The decision to purchase only three E-7 Wedgetail early warning aircraft has been, once again, criticised.

Dr Sophy Antrobus, Research Fellow at Freeman Air and Space Institute, told the Defence Committee:

“I do not think three is the right number and I cannot see it ever being the right answer. You will have heard these arguments rehearsed before, so I will be relatively brief. If you have one aircraft in deep maintenance, you have further two aircraft, you are trying to cover 24-hour orbit and one of those aircraft has a minor fault, you are stuffed, effectively. I know that the RAF would very much want to go back to five, four at the very minimum. It is just the wrong number, and there is no point in me going any further than saying that.

I would make the point that if there is a decision or revision of that decision, as you mentioned the IOC date, the FOC date is intended to be 2026, so that would be when the third Wedgetail, as currently planned, comes on stream. It is being developed and finished, as you will know, in Birmingham. If the decision is not made by then or in time, that production facility will cease to exist, so there is a relevance of dates and timings.”

Justin Bronk, Senior Research Fellow for Airpower and Technology at the Royal United Services Institute, added:

“If four is the minimum number to give you an orbit somewhere you want it and you are saying that, for territorial defence reasons, you probably want the ability to put up another orbit at a much shorter projection distance near the home airbase, you are probably looking at a fleet of six or seven. That is close to what we had E-3D on for a long time for, I suspect, good reasons.”

The UK had originally intended to operate five E-7 airborne early warning, it will now only operate three.

The Defence Command Paper released in March last year, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, states:

“We will retire the E 3D Sentry in 2021, as part of the transition to the more modern and more capable fleet of three E 7A Wedgetail in 2023. The E 7A will transform our UK Airborne Early Warning and Control capability and the UK’s contribution to NATO. The nine P 8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will help to secure our seas. The introduction into service of the 16 long range Protector remotely piloted systems will be the backbone of persistent, multi spectral surveillance, with the ability to strike and act decisively against our potential adversaries around the globe.”

Wedgetail is an airborne early warning and control system, commonly known as AWACs or AEW&C. They are designed to track multiple targets at sea or in the air over a considerable area for long periods of time. This aircraft is replacing the E-3D Sentry, pictured below.

FILE PHOTO: E-3D Sentry

What is the current status?

Testing recently started on the MESA sensor destined for the UK’s 1st E-7.

Testing begins on British E-7 early warning aircraft radar

According to the manufacturers, the MESA radar electronically scans the skies around the Boeing 737-based aircraft, “providing the warfighter with an unrestricted 360-degree view. The powerful MESA sensor provides mission crews with the tools needed to track airborne and maritime targets while maintaining continuous surveillance of the operational area”.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
234 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mac
Mac
1 month ago

Once again, The bean counters at the Treasury are relying on Allied nations that will also most likely operate the platform to fill the gaps that will come with only three airframes.

This reliance on others to always be there for our needs is as dangerous as it is deluded.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mac
RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Mac

It’s always the bean counters that get it in the neck. All they do is set a budget, it’s up to the MOD to ensure that is managed properly and to identify the country’s needs for defence. No one at the treasury decided on 3 Wedgetails.

Bob.
Bob.
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

MoD obviously had a requirement for five, who decided to reduce this number and why?

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob.

The MOD/RAF did when they couldn’t afford five. My point is that the budget of all departments is set by the government of the time, not bean counters.

The equipment plan was never affordable. Too many phantom efficiency lines appeared to ensure it all balanced out. It’s a political decision to up the budget to ensure it can all happen and to increase mass (we can hope).

Bob.
Bob.
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

The budgets are set by the bean counters in the Treasury.

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob.

Each Department within the services set there spending to the forecasted budget.

based on the defence budget, if you gave the MOD a unlimited budget, they would have stock pilled kit with no one to use it. and a large supply of whiskey.

George Parker
George Parker
1 month ago
Reply to  johan

British defence spending during peace time, should never fall below 10% of GDP, more when needed. The problem is always down to spending and the disgracefully low priority placed on defence. Only 2.1% was allocated for defence in 2019

Steve R
Steve R
30 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

You do realise that 10% of GDP would be over £225 billion per year?!

Do you plan to scrap the NHS, Education and Police budget to pay for that, increase taxes to the point where people can’t afford to pay rent/mortgage of even eat, or just simply borrow into financial oblivion?

2.5-3% of GDP (£55-65 billion) would be perfect.

George Parker
George Parker
30 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

£225 billion every year, ploughed straight back into the British economy. It will require a reorganisation of the country and infrastructure. With the military once again being one of the largest employers. Give the following some thought rather than a knee jerk reaction. Do I want to scrap the NHS, education and police? Of course not. Do I want them to work more closely and be supplemented by, or even integrated to some extent into the armed forces? Yes I do. We already have military personnel gaining experience in hospitals. Let’s expand it and maximise returns on he investment. We… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
30 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

I’m sorry but that’s not the least bit realistic. Again, where does the money come from to pay for it? We would go bankrupt very quickly.

And double or triple personnel numbers? How, exactly? There’s a recruitment shortage as it is. You can’t force people to join.

And we don’t need all that; we don’t have an empire any more. 2.5-3% would be perfect.

Bob.
Bob.
30 days ago
Reply to  johan

And they have to lose capability when that budget is set too low.

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob.

Boeing closed the Factory due to Covid but slapped up the price for the 4th and 5th Airframes, to ensure they didn’t have to deliver.

But UKgovs had a conversation with the USA, and there proposed selection of the E7s which are due to be upgraded under there scheme. 3 covers the basic needs for 3 years, by which time the USAF E 7s will be developed and UK can piggy back that order. BUT USAF intends to replace on a 1 to 3 Ratio. as the E7s are more efficient.

Esteban
Esteban
1 month ago
Reply to  johan

Source please?

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Esteban
Palaboran
Palaboran
30 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

Would that be HP or ketchup?

Airborne
Airborne
30 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

What, on that chip on your shoulder?

Johan
Johan
27 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Just a lazy troll Doesn’t understand a white paper unless it’s Andrex

Johan
Johan
27 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

Do some research Try looking in the NAO.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

A very valid point.

Problem is that it falls to the bean counters to point out when the budgets are fantasy – ‘what are you going to do about it?’ Style.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

👍

Ian
Ian
30 days ago
Reply to  RobW

The criticism boils down to the fact that MOD analyses the plausible threat environments in order to work out what equipment and personnel is required to mitigate it- and provided that they are being quoted reasonable prices for delivering that, then the necessary budget can be determined based on the required capability. Then HMT comes along and refuses to fund the things that are required in the numbers that are required, because HMT thinks it can buy more votes by throwing money at other areas of public spending.

RobW
RobW
30 days ago
Reply to  Ian

That is the same for every department, they could all do with more money. Ultimately the tax take is determined by the rates of tax and performance of the economy. Then the government sets its agenda for spending. The treasury puts that into practice. If the government of the day wanted to spend more on a particular department then that’s what would happen. So blame the politicians.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Mac

I’d say others have been far to reliant on us, and especially the Americans.

