John Hartley on Getting Out of FSTAI have long been a critic of this ghastly PFI. In May 2002, it was reported that post 9/11 many 2nd hand aircraft values had slumped. For example , near new MD11s had dropped from $46 million to $39 million. Several airlines got rid of their entire 15 strong MD11 fleets all with the same engines/avionics. IF the Treasury had been awake we could have bought 15 MD11 from the same airline all to the same spec for under $600 million. The Dutch had no problem turning older DC-10s into tankers. Even with conversion & infrastructure costs, the whole bill for 15 (not 14) would have been under £1.5 billion. I think there is a good case for a new Unfair Contracts Act that covers PFIs. If we keep the 9 three point A330s, I would look at adding a flying boom to the 5 two point A330s. Once we have bought them out of course. With the weight of refuelling gear, no charter airline is going to use them for passengers without fat subsidies. That daft idea needs to be knocked on the head for good.x on Farewell HMS Ark Royal@ Mark The idea of LHA/D being used for sea control is nothing new nor is the speculation about replace fleet carriers with such. It is all about helicopter spots. And I am sorry the fixed wing CAS, though very important, is a secondary capability.McZ on Farewell HMS Ark Royal@Jeremy M H CVFs ships complement is 679. which is basically nearly 400 less than a LHA for nearly 50% "more" ship. The full complement of 1,600 is calculated on a max aircraft complement that is 60% larger (20 F-35+2 helo vs. 36+4). The main difference IMO are the munitions storage and lift facilities (HMWHS), that are vastly superior of that of a LHA. The X-47 or the UCLASS requirement it is intended to fulfil is pretty much ISTAR centred. Not sure the USN wants to adopt a real warfighting UAV any time soon. UCLASS itself has recently been pushed to 2024. I guess, it will be China fielding the first UCAV capability.Think Defence on Carrier Strike 2010 – Deeply Flawed and ImmatureJohn, no, I think it was more than that. What is exposed was the grubby backroom shenanigans that went on behind closed doors in the last few weeks prior to SDSR2010. If you remember I recalled anecdotal tales of the project team being as surprised at the decision as everyone else, that the decision was based on information that went against decades of planning and detailed staff work and that it would come to bite the MoD on the arse as the complete lack of in depth analysis of the options became obvious. Flocks of chickens came home to roost because the SoS Defence, surrounded by a little clique of advisors and senior officers, all of whom were divorced from the reality, made a massive decision almost on the back of a fag packet. Now if I could have predicted what a cake and arse party it would subsequently turn out to be then what the fuck are we paying the braided and pinstriped buffoons for? I mean seriously, although I might enjoy the ‘told you so’ smugness for a while, what does it say for the quality of those in senior positions that a half arsed blog can be bang on the money. It might be luck, it might just be a good guess but what came to pass was exactly as I predicted it would. I don’t buy into the ‘decision was the right one at the time’ theme either, it was wrong, plain and simple. That’s why I think Phil Hammond, Jon Thompson and Bernard Grey need to be roundly congratulated because they had the balls to call it for what it was and make a very difficult and embarrassing U turn. If the PAC and NAO had any sense, they would look into the decision making process in the run up to publication of SDSR 2010, name names, point fingers and extract a pound of flesh to serve as an example of those who think spunking at least £100m up the wall on a whim is OK, or just a blip on their career and path to knighthood.John Hartley on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalOOPs, made the mistake of mixing standard with full load. A standard displacement carrier of 25,000 tons would probably have a full load of around 30,000 tons.John Hartley on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalFound Mike Critchleys British Warships 1993/4. It had an item of future carriers. The Invincibles had a standard displacement of 16,000 tons. The CVSG(R) that was being planned to replace them would have had a standard displacement of 20,000 to 25,000 tons. At the time it was thought to have been three for three, so 3 new stovl carriers, each 4,000 to 9,000 tons larger than the Invincibles they replaced. Would 3 fully equipped 25,000 tonners been more use than 2 partly equipped 65,000 tonners?Mark on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalJeremy The marine capability has had impacts on structure and size of the overall jet has it been overplayed by some yes but none the less if those requirements were not there the task would have been made easier and a lot of technical resource that was very stretched designing these aircraft could have been used else were in the program. And the uk most likely would never have been involved with the