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[flagged] German Engineering Yields New Warship That Isn’t Fit for Sea (wsj.com)
20 points by okket 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments

> Engineering graduates shun weapons manufacturers

I applaud this trend.

I'm not sure this is a good way to look at things. We live in a world where deterrence is very important to not end up like Crimea. Maybe NATO is enough for Germany, but this is basically just outsourcing your defense to the US.

I'm not really a fan of the military or it's bloated budget in the US, but we don't live in a world where war is impossible.

Crimea voted to join Russia in a referendum, in the same way they did twice in the 1990s when a part of Ukraine. Opinion polling and independent (western) research there has confirmed the results many times, the vote wasn't rigged or anything like that. The reasons are understandable enough - Russia did much better economically than Ukraine since the end of the USSR and so salaries there are in some cases up to 10x higher. And Ukraine had been spending its time mucking about with language laws and other things that aren't so friendly to a place where people mostly speak Russian.

So to say "not end up like Crimea" is perhaps not the best example.

All that said, I agree with your basic premise that the world has not put war behind it forever and to abandon defence, or be unable to mount defence due to a population that considers it "unsexy", might well one day lead to very problematic military defeat.

> Opinion polling and independent (western) research there has confirmed the results many times

Opinion polling conducted before Russian occupation say 38% wanted to join Russia, 40% wanted to remain an autonomous republic within Ukraine.

Here’s a link (Russian): http://www.km.ru/world/2012/09/14/polozhenie-russkoyazychnog...

Nope, here's an example:


70% saying they'd pick to join Russia. Phone poll just before the vote, by Gfk Ukraine, 600 participants.

There were other such polls after the vote by western polling agencies too. But I don't have the links handy right now.

“The fieldwork was carried out from March 12 till March 14, 2014.” That was after the invasion. Russians tortured, kidnapped and killed civilians there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annexation_of_Crimea_by_the_Ru... Locals have very good reasons to be afraid to express their political viewpoints. Especially to an unknown person who called their phone.


He is overstating facts, but he is right in essence. It made sense for the inhabitants of Crimea to want Russian annnexation. Salaries and pensions are higher in Russia, especially for public servants. Not 10 times higher, but still.

Same thing with referendum, the one Russia hastily organized was a joke, but independent polls were showing preference for annexation anyway.

Not much better than US propaganda.

Nice to see this is a problem in other countries as well. Reminiscent of the f35

Although at least the German navy know when to reject something that's clearly not fit for purpose.

May I introduce the G36, the main German Assault Rifle, that might be fit for purpose in cold Stalingrad but fails miserably in Afghan temperatures? Or the German Eurocopter Tiger that just falls from the sky when deployed to Mali, due to heat?

Whats new, I raise you the British SA80 mk1 assault rifle. The UK Chinook helicopters ordered in the wrong spec that cost double to convert to the correct spec. The Eurofighter a decade late. The QE aircraft carriers with no aircraft, where they were still arguing if it needed a catapult years after it was ordered. The UK Nimrod MRA4 that were all built and then cut up again...

edit: sources https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SA80#Service_and_modification





The QE aircraft carriers with no aircraft

This is hardly a design fault. Instead, how about Type-45 destroyer gas turbine engines suffering from overheating in gulf/Mediterranean temperatures.

It was designed to carry only an aircraft that existed on the drawing board and no others. It is a bit like it being designed for Donald Trumps F52 fighters[0].

Remember the audacious class that could fly an array of aircraft, as well as being inter-operable with our NATO allies (our aircraft could land on their ships)[1]. I suppose that is true in a way with the QE2, as only our NATO partners aircraft will fly off it for some years...because we don't have any.



It's not even true, is it? From the wiki page:

The aircraft are expected to begin trials flying from Queen Elizabeth in 2018 with a carrier air wing fully operational by 2020

So what it's saying is that the new set of aircraft won't be fully delivered until 2020, but given the very long timescales associated with building an aircraft carrier and designing and building a new carrier air group in this case, is that such a big procurement failure? The HMS QE is still engaged in sea trials throughout 2018 anyway.

Also it can carry US planes and will do so sometimes.

That may have been the plan. It seems the UK will have around 24 jets by 2021. That seems to be what the current planned operation wing will comprise, but doesn't allow any for training, working up and maintenance[0]. The carriers are designed to carry 36 planes each. So I would say it is true.

Yes it is planned to work up the ship for operational deployment using USMC F35's if they are available in time.

Regarding the long timescale, the Audacious class Ark Royal carrier had an operational life of 24 years, so I would say not having the air wing ready until 3 or 4 years after commissioning is a pretty serious procurement issue. You have to remember that the UK does't have any carrier pilots (unless seconded to the US, but certainly not a squadron) waiting to just do a type conversion, you would have hoped that some aircraft were available to work up pilots before the ships are commissioned.

