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I do yearn for the day when we use to have defence conditions like 'Condition Black'. Calling a defence condition 'Critical' sounds damned unEnglish to me.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48956547

The UK has raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters in the Gulf to the highest level - where the risk of attack is "critical".

The step was taken on Tuesday, amid growing tensions in the region.

On Wednesday, Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker in the region - before being driven off by a Royal Navy ship, the MoD said.

Iran had threatened to retaliate for the seizure of one of its own tankers, but denied any attempted seizure.

The Department for Transport said it regularly provided security advice to UK ships in high-risk areas.

The threat level means British ships are advised not to enter Iranian waters, BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said.

 

Boats believed to belong to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) approached the British Heritage tanker and tried to bring it to a halt as it was moving out of the Gulf into the Strait of Hormuz.

HMS Montrose, a British frigate shadowing the BP-owned tanker, was forced to move between the three boats and the ship, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

He described the Iranians' actions as "contrary to international law".

Guns on HMS Montrose were trained on the Iranian boats as they were ordered to back off, US media reported. The boats heeded the warning and no shots were fired.

Last week, British Royal Marines helped the authorities in Gibraltar seize an Iranian tanker because of evidence it was carrying oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

A spokesman for the Royal Gibraltar Police said they had arrested the captain and chief officer of the Iranian tanker on Thursday, on suspicion of breaching EU sanctions, but neither had been charged.

The BBC has been told British Heritage was near the island of Abu Musa when it was approached by the Iranian boats.

Although Abu Musa is in disputed territorial waters, HMS Montrose remained in international waters throughout.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the government was concerned by the incident and urged the Iranian authorities to "de-escalate the situation".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added the UK would monitor the situation "very carefully".

Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said the government was "committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in accordance with international law".

A spokesperson for the US State Department condemned Iran's actions and said that Washington would continue to work closely with the UK.

Morgan Ortagus said: "We commend the actions of the Royal Navy in ensuring freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce through this critically important waterway."

Commander of the US Fifth Fleet Vice Adm Jim Malloy described the incident as "unlawful harassment" and said the fleet would continue to work closely with the Royal Navy to defend "the free flow of commerce".

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https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48958359

 

Iran has reiterated calls for the UK to release an Iranian-owned oil tanker which was detained by Royal Marines in Gibraltar last week.

An Iranian official, speaking to state news agency IRNA, warned the UK not to get involved in "this dangerous game".

It comes after the UK government said Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker in the Gulf on Wednesday.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said events in the Gulf showed the Royal Navy needs more warships.

The leadership hopeful has vowed to reverse cuts to the navy if he becomes PM.

 

:D

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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The concern would be if the Iranians deployed their own Q ship under the pretense of a second attempt to transport oil through Gibraltar to an embargoed port.

 

Explosive charges on the hull and a threat to detonate them would be sufficient as well.

Edited by Nobu
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The Iranians appear to be bent on retaliation against the UK for their seized tanker. If a target at sea proves too difficult for them to handle, they will undoubtedly turn to lower-hanging fruit in various ways.

They'd be better off ignoring the first incident while equipping their own tankers with infantry.

That's a solid way to reclassify their ships as combat vessels, thus legitimate military targets.

 

 

Bullshit - civilian vessels use security details all the time these days where piracy is an issue.

 

 

 

There is a difference between hired guards and proper military of a nation state. Though the exact details, when a civilian ship turns into a military vessel I do not know.

 

 

€dit: Adam_S beat me to it.

Edited by Panzermann
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A ship with infantry is nothing more than any other civilian vessel with professional security on board. That goes probably about as far as shoulder fired AA missiles and 50-cal MG's. Once the ship starts carrying weapons to hit shore targets, other ships, or aircraft at a distance, then it's crossing over. Nobu has a good point on scuttling. Environmental disasters would be a PR disaster in the west. But generally, the Iranians don't want to get into a tanker war, because in any situation where the fighting was not clearly a US attack on Iranian soil, their diplomatic situation is even worse.

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A ship with infantry is nothing more than any other civilian vessel with professional security on board. That goes probably about as far as shoulder fired AA missiles and 50-cal MG's. Once the ship starts carrying weapons to hit shore targets, other ships, or aircraft at a distance, then it's crossing over. Nobu has a good point on scuttling. Environmental disasters would be a PR disaster in the west. But generally, the Iranians don't want to get into a tanker war, because in any situation where the fighting was not clearly a US attack on Iranian soil, their diplomatic situation is even worse.

 

They do not have much to gain by a tanker war anyway.

 

 

they shit a brick when that attack was called off the other day

 

Who is "they"? Iran? I do not think so. They may have been afraid yes, but Iran has pretty much prepared the last three decades against an american invasion. Including preparations for a guerilla war with sty-behind werewolf type organizations. Plus Hezbollah and the other islamic groups Iran controls are going to riot as well and from Lebanon to Afghanistan everything is going to burn. That is the iranian contingency plan. To assemble an army big enough to quickly and decicively concquer Iran the Us woudl need what? A year maybe to everything in place? And how many men? And they would have to attack across the Persian Gulf mostly. Yes, doabel, but I doubt the US public would take the losses of lives.