program. x thats all well but there is plenty of stuff coming out of the marines now and in many places all over the net that suggests these evolved amphib groups will be taking on a sort of mini carrier role with f35 predominately placed. I don't really buy losing a single helicopter spot on a single ship in a task group is such a big deal. I more view it as big brother has some incredibly expensive big ships its having some difficulty fully justifying numbers wise and wants no further encroachment into that area by a force with significant support in congress. Does anyone know why illustrious's ramp wasn't removed at her last refit when she became a helicopter carrier?John Hartley on Carrier Strike 2010 – Deeply Flawed and ImmatureIn the past we had some politicians who were clueless, but others had wartime experience & balanced them. No such senior politicians now. Senior public officials would also be clued up & gently enlighten an intelligence challeged minister. Chances are now that the senior public official will just aim for a quiet life & a gold plated pension. No making waves. TD I did not see the committee as it would not play on my Victorian broadband. I suspect it was the usual mix of an aspiration which was fudged when it had to be paid for, passed along in the hope it would come right in the end.x on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalI think we are forgetting that USMC fixed wing CAS pre-dates the helicopter. That the Wasp's are bigger than many WW2 carriers. And that Harrier allowed them to combine helicopter and fixed wing CAS into one hull. That F35b outperforms Harrier, wow, that is the march of technology. LHA/D's primary job is to land waves of men and material as quickly as possible; the fire support mission is secondary and mostly happens when the Marines have gone ashore and the deck is less "busy". Lastly remember they are going ashore once the way has been cleared for them by the CBG and other assets.Jeremy M H on Farewell HMS Ark Royal@Mark I agree that it may well have been wise to tell the Marines to piss off about another STOVL aircraft. I can make a pretty reasonable argument that it should have been done that way. As it stands I don't think the impact of the B was nearly as ruinous on the F-35 program as it has been portrayed by some as being and that was an important aircraft for many partners (UK, Italy and probably others in the future) on the F-35 program so we might as well us it since it is here now.JS on CVF Video – Spot the CraneX, If you launch a Chinook from a Bay, Albion, and keep Ocean and/or illustrious in your task group you should be able to get your 18 in the air.Jeremy M H on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalI certainly did not mean to come across as flippant. I just think for the majority of operations those ships engage in the benefits of the benefits of a better system for the F-35 is not outweighed by the downside in helo operations even if there is a marginal improvement in safety as a result. I think the F-35 will realized a lot of improvements in that area simply by automating a lot of the take off task anyway. I don't doubt that politics play some role with this, I just don't think it is decisive one. And I would say politics would matter in this more than inter service rivalry. US history with flat-decked amphibious ships predates the Harrier so when one ask why have F-35's at all my response would be that when the Harrier came along they thought it might prove useful to have a few fixed-winged assets aboard to support the ships core mission. I don't think it goes much beyond that really.Mark on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalWell that's a hell of an expensive tertiary role when there spending close to 60b pounds developing and buying it and in the process imposed restricting on the future of western tactical airpower to meet said requirement. So perhaps someone should have said to the marines when they asked for a vertical takeoff supersonic stealth strike jet sorry that's your secondary role.x on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalThe ramp may take up say 10% of the physical deck space, but how much space does it actually impinge on? That is the question. If helicopters can't be backed over the space or a tractor has to make extra manoeuvres moving an aircraft to clear the ski-ramp then the ramp in reality takes up more space than just the physical 10%. One helicopter less is what 20 or extra marines or one less load of cargo at the LZ. Seeing as they are moving at best a company sized group I would venture those 20 or so extra marines (or load of cargo) could make a difference to the outcome of an operation (or part of). Another thought. As CVF will have a ramp and will be optimised for F35b then who knows in some future crisis it may turn out that the USMC may want CVF for F35b so freeing hanger deck space in their LHD as I have speculated before.All Politicians are The same on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalI must agree with JMH here. We have a ski ramp on QE class as