When the first Royal Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft arrives at RAF Lossiemouth it will be ready to fly with a UK crew on day one thanks in part to a team of RAF personnel embedded with the US Navy, say the Royal Air Force.

Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland is home to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1), a U.S. Navy unit which has within its ranks eight RAF personnel supporting the P-8A test programme.

Squadron Leader John Ryder is one of two RAF pilots serving on the squadron. He said:

“We’re fully embedded in the P-8A Test and Evaluation process, which drives incremental improvements and updates to the USN’s frontline fleet.

Specifically we’re focussed on Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E),  a process mandated by the US Congress. During OT&E we assess the aircraft’s effectiveness and suitability for operations but we also assist with Developmental Test & Evaluation, which verifies that technical performance specifications have been met.  Therefore, since 2012 VX-1’s RAF team have been a core component in making a state of the art aircraft even more capable. 

Consequently, by the time the UK’s first aircraft leaves the Boeing production line, it’s going to be an extremely versatile and well proven platform.”

The Squadron is also responsible for developing tactics according to the RAF website, an experience the RAF personnel will bring back to the UK. Sqn Ldr Ryder:

“I flew numerous anti-submarine warfare serials on P-8A from Scotland during Exercise Joint Warrior in 2012 and the aircraft did the business. From that point onward, P-8A has only got better.

More importantly we’re going to have current, proficient and experienced RAF personnel ready to operate a UK flagged P-8A the moment we get it. In fact, US Seedcorn has achieved more than 15,000 hours on the aircraft already, with many operators having over 1000 hours each.”

93 COMMENTS

      • Because the money was found from the DE&S Project contingency funds forvthec10 year procurement plan out to 2025 in SDSR15. There’s only so much available per year so that means incremental acquisition. It also meant only 9 could be bought in this first tranche when the RAF knows it needs at least 15 in the end. If the contingency funds hadn’t been used then no purchase would have happened at all.

      • Cause we haven’t got the money. Same as T26 – eight years to build one ship and then one ship every two to three years!

    • You can’t buy new aircraft one day and put them into service the day after.
      The aircrew and ground crew need to be trained, new support structures for supplies, spares, weapons etc need to be put in place as well as new build infrastructure.
      The armchair warriors on here are deluded.

  1. If there was a large enough buy between NATO members, the aircraft could be assembled in Europe since it’s a program that will stretch for years. Does the UK have facilities large enough to do so?

    • There is the Boeing plant at Boscombe Down – its a massive site so I would imagine yes. That said, UK has not assembled aircraft of this size since Nimrod MR4 (I know its not that big)

        • assembly is different to design and development. besides, it would be proven kit built by boeing engineers and plant

          • I’d argue it was the pre-design phase that was where the problems were, it would have been much cheaper just to build a new fuselage for the spanking new wings.

      • Boeing site at Boscombe Down? I know that airfield well I don’t recall any such thing. Maybe proposed?

        • I also question this. I’m very local to the area and I know of no such thing. Qinetiq is the only industry based there

          • That’s right Levi. Them and varied MoD and RAF units involved in T&E.

            Fascinating airfield with good views off that little road off the 303.

          • Boeing are looking to invest in the site, or so it is rumoured, I believe it has more to do with Apache than P8 with the creation of a major European maintenance hub.

      • Marshall are the only ones who could do it, unless you bring in BAES or Airbus, both unlikely. Even Marshall would struggle. Depends how much ‘local’ assembly we’re talking about. Not a good idea. Costly, slow and risky. We need about 12 aircraft and we need them sooner, but we simply haven’t got the money…

  2. What’s the time scale on the first one being in service? Massive capability gap, need it sorted as soon as….

    • Photo shop, I think our first two airframes will be delivered next year but it will be a few years before we have enough aircraft and trained personnel for an operational squadron.

  3. I would imagine that the procurement timeframe is also stretched due to avaliablity of crew and training times.

    Theory on gaining mastery from a novice state for a complex skill set is five years, you also need to staff the training pipline with experts, if we have the expert crews for one cab and say the ability to generate a couple of crews every few years with a skill mix of expert intermediates and novice we can see that there would be little point in having 10 cabs in a short time frame. Never forget that the Human factor is almost always limiting when you look at very complex knowledge based systems (like ASW and maritime search).

  4. Wow! Permanent member of security council can fly a single plane when it arrives……. Russia must be petrified.

  5. Really depressing that it is going to take us until 2025 to get 9 aircraft into service and close a capability gap that should never have been allowed to occur. Utter bungling incompetence, mismanagement and stupidity.
    There should have been an upfront loading for the full 9 aircraft to be purchased under UOR (to protect the strategic nuclear deterrent and screen deterrent subs entering and leaving port)
    Instead we get an anaemic purchase from an MOD utterly out of touch and with no grasp on strategic importance of MPAs. Do not even get me started on the political spin doctors in Whitehall that have presided over this worrying capability gap. Osbourne and Cameron should be arrested.

    • Mr J Bell – Just remember where this country was economically in 2010 and the reasons why we had to abandon certain military assets and I think any fair person would not call it ‘bungling incompetence’ but ‘fiscal necessity’. Indeed possibly ‘fiscal survival’. Just look where we have come in 8 years and the huge amount of new and very capable kit coming into service.