Chris
Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

😂 for what exactly?!

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris. Take a look at every conflict since the first Gulf War, every peace keeping mission, no fly zone, disaster relief mission and look at what we have contributed, and continue to contribute, globally, 365 day’s a year. The training we offer to the world, our world leading intelligence services, our Nuclear deterrent, ISTAR, Strategy airlift, our fast jets deployed around the world, RN global operations, the list goes on….

Esteban
Esteban
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

You have no nuclear deterrent other than what has been given to you. My God are you serious???

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Esteban

And what part of the world are you from Esteban? Do you mean the 4 British built Vangard class nuclear submarines, with one boat on patrol 365 days a year that can carry up to 16 Trident D5 nuclear ballistic missile with British warheads that are stored and maintained at Coulport Scotland that sits on the other side of the loch from Faslane submarine base. That nuclear deterrent?

Airborne
Airborne
30 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

Jesus Christ yet another subject you are clueless on!

RobW
RobW
30 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

I don’t understand your comment on our deterrent as it is a fully sovereign capability that we pay for, with all but the missiles developed here. It is independent, as contrary to what many believe, the system does not rely on the US at all to deploy.

Also I believe you misread Robert’s comment. I think he was saying that others rely on the US and UK, not that the US relies on us.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
29 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Yes, to be fair there is co operation between various US facilities and AWE in the design, support and production of the warheads, and we also liaise with the US in certain operational areas. For example, there are UK personnel embedded with US forces at certain places, but that does not mean it is not an independent capability. And the same is also true in many areas of the military and R&D, and there are no moans there about them. So it is simply another “troll” looking to highlight a perceived weakness for their “agenda” of bashing the UK. Same… Read more »

Johan
Johan
27 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

Define given, As only 3 members in NATO have control of there own deterrent the rest are on hire from the USA.

peter fernch
peter fernch
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Are u kidding the Americans have kept NATO afloat since its inception
so its opposite to your view , I dont understand how you jsutify your comment

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  peter fernch

I think you find I mentioned the Americans in my original comment.

RobW
RobW
30 days ago
Reply to  peter fernch

I think it was just the way Robert phrased his comment. I believe he was inferring that others rely on the US and the UK, not that the US relies on us.

Johan
Johan
27 days ago
Reply to  peter fernch

Define kept afloat or charged a large sum of $s

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mac

If we Had 5 in What Airspace would they be operating as the UKs land based Radars are covering our airspace. so they would be flying for NATO, see the Stupid in your argument

Steve R
Steve R
30 days ago
Reply to  johan

And if those land-based radars were struck by enemy missiles in a conflict? What then?

5+ E7s would enable round-the-clock airborne radar coverage and AEW if we lost our radars to enemy strikes.

Johan
Johan
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

If you think that those land based radars would be the only 1st target and having 5 E7s. Airborne . considering the new builds were some 2 years behind the 3rd. And a capability that NATO would be covering. I don’t understand the logic of not using the NATO aircraft to cover the European front.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago

Not to mention putting all the P-8s, E-7s, Typhoons altogether at Lossiemouth without any GBAD is a potential huge risk. Why not disperse all this fleet to at
2-3 bases? Hopefully the MoD listens to others and some more aircraft can be purchased when there’s some extra monies.

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The MoD is operating in peacetime mode when putting all the assets you mention together makes a lot of sense both operationally and financially. The same with the number of E-7, just the minimum. This is adequate for the kind of conflicts the UK has been involved in over the past 30 years but no doubt they also recognise the realities of a peer to peer conflict.

Bob.
Bob.
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

You cannot just build E7s if the brown and smelly hits the fan, at that point you fight with what you have.

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob.

Correct, but if the foe you are fighting has long distance SAMs or AAMs the functionality of an E-7 will likely be badly affected as it will have to be operated way back from any front, not something NATO has has to cope with to date.

Bob.
Bob.
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

In peacetime they operate up front, in wartime from wherever the local situation dictates.

The transition is where you are likely to lose one and if you only have three that’s a third of your capability lost.

David Flandry
David Flandry
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob.

Exactly!

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

And with the new knowledge we have of the Russian capabilites, its something NATO wont have to face in the near future! Although we may need more rape alarms to issue to women and kids if we ever get into a peer on peer war with the Russian Nazi rapists, headed by your fav top nonce Putin.

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

I Know i shouldn’t as its serious, but finally someone with common sense to understand Russia has been trousering its defence budget, and conning the west

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  johan

Agreed mate 👍!

Netking
Netking
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Although we may need more rape alarms to issue to women and kids if we ever get into a peer on peer war with the Russian Nazi rapists, headed by your fav top nonce Putin.”

So provocative………but true.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Netking

Sad isn’t it! Tongue in cheek reply to our resident troll JohninMK but an ongoing situation the Ukrainians are going through having an ill-disciplined bunch of half trained thugs rampaging through their country!

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

I did originally have some feeling of concern over all the Russian conscripts being sent out to die and suffer for Putins megalomania, but I’ve lost that with the general behaviour of the Russian troops, death squads out killing raping and steel does not leave much room for sympathy. Although I’m sure there are still lots of scared almost adults being sent to die who really only want to go home and have nothing to do with any of it.

John Stevens
John Stevens
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Could not agree more. A Ukrainian refuge lady and her kid are living in a house next to a member of my family. The situations these poor people have been through is so sad. I really hope one day the Ukrainian people are able to kick the Russian thugs out of eastern and southern Ukraine. Slava Ukraini !

John Stevens
John Stevens
1 month ago
Reply to  John Stevens

*refugee

John Williams
John Williams
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob.

The UK has had 5 months to order more E7’s.

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  John Williams

White Paper and after conversations with our American Counterparts. USAF is updating the E-7s with its development budget, 18 months for a Flying prototype. so rather than have 5 older spec Aircraft they advise was to order the bare bones. 3 airframes won’t need any deep Maintenace for 3 plus years, when realistically could piggy back on the USAF order.

they will have 3 airframes available 24/7 for 3 plus years

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob.

18 months Boeing will be building E-7s for the USAF. and if Nato went to war do you think Boeing or Airbus would be building Airliners.
Issue you are Missing F35s have a more powerful Radar suite than the current E-3s Crowsnest has more power than a E-3s

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  johan

It’s also processing power, awareness and decision making. There are a lot more sensors and platforms taking to each other now so you need that command and control node. One of the only weaknesses of present 5 generation fighters is only one man ( Israel really wanted a 2 seater version of the the F35 for this very reason).

Bob.
Bob.
30 days ago
Reply to  johan

We don’t have any E3s.
Why are you comparing them with an aircraft we no longer use?
We are talking E7s.

Bob.
Bob.
30 days ago
Reply to  johan

Modern warplanes (fighters or other types) take a long time to build.
You can lose a lot of capabilities in the time it takes to manufacture an E7.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Totally understand that it’s peacetime and the economics logistics of it all but with a possible rise in east west tensions and any air, sea and sub surface threats you’d think that they’d be some level of GBAD across major UK bases and any key infrastructure. Sky Sabre is great but needs to purchased in sufficient numbers to be fully deployable across the UK and wherever else it is or could be needed.

