Returning East Of Suez

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Charley Fortnum, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I preferred his documentary on Northern Soul. Joking aside, it was really good.

    Which is to say, that article is political flak from a socialist and contains little in the way of geo-political or military insight. You could sum it all up with the sentence: we should be focusing on Russia and terrorism closer to home and not large conventional forces overseas. That's fine as it goes, but it doesn't really go far.
  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    The Chinese certainly won't like it. Three days after Beijing warned Taiwan that moves to formal independence were 'a dead end' and that reintergration with the mainland were 'inevitable', the Taiwanese President has welcomed the propspect of further British involvement and a base in the region.

    Meanwhile, this CNN analysis envisages such a base as an attractive arms showroom.
  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    The President of Taiwan does not actually say she would welcome a UK base. The Daily Telegraph article has a passage: 'Asked by the Sunday Telegraph if she would support a British presence there, President Tsai signalled that Taiwan would welcome “any actions that will be helpful towards maintaining peace in the South China Sea, as well as maintaining freedom of passage.'

    Yes I am sure UK plc, better known as British Aerospace plc, would appreciate a base to display our wares. One should note that our exports of defence equipment to India and South-East Asia are negligible. The only recent sale CNN cites is UK-designed frigates being built in Australia.
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Yes I am sure UK plc, better known as British Aerospace plc, would appreciate a base to display our wares. One should note that our exports of defence equipment to India and South-East Asia are negligible. The only recent sale CNN cites is UK-designed frigates being built in Australia.[/QUOTE]

    A few days ago there was a CNN article which pointed out the underlying motivation was this, quoting the UK labour force employment sector which depend on UK defence contracts and above all,foreign arms contracts.

    Apparently the UK is in the Premier League when assessed for its arms manufacturing output.

    Unfortunately I have searched CNN for a link but I have been unable to find it.
  6. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I spotted a CNN article which stated:
    See: A British military base on the South China Sea is not a far-fetched idea - CNN
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  8. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Harry, it's linked in my post above!
  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Ho hum that will teach us both!:)
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I hasten to add that any bases in South East area in what what are the US sphere of influence,now probably a scene of future political strife with the Chinese, the UK will be playing second fiddle.

    Interesting as regards post war Japan,the US occupied Japan and also took territory for military bases in the former Nippon empire.The UK although a partner in the Pacific war was excluded from any influence in postwar Japan.

    As regards economics and industry, the US had the sole power to restore Japan to an industrial nation.Before the war,the Japanese electricity system was based on the British-European 50 Hertz system which meant that any new projects would be based on the British-European system.Present manufacturers are flexible in that they offer 50 and 60 Hertz capability.

    Through US influence, the 60 Hertz electricity system was established in Japan which was accompanied by a US lead in trade at the expense of other industrial exporters.As a result Japan must be one of the few industrial nations to have a 50 Hertz (Eastern Grid) system and a 60 Hertz (Western Grid) system connected together with three frequency converters which limits the flexibility of power transfer to and fro the two systems to 1000 MWs.

    Economic global influence of the past....a good indication of past political /economic/trade influence is the country's electrical system.............. ......British-European at 50 Hertz,the US at 60 Hertz..interesting to view the countries making up the division.
  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  13. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I'd forgotten to post two articles by an Oxford-based academic, William James, so Charley's post acted as a reminder.

    From January 2021 'Global Britain's strategic problem East of Suez' and summarised as:
    Alas the full essay is behind a paywall: Global Britain's strategic problem East of Suez | European Journal of International Security | Cambridge Core

    A publicly accessible, shorter version from February 2021: There and Back Again: The Fall and Rise of Britain’s ‘East of Suez’ Basing Strategy - War on the Rocks
  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Your reference made to the defence of Malaya and Singapore reminds me and you have mentioned it about the staff college exercises and their syllabuses.

    In 1922,the RAF wishing to get the RAF embedded as a independent force for the defence of Britain and the Empire, the RAF created the Staff College at Andover in 1922.The Staff College Commandant was Brooke-Popham with the first course of a years length being held in 1922.Future RAF commanders on the course included Park, Sholto Douglas and Portal. The subjects debated were very wide and are still valid today and in line with Trenchard's policy, the students had to maintain their flying skills. Liaison and exchange visits to the Army and Navy Staff Colleges were made. With the Navy Staff College, the RAF students considered the defence of Singapore.

    Brooke-Popham emphasised that basic staff duties had to be understood. These extended to letter and report writing and the ability to organise receptions. It appears the Brooke-Popham set high standards when it came to the organisation of social occasions.

