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Naval Defence of the Greater Holy Empire of the Aromans and Conflict in a Changing Wurld – Plan 7542

 

A joint white paper by the Ministry for War and the High Command, approved by the Holy Imperial Government of the Greater Holy Empire of the Aromans

 

Introduction

With the defeat of Great Anglia and the Occidental-Azanian Pact, one of the major threats to the rules-based international order has been removed. The lessons that are to be learned from this conflict are not yet entirely clear. However, one of the most obvious to draw from it is the importance of sealift capabilities, as well as military bases near to the centres of potential conflicts. Whilst Great Anglia was able to create a web of minion-nations across much of Eurth, the inability or disinclination of Godstone to adequately supply these allies with modern equipment or support once open warfare had started was one of the biggest reasons for the failure of the theatres in Argis and Aurelia. At no point did Godstone attempt to contest control of the Adlantic, even when it was clear that it ought to have been attempting to do so. An example of this would be the Aroman convoys that were travelling to the Dolch Sea theatre. These could have been disrupted by submarine attacks and this would have likely led to a very different outcome there, or at the very least a long battle to secure those seas. Precisely why this step was never undertaken by the Anglians is, as yet, unknown. It will likely remain unknown until the opportunity arises to interview high-ranking Anglian military officers and government officials.

With the fall of Great Anglia and the strengthening of ties between Aromania and friendly nations bordering the Adlantic Ocean, it seems likely that the next direct opponent to Aroman strategic aims will come from outside of that area. There always remains the chance that there will be another conflict in south-eastern Argis, however – recent actions by the Orinese Empire exacerbated tensions in that area and it is as yet unknown how the situation will completely play out. If God wills, the intervention of the Assembled Nations will mean that the situation is resolved peacefully and to the satisfaction of all. Some analysts have also hypothesised that there will be a rise in activity in the Oriental Ocean in the years to come, and that the geopolitical alliances based around that ocean's rim may begin to throw their weights around. That will remain to be seen. It is clear, however, that the Imperial Navy needs to adapt to that potential threat and increase its ability to project its forces across Eurth. This would be so that Aromania can intervene efficiently and effectively in the case of small conflicts in Argis, Alharu and Aurelia or even southern Europa.

Therefore, it has been deemed necessary that Aromania undertake one of the largest shipbuilding programmes that our holy nation has ever carried out. Earlier programmes, such as the one that led to the Great Christian Fleet that was capable of circumnavigating the glube as a show of Aroman power, were equal or larger in scale but they mainly produced large numbers of smaller ships or obsolete vessels. It is clear that doing either of those would doom Aroman interests across Eurth or render our nation open to attack by foreign naval powers. Instead, the Imperial Navy must have its power projection capabilities significantly strengthened, as well as its sealift capabilities. These, utilised alongside changes in doctrine that play into these new strengths, will mean that the Imperial Navy will be able to operate in every ocean on Eurth and, at the very least, contest their control in the instance of a peer-to-peer conflict. The aim would be to win any such conflict, as well as securing Aroman waters and allowing Aroman forces to operate across the glube. This programme will aim to build a navy capable of carrying out those aims.

At the height of the Pax Aromana, the Fragran phrase “mare nostrum” was used to refer to the Central Europan Seas, as they were envisaged as one interconnected body of water. The phrase meant that the then Aroman Navy could operate with impunity in the Central Europan Seas and protect the Aroman Empire from threats beyond them. With the completion of Plan 7542, Aromania will be able to declare the seas of Eurth as “maria nostra”.

 

Lessons for Now and the Future

Although it is felt by both the High Command and the Holy Imperial Government that the Imperial Navy performed well within the Anglia War, the conflict also highlighted several weaknesses within it. One of the most obvious ones were the sealift and resupply at sea capabilities of the Imperial Navy. The Imperial Navy currently operates four large cargo vessels for the transport of vehicles, equipment and supplies, six dry cargo ships and ten replenishment oilers. This is now not considered sufficient for a large-scale overseas deployment, should one once again arise. Indeed, during the Sentist War, considerable numbers of civilian vessels had to be contracted in to transport the Aroman forces to Ceris and this was seen again during the conflict against the Empire of Dolchland. At the time, the size of the deployment to the Sentist War was considered to be a one-off and the focus was to remain on deployments of a similar size being largely constrained to Europa and, more specifically, the Occident. This would mean that road and rail networks would be utilised, rather than sea-based transport efforts. Now, with the defeat of Great Anglia, it is much more likely that the threat to Aroman strategic aims will come from further afield. Therefore, the sealift and supply capabilities, as well as the replenishment and resupply at sea capabilities, of the Imperial Navy need to be drastically increased in order to meet the next threat head on and maintain Arome's place as one of the pre-eminent powers on Eurth.

Another weakness is the reliance on older vessels. This was not specifically shown during the recent conflict but it has become increasingly apparent over the last few years. Apart from the Protathlites tou Christou-class aircraft carriers and the Hippikos-class destroyers, all of the Imperial Navy's large warships are over thirty years old and some of them are even older. The Hippikos construction programme is going as expected and the last of the Pediatos-class destroyers are to be withdrawn from service within the next few years. This will mean that the Aroman destroyer fleet is amongst the newest and most advanced on Eurth. This does not remedy the fact that the proliferation of older vessels is an issue that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

This will mean that the Protosebastos-class guided missile cruisers and Limanion-class light aircraft carriers need replacing, as well as the Skouton-class landing platform docks. On top of these large vessels, the missile boats used by the Imperial Navy are also outdated and will need replacement. More modern vessels will be able to be adapted to the changing face of naval warfare much more readily than older ones, especially as the use of unmanned combat vehicles becomes increasingly common and more of a threat to even large vessels.

