HMS EAGLE in the Falklands

The only big one would be Eurofighter, and it’s already been suggested. The British R&D budget had already been slashed in 1981 and there wasn’t much left to cancel; theoretically they could scrap the Challenger 1, but the unit price for either the M1 Abrams or Leopard 1 is higher - if they did try to save money that way they would have to keep the Chieftain.
So maybe a large buy of F/A 18's for both a new (or at least new to the UK) carrier and as a new multi role air craft for the RAF ? I wonder how much money that would actually save ? The up side would be that the F/A18's would be in service during the cold war. I can also see a lot of down side especially vis a vis the Tornado F3 in the interceptor role. I also doubt this would be feasible from a political perspective.

There might however be some interesting opportunities for collaboration with the Canadians and Australians vis a vis training and future upgrades.
 
The only big one would be Eurofighter, and it’s already been suggested. The British R&D budget had already been slashed in 1981 and there wasn’t much left to cancel; theoretically they could scrap the Challenger 1, but the unit price for either the M1 Abrams or Leopard 1 is higher - if they did try to save money that way they would have to keep the Chieftain.
Challenger I was actually a Chieftain modified for Iran and then modified again when Iran had the revolution and the order was taken over by the British Army. Not a lot of saving as Iran paid for most of the R&D. Only way to keep Eagle/replacement is for the Defense budget to go up due to pressure from the public ( basically Government forced to ring fence money for most of the RN's needs after being forced into a public commitment )
 
Challenger I was actually a Chieftain modified for Iran and then modified again when Iran had the revolution and the order was taken over by the British Army. Not a lot of saving as Iran paid for most of the R&D. Only way to keep Eagle/replacement is for the Defense budget to go up due to pressure from the public ( basically Government forced to ring fence money for most of the RN's needs after being forced into a public commitment )
It wouldn’t save much on R&D, but keeping the Chieftain would still shave at least £600 million off the procurement budget. Scrapping Eurofighter and buying F-15/16 and F/A-18’s instead is really the only big saving available, as the Eurofighter ended up costing £120+ million a plane.
 
It wouldn’t save much on R&D, but keeping the Chieftain would still shave at least £600 million off the procurement budget. Scrapping Eurofighter and buying F-15/16 and F/A-18’s instead is really the only big saving available, as the Eurofighter ended up costing £120+ million a plane.
But losing the r+d for that, does that mean the UK loses its aircraft industry?
 
Ok so many of you have been pestering for this one for a while so here it is. The first part of the US Navy's perspective on TTL's Falklands Conflict.

Enjoy
 
The Pentagon Wars Part 1
The Pentagon, Washington DC, 21st June

Much like the Soviet Union the United States had taken an extremely close interest in the first peer to peer modern naval conflict.
The difference between the USA and USSR was that for the latter the Falklands was a conflict far away between a nation that it considered an enemy and another that it had never really cared about meaning that a lot of time and resources had to be spent to gain useful information though often limited about what was going on.
Being the closest ally of one of the belligerents meant that the USA was not hamstrung by such difficulties and had been determined to make best use of this once in a lifetime learning opportunity.

Much like what had been happening in Moscow when the conflict had started the United States Navy had put together a team to collate and analyse information relating to the course and conduct of the campaign and to report findings.
Today a high level meeting was taking place where those findings would be reported and discussions would take place as to if and how those findings should be acted upon.
Amongst those present were the Secretary of the Navy John Leman, The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Vessey, The Commandant of the United States Marine Corps General Robert Barrows and the professional head of the Navy the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral James Watkins. Though not every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were present there were also very senior representatives from the US Army and USAF who felt that there were learning vital opportunities to be had. As well as the heads of the services the room was filled with an array of other admirals and generals many of whom had commanded, currently commanded or were going to take command of carrier battle groups not to dissimilar to that which the RN had used in action in the South Atlantic. One observer would later remark that there were enough admirals and generals stars in the room to constitute a small galaxy.
A notable absence was the Secretary of Defence Caspar Weinberger who along with the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would be receiving a separate briefing in future which would be primarily focused upon the outcomes and recommendations of this meeting which was primarily a naval and marine corps affair. Depending on what those recommendations were it may then become necessary for Secretary Weinberger to brief the President.

