21 comments on “Mirabile dictu

  1. I’ve observed before that the status of being an officer in the military has declined over my life, and the captain of an aircraft carrier getting a Ford Galaxy and having to put in mileage forms backs that up.

    50 years ago, he’d have had a Jaguar and a driver.

  2. Has anybody done the calculations of how much that helicopter flight would have cost (marginal or total don’t mind) compared to how far he would have had to drive on navy paid fuel?

  3. Once upon a time it would be the Admirals in charge. Now it’s the bean counters in the MOD.

  4. “Has anybody done the calculations of how much that helicopter flight would have cost (marginal or total don’t mind) compared to how far he would have had to drive on navy paid fuel?”

    I don’t think it’s the cost that’s the issue in this case. (I think in most cases the cost of processing expense claims is often greater than the claims themselves. They used to give people a fixed allowance to avoid that, but it turned out it then counted as taxable income for which the paperwork was even more onerous, so they stopped that too. Or something like that.)

    The issue I think they have in this case is “Are you capable of following the instructions? If we tell you to do something, or not to do something, can we rely on you to do so without having to be checked up on?”, which is rather important for a warship captain, I submit.

    The other sort of warship captain does make for a more entertaining Hollywood movie, though, it has to be said.

  5. Navy sources have told the BBC he had repeatedly ignored warnings.

    That’s the key issue.

    Admirals don’t like being ignored by Commodores.

    Thus endeth the Commodore’s career.

  6. \350 years ago, he’d have had a Jaguar and a driver\3

    Yes even today very odd that anyone in charge of a 3billion piece of kit wouldn’t get compensation and perks to match. And the f35s, that’d be under his command eventually would be worth more than das boot? Also an MPV family car’s an odd choice when you can only use it to and from work. Though that US captain recently relieved of command for having prossies on shore leave was weirder.

  7. “the status of being an officer in the military”: but he’s not, he’s in the RN.

  8. “And the f35s, that’d be under his command eventually would be worth more than das boot”: the ship and the f-35s are worth exactly the same, to wit nowt. Just bloody fighting-the-last-war targets.

  9. I’d sink its aircraft carrier so that the plane was guaranteed no bloody use.

    Or I’d use the longer wavelength radar, to which it ain’t stealthy, to guide a missile to roughly the right voxel of sky, and then let infra-red guide the missile to down it. Or I’d even fly a manoeuvrable fighter against it, since it apparently changes direction with all the agility of a tub of lard.

  10. Dearime,

    VLF radar like TALL KING will get you the right box of sky, for “several miles on a side, updated four times a minute” that you suspect has a F-35 in it.

    Getting a missile out there is straightforward. Having the missile then be able to use infrared to search those cubic miles of sky for the right target, and have enough energy to intercept, is not trivial at all, indeed it’s not really feasible.

    And the F-35 is turning out to be a very agile beast – that thrust-to-weight ratio really helps.


    The F-35 was once trounced by F-16s in dogfights, but it just proved it can out-turn older jets

    Sinking a carrier is something Russia or China could make a good effort at doing, if we were stupid enough to take them on alone. And… er… that’s about it. Even finding a carrier is hard when it doesn’t want to be found, and managing to strike it, likewise difficult.

  11. The version on the grapevine is that while Cdre C-P bought his own fuel for private use and no financial misconduct is alleged, the issue was very significant mileage not accounted for on the FMT can’t-remember-the-number that we all had to fill out every time we took a white fleet vehicle anywhere, and “repeated warnings” ignored.

    How does the CO tell an Able Seaman “you must accurately complete these records even if they’re boring” when it’s becoming open knowledge he’s chinning off his own official paperwork for something as trivial as motor mileage because he can’t be bothered to fill out the form?

    It’s not like the relevant FMT is demanding – it’s one line per journey. And it is looked at, and it is used – I was wading through DSCOM Andover’s records in 2008 to look at how to reduce road traffic deaths in HM Forces, and we did rely on those forms being at least reasonably accurate and complete records of how vehicles were used. It informs what we need to buy and how we use it, it’s useful data.

    There’s a definite feeling of toys having gone out of prams with a Commodore protesting “this is pointless trivia!” and higher-ups pointing out “lead by bloody example” – Cooke-Priest appears to be getting shuffled sideways rather than binned, with a definite pour encourager les autres vibe.

  12. In the military with these types of high-up big punishments for minor infringements there is usually another important problem that can’t be dealt with easily by regular channels, nor discussed openly. So whack ’em with something technical that will stick and off they must go.

  13. Jason Lynch

    ” Even finding a carrier is hard when it doesn’t want to be found, and managing to strike it, likewise difficult.”

    I recall reading quite a detailed report of a US carrier group playing around in the Barents Sea pre-89 and getting well within distance from Murmansk, and the Soviets had no idea they were ever there.

    Still not a fan of the F-35B, some design decisions on those carriers are really foolish, it was an odd place to work.

  14. Jason Lynch,

    The F-35 is just PR/jobs creation. Look at how super duper our weapons are. But you can’t build them at scale. You can’t take auto workers and get them cranking out hundreds of f35s per day.

    Panzers could beat T-34s. The German army lost because the Russians built T-34s on a production line and won on numerical superiority.

  15. @BoM4

    That’s also fighting the last war. If we (or the US) ever get into a shooting war with the Rooskies, it’s not going to be settled by who can build the most tanks/warplanes.

  16. @Jason Lynch May 23, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    DM reporting today Mrs Cooke-Priest was using the people carrier for school-run, shopping etc when Mr Cooke-Priest was on ship/base.

    Didn’t read it, thus don’t know if he permitted it.

  17. @David Moore May 24, 2019 at 8:14 am

    Carrier design was a mess, it should have been cat&trap capable from day one; twin low islands taking extra deckspace & telescopic masks purely so it would fit under Forth Bridges Brown’s pork barrel politics.

    F35B is Harrier replacement for USMC, QE should have F18 or F35C

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