With the reabsorption of the Hexanesa and the Hermitage Islands into Aromania, our nation also gained much enlarged territorial waters and exclusive economic zone. The current patrol vessels utilised by the Imperial Navy are considered to be up to the task but the numbers of them that are able to be deployed are not. To this end, it is also suggested that their number is significantly increased, as well as those of the mine countermeasures vessels and diesel-electric attack submarines that the Imperial Navy operates. This will mean that our holy nation's waters will be much more adequately protected, not just from the incursion by vessels from opposing nations, but also from hostile non-state actors or merely smuggling operations. This will also need to be backed up by the construction of new landing craft of all types currently operated by the Imperial Navy. This is both to aid the deployment of forces from the new classes of amphibious transport ships but also to enable easier transport between the larger number of islands now under Aroman control.

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New Classes and New Capabilities

 

The Ministry for War, at the behest of his Aroman Majesty, Kommodos III, by the Grace of God, Holy Emperor of the Aromans and Equal-to-the-Apostles, and in conjunction with the High Command, has set out a plan for new vessels for the Imperial Navy. This plan is expected to be completed by the year EK7542 (AD2034). The budget allocated to it is A$100 billion. This will be on top of the defence expenditure already projected for those years. The result of that will mean that the percentage of GDP spent on defence will increase to 5% from 4.5%. This increase should more than adequately cover the expenditures on the new vessels themselves, as well as costs incurred during the recent Anglian War and the possibility of other branches carrying out their own upgrade plans. The increased expenditure on defence will also cover the recruitment of new naval personnel, the retention of experienced members and the maintenance of the vessels themselves.

The option of a contingency fund, to cover increases in cost, is currently being discussed with the Ministry of Finance. At the moment, it is likely that this contingency is to be A$20 billion but it is only to be utilised with the express permission of His Aroman Majesty. In an ideal situation, this will not be utilised but the future is in the hands of God.

The budget for Plan 7542 is to cover the construction or acquisition of 238 new vessels, which is one of the largest naval building programmes undertaken by any nation, let alone Aromania. This sounds impressive – and it is – but it must be noted that many of these will be replacing vessels currently in service and many of the vessels are also non-combatant ones. The Plan will, however, make the Imperial Navy one of the most powerful navies on Eurth, as well as one of the most numerous. It is not expected that other vessels, of types not included within this programme, will need replacement within that time frame, as none are near their expected end of service life. The exception to this is the Pediatos-class destroyer and this is being replaced by the Hippikos-class and all of these are expected to be in service within the next few years.

God willing, of course – accidents and otherwise unforeseen circumstances cannot be predicted and could result in the loss of other vessels before they need replacement due to obsolescence. Any replacements will be built and commissioned as necessary.

The new classes that are to be acquired are as follows:

 

Light Aircraft Carrier

A new light aircraft carrier, to replace the Limanion-class light aircraft carriers currently in service. This is projected to be almost like-for-like, as the new class will support the same number of aircraft as the Limanion-class – 10 to 16 fixed-wing aircraft and 12 rotary-wing aircraft. However, it will be a more modern vessel with more modern capabilities, as well as being much larger in every dimension.

Several designs have been inspected, with the one selected previously known as Heavyweight Light Carrier (HLC). An illustration of this is that the design has a displacement of 27,100 tonnes, in contrast to the Limanion's 15,912 tonnes. The main role of the new light aircraft carrier will be to provide support for amphibious operations at points and times where a full aircraft carrier might not be appropriate or otherwise engaged. It will also provide support to smaller task forces and a force multiplier to large task forces, when considered appropriate.

The armament offered by the HLC, although of secondary importance to its aircraft, is two 76mm guns (one at the bow and one at the stern), four eight-cell vertical launch systems for surface-to-air missiles and three CIWS systems. These utilise the standard Imperial Navy Hyros CIWS. The complement for the vessel will be 1202, of which 360 will be embarked troops. The HLC design can attain 29 knots, although this is the maximum sustained speed.

The HLC design also offers the additional ability to be used as a transport if need be, as the hangar space can double as a vehicle hold for twenty-four main battle tanks or up to fifty lighter vehicles. This is supplementary to its use as an aircraft carrier but was considered by the High Command to be useful for an increase in sealift capacity.

The name selected for the class is Protomartyr, and the ships themselves will honour some of the first martyrs in both the Aroman Church, as well as the wider Christian Church.*

The total number that will be built will be 10, at the estimated cost of A$1.5 billion per vessel, with a research and development cost of A$2.5, for a total cost of A$17.5 billion.