For the past decade since the end of the its involvement Vietnam War had not been kind to the US Military. It’s numerous failures in South East Asia had shattered its reputation and the not only the publics but its own confidence and faith in its abilities. There were numerous problems that had come about as a result of this such as drug addiction being rife, the military being viewed as a last resort for the desperate and the dregs of society as a career choice meaning that despite the draft having ended the standard of recruit had if anything gotten lower, endemic crime rates, budgets being slashed or funding withheld, the list went on. Something that was particularly worrying were CIA wiretaps that reported that even the US’s NATO allies had serious concerns regarding its ability to conduct operations. If NATO thought that of them what did the Soviets think and what did that mean for its deterrence mission?
When the President had taken office in 1980 he had set out to rebuild the US Military and restore the nations pride in it. For the first time in years the funding for new equipment was available along the political willingness to do what was necessary. During the Vietnam War naturally a lot of resources, training emphasis and doctrinal development had gone towards developing equipment and techniques for counterinsurgency operations in the jungle. This had come at the expenses of conventional large scale operations to counter the Soviet Union in Germany. The result of this was that in many areas the US had actually fallen behind the Soviet Armed Forces as a result of what had in some ways amounted to neglect. The end of the Vietnam War had ended the overemphasis on small unit tactics and jungle warfare but with the US Military now unpopular with both the public and some areas of the government there hadn’t been any resources available to make the necessary changes.
To effectively counter the Soviets funding had now ploughed into new programs such as the Rockwell B1-B Supersonic Bomber for the air force and the Bradly IFV and cutting edge M1 Abrams MBT for the army.
The centrepiece of the administrations military rebuilding plans however was the plan for 600 ship navy. Vast amounts of money were being ploughed into new shipbuilding programs, older vessels were being refitted to update and give them longer service lives, production of the gigantic Nimitz class supercarriers was being ramped and even the old WWII vintage Iowa class battleships were being resurrected.
The Falklands conflict was the first “modern” naval conflict in the sense that it was the first involving two roughly peer level opponents and the first in which modern technology such as guided anti-ship missiles, supersonic jets and nuclear powered submarines were used.
It was clear even before it got going that the lessons of this conflict would have implications for the US Military going into the future.

Though they had not taken direct part in hostilities the US hadn’t exactly been a neutral observer in it. In fact, some would say they had done absolutely everything short of actually declaring war and getting involved in combat operations. Though there had been some debate at first as to what the US’s position and role regarding the conflict should be (With Secretary of State Alexander Haig very lucky to still be employed after he had recommended siding with Argentina to the President even going so far as being ready to classified British military information to the Argentines to show that the US was truly impartial) there had never really been any question of the United States abandoning her closest ally in its time of need. Such a thing would certainly inflict irreparable damage upon NATO as a concept and god only knows what would have happened had the UK been defeated.

The US Military had thrown its full weight behind providing material and intelligence support to their British friends.
The RAF base on Ascension Island which had been a vital transport link and base of operations for the British was actually a jointly operated British and American facility naturally meant that American permission had been required for its use. This permission had been enthusiastically forthcoming even before it had been formally requested. Not only that but the islands fuel stocks (which belonged to the US part of the operation) had been made available to the British, USAF transports had helped to provide an air bridge between the islands and the UK, USAF tanker aircraft had taken over UK air defence duties from their British counterparts to allow them to be redeployed to support the Falklands campaign.
Further afield the US Navy had sortied submarines and ships into the GIUK gap and other areas to relieve RN ships from their tasking and allow them to redeploy south.
Probably one the most important contributions the United States had made was ensuring that the British had access to NATO munitions and supply stores for use in the campaign. Not only that but the USAF had even emptied its own stocks of the latest LIMA version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder and traded these with the British Task Force on Ascension Island for their older variants of the missile. While helping their British allies the USAF’s also had its own reasons for being so generous with some very expensive hardware. The Vietnam War had demonstrated the limitations of the AIM-9 Sidewinder and the LIMA version had been developed as an attempt to correct these deficiencies. The USAF was eager to see how their new improved missile performed in combat.
The US intelligence community had a very good working relationship with the British. This had led to the British being given access to a significant amount of often vital intelligence products most notably satellite imagery.
There was even a rumour flying around that the President had offered to loan the British the LPH USS IWO JIMA in the event that either of their aircraft carriers was sunk. No one could quite work out where that rumour had started and to be honest as detailed in the rumour such a thing would only occur if HMS EAGLE and her supersonic Phantom interceptors had been unable to defend themselves and had been destroyed. In which case what could IWO JIMA and a small number of Sea Harriers hope to achieve?

