If it is true, the British Army is dead
The Telegraph says that in October all the 31 remaining battalions of the army under Army 2020 will be cut back further, to 520-man establishments.
This is a completely new thing. The Army has been planning to reach the 82.000 regulars figure having only Light Role infantry battalions cut back to comparable levels, and even those actually higher: 561 men. Considering that this means removing one rifle platoon from each Company, hoping in a top-up coming from paired reserve battalion before deployment, i can't even begin to imagine what a battalion of 520 men would look like. It would probably be utterly useless.
The reduction to Light Role Infantry battalions and Gurkhas already can't be described as smart because the Reserves recruitment is, so far at least, going horribly, and there are three such downsized infantry battalions which do not have at all a paired reserve battalion from which to draw manpower: 1 SCOTS battalion and the two Gurkha battalions are left unpaired in the announced Army 2020 plan, because there are not enough reserve infantry battalions.
The figures released so far to Parliament and Defence Committee about the establishments of the major components of Army 2020 speak of:
729 armoured infantry battalion
709 mechanised infantry battalion
561 Light Role Infantry
581 Foxhound-mounted infantry
567 Gurkha battalion
660 PARA battalion
587 Challenger 2 tank regiment
528 FRES SV reconnaissance regiment
404 Jackal-mounted light cavalry regiment
370 Adaptable Artillery light gun regiment (apparently with only two gun batteries, a paltry 12 L118 guns. I'm unable to confirm this at 100% certainty at the moment)
around 600 Reaction Artillery regiment (18 AS90 in three batteries, 6 GMLRS in one battery)
around 600 Reaction Royal Engineer regiment
around 500 Adaptable Royal Engineer regiment
An armoured infantry battalion of 520 is frankly unthinkable of. It would probably be able to field a single company.
Since the above are Army 2020 figures, the new cut announced by the Telegraph is either:
- Not true
- Indication that the Army and MOD are total idiots which did not understand the extent of the manpower reduction and are back to square one
- Indication that the 82.000 regulars are to become even fewer already, while sticking to the absurd rule that no more goddamned capbadges must go
In any case but the first, the Army is about to become entirely useless. If the Telegraph is right, the mania of protecting capbadges has reached the level of absolute foolishness.
If the second point is true, serious questions must be asked about Army top brass, and about the Army itself, because if the target is still 82.000 regulars, they have to explain where all the manpower goes. 82.000 should be more than adequate to sustain the establishments announced so far.
Assembly of the Ski Jump on HMS Queen Elizabeth: more complex than you think
The 200-ft.-long ramp is the longest ever fitted to a carrier and, like the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers (QEC) themselves, is the first of its type to be purpose-designed from the outset for F-35 operations. Angled at 12.5 deg., the ramp wiii be 20-ft. high and is designed to reduce the required deck roll on takeoff by up to 50%, or allow an increased payload of up to 20%. The ramp achieves this by boosting vertical velocity, giving the aircraft a ballistic launch profile that provides it with additional time to accelerate to flying speed.
The assembly of the Ski Jump on HMS Queen Elizabeth has started, and it is not so straightforward a process. The ramp has been carefully designed by BAE in collaboration with Lochkeed Martin, to make sure that it is fully and safely compatible with the F35B.
You'll find the details on Aviation Week & Space Technology / 19 Aug 2013 pp.33-34, in the article: "RAMP UP - Deck-mounted ski-jump assembly marks key step toward U.K. carrier-based JSF operations", by Guy Norris.
|The first section of Ski Jump is already on deck. Photo by |
|A spectacular diagram showing the current state of the assembly, by |
RAF pilot is the first non-US pilot to operate an F35B at sea
RAF Squadron Leader Jim Schofield, is the first international pilot to have conducted sea-based launch and landing in the F-35B.
Schofield made history while flying from USS Wasp, during the ongoing second period of sea trials for the F35B. A third test period is planned for the future, to lead to US Marines Initial Operating Capability in 2015.