 

Amphibious Transport Dock

The landing helicopter dock vessels employed by the Imperial Navy, the Skouton-class, were all built before the accession of Theodosios VI in 1995. Whilst these vessels are not combat vessels but are to facilitate the landing of ground forces, they are beginning to show their age. Therefore, the Imperial Navy considers their replacement to be necessary and this is to be done as part of the Plan 7542. Acquiring a new class of vessel to initially supplement and then replace the Skouton-class will drastically improve the amphibious landing capability of the Imperial Navy and allow it to undertake a level of international intervention that was previously not possible. As well as the military side, the vessels will also be able to carry out humanitarian and disaster-relief missions wurldwide. This is an important aspect of the Imperial Navy's mission and would do much to increase the good standing of our God-chosen nation across the Eurth.

One of the designs developed and put forward as part of this plan was the Large Amphibious Transport Dock (LATD), which was selected due to it representing a significant increase in capabilities. This design is significantly larger than the Skouton-class vessels currently in operation, with the new design displacing 25,000 tonnes at full load and the Skouton-class 11,500 tonnes. This represents more than double that of the older class. It can carry sixty armoured vehicles and eight hundred troops, or an entire mechanised battalion – significantly more than the Skouton-class. The vessel has a well deck, a vehicle deck, a landing deck and hangar, with sufficient room for 4 El-07 Tabanos helicopters. It features stern and side ramps for speedy unloading. The vessel features a hospital and operating theatres, as well as command and control facilities. These ships can carry out humanitarian and disaster-relief operations, as well as acting as the command ships for task forces.

The ship mounts one 76mm gun, four Hyros CIWS and two eight-cell vertical launch systems.

Following the naming pattern selected for the large vessels of Plan 7542, the name selected for the class is Heiromartyr. The vessels will be named for martyrs who were also members of the clergy.*

The number of vessels of this class that will be built is 12, at A$1 billion per vessel. Along with research and development costs of $2 billion, this would put the total cost of the class at $14 billion

 

Guided Missile Cruiser

The Protosebastos class missile cruiser is one of the oldest designs in service in the Imperial Navy. Whilst it has proved its worth, both as a command ship for smaller groupings of other vessels, and during bombardment of land targets, especially during the Dolch War, the ships are clearly outdated. Several indigenous designs were investigated but, ultimately, the decision was made to pursue a foreign designed and built vessel to fulfil this role. This was primarily because of the number of other ships that are to be built in Aroman shipyards as part of the Plan 7542. This coupled with the ongoing Hippikos programme means that naval shipyards may be pushed towards capacity. It may also cause production bottlenecks for certain components and materials. There were also no research and development programmes far enough advanced that they would not have negatively affected the target completion date of the Plan by a significant margin, especially if they then encountered delays themselves.

Therefore, the Republic of Iverica is to be approached in order to discuss the purchase of the Saragosa-class guided missile cruiser, with the purchase of ten vessels with the option for two more. These will be purchased without much of the equipment that the Iverican Navy versions use. This is in order so that the ships can be fitted out to better suit the needs of the Imperial Navy, such as using Aroman electronic systems, sensor suites and weapon systems. The Saragosa-class is one of the few cruiser-class designs currently available. The other options were the Akira-class of the Seylosian Royal Navy and – although considered an outlier – the Broadsword-class of the Anglian navy, were Aromania able to get the designs and expertise from that defeated nation. However, the Saragosa-class was ultimately the one chosen as it was designed and developed with a similar enough doctrine to that of the Protosebastos that there would be little issue with adapting the design for the Imperial Navy's use.

The name selected for this class will be Euseves, and the individual vessels within it after Holy Emperors who have been canonised and known for treating the Aroman Church with respect and all due reverence, and Aroman people with compassion.

The total cost of each Saragosa-class vessel is currently A$1 billion, according to estimates put forward by analysts employed by the Holy Imperial Government and the Imperial Navy. The total cost of acquiring 10 vessels will be A$10 billion, as long as the estimates are correct. Another A$2 billion will be set aside for their outfitting, bringing the programme to a total cost of A$12 billion.

However, once the Republic of Iverica has been approached, a clearer idea of the cost of these vessels will be known. There is enough flexibility within the allocated funds to push the amount that is to be spent higher, especially if the option for several more vessels is taken up.

 

Missile Boats

The current class of missile boats utilised by the Imperial Navy are nearing the end of their life cycle. The Riptarion-class is almost thoroughly obsolete. Their design meant that they were amongst the fastest vessels in Europa at the time of their design and building, in the 1980s. Now more modern and heavier vessels can reach a similar or greater speed, have heavier armament and can mount modern countermeasures systems, as well as designs that reduce their radar cross sections.

The replacement for the Riptarion-class will feature two quad canisters of anti-ship missiles, a 76mm gun, a Hyros CIWS, a surface-to-air missile launcher and two deck-mounted 7.7mm machine guns. The design of the vessel will reduce the radar cross section, further adding to its survivability. The experience gained from the design and construction of the O Anemos tou Theou-class design and the Pneumatikos- and Protokynegos-class frigates informed the design of the new missile boat. They will be able to reach 46 knots and have a displacement of 600 tonnes.

The name selected for the class will be “Akontia”, a type of javelin used by the Imperial Army roughly one thousand years ago. This continues with the naming convention of naming classes of missile boats and fast attack craft after ancient weaponry, with missile boats being named after javelins. However, the individual vessels themselves will receive an alphanumeric designation rather than a name.

The number of vessels purchased will be 30, at a cost of A$80 million per vessel, with a research and development cost of A$1 billion. This will mean that the total programme will come to a total of $3.4 billion.

