History of Airpower Series – Paper 4 – Rivalry and Retreat: The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in the Missile Age 1945 – 1970

First published: 22nd June 2013 | Dr. Anthony J. Cumming

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Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Immediate Post-War Background

3. The White Paper of 1957

4. The White Paper of 1966

5. Conclusion

6. Footnotes

 

Introduction

In the light of Prime Minister David Cameron’s (b.1966) recent tribute to the crews of the Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class nuclear submarines and his justification for a British nuclear deterrent, it seems timely to review the post-war history of our nuclear and conventional deterrents. At the same time, there has been media speculation about whether Britain is gradually reverting back to her pre-1966 position on maintaining forces East of Suez.[1] If there is anything in these rumours, it will certainly result in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force locking horns for the major share of the meagre defence budget as they did in the 1950s and 1960s. This is tackled here with special reference to the defence white papers of 1957 and 1966. As in the much criticised Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010,[2] both of these papers saw major defence cutbacks with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy jockeying to maintain their positions. Then as now, cost was a major determining factor – indeed cynics have claimed this to be the only factor – though as Cameron points out, the independent nuclear deterrent now only costs on average 5-6% of the defence budget and equates to less than 1.5% of the benefits bill.[3] Although possession of independent nuclear weaponry is essential for the UK, one must also bear in mind Sir Solly Zuckerman’s (1904-1993) advice to Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) in 1979, ‘the purpose of nuclear weapons is to prevent a war. It would be a mistake to assume you could fight a war with nuclear weapons’.[4] As former Defence Secretary, Denis Healey (b.1917), said in an interview in 1986, ‘We all know now that the concept of fighting a limited nuclear war is for the birds’ He continued, ‘ electromagnetic pulses from nuclear explosions will make the command and control of nuclear operations impossible’.[5] This means that nations will continue to need non-nuclear weapons within the foreseeable future.[6]

As part of an examination of the so-called ‘Radical Review’ of 1957, this article looks at the accelerating development of new military technologies and the effects they had on the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. In particular it examines the reasons why the RAF lost the predominant role in delivering the nation’s nuclear deterrent and how it continued to justify its existence at a time when the future of the manned strategic bomber was looking extremely bleak. This article also examines the issue of the proposed CVA01 aircraft carrier, a project cancelled in the 1966 defence review before any construction work had started. It was a large ship, on a par with American contemporaries and similar in size and displacement to the anticipated Queen Elizabeth carriers intended for operational service in 2020. The CVA01 was originally envisaged to operate multi-purpose variable geometry (swing-wing) aircraft such as the Vickers Type 581 or a scaled-down version of the TSR2 strike aircraft (subsequently cancelled). Had the CVA01 entered service the complement of aircraft was likely to have comprised a balanced air group of 36 Phantom fighters and Buccaneers, a flight of four airborne early warning (AEW ) aircraft, one squadron of Sea King anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters and a flight of Carrier – on-board delivery (COD) aircraft. Additionally, there would probably have been an unspecified number of plane-guard[7] /Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters on board.[8] Compared to the 20 aircraft that a British carrier of the 1960s was able to operate, the CVA01 promised to be a very powerful weapon platform indeed. It is therefore necessary to examine the reasons why such an apparently formidable weapons system was abandoned.

At the time of writing, the armed services are anxiously looking towards the next SDSR in 2015 – now only two years away. Only then will we know whether the British government will fully embrace the advantages of new missile technologies such as missile-equipped unmanned air systems as strike and reconnaissance platforms. Only then will we learn if it has fully appreciated the lessons of the Libyan conflict in terms of the advantages of the submarine/warship launched Tomahawk cruise-missile over systems employed by the RAF such as the air-launched Storm Shadow cruise-missile.[9] Or, will it fail to recognise the superiority of the former over the latter? If the past is any guide, the outlook for a dispassionate and rational outcome in 2015 may be gauged from the proceedings that took place in the course of the defence reviews of 1957 and 1966.

 

The Immediate Post-War Background

The post-war period saw the dramatic rise of a weapons system even newer than the bomber and aircraft carrier – the guided missile. As the Second World War drew to a close, Duncan Sandys (1908-1987), chairman of a cabinet committee for defence against German flying bombs and rockets wrote to the Cabinet in prophetic terms. ‘In future’, he wrote, ‘the possession of superiority in long-distance rocket artillery may well count for as much as superiority in naval or air power’ before warning that extensive and complex technical research facilities would need to be ‘a permanent part of our peace-time organisation’. Hardly anyone took notice and it was a long time before anyone within the defence establishment showed any real interest in missile development. During the immediate post-war period the Army and Navy’s interests in missile developments were restricted to self-defence and the Air Force, already in possession of the nation’s Atom-bomb deterrent, showed no initial interest in even this limited function. The RAF’s short-sighted position could be likened to that of the Admiralty when the submarine and torpedo was invented. In other words – why invest in a new weapons system that might overturn your present supremacy? A parallel can also be drawn to the situation in the years preceding the First Word War (at least prior to 1909) when little or no interest was taken by senior army officers in the development of military aviation. British development therefore grew slowly and with results that for many years did not warrant the money expended. The Navy’s Seaslug experiment, designed to improve the anti-aircraft capability of warships, evolved between 1944 and 1947 into a missile so large that it required a whole new class of warship to deploy it. Because of production delays in both the missile and the ‘County’ class warship, the Seaslug Mk1 was already obsolescent by the time it went to sea. Improved Russian missile development had made defence against the various forms of bombing unnecessary as ships could now be attacked with a variety of air-launched anti-ship missiles and weapons from submarines and other ships. Taking into account all of the associated costs, the probable real cost of the system was over £200 millions. [10]

Brought into existence as a response to the first successful Soviet A-bomb experiment in 1949, the RAF Bristol Bloodhound MkI, the first British surface-to-air missile (SAM) was less costly at between £60 millions and £80 millions with a relatively short time between development and deployment but still considerably overshot the £44 ½ millions originally agreed as a fixed contract. Indeed, by the time the Mk2 version was produced the cost was well over £100 millions. At least this second mark had now progressed from fixed-site missile to mobile equipment and could be deployed anywhere at short notice. The Bloodhound was to provide the backbone to a new integrated air defence network for the UK replacing the old wartime system.[11] However in keeping with the legacy of Sir Hugh Trenchard, (1873-1956)[12], ‘Father of the RAF’, the focus of senior RAF officers was on securing the future of manned bombers. It should also be mentioned that in 1952 the A-bomb threat to the UK was not seen by the government as an exclusive danger from bombs and missiles. The first British A-bomb test on HMS Plym off the Monte Bello Islands was made because of fears of the devastation that could be wreaked by a ship-smuggled nuclear bomb.[13] For reasons that remain unclear, these concerns were soon forgotten by the government who then focused on updating the RAF’s delivery system. From the mid-1950s the nuclear deterrent was carried by the V-bomber force flying sub-sonic Valiants, Vulcans and finally Victors. At least by the late 1950s, RAF and FAA fighters were in possession of a capable air-to-air missile in the form of the De Havilland Firestreak. [14] However, like all other missiles of the period, the development costs of the Firestreak and its predecessor had rocketed out of control. From the original Auditor General’s figure of £4 millions it ultimately cost the taxpayer some £53 millions in all.[15]

