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British-French Defense Cooperation Looks Promising

European defense has two problems: The defense spending is much lower than in the US. And in addition, the money is not used as efficiently as in the US, because each EU country has its own military with its own equipment. Therefore, I am pleasantly surprised to read in The Sunday Times (HT: Zyme):

Two hundred years after the battle of Trafalgar, the [British] navy could end up sharing the pride of its fleet with the French. Driven by spiralling budgets, the two navies began talks last week aimed at sharing their aircraft carriers.

And of course it is always wonderful to see former enemies working that closely together now. In the next century, Iran and the US might share an aircraft carrier --  or space ship. ;-)

Related posts in the Atlantic Review:

Defense budget: US spends too much and Europe spends too little?

Would the Democrats Cut Defense Spending?

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Elisabetta on :

Never going to happen. Even with the new "I want a mommy-hug" Royal Navy, the notion of sharing at the minimum operation control with the French is anathema. This sort of tentative policy paper is merely the product of Brown's drunken groping for the svelte hips of popularity. No Tory gov will countenance such an action.

Joe Noory on :

Don't underestimate the extent to which they'll go to find a "peace dividend", moreover, I think they'll just have to in that they really are, and should have been centuries ago strategic partners.

franchie on :

Never going to happen... blah,blah, blah... fortunately the navy people (and the army people) are brighter persons, than your sorrow mind shows from you the Brits and the Frenchs have already made some commun exercices, on navy ships, and or with the US navy ships either

Elisabetta on :

What makes the article unserious is the notion that the RAF will scrap its investment in the JSF and buy some French plane for the carrier. They have already invested hundreds of millions of pounds in that plane and leaving the consortium is not going to help BAE in the American market.

Pat Patterson on :

Along with Elisabetta, the possibility that the RN and MOD would give up the money already invested in the F-35 is ludicrous. Thus the two carriers to be built will probably be built to support the F-35 while the amost twenty year old, poorly selling and underperforming Rafale will be of little use if the French need to "borrow' the RN's carrier. On the surface it sounds like a good idea but since the contracts have already been signed to build the carriers in Britain then the French will have to convince the British to reconfigure designs that they have already spend 15 years arguing about. Now if both countries were simply talking about sharing the hulls and then having the rest purpose built to their individual air craft that would make some sense. Another problem not mentioned in the article is what to do about the space demands of using helicopters from two different countries that have the rotors moving in opposite directions. Spare parts, signage, captain's quarters, etc. ? But since barely half of the number ordered by the French Air force or Navy have been built and none sold overseas I can definitely see the French offering the Rafale at a price the RN might consider worth while to eat their investment in the F-35. While the French are in an agonizing position, they are definitely going to scrap the Charles DeGaulle ASAP but appear only willing to spend on a flat deck carrier, suitable for the Rafale, while the two British carriers are currently designed for STVOL though no final decision has been made yet. Eureferendum and links to a longer dissection of the Sunday Times article. [url]http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2008/05/its-what-isnt-said-that-matters.html[/url]

Zyme on :

"Eureferendum and links to a longer dissection of the Sunday Times article." It is precisely this page where I first picked up the news. They may have some awkward ideas every now and then, but they are refreshingly detailed in their research.

franchie on :

no Mr Pat, no need to reconfigure the Brit carrier, if you'd watched a few videos, you would know that the rafale can take its flights from a shorter carrier than an american's one or (UK') well, all I can deduce from what I read from my anglo-saxon fellows, it's that the frenchs and their products are rubbish, thanks, that shows anyway your angerness, I am prouting on your nice wishes De Gaulle was right not to trust them

Pat Patterson on :

The Rafale better be able to take off from the deck of the Charles DeGaulle considering that she is smaller than any of the Nimitz-class carriers currently operational. And since the French and the US use catapults to launch their planes the relative shorter deck (50m) of the DeGaulle is irrelevant but the length of the deck of the new ships would work if the French are able to persuade the British to use flat decks. Jets wear out faster on the shorter decks because the catapult has to use more force to launch and similarly the retrieval of the jet puts more stress on the airframe from the more abrupt stop. But again the Rafale will not be operational on the British carriers as currently envisioned as it doesn't develop enough thrust to launch itself up the ski ramp type deck. On the positive side both versions will have a range of 10,000 miles and be able to carry the Hawkeye. But the logical solution would have been for the Eurofighter, which can be configured for sea duty, to be tasked to the new carriers. But in order to keep Dassault from going bankrupt in the 80's the French, understandably, withdrew from the project and the naval version of the Eurofighter is now considered too expensive. This is an example, and is certainly not confined to France considering the Eurofighter is some three times over budget, that local political concerns trump national interest. The part that is confusing to me is that France has always had at least one operational nuclear powered air craft carrier of the heavier class. Maybe this explains the wisdom of the editorially challenged new naval base France in the UAE. Though the described base of 500 mixed personnel seems small I'm sure that if needed France's first permanent base in the Gulf can be expanded to resupply a French carrier strike group (I couldn't find the proper name currently in use by the French Navy so I used US and British terminology here). The choices are quite stark in that unless the French can persuade the RN to use a catapult system, which the F-35 is compatible, the decks will simply be useless for launching the Rafale. And unless the French can convince the British to switch to the Rafale then they will have spent billions of Euros on a national and export aircraft that is now neither. And their is the minor problem in that the RN has been planning on having two carrier strike groups, one in the Med and the Gulf and the other group available for the Atlantic and in extreme cases the Pacific.

franchie on :