 

Supply Vessels

In order to further increase the ability of the Imperial Navy to provide supply and sealift support to the Aroman Armed Forces and the international deployments undertaken by it, it has been decided to purchase several civilian container ships and tankers for use by the Imperial Navy. In the past, vessels of these types were contracted in for operations where they were necessary. It is now felt that commissioning new vessels of these types and operating them directly will provide more value for money, as well as a larger degree of flexibility for future operations.

These vessels are also to be purchased from a foreign supplier. This decision was made to free up shipbuilding capacity in Aromania, as there is a likelihood that even civilian builders may be called upon to build vessels that are part of Plan 7542. The 12 vessels – 6 container ships, 6 tanker ships – will be commissioned from shipbuilders within the Kingdom of Per Aten, and there will be the option for increasing this number at a future date. This decision was not without controversy but was made due to the Alharan nation's experienced and vaunted container ship manufacturers. This is, however, pending further discussion. Potential political and diplomatic reactions will be monitored closely.

The two classes are as follows:

Kommerkiarios-class, a Manamax container ship. 6 of these are to be built, at a projected cost of A$50 million each. The total cost will be $0.3 billion.

Komventianos-class, a Manamax tanker ship. This class will consist of 6 vessels, at a cost of A$35 million each. The total cost of the class will be $0.21 billion

 

Aircraft

In order to fit out the new light aircraft carriers that are to be built, the Imperial Navy will need new aircraft. Each will need sixteen new multirole fighters for the light aircraft carriers, although the number of aircraft deployed to each ship can be between 10 and 16. It is aimed to procure 12 aircraft per ship, with ten more purchased for training and familiarisation purposes.

Any combat aircraft will need to have VSTOL abilities to be used on the new aircraft carriers. At the moment, the Imperial Navy Fleet Air Arm uses M/T-81 Alkedos, an aircraft co-developed with Adaptus. However, neither Aromania nor Adaptus are currently attempting to develop a replacement for the ageing fighter, as Adaptus appears to prefer to update the aircraft, as opposed to developing a replacement. Due to this, it has been decided by the Holy Imperial Government to seek a replacement to the M/T-81 Alkedos from other sources. The government of the Kingdom of Gallambria is to be approached, in order to purchase the F-8B Thunder for use on the Protomartyr-class.

It is estimated that the total order will cost in the region of A$17.6 billion to procure. However, the final cost will await discussion with the Gallambrian government.

 

*Some officers, who shall remain unnamed, put forward the opinion that naming vessels after historic figures who are famous for being killed might inspire misfortune for the vessels. These officers were charged with blasphemy and handed over to the Ecclesiastical Courts for trial and sentencing. Once they have completed their penances, these individuals will be returned to duty, if their penances inhibit them carrying our their duties. It is not thought that further, military-secular punishment would be necessary, as they will have made amends for their sins.

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Expansion of Current Classes and Extending the Reach of God's Chosen Nation

 

Aircraft Carriers

An option discussed at an early stage of the formulation of Plan 7542 was the purchasing of one or two more Protathlites tou Christou-class aircraft carriers, with two being the number preferred by both the Imperial Navy and the Holy Imperial Government. This would be a significant expansion of the nuclear carrier force operated by the Imperial Navy and allow more flexibility, maintaining our nation's force projection abilities when some of the vessels are being overhauled or repaired. The Grand Federal Imperium of Adaptus is still manufacturing the last of the production run of the Joint Aroman Carrier aircraft carriers and the Holy Imperial Government has been offered the option of purchasing at least two of them in the past. This would significantly increase the strategic capabilities of the Imperial Navy and likely mean that our nation's navy was the pre-eminent one on Eurth.

The cost of the vessels would be at least A$11 billion for each ship and it is estimated that the carrier air wing for each aircraft carrier would be another A$7 billion on top of the cost of purchasing the vessels themselves. The total for the two carriers would be in the region of A$38 billion for the aircraft carriers and their aircraft. There would also be the question of whether the Imperial Navy had enough other vessels to form carrier strike groups with the two possible carriers. This then would mean procuring more vessels of different classes to fulfil those roles, such as several more guided missile cruisers, destroyers, support vessels and more rotary-wing aircraft. It is estimated that this could be in the region of another A$12 billion, for a total cost of A$50 billion. Whilst within the budget of the programme, the cost would mean significantly stripping back other aspects of Plan 7542. This would likely mean that the aim of the programme, to increase the sealift capability and reach of the Imperial Navy, would be negatively impacted, to the point where this aim was almost meaningless.

Therefore, the purchase of two new Protathlites tou Christou-class aircraft carriers is to be deferred for the immediate future. The option is to remain on the table, at least for the time being.

 

Corvettes

The Strator-class corvette is reaching the end of its useful life with the Imperial Navy. The newest of the vessels was commissioned in EK7492 (AD1982) and all of the ships are showing their age. They are now considered to be obsolete and due for replacement. Due to this, the Myropses-class version of the O Anemos tou Theou-class design is to be expanded by twenty vessels, matching the number of Strator-class ships that are to be withdrawn from service.

Each of the new vessels has the cost of A$80 million and, as noted above, twenty are to be purchased. The total cost of this is to be A$1.6 billion.