 

The White Paper of 1957

The Defence White Paper of 1957 was largely the work of Duncan Sandys, now the incoming Minister of Defence, who aimed to make substantial cost reductions in the conventional forces and rely more heavily on the nuclear deterrent to keep the peace. Somewhat unfairly, given the achievements of the armed forces in the Suez campaign of 1956, the cuts in conventional capability have sometimes been blamed on the ‘failure of the operation in the earlier Suez crisis as much of the failure of the UK economy at the time’.[16] Sandys also began the process of creating a unified Ministry of Defence (MOD), an innovation that might have been expected to smooth inter-service tensions and improve unity but was able to make only modest changes at the time. As part of this reform, he tried to increase the power of the Chief of Defence Staff well beyond that of permanent chairman but was defeated. Sandys was supported in his efforts to impose a greater degree of unification on reluctant services by First Sea Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979), but progress was only made by persuading Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (1894-1986), of the necessity for a fully unified Ministry of Defence in 1962.[17] Broadly speaking, the White Paper of 1957 reflected both natural Conservative inclinations to reduce costs in line with the ability of a struggling national economy and Sandys’ belief in the future of missilery. The paper ended conscription (National Service) meaning the Army was drastically reduced, numerous manned aircraft projects cancelled and aviation firms dragooned into mergers.

The Fleet Air Arm was also to come under attack during the discussions leading up to the white paper. Here, the anti-carrier Party asserted that the aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm were far more expensive than land based airpower. Sandys was the main proponent of the argument that the Fleet Air Arm ‘appears to impose a burden disproportionate to the results’ as its aircraft were twice as expensive as their RAF equivalent. A subsequent investigation revealed this to be a considerable exaggeration as the RAF had failed to include overheads such as the costs of their own control and reporting system and only comparing single engine fighters when the FAA already had a number of advanced twin-engine fighters. Planned reductions in naval aircraft reserves were also omitted from the analysis. The Minister of Defence finally concluded that ‘the cost of an FAA aircraft was about 25% more than one in Fighter Command but such a comparison was misleading’ given that the FAA was operating world-wide and in fighter, strike, anti-submarine and other subsidiary roles. Fighter Command on the other hand ‘is a UK-based organisation equipped for one major role only’.[18]

Another factor that helped preserve the carrier force was undoubtedly Sandys’ good working relationship with Mountbatten, who managed to impress the minister with his notion of global reach – that is to say the ability to project military power in the worldwide littoral arena. Mountbatten also managed to maintain good working relationships with Sandys’ successors, George Thorneycroft (1909-1994) and Harold Watkinson (1910-1995), and these were certainly better than his relations with colleagues on the Chiefs of Staff committee. In the event, the White Paper of 1957 was not the disaster it might have been for the Navy given the statement contained in the final draft ‘The role of the Navy in Global War is somewhat uncertain’. However, by the end of discussions, the Navy’s role East of Suez was an accepted part of British defence policy and the Navy only lost one-sixth of its personnel during the course of the next few years. By comparison, the air force lost 35% of its manpower over the same period.[19] Sadly for the Navy, this victory seems to have encouraged a complacent attitude that made it vulnerable to future attacks from politicians and the RAF.

As far as the air force was concerned, the white paper was a radical change of policy and Paragraph 12 was reminiscent of Stanley Baldwin’s (1867-1947) infamous ‘The bomber will always get through’ statement of the 1930s – and was just as dubious. ‘It must be frankly recognised that there is at present no means of providing adequate protection for the people of this country against the consequences of an attack with nuclear weapons.’ Doffing its hat to the RAF’s Battle of Britain reputation, it continued,’ though in the event of war, the fighter aircraft of the Royal Air Force would unquestionably be able to take a heavy toll of enemy bombers, a proportion would inevitably get through.’ [20] The first sentence was correct but a subsequent paragraph stated that peace depended ‘upon the deterrent fear of nuclear retaliation’. David Divine (1905-1987), defence correspondent of the Sunday Times pointed out that none of this took into account recent developments in Soviet intermediate –range ballistic missiles (IRBM), though, he alleged, the British already had information about this.[21] In other words, the main threat came from missilery, not free falling bombs dropped by aircraft. Deterrence against attack would now largely take the form of protecting the deterrent – that is to say deploying fighters with air-to-air guided missiles that in due course would be replaced by ground-to-air guided missiles.

To be fair, the information available to the British about Soviet missilery was almost certainly exaggerated – even in 1962, the Soviet Union had approximately 700 medium range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) but their reliability and accuracy was open to question.[22] Even so, the British policy was probably already out of date as the RAF soon had to acknowledge that the V-bomber airfields were vulnerable to Soviet bombers carrying long-range stand-off missiles. The solution was seen as dispersing the airfields over as wide a geographical area as possible. An efficient scrambling system was quickly developed to give a ‘four-minute warning’ of enemy attack so that the bombers could become airborne. The new defence plan provided for most V-bombers to be dispersed away from the British East Coast defence zone, and those that were, would be airborne before the enemy missiles arrived. But in the event of a combined IRBM/bomber attack it is hard to imagine what defence targets would have been left for the very expensive missile batteries and fighter aircraft to protect after the Soviet missile strike had done its work. Bearing in mind the improved capability of the Soviet air-launched stand-off missiles, it is also likely that enemy bombers would not have needed to penetrate the East Coast defence zone and bring themselves within range of the British Bloodhounds. For this reason, neither would the RAF fighters have been able to ‘take a heavy toll’ of the Soviet bombers as the paper had confidently stated. [23] The only defence available would have been the Seaslug missiles deployed from warships at sea in the hope of intercepting Soviet bombers before they had launched their stand-off missiles but this would have been useless against the initial IRBM strike. A few years later the RAF began withdrawing the Bloodhound MkI squadrons but the Army, Navy and RAF had still not successfully developed missile weaponry designed for the attack. After £150 millions worth of cancelled equipment , the fruit of ‘inadequate thought and unexamined requirement’ there was little to show for fifteen years of missile development apart from the anti-aircraft missiles and these were of rapidly diminishing value as Soviet IRBM /MRBM and stand-off technology advanced.[24] But because of British vulnerability it must be said that the White Paper of 1957 marked the beginning of a serious interest in major missilery.

