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Developing a new defence policy?

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 6:42 pm
by Akerosid
Recently, in the Dail, the Minister for Defence said that the cost of adding high performance jets would be prohibitive and frankly, he has a point - if he's talking about brand new Typhoons, Rafales etc, but we don't actually need something like that. However, rather than just pick on that point, let's look at the wider issue of defence policy and what it should achieve. With an election coming up next year, it's an opportune time to discuss this.

Firstly, it seems to be a common perception that defence spending is "deadweight" spending, in the sense that there is very little return on it; that, added to the fact that the defence minister is usually relatively junior means that the Dept of Finance finds it relatively easy to kill defence spending plans. A further problem is that it's often seen in isolation, rather than in the context of other areas and policy goals.

We are actually one of the wealthiest EU nation states and yet, our defence spending is among the smallest, particularly as a proportion of GNP. We expect to have a voice heard at the highest level, particularly in areas of security and foreign policy, yet we punch way below our weight in terms of the contribution we make; we lay claim to a huge coastal limit, yet in the event of any serious catastrophe, we have to call in the RAF and RN. We won't participate in any EU defence pact (although in fairness, that is changing slightly, with possible participation in the proposed Rapid Reaction Force); it's not based on principle, like Sweden's or Switzerland's neutrality; it's just an unwillingness to take defence seriously. The problem is, of course, that by the time a serious threat presents itself, it's often too late.

Of course, I want to focus on the IAC here, but I'd also like to look at the possibility of a naval aviation detachment, which could be charged with crewing ship based helicopters; Sweden, among other countries, has high speed vessels with helicopters; this would be very useful in a variety of roles.

One possibility I'd like to look at in particular is having an air force of a neutral foreign country set up a training base here; Singapore is one that jumps to mind: tiny country, limited space for training (current done in Oz), but very good and growing air force. Here's where the association with other govt policies comes in as well; the govt, in its Asia Strategy Report, wants to develop trade links with Asia - a military alliance with a country like Singapore is a very good way to build that; the RSiAF could base trainers, even fast jets here (on rotations, so to speak) and in the event of a serious terror threat, they could also be deployed to take protective action. Irish crews could also be trained in the maintenance of the aircraft and possibly even pilot training.

In a European context, I would strongly advocate participation in the WEU and stronger links with other military arms; the IAC's transport contingent could be improved - perhaps EU assistance to buy C-295 or C-27 troop carriers? Then there is surveillance acft to look at and although these could be provided by a WEU partner country, it's important that home grown competence in these areas is developed.

I think one of the key challenges will be to take on the perception that Defence is somehow a "dirty word" - seedy, even morally questionable; there'll be all these comments about how we should be putting money into hunger and fighting AIDS etc (all of which I'm in favour of, don't get me wrong), BUT a government has a primary duty to defend its country and people. Defence in Ireland has always taken a back seat, with the results that we now see - our air defences being in the hands of the PC9s. Nice aircraft, but hardly a front line fighter. If we get a time warp that takes us back to the '40s, they'll be great against the Me-209s.

Let's share some ideas; we have a well trained and highly professional Air Corps and as a modern, developed country, we should have a modern, well equipped air force, capable to serving our interests over a wide variety of skill-sets and competences. Time to take defence seriously ...

Posted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:19 pm
I think we should spend some time trying to get back some of the eight hundred square miles of Class C airspace the lads in Dublin claim they need for one runway at Dublin. Its the largest airspace in the world,by all accounts, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta all survive nicely on far less. Can anybody, first attempt to provide an explanation as to why they need so much !! Its pathetic if you ask me. I guess all thoes little boys in the tower need room to flex thier muscles....!!

Posted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:26 pm
by Nanolight
I'd be more in favout of booting them out to some crap airport in the boonies and developing Baldonnel. Dublin badly needs a second decent airport, and at the moment it is being squandered.

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:36 am
by mini

In reality, we missed the boat many years ago in terms of having a self defence capability, and, in fairness we don't need it now.

The latest political noises have been in terms of joining the Scandihooligans on EU missions & emergency humanitarian response missions (i.e. the boy scout brigade)

In terms of aircraft to support these missions, C 295 & C27's are fine aircraft but are sod all worth to you in terms of operating into a strange field. The C130 (L100) is as global a currency as the Dollar -everyone else we would be working with will have this equip thus the tech support would exist regardless where it was deployed. I make this statement based on many years experience in this area.

Its up to the Aer Corps to make the case...

