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Tanker War Redux


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#41 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 0340 AM

I have to admit, im gratified at Jeremy Hunts rhetoric all through this. Bojo has been like a wet fart in comparison. So much for the cut price Churchill he pretends to be.

 

It will be remembered that HMS Duncan is the warship that had the run in with the 17 Russian warplanes that were showing off like chebs, and that Channel 5 did a documentary of her deployment. This wont work for UK viewers, but it might work abroad.

 

I guess what im saying is, its a well trained ship.


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#42 glenn239

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 0719 AM

I really do think Iran has a losing hand this time

any avenue they take is fraught with risk

In the old days the RN would've sent Ark Royal and Warspite right up in the middle and hammered their ass.

 

"I know, let's hide our destroyers up in the fjords, Hans.  No one would take a BB up there!"

 

Tough to take the British seriously on Iran.  I keep thinking that it's really all about reversing the needless damage May did in relations with Trump, specifically with reference to Brexit.  Britain will need US support to play hardball with the EU, the US needs allies with Iran.


Edited by glenn239, 13 July 2019 - 0720 AM.

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#43 Chris Werb

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 0800 AM

Makes you wish we had more ships in reserve. Williamson was looking into keeping some of the Type 23s when the Type 26s arrive. Far chance of that now.

 

There are lots of problems with keeping ships in reserve which is why, AFAIK, no one still does it, or does it credibly (rusting away waiting for a trip to the breakers doesn't count)

 

1. Ships degrade relatively fast in a salt water environment and our weather. Yes, you can coccoon them, but there is much more to keeping their systems protected than simply applying a protective coating etc. People need to maintain ships in reserve and that costs money..

 

2. They need to be updated to remain relevant. Furthermore the systems on the ship still need to be supportable. A Type 23 in reserve would presumably still have Seawolf, for example. 

 

3. We would need to have trained crews for them - no this would not be a problem in a very protracted conflict,

 

4. In the event of a hot war, the locations of our reserve ships would be known in advance and they would be easy targets for pretty much anything.

 

5. Most of all though, I'm trying to come up with a scenario in my mind that would need some kind of delayed surge into service of escorts from reserve. I can't think of anything and I've thought this through on many occasions. The last time we did this was in 1982 with (at least) some Tribals, but that was a very different world and the Tribals, whilst built for colonial policing, were arguably not the best choice for it, even then. HMS Duncan cost about £1.050 Bn. For what we need to do in the Gulf, something more like the Netherlands' Holland class OPV at £150M a pop would appear to make mores sense. Something a tad better armed than the OPVs we already have with the provision to embark at least one Jet Ranger class helo and some drones.


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#44 Adam Peter

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 0855 AM

Tough to take the British seriously on Iran.  I keep thinking that it's really all about reversing the needless damage May did in relations with Trump, specifically with reference to Brexit.  Britain will need US support to play hardball with the EU, the US needs allies with Iran.


Leaked documents expose lack of progress in US-UK talks

 

 

Britain has failed to make meaningful progress towards a free trade deal with the United States amid “chronic” staffing shortages and communication breakdowns in Whitehall, according to a cache of documents seen by The Telegraph.

Details of meetings spanning two years show how overstretched departments have been working “at cross purposes” as transatlantic talks have repeatedly stumbled over politically sensitive topics such as rules on health, farming and the finance industry.

Officials have begun to fear that American frustration with the lack of agreement or even partial agreement could end hopes of a post-Brexit partnership envisaged at the centre of a “global Britain” trade strategy.
The documents bring further scrutiny to a relationship under strain following the leak of criticisms of the Trump administration by Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the US.

His resignation on Wednesday prompted anger across Whitehall over a perceived breach of diplomatic norms. Meanwhile it is understood that the US cancelled a planned meeting between Dr Fox and Mr Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.

Even in the earliest talks, the UK struggled to keep pace with US negotiators. One email from late last year shows that the Trump administration had began sending “less senior” officials to meetings.

The shift, which occurred in July, reflected Britain’s inability to get “the right people in the room”, according to the correspondence.

 

The Department for International Trade rejected such assessments.

 

Iran just have to wait till the problem solves itself.


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#45 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 0901 AM

they can't

their entire economy is crumbing.  They misjudged the effect that determined sanctions could have after years of sanctions that weren't serious.


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#46 glenn239

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1046 AM

I wouldn't overestimate the ability of sanctions to solve this problem.  Here's a current economic forecast for Iran,

 

https://en.radiofard...h/29983076.html

 

Contraction in GDP of 4.5% this year.  That's not good, but hardly 'collapse of the regime' material.  Some growth by 2020 assuming they can export some oil.  They've got the Revolutionary Guards, so anyone thinking an Arab Spring scenario is dreaming.  The economic damage is not of itself decisive and Iran has partners, (Russia, China, Turkey) that it can work with.