In paragraph 16, Sandys, declared that a British megaton bomb had now been developed and while the V-bombers would continue to be the main method of delivery, these would be supplemented with medium range missiles purchased from the USA. Thor IRBMs would be emplaced in East Anglia and would operate under a two-key system meaning that neither country could launch an attack from there without the others agreement. Paragraph 61 acknowledged the work of the V-bomber force but foresaw ‘the likely progress of ballistic rockets and missile defence’. In fact 1957 was the year that the Soviets announced the testing of their inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), an event confirmed by an American tracking station in Turkey.[25] Having said this, it was to be several years before the Soviets managed to deploy large numbers of reliable ICBMS. By October 1962 the Soviets had a small handful of dubious quality whereas the Americans had 170 advanced ICBMs plus several more submarine launched ballistic missiles. Hence the importance of Cuba as a base for Soviet MRBMs during the international crisis of that year.[26] Seeing the writing on the wall, the RAF began to take an interest in air launched stand-off missiles in order to remove the necessity for penetrating heavily defended Soviet airspace. Considerable effort was then expended over the next few years to produce a useful medium range nuclear missile for the RAF, but the Blue Streak project was finally abandoned in 1960 after it was admitted that the final cost estimate was going to be £100 million. The true cost was likely to have been much higher. Furthermore, the missile’s slow reaction time in relation to the generally understood quality of Soviet IRBMs made it appear extremely vulnerable. [27] The RAF then turned its attention to the Blue Steel air-launched stand-off missile already in development, but its range was too short to enable the V-bombers to keep out of range of Soviet surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries and was highly unreliable anyway. If the V-bomber fleet was not to become totally redundant the only remaining option appeared to be the purchase of the American made Skybolt with a promised stand-off range of 1,000 miles.

However, the month that Britain ordered 200 Skybolts from the USA, the world witnessed a further demonstration of the vulnerability of the manned bomber. The shooting down of the American Lockheed-U2 spy-plane on 1st May 1960 near Sverdlovsk, (an area some 900 miles from Moscow) should have been a wake-up call for the Trenchard School of manned bombers. Gary Francis Powers (1929-1977) had been flying at a height of 68,000 feet (around twice the cruising height of today’s civil airliners) when he was brought down by a S75 Dvina command guided SAM-missile. It was a tremendous victory for the Soviet air defence and was repeated two years later by another Dvina battery over Cuba when another U2 was destroyed. But the event that finally threw the Trenchard School into disarray was the American cancellation of Skybolt in 1962. The Americans then offered to sell the entire programme to the UK but the government, on the advice of Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Solly Zuckerman, wisely declined. Consequently, Macmillan flew to Nassau and obtained the Polaris system from the USA as an alternative. The Royal Navy had won the battle for the nuclear deterrent but as Divine states, ‘It can scarcely be said that it deserved to.’ The RN had rejected Polaris as early as February 1959 but because of the increasingly dilapidated state of its conventional forces; felt it needed to concentrate on rebuilding the fleet. [28]

Here it should be mentioned that in the 1960s, the Royal Navy had managed to progress beyond the cumbersome Seaslug missiles. Even in the 1950s the antiaircraft gun (usually the wartime Bofors 40 mm) remained the main defensive weapon against air attack but in 1962, the Seacat system began to enter service. The Seacat was a radio-guided missile with a range of 4.75 km, and represented ‘a simple but effective close-range air defence system’. By the end of the decade an effective medium-range Seacat missile was introduced and rocket-launched chaffs provided additional protection against enemy guided missiles. Air defence for British warships further improved during the 1970s with the very successful Sea Dart missiles proving their worth in the Falklands War of 1982. [29] Sadly, efforts to develop anti-ship missiles during the 1950s progressed from one cancelled project to another and terminated when Green Cheese was cancelled in 1956. Finally a later version of the Seaslug was adapted for this role but this can hardly be compared with the Soviet efforts to bring into service a series of effective air launched anti-ship missiles during the 1950s and 1960s with submarine launched anti-ship missiles from 1960.[30] Today, naval gunnery enjoys valuable potential for supporting land operations – early lessons from the Afghan War reaffirmed conventional artillery’s enduring value[31]- but has been superseded at sea by ship-to-ship missiles. In the 1960s, however, the Navy was still a long way from this state of affairs.

Having no choice but to accept the decision to transfer the nuclear deterrent, the RAF struggled to find an alternative technique to preserve its V-bomber force and the future of the manned bomber. Blue Steel was modified to be released at 1000 feet and later supplemented by the stop-gap WE.177.[32] This was necessary because the Royal Navy would be unable to deploy Polaris until 1968. Certainly, the sight of a low-flying Vulcan bomber with engines throttled back and almost blotting out the Sun over Plymouth Hoe during the early 1970s was the most awe-inspiring aviation spectacle I have ever witnessed. Nevertheless even then, I couldn’t help musing what an easy target it would have made for terrorists with (even improvised) anti-aircraft weaponry. What chance might such an aircraft flying this way have had against the sophisticated air defences of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?

Acknowledging that warplanes would not launch low-level attacks at the near-stalling speed witnessed at this air display, it still beggars belief that anyone might think that an aircraft as large and heavy as the Vulcan could successfully emulate the nimble Mosquito bomber of Word War II in a below- radar low-level bombing role, yet this is what the Air Staff decided to do in a desperate effort to extend the operational life of the manned bomber. As Wing Commander Allen has pointed out, V-bombers were designed to operate at high attitude where there is little cloud and turbulence. Unfortunately, the conditions at very low altitudes (usually under 1000 feet) are very different with thick air and frequent turbulence causing the crews extreme difficulty and discomfort, not to mention the enormous strain on the airframe. In the circumstances it is hardly surprising that many of the V-bombers began suffering from metal-fatigue leading to the complete withdrawal of the Valiant element from squadron service and the conversion of Victor bombers to the tanker role. No conclusive evidence was ever produced that the problems were related to the stresses induced by the new tactics but it was at best, an amazing coincidence. Allen also suggests that the Soviet Union, apparently contemptuous of this new ‘threat’ made no discernible effort to strengthen their defences with the further deployment of infra-red detecting low-level capability SAM missiles. Considerable faith was also placed in plans for the sophisticated long-awaited strike bomber (which was to become the TSR2) as its contour-hugging technology promised a better long-term prospect of effective low-level attack with both conventional and nuclear weapons. [33]

 

The White Paper of 1966

Whatever the exact cause of the metal-fatigue problem, the RAF plan received a further setback when Harold Wilson’s (1916-1995) Labour government cancelled the TSR2 as part of their defence white paper on grounds of cost and the intention to reduce overseas defence commitments. However, when the question as to whether the TSR2 should be replaced by the cheaper American variable geometry Lockheed F.III was being debated, the Paymaster General, George Wigg (1900-1983) suggested that the spiralling costs of the aircraft carrier programme should also be debated. This was also the view of the Foreign Office. Healey (now Defence Secretary), possibly ignorant of the conclusions made about the relative costs of FAA to RAF aircraft a few years previously and believing that carrier aircraft costs were ‘three times as high as Royal Air Force aircraft’ was thinking in a similar vein. As the decision to reduce Britain’s military role in the Indo-Pacific region during 1971 had been taken by the Overseas Policy and Defence Committee (OPD) in November 1965 and the carrier was largely regarded as an East of Suez weapon it would seem that the CVA01 was already doomed because its rationale had been undermined. Furthermore it would not be ready until 1973 and British forces would have already withdrawn. At the end of 1965 the naval plans involved the FAA running four carriers plus the proposed CVA01 and a future CVA02 by 1975 but the Navy was about to suffer a similar disappointment to the RAF.[34]