In short the United States had been very helpful to Britain and according to the President even the Prime Minister had said that without their help the campaign might not have been possible. Britain owed them big time and now it was payday.
To this end the British had been extremely open and forthcoming with regards to information. During the hostilities due to operational security considerations the flow of information had been limited but still of a good quality. Now that the campaign was over and the British task force was on its way home the British had in effect opened the treasure trove.
On their journey home some of the British ships had stopped off at Ascension Island. US officers had been flown out there to meet them and had embarked on British ships where their job was to speak with the British crews and learn as much as possible first hand.
Already invitations had been sent to the UK for Admiral Woodward and other senior officers to come over to the US and recount their experiences at various lectures and functions that were being laid on. The various UK/US exchange and liaison programs that had been running for years were now generating much more interest and enthusiasm on this side of the pond. The Americans were very keen to get some of the British Phantom and Harrier pilots into instructor roles in the USAF and USN and some of their own pilots imbedded with the British squadrons in order to capitalise on their unique experience. Indeed, some of these British pilots were now aces!
No doubt any British serviceman who had been involved in the Falklands would find that they never had to pay for a drink in the US.


The navy Captain who had been leading the information collation and analysis team was one of those officers who while undeniably good at his job had a habit of ruffling the wrong feathers and not always towing the party line. This had seen his career stall somewhat (after a successful tour as CO of a guided missile destroyer) as in any armed forces to move into senior command positions one really needs to be willing to play internal politics game. Unlikely to get a further sea going command he had been somewhat aimlessly hanging around the Pentagon working various staff jobs. However, he had been especially chosen to lead this team as he had the ideal combination of an analytical mind set, an ability for strategic thinking, number crunching and planning and most importantly a reputation for saying what he thought needed to be said and not being concerned about who he upset in doing so. This last point had been the decider as far too many officers and bureaucrats in the Pentagon at the time were largely careerists and were often unwilling to do anything that may ruffle feathers or potentially make them look bad out of concern for their future prospects.

The team was based at the Naval War College in Newport and was largely made up of the faculty and some selected students.
With available information limited at first and taking advantage of the available facilities the team had spent most of their times conducting a large number table top war games.
These games were of varying scope and were run throughout the campaign as new information became available allowing for more up to date scenarios. As the real life campaign went on the starting point of each game would be the present day based on what was known of the present situation.
The purpose of these games was mainly to work out what was likely to happen next and why? The Captain running the team was less concerned with what happened but why it had happened. What were the sequences of events and reasoning’s behind each decision that was made by either side?
More importantly at every stage the question would be asked “What would we do in this situation?”
This would then lead on into “knowing what we do now would we have done anything differently and why?”
As the conflict had progressed its way to the forefront of the minds of every professional military planner worth his salt more and more resources had been made available to the Captain and his team. In his opinion the most vital resource he had been given was the patronage of the Chief of Naval Operations office which had given him considerable clout and allowed him to bring in quite a number of officers vastly more senior than for “consultations”.

The officers who were brought in were admirals who nearly all were currently or had recent experience of command of carrier battle groups as they were felt to be the closest equivalent to the British task force commander Rear Admiral Woodward in terms of knowledge and experience of fleet command. Each admiral and his staff were given the same scenario twice each time playing the part of Rear Admiral Woodward.
Each admiral would usually run through their given scenario twice. The first time would be using the situation in the South Atlantic as it stood (or best guess) with the aim being to try to work out what would might happen next.
The second time the scenario would remain the same however with Britain being swapped out for the USA and the forces being changed to whatever units the USA would realistically have had available for a campaign in the Falklands. The aim of this was to see how the US would react when put in the same situations as faced by the British.
With the forces available under the US scenarios being dramatically different naturally dramatically different outcomes had been the result. Because of this many of the participating admirals had insisted upon a full length USA wargame which had taken several days to be played out.
As the campaign moved from a primarily maritime environment to a land one by the way of an amphibious landing members of the US Army War College and senior US Army and US Marine Corps commanders had been invited to participate.

