Home » Air » F-35 Watch » Brits May Cut Defense Cash Too Far

Brits May Cut Defense Cash Too Far

by christian on September 24, 2010

Two of the best reporters on the planet have collaborated for a story today in the New York Times that examines the alarm stemming from the UK’s threat to dramatically slash defense spending.

John Burns and Mike Gordon report that the planned 10–20 percent cuts worry US and Allied defense officials who wonder if after these reductions are put into place, Great Britain will even be a real player in today’s geostrategic environment.

American and British officials said that they did not expect any cutbacks to curtail Britain’s capabilities to fight in Afghanistan over the next five years. But some American military experts question whether the British military will be capable of undertaking future ground operations that are as demanding as those in Afghanistan or to carry out simultaneous operations, including risky humanitarian missions, effectively.

What analysts call a “brutal cost-cutting exercise” could leave the British military, which has fewer troops than the Marine Corps, strategically neutered. And one wonders if the force would even be capable of defending Britain’s interests — not just jumping in on coalition operations. What would happen if a Falklands-like incident happened again?

British defense officials argue They’ll have the British Royal Marines and SAS, along with their nukes and JSF. But with cost pressure mounting on the F-35, is that even a relevant argument?

Adding to the quandary, the British Navy and Air Force can reduce spending by trimming weapons programs, while the army’s principal cost is personnel. The standing British Army has 103,000 soldiers, not including reserves or national guard troops, and army officers have argued that no more than several thousand could be cut without hampering the operation in Afghanistan, where about 10,000 British troops are deployed.

This information is truly scary and leaves America almost totally alone from a coalition standpoint. Our most stalwart ally and military partner could become more of a drag on allied operations than an asset.

Be sure to read the entire piece from John Burns and Mike Gordon at the New York Times.

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Vitor September 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm

And they are right by doing it. They realized they are not entitled to cheap, free money before a total collapse.

But the USA…no, the USA is above the laws of economics! Ben Bernanke can print as much dollars as the state wants that everybody will accept…

Wait…the dollars is being devalued in comparison to most currencies and gold? How they dare!


Sev September 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm

They should realize they need to cut the social programs and that not everyone is entitled to other people's money. Then keep their defense strong, as we should.


Wildcard September 24, 2010 at 7:50 pm

'Cut the social programs'
They are being tightened, but the UK and Europeans believe in looking after their own so they aren't going to let families sink just to float military projects. Projects that are usually over due and over budget by millions / billions. For example Type 45', Nimrod MR4', Typhoons and so on. Another point to consider is that many in the armed forces (generally infantry) are on such a low wage that their families receive 'social aid' in one form or another.


Jarvik September 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm

What? Haven't you heard, defense spending drives the whole economy! Spending on the health and welfare of Americans, infrastructure maintenance, unemployment, and education are all a waste of money compared to spending billions on gold plated weapons systems which will be cancelled due to over runs in just a few short years. And don't forget, China will soon be invading just as soon as these British cuts go through!


Sev September 25, 2010 at 10:48 am

We aren't socialists. People have to provide for their own means, not rob from those who earn what they have. But yes I'd love to have all those things. But can I also have a yacht?


WIlliam C. September 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

So you would gut our military for the sake of some "free" (not really) health-care or extended unemployment benefits? This disgusts me. We need to keep innovating and pushing the envelope when it comes to defense technology.

And the tens of thousands of people employed by the defense industry no longer count? Good to know those government stimulus workers watching porn deserve that money more than national defense matters.


Wildcard September 25, 2010 at 7:16 pm

The UK is innovating and pushing the envelope, take the Taranis Project, Type 45', Type 26, Typhoon T3….
The 'tens of thousands' you mentioned aren't floating the economy; they aren't going to lower the national deficit, be the ones to get us out of recession.


William C. September 26, 2010 at 12:19 am

The Taranis? How is it innovating more than Boeing's or Northrop's efforts? The Type 45 destroyer? It is a nice ship but how much of it is based of our Aegis systems? The Type 26 frigate? Still years away. The Typhoon? Hardly as innovative as the F-22.