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#47 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1351 PM

hmmm, they sure do seem desperate for a group of people that are doing well....

 

I don't expect an Arab Spring at all.  These are Persians and Persians don't do spring.  The regime isn't going to collapse but it is going to lose the ability to make trouble in so many regions all the time.

Iran is banking everything on a new Administration in the United States.  Actually the Chinese are too.  They may be right and they may not.

Look for Iranian money to show up in American politics (I wonder if the pallets of cash were marked bills?)

In the meantime there's no war.  Maybe in Dec 2020?

 

Shifting gears:

I tried to find online how many super tankers transit the gulf daily but couldn't.

I also looked for a suitable map that would show the deployment ports that Iran could use to make attacks that would be plausibly deniable but everything looked like it could be subject to surveillance.

Even real port security looked feasible if the issue was forced...


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#48 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1401 PM

You can find a number of Iranian patrol vessels on some of the shipfinder webpages. Not the boghammers, naturally.

https://www.marinetr...ery:26.2/zoom:8


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#49 Colin

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1500 PM

https://gcaptain.com..._eid=c9f44d7f09


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#50 Anixtu

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 1600 PM

 

Makes you wish we had more ships in reserve. Williamson was looking into keeping some of the Type 23s when the Type 26s arrive. Far chance of that now.

 

There are lots of problems with keeping ships in reserve which is why, AFAIK, no one still does it, or does it credibly (rusting away waiting for a trip to the breakers doesn't count)

 

1. Ships degrade relatively fast in a salt water environment and our weather. Yes, you can coccoon them, but there is much more to keeping their systems protected than simply applying a protective coating etc. People need to maintain ships in reserve and that costs money..

 

2. They need to be updated to remain relevant. Furthermore the systems on the ship still need to be supportable. A Type 23 in reserve would presumably still have Seawolf, for example. 

 

3. We would need to have trained crews for them - no this would not be a problem in a very protracted conflict,

 

4. In the event of a hot war, the locations of our reserve ships would be known in advance and they would be easy targets for pretty much anything.

 

5. Most of all though, I'm trying to come up with a scenario in my mind that would need some kind of delayed surge into service of escorts from reserve. I can't think of anything and I've thought this through on many occasions. The last time we did this was in 1982 with (at least) some Tribals, but that was a very different world and the Tribals, whilst built for colonial policing, were arguably not the best choice for it, even then. HMS Duncan cost about £1.050 Bn. For what we need to do in the Gulf, something more like the Netherlands' Holland class OPV at £150M a pop would appear to make mores sense. Something a tad better armed than the OPVs we already have with the provision to embark at least one Jet Ranger class helo and some drones.

 

 

1. RFAs have recently been laid up (effectively in "reserve" for periods up to about 18-24 months) with crews of around 15 professional seafarers to run and maintain the systems, augmented with a few shoreside contractors plus cleaners and security guards. Warm layup, rather than cold, with ship's staff in attendance every weekday, electrical systems live, etc. Nothing like the weapons and combat systems of a warship, but a lot more real estate, and with other systems like lifts, cranes, refrigerated holds, etc. These are ships that are already up to 40 years old and have experienced similar periods of layup in the past (including in some cases the unmanned dehumidified cocoon approach). Obviously not zero running cost, but massively cheaper to run than a ship in service (that was the point, plus manpower shortages), and can be available at relatively short notice - weeks or months to reactivate, rather than years to build.

 

2. As with the RFA example, refit and rotate ships from the reserve fleet into frontline service. Keeps the systems up to date and well used.

 

3. Plan for use of the Regular Reserve and expand the volunteer reserve if necessary.

 

4. As would the naval bases and dockyards where they are located and which would be required to sustain the active fleet. Too bad if it's that kind of war.

 

5. Is your quoted Type 45 unit cost the entire programme cost including R&D divided by the number of ships? Wiki tends to indicate so. The seventh ship would therefore be a bargain as you've now paid for all the R&D and the shipyard has climbed the learning curve to building them efficiently. How to use the reserve once mobilised? Attrition replacements for anything lost in the opening phase of the war ("Oh look, they've wiped out 4 of our 6 active T45s, never mind, we'll just open another bag..."). Or to sustain operations in the recovery phase - surge the six active ships for an operation, knowing that they will need refit and crew stand down afterwards, but that you'll have another 2-3 coming online as the operation winds down, to cover the return to routine tasking. T45 examples, since you mentioned T45s and I'm too lazy to count or think about T23s or fleet submarines or whatever.

 

A reserve fleet isn't zero cost, but it could be a useful way to achieve scale in wartime, if the war is of the nature where we have a "transition to war" phase. Our land forces count on a transition to war to mobilise.


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#51 Harold Jones

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 0635 AM

This blog entry has a pretty solid argument against reserve fleets for the modern British Navy.

