Friday, August 1, 2014

Dimensions of the Catalan Defence Forces: Naval Forces (Executive Summary)

DIMENSIONS OF THE CATALAN DEFENCE FORCES I: NAVAL FORCES

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Introduction

The following is an English-language executive summary of the 1 July report by the former Catalan National Assembly's Defence Policy Working Group, now Military Studies Society, outlining the possible shape and composition of the reconstituted Catalan Navy. The full, unabridged, report is also available in English.[1]

Preliminary considerations

* This document is not a final blueprint on the dimensions and hardware of Catalonia's Naval Force, but an outline proposal.

* The text starts from scratch concerning hardware and personnel, making no reference to possible assets to be inherited from Spain's Defence Ministry or to Spanish military personnel wishing to join the Catalan Defence Forces.

* To avoid duplicities and redundant capabilities, the Catalan Defence Forces will have a single Joint Chiefs of Staff, bringing together elements from the three forces (land army, air force, and navy)


* All officers and NCOs will speak English at NATO Level 4.



OPV-Gowind

Starting from scratch, yet wasting no time

* Catalonia is s hugely dependent on the sea, making it imperative for us to work on this domain from day one.

* Despite having two large ports such as Barcelona and Tarragona, Catalonia is currently home to no naval bases.

* The first goal must be to control our territorial waters and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).

* A temporary maritime security agency may have to be set up at first, with personnel from existing agencies, including the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan Police) and local and harbour police forces.

* It is necessary to quickly set up the Catalan Naval Academy, ready in no more than three years. Instructors will fill operational slots on a rotating basis.

* To train a core of officers and NCOs, in order to fill both instructor and operational posts, it will be necessary to reach some sort of agreement with another state. Both because of its proximity, and above all experience, the United Kingdom is the best option.

* Naval exchanges will take place with different countries.


The Littoral Patrol Command

* First operational unit to set up.

* Its functions will be:

- Defence of territorial waters.

- Protection of harbour infrastructures.

- Control of illegal maritime activities (smuggling, drug trafficking …).

- Search and rescue at sea.

- Support in catastrophic events (such as a toxic spill).

It will need the following components:

- Command and Control Centre.

- 3 or 4 offshore patrol vessels (OPV). For example the Adroit class, displacing 1,450 tons.

- 2 or 3 fast patrol crafts (FPC). For example Israel's Dvora class (45-60 tons) or Norway's Skjold class (274 tons).

- 4 to 6 unmanned air vehicles (UAV).

- 4 to 6 unmanned surface vessels (USV).

- An ocean-going tug.

* Unmanned systems are meant to ensure a constant surveillance of territorial waters.

* Setting up and consolidating this command may take 10 years since independence, making it possible to move on to the next stages.

* The Naval Academy, the Littoral Patrol Command, and the shore-based services personnel, should altogether require around 600 officers and sailors.


The Mediterranean: our strategic environment. NATO: our framework

* Catalonia must participate in SNMG2 (Standing NATO Maritime Group 2; formerly Standing Naval Force Mediterranean), a component of the NRF (NATO Response Force).

* It would also be convenient to participate in the SNMCMG2 (Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2).

* In order to be able to participate in these institutions, we shall need to set up another division within our Naval Force: the Escort Command.

The Escort Command: taking a leaf from Japan's MSDF

* Catalan naval doctrine uses the term “Escort” in a wider sense than just anti-submarine warfare, employing the concept as defined by Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Forces when referring to its destroyer flotillas.

* The functions of the Escort Command will be:

- ASW (Anti-submarine Warfare)

- ASuW (Anti-Surface Warfare). Focusing on asymmetric conflicts and making a big effort to prepare against “swarm attacks” by fast craft.

- AAW (Anti-Air Warfare). Anti-ship missile proliferation is a serious threat, let us remember Hizbullah's 2006 attack against an Israeli corvette using a C-802 missile. (the Argentine attack with a shore-based Exocet missile against HMS Glamorgan in the 1982 Falklands War).

- MOOTW (Maritime Operations Other Than War)

* The Escort Command will need the following assets and personnel (in brackets):

- Naval Operations Headquarters (200). Acting in coordination with the Allied Joint Command Naples.

- 3 to 4 multi-role corvettes (360).

- Auxiliary Fleet (300). Including a fleet tanker and a logistics ship, enabling our units to spend long times at sea, as well as supporting Allied vessels.

* The acquisition of corvettes, rather than large surface combatants such as frigates and destroyers, is based on two factors: a realistic conflict assessment, and the fact they adapt more easily to a large portion of Catalan harbours without the need for extensive construction work.

* It is essential to develop EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams, ready to defuse explosive charges placed on ships.

* This stage may take between 10 to 15 years after independence. At the same time, a reserve system should be implemented.

The Atlantic and the Indian Oceans: Collective Security knows no borders

* Once we have consolidated the defence of our territorial waters and our presence in the Mediterranean, in a 10 to 15 years horizon, it will be necessary to consider projecting force within a multinational framework, as a contribution to global peace and security and as an exercise in corresponsibility and solidarity towards our Allies.

* Possible scenarios include contributing to the fight against piracy off the Somali coast and evacuating civilians in the Gulf of Guinea.

* This will require setting up an Expeditionary Command.

The Expeditionary Command: Collective Security requires more than just words

* The Expeditionary Command will need:

- Joint Expeditionary Headquarters.

- One Multi-Role Vessel (MRV).

- One corvette (seconded from the Escort Division) and/or one OPV (seconded from the Littoral Patrol Command)

- Logistic support, from Auxiliary Fleet units or chartered civilian vessels.

* The Joint Expeditionary Headquarters will be a company-sized joint unit with staff from the three branches of the military. It will be responsible for C4 (Command & Control, Computers & Communications) tasks and be ready to be deployed at 24 hours notice, located either offshore or onshore.

* An example of MRV fitting with Catalonia's needs would be the Royal Danish Navy's Absalon class frigates, which could operate not only from Barcelona and Tarragona, but also from the ports of Palamós, Vilanova i la Geltrú, and Sant Carles de la Ràpita.

* In addition to the MRV, existing assets would protect the expeditionary group (corvettes or OPVs, depending on the intensity of the conflict).

* At this stage, the total strength of our Naval Force would be 2,000 men and women, plus the reserve component and civilian personnel in logistical support functions.



[1] At http://sem-cat.blogspot.com/p/documents-in-english.html

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