      • Chris if you believe that the country was broke and had to cut its military assets can you explain why the same PM was so keen to start another war in Libya and tried to get us involved in Syria. He and Osborne did irreparable damage to the RN and were totally out of their depth. You do not run your military by having fire sales that achieve nothing and the so called black hole in the MOD books is still with us eight years later.

      • ‘fiscal necessity’ And “fiscal survival”

        Not quite, austerity, cutting budgets, cutting staff etc etc is not the only way to get out of financial difficulty, especially when it’s a country with the 5th largest economy, a strong currency like sterling, triple A credit rating and a financial institution like the Bank of England behind you, imo there needed to be a balance of balancing the books and stimulus.

        It was purely a political decision taken in 2010 by Osbourne, another politician with a different ideology would of ran the economy differently without cutting so much, increasing the debt but using stimulus to grow the economy faster than the three years of stagnation we had. Wether it would of worked better I don’t know and we never will, but plenty of problem more in the know than me have said it would of been better, and maybe we why we are the only county in the G7 still not to have returned wages to pre crisis levels.

        But more to the point, like I said on another thread, even in financial difficulty we should never put the countries defence at risk because of financial policy, not when there is plenty of other budgets and spending policies that could be cut. How much did B Johnson spend on a bridge in London that never got built 100m? And that’s just one example of how badly this country has been run, and that’s not just from 2010, that’s from the all governments since the 1950’s.

        It’s a national disgrace and will be seen so in history books of the future that Japan and Germany became more prosperous and rich than us 30/40 years after lying in ruins.

        Rant over.

      • You clearly have no idea what caused the financial crisis or that this administration have borrowed at least twice that it’s the previous lot did.

        • Probably one of the many conservative supporters who believe and try peddle that the British Labour Party caused the global financial crisis

        • Not true. UK spending deficit 2010 £103 billion… 2018 £2 billion so reduced by £101 billion. Whatever your politics that’s a fact.

          • Slaine is talking about the amount borrowed not the deficit.

            The government since 2010 has borrowed more and grown the national debt more than any government in 70 years.

            Although you are right the deficit has been reduced.

          • Interesting that while I not once mentioned Labour, or laid any blame as to who caused what before 2010, and was trying to provide context on why certain decisions were made our Leftie friend had to make it a political row.

            And then make deliberately misleading statements about borrowing. Quite how the Cobynomic experts seem to think that we could have completely removed a £100+ Bn a year deficit in 2010 / 11 to zero and thereby not have borrowed any more money beats me. Oh and of course then also pumped £ Bns into the UK economy … by borrowing … D’UH!

            If people want to see what real austerity is go to Greece or western Africa or Venezuela …..

          • It’s not a “row” Chris, just open and friendly debate.

            “Quite how the Cobynomic experts seem to think that we could have completely removed a £100+ Bn a year deficit in 2010 / 11 to zero and thereby not have borrowed any more money beats me.”

            Like I said in first post, there is strong argument that a stimulus policy after we came out of the recession instead of austerity could of started rapid GDP growth therefore reducing the deficit faster, which would of led to less borrowing overall.

            Either way we are nearly in a budget surplus finally then we can start reducing the debt, pretty sure the interest payment on our national debt is more than our defence budget.

    • Agree wholeheartedly.

      I’d arrest more than just Cameron and Osborne too.

      However it is a valid point made further up that without the crews they might just be sitting on the ramp.

      • Good point Andy. Everybody who flies, sails or trundles through the mud is promising wonderful things by 2023/25. Feels to me like the typical “it’s all going to be ok on the day and I won’t be around any more by then so I don’t care, but it gets me out of jail now, which is all that matters for my career and pension…”

  6. Can anyone with the current knowledge, how many do we really need to have to provide adequate provision? Can we cope with less due to increases in tech?

    • One aircraft can only be in one place at a time. Originally there were going to be 21 Nimrod 4s, then 18, then 16, then 12, then 9, and then there were none. All the cuts were budget driven. There are more submarines in the sea than at any time in the world. You need 3 a/c to cover the Norway-Scotland-Iceland-Greenland gaps alone. Ok Norway can do one of those, you still need 2. That’s just for the north. The RAF CAS has stated 12 aircraft are needed.

    • You have to include Norways 5 and the US’s how ever many. Its pointless to think in non-coalition terms now.

      • Andy you are right on many issues on here but you have to differentiate between capabilities essential for UK defence and what we then want to use in coalition actions. MPAs are definitely in the former and will I’m sure increase in numbers beyond 9 over time.

      • Why in the world should the US and Norway provide P-8s to police the waters around the UK? If the UK has the funds to provide free health care for its citizens and massive amounts of foreign aid, then it has the funds to defend the waters around its shores and stop being a parasite on the United States.

        • Waters around the UK? We’re not talking about the EEZ you numpty, Greenland, Iceland UK gap? Quite a large area and a strategically important one for Russian subs entering the Atlantic.

          Our Navy was engineered to hunt subs in that gap for most of the Cold War and let other capabilities fall behind because of it.