The tens of thousands I do mention will certainly do more for the economy than said stimulus workers who will only have jobs until them flow of cash runs out. It solves nothing.

mark September 26, 2010 at 2:48 am

i dont know why this health care and social programmes has become the enemy .the national health service is paid for each month out of your paycheck its called national insurance .it is far better than the american system and so is the canadian .big insurance companys lobbying washington have managed to scare people away from one of the most nloved programmes in the uk and canada and australia etc .
this concept of if you cant afford it ,sorry its not our problem is honestly a disturbing one one of profit over human life .


nraddin September 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm

We honestly can't expect the rest of the world to continue to spend like we do. Honestly I don't know where we get off thinking we can spend like we do. A budgeted cash output of over .6 trillion a year is over the top crazy, that's $2000 for every man, woman and child in the country. We will either learn to be realistic with our income soon, or we will have a total economic collapse.

I am not saying that military is the only cause of this problem, or even the biggest cause, but it's size and cost have a part to play in getting us back into line. I balance my budget, have ever year for decades and decades. It's pretty sad to me that Clinton of all people was the only guy in my lifetime to ever balance the national budget.


STemplar September 24, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Clinton didn't balance the budget, President's sign budgets and make suggestions, Congress makes budgets, and it was when the Republicans took control of Congress and forced entitlement reform the budget was balanced.


Sev September 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Also they taxed and taxed and taxed without majorly cutting spending. Keep the military spending though, because you're required by the constitution to provide for the common defence, not the common dependence.


Tamerlame September 24, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Riiight, and that's why Republicans support PAYGO consistently and are known for not creating huge bureaucracies like the DHS and adding millions to government payroll. Hey, wait a minute….


Sev September 25, 2010 at 10:55 am

Why do you think the teaparty movement exists. Its not against dems specifically, but republicans also. Its the people against the expansion of the government. I'm a conservative, something our supposed Republican representatives forgot.


nraddin September 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Semantics and you know it. Generally when we as american's are talking about a particular time in our political history we refer to the sitting president to denote it, but we are here to pick nits and talk semantics so…..

Buy law Congress doesn't write the budget, the House of Representatives via a budget oversight committee 'writes' and approves the budget. Which is then passed to the Senate for a vote, and then to the sitting president for his vote. Via the law the Senate has as much or as little say in the budget and how it's written as the president.

But sense again we are talking semantics and this stuff is so important to you. What really happens is that the president and his staff right a budget proposal, this is what they think the feds budget should be, they give that proposal to the Committee which makes changes and votes, sends it to the house which makes changes and votes, sends it to the senate that makes changes and votes. The try and reconcile the differences in committee with pres staff and senators and house Representatives. Then back for a vote in both houses, then off to the president for his vote.

So you might not like that Clinton balanced the budget, I am sure you complain bitterly and often about the military cuts he made to get there but in the end him and his staff played a huge part in that balanced budget. I don't like that he was the one any more than the next guy, but lying to yourself about it doesn't really get you anywhere.


STemplar September 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

It's a fine line between balancing budgets and creating Geo political messes that can't be ignored. I wish the UK the best, and I think there is more politicking going on than much of anything else.

Same in the US, it is the battle being waged between the military we need and can afford, and the one we want, or being led to believe we want by the bought off. Hopefully practicality and imagination win out, we reduce spending and maybe even deploy a more relevant capable military in the process.


Bob September 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm

The military need to learn to do more with less, and quit trying to gold plate everything. Perfect is the dread enemy of good enough.


Sev September 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm

NO, they givernment needs to learn to do more with less. I agree that the Army could take some pointers from the Marine Corps, but we must always maintain our military edge if we are to secure peace. Ct the social programs! They are a burden. We shouldn't havee to be paying for other people's lives, thats their job, not mine or yours. If you wanna help, contact a charity.