The previous Macmillan government of 1959-1963 had believed the carrier force was fundamental to Britain’s role East of Suez but had nevertheless decided to scrap one carrier against the wishes of the Naval Staff in 1963. Needless to say, military procurement requirements cannot exist in a vacuum and the political landscape had changed significantly in late 1964 with the election of Wilson’s Labour government. Wilson, a master in concealing his true intentions still wished to retain a world role involving the armed forces. Often, this was against the wishes of voices within his party that desired radical social reform despite the constraints of a failing national economy. ‘Indeed, it is held that a major factor driving the decline of defence spending was the increased emphasis on the welfare state.’[35]In common with prime ministers before and since, Wilson (like Healey), believed it necessary to have close relations with the United States to maintain British influence on the world stage. For their part, the USA had moved from outright suspicion of the British Empire and British foreign policy motives to recognition that a strong British military presence East of Suez was an important safeguard against the spread of communism. This may have been connected to the fact that the Labour party had strongly promoted an anti-imperialist stance. So much had the position changed over the years that US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (1916-2009), wishing to maintain a credible British carrier deterrent in the Far East offered to sell the Royal Navy American carriers at heavily discounted prices. Aware that McNamara was likely to be aware of the unworkablity of this proposal given the technical differences between British and American carriers, Wilson seems to have been suspicious that the deal was offered in order to draw the British out on their plans for maintaining forces East of Suez. It was therefore agreed to defer discussion on this until the key decisions on the defence review as a whole were taken. But at a meeting with McNamara in January 1966, Healey was told ‘that he had thought that Britain’s best course would be to get rid of aircraft carriers in the long term and go for an effective force of long range strike/ reconnaissance aircraft. ’ However, McNamara, the consummate salesman, was unlikely to have been entirely objective with his advice given the proposed F.III deal and the pressure he was under to slash $350 millions from his own defence budget.[36]

The incoming Labour administration was told by Healey from the outset, ‘if we are to maintain any aspirations to a world role in the 1970s within an annual budget of £2,000 million, we cannot at the same time, maintain the full range of military capabilities which we might otherwise plan to have’.[37] Clearly, the proven power of a single military system was never going to achieve dominance in any subsequent discussion. In this context it is worth remembering that military effectiveness is not necessarily the same as cost effectiveness just as a bow and arrow is not the same as a Polaris missile yet it is the politicians who must ultimately decide how much military force the nation requires to meet foreign policy objectives and how much the nation will pay to achieve them. At the same time, the armed forces can be forgiven for wondering if the politicians fully appreciate that the effectiveness of complex technological institutions depends heavily on a sustained investment in infrastructure such as airfields, dockyards and research establishments. As the inter-war period showed, once substantially reduced, these facilities cannot be resurrected to a state of instant efficiency by sudden injections of cash from a panicking government.

From the moment Wilson’s government was elected to the middle of 1965, policy planning had changed substantially. From emphasising Britain’s route East of Suez, ministers moved towards endorsing secret plans that would move their regional ally, Malaysia, to non-alignment, pulling out of the immediate area and stationing a reduced force in northern Australia. This was influenced by the changing opinions of Foreign Office officials who recognised that Britain’s decreased economic interests in the region did not justify the existing deployment of military forces. Support for the reduction in defence spending also came from the Treasury and the Department of Economic Affairs.[38]Market pressures on the economy also forced a devaluation of the pound in 1967. While devaluation was not the reason for the defence cuts in the process of implementation, the underlying financial difficulties and the pressure for social reforms facing the government that were largely determining this drastic course of action ensured there could be no U-turns on any of the major issues involving defence cuts.

Cost was the major factor for cancelling the RAF’s cherished TSR2 project in the early stages of the 1966 Defence Review. Healey was perceptive in recognising the motives of the air lobby when he stated, ‘The trouble with the TSR2 was that it tried to combine the most advanced state of every art in every field. The aircraft firms and the RAF were trying to get the Government on the hook and understated the cost. But TSR2 cost far more than even their private estimates, and so I have no doubt about the decision to cancel.’[39]No doubt there was likely recognition that a low level strike aircraft was never likely to add much to Britain’s military potential given the growing sophistication of Soviet air defences.[40] The F.III strike aircraft was then beginning to be seen as a cheaper alternative for both RAF and FAA use. Unfortunately, the F.III had many shortcomings and according to one RAF officer ‘prone to disintegration through technical failure’. Despite the Air Staff’s reservations, the F.III was seized upon as the only realistic option having a long range and able to carry a heavy bomb load. Healey also wanted the F.III because if the carriers were phased out, Britain would have no independent military capability left in the Indo-Pacific region. This meant that Britain might be totally dependant on the Americans there.[41] However, when the full extent of the F.III’s technical problems became apparent the Air Staff were forced to cancel a very large order in 1968 and the aircraft saw no service with the RAF and RN. This according to Wing Commander Hubert Allen meant that the Air Staff were faced with the choice of taking over the FAA or accepting their bowler hats.[42] But it is clear enough that the Air Staff’s sights had been set on the former course long before this.

According to the account of Captain George Baldwin (1921-2005), Director of Naval Air Warfare at the newly constituted Ministry of Defence in 1964, a remarkable and detailed document was distributed to a number of naval officers. The document recommending the take-over of the Fleet Air Arm by the RAF was hastily recalled by a ‘panic-stricken Pilot Officer’ and an embarrassed senior Air Staff member later called on naval officers to apologise for the distribution mistake. Surprisingly, no advantage was taken of this accidental preview and despite pleas from naval aviators no preparations were undertaken by members of the Navy Board to meet the forthcoming attack. [43] The main assault came the following year during the ‘Rationalization of Air Power’ proceedings where representatives of the three services were charged with deciding the future direction of British military aviation. The Committee, chaired by Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer (1898-1979), included Admiral of the Fleet Sir Caspar John (1903-1984) and Air Chief Marshal Sir Denis Barnett 1906-1992. It made no major changes to the status quo but witnessed a determined attempt by the RAF representative to control everything that flies including the aircraft of the FAA. However, the attempt was strongly opposed by John and ultimately failed. The furore naturally stoked up tremendous bitterness among naval personnel. Fortunately for the RAF, the committee was constrained by one of its terms of reference. ‘It is emphasized that this does not reflect any decision to make fundamental changes in the existing identities of the three services’.[44] This meant that the committee was unable to recommend the dissolution of the RAF, a course that may have been decided given its loss of the predominant nuclear deterrent role and the uncertain future of manned aircraft given the dramatic improvements in the guided missile. Why this seemingly unnecessary provision was inserted will always remain a matter for speculation and there may have been some truth in Allen’s statement that it was inserted at the insistence of the Air Staff. [45] In fact, it would have been surprising if the CAS had not tried to persuade the minister do this. However, the RAF was safe for the time being. Healey’s management style was to play each service off against the other so that he could bring to the forefront those plans best suiting his political and financial objectives.[46] In such a situation, Healey had nothing to gain by eliminating any of the competitors for resources.

