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Thursday, 27 January 2011

Good does not mean expensive.

In relation to my last post about the expensive MRA4 debacle, I cannot understand why we always seem to go for expensive weapons systems suited for the cold war, that has been over for some time.

Now I was at sea for a considerable number of years and saw a tendency for the ordering  of very expensive high tech warships but few in number. The problem as I see it, is that those ships cannot patrol all our vested interests. To give you an example we had one Frigate/Destroyer and a support Tanker in the Caribbean undergoing counter drug operations, disaster relief, and protection for our Dependencies. We had another small warship in the Falklands along with a support tanker.

Now we have one minor war vessel in the Falklands, most of the time no warship in the Caribbean, and one support tanker trying to cover both areas.

In the past after the Falklands conflict we normally had a Type 21 Frigate and a cheap and cheerful Rover class tanker in each area of operation.

This gets me to  the point I would like to make. Why don’t we either build/buy some cheap and cheerful frigates armed with a gun on the front, a point defence missile system, and a reasonable anti submarine detection system.

Another idea would be to build more “Wave Class” Auxiliary Oilers (AO) which have proved themselves in the Caribbean by the very fact that with their fuel capacity, their facility to carry a Law Enforcement Detachment  Team from the US coastguard, Helicopter, weapons, etc, they have become a range extender for the coalition in the fight against drugs. (Incidentally I was on an AO out in the Caribbean, where we intercepted 32 Tonnes of Cocaine being shipped to Europe). Present armament Two 30mm powered mounts, two Mk 48 miniguns, and five GPMGs. Plus active decoy systems, ECM, and ESM. Plus the provision to fit CIWS phalanx.

Suez 2009 295

Pic is of a minigun.

Armament could be enhanced by buying something like THIS. That would be quite sufficient.

Lets think numbers, rather mine’s bigger than yours.

And don’t get me started on Eurofighter Typhoon.


  1. It seems to be a just, proportionate and decent set of ideas you have on the subject.

    Which is probably why we'll never see it happen.

    Loving the pic of the minigun and nice to see the gympi merited a mention.

  2. JK.
    I was a qualified maintainer on the minigun, the GPMg, 30mm cannon, and SA80. In a danger area I had to prep for firing all those weapons before 0800. And that was my part time job.

  3. Sounds like you've certainly had an interesting career then. ;-)


    A flotilla of these things would be of much more use off Somalia, exercising with Chile or chasing down drug runners in the Carribean. Wave Knight or Wave Ruler could easily service a flotilla of these agile ships and all of them sailing into port together makes an impressive but diplomatic statement that cannot be matched by today's frigates and destroyers.
    A planned programme of build serve update and replace wouldn't go amiss either.

    But we get billion pound unarmed destroyers which have no anti ship missile protection soon to be joined by a flat deck with no planes!


  5. The incompetent will always employ 'experts' to blame when they accept their suggestions/decisions.
    Can we ever get rid of politicians who value their careers over the wishes of the people they're supposed to represent?

  6. Sod the West Indies, lets get the AOs into the med, sinking some illegal immigrant boats.

  7. William.

    It's interesting that I've got the same picture in a box in the attic. My Great Uncle served with that Flotilla out in the South China seas.

  8. Trouble is FT, we've only got two of them.

  9. Some things are true regardless of who said them - something too often overlooked by those who would be better off listening rather than condemning.

    'Quantity has a quality of its own.'

    (Attributed to one Josef Stalin, I believe).

  10. XX 'Quantity has a quality of its own.'

    (Attributed to one Josef Stalin, I believe). XX

    Quite. I am quite sure, that Napoleon at Waterloo, or any other battle, was not overley joyed that none of the hundreds of thousands of muskets facing him, could individually hit a barn door from three paces.

  11. I remember reading somewhere about a frigate called Compass Rose. It seemed from descriptions to be quite a small tin box, powered by a little reciprocating engine, with (probably 2 little boilers). It had a little gun up forward and some depth charges. Built in Canada.
    Anyway, it did sterling work doing it's allocated task, for several years, until it was eventually sunk. It probably cost about 4-n-sixpence in real money.
    Couldn't we have some Compass Roses now. Simple ships, with reasonable endurance, built for a specified task, and doing it well. Probably being sniggered at by naval smart-arses. But enabling more complex ships to get on with what they were good at, it their turn?
    Peter Melia

  12. I think, Furor, that Napoleon only had to face about 70,000 muskets. He never actually faced them at all, being several miles back from the battle most of thw time. On the other hand the Duke did face more, about 80,000. He should have seemed an easy target, riding up and down, along the ridge, encouraging the troops.
    Peter Melia

  13. XX Anonymous said...

    I think, Furor, that Napoleon only had to face about 70,000 muskets. XX

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