Friday, January 27, 2012

Debate on the SDSR at the House of Commons - 26 January

Future Force 2020 is configured to "get away from the focus on mass" typical of the Cold War towards a "flexible, agile" force configured for "expeditionary warfare" and shaped around "carrier strike", according to Hammond.
It is a big point scored for the aircraft carriers, if it is a strategic direction and not just words.

Next few years will see big change "on the ground" due to the return of the Army from Germany and Afghanistan and due to the change in structure into "5 Multi Role Brigades". The MRB remains the plan, five remains the number, despite rumors suggesting otherwise. 

Planning Round 2012 is being shaped, and mr. Hammond is "confident" that the MOD is about to close the budget gap and that, from next year, it will be able to plan on budget.
However, the rumor is that the MOD is trying to renegotiate contracts to achieve savings, 3000 more civilians will be cut from the MOD, and reductions/delays might hit FRES SV in order to achieve an (hopefully final) cut of 2 billions, as the MOD is currently overbudget and must re-enter. No further cuts in troop numbers are anticipated, and the Puma HC2, which was reported at risk, is now expected to be safe.
RAF Northolt airport could however be sold, entirely or in part, and become an alternative to the contested plan for an additional runway at Heatrow. The airport could be sold by the MOD for a lot of money, but i suspect that, even if it eventually gets sold, part of the airport will remain in use for the RAF.
The debate at the House of Commons unfortunately did not expand on any of this.


  1. I watched this debate live on TV and as far as the carriers are concerned,there was a very strong lobby group pushing for both vessels to be retained

    On the face of it the government ministers seemed very supportive,but they are after all 'politicians'.

  2. I also found the following interview far more constructive than some of the inuendo and hearsay that has been going round recently.:-

  3. Thanks Gabriele,

    I missed it all. Could you read anything between the lines?


  4. I think support for the carriers is very high indeed. But then again, if i'm not mistaken, the debate was mainly done with members of the Defence Committee, and the position of the committee has been extremely clear and pro-carrier from the very beginning. They have flat out said, in their SDSR analysis, that even if one CVF is mothballed it should still be converted so to be ready to come out of reserve and go into active service in months, not in years.

    Anyway, also due to the US strategy direction, support for the carriers is on the rise.
    I also liked the emphasis on the Nimrod MRA4 problem: i think a replacement is an absolute priority. Funny little moment when the lady mistaken twice in a row the "russian battlegroup" for a "Royal Navy battlegroup" near Scotland.

    "My latest debates with Alex Salmond must have left something in me!"

    Back to seriousness. There seems to be good awareness of where the issues lay, and there is a good deal of support for carriers.
    Unfortunately, for all the good and interesting observations, there is little relevant stuff (AKA serious commitments of the "we will do this" type) to report.

    As an interesting little news, it seems that CAMM, the missile for Type 23 upgrade and, later, for Type 26, has been given the go ahead as part of Planning Round 2012. No details yeth, but a good news.

    1. Thanks Gabriele,

      I guess we will have to wait until April for any more detail.


  5. Hi Gabriele,

    Hope you don't mind me post this bit of info on FLAADS:-

  6. I absolutely do not mind. It is welcome.
    I had read it already, and i just would like it to say more! But details will no doubt emerge in time.


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