But what is also remarkable about this report is the failure to properly take into account dramatic developments in the USA. Months before the Templer Report was published, Robert McNamara, made the following statement to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. ‘The United States will continue a mixed force of missiles and bombers throughout the entire planning period, the fiscal years 1965-69.’ McNamara continued, ‘Although most of the aiming points in the Soviet target system can be best attacked by missiles , long range bombers will continue to be used in a follow-up attack, particularly against “hard” missile sites.’[47] In other words, the manned bomber now took second place to the guided missile in the plan of attack. In reality it marked a period of transition in which the manned bomber element of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) was to be phased out and within a few months, more missiles were in a state of deployment than strategic bombers. None of this was widely reported in Britain at the time, enabling the Air Staff to continue extolling the virtues of the manned strategic bomber without opposition from a properly-informed press, public and political class. One of the main reasons, as the Times pointed out, was because of a climate that ‘can be traced directly to the official attitude that encourages the dissemination of glowing reports about weapons …while resolutely withholding the sort of information which intelligent people might use to draw their own conclusions’. [48] McNamara’s climactic statement was informed by a thorough examination conducted by Secretary of the Air Force, Dr Harold Brown (1977-1981) who concluded that a follow-up attack by bombers would add 10-15% casualties to a prior-launched missile strike. The bombers would also add 5% to the destruction of Soviet industry. To this, it would appear that the much smaller British V-bomber force could add little. Divine has calculated that ‘the RAF’s hard core of eighty Mark II Blue Steel bombers is equivalent numerically to one-eighth of the SAC bomber figure … the nuclear mega tonnage of Bomber Command, therefore is potentially one twenty-fourth of the deterrent load of the manned aircraft of SAC.’ And so after nearly two decades of effort, £1 billion on the V-bomber force and another £10 billion on the RAF as a whole, the RAF was ‘able to exert only one-half of one per cent of the deterrent effect of the Strategic Air Command’.[49] This admittedly simplistic calculation is for the RAF in alliance with SAC but there is no prospect of arriving at any logical figure at all for the RAF acting alone.

If efficient staff work had finally exposed the fallacy of the strategic bomber (at least in American eyes) poor staff work and inter-service rivalry played their parts in the failure to argue the carrier case effectively, and in particular, to save the CVA01 – cancelled in the Defence White Paper of 1966.[50] Towards the end of 1965, three MOD plans were put before the OPD. The first, Plan A, assumed the government would go ahead with the F.III purchase and proposed to phase out the carriers by 1969. The cost was £2,241 million including £186 million for the Indo-Pacific region which was within the agreed limit. The plan provided for a certain amount of substitution by land-based air power but cruisers equipped with anti-submarine helicopters, Type 82 destroyers, guided-missile ships and short-range anti-ship missiles would be provided after 1969. The preferred naval option, Plan B at £2,334 million was meant to preserve the carrier force throughout the 1970s by the construction of CVA01 in 1973. B was outside the government’s budgetary ceiling and it was clear to the members of the OPD in January 1966 that the budget would not support a carrier programme.[51] A further problem with B was that it envisaged the entire carrier programme to be phased out by the end of the 1970s meaning that CVA01 was likely to have a life-span of only seven years against an average carrier life of 30 years representing poor value for the investment. Healey came up with a compromise plan C, taking into account land based air power, excluding the CVA01 but still preserving a force of three re-fitted carriers until 1975 without any new capital expenditure. The main problem seemed to be the navy’s difficulty in recruiting and retaining an adequate number of fixed-wing naval aircrew up to 1975 and it was already suffering a shortfall of 20% in this area. Furthermore the naval representatives found it difficult to countenance any plan that did not include the CVA01.[52]

Academic and Royal Navy Official Historian, Stephen Roskill (1903-1982), arguing against Air Council criticism of larger carriers in 1963, wrote, ‘[T]he embarked aircraft complement of a carrier rises very sharply once a certain size of ship is passed.’ He continued, ‘A carrier of 50,000 tons can embark almost twice the aircraft complement of a carrier of 40,000 tons; the corresponding increase in price is probably no more than 25 per cent.’ Roskill acknowledged some risks regarding vulnerability had to be taken but ‘Even the economic deployment of manpower also favours a few larger carriers rather than a bigger number of small ones’ and cited the disappointment of the French Navy with their 33,000 ton Clemenceau.[53] However, these arguments held little sway with the government in 1966. As the RAF pointed out at every opportunity during these discussions and many times since, the CVA01 would represent an enormous capital loss if it was sunk. Needless to say, the RAF, in applying this argument to all carriers in all situations have pushed this argument to extremes – indeed, no British or American aircraft carrier has been sunk in action since World War II. At the same time there are examples of terrorists and commandoes inflicting enormous damage upon aircraft on the ground, most infamously the suicide attack on Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike airport in 2001.[54]

Indeed, fierce inter-service rivalry was made inevitable by the government’s insistence that defence expenditure for 1969/70 must be held at £2,000 millions at 1964 prices and Healey’s handling of the situation. It is almost an article of faith with naval personnel that RAF machinations put paid to the Navy’s plans. It was not quite this simple but there were strong elements of truth. With the intention of replacing the proposed new carriers with land-based TSR2 strike aircraft still in development, the RAF had earlier submitted a persuasive plan to the Treasury comparing the supposed cost advantages of land based bombers over naval aircraft. The roots of the RAF’s ‘Island Plan’ go back to the concept of RAF Imperial Air Policing of the British Empire during the 1920s and 1930s. This policy aimed to subdue troublesome primitive tribes people within the Empire by replacing the traditional punitive expeditions of troops with bombing missions undertaken by small numbers of DH4 biplane bombers. It was seen as a success by the politicians of the 1920s and as Dr. James Corum has pointed out, ‘the idea of occupying and pacifying a country by airpower alone, or with the air force as the primary force employed, is especially attractive to airmen’.[55] In fact, there were many limitations to the policy. Despite successes noted in discouraging caravan raiding, kidnapping, inter-tribal bickering and tax avoidance, it was ineffective in dealing with large scale rebellions, especially in mountainous country. Contrary to widely-held perceptions, it was not the primary mode of control within the Empire at this time. Corum’s analysis of airpower as practiced by the RAF in between the wars has revealed that ‘advocating air-control doctrine as the basis for US Air Force operations in the twenty-first century lies more in the realm of myth than reality’.[56]

The version to emerge from the Air Ministry in 1962 was eventually to become a ‘direct alternative’ to using the carrier force East of Suez. The concept reached the ears of Peter Thorneycroft, the then Minister of Defence, who asked for a paper. This became the ‘first specific, thorough document on the RAF-proposed concept of staging and mounting bases for the sake of fighting limited wars ‘and its presentation represented the moment when inter-service rivalry began a new and intense phase.’[57] The architect of the RAF plan was Air Marshal Edmund Hudleston (1908-1994) AOC Transport Command who oversaw its evolution into the twin concepts of safeguarding the air supply routes and establishing bases from which offensive operations could be mounted. However, Hudleston’s efforts to promote aspects of the strategy with the media resulted in Thorneycroft’s demand for an explanation from the Chief of Air Staff.[58]