 

Patrol Vessels

The numbers of patrol vessels of the Imperial Navy are to be expanded. This is because of the increased size of both the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone that the Greater Holy Empire now has, after the reabsorption of the Hexanesa and the return of direct Aroman control to the Hermitage Islands. This will include both the Pantoskopeionikos Offshore Patrol Vessel, part of the O Anemos tou Theou-class design family, and the Posforion patrol vessel. The increase in patrol vessels will also see the expansion of mine countermeasures vessels in service with the Imperial Navy. The bottling-up of the Suverinian Navy during the later stages of the Anglian War is a lesson that all other navies must take on board.

10 new Thaumatourgos Mine Countermeasures Vessels are to be purchased, at the cost of A$200 million per vessel. The total cost of this will be A$2 billion

10 new Posforion patrol vessels will be purchased at A$15,000,000 each, for a total cost of A$0.15 billion.

10 new Pantoskopeionikos Offshore Patrol vessels will be purchased, at the cost of A$75,000,000 for each vessel and a total cost of A$0.75 billion.

 

Landing Craft

As an expansion of the sealift and amphibious capabilities of the Imperial Navy, the number of landing craft of all types will be significantly expanded. These aid the ability of Aromania to undertake landing operations, as well as the transport of cargo and personnel from vessels to the shore, and vice versa. This can help our nation's navy undertake both military and humanitarian operations. The numbers stated below are part of the Plan 7542 programme but the option will be retained to expand these numbers as necessary.

20 Peziko kai Apovatiko Skafos Armaton Machis (PKASAM) landing ship tanks, at A$10,000,000 per vessel. The total cost will be A$0.2 billion.

30 Voithitiko Skafos Prosgeíosis (VSP) landing craft utility, at A$5,000,000 per vessel. Total cost will be A$0.15 billion.

30 Skafos Apovivasis Pezikou (SAP) landing craft personnel, at A$3,000,000 per vessel. Total cost will be A$0.09 billion.

 

Submarines

It is clear that Aromania needs to expand its submarine fleet in order to meet its defence needs in the post-Anglia wurld. An expanded submarine fleet will be able to patrol the increased territorial waters of our sacred nation but also support our nation's forces and aims overseas. Due to this, as part of the Plan 7542 programme, an additional 12 Karkharias-class submarines will be ordered.

Each Karkharias-class submarine is costed at A$500,000,000, with the total cost of A$6 billion.

 

Mission Support

Due to the increase in the number of submarines that are included within the Plan 7542, the number of Minsourator submarine tenders will need to be increased. This will mean that the vessels themselves can operate for longer without returning to port, further improving the reach of the Imperial Navy.

Each Minsourator is costed at $500,000,000 and the total cost for 2 vessels will be $1 billion.

As part of the expansion of the sealift capability of the Imperial Navy, the number of Dioiketes logistics support vessels is to be increased. Their primary task is the direct transport cargo to shallow terminal areas, remote under-developed coastlines and on inland waterways. Their ability to do this without needing port facilities means that they can do this almost anywhere, significantly improving the sealift capabilities of the Imperial Navy. These vessels have limited armaments for self-defence and also have a helipad at the rear of the ship.

A Dioiketes is costed at $250,000,000 and the total cost of the 8 ships will be $2 billion.

 

Replenishment

The last of the ageing Aktouarios-class vessels are to be decommissioned and replaced by 8 more Armikoustos-class. These vessels have a much larger capacity for fuels and supplies than the Aktourarios-class. This will further increase the reach and ability of the Imperial Navy, beyond that of what it is now, as it will enable more vessels to be refuelled at sea. These vessels also carry weapons for self-defence and are built for but not with a CIWS.

The Armikoustos-class vessels cost A$500,000,000, with the total of 8 ships costing $4 billion.

Along with the expansion of the Aktourarios-class, the Exisotes-class dry cargo ship numbers will also be increased. These can operate in concert with the replenishment oiler to resupply an entire carrier strike group whilst at sea. They can also be utilised to supply other groups of vessels, which, again will increase the ability of the Imperial Navy to reach across the glube.

Each Exisotes-class vessel will cost A$500,000,000 to produce. The total of 8 ships will cost A$4 billion.

 

Sealift and Supply

The strengthening of the Imperial Navy's sealift capabilities is one of the main objectives for Plan 7542. This will be expressed in the construction and commissioning 12 new Zygostates vehicle cargo vessels. These will aid in the transport of Aroman forces to much of the glube, as well as forming the foundation of the supply and resupply of these forces. This would be alongside any civilian vessels that are contracted to support the Aroman Armed Forces.

12 Zygostates-class are to be built, at a cost of A$500,000 per vessel, for a total of A$6 billion.

 

Aircraft

In order to fit out the new Protomartyr light aircraft that is to be built, the Imperial Navy will need new aircraft. Each will need 12 navalised El-07 Tabanos medium utility helicopters, for a total of 120. The Hieromartyr amphibious transport docks will need 4 El-07 Tabanos helicopters, for a total of 48. This will mean a total of 168 aircraft.

Each of the aircraft costs A$28,000,000 and the total cost will be A$4.704 billion.

The 20 Myropses-class and the 10 Pantoskopeionikos-class will also need the navalised version of the El-86 Voloukellos medium utility helicopters in order to fully perform their roles. This will likely mean the purchase of 30 more rotary-wing aircraft.