    Then in 1941,Brooke-Popham had to face the reality of defending Singapore
  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    A good insight to the philosophy of the UK defence policy more than 10 years after the Second World War was won and in the era when Great Britain was recovering from almost bankruptcy is the Cabinet Papers of the period.

    The Cabinet Papers | Policy and reviews
  16. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    The joint squadron of F-35s aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth comes from the RAF (with 8) and a USMC (with 10); they will be aboard for seven months and is lauded in the link as the longest at sea deployment for the F-35.
    See: Blended U.S. Marine, U.K. Royal Air Force Air Wing Aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth Will be Largest F-35 Deployment to Date - USNI News

    Note the RN carriers in theory could accommodate fifty aircraft and we have only ordered forty-eight F-35s. From a 2016 article so the content is dated: Commentary: What the U.S. should learn from Britain’s dying navy

    PR aside it is a fact that the USN has been driving its eleven aircraft carriers hard for several years and a larger number than usual - one source says it is six - are now in dock for long-term repair and refitting. Accordingly there is a "carrier gap" and as observers have noted the two RN carriers could provide replacements for the USN.

    The deployment East of Suez is yet again driven by a political-military ambition to prove the UK is a steadfast, capable ally for the USA; which has taken a battering in recent years, in Afghanistan and Iraq. In my opinion we do not need to be there.
  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    We're almost certainly going to acquire more than 48 F-35Bs to operate with the two carriers, but it likely won't be the 'aspirational' 138 first touted. The number hasn't been decided because a) technical problems still have not yet been ironed out by the Yanks, and b) numbers needed will rise or fall according to how well/fast, badly/slowly the Typhoon programme goes:

    BAE Systems Tempest - Wikipedia
  18. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    As of the end of 2020, 21 F-35B had been delivered to the RAF with 3 being based in the USA for continuing trials purposes and 18 being based at RAF Marham. Future deliveries are planned as follows:-

    2021 - 3 aircraft, two of which are already flying.
    2022 - 11 aircraft.

    A further 13 are currently on order to take the total to 48.

    The policy, restated as recently as May this year, is that the eventual total will exceed 48 but no indication by how many. However an indication of future plans may be that a further 18 serials in the ZM range and following on from existing orders, have been reserved for F-35B, which would take the total to 66.

    Given the shrunken size of the RAF these days the initial total of 138 is unlikely to be achieved especially with the Tempest programme running. There have also been persistent rumours that the RAF really don’t want the VTOL F-35B or operate from the carriers and may want the CTOL F-35A variant instead to fill later orders. Inter service politics again. However given the successful deployment of the QE hopefully this won’t happen.

    There is sense in placing the orders in batches, as is also being done by the USAF and USN, because the price per aircraft is being steadily reduced by Lockheed Martin as production ramps up and efficiencies made. Be careful about the stories that circulate about technical problems as there is a substantial anti-F-35 lobby in the US based on politics and jobs. See Boeing v Lockheed Martin. Currently Boeing don’t seem to have a fighter programme beyond the F-18E/F and the recently announced F-15EX. If F-35 orders are limited then Boeing will inevitably be a winner.

    In terms of RAF use, 617 squadron is operational, part of which with 8 aircraft currently deployed on HMS Queen Elizabeth which is currently in the Pacific. A second squadron, 207, formed in Aug 2019 at Marham to operate as the F-35B Operational Conversion Unit with 6 aircraft. A third squadron, intended to use the 809 tag, is due to form in April 2023 again at Marham as the second operational squadron. This plan was laid out as far back as 2017 (see image below) and is currently running to plan. Additional aircraft will be coming off the production line in time to allow that plan to be fulfilled.

    A minor point. It is not a joint squadron on QE as present. The two units 617 squadron RAF and VMFA-211 Wake Island Avengers with 10 aircraft operate together but retain their separate identities. The Marines have had to adjust some of their usual procedures to fit the QE.

    QE is also carrying 7 Merlin HM2 (4 in anti submarine configuration and 3 with the Crowsnest ASaC package for airborne early warning and control, its first deployment) from 820 squadron, 4 Merlin HC4 from 845 squadron B flight and 4 Wildcat HMA2 from 815 squadron and carrying the latest Martlet missiles.
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  19. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

  20. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've been toying with the idea of going down to have a look at her when she reaches Busan, but it isn't clear where precisely she'll be docked and how accessible the site will be.

    It's less than three hours on the high-speed train, but Coronageddon might make the trip unwise.

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