Robert Beckhusen for War is Boring:
In 2010, Britain’s sailing branch opted not to replace the Harpoon, and one year ago it was revealed the missiles were set to retire at the end of 2018. In September 2017, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly announced that the U.K. Ministry of Defense has delayed the retirement until 2020.
That buys the Royal Navy some time — but not much. Fundamentally, the situation hasn’t changed. The Harpoon is already obsolete and terribly outranged, which is why the United States is preparing the new 200-mile-range LRASM to replace it. But no new missile is expected for the Royal Navy until possibly 2030 when the Perseus missile by European developer MBDA is complete.
The Perseus missile is promising but the thing is that it won’t actually exist for another 15 years or so. The UK must find some anti-ship missiles somewhere to fill in the gap, because having none is just ridiculous.
Thoughtful piece by Corporal Frisk about the possible tactical reflections behind the small number of British tanks stationed in Estonia:
Traditionally, it has been held that tanks better stay out of cities. Incidents such as the destruction of Russian motorised units and their armour support during the first battle of Grozny has added to this idea. A closer look at the history of armour in urban warfare gives a more nuanced picture, with the protection offered by heavy armour proving quite useful in urban operations. The most famous example is probably the ‘Thunder runs‘ of the 64th Armoured Regiment into downtown Baghdad, but also e.g. Israeli experiences in Gaza seem to trend towards the usage of heavy armour (both tanks and heavy APC’s) for combat operations in urban terrain. Operation Protective Edge saw no less than three armoured brigades deploy units to the strip.
Why is any of this relevant? Well, the British contribution to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence include a single tank troop (currently from the Queen’s Royal Hussars) of three Challenger 2 MBT’s, a number so small that very relevant questions have been asked about if they really can make an impact. Then this happened.
Robert Beckhusen writing for War Is Boring on the Royal Navy’s new type 31 frigates:
The frigate will be excellent at chasing pirates, though a proper corvette could do the same job for less. If this story sounds familiar, it echoes the U.S. Navy’s own travails with turning the Littoral Combat Ship into an expensive pseudo-frigate that is both underpowered and overpowered for the challenges it will conceivably face.
“It hardly make sense to have frigates that aren’t frigates,” journalist Gabriele Molinelli wrote at U.K. Armed Forces Commentary. “If they aren’t useful for ASW and they have just a basic local area air defense fit … what are they good for? What is their realistic wartime role and position? How do they solve the shortage of escort vessels in the Royal Navy?”
Ocean capable corvettes are a class of the future, but it sure sounds like the purpose of this ship is not clear.