One problem the team faced was getting reliable information regarding the Argentine side of things. The majority of Argentine hardware including their ships and aircraft were of US or western origin meaning that their capabilities were of a known quantity. However, when gauging an enemy’s capabilities equipment is only half of the story. The deciding factor is often things like serviceability, training, morale, pilot flying hours, ect and very difficult to estimate from afar.
The only reliable source the team had of such information related to Argentina’s fleet of A4 Skyhawks. Incredibly a USAF officer had been on secondment to Argentina helping to train pilots on the Skyhawk. Although he had been instructed to stop flying himself on the 30th of April he hadn’t actually been recalled and had continued to work out of his office as normal. The Argentines it seemed had experienced considerable difficulties with the Skyhawks ejector seat system and other maintenance problems and this officers advice seemed to have been a big factor in keeping their frontline air power in working order.
Eventually someone had actually bothered to read the reports that this officer had been sending back regarding his activities and realised the potential for a diplomatic catastrophe if the British ever found out that an active duty officer of their closest ally had been assisting their enemy in wartime. The officer had immediately been recalled to the States and found his way into the Pentagon. In one room the officer had been extensively debriefed for every scrap of information he had on the state of play in the South Atlantic from the Argentine side. In another room of the same building a group of senior officers having only just recovered from their initial panic attacks tried to work out where to send this officer. They needed somewhere that was really far away (ideally overseas) from anywhere where he might potentially come into contact with any Brits.


Their work largely done and the meeting at which to present their findings now convened the Captain leading the Information Collation and Analysis took the stage.
The team had identified seven main strategic factors which had resulted in the outcome of the British being able to comprehensively defeat the Argentinians and capture the Falkland Islands.

Securing Strong Alliance Partners
As most of the men in the room had already concluded the British would have found it extremely difficult if not impossible to conduct their campaign without the logistical and intelligence support of the United States.
As well as the US the British had been able to cultivate a partnership with Chile which had been perceived by the Argentines as a significant military threat causing them to have to allocate a significant proportion of their forces to cover that threat meaning that they could not bring their full strength to bare against the British.
Since 1978 Argentina had been the subject of an arms embargo. This had prevented them from securing more modern equipment or replacing their material stocks which had put them at a decisive disadvantage against the British. In particular this had compromised the effectiveness of their most effective weapon the Exocet missile as they were unable to obtain significant quantities of these missiles. Had they been able to do so they could have seriously threatened the British warships and made it far too dangerous for the British amphibious ships to approach the islands and therefore prevented the British landings.
Other countries in West Africa such as Gambia and Serra Leone had been extremely useful to the British in allowing the British access to their territory and facilities to facilitate the movement of supplies and thus easing a burden on the British supply lines.
New Zealand and the United States had allocated warships to relieve British ships of their duties to enable them to take part in the campaign.
The lesson to be learned here was the importance of being able to secure assistance from third party countries in order to facilitate lines of communication and as a way of preventing assistance to and applying pressure on the enemy.
The only military power in the world that theoretically had the ability to conduct unilateral military operations far away from home on its own was the US. However even then a lot of its operational plans and assumptions relied upon the cooperation of other nations.

In its fight against Britain, which was still a major, albeit declining, power, Argentina completely misjudged the response of not only Britain, but also America, the superpower with great influence. This turned out to be a fatal error and determined the outcome of the war. In addition, Argentina remained weighed down with its dispute with Chile, even though one ideally should minimize the number of its adversaries when starting a war. Argentina therefore was unable to fully concentrate its military forces where it needed them the most.


Securing Air Superiority
This one went without saying. The geography of the South Atlantic had favoured the British as they were able to mostly stay beyond the reach of Argentine airpower. Even when they had been able to locate and engage the British landing ships the Argentines had been at a disadvantage due to the distances, they had to travel relative to the British to even get to the fight and hamstrung by their lack of significant AAR capability.
In the air to air engagements that had taken place the British had always come out on top due to their superior technology and aircrew quality.
In the majority of air to air engagements the deciding factor had been the fact that the British were able to make use of their Skyflash missiles which had a vastly superior range to anything the Argentines possessed. Even at closer ranges the AIM-9L Sidewinder had proven to be a significant advantage due to its all aspect capability.
The area where the British had been at a disadvantage was in terms of numbers of aircraft with only a single squadron of Phantoms and single squadron of subsonic Sea Harriers pitted against an entire air force. Therefore apart from the airfields on the Falklands whose destruction they had placed a high priority on the British had not been able to carry out any kind of operation against the Argentine airfields on the mainland or even in the water to the west of the Falklands as the air threat was too great.
This meant that they had stayed to the East of the Islands meaning that the Argentines had been forced to come to them and fight on their terms. In effect the British had been able to dictate the course of the air aspect of the campaign.
The loss kill ratio alone said volumes with the argentines having lost dozens of aircraft in air to air engagements and all of the British being the result of groundfire or accidents.

