe that such a range could be created, possibly, somewhere in the Scandies, but thats complicated by Swedish Independance, or perhaps Greenland, but that has a far more complicated sovereignity dispute.
The largest military site in the UK is the rather tiny salisbury plain at 390km2, less than a tenth of whats available on west falkland, and theres nothing appreciably bigger in Europe.
If Europe wants somewhere it can test fire large artilery at long range, its options are limited.

And Finaly, we have the MoD itself.
Figure looted liberaly from ArmedForces.co.uk
The Army recruits over 1000 soldiers a month, and has a target for more than double that, and all of these recruits undergo a 6 month long infantry soldier course.
I'm going to take a guess and say there are 12 of these ran per year, because it makes my life easier.
Rather than run this course at Catterick, why not the Falklands? West Falkland, to be precise?
The Recruitment budget stands at about £700mn per year. Would this really cost more than £400mn per year to relocate half way round the world? Obviously, there will be some capital costs to building an infantry warfare centre at the end of the earth, but a Ro-Ro capable port for a Point Class isnt going to be billions, then its just a case of knocking up some barrack blocks.
Getting the Greenies on board by powering it by wind turbines wouldnt be the worst idea, the wind is such thats lits likely cheaper than running diesel generators, the alternative being put in a small nuclear reactor, a smart metering system* and so provide grid electric to major settlements, or everywhere.

Suddenly, the islands have a resident population of 6000 trainee infantrymen, 4500 of which will have undergone weapons training, 3x more than the current garrison. There will also be a supporting garrison of some size, trainers, cooks, clerks, ect

All of that now on the islands, already exists in the UK, so isnt a "new" cost, all thats a "new" cost for the falklands defence fund, is the amount required to build the base, a pittance, the cost of shipping down the recruits, cheap as chips and the "away from costs" of the training staff.
£400mn? Not Likely, or so I assume.

But why just the Army?

Well, several reasons actualy.
The RAF pilots spend
40 weeks pre flight training,
26 weeks on tutor aircraft and if selected for fast jets, another
40 on a Tuccano, followed by
28 on Hawk
16 on armed Hawks and
Unknown in OCU on Typhoon

The only time they would be of use in defence of the Falklands is the 16 week training period on armed Hawks, and the second stage of the Typhoon training. The Hawk is less of a complete and total overmatch for the Skyhawk than I would consider reasonable, but basing both the weapons courses for the Hawk and Typhoon there creates an utter disdaster for the Argentines.
Suddenly there are 36 multirole typhoons in the area, along with our trainers, who I assume to be the more competant, although I wonder how relevent that is given Typhoon against Skyhawk?

And cost to us isnt £16mn per pilot, its whatever it costs to sail someone down on a point class and overpay the instructors.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Missed a trick there

InternationalThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom regretted the incident and expressed its condolences to the "families of the victims" and the "emergency agencies that are still working to aid" those in the accident.


The UKs response the recent Argentine train disaster.
Maybe we should have told the Falklands Island Government to send out their condolences first....

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Well, I'm never buying a nokia again

My E72 is now a, rather pretty, brick.
It is so, because an empty file, called other files, that cannot be deleted, has filled up the on board memory.
Nokia are aware of this issue, have been pretty much since the phone was released, over a year before I bought it, and have decided that telling me factory rest my phone is suitable fix.

No.

I dont want to have to factory reset my phone every 6 weeks, I will instead, buy a Blackberry, or an iPhone, or something else, adn tell everybody I meet not to buy anything nokia related ever again.

On Greek Firewalls

Firewalls are always an odd one to me, because personaly, if someone poured petrol on the walls of my house, and then set it on fire, I'd like to be outside, not in.

There seems to be this odd idea that Greece is finished, its going to default, and sort of, disappear off the map. I'm not quite sure where this idea comes from.
Since it gained quasi independance from the Ottomans, Greece has defaulted, I think, 9 times, its still going, sort of, why will default 10 be any different?

There are two basic default scenarios, in the EURO, and out of it.

If Greece declares its external debts nill and void, and simply refuses to pay any more interest or the capital, it will be unable to borrow, but thats hardly any worse than the present situation. Going forward, it will be in a much stronger cash flow position. If St Ambrose the Prophet is to be believed, Greece has clawed back 15% of its competitiveness against Germany, setting it up as the light Mfg'er and holiday destination of choice within EUrope.