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

AD of the vital sites that you mention is arguably the most important area of defence spending going forward. There is little point having top notch ships and armour if crucial sites at home have been laid waste.

John Williams
John Williams
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

The Russia Ukraine War has been going on since February 24 and the UK has been in a covert war with Russia since then, 5 months.
The UK should consider opening up 2 – 3 air bases or is the plan to use sections of roads as an runway?

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  John Williams

Issue is and like in the 50s and 70s The Destruction of your Runways in any conflict is a prime. so if you have a Aircraft that doesnt require 15000m of smooth flat Tarmac. you can still defend. Used to be called the Harrier Force, and parking a Harriers in a Hide. Now its called a Joint Strike force and based on a 50 years old idea.
Russia would have to wipe out these bases in Europe 1st, and couldnt attack the entire Nato Front at once.

Marked
Marked
30 days ago
Reply to  John Williams

The RAF started looking at dispersing not that long ago, it was reported on here https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/raf-dispersing-and-operating-jets-from-motorways/

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

That will largely depend on who wins the Tory leadership contest and then the general election next year. Hopefully it’s someone who has already called for a bigger budget.

I’m sure there are plans to disperse aircraft if a threat is identified.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

I’d hope for Wallace or Mordaunt from a defence perspective. With one of them as PM and the other as Defence Secretary I would hope we would see some improvement.

Won’t happen, the Tories are calling for tax cuts and cuts in spending, so I ‘d expect to see those defence increases clawed back. Stupid! Frankly, our politicians are not the brightest bunch regardless of their political colour. The whole system needs modernising…

Cheers CR

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Yes Wallace. Worst case scenario is Sunak given his reluctance to give the MoD a longer settlement previously.

Hunt and Truss have also been vocal for defence.

There should be no election til January 2025 anyway so someone other than BJ has had time to settle the ship.

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago

Ah yes Hunt who covered himself in glory when as the Health secretary he ignored op Phoenix,caused issues with the Doctors (not all one way I may add) and allowed the backup PPE stock to go out of date.Then sniped at Hancock when he attempted to pick up the pieces like the good back benching subversive he was – and no one ever picked him up on it! And Liz Truss- couldnt wait to be seen in a tank Tatcheresque(?) and tell UK guys t’was OK to go to fight in Ukraine- absolutley brain dead she is. If thats the… Read more »

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

Well it was ok in Spanish civil war, if our citizens want to fight and they understand the risks good on them

Christopher Mastin
Christopher Mastin
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

What about the fmoney from the sale of the e3,s and the Sentenal that help pay for for another wedgtail

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

He was actually a pretty good health secretary, especially as he was working and stabilising the disaster that Langley left behind him. He was the one who worked to more integrate health and social care, created the process for joint funding between health and social care. He also tackled the massive issue of the poor unsafe service levels seen in U.K. hospitals, it was hunt that forces increased levels of senior dr/consultant cover and diagnosis at the weekend. The fight he picked with the f1s and f2s was fundamentally about this safety point so he was correct to do so.… Read more »

DaveinMK
DaveinMK
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

He picked a fight with everyone below consultant level. All ‘junior doctors’. The deal was more weekend/on call work in exchange for (slightly) less pay. It ended up shifting ‘juniors’ to weekend cover, when hospitals don’t function particularly well, at the expense of weekday cover when you need boots on the ground for efficiency.
It is one of the (many) reasons why UK trained doctors tend to leave prior to/during post-graduate medical training for different countries or different careers, or end up disinterested GPs working 2 days a week.
No I wouldn’t recommend Hunt for PM.

Jonathan
Jonathan
26 days ago
Reply to  DaveinMK

To be very honest, Hunt was offering a pay rise of 13.5% with a balanced removal of extra payments for weekends and evenings. As it was cheaper to employ Drs during the week the trusts had them all working in these cheaper times. The problem is that no longer worked as it caused risk at the weekend’s as Well as reduced the ability of trusts to discharge at the weekend,so Hunt tried to remove the perverse incentive to not allocate medical resources to weekends. The issue was the DOH said the pay rise would balance out with the removal of… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

Interesting the PPE pandemic stockpiles were nothing to do with the department of health and like all preparations under the civil contingency comes under the secretariat of civil contingency’s, which is managed by a director employed by the office of the prime minister ( before 2001 it sat with the home office). It’s probably why all the PPE went out of date as if it was part of the NHS supply chain it would have just been rotated into general use as it came out of date and just be replaced without any extra cost…..total government Fock up but not… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I didnt realise that – thanks for the clarification- i did wonder why it hadnt just been rotated into the NHS at the time. However they still decided to ignore the recommendations highlighted by Operation Phoniex , a unless that too was outside of the dept of health remit? I didnt disagree with some of the changes Hunt was proposing- a move towards a 24×7 health service and reducing junior doctors hours was the right thing to do its ridiculous itus still a 5 days a week service (if you are lcuky) – unfortunately not with the money he was… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

Hi Grizzler, don’t disagree, post 2010 our civil contingency NHS and other planning around catastrophic events on the national risk register just stopped and the governments from 2010 to now just did not bother keeping up the work started by the labour administration ( love them or loath them they to national level risk very seriously). The governments post 2010 just stopped Andy major civi contingency type work to save money and just crossed their fingers….fuxk wits. I was the same as you with Hunt until I actual met the guy and realised he was not Just doing the minister… Read more »

Johan
Johan
28 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Sorry Hunt is a property developer. And a business man. Hunts idea about the NHS concentrated on Cancer care. As it eats 75% of the NHS. Forget the entire rest of the NHS as that’s not important. Have him as your local MP. Cannot defend his own local regions as Tory’s just ignore the public. And if you think a un educated man on health issues could devise anything to help the NHS without seeking expert advice proves something

Jonathan
Jonathan
27 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Ummm well you see I’m not sure what you mean by me think Jeremy Hunt was not a bad health proves something….are you saying I dont know what I’m taking about as I’m pretty much betting I know more about the NHS than you do Johan. I’ve spent my entire working life in the Health system from being a kitchen assistant, care assistance, Qualified as both a registered nurse as well as a sick children’s nurse, have post registration qualifications coming out my arse have been a cancer nurse, ED Nurse, Minor injuries Nurse, trauma life support trained nurse, ED… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Jonathan
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

I’m down here in Sydney but what’s the vibe on Lizz Truss in the UK? Is she a good Foreign Minister and doing a good job? Is she respected, does she have majority support in the party? You can’t really bluff your way being the PM for too long, you can try (lol) , you’ll get found out soon enough and it would be embarrassing for Britain the world stage.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

Sure, but I’m looking at it from a supporting defence perspective.

Truss also got the Black and Baltic Seas confused though that may have been a slip.

Hunt? Funnily enough when faced with the threat of Corbyn I wanted Hunt as PM rather than BJ. Wonder if we would have been in this mess today.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

Wallace has just stepped away from the race ( after being tipped as the lead condenser). Says he wants to focus on being minister of defence, shame as he’s clearly an honourable individual not focused on his own naked ambition like a most of the present bunch.So it’s mordant or hunt for me now.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Damn Damn Damn.