The British had largely had local air superiority during the day and almost total air dominance during the night which had enabled them to carry out a sustained bombing campaign against the Argentine forces on the islands which had been a big factor in deciding the outcomes of the land battles later on.
The Argentines had only been able to seriously challenge British air superiority by sortieing large numbers of aircraft and swamping the British defences rather than through air to air capability.
The part of the campaign that occurred after the battle of San Carlos saw the British enjoying what amounted to total air dominance with the Argentine air force unable to provide support to their own forces ashore or prevent the British from being able to make extensive use of helicopter movement for troop and equipment movement and supply.

It was felt that the big takeaway from this point should be the importance of being able to locate and engage enemy aircraft long before they came close to their assumed targets. It was also noted that the side that had the longest range in terms of both aircraft and missile range was likely to come out on top. The Phantom being a supersonic long ranged interceptor had again proven itself ideal for this roles.
Situational awareness and air battle management had also been significant contributing factors as it had allowed for the coordination of a multi layered defence that would not have been possible years previously.
During the Vietnam war the US had found that the advantages offered by the Phantom were negated by the need to positively identify a target before it could be fired upon. This had the effect of forcing the Phantoms to close with their targets and frequently end up in a tight turning dogfight against nimble Mig 21’s where they were at a distinct disadvantage and their missiles designed for long range struggled.
Here the British had not been hamstrung by any such considerations owing to their declaration of a Total Exclusion Zone and had been able to engage targets at will. This was reflected in the vastly better results they had achieved.
The combined plot provided by their AEW aircraft, fighters and shipborne air search radars had meant that the British were able to allocate hunting grounds to different units and use them to their full capability by provide them with clear fields of fire and minimizing the risk of friendly fire through keeping control of their aircraft. This concept had been around for years but this was the first time it had been used in a modern peer to peer war.
The navy and the air force representatives were already starting to talk about how to act upon the points raised here.

Securing Command of The Sea
The battle of the Falkland Islands on the 2nd of May had utterly destroyed the Argentines as a fighting force and they had no longer been a factor in the future course of the conflict. This had removed a significant threat to the British fleet and had allowed them the freedom of movement necessary to conduct amphibious operations.
Without any naval threat and being protected from the air threat by simple range the British sea lines of communication back to Ascension Island had been able to function completely without any interference or threat which had provided the British with supply line security.
With their freedom of movement the British Amphibious group had been able to close with the islands in order to conduct Amphibious landings and had been able to position their escorts to protect themselves from the air threat.
On the Argentine side the enemies command of the sea and air superiority had meant the Argentine forces on the Falklands had been cut off from any hope of resupply, reinforcement or retreat. This had meant that the British had been able to gradually grind them down into submission.

Concentration of Firepower and Mobility During Ground Operations
USMC doctrine for amphibious landings was to land as close to the objective as possible in order to ensure the shortest distance to travel and shortest supply lines. In the Falklands land campaign, the objective had been Port Stanley. The British had surprised many by landing a very long way from the objective and somewhere that the even the defenders hadn’t felt the need to defend in any great strength. The Americans however had seen the logic in this as it had allowed the British to take their time to get themselves properly established ashore meaning that the land campaign hadn’t begun until they felt that they were good and ready meaning the ground combat phase had begun on their terms.
The Argentines had found themselves facing the traditional defender’s conundrum of having to divide their forces to cover all possible angels of attack while the British were able to concentrate forces at particular points and overwhelm the defenders.
Given they were attacking defenders who were well positioned and dug in the British could have potentially faced great difficulties. Military logic usually dictates that when attacking a prepared position, the attackers need a roughly 4 to one superiority in numbers to prevail. Unable to move such a force to the islands the British had resorted to the use of extremely heavy amounts of firepower. The British had held the initiative during the land battles by being able to choose when and where they would occur as a result of Argentine inaction. This had allowed them to carry out extensive preparatory bombardments and make use of fire support during the assaults in order to make up for their lack of superiority in numbers. Fire support had been invaluable as it had often allowed the British to destroy and difficult Argentine positions rather than directly assaulting them.
The quality of the British fighting men compared to the Argentines had also been a major factor.