A story that appears to have originated with Admiral Ray Lygo, (1924-2012) Deputy Director of Naval Air Warfare, mentions that a map supporting the plan was said to have moved the Australian continent 200 miles in order to make it a viable base for land-based aircraft.[59]Upon investigation, it seems Lygo was correct. A map supporting the plan and showing aircraft coverage ‘was used and referred to extensively in the discussions during the winter of 1963.’[60] If the map in The National Archives at Kew under ref: NAUK AIR 19/997 is indeed the map in question, then the distance given between Perth, Australia and the Cocos Islands is shown as 1590 nautical miles. However, the real distance is 1821 nautical miles, a difference of 231 nautical miles.[61] The combat range of the TSR2 was given as 1250 nautical miles but could, in theory, be extended by in-flight refuelling. [62] Whether this was an innocent error or a deliberate attempt to mislead the politicians will probably always remain a matter for conjecture. If the RAF plan had made little impact on policy in 1963, it had evolved into a major determinant by1966 with its incorporation into C. The Navy attempted to counter Healey’s plan with a revised Plan D that included the construction of CVA01. Unfortunately its preparation was hurried and it was soon discovered that the Navy’s estimate for D was ridiculously low. It was finally calculated that D would cost £100 million in excess of Healey’s Plan C. It also had the same basic flaw as B in that the new carrier would be phased out by the end of the 1970s.[63]

Although the fudged Healey plan was clearly inferior in pure military terms, the determination of the government to keep costs within the budgetary ceiling meant both naval plans were doomed to failure from the outset. However, the whole affair has increased the bitterness that many naval personnel already felt towards the RAF, much of which dated as far back as the 1920s. Certainly the failure of the chiefs of staff to speak with one clear voice made it very difficult for the politicians to come up with a better plan that would satisfy the military requirements within the cost limits. First Sea Lord, Sir David Luce (1906-1971), has often been blamed for letting his gentlemanly forbearance interfere with forcefully pressing the naval case but along with Christopher Mayhew (1915-1997), Parliamentary under Secretary for Defence, at least had the moral courage to embarrass the government by resigning in protest at the decisions. [64] Sadly for them, the day that the public resignations of senior military figures threatened cataclysmic consequences for the government of the day had long gone.

Supporting the view that skulduggery was at the heart of the 1966 Defence Review was the fact that the carrier force had unquestionably proved its value many times. Carriers provided a degree of mobility and flexibility that land-based aircraft have never been able to match. Naval aircraft could operate as a strike force against all other land and air based installations as well as opposing naval units at sea. It was ‘regarded as the virtual deployment of “tactical air power worldwide”, which was essential to Britain’s intervention capability.’ Nevertheless there were problems that bore heavily upon their cost-effectiveness, a factor of crucial importance to the Labour government of the day. The problems were largely connected to their small size relative to the American carriers with whom they sometimes had to operate with. American super-carriers could often deploy 100 aircraft to the British 20, and in rough seas a small British carrier would be less likely to be able to operate her airpower effectively. Also the recuperation time following intensive operations required for a carrier was thought to be, for example, two days after a four day operation. This implied a lack of flexibility if more than one carrier was inoperative at the same time. Even if the CVA01 was commissioned, the Royal Navy would only have three for the 1970s and only one could be permanently assigned to the Far East. A further factor that made it easier to cancel the carrier programme was that the Americans had finally accepted that the British would now have a reduced role East of Suez.[65] This period marked a profound change in the perception of the carriers’ importance. The Healey plan was finally approved by the Cabinet and all the carriers built after the mid-70s were a new class of light-carrier, more suited to operations in waters closer to home and in particular to counter the Cold War Soviet submarine threat in the North Atlantic.

The defence review did not escape parliamentary criticism. When the key decisions were announced in the House of Commons in February 1966, the conflicts between the chiefs of staff culminating in the resignations of Luce and Mayhew were picked up by Conservative MPs. Healey justified the cancellation of CVA01 on the grounds of saving £650 millions on the plans of the previous administration but when the opposition attacked the rundown of the carrier force on the grounds they were breaking defence commitments with the Arabian Federation, Healey responded by claiming that the Conservatives had avoided the carrier problem for years and the treaties would lapse when the proposed newly constituted independent state of South Arabia came into being. A newly-independent state cannot expect to receive the same terms for its defence as existed when it was previously a dependant territory.[66] Nevertheless, the political decision to withdraw has been heavily criticised by former officials and commentators since. Withdrawal East of Suez also resulted in the termination of the Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement, and from 1971 was replaced by the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) of the UK, Australia, New Zealand. Malaysia and Singapore. The FPDA has relied heavily on an integrated air defence system that each of the powers have contributed to though it now has the involvement of significant land and naval forces. This is largely seen as a successful arrangement but a major reason for its success is that it never faced a major challenge.[67] This may change in time with the rise of the Chinese Navy (PLAN) and incidents such as those arising around the contested sovereignty of the Spratly Islands.[68]

Although the principal reason for cancelling CVA01 was undoubtedly connected to the economic pressures necessitating a withdrawal East of Suez, it is worth noting that small consideration appeared to have been given to operations West of Suez. In 1972, British Honduras (Belize) was threatened with invasion by neighbouring Guatemala. There was no prospect of deploying land-based RAF aircraft to counter the threat because there were no treaty rights for airfields in the area. Instead, Blackburn Buccaneers from HMS Ark Royal undertook long-range missions over the Guatemalan army to demonstrate its potential to interdict operations. As Cdr. Ward has said, ‘This successful deterrence saved Britain from the enormous expense of mounting an operation to recover Belize’. [69] It was perhaps, too much for naval aviators to hope that the success of the operation might have placed the CVA01 back on the procurement agenda. Hindsight, it is often said, is a wonderful thing and one might be forgiven for wondering what the thinking in Buenos Aires would have been during early 1982 if the CVA01 had been operational. At the same time it must also be pointed out that when the decision to cancel CVA01 and supporting systems was made, NATO’s policy of flexible response had not been formulated and the naval air power justification relating to a potential battle for the Atlantic had still not been anticipated.[70] Given the UK’s vulnerability to submarine blockade amply demonstrated during the course of two world wars one wonders why it took so long. Dramatic changes were now altering the military landscape as the dynamic Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union; Sergei Gorshkov (b. 1910) persuaded his government that their future increasingly laid at sea. ‘Then in the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviets underwrote an aggressive ship construction program and began deploying their navy to the far corners of the world.’[71]

Finally, the USA, NATO and Britain began to respond to the new military threat. As Dyndal states, ‘All British forces were to focus on Europe and NATO and as NATO’s maritime strategy was drawn to the challenges posed by the Soviet naval build-up, so too was British maritime strategy’.[72] The world has moved on since and the Cold War is over. But the Chinese PLAN could represent a formidable challenge, not only to the military powers contributing to the FPDA but to the USA, India, Japan and Vietnam. As the Pentagon’s Annual Report to Congress, 2013 shows, the PLAN is well equipped with nuclear and conventional weaponry including missiles. For example, ‘Three JIN-class SSBNs (Type 094) [nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines] are currently operational, and up to five may enter service before China proceeds to its next generation SSBN (Type 096) over the next decade.’[73] Against this backdrop, the war between the services in the UK continues to ebb and flow with variations of the same competing strategies.