Sunak would be a disaster I fear. Seen as just another Tory toff.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

Starmer has just given a speech laying out Labour’s plan for Europe; a centre position pretty much what Theresa May was proposing. So be interesting to see if this pushes the Tories to choose a hard right Brexiteer. Apparently Mordaunt is pro LGBT trans…which will make her unpopular with the conservative members.
With Wallace out of it, any thoughts on Tugendhat?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I know little of him other than I’d read he is a soldier, and a remainer, not supportive of Brexit. Nothing wrong with that as such as long as he doesn’t reverse the lot to satisfy Ken Clarke, Hesiltine, and their paymasters in Brussels. Otherwise, we are forever going round in circles and good old Nigel will have to surface to do it all again. Why is being supportive of people of LGBT a problem with Tory members? I believe she is popular for plenty of other things, being a RNR and being more interested in attending D Day commemorations… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

Just something I read in the DT re Mordaunt. They also seem to be spiking Javid by reporting that during covid he suggested mandatory vaccinations and cancelling xmas. Just stirring. Tugendhat has the great merit of not being tainted by being a cabinet member with the current lot. My guess is the DT would like to see Sunak…credibility with the markets.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I honestly think Tugendhat is to lacking in experience. We need someone who has held down a minister of state level job in At least one of the three key challenges we face:

1) financial catastrophe.
2) national security/defence and foreign policy
3) catastrophic failure of the health and social care system post covid.

love them or hate them you are looking at

Morduant
hunt
sunak
Zahawi
Javid

Simon
Simon
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Tugendhat seem to be one of the “zero tariffs” types and wasn’t happy with Boris tariffs on steel imports. Most of the other seem have made loweing corparation tax as quickly as possible there main sell.

peter fernch
peter fernch
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Yes I have a thought on Tugendhat watched him on ITV this morning went on a bit polishing his credetials as a Army man service to the Nation and all that nothing too wrong about that but he went on too much about a .Ten year> plan sounded like the Russians and their 5 year plans. Sorry Tom youare a good man but not Political leadership material

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Mordaunt hasn’t thrown her hat in the ring yet, has she?

Hopefully she will run, win and keep Ben Wallace on as Defence Secretary…

We’ll see. Right now its a shambles.

Cheers CR

RobW
RobW
30 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Mordaunt has announced. Hunt has also repeated his call for an increase for defence to 3% of GDP over 10 years. By my basic maths that is an increase of £20bn a year or thereabouts.

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

With that decision he’s gone up in my estimation. Whoever takes the role on is facing a very difficult time with the increasing inflation and food crisis all the world leaders agree is heading our way. A poisoned chalice to avoid if you are young enough to work towards building a base for next time.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

And the cost of rape alarms will be going up as well!!!!!!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

😆

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

Naughty Daniele 👍 you know not to encourage me where Johnskie is concerned!

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Nobody gives a shit about what “your estimation” is.

Jonathan
Jonathan
27 days ago
Reply to  Dern

A bit blunt but true.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

It must be weird for you to see a leadership challenge and change where the protagonists dont all end up dead by “suicide”, jailed, paid off or just found floating face down in a lake!

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

A poisoned chalice huh ??

The same as the polonium laced tea that your masters gave to Litvinenko to drink.

Let’s see if you slither out from under your rock to deny it….

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Mr Wallace seems to know what needs to be done with UK defence so let’s hope he sees all, his thoughts all the way through. Especially strengthening the Army. I like Tobias Ellwood too, straight talker, good thinker, no BS, keeps people sitting up straight in all those Defence Committees… Lol 😁

Johan
Johan
28 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Trouble is he is honest. And his moral compass won’t allow him to be a lying cheating scumbag

Simon
Simon
1 month ago

It seem the other candidates (or the ones so far) are casting Sunak as taxing too much and spendeing too much, while promising tax cuts. not too sure it all looks very hopefully TBH

Grant
Grant
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon

He is taxing and spending too much. Cutting spending and tax whilst spending more on defence is possible if choices are made. For example the cost of Universal Credit benefits alone is nearly twice that of our entire defence spending (and almost as much as we spend on education). Is that a good use of money? Can we get the 5.1m not in work and on benefits back into the economy? Fix that and we will have money for defence. Indeed defence helps because it employs people outside of the south east in fulfilling, well paid careers….

Simon
Simon
1 month ago
Reply to  Grant

Are you sure about some of the costs you are quoting? The total for Sickness & Disability + Social exclusion is £ 108 billion. And education is ~£52 billion

https://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/year_spending_2022UKbn_17bc1n_478s01#ukgs302

Johan
Johan
28 days ago
Reply to  Simon

NHS has a budget of £22b per month largest employer in the uk with the largest pension pot

Simon
Simon
27 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Not quite sure I see the connection with Grant post which is about benefits?

Jonathan
Jonathan
27 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Sorry Johan but I’m not sure I recognise your figure of 22billion per month for the NHS. where did you get that figure as 264 billion a year spent on the NHS is just fantasy money sorry. The NHS budget looks a bit like this: NHS England budget For 21/22 was around 130billion NHS Scotland budget for 21/22 was around 14 billion NHS Wales budget For 21/22 was around 8.5 billion So your somewhere north of 100billion pounds a year over the actual NHS budget. i suspect that figure you quoted is for the total spend on all health And… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Personally, I feel that Wallace has made the right choice* in staying with Defence when defence needs an experienced hand on the tiller, which current events dictate he will be very cognizant of. PM demands attention to too many other issues (or should do 😨), unless we’re already existentially threatened – what I’d classify as the Winston moment. * That’s if he carries through with his announcement, he is a politician when all’s said and done. But at the moment it does smack of Country First👍. The political parties too often confuse a vote for Them as a vote for… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Hi Rob, as you and Bib say, we not only need the numbers but all in the right places and not just in one giant plane park!

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Bob not Bib…sorry, lol.

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

You could stick Boris back in Charge and he would still wipe the floor with Starmer. they are all as bad as each other the entire Parliamentary system is rotten to the core.

and if the conservatives are daft enough to think an off-white PM is a good idea, then they really have lost the plot considering the minority of votes that would deliver.
and know i am not a racist, but there is a huge undercurrent in this country currently

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Hi Rob, it’s not just the airfields, it’s also the naval bases with ships, subs, RFAs in base, manufacturing, radar sites, all sitting ducks. You don’t want the UK to ever to be caught with a “Pearl Harbour” surprise attack. I know there’s lots of surveillance these days and working within the NATO alliance structure so maybe I’m been a bit paranoid. I asked this earlier on, i’d like know what GBAD the US have on their UK bases and if it’s different to the RAF. A question for Mr Wallace or Mr Ellwood?