          If the US can afford to have 6 fleets covering the globe constantly, being at war in 2 continents for over a decade, having a defence budget bigger than the 9 below combined then surely they can spare a few planes to help close allies police a strategic gap that, if policed properly is highly beneficial to the US.

          Parasite on the US? Always makes me laugh when I hear that, do you honestly believe that if all of America’s allies increased defence spending so they only had to rely on themselves for defence the US would pack up and go home? Haha as fucking if. Think you need to read about what being the global hegemonic power is all about.

          Start with a book on Pax Brittanica mate and read how it was done properly.

          • Good grief! Talk about sounding like a spoiled teenager! You even write like one. Yes parasite. The UK was in stalemate with Germany in WW1 until the US entered the war. It would have been defeated if not for US intervention. I know that sticks in your British craw but it’s a fact. That intervention was one of the worst mistakes in US history engineered by the totally incompetent Woodrow Wilson. The only strategy the UK had after declaring war on the Third Reich was to hope and pray that the US would enter the war to save the UK”s skin. The only hope you had to stop Soviet domination of the continent of Europe was the US. So any lectures about “Pax Britannica” and how it was done properly are just laughable and about what one would expect from a teenager who hasn’t read his history.
            The purpose of the US defense budget is to protect the United States not to use “spare” assets to protect deadbeat parasites like the UK who refuses to expend sufficient resources to defend itself.
            Oh by the way, I’m not your “mate.”

          • (Chris H) PKCasimir – There is one thing that has totally amazed me in my long life (71 this year) and that is an American’s ability to completely re-write history relying on Hollywood as the reference. The added amazement is how the ‘We Saved Your Arses’ comment is invariably thrown in after the slightest criticism of US policy or action.

            The fact remains that the USA entered WWI just as the Fat Lady was rehearsing ‘God Save The King’ and given it arrived more than 3 years after the start of a 4 year war there is the stench of hypocrisy in your attitude. For the ‘allies’ to win they had to rely on the British and French not being defeated by the Bosch for over 3 years.

            And then we come to WWII. Again given we were never invaded and had kept our freedom while every other European country had surrendered your claim is fatuous at best. By the time we saw US troops 3 years after our war started we had defeated the German Navy at sea, had technology advantages over them, were delivering 1,000 bomber raids anywhere in Germany and had started the long push back in North Africa. Your first contribution was to give Rommel his last military victory at Kesserine Pass and elsewhere. Your arses were saved by British armour and infantry in Africa, the same British, Canadian and Polish armour that gave you an easy run round in France and then sorted your UpFuck again in the Ardennes. The best you could produce was Patton?

            Remind me again which country it was that paid the USA $ Bns in cash for materiel to help it fight alone with its Commonwealth friends? Remind me which country it was had to repay a huge loan after Lend / lease over 50 years? Remind me which country it was that gave, repeat gave, you jet engines, nuclear fission, plastic explosive, Magnetron radar, advanced bomber positioning, advanced sonar and self sealing fuel tanks in 1941 / 42? Before you were dragged kicking and screaming into the shitty part of a war – fighting it.

            The USA sat back for years and made money out of our survival. Companies like Packard and North American survived because of the UK. Hell we gave the USA more GDP growth in 2 years than all of Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’. Economically we dragged your country out of the fallout of The Depression. The USA then showed its friendship for its ally by converting Lend / Lease overnight into a loan while ships were still at sea the terms of which we never had any choice in agreeing. It then used the ‘convertibility’ rules of that loan in 1947 to mount the largest currency raid, devaluation of the £ thus doubling our $ debt.

            No Sir you Americans did not save our arses. You gave us nothing and took all we had. You helped us liberate Europe and then only because you had to. That is all.

            For clarity I quite like America as a country, have worked there for a few years and have a few ‘Yanks’ as friends from those times. Its a fabulously beautiful country but one is left with the impression it could have been so much better. Your cities are appalling … a bit like your attitude Sir

          • Only one set of countries fought in every theatre in all parts of the globe for the whole of the 6 years of WWII:

            The UK and its Commonwealth – For example Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India etc

            Not Germany

            Not Japan

            Not China

            Not Russia

            And certainly NOT the USA.

            Historical fact not Hollywood Yank bullcrap. If you aren’t there fighting the fight for all the fight you cannot claim real victory. You are an opportunist arriving late to collect the spoils of war….

          • Couldn’t of put it any better myself Chris.

            Well done on handing this idiot his arse.

            There is usually two types of American that comment on here, the delusional kind that think they singlehandedly saved the world in two world wars and have been spreading peace and democracy keeping the world safe since WW2, and the respectful kind who comment with grace and understand and acknowledge their allies and their own strengths and weaknesses.

            This plant pot is certainly the former.

