Quarter of RAF trainee pilots to be sacked

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Ray, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    This is a harsh decision and one that probably involves a degree of short-term inefficiency, especially for those so close to the end of their training.

    The British Army is currently wrestling with how to extract from Germany. The RAF seeing the writing on the wall had closed two bases in the early 1990s and the remaining two by the end of that decade.

    Thought the Cold War threat is no longer there, but will the rapid downsizing of their Army, Air Force and the Navy not deplete their response capability for small wars like Afghanistan or even Falklands?

    How will Britain meet its obligation to the NATO in the event of an emergency?
     
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  3. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    The Ties that bind 1 & 2

    Enough about curry and cricket.


    U.K.’s Prime Minister David Cameron is in India on a three day state visit. His visit comes on the heels of his trip to Turkey, where he pledged to support that country’s membership to the European Union. Some say that is part of the Mr. Cameron’s new foreign policy initiative to woo the East.


    Indeed, in an op-ed in The Hindu, Mr. Cameron declared as much:

    From the British perspective, it’s clear why India matters. Most obviously, there is the dynamism of your economy. In the U.S., they used to say: “Go West, young man” to find opportunity and fortune. For today’s entrepreneurs, the real promise is in the East. But your economy isn’t the only reason India matters to Britain. There’s also your democracy with its three million elected representatives — a beacon to our world. There is your tradition of tolerance, with dozens of faiths and hundreds of languages living side by side — a lesson to our world. And there is this country’s sense of responsibility. Whether it’s donating reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan, peacekeeping in Sierra Leone or providing intellectual leadership in the G20, India is a source of strength to our world. [The Hindu]


    Faced with government debt and high levels of unemployment, Mr. Cameron will do what he must to revive his country from the global economic slump. At the backdrop of a domestic debate on immigration, Mr. Cameron arrived in Bangalore — not New Delhi — visiting Infosys’ technology park and HAL, where a $800 million deal between BAE and HAL for 57 advanced jet trainers (AJTs) was signed.


    The U.K. is already India’s largest trading partner in the E.U. Trade between India and the U.K. has, and will continue to amble along, increasing annually in absolute terms, while decreasing in terms of U.K.’s overall contribution to India’s economy. Certainly, India is open for business and any mutually beneficial opportunity for trade and commerce is welcome. But if the goal of Mr. Cameron’s visit is to forge the bonds of an “enhanced relationship” with India,we will need to move beyond the (dare I say) mundane and begin talking about issues of strategic importance to each other; for India, this includes energy and security. Indeed, France has shown that such an engagement model can be successful.


    In this respect, news of progress on civilian nuclear cooperation and the AJT deal, though long overdue, is perhaps welcome. However, it is as yet unclear if U.K.’s leaders truly understand and are willing to commit to a more broad-based partnership with India. It is also unlikely that India will bother to sit around and wait.

    ---

    Transforming the nature of the India-UK relationship.


    In my previous blogpost, I argued that for India and the U.K. to enter into what Prime Minister David Cameron calls an “enhanced partnership,” would require both countries to engage each other on issues impacting their strategic interests. I had argued that security was one such area, and the extent to which the U.K. can play a meaningful role in addressing India’s security needs could go a long way in determining how successful this “enhanced partnership” will be.


    Today’s TIME online has an interesting piece on the on-going battle between U.K.’s MoD and the Exchequer over replacement costs for the Royal Navy’s V-Class nuclear submarines :


    As part of Britain’s austerity cuts, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has been asked to find savings of between 10 and 20% by 2014, and then work off of steady-level funding until 2020. Britain’s V-class subs, known as Trident after the U.S.-made ballistic missiles they carry, are aging and need to be replaced by 2024. A replacement system as sophisticated as the V-class submarine will cost around $30 billion, with the first contracts to be inked by 2016.


    Defense Secretary Liam Fox has said the MoD could not spend that much on nuclear subs while simultaneously cutting its budget without jeopardizing the purchasing of other big-ticket weapons such as armored vehicles, aircraft carriers, and fighter jets. He insisted the money should come not from the MoD but from the Treasury, which has traditionally paid for Britain’s subs. However, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who heads the Treasury, said that wasn’t going to happen. “The [nuclear submarine] costs … are part of the defense budget. All budgets have pressure. I don’t think there’s anything particularly unique about the Ministry of Defense,” he said.


    Malcolm Chalmers, a former nuclear adviser to two British foreign secretaries, says V-class submarines are relics of the Cold War. While Britain’s conventional forces are no longer organized to defend against a military attack from the Soviet Union, its nuclear policy has “remained largely unchanged since the 1960s, when a surprise attack on Western Europe was a central driver for U.K. force planning,” he wrote. The [RUSI] report concludes that the government should save money by either halving the number of new V-class-type boats it builds, building a new submarine fleet capable of both conventional and nuclear roles, or scrapping the submarine-based system altogether and maintaining a non-deployed arsenal to be delivered either by airplane or special forces. [TIME]


    Some of this current monetary pressure can be alleviated by a U.K. offer to lease its V-class submarines to India on a short-term basis. This will be well received in New Delhi and will help in broadening the scope of bilateral engagement. India today is seeking to diversify its delivery systems — essential for maintaining a credible secondary-strike capability. Its sea-based deterrence system, however, is nascent, with a small fleet of aging diesel-powered submarines. The induction of the nuclear-powered Arihant-class submarines — products of India’s indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project — is still few years away.


    U.K. has made significant contributions to the Indian Navy in the past — lest we forget, the only aircraft carriers India has had — Vikrant and Viraat — were both purchased from the Royal Navy; HMS Hermes (Viraat) played a pivotal role in the South Atlantic during the Falklands War.


    Given the sensitivity of the technology, India and the U.K. will need to conclude a more over-arching dual-use agreement before any transfer takes place, which could pave the way for future high-technology trade. And while the sale of Advanced Jet Trainers to HAL is an important step, more potential on defense and security collaboration between India and the U.K. exists and can be realized.


    This will require both India and the U.K. to determine commonalities in each others’ long-term strategic interests, re-visit mechanisms that can make such collaboration possible, and commit to exploring the full potential of an Indo-U.K. strategic partnership.

    http://filtercoffee.nationalinterest.in/2010/07/28/the-ties-that-bind/
    http://filtercoffee.nationalinterest.in/2010/07/30/the-ties-that-bind-2/
     

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