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Is having GBAD around Portsmouth and Devonport, and anywhere in the UK, a good idea? Our airspace is very busy, it just sounds like a recipe for disaster. The best form of defence is to keep a potential enemy at arms length. The Channel helps, as does the geography around the west coast of Scotland. I would have thought that sub based missiles were our biggest threat, even then it would be a suicide mission. The US has what, 3 key naval bases? San Diego, Pearl Harbour and Norfolk. They have geography on their side but it’s still only 3… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Evening from Sydney Rob, I don’t mean a GBAD under every tree but IMHO a deployable air defence if, when and where needed especially over major ports, sites, bases etc is a must. Losing one or more sites (especially out of just 3!) including all/any assets within it in any conflict would be a disastrous setback and especially if taken by surprise or worse, complacency, should be avoidable. Nothing really is at “arms length” any more, long range cruise missile, ICBMs from air, land and subs. There should be some thought out defence in place against this. I’m no expert… Read more »

RobW
RobW
30 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Ah Sydney, lovely part of the world. Not jealous at all…. I’m no expert but ordering more Sky Sabre would seem an obvious choice, to deploy if threats are identified. The amount of money it would take to defend against ICBMs would be astronomical and wouldn’t be very capable. The US are introducing such a system at great cost but even that might take out a couple of ICBMs and their warheads, that’s all. The best form of defence is the ability to strike back. That goes for conventional and nuclear warfare. We do need more area defence systems though… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
30 days ago
Reply to  RobW

It’s lovely and freezing it cold here at the moment.Reminds me when I use to live in England and visit my brother in NZ. Very nippy at the moment.Covid cases are up a bit and we have a wee on and off train strike. Besides that yes it’s a nice place to be.

Peregrine16
Peregrine16
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

The problem for incoming Government is that increasing the % of GDP allocated defence will not mean more money to spend until someone works out what to do with Johnson’s train wreck Brexit.

Johan
Johan
28 days ago
Reply to  Peregrine16

Issue is comrade. Cameron caused Brexit. May couldn’t fix it and it had to be delivered as the public voted for it. Or the soft could have another go as you lost. Or keep going untill you get the results you want.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Everything to do with defence of the realm has been compromised by incompetence and chronic procurement overspend by the MoD on cock-ups. The number of active RAF bases has been cut as the number of active actraft has been reduced to cover the cock-up costs incured elsewhere Another problem is the twin fiscal deficits. Government has consistently spent more than it has taken in taxes for decades, made worse by having to import more than we earn from exports. Plus we routinely sell off profitable export-led busineses to bring in hard currency. The result is a national debt of £2.7… Read more »

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I couldn’t have worded your comments better.

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Am I allowed to just say “this”…well I just have anyway.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Spot on. For many on here I have a question. If we are up to our eyeballs in debt how can we afford another huge increase in Defence spending ? Cue Crickets chirping and tumbleweed rolling into line of sight.

Last edited 1 month ago by David Steeper
Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

We can’t but we couldn’t either in WW2. Defence is a funny thing you spend a lot and there’s no attack on the UK and our allies then people wonder why it’s necessary. There’s a fair number of people who can’t join the dots.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

‘There’s no security for any country that busts it’s own economy’ President Eisenhower speaking about the UK in the 1950’s.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

So true but the UKs problem isn’t our defence budget. We’ve some how made it Impossible to talk about some departments unless you’re talking about increases.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

Agreed. Most of the time that’s democracy People believe something that isn’t true. So you can either try to persuade them they’re wrong. Which works 1% of the time. Or go along with it. The other is when the ‘influential’ believe something that isn’t true. That’s the media or pressure groups. There there’s no excuse. That can be fixed.

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

but theres security in a country that can provide a loan to said country and screw them over with the
rates ?…Eisenhower knew exactly what he was doing.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

Think you’ve got the wrong President. You’re thinking of FDR.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I do fear we’re in a real hole this time . I’ll vote for the politician who tells me how bad things will be under them cos they’re the only one being honest and doing the right thing.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Thanks for the reply. We ideally need our pollies to put the country, its people and their responsibilities out there and do the best job they can. I like Mr Wallace, he seem a decent chap, is switched on and cares about his Defence portfolio, seems be a very good communicator and will hold people accountable. I liked his recent comment about “fixing the Ajax mess”. Let’s see.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I deeply worry about that as well, throw faslane in the mix and a first strike is all it’ll take to knock us out the game.
Missile defence of these sites must surely be number one priority for the MOD, I just can’t understand the snail like pace to recognise the threats.

Zouki
Zouki
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

If the Merde Hits the Fan all boats will be long gone before Faslane is turned into a Glass Park…..
Even if there is ZERO Warning at LEAST one boat is at sea on station…..
If it comes to Nuclear War Faslane is redundant……..

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

CASD.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

It won’t stop a potential adversary trying to knock out nuclear subs while in Port plus the facilities. I agree it could be a risky choice but they’re a target, so are all the other ships, subs, planes sitting around.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Sorry not getting all notifications. If an enemy attempted to target our nuclear deterrent we would return the favour. Adding the zero chance of success for them they’d be unwise to try.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Recognising a threat isn’t the hard part.

Reacting to it is where the hold up is, and its not just about money either although that is a major part of the problem.

Simple fact is systems are so complicated these days it takes ages to respond to new threats, even if there was a magic pot of gold sitting in the corner of Ben Wallace’s office!

Hyperconic missiles are a good example of really hard threats to counter.

Cheers CR

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

The only countries that could really threaten the U.K. mainland would be Russia and China. The response would be trident missiles heading back. Neither of these countries would launch a conventional surprise strike on The U.K. also a nato member. It would be a full nuclear strike or nothing. Missile defence would be better being deployed at foreign bases with the fast jets. Ground based missiles will always be the first target to be hit. With the budget the U.K. have the are better spending the money to on ASRAAM updates, new radar, tempest, type 45 upgrades, air defence for… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Good morning MS, I don’t really agree with your comment about ground based defences being first to be hit. If they’re mobile, dispersed, hidden, have a decent effective range, I don’t think it would be so easy. I like the idea of a shared inventory usage of land/sea launchers of Aster/CAMM even CAMM-ER. The UK forces just don’t seem to have any GBAD going by comments here. It would be interesting to know what GBAD the US bases in the UK have and if there’s a disparity then I questions should be asked. To me first up targets would be… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

* I think questions…

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Just add, we don’t always need to respond with nuclear if we have sufficient conventional weaponry. Nuclear detterence should also mean conventional deterrence but will it? A hypothetical question, but if our nuclear detterence, including attack subs are ever attacked in Port, do you respond with nuclear, conventional or a mix?

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I don’t think the USAirforce bases have any ground based missiles in the U.K. I think it’s due to the chances of the U.K. mainland being hit without warning or a severe escalation happening first is seen as not happening. I would love for the U.K. to have a national SAM system able to deal with aircraft, missiles etc but it’s not a priority. It comes to what don’t buy to have the missile defence in the U.K. the cost would be in the billions. Even better would be mobile systems able to deal with all threats. But again it’s… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
30 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

None.

They last had that with the 4 Squadrons of the RAF Reg that guarded Mildenhall, Upper Heyford, Lakenheath, and Alconbury in the Cold War. Paid for by the US.