          • You mean in WW1 when the Ludendorff Spring offensives broke through the British and French lines? The only thing that prevented a Dunkirk in 1918 was the arrival of the US Army and Marine Corps at Seicheprey, Chemin des Dames, and Belleau Wood. Had it not been the continued arrival of American men and material the Hundred Days Offensive would not have been possible. As the allies would not have been able to replenish themselves in time to take advantage of the weakened German Army and Austria-Hungarian Armies.
            Over 40% of all Entente military expenditure in WW1 was spent on weapons and supplies produced in the US. One wonders what the result would have been had the people of America backed by the USN which by the time it entered the War was the same size as the Kaiserliche Marine and embarking on a build program to surpass the Royal Navy. Had insisted on an exemption to the Blockade. Then traded equally with Germany during the War.
            Really in WW2 where you managed to lose all of the Continent in less than a year. Using Kasserine as an example of Britain “saving” the US Army? US II Corps position was saved by the arrival of the 1st ID and 1st AD arriving and along with 9th ID coordinating massed artillery bombardments of the German advance. While the US actually punished LT. Gen. Fredendall the man who was equally if not more responsible for the battle was British LT. Gen. General Anderson. Who failed to keep his units concentrated and micromanaged them continuously throughout the battle and was NOT removed from command.
            The Ardennes? You mean where Montgomery and the British Government pressured Eisenhower and Marshal to redirect supplies to their hair brained schemes instead of Patton’s Army which was actually advancing? Resulting in the US advance having to stop due to lack of fuel and spare parts and allowing a German build up on the lines.
            Montgomery who had just screwed the pooch in Market Garden. Market Garden where the BRITISH airborne and the BRITISH 30 Corps were the only units that failed in their objectives. Hell the Polish Airborne even made it to their objectives.
            Converted Lend-Lease? This maybe a little hard to explain but you borrow money from a Lender. Who expects to be paid back with interest not supposed and oft times nonexistent gratitude.
            America had to go Europe? No our war was in the Pacific. We could very easily have left you to pick between Comrade Stalin and Herr Hitler as your new dictator. America had recovered its pre Depression economy and employment levels by 1934-35. Through a combination of baking reform (Glass-Steagall) and massive public works (TVA,CCC, Hoover Dam) and stimulus spending (Federal Crop Insurance, Rural Water and Electrification Act). The technology you mention all of those examples were in some form already nearing completed development/in advanced development or ALREADY about to be deployed by the US Military. Before the Tizard mission. The Manhattan project actually ISOLATED rather than fully used British scientists as they were considered unreliable and susceptible to communist infiltration.
            Yes America could have been better. By shoving the ungrateful blood sucking Brits and Euros out of our politics, out of our policy, and our Hemisphere. The Monroe Doctrine and alliance with Latin and South America were clearly better policies. I’ve been to London, Paris, Rome and Berlin the thing I most remember is filth, cats, traffic and most of all apathy. So concern yourself with your own country considering it is the one which will lock people up for Facebook and YouTube posts, and put sick children down like a dog, because you are a disarmed subject not a free citizen.

          • No but we should put defence spending back up to reasonable amount. The USA at least spends a decent % of gdp, like we used too.

          • (Chris H) – Elliott I can always rely on you to eloquently prove my points about the arrogance and ignorance of some, repeat some, Americans two of whom we have had in this Thread. Sadly those ‘some’ Americans tend to be the loudest and most ignorant.

            I won’t take your various bits of ignorance apart, like the laughable comment about not needing Tizzard technology like jet engines and Magnetron radar (which you did NOT have) as its too easy.

            Like your nonsense about Monty causing supplies shortages? Eisenhower preferred a broad-front strategy. He gave some priority to Montgomery’s northern forces. This had the short-term goal of opening the urgently needed port of Antwerp and the long-term goal of capturing the Ruhr area. In October, the First Canadian Army fought the Battle of the Scheldt, opening the port of Antwerp to shipping. As a result, by the end of October this had eased the supplies situation. Oops forgot that bit did we?

            You insult Montgomery and others and sanctify muppets like Patton. Pathetic! I would ask why, given Eisenhower was American, did he surround himself at the top command table with more Brits than Yanks? Why was the whole Overlord operation commanded by Brits and not one Yank? And here is a thought – we landed more men on more beaches than you did. At least we screwed our Mulberry Harbour together as designed unlike you idiots who always ‘know better’ except 9 / 10 you don’t and yours fell apart at the first puff of wind. Just as well because we then supplied every allied unit through our Harbour. You’re Welcome!. Why did he never put Bradley or Patton as overall land Commander? Because they were no good and Monty for all his being a twat to work with was the best and most successful battle commander in WWII. And what happened when Ike did give in to Bradley’s moaning and was given independent command of all US forces in September ’44? Oh look come December the Germans ran through the US 1st Army lines while they weren’t paying attention. Who did Ike then turn to to save the day? Yes Montgomery who was then given back full command of all forces and then re-organised the order of battle and saved the day. Along with British Armour that had to about turn and pop along to save Yank arses. Like they did in Africa.

            Who says so? The German commander of the 5th Panzer Army, Hasso von Manteuffel said of Montgomery’s leadership:

            “The operations of the American 1st Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery’s contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough”

            And how did the US Army see just one of these battles? The official U.S. Army history states:
            “At least seven thousand were lost here and the figure probably is closer to eight or nine thousand. The amount lost in arms and equipment, of course, was very substantial. The Schnee Eifel battle, therefore, represents the most serious reverse suffered by American arms during the operations of 1944–45 in the European theater.”

            So Monty was to blame for this was he?