Each El-86 Voloukellos costs A$21,000,000 and the total cost will be A$0.63 billion.

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Economic and Environmental Assessment of Plan 7542

 

Economic Costs and Benefits

Plan 7542 is, without a doubt, one of the largest naval expansions undertaken by the Imperial Navy, and one of the most expensive. It will see over two hundred new vessels built over the course of the next decade, as well as hundreds more aircraft and thousands of new naval personnel in order to crew those. At the moment, it is envisioned that it will be within the A$100 billion budget but there is the potential for it to increase in cost as the glubal market for materials fluctuates. This is why there has been a contingency of another A$20 billion factored in, although it is not thought that the entirety of this will be used even in worst case scenarios.

The military budget of the Aroman Armed Forces will be increased from 4.5% of our nation's GDP – A$249 billion as of FY2024 – to 5% of GDP in order to pay for both the building programme and the cost of new personnel. This will increase the military budget to A$277 billion, although this calculation uses a figure that may be out of date by the time the programme begins as it uses a calculation of growth from the third quarter of the year. Assessments by the Imperial Navy, the High Command, the Ministry for Finance and the Aroman Fiscal Council suggest that growth of the Aroman economy will provide additional flexibility within these bounds. The latter two also suggest that the Aroman economy is likely to continue to grow, although that is not withstanding any unforeseen economic circumstances that may affect that prediction and the growth is not thought to be above 2%. It was considered to be beyond the scope of economic assessments by the former two to predict any future economic growth of the economy. Any possible tax adjustments or increases in government borrowing to pay for the increased military spending are also not going to be discussed here, as that is considered to be outside of this document's remit.

The most clear economic benefit will be an increase in jobs in the shipbuilding industry and new positions within the Imperial Navy. These will, in turn, benefit other businesses based around the home ports of the new ships and the areas of shipbuilding within the Greater Holy Empire. This will see some of the outlay eventually returned to the Holy Imperial Government in the form of taxes, although it will obviously not be as much as initially laid out. This will in turn help the local economies in the areas and boost the Aroman economy overall, although not to a huge extent. It will not be a permanent boost, however, as the Plan is expected to last ten years. There will be lasting employment beyond that, as a larger navy will need larger maintenance and repair facilities, which will need trained operatives in a wide range of occupations and skill sets. The building programme will also strengthen the Aroman naval and shipbuilding industries, providing the future skills and knowledge needed to build the next generation of naval ships. Again, this is beyond the scope of this programme and future ship classes and replacements for vessels outlined in this plan are not going to be covered here.

 

Building the Future of the Imperial Navy

The construction contracts themselves are yet to be awarded. It is likely that many of the contracts for classes that are already in construction or have been recently constructed will go to those shipbuilding companies that built them initially. This has not been confirmed yet and will also be decided on the basis of capacity. If it seems as if a company does not have the capacity to build the ships within the time frame laid down by the Holy Imperial Government, then the contract itself may be divided between several shipbuilders in order to speed up the process. This will be decided on a case by case basis, as there is the potential for this to cause more issues during the construction phase itself than it solves. Smaller, less technically complex vessels, such as the various landing craft classes, will be broken up into several smaller contracts and split between smaller shipbuilding companies. It is thought that smaller civilian companies will be able to build large numbers of these vessels and the Holy Imperial Government is considering awarding some of these contracts to companies based in the Hexanesa, partially to promote economic growth on those islands but this remains an open question.

One clear aspect is that it is likely that Aromania's shipbuilding capacity will be pushed to the limit by the number of vessels that are going to be produced. Due to this, it is planned that foreign naval defence companies will be contracted to construct some of the larger vessels. This will also mean that the programme itself will be less likely to be impacted by delays, as the construction will be spread across several nations. The Holy Imperial Government is considering approaching Iverica and the North Adlantic Union to construct some of the Protomartyr- and Heiromartyr-class vessels, as these nations have the expertise and experience in constructing naval vessels that is comparable to our own. Whilst there is the potential that changes in diplomatic and political relationships between Aromania and these nations might impact construction, this is perceived to be low risk. Some may consider this the less patriotic route to go down but, equally, the more rapidly the programme is met means a stronger Greater Holy Empire. This is also why Per-Aten was approached over the construction of container vessels, although it is to be pointed out that our nation does not have so close ties with them and it is not considered as much of a loss were something untoward happen to the civilian vessels that they are to produce. God willing it will not.

If foreign companies are used in this manner, then the Holy Imperial Government and the Imperial Navy will be keen to monitor the progress. It may also foster the relationship between our nation and these, as well as these defence companies. It may lead to more collaborative projects in the future and reducing the barriers between the sharing of technology. This itself will feed back into one of the stated aims of the Plan, to strengthen Eurth's rules-based order, something that has been reduced in recent years by rogue states such as Anglia and others.

 

Defraying the Cost of the Future and Disposing of the Past

In order to reduce some of the costs of the acquisition of new vessels, some of the existing classes will be sold after they are withdrawn from service, rather than scrapped. Whilst this is not certain, it is expected that the Limanion-, Skouton- Protosebastos- and Aktouarios-class vessels will be attractive to less well developed nations, as a way of improving their sea power at a lower cost than designing and building their own vessels or purchasing them new from other nations. Nations friendly towards Aromania will be approached to see if they would be interested in buying any of these, before the option to scrap the vessels is taken. These will have sensitive equipment and armaments removed beforehand, although Aroman expertise will be offered in refitting these vessels to any buyer's standard.

