A rather detailed overview of the Army 2020 impact on the Royal Signals has appeared on the August issue of their magazine "The Wire", courtesy of Col G Norton, Corps Colonel, so that now we know the general ORBAT of the Corps.
2nd (National Communications) Signal Brigade is, as we know, disbanding after the end of the Olympics, and 7th Regiment is to disband as well. There won't be other regiment-level losses.
11 Signal Brigade is to become a massive formation. Its new ORBAT includes:
7 Signal Group; Reaction Forces
Under 7 Gp, there will be 5 "Multi-Role" Theatre Support Regiments, evolution of the "Campaign Regiments" formed to support operations in Afghanistan. These regiments will provide signals support to deployed brigades and divisional HQs, with the loss of all but 16 Air Assault Brigade's Signal Squadrons.
Each Multi-Role regiment will have four squadrons (1 Support Squadron and 3 Field Squadrons). The Multi Role regiments are:
1st Signal Regiment (ex 1st UK Division signal regiment)
2nd Signal Regiment (To maintain a Queen's Gurkha Signals (QGS) squadron in its force)
3rd Signal Regiment (ex 3rd UK Division signal regiment)
16th Signal Regiment
21 Signal Regiment (ex Air Support signal regiment)
Each of the above regiments will come with some TA contingent components posts to facilitate regular/reserve integration. The exact detail of which squadrons will make up the Regiments, and the
transition and implementation plans will follow on later this year.
The only ones who seem to already know their future are the men in the Queen's Gurkha Signals: their 3 squadrons all seem set to survive, and stay where they already are.
2 Signal Group; UK Resilience and Adaptable Forces
Under 2 Gp will be grouped the Territorial Army signal formations, which are being reorganized under the Reserves plan, hopefully to be announced by year's end.
In addition, there will be the 10 Signal Regiment (regulars), in ECM(Force Protection) role and Information Communication Systems (ICS) infrastructure support. The Regiment will have the Squadrons 225, 241, 243, 251 and 81 (Volunteers), the latter being a TA formation.
Again, 2 Gp will have 15 Regiment (Information Support). The regiment provides Level 3 support, deploying elements abroad and providing "reachback" support. The Regiment was born only recently, on 30 September 2011, by re-titling the Unified System Support Organisation, which had steadily been growing in size and relevance over the years. The regiment will also include the Land Information and Communications Services Group (Volunteers), LICSG(V).
Finally, there will be 299 Signal Squadron (Special Communications).
For a while, the brigade will also include the Land Information Assurance Group (Volunteers), which is however expected to move under the newborn Joint Forces Command at some point in the future.
11 Signal Brigade will also have the Central Volunteer HQ, which looks after the TA specialists and after the Full Time Reserve
Service and is responsible for organizing mobilisation efforts.
Lastly, the brigade is due to assume the function of regional 1-star HQ over the West region, and will do so thanks to the Regional Point of Contact RPOC(West). This suggests that the current Regional Brigade (West), 143 Bde, is sadly going to vanish as part of the restructuring.
1 Signal Brigade will have the role of supporting deployed strategic communications for the ARRC and for the Joint Rapid Reaction Force. It will meet its requirements by lining the following regiments:
22 Signal Regiment; on 1 Support and 4 Field Squadrons, with one being Queen's Gurkha Signal (QGS).
30 Signal Regiment; on 1 Support and 4 Field Squadron, again with one being QGS.
Allied Rapid Reaction Corp Support Battalion
In addition there will be several more formations under other Commands, namely:
11 Signal Regiment (Training), to remain part of the Defence College of Communications and Information Systems (DCCIS) under 22 Group (Training) RAF.
The regiment provides training, and is based in Blandford Camp along with the DCCIS HQ.
DCCIS also includes the No 1 Radio School in Cosford and the Royal Navy CIS training unit at HMS Collingwood.
18 (UKSF) Special Forces Support Regiment; undergoing no changes from current structure and strenght and staying under control of the Director Special Forces.
216 (PARA) Squadron; the communications element of 16 Air Assault brigade.
628 Signal Troop; british contribution to the 1st NATO Signal Battalion. There are also another 74 or so posts for Royal Signals personnel within NATO.
660 (EOD) Signal Troop; assigned to direct support of the EOD force
Joint Service Signal Organisation; around 200 Royal Signals posts within the JSSO. This organization, part of Joint Forces Command, has its headquarters in RAF Digby and is commanded by a RAF Operations Support Branche group captain.
The JSSO delivers support to deployed operations and contribute to innovation by researching new CI systems and techniques.
JSSO is divided in three Joint Service Signal Units, one in Cyprus JSSU(Cyp), one in Digby and one in Cheltenham.
A further 154 or so Royal Signal posts will be kept to provide support to Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) in several locations.
Finally, and very importantly, 14 Regiment (Electronic Warfare), on 1 Support and 4 Field Squadrons, is being assigned to the newly formed Surveillance and Intelligence brigade.
This reinforces in me the belief that this particular 1-star command is going to become one of the most important components of the Army, bringing together a wide array of enablers.
My guess is that 32 and 47 Regiments Royal Artillery, with their UAVs including Watchkeeper, will be part of this new brigade, along with the Military Intelligence battalions. Possibly, even 5 Regiment Royal Artillery (Surveillance and Target Acquisition) could move under this new command.
Currently, 5 Regt is part of 1st Artillery Brigade along with 39 Regiment (GMLRS) and the UAVs regiments.
I'm expecting the UAVs and possibly 5 Regt to move into the Surveillance Brigade, and as we know 39 Regiment is to disband. 1st Artillery Brigade will however receive, in my opinion, the 5 "Fires" regular regiments, with the exception of 7 Royal Horse Artillery and 29 Commando which will stay with 16 Air Assault and 3rd Commando brigades.
In any case, 14 Regiment (EW) has received a good news in these last few days, with the announcement that the ROKE Resolve manpackable EW system has been accepted into Core budget and will live on after Afghanistan, where it has been introduced as UOR under Project SEER.
The RESOLVE system can be used on the march, in the backpack of a soldier, or on the move when installed on a vehicle, or, of course, it can be used from a base or any stationary position, with the option of erecting it on top of a mast to gain better coverage.
While the press releases do not talk of it, the selection of Resolve is almost certainly part of the LANDSEEKER programme for the renewal of the Electronic Warfare equipment of the Army and Royal Marines.
Resolve will provide the Light, man-portable EW solution to the Royal Signals of 14 Regiment and to the Royal Marines of Y Squadron (EW), 30 Commando.
Interestingly, the ROKE Resolve is being installed on the Marshal TRAKKAR Unmanned Ground Vehicle, which is being evaluated by the British Army as an Assisted Load Carriage platform for the Infantry. While the Army's priority is to procure a platform capable to carry north of 25 kg of load from each soldier in a Section, to keep the men light and agile and comfortable, a longer term aim is to have the UGV provide ISTAR and possibly even Fire Support.
Good news for once, and lots of potential for future improvements to the armed forces.