            But I will make something very clear as I didn’t mention it before:
            The war against Japan was not fought solely in ‘the Pacific’. You Yanks give it that name because you didn’t fight too much in the jungles did you? Well we did. We had over a million men fighting those Japs in the longest jungle war of WWII. We handed out their biggest defeats at Kohima and elsewhere after which they never won another battle. In doing so we kept over 2 million Japs off the beaches your very brave young Marines were trying to retake. I wonder how many Yank Marine ‘arses’ we saved by keeping Japs busy in jungles? Google ‘The Chindits’ and learn what fighting a jungle war was really all about. And here is another fact you will not have been shown on Fox News – We had more men fighting the Japs in WWII than the USA ever had in Europe at any one time fighting the Germans. A fight you joined when we were both winning battles and also supplying the Russians for free via Arctic convoys. You say the USA should have left us to it in Europe? Interesting idea seeing as Hitler had declared war on the USA. You’d sort of ‘ignore’ that maybe? Well in hindsight I wish you had. We would have moved a million men and thousands of aircraft and tanks back to Europe and Australia from fighting the Japs. Given we were supplying the Russians we would have ended up where we all ended up in 1945 the only difference being the overall strategic decisions would have been made by a UK Commander not a US one – Ike. And we wouldn’t have had all the backstabbing and bullcrap from Patton, Bradley and Marshall.

            Of course the USA sat back wanting the Germans to overrun the UK so they could do a deal with the Nazis. Its why Churchill kicked out Jack Kennedy’s father for peddling defeatist crap about us while he was the US Ambassador. After all many Yank companies were supplying them anyway ….Some friends ….

          • Once again a Brit who loves to take credit for the efforts of Australian, Indian and New Zealand troops. Hell even taking credit for Chinese efforts. Despite the fact the British General alongside his opposite number in the RN managed to lose Singapore and 2 BBs one modern with barely a whimper. Worsening a situation made terrible by Britain moving the Australian troops to Africa.
            Jungle fighting? Apparently you have forgotten General McArthur, General Stilwell later General Wedemeyer’s campaigns.
            General Eisenhower did not want so many British officers around him. They were by his own admission a political necessity. Because of Roosevelt wanting to play politics cost the US Army repeatedly.
            Why was Overlord commanded by Brits? One yet another exaggeration. Two Brits had many posts due to it being the English Channel NOT the Chesapeake Bay being invaded. Three most American supplies did not come from ANY mulberry and were simply landed on the beach as in the Pacific. Then continued on to a real port at Cherbourg. Mulberries were in the end a giant waste of time and expense. As even at Utah Beach which never had one the US Army landed 3 divisions on just one day alone.
            The theater is called the Pacific in the US because that was and still is the name of the operations area from before and after the War. A hint US Army Europe is under NATO (North Atlantic). Not British Armor saving the day at the Bulge? Funniest thing I’ve heard since Carson left the tonight show. The Bulge was won by Patton and the US 3rd Army in addition to the regrouped US First Army.
            Bastogne was held by the 101st Airborne not a British unit. It was relieved by a American armor unit not a British one.
            Britain able to make strategic decisions with Stalin ready to overrun all of Western Europe? With Britain nearly a decade away from it’s own Nuclear weapon and already by the end of 1944 in a manpower shortage?
            Delivering supplies to the Soviets? Yeah in American built and crewed freighters by 1942. That would include the time First Sea Lord “brain tumor” Pound saw fit to get 24 of them lost in one run during PQ17.
            Winning battles? Yeah in Africa. How did the Dieppe Raid go? There was no realistic plan by Britain to return to the Continent until American entry to the War.
            Stop the flights of fancy attempting to take credit for American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and Soviet the list goes on efforts. All of this by the way done with not just a lot of American manufacturing but truly epic amounts of money loaned out at criminally low rates.

          • (Chris H) Elliott – As usual you distort what was said to score some inane point. I never ever decried, nor would I, what the members of our Commonwealth did you lying moron. Here are my exact words from 12.23 yesterday. Your attention span is even worse than the average Yank:
            “Only one set of countries fought in every theatre in all parts of the globe for the whole of the 6 years of WWII:
            The UK and its Commonwealth – For example Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India etc”

            My last word in this has to be about your unbelievably stupid and ignorant comment about Mulberry Harbours as it exemplifies how misleading you and your Hollywood history are in everything else. What was it you said?
            “Mulberries were in the end a giant waste of time and expense.”

            The only waste was caused because you Yanks couldn’t bear to follow British instructions and build their ‘Mulberry A’ as designed and it fell apart in the first heavy weather. You idiots wasted the work and resources of thousands of British construction and shipbuilding workers ‘just to be first’. Outf**kingstanding! You gob off about ‘direct beach landing like the Pacific’ when it was the remains of that Mulberry that gave that beach the shelter to do those landings. No Mr American Patriot the heavy lifting was done by the British ‘Mulberry B’ that continued to deliver supplies all through the gale and delivered 2.5 Mn troops, 0.5 Mn guns, tanks and vehicles and 4 Mn tons of supplies from June to November 1944 when Antwerp was relieved and Allied forces were in Holland. Yes the American built Mulberry A was indeed “a giant waste of time and expense”

            And the source for my facts? You won’t enjoy this film Yank:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwUGoqLQEV0

          • For those singing Rule Britannia, forget it. The US entry into WW1 resulted in victory.