not having one imposes a limitation on its primary purpose which is the operation of FJ assets. The USMC do not have one on the America class as having one imposes a limitation of their primary purpose which is the operation of rotary/tilt wing assets. T me it makes perfect sense to accept any limitation affecting your secondary or even tertiary role.x on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalTD said "Would be interesting to understand the percentage of time the area that would be used for a ski jump has helicopters parked on it!" Really? Space is space. Think it about it this way. You are shuffling aircraft around that cost tens of millions around a few acres, several stories up, and doing say 20kts. I think if the USN (USMC) can do without all that extra structure then why have it? Aren't flight deck operations complicated enough?Think Defence on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalWould be interesting to understand the percentage of time the area that would be used for a ski jump has helicopters parked on itMark on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalDon't really give it too much though if they have ramps or not I only commented because I felt the statement of ramps only having limited usefulness was slightly disingenuous, ramps improve safety and when you have 6 very expensive assets or 1/4 of the aircraft carried using them and one of the more challenging f35 design kpps related to lha deck roll it may be worth a look. However good old service politics I'm confident plays a huge part. If maximising helicopter operations is the priority then why carry f35 at all.Mark on Getting Out of FSTAMartin While all aircraft are pre wired to take pods you wouldn't need more than half a dozen to 8 aar kits available, you are never going to assign all your a400ms to the aar tasking. Think Libya was closer to 50 tankers but that was a coalition operation and Europe will receive over 150 a400m and about 30-40 dedicated tanker aircraft in the coming years we only need to make a contribution not do it all ourselves.Jeremy M H on Getting Out of FSTAI certainly hope that the UK is able to get out of this deal but I am dubious about politicians finding the political will to try if the banks are opposed to it. I do agree with Mark, you could get by with something like 8-12 sets of refueling pods for the A400m. You don't need a set for every aircraft. I think the USAF is buying around 40-50 sets of drouge pods for the first 150ish 767 based tankers.Ace Rimmer on CVF Video – Spot the CraneStirring stuff this video and music malarkey, the PR department must be all slapping themselves on the back, however, it should have come with a written disclaimer scrolled along the bottom saying something along the lines of, "View of carriers post 2020." Regarding the bit with the Carrier flanked by two escorts and a sub in front looked quite inspiring, unfortunately the first thing that sprang to mind was, "Nuclear sub tows mothballed UK carrier to Turkish breakers yard due to defence cuts and failure to find a foreign buyer." PR is a wonderful thing.................Think Defence on CVF Video – Spot the CraneNo takers on my quiz question?x on CVF Video – Spot the Crane@ Private Frazer I have had similar thoughts re CVF's naval aviation group. I am not sure how many Chinook CVF can carry; the video shows 6 but it must be able to carry 12-ish. I know we have discussed folding rotors for Chinook here. And I think I am right in saying that it takes 18 Chinook lifts to one light role battalion. So taking your "secondary group" idea a stage further we could have a mixed AAC / RAF grouping of say 12 Chinook, 6(8)Wildcat, 6(8) Apache, and a Parachute Regiment battalion. Which makes me think we need what another 6 to 8/9 more Chinook over the 18 (?) we are getting so we can have that 18 available to do that one battalion lift. So that would be two RN support squadrons. I shall ponder some more and look up some numbers. Though I have already reached the conclusion on the basis of these early musings that we need at least one more CVF.......... :) :)Jeremy M H on Farewell HMS Ark Royal@Mark I have never been clear why this issue gets people so fired up. Yes, for the operation of the fixed wing component of the Amphibious ship it certainly adds some things. But for a ship primarily intended to operate helicopters are you really going to gain that much? I mean you gain 100 feet less needed for takeoff roll but you lose the space that is the ski-jump for doing anything else. And the primary role of a US Amphibious ship is generally to operate helicopters. That is why the projected air group will most of the time be 6 F-35's and 25 Helicopters. Maximizing the number of V-22's and CH-53's one can load is the primary concern so losing one of the 9 helicopter spots to the ramp is a rational concern. You are in effect giving up 11% of your helo operating capacity (1 of 9 helo spots) to reduce your deck runs by around 100 feet which is about 12-15% of the deck. Yes, on the occasions you want to put 12-20 F-35's on the thing you are giving