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My assessment is that Iran wanted and needed the attack by the United States to further their negotiations as a "victim". When the attack was called off it left Iran with little running room as sanctions are biting deeper with each passing day.

The Iranians are shocked by how far the US dollar can reach as in the past efforts have not been as intense and the sanctions' effects were previously muted.

Iran wouldn't be taking a swing at Britain if they weren't desperate

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I think Iranian retaliation against the UK is imperative from the point of view of Tehran, if only to prevent open season on the seizure of Iranian shipping based on lawfare without consequences.

Edited by Nobu
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A tanker "war" will drive up insurance for everyone there and that will make the cost of transporting oil significantly more, certainly not in the interests of China, Iran needs China to side with it in the UN. They have to be careful.

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I really do think Iran has a losing hand this time

any avenue they take is fraught with risk

In the old days the RN would've sent Ark Royal and Warspite right up in the middle and hammered their ass.

 

"I know, let's hide our destroyers up in the fjords, Hans. No one would take a BB up there!"

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I have to admit, im gratified at Jeremy Hunts rhetoric all through this. Bojo has been like a wet fart in comparison. So much for the cut price Churchill he pretends to be.

 

It will be remembered that HMS Duncan is the warship that had the run in with the 17 Russian warplanes that were showing off like chebs, and that Channel 5 did a documentary of her deployment. This wont work for UK viewers, but it might work abroad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sepj1wpfrfs

 

I guess what im saying is, its a well trained ship.

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I really do think Iran has a losing hand this time

any avenue they take is fraught with risk

In the old days the RN would've sent Ark Royal and Warspite right up in the middle and hammered their ass.

 

"I know, let's hide our destroyers up in the fjords, Hans. No one would take a BB up there!"

 

Tough to take the British seriously on Iran. I keep thinking that it's really all about reversing the needless damage May did in relations with Trump, specifically with reference to Brexit. Britain will need US support to play hardball with the EU, the US needs allies with Iran.

Edited by glenn239
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Makes you wish we had more ships in reserve. Williamson was looking into keeping some of the Type 23s when the Type 26s arrive. Far chance of that now.

 

There are lots of problems with keeping ships in reserve which is why, AFAIK, no one still does it, or does it credibly (rusting away waiting for a trip to the breakers doesn't count)

 

1. Ships degrade relatively fast in a salt water environment and our weather. Yes, you can coccoon them, but there is much more to keeping their systems protected than simply applying a protective coating etc. People need to maintain ships in reserve and that costs money..

 

2. They need to be updated to remain relevant. Furthermore the systems on the ship still need to be supportable. A Type 23 in reserve would presumably still have Seawolf, for example.

 

3. We would need to have trained crews for them - no this would not be a problem in a very protracted conflict,

 

4. In the event of a hot war, the locations of our reserve ships would be known in advance and they would be easy targets for pretty much anything.

 

5. Most of all though, I'm trying to come up with a scenario in my mind that would need some kind of delayed surge into service of escorts from reserve. I can't think of anything and I've thought this through on many occasions. The last time we did this was in 1982 with (at least) some Tribals, but that was a very different world and the Tribals, whilst built for colonial policing, were arguably not the best choice for it, even then. HMS Duncan cost about £1.050 Bn. For what we need to do in the Gulf, something more like the Netherlands' Holland class OPV at £150M a pop would appear to make mores sense. Something a tad better armed than the OPVs we already have with the provision to embark at least one Jet Ranger class helo and some drones.

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Tough to take the British seriously on Iran. I keep thinking that it's really all about reversing the needless damage May did in relations with Trump, specifically with reference to Brexit. Britain will need US support to play hardball with the EU, the US needs allies with Iran.

Leaked documents expose lack of progress in US-UK talks

 

 

Britain has failed to make meaningful progress towards a free trade deal with the United States amid “chronic” staffing shortages and communication breakdowns in Whitehall, according to a cache of documents seen by The Telegraph.

Details of meetings spanning two years show how overstretched departments have been working “at cross purposes” as transatlantic talks have repeatedly stumbled over politically sensitive topics such as rules on health, farming and the finance industry.

Officials have begun to fear that American frustration with the lack of agreement or even partial agreement could end hopes of a post-Brexit partnership envisaged at the centre of a “global Britain” trade strategy.
The documents bring further scrutiny to a relationship under strain following the leak of criticisms of the Trump administration by Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the US.

His resignation on Wednesday prompted anger across Whitehall over a perceived breach of diplomatic norms. Meanwhile it is understood that the US cancelled a planned meeting between Dr Fox and Mr Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.

Even in the earliest talks, the UK struggled to keep pace with US negotiators. One email from late last year shows that the Trump administration had began sending “less senior” officials to meetings.

The shift, which occurred in July, reflected Britain’s inability to get “the right people in the room”, according to the correspondence.