            WW2 well there was Libya, Greece, Crete, Tobruk, Alamein, Singapore, the NEI and the RAAF Squadrons in the UK during the Battle of Britain. In the end it didn’t matter, because it was the US who saved Australia from the Japanese. Australians will never forget this fact.

          • Golly gee a YouTube video! I bow to it’s authority. NOT. I’m certain I will take their analysis over that of the US Army and Naval War colleges. The historical records of the US Army and USN hold the presses need to be changed due to YouTube. Oh wait the records show most American supplies came over the beach and the Mulberry Harbours provided less than half the total amount of supplies than came over the beach for the ENTIRE operation.

            Really you think calling me an American Patriot is an insult? Only a Marxist would find that an insult.

          • (Chris H) elliott – I take it you didn’t actually watch it then? Maybe because it was a detailed documentary made years before YouTube existed with evidence from the people who designed and built it and then operated it. Because something is on YouTube does not lessen its value. But of course you are in total denial and so resort to cheap sarcasm and a blinkered view where you won’t even see any other evidence.

            Well jog on Yank I think you have proved adequately the unbelievable arrogance and ignorance of some, repeat some. Americans. Same shit different day from you ..

  7. What i don’t understand is why we didn’t push for having 1 plane now. Only one plane would seem at first glance as not very useful, but it would give us the option to deploy should needed and if an ally was not able/willing to cover us. At the same time,it would provide training for the crews, that would be needed once the larger fleet was ready.

    I guess the service / maintenance costs would make this impractical, but just a thought.

    • The support infrastructure footprint and associated logistics train are not in place yet… Look at the investment Marham has had before the first F-35 even shows up over the horizon. I know what this is like from the work we had to do at Brize Norton to bring Voyager and Atlas on board.

  8. This is precisely why our procurement agency and the MOD are so befuddled and hopeless in identifying even current and potential future threats. To suggest a 10 year programme to provide 9 aircraft is because of budget constraints is ridiculous! But that is where we are! Cameron at a stroke cut our maritime patrol/anti submarine capabilty that will take 20 years to reinstate. For an island nation that is a crime bordering on treason, so vulnerable did that leave us as to be reliant on other nations. France would NEVER allow itself to he placed in that position. F35-20 year programme. P8- 10 years+. Frigates? 10 years+.
    Let’s face it people the tories have been the biggest enemies to the arned forces initiated by Cameron – l would hang him tonorrow – and abetted by Clegg in the coalition government.
    The current defence minister appears on face, to understand the parlous state we are in. It is time to seriously consider whether we should maintain a nuclear strike capability at all and funnel the costs towards a fully funded and a cost effective military superior to anything save the US and China. 4 subs of which 2 are completely useless as they cannot be crewed in a crisis let alone armed are no longer required. The current bombers are good for another 10 years. More than enough time even for this utterly inept government and the self serving civil service to get it right. Pigs may fly and will probably outnumber the F35′ we will eventually deploy on HMS Lidl and Aldi. God help us.

    • Nonsense, its a nice steady buy rate, which will lead to a nice steady upgrade rate and a nice steady replacement rate.

    • I agree with Andy. I guess most of us following this site would prefer it to be a bigger nice steady buy rate but, when you also factor in the fact that F-35 all variants are still in LRIP so still following a downward curve on unit price the U.K. F-35B program seems well managed.

      You (Bill) are blaming exactly the wrong people in the case of F-35B and possibly P-8A as well. It’s not the MoD or procurement agency at fault here, they actually seem to me to be doing a fairly good job with the cards they have been dealt. It’s the government (of all persuasions) allocating too little budget to the F-35 program, the P-8A program, slowing the carrier builds down to help cash flow at the expense of increased costs, T26 delays, etc, etc that are to blame.

      • In fairness you (Bill) do blame the government later. I just think in the specific case of F-35 it’s unfair to blame the MoD & procurement agency. They can only work with what government allocates to them.

    • Bill – So you like to hang people with whom you disagree politically?

      ts an iInteresting hypothesis so can I therefore add Mr Blair, Mr Brown and possibly ‘Jezzah’ to the queue waiting for the hangman?

      Did Cameron take us into an illegal war?

      Did Cameron fabricate a dossier to mislead Parliament?

      Did Cameron allow us to take part in ‘Rendition’ of innocent people to Libya to grease the palms of oil companies?

      Did Cameron or Clegg or Hammond the then Foreign Secretary mislead the Commons over said Rendition?

      Be very careful for what you wish …..

  9. The buy rate is too slow and 9 isn’t enough but the good news is that we are regaining the MPA capabilities. Throwing more money at it isn’t feasible so best to focus on other priorities such as the T31, recruitment and retention rates.

  10. It’s a really interesting discussion once again. Politics aside I believe where the MOD has really let down our combat troops is in getting good kit into their hands at a steady drumbeat.

    We are now spending far too much on life extension programmes for out of date assets and do not seem to have a really good strategy. I am really disappointed that Nick Carter got the top job as he is symptomatic of all this. What has he delivered, what is a strike brigade, how many goes has he had at it.