Of course, getting the men, guns and vast amount of shells that seemed to have been used over the great distance from the British Beach head to the battlefields around Port Stanley had been rather important. The British had declined to move anything overland and had instead made very extensive use of the airmobile capability provided by the large number of helicopters they had brought with them. They had even gone as far as to establish a heliport at San Carlos. The British had been able to move and sustain what amounted to two brigades by helicopter.

When the details of the battles that had taken place around San Carlos had become known a group of US Army and USMC officers had been assembled and briefed on what had transpired. They had been asked to put themselves in the position of the Argentine defenders and work out what they had done wrong and what they could have done differently. They unanimously agreed that the problem was the defenders had been too willing to remain in their positions and had for whatever reason not attempted any moves of their own and thus allowing the British total freedom to do or act as they pleased. They also pointed out that the Argentines were at a critical disadvantage in important areas such as artillery and air capability.
When they were asked what they would do if they were in such a position leading US troops who had the same disadvantages the general consensus for some sort of spoiling attack the moment, they became aware of the British and that the worst thing to do was stay put. They did however concede that Argentine commanders may not have felt their men capable of such action.
When asked about the likelihood of success they were of the opinion that unless they were lucky enough to reach the British in the hour or so after they first arrived when they were still getting themselves established the best results they could hope for were a spoiling attack to throw disrupt the British plans. The longer they left it the more forces the British would have been able to bring into the field meaning that the odds of success would become slimmer.
They also voiced the opinion that the only reason why the British had been able to move and fight this way was the complete lack of any threat to their helicopters meaning that the airbridge back to San Carlos could be sustained. They reasoned that had the Argentines been able to destroy a number of British helicopters in particular the vital Chinooks then the British would have been obliged to have their force travel overland largely on foot. This would have resulted in a much more drawn out and very different sequence of events.

Superiority In ISTAR
Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition & Reconnaissance. The British had had a vast superiority in intelligence gathering capability and situational awareness. This had enabled them to plan and execute operations more effectively.
The Argentines had been severely hamstrung by their frequent inability to tell where the British were or what they were up to. Indeed, the movement of the Argentine naval groups before their destruction on the 2nd of May was that of a pincer movement supported by carrier borne MPA’s. This indicated that the Argentines hadn’t known the exact location of the British fleet which put them at a distinct disadvantage as it would have prevented any plans of attack from being drawn up until right at the last minute and would have impeded effective cooperation between units.
The British through the use of their cutting edge airborne surface search radars and submarine mounted sonars had been able to pinpoint the locations of the Argentine warships and go on the attack with fatal results for the Argentines.

Though the military leaders in the room didn’t need to be remined of this particular lesson this was yet more real world proof that the winner in any conflict was usually dictated by who had the best information. There was a very good reason why the US spent more money on intelligence than the total military budgets of every other country in NATO.

Importance of Joint Operations
When this subject was brought up many of the men in the room cringed as this was something that the US Military struggled with. Interservice rivalry and lack of cooperation was a massive problem for the US. This had been shown with the humiliating failure of Operation Eagle Claw in Iran two years earlier. The ill fated attempt to rescue US hostages in Iran had failed due to a massively overcomplicated and overambitious plan and due to men and units drawn from each of the armed forces being unable to effectively cooperate and work together.
The problem was that the way the US Armed Forces were structured meant that interservice cooperation only really took place at the administrative, strategic and higher tactical levels. Individual services were geared towards being able to act largely independently of others (with the obvious exception of the USN and USMC) and there was a lot of overlap of capabilities. For example the USMC was effectively a mini version of the US Army with its own heavy tank battalions and air force whereas in most other countries marines were simply specialised infantry. The USAF, USN and USMC operated their own fast jet forces, the USAF effectively had its own infantry force and even the US Coast Guard operated what were effectively Frigates. As with any other armed forces worldwide the US armed forces were not above fighting amongst and backstabbing each other when it came to allocating money to projects. The men in the room were all old enough to remember the infamous “Revolt of the Admirals” incident which had come about largely as a result of the navy jealously trying to guard against the perceived threat from the air force.
Even now in the room with money for new equipment potentially up for grabs officers from different services were eying each other suspiciously and thinking of ways to make sure that the money went to their services.

