Hi Richard, nice to see you again.
The answer that I personally would have chosen was contained within your first post.
having a nuclear deterrent is an expensive luxury that i feel this country simply cannot afford. The way we are going our only military option may
well end up being to nuke or accept whatever situation is causing us anxiety. We will obviously never, ever resort to nuking anyone except in a
situation where our own puny stockpile will make no difference. So why do we cripple ourselves hanging on to this 'capability' which, in truth, is no
capability at all.
Given that we ARE going to hang on to the nuclear option for as long as we can I still think HMG picked the wrong option.
Any maritime country surely MUST maintain the sort of capability that Nimrod provides. To me this is a no brainer and the retirement of the Tornado
fleet would have made more sense than scrapping Nimrod. Tornado is ageing, vulnerable and short legged. The RAF is already committed, correctly in my
opinion, to operating a two-type fast jet fleet consisting of he Typhoon and Lightning around a decade hence, so what would be the net loss overall?
We have seen similar cuts get rid of the Jaguar and Sea Harrier already. Despite my natural affection and admiration for it, I also feel the Harrier
was right to be axed. lacking a radar, such as is fitted to some USMC and Italian Harriers means its capabilities were severely and stupidly
restricted anyway. Especially in its enforced role as a Shar stand-in.
While the Nimrod ( begun as the Nimrod 2000 programme, rather tellingly) was indeed a decade late, I disagree that it was out of date. As with the
Typhoon and other programmes, the capability of the type comes mainly from the on board systems it is equipped with. This is a relatively fluid
situation compared to the airframe and the singe Nimrod MRA.4 that the RAF had actually received was the most modern maritime type in the sky and
contained much that wasnt even envisaged when the aircraft was ordered. remember also the 'A' element of 'MRA.4' for attack, meaning the RAF came
within an ace of acquiring a genuine long range strike capability with the Nimrod and its cruise missile systems, this is a grievous loss being, as it
was, a capability borne out of the analysis of the operational needs highlighted during the Gulf War and he current conflict in Afghanistan. This
stand-off strike capability, curiously unmentioned in all press reports i've seen, is in no way covered by the retention of near time-expired, short
range Tornadoes dependent on forward basing and in flight refuelling to carry out the mission.
An RAF fleet of Sentry, Sentinel, Nimrod 4, Typhoon and Lightning would, i feel, be of far greater value to the country in the long term than an
unusable nuclear force. of that list, numbers 2 & 3 are already doomed and number 5 has a long way to go to reach safety.
The worry is what do we chop next time? Previous cuts of Jaguars and Sea Harriers were meant to preserve core capabilities ( of which Maritime patrol
was one). The RAF originally bought and operated 385 Tornadoes, that number is now down to 96 with none of those withdrawn having been replaced by
another type and this is our main operational strike aircraft. If we cannot afford to operate a fleet of Maritime patrol aircraft with enhanced other
capabilities, i feel we have no right to even try to afford a nuclear deterrent. We have our priorites wrong.
I'll stop now as I appear to be on the verge of rambling.
edit on 28-1-2011 by waynos because: (no reason given)