    I have a strong preference for larger fleets (critical mass) of core assets and then using off the shelf UOR’s when a gap is identified in theatre. This is happening anyway, but only after the things we have developed have been found wanting in theatre.

    Great example of this is our challenger fleet, which was requested in Afghan and refused, whilst our Apaches were worked to the bone. If we are not wiling to use an asset like a challenger when requested by commanders, then replace it with something we are prepared to use.

    Given the current price of an apache – we should replace an asset we seemingly dont want to put in harms way for one we do – at a great price point and create critical mass.

    The same applies to P8 – great price, great equipment but too few. Let’s double the order getting 4 ASAP and filtering in the next 15 over 10-15 years and then take it from there.

    Once this is decided it is trivial costs per annum, risk is massively reduced as it is a known platform and the build up is managed, this is simple fleet management – something we seem incapable of doing.

  11. Guys, you’re all right, but let’s not be too harsh on ourselves. Look at the RAF: the most up to date and versatile air lift capability of any Air Force in the world. Best air refuelling tanker in the world. Full and most comprehensive multi spectrum ISTAR fleet (once P-8 arrives). Best ground attack capability, as good as any other, with Tornado, soon to be replaced with full air to ground capability on Typhoon (with Paveway, Brimstone, Storm Shadow). Best interceptor capability with Typhoon with ASRAAM, AMRAAM and Meteor plus CAPTOR-E soon. Introduction of F-35B well underway. Highly capable helicopter force. IOW, after the US, probably the best there is. Only problem is overall numbers. Same with RN. Unfortunately cannot say the same about the Army, but I blame the Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals in charge. The MoD and procurement organisations do as they’re told. The government hands out the money, lay down the limits. It’s then up to the Requirements, Budgeting and Planning people in each of the Services to decide what to do with it. Yes, the government imposed limits control the overall numbers and how fast you can buy the stuff, but it’s the military who decide what to do with the money. Clearly the Air Marshals have done a lot better than the Admirals who in turn have done a lot better than the Generals. But having said all of that, we still have one of the best all-round armed forces in the world, something that fills me with pride. So, constructive criticism yes, but a bit less knocking…

    • I am more than happy to fully agree with everything you have written. As for numbers we are an island nation of 65 Mn people, we have no global territorial ambitions (good) and do not wish to be the ‘World’s Policeman’ any more. We have a very good military capability, one of the best in the world by a big margin despite what the naysayers wish the truth to be, and it is, or soon will be, more than sufficient for the defence of our Nation.

    • Some big statements there Richard.

      “The most up to date and versatile air lift capability of any Air Force in the world.”
      I assume you mean apart from the USAF? The RAF has no capability to match the 210 tonne payload of a C5M for instance. The RAAF has the same number of C7 Globemasters as the RAF, while at the other end of the spectrum the RAF has no capability to match the RAAFs C27J ‘battlefield airlifters’ that can land where a Hercules can’t.

      “Best air refuelling tanker in the world.”
      If only the RAF’s A330s also were capable of boom refuelling like the RAAF’s A330 tankers then they could refuel their own C7s and P8s not to mention other coalition assets.

      “Full and most comprehensive multi spectrum ISTAR fleet (once P-8 arrives).”
      Of course some other air forces already have P8s in service. The RAAF already has 6 in Australia and 3 more flying in the US. I’m not sure I’d rate the RAFs 6 ageing E3s ahead of the RAAFs 6 MESA radar equipped E7 Wedgetails. If you are including soon to be acquired capabilities the RAAF has 5 G550 Gulfstream ISTAR aircraft on order (similar to RAFs Sentinels).

      “Best ground attack capability, as good as any other, with Tornado, soon to be replaced with full air to ground capability on Typhoon (with Paveway, Brimstone, Storm Shadow). “
      Unless you happen to operating against a hostile IAD. Then something like the RAAFs EF18G Growlers and their anti-radiation HARM missiles might for useful for SEAD/DEAD. Or need to attack a warship then air-launched Harpoon missiles or stand-off JSOWs might be handy which the RAAFs Hornets, Super Hornets, P8s or APC3s could deliver for you.

      “Best interceptor capability with Typhoon with ASRAAM, AMRAAM and Meteor plus CAPTOR-E soon.”
      Let us know when you have an AESA radar in service. The RAAFs Super Hornet and Growler pilots and maintainers might be able to compare notes about it performs compared to their AESA radars.

      Sorry I’m being tongue-in-cheek here. Just making a point.

      So yes the RAF is a mightily capable, professional and globally respected airforce, but other airforces have comparable capabilities or, in some cases, niche capabilities the RAF lacks.

      The problem with many blogs is they are closed bubbles and ‘echo chambers’ reinforcing one narrow view of the world. Fortunately most UKDJ posters are more widely read and better informed.