 

https://thinpinstrip...of-reserve.html

 

Final paragraph

...it is incredibly difficult to see what possible value the RN would gain from spending scarce resources to keep elderly ships in reserve. It would absorb significant amounts of funding that could be spent on brand new ships. It would take sailors away from billets they could fill to ease gapping in the active surface force, and it would take so long to recommission the ships (which would be a shadow of their former capability) that the crisis would long have passed by the time they put to sea in an operational condition.

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#52 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 0858 AM

What about if you lose 3 or 4 ships, as we did during the Falkland's campaign, and you lack the industrial capability to make good on them inside of 5 years? I seem to recall it took long enough to built a replacement for Sheffield.


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#53 Colin

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 1413 PM

The better idea is to build 2 extra of the same class but with no weapons and major electronics. since those are the significant costs of a warship, that means you have two new hulls that can be brought into service quickly. Some of the weapon systems like guns and missile launchers can be built slowly and stored ashore, where they not be subject to the elements. If your fleet has a unforeseen accident *cough Norway cough* then you can start bringing one of the hulls online.


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#54 sunday

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 1431 PM

The better idea is to build 2 extra of the same class but with no weapons and major electronics. since those are the significant costs of a warship, that means you have two new hulls that can be brought into service quickly. Some of the weapon systems like guns and missile launchers can be built slowly and stored ashore, where they not be subject to the elements. If your fleet has a unforeseen accident *cough Norway cough* then you can start bringing one of the hulls online.

 

Another take on the old "fitted for but not with" principle, perhaps more sensible. 

 

I think the Danes went for that with their StanFlex system.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StanFlex


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#55 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 1438 PM

The better idea is to build 2 extra of the same class but with no weapons and major electronics. since those are the significant costs of a warship, that means you have two new hulls that can be brought into service quickly. Some of the weapon systems like guns and missile launchers can be built slowly and stored ashore, where they not be subject to the elements. If your fleet has a unforeseen accident *cough Norway cough* then you can start bringing one of the hulls online.


There was an RN frigate ,can't remember which one, that was designed to be prefabricated, and the parts stored. Kind of akin to an emergency design.
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#56 Burncycle360

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 1620 PM

Unfortunately you're assuming the point is to get hulls cheaply, efficiently and quickly to the war fighters should the need ever arise.

That has very little to do with what the military industrial complex is for.  Perpetual low rate production secures jobs and skillsets and greases the money just fine.


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#57 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0156 AM

Think it was the Type 14 frigate, or the Blackwood class. So you are going back to the 1950's, long before such considerations really applied.

https://en.wikipedia...d-class_frigate


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#58 JasonJ

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 0647 AM

Japanese MoD minister says he has no plan to dispatch the SDF to the escort commercial shipping.

OKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said Tuesday he has "no plan" to send the Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East to join a military coalition envisioned by the United States to safeguard commercial shipping from Iranian threats in the region.

The U.S. plan follows attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz last month, with one of them operated by a Japanese shipping firm. Iwaya said there have been no more similar attacks and that threats against Japan in the area are deemed to be "in a temporary lull at present."

Due to restrictions by its pacifist Constitution, the hurdle remains high for Japan to send troops to the region. The Strait of Hormuz is a key corridor through which major oil exports flow to the world.

The minister declined to comment on whether Washington has sounded Tokyo out about the coalition plan. "We have been regularly communicating closely with the U.S. side, but we should refrain from divulging specific exchanges," Iwaya said at a press conference.

He underlined the importance of continuing diplomatic efforts to ease tensions in the Middle East, where U.S. forces were on the verge of taking military action against Iran following the downing of an unmanned American drone by the country's paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in late June.

U.S. President Donald Trump expressed frustration in June, questioning why his country is protecting shipping lanes for oil-dependent countries like China and Japan, suggesting that countries should be protecting their own ships.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased with the United States stepping up its pressure on Iran over the Middle Eastern country's nuclear program, claiming that it is destabilizing the region.

https://mainichi.jp/...00m/0fp/060000c


Edited by JasonJ, 16 July 2019 - 0648 AM.

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#59 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 0653 AM

Thats what we always say when we are politically discussing something but not gone so far as to order it. :)


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#60 Nobu

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 1238 PM

An interesting gambit by Tehran would be to invite the Japanese Navy to the gulf as a show of both force and flag for de-escalatory global good, and to act as a layer between the rawness of tensions between Iran and the United States.

 

A single warship bearing the naval ensign of Japan on patrol in the gulf would be a beacon to all parties in various ways.

 

Unfortunately you're assuming the point is to get hulls cheaply, efficiently and quickly to the war fighters should the need ever arise.

That has very little to do with what the military industrial complex is for.  Perpetual low rate production secures jobs and skillsets and greases the money just fine.

 

Absolutely, with the economic hit being mitigated by sales to those nations that are unable or unwilling to master the economic possibilities.


Edited by Nobu, 16 July 2019 - 1440 PM.

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