WarScientist September 27, 2010 at 5:44 am

So you're disagreeing with him, and your counter-argument is to say exactly the same thing as he did (except you couldnt even spell the words right)????? Do you work in military acquisition at all, cause that might clear up why the JSF costs are so high.

Second of all, these 'social programs' are going to be the ones that support YOU when you lose your job or your house or you have an accident. Paying 100,000 dollars for an operation that you NEED to stay alive is retarded, THATS why we have a state and thats why we have taxes. Its so that when we are in a dire situation and need help we're not alone.

Healthcare for everyone is one of the basic foundations of a civilised society, forcing people to choose between living the rest of their life in debt and losing everything they own or dieing is barbaric and backwards.

Its like forcing soldiers to pay 50,000 dollars if they want a med-evac after being shot and if they dont have the money on them in cash they just get left there to die.


John Moore September 24, 2010 at 3:18 pm

How many real allies do you have USA? I eman with some actual musscle only GB and herer you are calling them a DRAG b4 any cuts are even made?

Do you forget they faught beside you in Iraq and afgan! They took over entire cities and here u are bashing your ally firg off MR USA then I say you wanna act all tough and bash friends see who stands by u next round. Don't forget you wern't with us in the Falklands!

Ahh you piss me off today! And if were such a drag go yourself and don't ask for help!


Mat September 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I wholeheartedly support my drunken compatriot's sentiments!

Being the USA's ally is a thankless task. Individual Americans may like us (ta very much) but the US government never misses a chance to screw over the UK.

From not sending troops or ships to help us in the Falklands, to almost singlehandedly funding the IRA (funny how that stopped post 9/11) the USA shows us contempt.


tiger September 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Wait a sec. The USA did provide aid to the UK, just under the table. As for the IRA? Not from me. I always hated those SOB's. Domestic politics moved our handling of that matter.


mark September 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm

lol ,the usa offered use of an aircraft carrier during the falklands war and the royal navy said no for several different reasons .the ira was not supported by the usa it was supported by irish americans .they raised money and did support them no doubt but it was not the american people as a whole .in the uk there are many pakistanis etc raising money for the taliban so in my view its very similar


Bob September 25, 2010 at 8:53 am

The Saintly, may he rest in peace, Senator Kennedy publically supported the IRA. Mel Gibson is very anti-British.


Sven September 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Mel gibson is just about anti everything, and he speaks only for Mel Gibson


Oblat September 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm

No more being shanghaied into American lead military disasters - the Brits must be really worried.


Sev September 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm

They just lost their balls after WW1 and will appease any enemy in the name of peace, until total submission.


elizzar September 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

efff off, lost our balls after ww1? after an entire generation was slaughtered? do you actually know anything of history - world war 2 started in 1939 for us, not the end of 1941 like you … for a year we stood alone against the nazis, and it would cost us our empire, men and treasure to do so. i don't belittle or ignore the immense effort that the usa would put into the war, both in men and material, but a post as ignorant as this really winds me up. also, yes our current forces are small (maybe soon to be smaller) but they are professional and the best trained (if not equipped) in the world, hence why us-uk forces get on so well generally.


Nidi September 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Do you know your history? We gave you a fleet’s worth of ships, weapons, ammunition, even pilots. Prior to 1941, we weren’t fighting in WW2 just like the Russians were never fighting in Vietnam against us. The Brits certainly fought hard from 39-41, but they certainly weren’t standing alone.


Donnell September 25, 2010 at 11:26 pm

I'm an American and I totally agree with you Elizzar, we have some very stupid people in America.