 

Conclusion

The dawn of the missile age found all of the British armed services. unprepared and unenthusiastic for the new missile technology. As a result, they lagged behind the USA and the Soviet Union, especially in offensive roles. The white paper of 1957 hit the RAF hard, but given the strides made in missile technology, the days of the manned strategic bomber were clearly numbered. Unfortunately, the Air Staff were still reluctant to read the writing on the wall. While Soviet missile technology was not as technically advanced as generally perceived, it was nevertheless making significant progress. The Soviet air defence system was becoming increasingly sophisticated during the 1950s and as the U2 incident showed in 1960, even the new stand-off missiles then in development were unlikely to prolong the life of the manned bomber. But even the Air Staff were shaken by the 1962 cancellation of Skybolt as it was now abundantly clear that the RAF no longer had the potential to cause meaningful damage to the Soviet Union. This meant that the decision to move the predominate nuclear deterrent to the submarine based Polaris operated by the Royal Navy had become the only realistic option.

The later decisions to cancel the TSR2 and the CVA01 in 1966 were logical enough given the nation’s economic straits and the decision to withdraw East of Suez. The loss of the heavy carrier capability was, to a certain extent, an event brought about by the Navy’s failure to argue their corner competently and further aggravated by the problems of inter-service rivalry. Even so, the subsequent change in military focus away from a world role and towards home waters was appropriate to Britain’s position in the late 1960s – though not necessarily for the right reasons. The 1966 Defence Review took little account of the rising Soviet naval threat in home waters and whilst some attention was given to this at the end of the 1960s, it was still less than the situation warranted given that Britain had been preoccupied with her traditional global interests throughout the decade.[74] Ironically, the rising Soviet threat also robbed the RAF of the fruits of their island strategy victory as within a few years it was unable to fulfil its global commitment. In contrast to Healey’s divide-and-rule management style, the incoming Conservative Defence Secretary in 1970 ‘did not initiate a new or continued inter-service rivalry’. Lord Peter Carrington (b. 1919) halted the phasing out of the carrier force and gave the Royal Navy more time to prepare for the new missile systems expected to come into service by the end of the decade. [75]

There were perhaps two unheeded lessons of this era for subsequent governments. Firstly, by promoting imaginative military leaders sensitive to the challenges of future technologies, the nation would have been far less likely to lose the initiative to potential enemies. Secondly, by taking firmer steps to eradicate inter-service rivalry, more coherent and effective defence rationales may have emerged. Sadly, the reforms initiated by Sandys in the 1950s have had no discernible effect in healing the rifts caused by almost 100 years of bitter rivalry. Either the Chiefs of Staff committee should have been reformed in such a way that the three services would cooperate effectively or one of the three contenders for the major share of the defence budget should have been eliminated. This last course of action would have required the government to fly in the face of popular legends such as the Battle of Britain[76] and dissolve the RAF by sending its aircraft and personnel to the Army and Navy. The possibility of making real savings with such a course might still make it a nettle worth grasping for a cash-strapped government.

 

Footnotes

[1] Gardner F, ‘East of Suez: Are UK Forces Returning’, BBC News UK, 29 April 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22333555 (accessed 7 June 2013).

[2] The various defence reviews carried out since the end of World War II have been aptly described by historian Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield as ‘a fistful of spending reviews overlaid by a thin patina of strategy’ with the 2010 SDSR as the most inadequate. Hennessy P, Distilling the Frenzy: Writing the History of One’s Own Time, (Biteback Publishing, 2013), p.28.

[3]Cameron D, ‘We Need a Nuclear Deterrent More than Ever’, Daily Telegraph, 3 April 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/9969596/David-Cameron-We-need-a-nuclear-deterrent-more-than-ever.html (accessed 26 April 2013).

[4] ‘ Note of the Prime Minister’s Conversation with Lord Zuckerman at 10 Downing Street, on 23 August 1979 at 11.30 am.’ The Margaret Thatcher Foundation,http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/AF47118D4A0B4468ACA6973690149951.pdf (accessed 10 May 2013).

[5] Interview with Denis Healey, 27 October 1986, (Part 1 of 3)- WGBH Media Library & Archives, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/wpna-c55b60-interview-with-denis-healey-1986-part-1-of-3/ (accessed 9 April 2013).

[6] The subject of nuclear warfare is complex and too large to be comprehensively covered in an article of this nature. Healey’s views on a limited nuclear war as envisaged as part of NATO’s flexible response strategy of 1967 may have been informed by the theorist Ferdinand Miksche. In such a situation and because of the devastation that nuclear weapons would wreak in the military’s support services stationed in the rear, probably ‘only material and tactical methods of the simplest kind will retain their value’. Readers should consult Bellamy C in Holmes R (ed) , ‘Nuclear Weapons’, The Oxford Companion to Military History, pp.664-667.

[7] In this context, ‘plane-guard’ refers to helicopters operating in the role of rescuing ditched aircrew during carrier operations.

[8]Beedall R, CVA-01 Queen Elizabeth Class (Cancelled 1966), Navy Matters.beedall.com, 16 April, 2013, http://navy-matters.beedall.com/cva01.htm (accessed 22 May 2013).

,[9] ‘Those massive longhaul Tornado raids against Libya? …’ The Register.co.uk, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/libya_analysis/page2.html (accessed 18 June 2013).

[10] Divine D, The Broken Wing: A Study in the British Exercise of Air Power (Hutchinson, 1966), p.310-313.

[11] Divine, Ibid, p.p.315-316.

[12] Cumming A, ‘The Father of the RAF: PAPER 2’, The Phoenix Think Tank, http://www.phoenixthinktank.org/?p=1240, (August 2011).

[13] ‘Britain’s Nuclear Weapons: From Maud to Hurricane’, 4 July 2007, The Nuclear Weapons Archive, http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Uk/UKOrigin.html (accessed 18 June 2013).

[14] Blackburn A, Great Britain: Missile Development and Production in , in Boyne W, (ed) Air Warfare: An International Encyclopedia. Volume Two, M-Z, (Abc-Clio Ltd, 2001) p.267.

[15] Divine,Wing, p.315.

[16] Moreton A, ‘Is the factor of economic decline sufficient to explain UK defence policy after 1945’, 2010, e-International Relations, www.e-ir.info/2011/09/29 (accessed 1 May 2013.)

[17] Ziegler P, ‘Mountbatten. Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas, first Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31480?docPos=4 (accessed 20 May 2012).

[18] Benbow T, (ed), British Naval Aviation: The First 100 Years (Ashgate, 2011) p.144

[19] Ziegler, Mountbatten, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31480?docPos=4 (accessed 20 May 2012).

[20] Paragraph 12 of the Defence White Paper, 1957 as quoted by Divine,Wing, p.316.

[21] Divine, Ibid, pp.316-317.

[22] Correll, John T. (August 2005). “Airpower and the Cuban Missile Crisis”. AirForce-Magazine.com 88 (8). Retrieved May 4, 2010

[23] Divine,Wing, pp.316-319.

[24] Divine, Ibid, pp.318-319.

[25] Divine, Ibid, pp.335-336.

[26] Correll, AirForce-Magazine.com.

[27] Divine, Wing, pp.340-341.

[28] Obituary Lord Zuckerman, The Independent,2 April 1993, nhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-lord-zuckerman-1452840.html (accessed 10 May 2013). Divine, p.325, pp.340-344.