If Greece reneges on its debts AND quits the Euro, that 15% gain on Spain and Portugal its already managed, could quickly become 30%, 50% or even more.
The holiday season is rapidly approaching, if Greece returns to "£10 for a 3 course meal for two and a bottle of wine" destination, Spain and Portugals resorts will collapse.

Either way, the firewall looks more to be keeping the wage slaves in than the Greeks out.

Tankers Tankers Everywhere, do we need them overthere?

Everyone seems to be all excited about the MARS buy.
Its gone to South Korea, which is a plus, theres a significant saving to be made by building hulks in Korea, tugging them to England and fitting them out here, especialy in view of Scottish Independance.

But I cant help wonder, are they counter productive?

Auxillary Navies came into existance with the replacement of sail power with steam. A ship needed coal, and prodigious amounts of it to move away from its home base.
Coal, although not a rare commodity, wasnt readily available in large quantities, especialy not at commerical ports, where the majority of ships still used sail, and certainly not at isolated ports, that likely imported coal.

But its not 1905 anymore.
Ships run on diesel, and even the most isolated ports have a supply on hand. Anything a T23 can dock at will have a direct line to a fuel refinery or a national reserve of fuel oil.

Do we bring our own oil because we need to?
Or because we used to?

Dont get me wrong, I'm not saying no tankers, we still need them for some situations, most obviously being a second Falklands War. Its almost certain that everyone in the area will close their ports to both sides.
But is that going to happen in peace time?
Well, if we cant find a partner in the area who will let our ships dock, perhaps we should be considering why we are operating there at all?
As I just mentioned on UKAFC, the PR value of a Frigate, with crew in dress whites and stood to attention on the rails, docking at a friendly port, with the slipways lined with flag waving crowds just seems immense.



Cant remember what thats called, but that, with less slouching and shorts.

We need Tankers, but are we using them because we have them, when really, in the "bigger picture", we'd get more bang for the buck docking and refueling.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Inkspots

A simplified representation of an inkspots strategy



A slightly more realistic one, as areas are secured based on roads and towns.



And Afghanistan.....





In the 40's, 1 in 20 was deemed the number for successful occupation.
McCrystal said 1 in 40
Helmand has 1 in 60, if we include the ANA and ANP...

Not an Insurgent but a Commando

The Think Defence crowd are rehashing Sir H's thoughts on the impossibility of ARgentina actualy seizing the Falklands.

My view remains difficult, rather than impossible, and damn near certain to be tried, rather than black swan, but our best defence remains, not Carriers, but Astutes, followed by putting some proper firepower on the ground, be that Apache, GMLRS, AS-90 or a CVR(T) troop.

However, there were some thoughtful thoughts on what could be done if the islands were lost.
Someone mentioned a civillian insurgency, unlikely, but there are other kinds.

Stay behind
Commandos
THEM

The Naval Party back in 82 suggested it could attempt to break out of Stanley and regroup in The Camp, and resist from there.
The location of "stay behind" bases would eventualy be found and its membership wiped out, but the cost of hunting them down could be extreme.

Commandos (in the original sense) and THEM could extract an even greater toll.
As I make efforts to point out, I'm not a soldier, but....
A 16 man SBS team lands on night one with a 6 Javelin ATGMs and a HMG, hides during the day, and the next night, attacks a patrol. The Taliban have limited success engaging NATO vehicle columns in a fire fight, but simply put they dont have Javelin.
The Argentines have a surprising amount of light armour, so wouldnt be reduced to land rovers on the islands, but nothing that can survive an anti tank weapon.
A three vehicle convoy would allow two hits per vehicle, and the boaties scurry away into the waiting submarine.
The next night, another team comes ashore, and mines a road.
Nothing even vaguely MRAP like is going to have any mobility on them islands.

Enough damage to drive an occupier off the island?
Probably not, but easily enough to force them back to Stanley, and allow an unharased landing....

Friday, 17 February 2012

dont **** with good stuff

ja-bia is really not a valid sequel to tree sap warriors, its not even a good remake of aluminium warriors!

It needs serious patching, serious serious serious patching.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

suits rules

but did it really need the 5 minute tesla advert?