If that has changed it is due to the Ukraine situation and unacknowledged, but someone would have spotted these assets and HMG accepted their positioning.

And as the RAF is responsible for the UKADR that is unlikely.

Johan
Johan
28 days ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

So for the sake of it the MOD should upgrade each RAF base to the tune of £300m. And where will that budget spend get cut from. Closed bases are no active. Still a base and can be active very quickly

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
26 days ago
Reply to  Johan

The thing is it should be a minimum standard that an airbase should be able to defend itself. Also I wouldn’t count on the UK as an example to do a defence in depth, half those bases are now housing estates and the rest will be soon be so I think that’s a very poor defence posture to take. We have so many gaps in defence right now thanks to successive governments it’s going to take a generation to fix, we just better pray we don’t get involved in anything serious in Europe overwise were going to get found out.… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

We seem not to have any GBAD deployed to protect any MoD sites.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, yes, i think the same. The front-line is very important but so is everything else behind it and feeding into it. Can’t believe it if strategic radar sites like Fylingdales, naval ports even the nuclear sub bases etc have no self defence ability. Big sitting ducks in this age. All this scenario stuff goes for other countries too.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Thanks Quentin,
The army has three AD Artillery regiment (and we both know that means a bn-size unit) – 12 Regt (Starstreak), 16 Regt (Sky Sabre), 106 (Yeomanry) Regt Starstreak). I am sure that none of these systems are permanently deployed to protect the sites you mention, as that is not their role.
The RAF Regiment no longer has an AD role (used to have Rapier FSC).
The sites you mention will have protection (of different types) to meet ground threats up to a certain level.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Spot on. These assets are for use by the Field Army, but could be used in the UK if needed, examples 2012 Olympics and the recent G7 meeting in Cornwall.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thanks for your and Daniele’s replies. I think we all wish for more CAMM/ CAMM-ER success and development. Like with Iron Dome, they could experiment with a trailer or containerised type launcher setup. Then trucks and any ship with container fittings could potentially have this system.

Johan
Johan
27 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The reason is these bases around the country would each need a £300m upgrade. Where does that money come from. No active bases are just empty and could be run up with mobile support

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
1 month ago

Considering the amount of money that is being spent on a capability that cannot be fully used because of the lack of airframes is criminal in my humble opinion.
We either have a full capability or none at all. In the current climate you would have thought some that there would be sort of urgency within the MOD and treasury.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

We could do well with a high-low mix.
Not every jet fighter needs to cost £100M+, we should have some more lower budget but still capable aircraft to fill the gaps.
In the age of datalinks and shared information this wouldn’t be a problem, F35 could be ahead maintaining its stealth posture but sending back information for waves of cost effective platforms to rain missile’s upon the enemy.
The same could be for these E-7, great for deployment abroad but when over UK airspace do we really need such an expensive airframe?

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Since the war in Ukraine everyone is touting this mixture. Low end swarm drones not cheap but expensive and the technology is still not there. 216 sqn playing with off the shelf mavics, it seems to be a real gentleman’s flying club. The E7 specifically is a proven platform and is only good if you can provide the capability and resource with the correct number of airframes, why did the planners at Air Command say we needed 5 as an absolute minimum? It was almost certain the bean counters at the treasury would cut the funding, its traditionally the case.… Read more »

DRS
DRS
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Can your low end be a trainer style the latest hawk that we tried with Hindustan. Or the tectron low end fighter that was doing the news rounds 5 years ago. You can then use your training resources to also deliver capabilities where you don’t need a typhoon or f35. Eg meeting Russian bears over the North Sea or uncontested airspace over Syria etc. we get a bit more depth in numbers that way which we are lacking.

Longtime
Longtime
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

In my opinion you never cheap out on the QRA “meeting bears over the North Sea” The reason for intercept is because you don’t know who it is, therefor that blip on a radar might be a bear but on arrival it could also be a close group of su34’s actually performing a 1st strike. A hawk is or advanced trainer is not going to have the performance or avionics for that fight. It’s part of the reason for our involvement in the typhoon was to come out of the program with a world leading interceptor. The only airframe suitable… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

Having low end doesn’t really save anything money. You have same cost to train pilots, same cost of ground crew, same cost of airbase, weapons etc etc. The only thing that saves is the cost of airframe and the per hour flight cost. So with all that considered is it worth it?
Drones is the future for cheap airframes. Wingman’s, close support, recon, data relays etc etc

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Yes the high/low mix we have are called drones 🫤

Marked
Marked
1 month ago

Well no shit sherlock

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

Of course 3x Wedgetail is too few, but now that the USAF has also adopted it, maybe buying 2 extra as part of the USAF buy, would give us a higher spec aircraft for less money?

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I’m sure the US will have offered some production line numbers up for us. Will we take them up?

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

There is no way the US has or will allow the UK to jump the line for production of the E-7. The USAF is under enormous pressure from Congress to accelerate the production of the E-7 to meet US needs. The USAF is working with Boeing to see if that can be done.
Lawmakers press Air Force on speeding up purchase of Boeing E-7 Wedgetail – Breaking Defense

Mark franks
Mark franks
1 month ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

We would not be jumping any cue. Orders can be inserted into the production run. Bring could cope with the volume rate and the airframes would be rolling off the line at 3 a week.

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Didn’t someone on here allude to that previously – implied that there were indicators that 2 more would/could now be afforded – something to do with upgraded kit and increased manufacturing- maybe Im wrong (it wouldnt be the first tim) but if it was on here Im sure someione will shout out>

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
1 month ago

Its not exactly advanced operational planning to realise 3 aircraft aren’t enough. Once again it makes you wonder what the CAS and others are thinking. Probably about their pensions.

Its the same argument with P8’s – not enough for the area of sea around our country. Even allowing for drone technology.

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Air command planned for 5 as an absolute minimum. Unfortunately it fell on deaf ears and the reason for this decision has never been fully explained.

DMJ
DMJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Apart from Boeing increasing the price so that 3 cost the same as the 5 would have done originally

Mark franks
Mark franks
1 month ago
Reply to  DMJ

The money was there, that’s why the infrastructure has been built at Lossiemouth to cope with the numbers that The RAF had planned for. As I understand it Boeing is providing through life support at Lossiemouth through subcontractors for 5 airframes.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

The RAF may have planned 5 but they only allocated enough money for 3. That’s why we have 3. If they allocate enough money from their budget for 5 we’ll have 5.