[29] Dyndal G L, (2009), ‘ Land based air power or aircraft carriers? The British debate about maritime air power in the 1960s’, Ph.D thesis,University of Glasgow. http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1058/1/2009dyndalphd.pdf p.59, p.59.(accessed 24 May 2013). Also see ‘ A Last Hurrah for Sea Dart as Missile Roars off Scotland’, 20 April 2012, Royal Navy.mod.uk, http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/News-and-Events/Latest-News/2012/April/20/120420-Final-Sea-Dart-Firing (accessed 19 June 2013)

[30] Kopp C, ‘Maritime Strike: The Soviet Perspective, 2005’, Air Power Australia, (accessed 23 May 2013).http://www.ausairpower.net/TE-Sov-ASuW.html

[31] Kugler, Richard L; Baranick, Michael; Binnendijk, Hans, ‘Operation Anaconda: Lessons for Joint Operations,’ (Center for Technology and National Security Policy, National Defense University, 2009), Page xii, http://www.ndu.edu/CTNSP/docUploaded/DTP%2060%20Operation%20Anaconda.pdf (Accessed 2nd June, 2013)

[32] Bayliss, J, Ambiguity and Deterrence: British Nuclear Strategy 1945-1964 (Clarendon Press, 1995), p.50.

[33] Allen H R, The Legacy of Lord Trenchard (Cassell & Co., 1972), pp.190-194.

[34] Dockrill S, Retreat from East of Suez: The Choice between Europe and the World? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), p.139.

[35] Moreton, e.International Relations.

[36] Dockrill, Retreat, pp. 147-148.

[37] Dockrill, Ibid, p140.

[38] Pham P, Ending East of Suez: The British Decision to Withdraw from Malaysia and Singapore 1964-1968, (Oxford Historical Monographs, 2010) p.32.

[39] Kaldor, M, in Kaldor, M, Smith, D and Vines S. Democratic Socialism and The Cost of Defence: The Report and Papers of The Labour Party Defence Study Group. (: Routledge, 1979), pp.290-291.

[40] One might also add that the ineffectiveness of low level strike aircraft was further demonstrated in the Gulf War of 1990/91. Because of the high rate of loss through the use of low-level attack techniques against airfields the RAF changed to higher-level bombing on 22 January 1991. See Atkinson R, Crusade:The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War (HarperCollins, 1994) pp.154-155.

[41] Dockrilll, Retreat, pp. 146-147.

[42] Allen, Legacy p.195

[43] Obituary of Capt. George Baldwin, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1505648/Captain-George-Baldwin.html (accessed, 29 April 2013) and Allen, Ibid, pp.197-198.

[44] Allen, Legacy,p.197.

[45] Allen, Ibid,pp.196-199.

[46] Dyndal, PhD, pp.223-224.

[47] Robert McNamara’s statement to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, 27 January 1964, as quoted by Divine,Wing, p.9.

[48] Editorial/Leader, ‘Guns or Butter’, Times, 10 February 1964, Iss.55931 p.11.

[49] Divine, Wing, pp.9-12.

[50] Ward N, ‘How Britain has Repeatedly Fumbled the Strike Carrier Ball’, Warships International Fleet Review, May 2013, pp.20-21.

[51] Dockrill, Retreat, p.140.

[52] Dockrill,Ibid, pp. 141-144.

[53] Churchill Archives, Cambridge, Papers of Stephen Roskill. ROSK: 9/18. Roskill’s draft article, ‘A New Generation of Aircraft Carriers 1963-64.’

[54] ‘Intelligence failures exposed by Tamil Tiger airport attack’, Jane’s, 3 Sept 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20080225162532/http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jir/jir010903_1_n.shtml (accessed 6 June 2013). 26 aircraft had been destroyed or damaged in five hours of fighting.

[55] Corum J, “The Myth of Air Control: Reassessing the History”,Aerospace Power Journal – Winter 2000, www.airpower.au.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj00/win00/corum.htm (accessed, 24 August 2011).

[56] Editorial abstract in Corum, Aerospace Power Journal, p.1. Also see Creveld van, M, ‘The Rise and Fall of Air Power, RUSI Journal, Jun 2011, Vol. 156, No.3. Creveld’s history of airpower asks whether independent air forces still have a use in an age of small wars and stabilisation operations?’

[57] Dyndal, PhD, p.37.

[58] NAUK DEFE 25/40, Island strategy, 1962-1965. Thorneycroft to the Chief of Air Staff, 4 November 1963. Also
see NAUK DEFE 7/1782 and several newspaper cut outs and correspondence in NAUK AIR 8/2354 as quoted by Dyndal, PhD, p.40.

[59] Lygo R, Collision Course: Lygo Shoots Back (Book Guild Publishing, 2002), p190. Adeney M, ‘Sir Raymond Lygo obituary’, 5 April 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/05/sir-raymond-lygo (accessed 24 April 2013).

[60] The National Archives, AIR 19/997 as quoted by Dyndal, Fig. 1, Island Strategy Map, p.38.

[61] Distance between Bantam to Perth, Australia, timeanddate.comhttp://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/distances.html?n=1503 (accessed 29 May 2013).

[62] TNA AIR 19/997, Figure 2: Island Strategy Map, 1962. Symbol explanation, as quoted by Dyndal,PhD, p.39.

[63] Dockrill, Retreat, pp141-142

[64] Beedall, R, Naval Matters, beedall.com, CVA-01 15 April 2013, , http://navy-matters.beedall.com/cva01.htm, (accessed 17 May 2013). Grove E, Luce, Sir (John) David (1906-1971), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, www.oxforddnb.com/view/printable/65062 (accessed 15 April 2013).

[65] Dockrill, Retreat, pp.140-141.

[66] ‘Mr Healey faces critical reaction to his defence proposals’, Times, 23 Feb. 1966, 12. Much of this criticism is summarised in Louis W R & Ashton S (eds), East of Suez and the Commonwealth 1964-1971 (The Stationery Office, 2004), Note 29, pcxxvi

[67]San K H, ‘The Five Power Defence Arrangements : If It Ain’t Broke…’, Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces, VN 26 (Oct-Dec 2000),http://www.mindef.gov.sg/safti/pointer/back/journals/2000/Vol26_4/7.htm (accessed 20 May 2013).

[68] For an informed briefing of the rise of the Chinese Navy and how Europe should respond to it, see Seidler F, 10 June 2013, Will China Fight Falklands-Style Wars, p.6, Institute for Security Policy, University of Kiel, Germany, http://cimsec.org/will-china-fight-falklands-style-wars/ (accessed 11 June 2013).

[69] Ward, WIFR, p.20.

[70] Kaldor, M, Cost of Defence, p.291. Also see Pedlow G (ed), Nato Strategy Documents 1949-1969 , pp.XXIV-XXV. http://www.nato.int/docu/stratdoc/eng/intro.pdf (accessed 14 May 2013).

[71] Chipman D, ‘Admiral Gorshkov and the Soviet Navy’, Air University Review, July-August 1982, http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1982/jul-aug/chipman.html (accessed 1 June 2013).

[72] Dyndal, Ibid,p.217.

[73] Office of the Secretary of Defense, ‘Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments
Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2013’, p.I, Department of Defense, United States of America,http://www.defense.gov/pubs/2013_China_Report_FINAL.pdf (accessed 11 June 2013).



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