 

The Department for International Trade rejected such assessments.

 

Iran just have to wait till the problem solves itself.

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I wouldn't overestimate the ability of sanctions to solve this problem. Here's a current economic forecast for Iran,

 

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/world-bank-downgrades-its-forecast-for-iran-s-economic-growth/29983076.html

 

Contraction in GDP of 4.5% this year. That's not good, but hardly 'collapse of the regime' material. Some growth by 2020 assuming they can export some oil. They've got the Revolutionary Guards, so anyone thinking an Arab Spring scenario is dreaming. The economic damage is not of itself decisive and Iran has partners, (Russia, China, Turkey) that it can work with.

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hmmm, they sure do seem desperate for a group of people that are doing well....

 

I don't expect an Arab Spring at all. These are Persians and Persians don't do spring. The regime isn't going to collapse but it is going to lose the ability to make trouble in so many regions all the time.

Iran is banking everything on a new Administration in the United States. Actually the Chinese are too. They may be right and they may not.

Look for Iranian money to show up in American politics (I wonder if the pallets of cash were marked bills?)

In the meantime there's no war. Maybe in Dec 2020?

 

Shifting gears:

I tried to find online how many super tankers transit the gulf daily but couldn't.

I also looked for a suitable map that would show the deployment ports that Iran could use to make attacks that would be plausibly deniable but everything looked like it could be subject to surveillance.

Even real port security looked feasible if the issue was forced...

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Makes you wish we had more ships in reserve. Williamson was looking into keeping some of the Type 23s when the Type 26s arrive. Far chance of that now.

 

There are lots of problems with keeping ships in reserve which is why, AFAIK, no one still does it, or does it credibly (rusting away waiting for a trip to the breakers doesn't count)

 

1. Ships degrade relatively fast in a salt water environment and our weather. Yes, you can coccoon them, but there is much more to keeping their systems protected than simply applying a protective coating etc. People need to maintain ships in reserve and that costs money..

 

2. They need to be updated to remain relevant. Furthermore the systems on the ship still need to be supportable. A Type 23 in reserve would presumably still have Seawolf, for example.

 

3. We would need to have trained crews for them - no this would not be a problem in a very protracted conflict,

 

4. In the event of a hot war, the locations of our reserve ships would be known in advance and they would be easy targets for pretty much anything.

 

5. Most of all though, I'm trying to come up with a scenario in my mind that would need some kind of delayed surge into service of escorts from reserve. I can't think of anything and I've thought this through on many occasions. The last time we did this was in 1982 with (at least) some Tribals, but that was a very different world and the Tribals, whilst built for colonial policing, were arguably not the best choice for it, even then. HMS Duncan cost about £1.050 Bn. For what we need to do in the Gulf, something more like the Netherlands' Holland class OPV at £150M a pop would appear to make mores sense. Something a tad better armed than the OPVs we already have with the provision to embark at least one Jet Ranger class helo and some drones.

 

 

1. RFAs have recently been laid up (effectively in "reserve" for periods up to about 18-24 months) with crews of around 15 professional seafarers to run and maintain the systems, augmented with a few shoreside contractors plus cleaners and security guards. Warm layup, rather than cold, with ship's staff in attendance every weekday, electrical systems live, etc. Nothing like the weapons and combat systems of a warship, but a lot more real estate, and with other systems like lifts, cranes, refrigerated holds, etc. These are ships that are already up to 40 years old and have experienced similar periods of layup in the past (including in some cases the unmanned dehumidified cocoon approach). Obviously not zero running cost, but massively cheaper to run than a ship in service (that was the point, plus manpower shortages), and can be available at relatively short notice - weeks or months to reactivate, rather than years to build.

 

2. As with the RFA example, refit and rotate ships from the reserve fleet into frontline service. Keeps the systems up to date and well used.

 

3. Plan for use of the Regular Reserve and expand the volunteer reserve if necessary.

 

4. As would the naval bases and dockyards where they are located and which would be required to sustain the active fleet. Too bad if it's that kind of war.

 

5. Is your quoted Type 45 unit cost the entire programme cost including R&D divided by the number of ships? Wiki tends to indicate so. The seventh ship would therefore be a bargain as you've now paid for all the R&D and the shipyard has climbed the learning curve to building them efficiently. How to use the reserve once mobilised? Attrition replacements for anything lost in the opening phase of the war ("Oh look, they've wiped out 4 of our 6 active T45s, never mind, we'll just open another bag..."). Or to sustain operations in the recovery phase - surge the six active ships for an operation, knowing that they will need refit and crew stand down afterwards, but that you'll have another 2-3 coming online as the operation winds down, to cover the return to routine tasking. T45 examples, since you mentioned T45s and I'm too lazy to count or think about T23s or fleet submarines or whatever.

 

A reserve fleet isn't zero cost, but it could be a useful way to achieve scale in wartime, if the war is of the nature where we have a "transition to war" phase. Our land forces count on a transition to war to mobilise.

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