The British had been able to achieve a seamless operational inter services cooperation at every level. RAF helicopters had operated from Royal Navy ships and MPA’s had supported and coordinated with the Navy. British army and marine personnel had been able to effectively work together with 3 COMMANDO Brigade known to me a joint army and marine formation. Even British army paratroopers had been able to deploy from navy warships aboard navy helicopters.
it was clear in this respect that the British were lightyears ahead of the US having been forced by shrinking defence budgets over the years not always matched by shrinking commitments to make the best use of what they had.
Part of the problem for the US was simple circumstance. When for example would US Army Paratroopers ever be required to deploy from US Navy LPH’s aboard air force helicopters when the USMC was available and equipped for this?
The combined arms and self sufficient make up of divisional and fleet level units meant that operations were largely intended to be carried out by just one service.
For example the US Navy operated the nations MPA capability whereas in Britain the Nimrod MPA’s were operated by the RAF however were only operationally used to support the navy.

It wasn’t going to be easy or popular and would probably prompt a few early career endings but with the debacle of Operation EAGLE CLAW and now the British showing them up it was clear that there needed to be a culture change and a strong effort within the US Military to be able to work together more closely and play nicely with each other.
It would almost certainly require the US Congress or Senate to get involved to achieve this. There were even rumours that the President was looking at forming a presidential commission to look at what would need to be done.

Readiness/Preparedness
By all accounts the Argentine armed forces had been completely unprepared for this campaign and wrongfooted by it and this had manifested itself at every level right down to men not having appropriate clothing for the environment they were deployed to.
The British on the other hand being an island nation had always geared themselves towards overseas warfare and due to their foreign policy had generally kept their military at a higher state of readiness. This meant that a lot of preparations required for warfare such as stockpiling of supplies and adequate training had already taken place to enable their men to be ready to respond quickly. Granted this had in recent years been done with responding to a Soviet threat in Europe in mind but it was a testament to their higher preparedness that they had been able to reorientate themselves so quickly to respond to this unexpected situation in this unexpected place.
The Argentines on the other hand had been more geared towards internal operations such as counter insurgency and homeland defence. When called upon to fight a conventional war away from the infrastructure of home their system had struggled to cope.



With the briefing part of the days meeting now complete the audience broke for lunch. On the way out the Secretary of the Navy personally congratulated the Captain who had run the team and many of the senior naval officer’s present including the CNO had been very impressed by his work. Perhaps his career had just been given its second wind?

The afternoon would be a smaller affair held in a conference room where the assembled senior officers would discuss the findings that had been presented and how the US Military should act upon them in terms of equipment purchases and doctrine.
It would prove to be a rather more interesting meeting than those which usually took place I this room.
 
So broadly OTL in many areas but the importance of real fighter aircraft at sea seen as much more important. I wonder if this will see a move to equipping the Wasp class with cats and traps and an angled deck? They're probably big enough to operate half a dozen F-18's and using them as baby carriers is probably still going to be considered even if the ability of Harrier as an interceptor isn't clear this time round.
 
I don’t think we can rule out a replacement fleet carrier being deemed essential, and cuts being made in the MoD R&D and procurement budget to find the money - if Britain is really, really lucky that might just be enough to kill off the SA80.
I cannot see them saving any money on L85/L86 and HMG needed the project to sell off parts of Royal Ordinance.

The project had been going since 1969.

But while it is now a decent weapon system it took 15+ years to square it away.

With hindsight perhaps tooling the Nottingham plant to build the Colt C7 instead. Call it the L87?

But that still does not save money and the L1A1 was well past its replacement date.
 