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:17 pm
by Turkey
It might be better at present to begin developing Bal' as a proper modern military airbase suitable for operating a much larger number of helicopters and fixed-wing assets as should be obtained in the future.
Or building a brand new modern military airbase somewhere a bit futher to the west.
But if that were to happen, I do not belive Bal' would not become a second Dublin airport, it would more then likely be wasted for affordable houseing or some other moronic politicaly driven thing.
Now that would be squandering.

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:49 pm
by mini
On a tangent, an issue brought up by Turkey's post;

What is the max operational (including taxiways etc.,) runway length possible within the existing Baldonnel perimeter?

i.e. is it actually feasable as a second commercial airport?

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:36 pm
Here, here, I would be for getting some of those sparkly RAF display aircraft into the corps :wink: I had a recent discussion with some air corps persons and friends and it seems it would be feasible. However, lets not under estimate the power in the PC9's, they, when properly pushed to operating limits, can hold steam with alot of modern jets for brief periods in a gradual decending manner (not making people feel any safer am I...


Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:49 pm
by dowlingm
If we can have Naval Service HQ at Haulbowline we can have Air Corps HQ at SNN, NOC or KIR - given current US activities in SNN it might be advisable to have a secure section of SNN. It could also justify upgrades like an extended and refurbished 13/31 for when crosswinds rule out 06/24 and retention of 24 hour status which would reinforce SNN's position as a diversion airport. The AW139s could be based at the Curragh maybe?

Government aircraft - would there be an downside to transferring them to a government controlled civil AOC rather than military and operated by a civil body?

Baldonnel - call it "Dublin-Stansted". It's right near the railway line, the N7 and the Outer Ring. Build a Stan-Shed and offer it to FR, Easy and the other locos. Make DUB "Dublin-Heathrow" but progressively rebuilt to modern standards. If this had been done a few years ago we wouldn't need the mad panic building at DUB.

Equipment - rotary rotary rotary. Consider a fleet of something like EH101, SAR birds, mintrans/medevac birds, trooplift birds. C-130J is a huge commitment and not cheap either. Buy-in to an uplift scheme like SALIS would be better perhaps.

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:12 am
by mini
Interesting points,

Moving to NOC is out due to weather, SNN could certainly be explored though.

Base role stated (in the press) for the AW139?s is ARW mobility so basing in the Curragh would make sense. Allouettes were based in Monaghan during the ?troubles? so there shouldn?t be any precedent issues there.

Transferring Official Gov tsp to the civil register would open a can of worms?

I still think that the only way the mil can implement the political undertakings vis a vis external co-operation is by C-130, given that money is not a problem it has to be a J.

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:22 am
How about doing a base swap with Weston, the traffic from the airfield would be reduced, and Baldonnel could cater for all transport!

(I forgot about the heritage and cultural thing on this one didnt I)...

Merry Christmas!

Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:32 am
And where would you put all these.... ... 12/22/2006

pretty cool all the same... :D

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:56 am
by Akerosid
I think that if there is to be a transport element, it will probably be done in the context of a European rapid reaction force, i.e. buying time on transport aircraft operated by other European countries - perhaps a C27J or a C130J. Indeed, continuing our association and involvement with the European forces will probably result in a significant need for more metal. I see SNN as being an ideal base for a larger maritime patrol force - with the possibility of Orions from another European force (Luftwaffe?) being based there and also, the Air Corps being involved in various European exercises.

As to fast jets, while I think a good case can be made for a light interceptor jet, like the Hawk, MB339 or L159, I just can't see it happening. Mind you, in fairness to the govt, they have invested quite heavily in the helicopter force and that has to be praised.

As to the future of the MATS, the Gulfie is now 14 (?) years old. It wouldn't surprise me if, in the next Dail, a decision is made to replace it; most like option? Airbus A318 Elite or A319CJ.

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:51 am
by mini
"As to the future of the MATS, the Gulfie is now 14 (?) years old. It wouldn't surprise me if, in the next Dail, a decision is made to replace it; most like option? Airbus A318 Elite or A319CJ."

Do they really need all that space all the time? wouldn't they be better off with several smaller bizjets?

(of course there will be FF'rs who will advocate an A380 for Bertie if he pulls it off again...)

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:01 pm
by dirk
Shouldn't 1 or 2 Casa 235's do the job if we really need an airlifter/transporter? :roll:

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:20 pm
by angelshigh
I Think we should just join NATO and it will all be sorted out.

Imagine....Ireland the latest US state. :lol: :D 8)