The Holy Imperial Government will also consider the option of foreign interest in the new classes produced as part of Plan 7542 being offered to friendly foreign nations. This will, again, go towards the expenditure incurred in making the Imperial Navy one of the foremost navies on Eurth. Both the Protomartyr- and Heiromartyr-classes may prove to be attractive to other nations as alternatives to vessels developed by their own naval sectors. The Akontia-class missile boats may also be offered to foreign buyers, as they will represent one of the most advanced examples available to any navy, even if the sensitive electronics and weapons systems fitted by the Imperial Navy are not fitted to them. These new classes may also get more attention than the older classes being offered, as they will be new vessels rather than ones decommissioned from the Imperial Navy, and therefore showing some signs of their age and fatigue.

The Riptarion-class is considered to be so obsolete as to be unlikely to find any buyers, so will be scrapped entirely. This is also true of the Strator-class and these vessels will also be disposed of, rather than making any attempt to sell them to another navy. Any vessels that cannot find buyers for them, and the classes considered so obsolete as to be unsellable, will be scrapped. This process will involve selling the ships off for scrap to buyers that will dispose of the ships in line with the Ministry of the Environment's accredited ship scrapping scheme. If foreign companies wish to purchase vessels for scrapping, then they will have to both attain accreditation with the Ministry of the Environment and demonstrate continued compliance. They will also have to allow some initial monitoring by staff from the Ministry for War, in order to ascertain that the vessels are not being purchased for later re-militarisation.

 

Environmental Impact – Securing the Future but Not Costing It

There is almost no part of this Plan that could be considered to be environmentally friendly. From the extraction of raw materials, transport of materials, construction of the vessels and the operation of the ships and aircraft that are part of the programme, almost every part will generate significant amounts of greenhouse gases. This will be both directly from the construction of the vessels and indirectly from secondary activities, such as the increase in movements of workers and their families. The only real way for this plan to be truly environmentally friendly would be to not go through with it at all. However, it is considered key to the future of Aromania for this Plan to be put into action. As God's chosen nation on Eurth, a strong Aromania helps safeguard the future of the wurld, as our nation's environmental policies are amongst the best on the glube. After all, eumans are the shepherds of the wurld, just as our Lord is the shepherd of us eumans.

Therefore, the Holy Imperial Government has set down ways in which the environmental impacts of this Plan will be mitigated. This is considered to be of utmost importance by his Aroman Majesty, as the preservation of God's Eurth is key to not just our nation's future but that of all eumans. Some of these mitigation actions will be outlined here.

One of the main ways this will be carried out will be through an extensive rewilding and reforesting plan. This will be carried out through the Ministries of War and the Environment and will be the Inter-Ministerial Working Group for Mitigation of the Environmental Effects of Plan 7542, to be referred to as MEEP. It will work in conjunction with bodies from the University of Petrion and the Mouseion, as these academic institutions specialise in environmental and ecological sciences. This programme will involve the planting of one tree for every tonne displaced by the vessels at full load, as well as rewilding areas of former military bases and other former military establishments. Therefore, it will involve the planting of 2,069,842 trees, as the total tonnage of the vessels is 2,069,842 tonnes. In order for this to be effective and not just see thousands of saplings and seeds planted only for them to die off rapidly, or to engender further environmental damage through incorrect choices of species or locations, MEEP will work with the aforementioned academic organisations to implement a scheme that complements and sustains the local environments and wildlife in the locations selected for this. This will also provide the benefit of encouraging the strengthening of local biodiversity, as well as the environment of Aromania as a whole. MEEP will continue to work and monitor the areas and their condition for several decades after Plan 7542 has finished, in conjunction with Natural Aromania. The length and scope of this monitoring operation will be outlined by MEEP at a later date.

The Imperial Navy, in line with the position taken by the Holy Imperial Government, will also require any contracted organisations to adhere to the environmental guidelines laid down the the Ministry for the Environment. These include clear plans indicating their reduction of their carbon footprint and use of fossil fuels, a pathway to achieve those plans and clear steps towards them. The Imperial Navy will also utilise rail freight over road freight where possible and utilise electric vehicles where practicable. The aim will be to reduce the amount of diesel vehicles on the Aroman road network. The Holy Imperial Government will also offer special subsidies towards the installation of solar panels and ground-source heat pumps, as well as subsidies on electric vehicles in place of diesel and petrol vehicles that these companies operate. The aim will be, again, to reduce the number of petrol or diesel vehicles on the Aroman road network, as well as the use of fossil fuels in general. This will go some way towards reducing the environmental impact of the Plan but also to decreasing the reliance on imported fuels, therefore improving the strategic situation of the Great Holy Empire.

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Conclusion – the Reach of the Imperial Navy Will be Felt Across Eurth

As stated above, Plan 7542 will represent one of the largest naval expansion plans undertaken by any navy. The variety of classes built and the number of vessels is almost unheard of during peacetime. However, it is this that will secure peace for the Greater Holy Empire for decades to come. All of the vessels are expected to have a service life in excess of two decades, should nothing untoward happen. This will mean that the Imperial Navy will become one of the most powerful on Eurth and continue to be so for years to come. When working in conjunction with allied and friendly nations, it is likely that there would be no place beyond the reach of Aroman arms. The Plan will go far in making sure that Aromania remains one of the major powers of Eurth, let alone Europa.