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3953901.ece http://www.meretmarine.com/article.cfm?id=107601 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3950049.ece http://www.boursorama.com/infos/actualites/detail_actu_marches.phtml?&news=5517086 http://www.meretmarine.com/article.cfm?id=107663&c=1

Pat Patterson on :

OK, the simple version. The French Rafale cannot launch off of STOVL deck nor can it land on one. British carriers currently designed for STOVL. Therefore French Rafale cannot launch off of or land on a Queen Elizabeth class carrier. Cool pictures are from the catapult assisted launch of Rafale off of the FLAT deck of the USS Truman. Not a STOVL, Short Take Off Vertical Landing. The only time a Rafale can make a vertical landing is right after the pilot goes, "Oops!"

franchie on :

ok french version : Primo:Le choix pour la france de faire seule l'avion relève de la nécéssité de garder la main sur une maitrise technologique et scientifique. La diluer dans une alliance avec les anglais aurait été plus pénalisable et sur du plus long terme. Eurocopter sait sans doute de quoi je parle et Airbus dans une moindre mesure. 2° Le cahier des chages et donc le choix technique pour ce nouvel appareil était très différent voire antagoniste d'avec le choix européen. 3°Le TORNADO sous l'égide de PANAVIA avait été un gouffre financier .Cet appareil en voulant satisfaire tout le monde finalement ne satisfaisait personne complètement. De quoi refroidir les ardeurs d'une possible alliance malgrès tout envisagée. A côté le rafale était déjà dans les cartons. Preuve en est ;il a fallu au RAFALE moins de 2 ans pour voler. Acôté, l'EUROFIGHTER peine à décoler avec des limitations significatives de son domaine de vol.Pire on est obligé de revoir sa copie jugeant le cahier des charges impossible à tenir. Ce que vous voyez voler c'est un EUROFIGHTER simplifié. Cest un avion que les saoudiens ont acheté plus pour le contexte géopolitique et frauduleux que pour des raisons objectivement techniques et stratégiques. Les raisons du Choix EUROFIGHTER tiennent plus de la politique et constituent et c'est moi qui le dit plus du boycot en réponse aux divergences France -EU. Ce contrat est terni par des pratiques frauduleuses avérées. Enfin la position de la France sur l'echiquier du monde s'est considérablement fragilisée et c'est là plutôt qu'il faut chercher les réponses à cette désaffection pour le RAFALE oops :lol:

Joe Noory on :

Alright, fine. Where can I buy one?

franchie on :

OK joe, are you going to use it on your former compatriots HBZ ? credit card allowed :lol:

Joe Noory on :

I've found that virtually any french person is willing to believe in anything if there's cash to be made. That's why you'll never see a mad-mad-[i]thishasgottastop[/i] campaign about EADS of Dessault on Rue89.com, even as they would blow a gasket about police having tazers, or as they normally do: get cranked up about the independant, unapproved thoughts of private citizens, even if it has no effect.

franchie on :

tell me when you'll find something that you will agree with whenever it's french

Joe Noory on :

That has absolutely nothing to do with it. France and the French, as a country, get my admiration when they deserve it. The story here is about doing integration beyond what's imagined uner teh NATO model, so the obvious need is to work on interoperability. What do we get whithout looking very deeply into it? The opportunity thrown away so that two parties can fight over who can weasel the biggest contract out of their own, and another nation's taxpayer with a VERY VERY low priority placed on what they're doing to meet the goal.

Pat Patterson on :

Since I don't really read French the quote is irrelevant. And unless the verbiage claims that there will be a new Rafale with directional nozzles to let it do what a STOVL carrier demands then the rest is simply nonsense.

franchie on :

ok ever tried google translate or babelfish the irrelevance is also that you only want to acknoledge your official opinion

Joe Noory on :

Such emotionalism. It makes me believe that being differentiated as a "Anglo-Saxon" isn't all that inaccurate. What if some design WAS rubbish? Would it need to be defended to the death for the sake of 'cultural sensitivity' or worked on? In the case of the Rafale design, sales to the open market obviously show that it has some problems, even in competition with the Typhoons, which was supposed to be an effort at 'denationalizing' the various European designs. In the end, it has nothing to do with equiping their forces, but selling hardware, and getting a subsidy.

franchie on :

yeah, surprise, surprise, a negationist of the french education LMAO euh, I added some links for Pat, dunno when they'll appear

Joe Noory on :

So tell us then - WHAT would it take to please you? What state of being is required for other people to carry around all day, what persona must they artificially take on to be right in your eyes? Supplicance to a whole, anonymous nation of people for your individual satisfaction?

franchie on :

being an happy OK joe, would be just fine :lol:

Zyme on :

European defense spending surely is highly inefficient at the moment. There is a huge amount of potential for the future here. The current state is illustrated very well at a statistical comparison with the USA from the European Defense Agency: http://www.eda.europa.eu/genericitem.aspx?area=Facts&id=310

Pat Patterson on :

I had always thought that one of the main advantages to NATO was, at the very least, compatibility between the different designs of each country's defense industries. Ammunition, radio frequency skipping, IDD, fuel, etc. However over the years it now appears that there is less compatibility then I had assumed. For example some of the ground-to-air radios that were in use by the British in Iraq and especially in Afghanistan are unable to directly call in US air assets. The request must go back to the British liason and in some cases then has to go to Britain and then Brussels for retransmission. Or the RA uses the Canadian channels who then can make direct contact with whatever US asset is required. Though I believe that new frequencies have been made available and that problem is solved. I think Zyme is the closest in that reduced spending simply creates more fierce national defense contracts plus cries for maintaining a national defense infrastructure. This leads to what little money that is budgeted being spent disproportionatly on smaller and more expensive local contracts.

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