MArk September 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Honestly sev you be ashamed of yourself for that uneducated comment .how would u even come up with that.also social programs are not the enemy as society is made up of all different levels of inteligence .some people are not equiped mentally or physically to earn a living .also in the usa alot of companys are now hiring large ammounts of there workforce part time so they dont have to pay things like health insurance or 401k.citizens of the richest country in the world should but are not the best taken care of.
This idea that everyone should take care of themselves or go in a corner and die is disgusting .under your way of thinking schools ,fire departments and many other things which are social programs should be cut and if u dont have the money to educate your kid ,your outa luck .
I hope one day you loose your job and cant find work for a couple of years n see how you do .in some citys there are 30-40 percent unemployment rates and alot of those people simply need help .
Anyway go and live in isreal you will find many people there that are just like u and u will fit right in


tiger September 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm

The standing Army is 103,000???????? My God, no wonder James Bond is so busy. The once great Empire is but a shadow of herself. Sad to see. Based on this, Nato is a joke.


Wildcard September 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Quality vs Quantity!


mark September 24, 2010 at 11:40 pm

please im from the uk and the qaulity over qauntity is a joke .how about constantly shrinking budgets and cost cutting forcing the military to jump through hoops with crap equipment .it is well known that the uk cut cut cut and hoped no one would notice .it wasnt until the iraq war started that people started to say wait a minute i thought we had loads of helicopters and the best equipment in the world .so then started the urgent operational requirment purchases as we played catch up .the only problem was we had no survelence aircraft and the logistics was so bad that men went out on patrol without amunition or plates for bullet proof vests .so enough with the patriotic crap and lets talk truths


Paul September 24, 2010 at 8:18 pm

As an englishman i too wish for the government to hamstring ourselves militarily so that we can allow more foreigners onto our overpopulated island


Robert Fritts, LTC(ret) September 25, 2010 at 1:27 am

All this bashing on one side or the other, not really not fitting for a web page frequented by Defence Pofessionals. As a retire US Infantry officer I hope the British can make their cuts and still have a credible defence.
The British soldier is much more professional than a US Soldier or Marine. If Britain cannot afford these troops maybe we can stand up a few British Battalions in our Army. At least maybe we can get some instructor cadres to school our troops on fire discipline.
All kidding aside most on this net our concerned that Britain will dump the JSF as Canada, Holland, Norway and Australia are in the act of doing.
The USA is as broke as Britain. (actually we are closer to Greece). Social Programs and Defence have to be cut. 20% across the board on all federal spending, no exceptions.
Its time we faced reality. China is not coming for us, neither is Russia. Iran is not a threat. All the bogey men are myths.
So cut the Navy to 250 ships(still the biggest in the world).
Roll the Marines under the Army, 4 Brigades(30,000 troops), strip organic Air, Armor, and support. Combine with Ranger Rgmt for a Assault division. 40 Commando Royal Marines is the goal.
Disband the USAF, they want fly around and not fight anyway. we need a Stratigic Missle Force and a North American Air defence command.
Cut all civilian DOD and contractors by 80%,
Army gets a Tac Air Assets, JSF gets deleted, AH-64, Tucanos, A-10s.
No new Hi-tech cures to problems that do not exist.
Ban the top 50 Defence Contractors from DOD contracts for 25 years.
That my 2cents.


Bob September 25, 2010 at 8:57 am

If Britian cannot afford a military and welfare nanny state at the same time, they cannot afford it. It is important that social welfare programs continue to grow. and the government have the money to fund public health care, garbage police etc. etc.


Sev September 25, 2010 at 10:58 am

I like how all the socialists are marking me down and anyone else who supports freedom from the nanny state.


elizzar September 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm

i would also point out that there are cuts to all programs except healthcare … up to 40% in some cases. the military has been told it will face around 10%, which is amongst the lowest for departments. as a public sector worker i've not had a pay rise / cost of living rise in well over a year - we all have to accept current pain for (hopefully) long term gain. saying that i do think overseas aid should be cut, and benefits (for unemployment, supposed sickness) should be drastically cut - the estimate is around £10 billion is fraud anyway ($15 billion?) … that would nicely top up the defense budget


WIlliam C. September 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Except healthcare… that is a big except. It will be interesting to see which non-defense cuts survive. I fear those cut programs will soon become bloated again yet the military will not regain those lost capabilities and assets.