David
David
1 month ago

Unless the cost of Trident is taken out of the actual defence budget and marked “other spend” , these issues will continue. The UK taxpayer / electorate might countenance a modest increase in defence spend but they will always favour welfare , NHS and education over defence. For the budget we should have far more systems but the sheer cost of the deterrent prevents suitable numbers of conventional weapons. If Ukraine had nukes they would not be invaded, so I am in favour of a deterrent , but with hypersonics platforms perhaps Dreadnought in time could be replaced with a… Read more »

John N
John N
1 month ago

I don’t think it takes being a rocket scientist to work out that three airframes isn’t enough, if the correct number of airframes for the RAF was the original five, then that’s probably where the numbers need to grow back to. Here in Australia, the Government continues to provide sufficient funds for the RAAF to ensure sustainment, upgrades and relevance of the 6 x E-7A capability ($3.5b upgrade budget allowance up to approx 2030). The Oz Government has also set a projected future budget allowance of between $14b-$21b for the eventual replacement and expansion of the E-7A fleet beyond the… Read more »

Zouki
Zouki
1 month ago
Reply to  John N

Given the size of Australia and the sea surrounding it 7 E-7s is actually even WORSE Than the UKs 3………

Sean
Sean
1 month ago

To summarise the article…

Currently:
3 x E3 Sentry (out of original 7)

Future:
3 x Wedgetails
9 x Poseidon
16 x Predators

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Sean

There was an original target of 20 Predators. We ordered 3 in 2020 and a further 13 last year. Might there be 4 more, or has there been a declaration that 16 is it?

Stc
Stc
1 month ago

Warning those of a nervous disposition are advised not to read this :” increase defence spending” ! Not just put some back that has been taken away over the last 10+ years, but REAL increase. Its not like there is a major war going on or a superpower threatening us, but Whitehall’s job is to waste money isn’t ? The equivalence of NATO is you relying on someone else to pay your house or car insurance. The French and Germans we cannot rely upon, the French hate us, and US society seems to be in a self destruct mode and… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Stc

The only people threatening us are Russia and they are not a superpower. Apart from a shed load of nukes their armed forces are at least 40 years behind ours.

Last edited 1 month ago by David Steeper
Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

And China.

Stc
Stc
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

But at least 10 times bigger, which was okay when we faced Zulus armed with just spears, but not in modern warfare. But that not the biggest problem. Their willingness to accept huge casualties is something we cannot match. In a war with Russia you have to defeat their equipment; Ukraine has largely do that with their tanks, but not yet the artillery.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Stc

We’ll agree to disagree. From all i’ve seen and read Russian doctrine and tactics are identical to 1943-45. Days of artillery pounding followed by waves of MBT’s, AFV’s and Infantry. If unsuccessful rinse and repeat until successful. The Ukrainians are mowing them down. If it was NATO they were facing it would be the same squared. The Russia of today is more like the USSR of Afghanistan than WW2. They have a much lower threshold for casualties that’s why Putin hasn’t dared to mobilise.

Last edited 1 month ago by David Steeper
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Stc

I wouldn’t disagree with the increase defence spending. Massive issue just now is ever increasing debt. £7.7 billion in interest last month was paid. Health has become a huge money pit. They Chuck billions extra Into it and the improvements are tiny. It’s got to a point where cash input is not the input answer. Benefits I don’t think are an issue. Cost of living and that money gets pumped instantly back into the economy. One issue is the massively rich top getting even richer. Billionaires. They account for so much of the money. I don’t know what the answer… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

The problem with health is that we cannot spend the extra money they have given the NHS and the rout problems are not actual in the gift of the NHS to sort out: The three key issues killing out heath service. 1) lack of staff…this is a multi Parliament issue, we have never trained the numbers of Dr and Nurses we need, we depended on foreign health professions As it was cheaper to steal another nations strategic workforce and they have now sodded off because: first we stopped all the Indian Drs from getting permission to work, then all the… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yeah it’s a real shame, the staff shortages are a massive issue. Even trying to get a job at the nhs is a total mission in its self. They has to be a much bigger effort for giving a job and doing training while working. Social care is a total nightmare. And all the issues you listed just make people not want to continue to work in the nhs. I would take immigrants and any that have healthcare training can work while awaiting a decision. Obviously basic English would be needed. If they dont have training and have a willing… Read more »

Angus
Angus
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

All Gov Depts. are in need of a total revamp. More cash is not the answer to solving many of their issues. NHS needs reinventing, 1.7 million work in that outfit, says a lot about ‘sick’ Britain. MOD and especially the RAF and Army have wasted vast amounts with nothing to show for it. Need SMARTER working not harder and stop reinventing the wheel (AJAX what a waste). Better, smarter and fewer managers for starters across the board. All Gov organisations have the council mentality ‘one worker 5 supervisors overlooking’. There are lots of good people working for us but… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

interestingly, we still have very low numbers of nurses and drs compared to other health services and our management structures in the health service are very lean compared to most ( almost all managers are either direct service managers or specialist managers). The big issue is as you say sick Britain we are an appalling unhealthy society with almost no clue how to keep ourselves healthy or self manage disease.

Stc
Stc
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Spoken like a true commy. Fact NHS England has already mostly dealt with all patients waiting 2 years or more for an op, where as Wales and Scotland have 10000s of patients. Prove I think that in some areas at least the NHS is not wasting money. The problem is devolution, it does not work, it’s Scotland that’s the bottomless money pit. Krankie despite a subsidy much more than anyone else begged Westminster for an extra 2 billion plus :equivalent of 20 35a. End devolution in Scotland and Wales and the cost saved would be 50% of the extra the… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Stc

Call me a commy. I’ll turn ur ballsack into a sporran and wear it with pride. You have a warped view of what communism is😂😂😂😂 Since when Is agreeing that the nhs has massive staff shortages (100,000) support communism. Or suggesting that some of the many people that want to come to this great country would perhaps like to work in the healthcare sector instead of being shipped to Rwanda at great cost. Don’t think that’s how communism works. Imagine suggesting people help and pay tax instead. Total communism. 2 year waiting list for an operation! Oh well job fu**ing… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Monkey spanker
Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Stc

ummm do you work for the NHS, I do and in a role that involves trying to manage the utter fuxk that is our healthcare service. We were right on the edge of buggered before the pandemic, our health system is now in a death spiral where we are unable to provide appropriate care and our staff are all on their last legs and walking as it’s that or be worked to death and take the hit on you soul which is watching people die and be harmed because you only have one set of eyes, one brain and Two… Read more »

Longtime
Longtime
1 month ago
Reply to  Stc

STC German government I’d agree with, they still want to appear neutral in matters whilst being a member of NATO, there unit which have working kit are actually a good force and train hard, they are just not utilised. The French on the other hand have actually proved to be massively reliable military partners, they covered the MPA capability gap to protect our CASD, participate in every NATO tasking they can and shadow Russian ships with us as they pass through the channel. They are also 1 of the 3 independent nuclear deterrents in NATO which keeps advisories guessing. Jesus… Read more »

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
1 month ago

The 7 E3s were purchased against a clear wartime requirement for persistent station keeping over a defined period . Anyone with an AEW or MMR background knows that this type of operation requires aircraft and importantly crews which can often be the limiting factor. It would be interesting to compare the Operational Requirement for the 7E3s against whatever was used to justify 3 E7s.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

If we wait 25-40 years it might be declassified…..

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

Don’t be silly, that would be too much like rational analysis and would have no value in knocking the Government/Bean counters/Politicians/MOD…………

mikezeroone
mikezeroone
1 month ago

We need more crews, like the navy and probably army too, we don’t have the numbers for more let alone to properly man what we have now.

