Tuesday 31 August 2010

Sharing the Crown jewels?

Just out today is another round of speculation that the UK could share its new aircraft carriers with France. Certainly if the French ran the canteens and working hours bit the Brit sailors would be happy. On a wider note though, although this story will be hotly denied, this is exactly the thing the Government should be looking into. The UK is not the USA with the need/ability to project force around the globe. Realistically we need air support for minor ops and defending Falklands Oil.

So spreading the cost with a military partner must be a good idea, as long as we get them to sign up a release for our ex-colonial escapades; which the French will surely do as they have their own ones to get involved with from time to time.

Once the sharing agreement is signed we can then get to working out what planes we will have. All of this actually saves billions of pounds and makes a real difference to the budget strategy going forward. Reducing the number of trident submarines falls int eh same boat. There should be optimism that we can control future defence spending - let's just hope other departments can think the unthinkable too.


Sackerson said...

Now why didn't Nelson think of that?

Elby the Beserk said...

Sackerson - I think he did, and then he remembered the old adage - "What is the difference between the French and toast?" - You can make soldiers out of toast...

(Yes I know we are talking navy, but the principle stands).

Marchamont Needham said...

The French have been our enemies for hundeds of years, this would just give them another opportunity to poke us in the eye.

DC - the Agies are invading we need the carriers now!

Nic S - but non, we need zem for a cheese and vin partee in Marseille. We booked eet first - you will ave to wait your turn.

But Trident, scrap the bloody thing and go back to the air-launched bombs we developed in the 60's. We only scrapped them because of political expediency.

Steven_L said...

.. as long as we get them to sign up a release for our ex-colonial escapades; which the French will surely do ..

I'm sure Baroness Ashton will approve, not. Maybe she has ideas of her own for her new fleet?

Bill Quango MP said...

Seems like a reasonable idea. As I understand it the French have a carrier and we have a carrier and one or the other will be at sea on patrol at any one time.

But not much use in a war. The UK could hardly ask the French to join in a UK only conflict, like the Falklands. We couldn't expect French sailors, on their prized flagship, to operate under UK political and military control.

We couldn't rent the thing either as we would not be able to crew a carrier at short notice. Or have any planes to put on it {unless all those mothballed Eurofighters can be made to fly off carriers..which they are still working on.}

So in an actual war, unless the French are allied, UK capability is just our own ships..

{ We tried this before. In the 1930's, when austerity and defence cuts were the order of the day, the politicians told the RN that it would no longer be able to be larger than the next two biggest navies. The RN was told they had to get some allies. Much greater cooperation with France followed and everything went well until the French pulled out of the war and the Italians {world navy top trump rank - 5} joined in on the other side...followed by the Japanese.{world navy top trump rank - 2}

Anonymous said...

"let's just hope other departments can think the unthinkable too."


Lets hope other departments never, ever, think of such monumental crap!

Anonymous said...

If we have to share military hardware with another European country, let it be Germany.

Andrew B said...

Forget one expensive carrier - or half an expensive carrier.

Buy 20 container ships.

Everything is based on the size of a standard container nowadays.

If time is an issue, erm, fly there, otherwise container ships are fast enough.

It is v.v. hard to hide a big ship from a satellite so no great need to be stealthy.

Back in the Falklands, the container ships were no more vulnerable than the warships.

... merchant navy again.

Anonymous said...

This story is either a plant from MOD dissidents playing "Yes, Minister" or one from Osborne's irregulars designed to tell the Defence mandarins there is still another rug that can be pulled from under them.

Andrew B. is dead right. Fast Container ships with bolt on anti-air capability would be brilliant. The Falkland Islands are a lot harder to sink than Ark Royal anyway.

Having half the RAF/Royal Navy down there would be a cheap posting and less trouble than Cyprus or Afghanistan.

In quiet years the Container ships could partly pay their way by doing honest work.

Mr Ecks said...

Think the unthinkable?

Its called Treason

Budgie said...

I have to side with a number of commenters here, CU, your suggestion stinks. The world is not a safe place; we cannot afford to be so dependent on foreign countries which have their own agendas.

We need our own armed forces adequate to defend us (not to go on foreign adventures like Iraq and Afghanistan) if the 'unthinkable' happens. (This is what we didn't have in the Falklands in 1981 and hence was why the Argies invaded).

Will Sheward said...

Though it pains me to say it, closer cooperation with the French makes sense. We both have broadly the same strategic challenges and the potential for them to be unenthusiastic about our colonial adventures is matched by the potential for us to be unenthusiastic about theirs. We could even learn a thing or two about appropriate platform purchases (the RN certainly could).

The problem here is that you're making a basic error about the purpose of of the defence budget. It does not, as some assume, exist to provide our armed forces with the equipment they need, in the quantities they require, to fight wars without dying. It exists to prop up so-called 'strategic' businesses conveniently located in marginal constituencies.

Until the Ministry of Defence is allowed by the Treasury and DTI to stop being the Ministry of the Defence Manufacturers Association, and until the MoD stops listening to overly-senior officers/civil servants with an eye on post-retirement Exec Directorships, then all attempts at reform will fail.