.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, December 11, 2003

SPEND MORE ON OUR MILITARY'S INDEPENDENT TRANSPORT CAPABILITIES Today Geoff Hoon is to announce another defence review. There are some necessary steps being considered. However I do sense some problems ahead:

Sir Michael said that as a Type 45 destroyer and two new aircraft carriers came into service, some older Royal Navy warships would no longer be needed, enabling "some adjustments" to be made to the fleet.

This is more like wishful thinking, because the Royal Navy has already said it’s surface fleet is already stretched too thinly in protecting sea-lanes from terrorist, smuggling and proliferation activities. I don't know how we could possibly find the money to finance an extension of the surface fleet but it is important to keep in mind that our security perimeters are thinly protected and therefore we need to put some though into less costlier alternatives.
Another problem is only hinted at:

Sir Michael said the re-structuring would enable the UK to mount "limited national operations" on its own or take the lead in small to medium scale operations at the head of an international coalition.
While the forces would also retain the capacity to undertake large-scale operations, he said that the "most demanding expeditionary operations" could only "plausibly" be mounted if the United States was involved.

What is this supposed to mean? While it is obvious that some larger tasks will be virtually impossible without help of the United States -just try to imagine Britain taking on Saddam on our own- this should not serve as an excuse to cut away at independent transport and intelligence capabilities. Admittedly the cost of having a large fleet of strategic transport aircraft, currently a role being performed by a mere four C-17s, is very high, and therefore the MoD prefers to rely on the US air force for lifting forces in large numbers. This is a choice that shouldn't stand as it does. There is no guarantee that those US capabilities will be available when we need them. It is not unreasonable to think that US planes may be in other use, or that the US may be unhappy about or opposed to a given mission our Government decides upon (think of US hesitancy over the Falklands, or the Suez debacle). It would be far better to spend some extra money on improving our own lifting abilities. "Where’s the money to come from?", I hear you think. Simple: scrap the irrelevant Eurofighter, the biggest, supersonic flying turkey ever devised.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?