WIlliam C. September 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm

The British will sadly put the nanny-state before their military and come up with every nonsense justification they can think of for doing it. "We don't need the RAF, there is never going to be a conventional war again."

In the United States defense spending is only some 5% of the GDP, historically it has often been higher. To say we need to cut it back is idiotic and ignores the real problems. We could all too easily end up in the same cycle the British are stuck in, defense cuts every election in in order to solve the deficit caused by social programs that the last defense cut was used to fund.

Anybody remember when the British had an actual naval aviation capability? Not just borrowed aircraft from the shrinking RAF inventory?


elizzar September 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm

uk defense spending is around 2.2-2.5% gdp at the moment, and we have been fighting constantly since 2001 alongside the us and nato. many of us believe it should be at least 3%, and protected. unfortunately the majority of voters don't currently agree - i think more from ignorance than not wanting a strong military - they just assume we are still a power, or at least can pull things off somehow (like the falklands) … we haven't faced an existential threat since 1940 if you ignore nuclear annihilation of course!
as a comparison, the nhs budget is around £100 billion a year vs. $40 billion on defense - there really isn't much more to cut. i would say, though, i do support universal taxpayer funded healthcare - its lots of the other things i don't agree with (benefits, overseas aid, bank bailouts to name but three).


STemplar September 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm

My goodness there are a lot of pronouncements being thrown around with an article title the UK "may" cut defense spending. I have a feeling when what 10% or 20% look like is laid out for parliament there will be less eagerness to cut quite that deeply. I think that may even be the aim of the more dire numbers talked about, to scare people with just what a 10 or 20% would mean.

Incidentally given the level of absurd entitlement spending the UK has maintained, they have managed to field an impressive military capacity over the years. In addition it is simply bad form to post slanderous comments about another nation that has shared a pretty tough military campaign alongside us. Regardless of whether I fully support our efforts in Iraq and Stan, to talk badly about the UK is not acceptable.

They have had their bad moments in history and things to be ashamed of as has every nation on this planet, but they have been a force in support of progressive, representative government of and by the people, and America could not ask for a better ally.


@Earlydawn September 25, 2010 at 11:03 pm

The virtues of British civics and their heroic actions in Iraq and Afghanistan do not absolve them of their commitment to NATO. Ironically, cuts in the British defense budget would be easier to stomach if certain members of said alliance were more forthright in their contributions.


STemplar September 26, 2010 at 12:25 am

Of course they haven't cut anything yet, so I'll at least grant them the benefit of the doubt. Like I said, there are calls for reduced spending, but once those in charge have in hand what those cuts actually look like, and what capabilities are sacrificed, sometimes the calls for cuts become somewhat muted. It's easy for people to call for cuts, it is something else entirely to address what that translates into. Long way from the finished product I would think.

In regards to NATO commitments, given that most of the nations involved won't contribute or participate with what they have, forcing them to buy more of something they won't use seems like the tail wagging the dog. That dove tails into where I tend to depart with some of the thinking in the DoD currently.

I don't think we should hand off capability to 'allies' at all. I think what we need to do is think long and hard about developing ways to project power as cost effectively as possible. We need to do a real top to bottom and sideways review of all our capabilities and look at those that provide the most flexibility and capability as compared to what cost. We can't use $10 billion dollar Ford carrier groups as a means to simply project power, we have got to come up with ways to do that for less. We can't chase Somali pirates with $3 billion dollar guided missile destroyers. We can't deter China with $300 dollar air superiority fighters that lack the range to operate from secure airfields. That sort of review of systems is what is needed most I think. I would imagine the UK could stand to do the same.


STemplar September 26, 2010 at 12:26 am

$300 million for the air superiority fighters, my mistake.


@Earlydawn September 26, 2010 at 11:41 am

I don't disagree, but we are where we are in terms of our national security strategy. This isn't the Cold War anymore. We lean on NATO for support and load sharing regardless of what capabilities we have in-house.

