Friday, February 17, 2012

Tell us that it is not a dream, please!

The Telegraph reports, finally, excellent news. Apparently Philip Hammond is due to announce, as part of PR12, that the MOD books are finally in balance.
Apparently, the MOD has even managed to recollect some 2 billions, which had been allocated for costs and expenses which have actually not materialized, to finance several important programs due to be announced soon, probably early next month:

- Phase 2 Enhancement for the Typhoon. Expected by 2014, it should be given the go ahead, if not even brought forwards. Integration of Brimstone and Storm Shadow is part of said enhancement, along with adjustements to software that will allow, among other things, the dropping of bombs at supersonic speed. Paveway IV is already being integrated and will be certified for use this year.
Bringing forwards the integration of AG weaponry is probably seen as indispensable also in order to try and regain appeal on the export market: the loss in India and the embarrassing considerations contained in the Swiss air force evaluation report (in which Rafale beat Typhoon by a good margin in ALL roles and tasks) have been a bitter blow. Waiting for 2014 for weaponry, 2015 or later for AESA and so along is going to be a bad handicap in the chase for export orders. 

- Puma upgrade safe and sound. We will see if rumors of a further reduction (from 24 to 22) are real or if all 24 are confirmed.

- Merlin HC3 navalization. According to the Telegraph, all 22 HC3 (what about the 6 HC3A? the plan was to convert a fleet of 25 helicopters in total, scrapping the oldest/damaged ones) helicopters of the RAF are to be navalized and transfered to the Navy for amphibious ops. It will be interesting to learn more about the extent of the modernization and navalization process: the conversion for naval use should in fact be done along with the Mid-Life upgrade of the machine.

- Type 26 funding confirmed.

No mention of the MHPC or MARS FT (the replacement for minesweepers and survey ships and the program for new tankers for the RFA), which are expected to move a step forwards in this Planning Round, but if the crisis has been overcome for real, hoping is no longer a taboo.

Please, oh please tell us that we are not dreaming!


  1. Hi Gabriele,
    Some good news at last.
    I am not really a fan of the Puma upgrade, but at least its a positive move.
    Glad to hear that the merlin programme has got the go ahead.
    Will the Typhoon upgrade mean the Tornado can be retired?

  2. If you ask the RAF, probably they'll say no!

    But retiring Tornado GR4 in 2015 to pay for more urgent priorities including MPA is, i believe, a possibility, and it is a firm point of my own idea of SDSR15.

    As to the Puma upgrade, yes, i have my reserves about it. Buying a few new Merlin helicopters would have had, at the end of the day, probably a more benefic effect than 24 upgraded Puma.

    At the end of the day, a frontline strength of 22 Puma, planned, will only give 4/5 helicopters on average available for tasking.
    Reducing the number of types and incrementing numbers of airframes of the same type generally is more cost-effective.

    Besides, Puma is plain ancient, and the upgrade is costing quite a lot.

    But still, it's a good news if it stays.
    The Merlin navalization news i was waiting for. anxiously. It is very welcome.

  3. Some very good news here, particularly on the Type 26. Nothing on the Army yet, though. Would be nice to get something on FRES. Do you feel there are other urgent programmes for the Army?

  4. Getting the Warrior upgrade and securing FRES SV would already be a great victory. And then there's the UOR retention issue to solve.
    It already is a lot of stuff, i don't think there's any space for more at all.

    But i guess that the two greater priorities after these are:

    Medium Multirole Vehicle (Protected)

    Other big items on the list include Challenger II CSP around 2016 and the next phase of FIST for the infantry, but also Block III upgrade for the Apaches in the coming years.

  5. Yeh, agree absolutely on the Army priority list. Thanks.


Everybody can comment on this blog without needing a Blogger account. It is meant to keep the discussion free and open to everyone. Unfortunately, anonymous accounts keep the door open for spammers and trolls, so i'm forced to moderate comments and approve them before they appear. Apologies for the inconvenience.