Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Defence Debate Rumbles on.

The BBC has an article about the new Royal Navy Carriers and the debate surrounding whether the UK needs them or not.

In my mind, we very definately do need them, as Aircraft Carriers provide the ultimate flexible tool for the Navy. Whether its humanitarian aid, a full-on air-strike, anti-submarine Patrols, anti Piracy Patrols, an aircraft carrier can equip itself flexibly with a complement of aircraft to deal with the task in hand.

Compare that with Trident, that has only one mission, role and purpose.

Now compare the cost of each weapons system. I think the carrier has the edge in cost and role flexibility.

What we definately don't need is the cost and complexity of the Trident missile system. When a cash-strapped country of the likes of North Korea can develop a ballistic missile system from scratch, whilst simultaneously developing nuclear weapons, I think it could be in our interests to go it alone. We really don't need a complex delivery system with masses of warheads, we just need a simple nuclear deterrent system.

Our enemies have changed and rather than deliver lots of warheads against a large country, we can now downsize to a system that delivers a small number of warheads. After all, I doubt we'd ever go to war against Russia unilaterally, so there's no need to have the capacity to deliver a huge number of warheads. All we need is to have a threat to do a moderate amount of damage to a large enemy and a large amount of damage to a smaller one. It can still be submarine based for stealth and security, but just with a lower capability.

The need for time for the overkill of "Mutual Assured Destruction" is long passed. There needs to be large scale investment in real-world conventional warfare, tailored to the real-life needs of our forces. We need better, more secure battlefield transport, we need better battlefield communications and information dispersal, we need better and more reliable kit for the grunts on the ground and we need better logistics in place to deliver the kit to where its needed, when its needed.

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