If NATO no longer provides the United States an advantage in defense, then we should reduce our participation. We're not in any alliance just because we like the country in question. "Entangling alliances", I believe the line went.


STemplar September 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Considering we used to have 8 divisions in Europe and now we have a BDE I would say we have reduced our footprint in NATO significantly. Honestly we are leaning on NATO now for ground troops in Stan and that is about it, they lean back for the logistics and pretty much everything else. I would expect the US is going to be done with nation building for quite some time to come.

There are the piracy/GWOT task forces, but that is exactly what I am talking about in regards to reviewing systems. If we would employ cheaper platforms in the USN, or use others more creatively, we could do a lot more with less. There was the article here about the LSVs and how cheap they are and can be converted to a littoral use quite easily. There have been proposals for presence task forces using more inexpensive platforms. Tactical aircraft are looking for missions and to justify their existence, but bombers sure aren't.

That's what I am referring to. I think if we just looked hard at what we use, and how, what it costs, what we need to accomplish, there are a ton of savings. We could do things independently and not have to rely on allies or host nation bases. I think that would be good for national security.

jhm September 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Yes the uk is a good ally, but what if an event like the falklands pops out again and the US can't help? and what if the war is alot larger. I know its alot of what ifs but thats military procurement" What if Russia produces furhter s300 or china getting 5 more warships" Basically, in a larger war all about british interests, the UK will have a hard time putting up a fight.


Donnell September 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Well said STemplar


John September 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

May I correct some misconspections:
1) Britain, after 13 years of Labour misgovernment is effectively bankrupt, Gordon Brown was serially incompetant and why Harvard is wasting it's money on hiring him as a lecturer as it will only diminsh it's educational reputation.
2) The defence procurement budget is a mess as a result of a number of mistakes made by the last two government, Conservative as well as Labour.
3) The British Army is recovering from trying to conduct two wars at the same time in Iraq and Afghanistan, it dearly collapsed under the strain.
4) The Coalition Governement is carrying out the first ever Stategic Defence and SECURITY Review by the National Security Council in other words getting the FCO and MOD together to agree on a common policy.


John September 26, 2010 at 10:30 am

5) The Welfare Budget is the biggest element of the British Government Spending Programme and is about £200 Billion, Health £120 Billion and Defence £40billion, our Budget Defecit is around £200 Billion and getting worse. Every Government Deptartment is being forced to prove what part of their budget is neccessary and what is waste as part of the first Comprehensive Spending Review for three years. Over the next five years, the Coalition Government is intending to cut the defecit to zero. Every Governement Department is being forced to cut it's budget, Quangos are being scrapped to save money.
6) The Labour Party and it's Union Paymasters are protesting these cuts, denying the fact Country is bankrupt and calling for more Government spending to artifically inflate the economy, expecially on welfare programmes.


John September 26, 2010 at 10:31 am

Finally, the Government is determined to learn from the mistakes of the last ten years, especially from the debacle of Iraq and try not to fight two wars at the same time.
Do we need to cut programmes like the badly flawed Nimrod and F-35 Programmes, hell yes. Do we need more Typhoons? I would argue yes, as 1 Typhoon can carry the same warload of three two seat Tornado's. Do we need Trident, unfortuantely yes, Russia, China and Iran are major threats to the UK still, and there are no technolgical, financial and poltical alternatives as neither the US or France are developing new Nuclear Weapon Systems at all.
Carriers, yes but carrying the cheaper and more effective Rafele, rather than the baddly flawed F-35B.


