JJT - how much does it cost to hire a sailor, train him, support him and his family throughout his service, thank him for his service, send him to school, compensate him for any injuries, provide him a lifetime pension and medical benefits and provide a military funeral?
The ancillary costs of hiring, especially in the US, is astronomical.
And I don't begrudge the benefits. That is not my point. The point is that the personnel budget burden needs to be given a good hard look when making capital and operating budget decisions. And I continue in my belief that the CF is mired in making sure that Admiral Nelson has a decent number of sideboys for his funeral.
Meanwhile, in civilian practice, a handful of operators will be responsible for using hundreds of valves, dozens of motors, sensors and vessels, all controlled via PLCs, to convert tens of ingredients and materials into hundreds of different varieties of products in assorted containers.
Long ago, when I was a Sea Cadet in Peterborough and fascinated by technology, particularly hovercraft, I came across a book called Janes Surface Effects Ships and Skimmers. A centre piece of the publication was a Canadian Boat/Ship - HMCS Brador. You'll know her I'm sure. More particularly interesting was an accompanying article on the future fleet envisaged by DeHavilland Canada (the builders) and the RCN. The concept was to create a flotilla, if not a fleet, of bluewater gunboats. The boats would be 100 ton displacement, crew of 14, cruise speed of 10 knots (convoy speed) and sprint speed of 50 kts. The vessel was envisaged as carrying 8 tonnes of weaponry (57mm and a Vulcan, or missiles and a Vulcan) or a VDS system, torps and a Vulcan. The roles were patrol, convoy escort and ASW (employing sprint and drift tactics). The little boats performed well in high sea states due to the stabilizing effect of the hydrofoils.
I am well aware of the problems that the Brad had, and more generally the hydrofoils had, but I continue to believe that there have been many instances where opportunities to exploit technology have been missed.