Military Guns and Ammunition

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UK military spending review   General Military Discussion

Started 13/3/21 by autogun; 15293 views.

From: autogun


I regard the UK's record (and probably other nations too, but I'm less familiar with them) of consistent failure in acquiring new equipment with a kind of horrified fascination.

I have a suspicion that with highly complex new systems, so many different firms get involved that there is no-one who has a overall grip of what is going on, or is held accountable when it fails.

I can understand problems occurring with cutting-edge, high tech and therefore high risk projects, but a medium-weight tracked AFV? How can anyone mess that up so badly, then keep carrying on with it as if everything's OK?


From: Farmplinker


What's the one variant of Praeto's Law? 

80% of the cost comes from the last 20% of performance. For a while, people have been demanding that last little bit of performance, and then wonder why they can't afford it.


From: hobbes154


Working for a different country's government in a totally different field, this is depressingly familiar.

When I started working for a bureaucracy, I was prepared for it to be evil and/or corrupt (in fact part of me was kind of hoping for it in a voyeuristic way, and was disappointed not to find it).

What I wasn't prepared for was the total lack of respect for any kind of subject matter or technical knowledge. The only skillset that is valued is that of the generalist manager, and the only way to move up is to change jobs every few years to be well rounded. Anyone who actually knows anything about content rather than process is either from a previous generation or sacrificing promotion to do something they enjoy. In engineering terms I guess it is like trying to build a complex machine made only out of screws and bolts, or running a vehicle with only lubricant but no fuel.

From what I have seen and read from the outside military procurement and big private companies more or less work the same way. Luckily most of my jobs have been in less critical fields.

The only places you can expect competence are where there are immediate consequences for things going wrong. Big defense projects last longer than the average manager's or minister's tenure in office, so...

In reply toRe: msg 35

From: autogun


An update - everything is either fine or will be soon..... confused

  • Edited 16 July 2021 5:00  by  autogun

From: nincomp


Gee, that is the most comforting post I have seen in a long time.

Of course, my first thought was  " That's nice...  I wonder what thread this is?  Oh, UK spending."  

In reply toRe: msg 36

From: autogun


In today's Financial Times:

Army's £5.5bn armoured vehicle project at risk

A £5.5bn project to build the army a state of the art armoured fighting vehicle may be scrapped after more than a decade, a defence minister has admitted. Delivery of the Ajax vehicle should have started four years ago , but trials have been halted twice after concerns that noise and vibration were damaging crews' hearing. One MP said "it's heavier than a Sherman tank. It's too small. And it's as stealthy as a Ford Transit full of spanners".

Too small? That's a new one. It's already the size of a bus and dwarfs the CVRT it's intended to replace.

There is a growing air of failure around the project. If a defence minister has gone public in doubting its future, then it's probably only a matter of time.


From: graylion


autogun said:

How can anyone mess that up so badly, then keep carrying on with it as if everything's OK?

Nimrod AEW.1. Nimrod Mk.4. To name just 2. National pride.


From: autogun


I grant you the Nimrods, but I doubt that national pride had anything to do with it. I suspect that no-one wants to bring the bad news to those at the top, so they keep their heads down and keep beavering on in the hope that someone, somewhere, will come up with some solution. In the meanwhile, they keep getting paid, and keep their fingers crossed that the inevitable finger of blame will point to someone else (if anyone at all).


From: gatnerd


Tony, I think you might find this article from The Economist interesting. Basically saying that England is shifting back towards focusing on Naval as opposed to land power.

Archived to bypass paywall:

Admiral Radakin will be the first naval officer to hold the top job in almost two decades. That is no coincidence. After 20 years of grinding land warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan...British defence strategy is once more acquiring a pronounced Naval flavour.
In March the government published a review of foreign policy that emphasised Britain’s role as a “maritime trading nation”. It promised to deepen the country’s connections to Asia, Africa and the Gulf and set out a “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific. A subsequent defence review said that the armed forces would be designed for “permanent and persistent global engagement”, not just preparing for big wars.
One manifestation of this maritime tilt is that while the army is being shrunk, the navy’s fleet is planned to grow to 24 frigates and destroyers by the 2030s, though with a lean period over the coming decade.
These strategic shifts—a maritime turn, greater attention to Asia and an emphasis on using the navy to make friends—came together in the aukus pact of September 15th, in which America and Britain agreed to help Australia build nuclear submarines to deter China. It cannot have hurt Admiral Radakin’s candidacy that he helped negotiate the agreement.
Meanwhile on land, the mood is glummer. Having provided six of the past ten defence chiefs, the British Army saw Admiral Radakin chosen ahead of two of its own: General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, chief of the general staff (the head of the army) and General Sir Patrick Sanders, who leads Strategic Command, which controls special forces and cyber capabilities.
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