Friday, 19 July 2019

It was a noble effort, to try and put out three posts in three days, but alas time was against me. Still, this is a good example of what I was talking about; when you set yourself targets which are perhaps a bit ambitious, even if you come up short you can still achieve something useful. So two posts, my first in a while, and hopefully this will kick start a bit more action for the second half of 2019. We'll see.

For those that might be wondering the third post was going to be looking a little more closely at an issue I bring up intermittently, that of the rationale for the UK having land based surface to air and anti-shipping weapons. That will still come next, it'll just have to wait a bit.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Robots, Drones and Autonomous vehicles

Day 2 of my quite undemanding challenge of three posts in three days. And today we're talking drones and robot s. To start, check out this video by Bloomberg reporter Ashlee Vance:


While the design is interesting, especially the jinking ability (check out those wheel treads) what's really important here are a few over arching principles.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

A year and a day into Project Tempest

This week we celebrate the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon. And what an ambitious goal that must have seemed back then! I like ambitious goals. They inspire us to push ourselves and explore our limits, and even if we fall short of our lofty goals we can still achieve a lot along the way. Just look at what NASA achieved with a collection of brilliant brains and determined minds set to one task. It truly was a remarkable achievement.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Politics with a "C": Boris Johnson vs Iain Dale, and why it matters a great deal.


Let's not get bogged down in the details of what happened between Boris Johnson and his partner, not least because nobody but them knows what happened. And let's not recount blow by blow what happened on Saturday when Iain Dale questioned Boris about this incident, as I'm sure you've read all about it multiple times. Let's instead cut to the heart of the matter; how Boris responded and why it matters.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

How to have your Strike and eat it too

Sometimes the solution to a problem is so obvious it's painful. Afterwards you're left with that mixed reaction; elation from having solved the problem (you think) combined with a sense of frustration and a feeling of immense stupidity that you didn't think of the solution earlier. That's the space I'm occupying right now as I sit and type, coupled with the sense of wonderment that someone at Google thought it would be a good idea to reset the default text size for editing to something so ridiculously small.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Cambodia, Tanks & the Resurrection (Admittedly, not a headline I ever thought I'd write)

The big defence story at the moment is the revelation that Britain will soon find itself with less tanks than Cambodia. As expected, the defence community rallied around to counter argue that possession of equipment is not the same as possession of a capability. Which is absolutely true. But it also kind of misses the point.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Is the Frigate a dying breed?

You know, when I sat down to write this article I though it would be much easier than this. I'm definitely of the persuasion that the Pareto principle applies to writing, assuming you take a very liberal view of what the Pareto principle actually is, in that I seem to spend 80% of my time writing (and rewriting) just 20% of any article, while the remaining 80% of the piece takes just 20% of the time. 

It shouldn't be this hard really, especially as I've spent probably 9 or more years endlessly mulling this subject over in my head. And of course now one must be prepared for the fact (for one is in posh mode) that one might be coming across to the reader as lacking confidence in ones convictions, which is not ideal given the bold claim that one intends to make. Indeed now I'm definitely just rambling, so I might as well get to the point.

The frigate is dead.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Calling in some CAAS support

The other day I did a post about the MoD's 2018-2028 Equipment Plan, or as it's otherwise known "The common book of MoD prayers". In that post I referenced the National Audit Office's criticism of the MoD for forecasting costs using the 50th percentile. Today we're going to delve a little deeper into that, look at a highly contrived scenario involving groceries, and by the end I'll have somehow figured out how to make it all tie together in a nice neat bow. I hope.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

We will remember them

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.


Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), first published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Defence Equipment Plan 2018

To the surprise of fucking no one the National Audit Office released its review of the Ministry of Defence's Equipment Plan for the period 2018-2028 and found that the MoD is facing a black hole in its budget estimates. This amounts to £7 billion over the next ten years, which my keen sense of mathematics tells me would average £700 million per year, though the actual estimate is that 84% of that shortfall will occur in just the next four years out to 2022. The depressing words "the plan remains unaffordable" appear two paragraphs into the summary, later followed by the equally depressing news that the £7 billion shortfall might actually be a significant underestimate and that the plan could prove to be undercosted by as much as £14.8 billion by 2028.