something away but everything is a trade-off. Ski-jumps make sense for the RN. In some operations they would be beneficial for the USMC. In others they would not. They can pass on them because the USN has other carrier options at its disposal.martin on Getting Out of FSTA@ Mark "Interesting article but the chances of getting 2b in the budget now to do his without cancelling something is imo zero or even less." Agreed, As I said the money would have to come from the treasury rather than the MOD budget. The alternative would be to change the rules and allow the MOD to borrow it as with the Northumbria NHS Trust. If the NHS can borrow I don't see why the MOD can't.Ace Rimmer on Getting Out of FSTAI'm guessing there isn't a clause in the contract that prevents Airtanker from going out into the market place (when the markets improve) and getting their finance at a better rate. The difference between this and the original rate is then pure profit in addition to the agreed profit, this is a common trait practiced by PFI consortium's. If the MOD had had their wits about them they would've seen this in advance and popped a clause in to cover it.martin on Getting Out of FSTA@ Mark - I agree its a balance but a mixed fleet of 9 A330's with a reserve of 30 A400M's would give us a very flexible fleet. The 330's offering the strategic capability and the 400's giving us the depth. In Libya around 30 tankers were required. A fleet such as this should permit us to carry out a similar operation without USAF support if need be. @ Chris B - "There was something about a get out clause, as long as the MoD paid something like £75 million per plane. It’s in the NAO report on air tanker." That's interesting. I did not read it in the NAO report but I will go and have a look.Jed on A new model TAMartin - that is kinda depressing and not my experience at all - which just goes to show there is actually no such thing as the "TA" - there are many nuances. What kind of unit were you in ? Phil - apologies for delay in responding now we are back up and running - but I take your point in your last response to my question. I hear what your saying and understand that approach; and certainly have no experience to disagree ! Cheers :-)Chris.B on Getting Out of FSTAThere was something about a get out clause, as long as the MoD paid something like £75 million per plane. It's in the NAO report on air tanker.Mark on Getting Out of FSTAInteresting article but the chances of getting 2b in the budget now to do his without cancelling something is imo zero or even less. You don't need 30 tanker kits for a400m. While it can function as a tanker or a transport, it has limited capability to do both at the same time over any distance, it is a tactical tanker aircraft. A330 is a strategic tanker aircraft with significant fuel off load capability while having the capacity to carry a reasonable amount of cargo for long trails or refuelling planes further from base. The conundrum is do you want more fuel offload capacity or more hoses in the sky.Mark on Farewell HMS Ark Royal"can see a few limited situations where a ski-jump would help the USMC". You mean those limited situations such as reducing fixed wing takeoff role by around 100ft or more freeing up space and by improving safety of fixed wing takeoffs in general.Pte. James Frazer on CVF Video – Spot the CraneA little downtime today so the Chinook sequence got me fantasising about the ability to generate a useful composite air group embarked on both carriers comprising mainly FAA / CHF assets. Call this a 'standard' (FAA / CHF) air group - whose core training regime will be carrier strike & fleet defence - rather than a 'tailored' (or Joint) air group requiring supplemental RAF / AAC assets who might have less carrier ops training / currency. With a capacity of 36-40 airframes each carrier could carry the following mix: 12 x JCA's (800 & 801 NAS respectively). 4 x Merlin Mk2 Crowsnest (Merlin Mk2 ASW would be carried in supporting RFA supply and T23 assets) 12 x Merlin HC3 (845 & 846 NAS respectively 4 x 847 NAS Wildcat The following 'joint' assets could be bolted on to each carrier as required to fill in minor capability gaps: 4 x Apache (i.e. a AAC regt) 4 x Chinook (for heavy lift tasks) To achieve the 2 FAA F35B squadrons required for my fantasy above (800 & 801) and maintain RAF / FAA F35B force balance would require 2 RAF squadrons: II(AC) and 617 squadrons (?) all four of 12 aircraft each. With 3 airframes for 17(R) TES and say 14 for a 'joint' OCU - IX(R) (?) squadron / 899 NAS - this would require an incremental 17 airframe buy over the 48 currently planned, taking the total to 65 in time.Waddi on CVF Video – Spot the Cranehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/qeclasscarriers/ Looks pretty good without the ski-ramp, though you can see a lip where it will go. Personally I think it looks better in the flesh than in the video. Can also see where the rear steps will descend, not sure what the purpose will be, swimming deck for the Admiral perhaps or loading landing craft, though assume not whilst the ship is