Angus
Angus
1 month ago
Reply to  mikezeroone

100% correct although the Navy is doing better than others

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago

This sort of unfactual warm tummy analysis is so tiresome. When will we ever get a logical analysis based on current performance data, tasking performance and evaluation of joined up platforms. Are we destined to listen to yesterday’s chunterers forever. We want what we had before!

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago

3 is not enough. But we can get 3 then hope US airforce settles on wedgetsil with a massive order to help bring unit price down. Then a further 3 or 6 or 9 could be purchased in the future. We dont have to settle on 3 aircraft.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago

Nobody can argue against 4-5 airframes is the ideal number, but I’d also ask when was the last time the RAF was required to undertake 24hr AEW? Like it or not, we are part of NATO with considerable AEW/ISTAR assets available. The money isn’t limitless, and E7 will be a huge step up in capability compared to E3. And we always manage to get our assets deployed for operations when it counts. And individual airframe availability will be far higher compared to E3. And they will input into a far larger ‘cloud ‘of networked information from P8’s, Protector, F35, Typhoon,… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

It is quite obvious we need at least 4 and preferably 5-7. We now have to recognise that the world/Europe/SE Asia is increasingly unstable. The E7 would be a valuable defence asset and force multiplayer. The MoD are also not figuring in combat losses – these things are not invulnerable and both Russia and China have long range missiles that are intended to target AWACS planes.

Ianbuk
Ianbuk
1 month ago

Whether it’s bean counters or someone in the MOD who has screwed the country up with too few platforms, it needs sorting. When an expert tells you that you have less than half what you should have, something is wrong!

Something Different
Something Different
1 month ago

How many of these will be enough?

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

Very capable platform, however as ever numbers far to low.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

So which other countries are buying the E-7?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I think as of now it’s Australia, UK, Turkey, South Korea and USAF.

Branaboy
Branaboy
1 month ago

The RAF buy no more Boeing 737NG based wedgetails or maritime P8s and rather switch the equipment to the more modern Japanese Kawasaki P1 aircraft. The Japanese aircraft is future proofed and that choice will help cement the Japanese cooperation on the 6th generation Tempest fighter program

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

AEW&C, Airborne early warning and control is two separate functions currently in the same aircraft. AEW is basically a flying suite of sensors. C (really C2, command and control) is the process that analyses the sensor output and makes decisions what to do about it. The current thinking is that these will be dissociated some time this decade, and up to a point we are already there. Last year the RAF declared IOC on Raven/Nexus nodes, which take in information from remote sensors and create an agreggated picture capable of being relayed by satellite to a command point on the… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

If it’s to be three then no doubt we’ll be asking other Nations to fill the Gap .As we did for MPA ,after MR Cameron cut job

johan
johan
1 month ago

Any Expert who uses the word Stuffed in their delivery maybe needs to go back to her university and ask for a refund. Ok the remaining 2 were cut due to Boeing closing the Production Line and raising the cost of the 2 new airframes. USAF is progressing with the E7s but upgraded version, and they intend to replace there E3s at a 3 to 1 ratio. it’s not the 1950s anymore and don’t need to have 100 sat on the tarmac, and with the USAF order production will continue for another 10 years. and if we had ordered 5… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  johan

E7 with data links are good for over the horizon detection of low flying targets with long persistence. E7 can be used not only to detect and track but update target information for planes and missiles who then do not need to emit radar themselves. In other words it has a different role from F35 in the detection/tracking role.

David Flandry
David Flandry
1 month ago

This makes sense at last. Four or five, even six are needed.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

Actually 6 would make more sense especially if you use the rule of three. 2 in deep maintained mode, 2 as back up and or in maintenance 1 for the U.K. and 1 for deployment on Europe or elsewhere ( supporting the carrier group or a literal strike group).

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago

Many PM candidates are still wanting tax cuts, irregardless of the widespread damage done to the country by austerity cuts over the last 10 years. We need to invest in what the country needs & prepare for a major forthcoming war. We’ve too few of most equipment, troops & politicians with ability & integrety. Restoring capability gaps is essential.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Tax cuts, just what isn’t needed. The economy has to grow and deficit has to go down. It costing so much. Where is the post brexit bounce. Trade deals, brexit was meant to free the uk from trade barriers and access more markets. Sunak launched his campaign saying we need to sort the economy. WTF has he been doing the last 3 years! He was chancellor ffs. A large proportion of the Tory MPs have increased their wealth much higher than the country has. If they are clever enough to do it more themselves why can they get the country… Read more »

C J Ashdown
C J Ashdown
1 month ago

Someone has to be brave and say enough is enough, we could have 200 F35’s and be cosy but at what expense to other forces, or four carriers and so on, as a small country we have home defence and overseas operations, in most if not all cases we act with other forces and share resources, so someone brave in either the ministry of defence or government must try and keep a balance on what we get and what force gets what to spend

peter fernch
peter fernch
1 month ago

Its not unexpected we never order eneough of anything from ant sub aircraft tanks ships etc etc etc
just token numbers and thats considered to be it , Smameful

George Parker
George Parker
1 month ago

The RAF is not alone. All branches of the armed forces are suffering from the same ailment. Under staffed and under equipped. It’s ridiculous and really should be classified as treason, for a government to shirk it’s primary duty, defence. It’s not as if the world is a safe place or our borders are fully secured. Things have never been this bad. May 26th to 6th of June 1940, 338,226 soldiers were rescued from Dunkirk. Compare that to the total of the entire British Armed Forces from all branches in 2021. A grand total of 149,280. Women make up 16,470… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

George, When BoJo said that troop numbers were under constant review, he meant they would be reviewed by bean-counters to see if they were still too high and needed to be cut by a further 10,000 or so. After all he (and at least one predecessor) said several times that they would not fall below 82,000.

David Bruton
David Bruton
1 month ago

As a “layman” I can never understand why UK Government procurement don’t build into negotiations the ability to increase requirement over contracted number at same or cheaper price (cost saving because development costs already amortised over three airframes).

dan
dan
30 days ago

The UK must use the same “experts” as the Germans when it comes to procurment. lol

CM
CM
30 days ago

I agree that x3 A/C appears to be to few. I think x5 would be too many, which leaves an obvious ‘goldilocks zone’. My rough logic based assumptions (to be pulled apart) to try and assess the balance of the argument are presented below. ‘N’ number of aircraft are needed to maintain a 24h patrol (I assume a best case of x4 A/C using x3 A/C on 8 hour flights with one for resilience). This still leaves only marginal room for transit back and forth to station, indicting that a fleet of x3 is to few. However, a counter is… Read more »

Den
Den
29 days ago

As usual thhey always cut the things we need most urgent as our deffence is weak anyway now there is a good chance we won’t see it coming like the mosquito drone project scrapped I can’t see the logic you build your army when a war is going on not cutbit

Peter
Peter
28 days ago

How on earth are we expected to offer cover 24/7/365:cover with 3 aircraft it’s not humanly possible… One small glitch and you’ve an aircraft down and even with two they can fly 24/7 they’ll be run into ground in next to no time

matt elvins
matt elvins
22 days ago

the Australian Air Force has operated 6 of them for a few years now.