      • OZ, as soon as I posted I thought about the RAAF… I take all of your points. In my defence I did say “after the US…” Yes the RAAF is mighty impressive and very cleverly specified their KC-30s with a boom. RAF mightily regrets not having done the same. Personally, I don’t think much of the C27J, but you guys (assuming you are Australian?) probably can make good use of it in your geography. The RAF’s A400Ms are already capable of operating from more challenging airstrips than the C130J, and it’s not a fully developed capability yet. Yes our E3Ds need replacing but the point I was making was that we still manage to maintain a full spectrum ISTAR capability, including Airseeker, even if each of the elements might not be the best available. The loss of Sea Eagle and ALARM were big losses in capability, I agree. Hopefully one day this will be partially redressed by putting LRASM on F-35. JSOW is a good weapon but we’re placing our bets instead on SPEAR 3 – we shall see… Anyway, the thrust of my argument was that we shouldn’t knock our armed forces or governments as much as we sometimes do, not to say that the RAF was better than the RAAF, and I am glad that in a conflict, were it to come to that, Australia would be on the same side as us.

  12. Australia has some skin in the game and has been a development partner with the US on the P8 for over a decade. A total of $5 billion has been invested in the P-8A and MQ-4C programmes to date.

    Jun 2007 RAAF commits $150 million to jointly develop the platform with USN

    Dec 2011 further $100 million for development

    Oct 2012 another $73.9 million for development

    Feb 2014 Australian government approves acquisition of 8 P-8A for $4 billion

    Jul 2016 a further 4 P8As approved

    2016 Defence White Paper commits to further 3 P8As but yet to be contracted (total fleet 15)

    Mar 2016 RAAF aircrews training at the Integrated Test Center (ITC) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville in Florida

    May 2016 first RAAF aircraft test flight from Boeing’s Renton 737 manufacturing facility

    Nov 2016 first P8A delivered to delivered to Australia

    Jun 2017 RAAF P-8A undertakes first overseas deployment RMAF Butterworth as part of Operation Gateway to patrol Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

    Mar 2018 weapons and flight testing of Harpoon missile on RAAF P8s

    Mar 2018 RAAF declares IOC five months ahead of schedule.

    May 2018 six P-8As are in service with the RAAF Edinburgh-based 11SQN

    Further three RAAF P8As aircraft are currently undergoing certification in US

    2018-2019 last of RAAF’s 10SQN AP-3C Orions to be withdrawn from service maintaining continuous maritime patrol capability throughout transition

    Mar 2020 in service date for RAAF’s full fleet of P8As

    The P8A forms part of Australia’s layered maritime surveillance capabilities which include the Australian Border Force’s fleet of 14 modified Dash 8s, the Jindalee (JORN) long range radar network, and the planned 7 MQ-4C Tritons

  13. Chris, l was being slightly facetious but that obviously went whizzing by you. My point is that under the coalition and Tory governments the basic strength of our armed forces has been reduced to parlous levels which lays firmly at the door of ‘call me Dave’. While he basked in the fulsome praise of Bill Gates for his (our) benevolence with our overseas ‘aid’ budget he reduced the army’s offensive capability by a third. C2’s, AH64′, AS90’s. Just look at how many of these weapons were produced and how many remain in service. In mothballs does not mean in service by the way. Nimrod. FA2. Selling off of perfectly functional navy vessels. Our bang for our buck is way off beam and the worst ratio of any of the so called major powers-Division 2 being France, Germany, Turkey and to an extent Spain and Italy as well. My criticism of the DPA and the MOD IS simply where is the value in our expenditure. Knowing the cost without appreciating the value and harping on about the percentage we spend of our GDP as the govt always falls back on is pointless and disingenuous.

    • Bill – I thought it was sarcasm – I was making the point that there are many more who have done far worse things to and with our military.

      To blame the inheritors of the situation in 2010 (and here again I cast no previous blame or reasons for that situation) for having to make the decisions they did is very blinkered. And possibly political. You forget it was a Coalition Government formed out of the dire situation this country was in. Now I am no admirer of the LibDems but they did this country a service by working across party lines for 5 years. They paid an unfairly heavy price in 2015 for it.

      And 8 years on I think the decisions have proved remarkably correct. Possibly with added luck as much as judgment but we are where we are with a huge amount of new kit coming into service because Cameron and Clegg made the hard calls. Not only in military matters but elsewhere by reining in public spending, getting the deficits into reverse and winning the support of the Bond Markets on which our survival depended. Don’t be too insular in your judgments – look at the wider picture

  14. Chris, I have to agree with most of what you say. Bill, you are correct in pointing out how the 2010 SDSR decimated our armed forces, but my point is that it wasn’t Cameron, Osborne, MOD or even DE&S that made the decision to cut all the things that were cut – it was the Chiefs of Staff who did. They were merely given financial targets to meet. It was they who decided where the axe fell. It was they who decided on the capability holidays. They did this willingly. Not a single one of them resigned resigned. They only protested after they were collecting their pensions. I even had conversations with one of them who shall remain nameless justifying to me why getting rid of Nimrod was the right thing to do! Their Staff Officers wrote the papers that ministers read in public saying why it was all a wonderful thing to do. It was sickening to watch, believe me.

  15. Given financial targets to meet which they then did. By whom?! All academic now but SDR 2010 will continue to plague our armed forces for a long time to come. Gutless Chiefs is one provision that will always be ring fenced. All comments gratefully noted!

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