moving?Jeremy M H on Farewell HMS Ark Royal@Peter I agree there will be some changes. In general I agree with the approach the USN has taken of maintaining as many hard assets as it can knowing that it is a lot simpler to spin up people and training than it is to conjure up a few more carriers in a pinch. My guess is the USN ends up with about 10 carriers split 6 in the Pacific, 3 in the Atlantic and 1 in ROCH as their new standard but I am just kind of lobbing a guess at that one. For the moment we saw about a one month delay in awarding the ROCH contract for CNV-72. Not a huge deal really. I get, and to some degree share, the concern about the size of the airwing but that falls into my general support of how the USN is handling a budget downturn. So long as there are open production lines for fighters and support aircraft carrier airwings are easier to fill than finding more carriers in a pinch. Basically USN wings are down in numbers because the S-3's and A-6's (in the medium attack role) were just flat not replaced. My guess is that if things get elevated in the Pacific what you see say 10-15 years from now is a CAW with 2 squadrons of F-18E/F, 2 squadrons of F-35C and 1 squadron of X-47's (or whatever ends up as the UCAV on a carrier) as it strike element. The 4 fighter squadrons are already planned really (340 F-35C's should roughly support that, particularly with the production line still open). I don't worry too much about producing a new S-3 if one really needed to as most of the mission systems already exist and simply would need a fat, fuel efficient box with wings to lug them around. Frankly from a budget perspective I think the US Army is going to be in for a long walk in the wilderness while the Air Force and USN will be in pretty good shape. I tend to agree the UK is more likely than the USMC to need a heavier capacity from the F-35B. SRVL is almost a requirement if you are going to carry Storm Shadow around because otherwise I don't think you can get them back on board since the VL performance is specified for about 3,000 pounds of bring back weapons total and storm shadow cubs in at 2,700 pounds or so. Might get one back vertically. SRVL will be a great asset for both the USMC and the RN. I can see a few limited situations where a ski-jump would help the USMC but for the most part that is not really what the amphibs are about as X pointed out.ArmChairCivvy on Micro-UAV points of viewAre you thinking airburst with this "Can they take useful images from outside small arms range - I am thinking a kind of shotgun cartridge in a 40mm auto grenade launcher"? I think the real shotgun type AHEAD & like only work with high-velocity cannonsx on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalUSN amphibs have a flat deck to maximise helicopter operating space. Remember their purpose is to get marines ashore as quickly as possible, operating systems for fire support is a secondary consideration. And let's not forget that is AV8's primary mission; they are there to support a ground operation and aren't an end in themselves. I know that is hard for some here to take. :) I bet in a few posts time somebody will ask why the USMC flies FJ and why don't they let the USN do it all......... And I just remember this snippet from the video in the other thread. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnB4lBltLAAx on CVF Video – Spot the CraneI liked the Chinook sequence. And to think I was laughed at, neigh mocked even, for me heavy helicopter RN cooperation RAF squadron idea. :)Not a Boffin on CVF Video – Spot the CraneIt's all about maximising available deck space.Pte. James Frazer on CVF Video – Spot the CraneCan't really see how such a slab-faced after[birth][thought] could benefit RCS.....looks like a cheap (value engineered) / weak (could try harder) solution in a block build programme. Come on ACA!ChrisM on Micro-UAV points of viewThe military response will presumably be soft-kill. For them to be cheap enough for mass use by taliban types they are not going to be very difficult to jam (if the Iranians really could do it to top line US kit then we should easily be able to do it to Amazon-supplied kit) The kit needed is presumably not a million miles different from the counter-IED electronics that all the vehicles carry now. If the things are controlled then the controllers are very vulnerable - RF direction finding will show where they are and they would be a priority target as they would be a step up from ordinary taliban grunt. The most awkward would be autonomous ones that record and take home, no transmitting. I presume these things are quite a challenge for radar - small, not much metal, low and in cluttered background? Can they take useful images from outside small arms range - I am thinking a kind of shotgun cartridge in a 40mm auto grenade launcher....or even a small net to bring the thing down for intel! Anyone know whether Roman Abramovich's yacht's anti-papparazzi system actually works and how big a system it is? It is supposed to detect CCDs on cameras and then blind them with a laser. Sounds like a perfect detection