Wildcard September 26, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Tornado payload': 18,000lb / 8,180kg
x3 = 54,000lb / 25,000kg!
F15E 23,000lb / 10,500kg
B1B: 50000lb / 22,700kg

Actual Typhoon payload in the region of: 16,500lb / 7,500kg (+)


John September 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm

One single seat Typhoon F2 can carry 4 Amraam/Meteors under belly, 1 Asraam under outer wing, two 1,000lb LGB under each Wing along with 1 250 gallon fuel tank and a Laser Targeting Pod with a combat radius of 75o nm vs 1 two seat Tornado GR4 carrying 3 x 1000lb LGB under belly only + second two seat Tornado GR4 carrying 1 x 1000lb LGB & 1 Targeting Pod + 1 two seat Tornado F3 carrying 4 Amraam and 4 Asraam Missile.
In another words 1 Typhoon carrying four - six 1000lb LGB vs 3 two Tornado carrying four 1000lb LGB's between them. Typhoon more effective, especially as the Typhoon was designed from day one to carry Precision Guided Munitions under the wings, Tornado LB orginally designed in late 1960's (before Laser Guided Bombs were developed) to carry a pack of 8x1000lb dumb bombs under the belly only and drop them in a stick, later adapted to carry PGM's. New FGR4 variant has full ground attack capability and hopefully 200g conformal tanks to allow carriage of more weapons including Storm Shadow Cruise Missiles (4) , Brimstone AT Missiles (18) and Alarm AR Missiles (6).

Byron Skinner September 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Good Morning Folks,

How the UK structures their Ministry of Defense and their forces is really their business and not ours. Most of the comments are rather out of place and I would venture a guess rather insulting to the citizens of the UK and The Commonwealth.

I would like to comment on the remarks by Lt. Col. Robert Fritts (USA-Retired), for the most part they represent what anybody who can shut up long enough and listen to what the 04′s-06′s are saying in places like Ft. Leavenworth, Carlisle Barracks, Ft. Meade, Newport etc.

The emerging generations of leaders in the US military seem to be grounded more in reality the the recent past and current generation who’s combat experience was limited to war games and in their own minds.

I will admit that the new leadership might tend to relay more on its combat experience then more global concerns. Will training toward the full spectrum is advisable it has to be kept in mind that the most likely problems that will require a military response are still form stateless groups who’s only option if insurgency and we have to be ready to deal with it.

I hope the next generation of military leaders won’t make the same mistakes that the current generation who has been fighting Iraq and Afghanistan and forget the hard learned lessons of the past.

A reduction of the US Army in the 10-20% range seem to be more or less a given, and the future leaders are trying to pull the Army out of its Iraq/Afghanistan syndrome and back to training for the “Full Spectrum” of combat. The BCT appears to be gone and the Division coming back as the expeditionary HQ of the future.

Some points I disagree on, most prominent is our differing views of the US economy. The US is not one of the PIGS. Although we have a large public debt is is mostly internally held to the tune of about 80%. Translation, the money is sitting in US banks. The Chinese once a large creditor has reduced it US Treasury Bonds holding to below a $1 trillion USD. In fact the Europeans own more US debt currently then China does.

For a clearer picture of the current economy anybody interested might want to go to the St. Louis Feds weekly monetary supply figures and look at the M-3 numbers.

On the US Navy, Lt. Col. Fritts’s estimate is rather on the high side. Going and doing a count of armed combat hauls in the USN, one comes up at around 150 ships/boats. The balance being USNS vessels that are service and support vessels that are mostly crewed by civilian civil service personal with USN officers, this is where Navy pilots learn how to drive boat so they can command carriers.

On the USAF, Civilian Contractors and useless technology I’m in agreement with Lt. Col. Fritts. On the Marines, I don’t see them becoming part of the Army. The Marines need to find missions the Army doesn’t want to do like Counterinsurgency, Psych Operations, Civil Affairs, Naval Infantry and specialize in these areas. A reduction of the Marines far below their post 9/11 size seem to be in the cards.

The UK has to come up with its own solutions to the give and take of the economy and its military as the US must. To an economists it called “Guns and Butter”. With out any creditable threats for a peer, near peer or even an established regional power to the United States, this is the time to redirect money spent on defense it to much need social programs in both the UK and the United States.

Byron Skinner


WarScientist September 28, 2010 at 7:44 am

Just scrap the F35 order, buy twice as many typhoons and use the rest of the money saved to make sure another few projects get saved from being cut.