This is also ignoring the cats-and-traps vs VTOL debacle and the propulsion debacle that delayed both carriers. It makes you wonder actually, had the carriers not been delayed by this, they may have been ready even more years before the aircraft


Not to mention the Nimrod AEW - I remember seeing one dumped near the perimeter fence of RAF Kinloss - contender for the ugliest plane ever to fly.

The sa 80 was designed by engineers who had no experience with guns

OTOH what business does the BundesWEHR have in the Mali heat?

Fighting islamic terrorists afair

Surface boats have never been the Germans forte.

The Bismarck was sunk by a handful of guys throwing torpedoes out of WW1 biplanes.

Incredibly that the nation which brought us the U-boat thought it prudent to forgo all anti-submarine measures.

Swordfish biplane production started in the early 1930s, about 15 years after WWI, and carried a torpedo between the undercarriage legs.

Here's a picture of what a Swordfish torpedo looks like, before it's mounted: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205146243 (dated 20 October 1942).

Here's a picture of a Swordfish flying while carrying a torpedo: https://www.navywings.org.uk/aircraft/twin-aircraft/swordfis... .

Reminds me of the corrosion issue on the Litteral ships

Since this is behind a paywall, here's a description of the problems being encountered: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baden-Württemberg-class_frigat...

Can't read because it is beyond a paywall.

If you're happy to go via Facebook you can use this bookmarklet:


"the ship is dramatically overweight"

We've always been better at building submarines anyway.

Define "better"...all six subs are currently in port for repairs:


I flagged this article for this reason. I would happily pay 1€ to read even just this one article but I'm not registering to your website and associating my payment details, which has god knows what kind of crappy security.

Can't they seriously accept dogecoin or redd or whatevercoin with low transaction costs to view articles?

German engineering is a myth. Go to any store and check out whatever has the "made in germany / quality german engineering" sticker on it and amaze yourself with squiggly plastics and fake metal parts.

Where do you live?

Okay, I get that the computers don’t work right and there are some other engineering-specific problems of varying severity, but the primary objection from the WSJ’s point seems to be that it isn’t designed to hold its own in a shooting war with Russia. (And secondarily that Germany’s defense industry is no longer capable of building complicated programs like this.)

I know next to nothing about strategic planning, but it doesn’t seem that any missile battery whatever would be a better deterrent to Russia than the great big German flag flying on the top of the thing. How much effort should Germany really be trying to put into challenging the Russians?

> How much effort should Germany really be trying to put into challenging the Russians?

So what are the options? Surrender when russian partisans cross the border?

I think his point is that the option is "strengthening the flag", i.e. increasing (the already really high) German standing in the world through economy, diplomacy, alliances.

The odds of Russia attacking Germany, even indirectly, are absolutely minimal. Germany is one of their main export countries and is one of the leading countries in the EU (more big trading partners for Russia) plus a member of NATO.

On top of that, Russia is a shadow of the USSR. A bit more than half the population and an economy which in relative terms is a dwarf (i.e. the USSR had a much higher share of the world economy than Russia does now). Let's say they occupy Germany after a "clean" campaign. Their economy would be completely shot.

And let's not go into guerrilla warfare territory, they couldn't even control Chechnya, let alone 80 million educated people which would surely get foreign support in terms of arms and supplies.

>The odds of Russia attacking Germany, even indirectly, are absolutely minimal.

So thought Adolf Hitler, until he found out that Soviet army was 4 times the size his recon told him, bristling with technologically superior weapons in great numbers, and busy preparing its own invasion of Europe 24/7.

>Let's say they occupy Germany after a "clean" campaign. Their economy would be completely shot.

Russian political establishment has said repeatedly that it don't object to Russians having to eating grass. Do you think those guys address those speeches to Russian population? No, they are saying it to you and strategic planners of Western states. They expect them to cowardly concede without a fight.

Your knowledge of WW2 is different from mine (and I've read quite a bit about it...). Hitler was planning to attack the USSR from day 1, where do you think the Lebensraum was supposed to be?

Regarding Russia, if the Russians truly have to eat grass again, Putin's head will be in a basket within 1 week.

Nuke them. The tanks and ships are foreplay.

Unfortunately for them, places like the Ukraine are the proxy battlefields in the global chess game. “Crossing the rubicon” is a step the only ends one way.

Do you think that missile batteries on eight ships are what’s stopping Russia from invading Germany?

Military procurement seems to be something working very poorly in many places. Not sure if the German military is really much worse than others, when looking at things like the F-35.

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