So broadly OTL in many areas but the importance of real fighter aircraft at sea seen as much more important. I wonder if this will see a move to equipping the Wasp class with cats and traps and an angled deck? They're probably big enough to operate half a dozen F-18's and using them as baby carriers is probably still going to be considered even if the ability of Harrier as an interceptor isn't clear this time round.
The shortcoming the Wasps have is speed. CdG goes 27 knots because that is the absolute minimum wind over the deck needed for flight ops. If an alt-Wasp with cats is in calm wind conditions, it wouldn't be able to conduct flight ops. Amphibious assault ships are primarily helicopter carriers, so they have nowhere near enough avgas and ordnance storage for a useful air campaign, even with the Harriers or F-35s. Additionally, the size of machinery and fuel needed for a 27 knot ship would critically cut into mission storage (ground equipment) in a 21 knot design.
 
Well the engine was, the gun, turret, and hull were rather good when they where put into service, why in the name of all things right in the world they didn't replace the engine by the MK4 is quite frankly a massive blunder
Was that anything to do with the Iranian order for the Shir 2 (Challenger)?

The BA might have wanted to purchase the tank itself in the 1980's so didn't improve the tanks to save money.

As it stands the Iranian order was given to the BA anyway after the '79 revolution.
 
So broadly OTL in many areas but the importance of real fighter aircraft at sea seen as much more important. I wonder if this will see a move to equipping the Wasp class with cats and traps and an angled deck? They're probably big enough to operate half a dozen F-18's and using them as baby carriers is probably still going to be considered even if the ability of Harrier as an interceptor isn't clear this time round.
Besides what NJS outlined, this is going to send the cost through the roof for a ship that's not designed to be primarily a fixed-wing aviation vessel. All the changes also mean an increase in size, increases that threaten to push the ship out of the size the Ingalls shipyards can handle and into Newport News territory - and that shipyard is busy cranking out Nimitz-class carriers. So that's more expense finding a yard to build them in, probably New York Naval Shipyard.
 
Besides what NJS outlined, this is going to send the cost through the roof for a ship that's not designed to be primarily a fixed-wing aviation vessel. All the changes also mean an increase in size, increases that threaten to push the ship out of the size the Ingalls shipyards can handle and into Newport News territory - and that shipyard is busy cranking out Nimitz-class carriers. So that's more expense finding a yard to build them in, probably New York Naval Shipyard.
Contract out to the yards that built the USN Algol class, or the Invincible class, or any other reputable shipyard with that kind of space.
 
Besides what NJS outlined, this is going to send the cost through the roof for a ship that's not designed to be primarily a fixed-wing aviation vessel. All the changes also mean an increase in size, increases that threaten to push the ship out of the size the Ingalls shipyards can handle and into Newport News territory - and that shipyard is busy cranking out Nimitz-class carriers. So that's more expense finding a yard to build them in, probably New York Naval Shipyard.
Of course they might add a ski jump to the Wasp class design in this timeline.
 
Contract out to the yards that built the USN Algol class, or the Invincible class, or any other reputable shipyard with that kind of space.
Building a full-on military vessel is a very different task from building a high-speed cargo ship not intended to go into combat. As for the yard that built the Invincibles, well, Swan Hunter has never built anything as big as even a stock Wasp (RMS Mauretania is the closest and that was in 1906). Barrow-in-Furness might be able to do it - they've built some very large oil tankers there and they have naval experience - but that runs headlong into NMIH syndrome.
 

Ming777

Monthly Donor
Even so, I imagine that there maybe more emphasis for the LPHs/LHAs/LHDs to have a detachment of Harriers aboard.

In a scenario where an amphibous landing group is under the cover of a CVBG, keeping some light multirole aircraft around to guard the amphibious group and/or support landing forces frees up aircraft from the carrier to maintain air superiority.

Given that in the late cold war era the USN operated Tomcats and Hornets, having the Harriers around means more Hornets can back up the Tomcats against aerial threats, while the Intruders can also go support any landing ops.
 
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he United States Navy had put together a team to collate and analyse information relating to the course and conduct of the campaign and to report findings.
As might be expected a very blinkered analysis by the Yanks

Missing the significance of submarines and ASW on both sides

Misunderstanding the significance of small unit flexibility in a "limited" conflict

and the cost-effectiveness of special/elite forces (that transfers to a larger scale conflict)

in fact rather complacent

(and of course, as we know, through hindsight admittedly ...
utterly irrelevant to the US forces problems in the 90s and 00s
which is being able to win every war and yet incapable of creating any peace)
 
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