system for micro-UAVs, with potential to hard kill the cameras?El Sid on CVF Video – Spot the CraneLet the Spanish worry about looking pretty, I suspect the RN is more worried about radar signature - it's the offspring of a ski-jump and a Kryten gun.Pte. James Frazer on CVF Video – Spot the CraneLamentable (pig ugly) ski-jump aesthetics most noticeable 27 seconds into video. Surely the aerodynamicists / CAD structural engineers / shipwrights could find a prettier solution for the future pride of the RN?! Navantia seem to be able to do so.Mike Edwards on Carrier Strike 2010 – Deeply Flawed and ImmatureI blame the previous 1st Sea Lords on the basis of their collective failure to articulate the need, the short-termism of decisions and the myopic nature of their purview. The mistakes are myriad and diverse too many for this post. 1. When has a Government ever invested more in the Royal Navy, the trend has been downward for well over a century. They gave away ships for cuts willingly on the basis of building good will to build T45 and CVF. The concept of "Cut today, because we can get Jam tomorrow". 2. Did any of them truly believe that the Government of the day or successive ones would deliver on promises? 3. Apart from Notable exceptions such as the VANGUARD Class SSBN, how many of these large Projects have come in on time and on budget? FRES, EUROFIGHTER, Dii, 4. The collective culture of optimism that CVF would be inservice by 2013 - 2015 with Aircraft?? 5. The CVF has been a very long term project (Arguably back to the 1960's with the CVA project) but really is the Modern Royal Navy in a position to operate a Wing of Aircraft from a Carrier round the clock? When will this capability be mature and robust enough, with procedures to actually achieve it. 6. The constant promises of Type 45, 12 Hulls, to 8 Hulls to 6 Hulls delivered. 7. The sales of Type 23's in the Mid 2000's? HMS NORFOLK etc. http://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Warship_numbers.jpg Leadership of Government is fickle, Senior Military Officers cannot absolve themselves of the failures with the Military Industrial Complex by saying "It was HMG Monetary Policy!". We've only had Austerity and the SDSR since 2010, there is a lost Decade from 2000 to 2010 where the Royal Navy decayed. The Army and Air Force hoovered up the lions share of resources, due to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Royal Marines and Fleet Air Arm and Medical services did sterling work, but the Surface fleet was left to rot. There can be no excuses, A Captain is always responsible for the conduct of his ship, the 1st Sea Lord is responsible with the provision of Naval Forces for the Defence of the UK and it's Interests. The failure to take on the Government effectively and articulate the requirements, and if necessary fight dirty in the newspapers is required, the Army is very good at this, and has a lot of MP's from it's ranks. The Navy much less so. Blaming Politicians is far too easy, there has been a massive failure of Leadership at the MOD with regards to Surface Fleet for many years. The Royal Navy is "one brick thick" one or two losses (Navigational Incidents, or loss of a vessel for other reasons) would cripple our ability to project power around the globe in accordance with our responsibilities. If you are Head of the organisation, you are responsible.Peter Elliott on Farewell HMS Ark Royal@Jeremy Thats kind of the point I am making. I can beleive that the UK will want F35B to be able to fly from QEC with a Storm Shadow sized missile tucked under each wing, either to hit land targets or in future for the Anti Ship mission. And isn't the point aboout SRVL also to do with the width of the deck? Which on QEC allows the parked aircraft to be kept further back from the 'landing strip' than on an America? "You can gain quite a bit from the ski-jump when flying with external stores. But the aircraft will take off from the flat decked US amphibs with full internal fuel and full internal weapons. The only thing in question is what you get beyond that with a ski-jump." I get that there is politics being played with the USN funding situation. But the threat to their budget is real. Air group sizes and readiness are falling, and decisions made today to defer refuelling will impact ship availability for years down the line. "The Navy holds out things like carrier groups because they know that congress will take action if military capabilities (and money spent in districts) are really threatened." Kearsage did a good job off Libya. And as you suggest we are likely to see USN Amphib flat tops being depolyed in the Light Carrier role without an accompanying CVN in more and more situations. Just to be clear I'm not saying that this will inevitably lead to disaster. Probably won't. Just to more compromises. Such as fewer MEU embarked at high readinesss with a full complement of rotary assets. Will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.The Other Chris on CVF Video – Spot the CraneOnly see a (nighttime) SRVL performed, no vertical landing?martin on A new