However, it must be made clear that this move has not been done in order to intimidate other nations but to increase the security of Aromania and its interests. It is not the intent of the Holy Imperial Government to spark a naval arms race. To quote the late 1800s Orinese naval officer, Tewodros Tenesa – “A good navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guarantee of peace.” The ability of the Greater Holy Empire to intervene almost anywhere on Eurth means that Tagmatika will be able to make sure that the rules-based international order is not shattered again, like it has been on several occasions recently. Not least of this was the Anglia War. With extended reach, the Aroman Armed Forces could aid with nipping these crises in the bud. It cannot be doubted that the lack of reach is what has been holding the Imperial Navy back in the past, as it was one of the most powerful naval forces on Eurth even before the enactment of Plan 7542. Now there will be little doubt to that idea once this programme takes full effect.

The Plan will take the next ten years to carry out, however, and only if it pleases God. The vessels of classes that are being replaced by newer classes will be decommissioned as their replacements are commissioned. It is expected that a group of experienced personnel will be withdrawn from an older vessel and to train on a new one before being integrated into it, introducing a core of experience to that ship. This may see an initial dilution of the effectiveness of the Imperial Navy but it is expected that this experienced core will bring the growing force up to speed quickly. It will take careful training and the naval academies have been instructed to draw up assessments of how they will be able to rise to this challenge as institutions. It would only help the enemies of Aromania to dilute or otherwise weaken the training and education that naval personnel need to function in the modern naval warfare environment. Part of this is why the Imperial Navy has become one of the foremost naval forces on Eurth in the aftermath of the Civil War of 2005.

The development of naval infrastructure will also need to be addressed. With the construction of two hundred more vessels, there also needs to be the facilities to support them. It was considered by the Holy Imperial Government that improvements in infrastructure – port facilities, dry docks, fuelling systems and more – could be allocated from the increased defence budget, rather than from that of Plan 7542. Additions and improvements to the infrastructure of the Imperial Navy's port facilities will, however, be key to the long term success of the Plan. After all, it is one thing to build the ships and quite another to make sure that they are functional and in a good state of repair. The High Command is certainly aware of this and will make sure that these systems are in place so that the new naval forces do not just degrade and become worthless.

It also must be mentioned that the vessels themselves go only some way towards the coverage of Eurth. There also needs to be the physical infrastructure in other parts of the wurld, too. Although it is likely that many friendly foreign nations would be willing to resupply Imperial Navy vessels, or provide refuelling facilities, Aromania has only one base outside of the Occident, the naval base in Secryae. This proved to be vital during the conflict in Dolchland. To truly see a wurld-wide reach, there will need to be more such facilities. However, further supposition on this theme would be beyond the scope of this Plan.

This Plan will see the start of a new era, potentially a new Pax Aromana, God willing.

 

Summary List of the Vessels and Aircraft to be Purchased and Cost

This is a summary of the vessels and aircraft that are to be commissioned and purchased for Plan 7542, the number of each class or type and the cost. A total cost of the Plan is provided at the end.

 

Aircraft Carrier

Protomartyr – Aircraft Carrier CVL (10) – A$17.5 billion

 

Landing Helicopter Dock

Heiromartyr – Amphibious Transport Dock (12) – A$14 billion

 

Cruiser

Euseves – Guided Missile Cruiser (10) – A$12 billion

 

Corvette

Myropses – Corvette (20) – A$1.6 billion

 

Missile Boat

Akontia – Missile Boat (30) – A$3.4 billion

 

Patrol Vessels

Thaumatourgos – Mine Countermeasures Vessel (10) – A$2 billion

Posphorion – Patrol (10) –  $0.15 billion

Pantoskopeionikos – Offshore Patrol (10) – A$0.75 billion

 

Landing Craft

Peziko kai Apovatiko Skafos Armaton Machis (PKASAM) – Tank Landing Ship (20) – A$0.2 billion

Voithitiko Skafos Prosgeíosis (VSP) – Landing Craft (30) – A$0.15 billion

Skafos Apovivasis Pezikou (SAP) – Landing Craft (30) – A$0.09 billion

 

Submarines

Karkharias – Attack Submarine (12) – A$6 billion

 

Mission Support

Dioiketes – Logistics Support Ship (8) – A$2 billion

Minsourator – Submarine Tender (2) (Emory S. Land-class) – A$1 billion

 

Replenishment

Armikoustos – Replenishment Oiler (8) – A$4 billion

Exisotes – Dry Cargo Ship (8) – A$4 billion

 

Sealift and Supply

Zygostates – Roll-on/Roll-off Vehicle Cargo Ship (12) – A$6 billion

Kommerkiarios – Manamax Container Ship (6) – A$0.3 billion

Komventianos – Manamax Tanker Ship (6) – A$0.21 billion

 

Aircraft

F-8B Thunder (130) A$17.6 billion.

El-07 Tabanos (168) – A$4.704 billion

El-86 Voloukellos (30) – A$0.63 billion

 

Total

Vessels: 238

Fixed-wing Aircraft: 130

Rotary-wing Aircraft: 198

Cost: A$98.284 billion

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