Easy as cake. Typhoon FTW.


Wildcard September 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm

F35 order if for the Navy carriers. Typhoon' will not be 'Navalised' and there is no way the MOD is going to want Rafale'.


john September 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm

F-35 in any version is too expensive and too badly designed, although I feel that the Rafale is the better choice as it is both lighter and has a greater payload with grated development potential than either the Super Hornet or the F-35 especially the Bunter, I think the Super Hornet will be bought instead.


jhm September 29, 2010 at 9:25 pm

you need fighters for the elizabeth carriers. Wait, the Brits are cutting defense, why cut the carriers you idiotic brits. think we Americans have to help ya all the time. Well people always talk of getting rid of us, and hope we do and watch the show. War in middle east and euro markets and biz in danger, well to bad, no one is gonna send in the Marines or "the nearest carriers."


Wildcard September 30, 2010 at 11:21 am

MOD hasn't said it is cutting the carriers… considering all the R&D is paid for as are major components, and they are coming together nicely its unlikely the carriers will be cut. F35’… maybe cut and an interim solution found to plug the gap.


mark September 24, 2010 at 11:26 pm

john they are not saying the uk is a drag what they are saying is if the uk cuts to far then the uk will become another toothless ally .
the usa offered help in the falklands but they were turned down .the usa did provide the latest in air to air missiles though which helped the harriers beat the argies .also you really didnt need help as the argies were not exactly a great military foe .
so no one is bashing the uk in that story .liam fox was today in washington assuring people that the uk will keep a robust military .


WIlliam C. September 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Why on earth are you giving money to India? No offense but outside of a section of your military, it seems I rarely see Britions take pride in their country and support having the capability to defend yourselves and not let tin-pot dictators boss you around.


Wildcard September 26, 2010 at 8:49 am

I wasn't aware we were going down the route of 'my planes better than your plane'. A little research would have more than answered all your questions, but I'll indulge.
What makes you think Taranis isn't more innovating than Boeing or Northrop’s efforts? If anything the UK effort has gone from having a non-existant stealth UCAV capability to at a minimum matching anything Boeing or Northrop has designed. I'd say the full autonomous AI capability would put it ahead of the competition.
Type 45 is entirely a European venture with European developed systems. Specs on the Sampson radar and the evolutionary route to be taken with the missiles puts its capability at a minimum in line with AEGIS but generally it’s considered superior.
Typhoon is an extremely capable fighter (A2A / A2G). It meets the needs of multiple countries, can be exported, and granted it’s not a '5th gen fighter', but perhaps Taranis is to fill that gap. Tranche 3 models push its capabilities even further.


William C. September 26, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Taranis was an impressive move by BAE and they should certainly be recognized for what they accomplished with a relatively limited budget. However I don't particularly like the concept of the "full autonomous AI" capability especially at this early date. Asking the UCAV to identify everything from tanks to technicals, while ensuring that the targets are not friendly or civilian is a lot to ask.

The problem with comparing the Type 45 to the DDG-51 class is that there are several different radar variants and AEGIS "versions" due to the long production run of the DDG-51 class. I will agree that the Type 45 is top of the line and comparable to the latest Flight IIA Burkes. While the DDG-1000 program has been reduced to little more than a three-ship technology demonstrator program, there is a lot of advanced systems planned for those ships.

The Typhoon also had a long and problematic development certainly comparable to that of the F-22. But the end result is still a 4.5th gen fighter. The latest upgrades and variants of the F-15E with the APG-82 AESA radar, F100-PW-229 engines, JHMCS, AIM-9X capability, and other systems are certainly comparable to the Typhoon.

American companies largely lead the development of modern AESA radars which the Europeans are only getting now for their Typhoons. The F-22 should have been produced in greater numbers, although I don't know how wise it would have been to export it.

I'm not saying the British haven't been innovative with their limited resources. But they can't afford things like DARPA (and all of their projects) for example. That is what we need to keep.


Wildcard September 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I think I should start using emoticons…


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