model TA@ Phil - Great post, My own personel experience of the TA was little more than a drinking club with HM Forces subsidising the tab. I did not see the point in what I was doing and the regular army treated us as a place to get spare kit. I left after a year. Anything that can change this is welcome and essential if we are to get the reserves to the position we need. The USA seems to have the best handle on this for a professional army which can call on up to 40% of its strength on enduring ops from the reserves. Trouble is they pay for it and I don't think either our Regular Army or Politicians are prepared to do what it takes to make the reserves work.ArmChairCivvy on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalRE "The USN has finally got the memo on personnel costs, hence the LCS core crew of 40 50" So much so that there has been heavy criticism for building them Class 2, which only needs to be able to take a substantial hit and then limp back to harbour. The Classes might run the other way in their numbering, can't remember, but Class 1 = Commercial, and Class 3 (the old standard) = take a substantial hit and continue fightingmartin on Micro-UAV points of viewWhat was the cost of that small UAV the army was using in the stan last year? Think it was £70,000 and I bet it did not do 1080 DP. I think some of the promise of military UAV's is lost because of gold plating gucci capabilities. What a Capability it would be to give every solider a cam copter if they only cost a few hundred quid each. Does not matter if it get's shot down and it does not need to be able to uplink HD images to Northwood.Jeremy M H on Farewell HMS Ark Royal@Jed Yet the DDG-1000 has a projected crew of 140 men. I am not sure how you resolve that with it having nothing to do with when the ship was designed. Clearly there are some differences in operation but overall US manning trends are down on newer build ships. The LCS clearly overshot the mark going to far on automation but I think anyone stating that USN crews are not able to multi-task is way out over the skis on the issue. If one lines ships up by generation and relative task the crews are fairly similar. Ticonderoga (1980) has around 400 crew for 9,000 tons, 122 missiles, 2 helicopters. Type 42, Batch 3 (1980) has a crew of around 280 for 5,200 tons, 40 missiles and 1 helicopter. OHP Frigate (1977) has crew of 215 for 4,100 tons, 40 missiles and 2 helicopters. Type 23 (1987) has crew of 185 for 4,900 tons, 32 missiles and 1 helicopter. Type 22 (1979) has crew of 250ish for 5,000ish tons, 16 missiles and 2 helicopters Spruance Class (1975) had crew of 325ish for 8,400 or so tons and a variety of outfits. Georges Leygues-class (1974) has crew of 235 for 4,000ish tons, 30ish missiles and 2 helicopters Bremen Class Frigate (1980) has crew of 220 or so for 3,700 tons, some missiles and 2 helicopters Los Angeles Class (1972) have a crew of 130 for 6,000ish tons Trafalger Class (1977) have a crew of 130 for 5,000ish tons Vanguard Class (1993) have a crew of 135 for 15,000ish tons and 16 missiles Ohio Class (1976) have a crew of 155 for 17,000ish tons and 24 missile I don't see an appreciable difference when the total tonnage and weapons outfit that needs to be operated is considered. It is a bit of a misnomer that the USN has drastically over manned ships. What the USN has is a bunch of big destroyers in the Burkes that are Cold War designs. People compare them to a Type 45, Horizon or Sachsen type ship all of which are really post Cold War designs. Most are smaller, carry less weapons or are less multi-role than a Burke so it is really hard to fully compare things. I have no doubt the USN will cut back crew members for whatever follows. They clearly are looking to do it, while balancing other concerns as well. To suggest it is because USN crews "can't multi-task" is just silly.Jed on Farewell HMS Ark RoyalJerermy MH said: " Comparing the Burke design and crewing to something like the Type 45 is a bit unfair given the 20 year timeframe difference. What was a computer in 1990 compared to today after all?" Nothing to do with it I assure you - it's a philosophical difference and a complete and utter inability to "multi-task" - the crew "experiments" on the LCS have been a shock to the USN, which is why they are adding extra "core crew" (i.e. not "mission crew") berths to the LCS1 for her maiden deployment. During my time, admittedly 8o;'s through to mid 90's - the communications department on a USN ship, of any type, would be 3 times the size of it's RN equivalent due to the high level of specialization. 1 guy to route signals, 1 guy to type them up, 1 guy to encrypt them.... etc etc. As far as I know, this has not changed that much, relatively, even when increased automation is included. As another example USN has "damage control" teams who do only that, fire fighting and damage control, which is a specialism for Stokers in the RN and is taught to some level to everyone. Anyway, sad to see the Ark go, pretty sure she had some life left in her, if only the aid budget would have allowed us to extend it !