Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Jack Of All Trades, Master Of Fuc...

Over at Think Defence the admin has produced a very comprehensive post on the possible features of the future Type 26 frigate. From experience I can tell you that such an article takes an astounding amount of time to put together, predominantly because of the demands for accurate research followed by the difficulty in finding the right words to express your opinion. Even the process of typing itself is laborious; this paragraph alone has taken me nearly five minutes to type, even with a 50-60 word per minute typing speed, partly due to the need to go back and edit mistakes and re-write sentences till they make the most sense.

So on that note I take my hat off to him. I however, wish to take this debate down a slightly different path.

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Are in order. I've been quite busy of late and simply haven't had the time to sit down and write. I do promise that I should have some more free time available soon for writing.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

"Right mate, I'll have a half ton of Chicken, same again for potatoes..."

Apology's for a lack of activity, I've been somewhat busy. Couple of things that caught my eye over the last few days;

-- The latest design for the Type 26 frigate has been released. Think Defence covered it in about as much detail as anyone could hope (especially if you go through the comments) so I'll just link back to that article. My only issue looking at the design is that the rear ramp for launching small craft appears to have gone missing.

As I understood it the restrictions on launching of small craft (at high speeds, in rough sea states, the time taken etc) was one of the main flaws highlighted with current RN escorts that was supposed to be solved by this new design, so I find the omission of this capability a little odd.

Other than that though it looks like a good design. One wonders if in the future this design might be adapted as an all purpose escort, in the same way that current fighter aircraft are touted as multi-role? That mast looks like it could hold a Sampson from the Type 45 and with the addition of some more missile silos could be adapted to the AAW role in the future? Intriguing.

-- Sir Humphrey, over at the Thin Pinstriped Line, has two good articles. The first highlights how difficult it would be now to build two additional Type 45's. I fear there was a chance for this to happen at an earlier stage, but now the opportunity is lost. The second explains why much of the press storm surrounding cuts to the senior staff in the armed forces isn't quite what it would seem at first glance. Both good stuff.

-- And lastly for now we come to the bizarre title of this post, courtesy of two pieces from British Forces News that I thought were quite interesting. The first relates to the Forward Feeding Team at Camp Bastion, responsible for ordering in and then distributing the food for front line forces;

Next is a video about how that food is then turned into tasty grub at the sharp end, with chefs devising ever more inventive ways of taking standard ration allocations and making them into delicious, interesting and varied meals. The reason this struck a chord with me was due to something I'd read a very long time ago, about how valuable a good chef was to the morale of military units operating away from large, organised kitchens.

Variety in the meals was mentioned in particular as a desirable trait, especially as cooked meals are less regular as you move ever closer towards the front lines and they become more and more of a treat, in the same manner that letters and packages from home become more infrequent and more and more valuable as their scarcity rises.

I'm fairly certain the improvised oven used in the next video is a bin, resting on grates that are raised up by sitting them on empty ammunition boxes, but I could be wrong. If nothing else then we should take away the lesson from this to never under estimate the value of human ingenuity when applied to problem solving in warfare!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Royal Navy Deployment Cycles

Just the other day I was involved in a discussion over at Think Defence about patrol ships replacing frigates and destroyers for some Royal Navy tasks. In order to help land lubbers such as myself better understand the number of frigates or destroyers needed to generate a given task, I asked a serving Royal Navy officer just that question; how many ships do you need to cover a given task, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year?

Monday, 13 August 2012

I can't see my house from up here?

Today I thought I'd rustle up something cool that also has an important point or two behind it.

I remember a discussion over at Think Defence from a while back involving an ex-cavalry officer. Said officer was talking about air support and the difference between close air support provided by A-10's versus other types. Added to this is the general mixed reaction that some ground forces seem to have towards air support. While it's difficult to find people who have served in combat who don't speak very highly of air support, there does seem to be a slight degree of apprehension, a perfectly natural response given the well publicised and high profile (if statistically seldom) cases of aircraft dropping ordinance on friendly forces.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Lessons from Operation Iraqi Freedom

So a while back I sort of stumbled on an online document from the US Army, evaluating some of the personal equipment used in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) (I'll include a link at the end). There's nothing especially ground breaking in it but I thought it would be interesting to look at briefly because - if nothing else - it reminds us that sometimes fancy gadgets and things that look impressive on paper don't stand up as well as was expected to the foibles of war.

The study was conducted in July '03 by the United States Army Infantry Center's Directorate for Combat Developments - Small Arms Division, and interviewed over 1000 US soldiers from a broad range of units.

In the works

As I said a few days back, I stumbled across a "lessons learned" document from the US armies experiences in Iraq, specifically relating to some of the equipment they were issued with. My intention is to produce a post centred around this tomorrow.

Just to keep you in the loop.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Indian Summer

Just a quick one for today and for a change something not particularly related to defence. While the main thrust of this blog will remain defence, I do want to pick up some non-defence issues now and again, like economics and politics, and one of those has cropped up unexpectedly in India.