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mike
mike
June 29, 2014 9:20 am

urggh

Any more tat to come from the RN/MoD?

Then again, we do like to over-hype them, you would think the thing was going to go straight into service XD

I wouldn’t want to be one of the F-35B pilots flying over the Atlantic though… that seems a bit much. Not even doing the Newfoundland-iceland-scotland hop :s

woodenwonder
woodenwonder
June 29, 2014 9:31 am

HMS Godzilla? First of her class…

John Hartley
John Hartley
June 29, 2014 9:42 am

Call me old fashioned but, I would have thought a comparison to other Aircraft carriers would have been more useful.

Repulse
June 29, 2014 9:51 am

Let’s put aside inter service rivalry for a minute and also the familiar debate of whether we should have built 3 smaller vessels, scrapped them so we could build 500 MBTs or 50 Typhoons – much more is at stake at the moment.

The nation is getting comfortable that there is no longer a need to intervene in and help shape global events. It seems that the UK press (has anyone read Matthew Paris’s editorial in yesterday’s times?) and political classes are pushing the lie that global events don’t matter (it’s some else’s problem), and that the UK does not have the right or duty to help other countries and minorities in a unfair world.

Love them or hate them, the QEs are the poster boy for the UK being much more than a large island in Europe – we should be using both of them to their maximum effect, and shouting as loud as we can about what the UK can do (within financial and ethical limits) not what we cannot.

MSR
MSR
June 29, 2014 9:54 am

You guys are such a buzz kill :-/

Nothing wrong with a bit of humour. If they never did anything whimsical you’d only be complaining that they were too uptight to see the funny side! Although I think a star destroyer would have been a cooler movie reference.

Comparisons to other aircraft carriers are irrelevant. CVF is not an aircraft carrier, it’s an LPH/assault carrier, and I speak as a navy geek.

Repulse
June 29, 2014 10:04 am

@MSR: I think the CVF should be referred to as a “Commando Carrier” (assuming they have found some where to hang a few LCVPs).

monkey
monkey
June 29, 2014 10:19 am

Until they get a fixed wing strike capable aircraft they are LPH’s.
http://news.stv.tv/east-central/280828-hms-queen-elizabeth-to-be-launched-at-rosyth-fife-next-week/
( that’s a repost from the open thread )
At 50 seconds in it states that it will not be operational to 2020 , for those of you struggling that’s 6 years away , a new UK government will come (and go ) , there will be a new US President , Putin will have had to become Prime minister of Russia again, China will have begun the selection of a new President (a three year process).
What are the Andrew going to do with them in the mean time , until they have strike capability they are a defensive tool (operating pretty much ASW helicopters pretty much in the main ) and in need of a lot of defending (its escort fleet) .
We could always have a Squadron of USMC Harriers (and their pilots) on permanent rotation on each of them which would a good bonding programme to generate closer co-operation I suppose.

Mark
Mark
June 29, 2014 10:23 am

I don’t know about the rest of you but I was expecting cvf to look a bit bigger or there’s something that gives the appearance its out of proportion cause the front end looks a bit stumpy.

Repulse
June 29, 2014 10:27 am

@TD: I’m sure the RN will be waiting for ages for one double decker-bus to turn up, only to get three in one go :)

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 29, 2014 10:35 am

– Agreed – as I pointed out a day or two ago the international geopolitical and economic furniture is currently arranged to provide the peoples of the West (and a very few others who are Country Members of our way of life) with a very safe and comfortable carry-on…that situation will not last very long at all if we strike our tents and the leave matters to others. We need to be willing to extend ourselves in a range of ways both to hold what we have, and to make the lives of others better. If we do not do so, the rules will be rewritten and not necessarily in our favour… :-(

Quite like the Godzilla comparison, mind you… :-)

GNB

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
June 29, 2014 10:39 am

It will be interesting to see if the Lego block construction can cope with a moderate swell in the North Sea, and if the Captain can manage not to park it on a sandbar, per Astute.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 29, 2014 11:49 am

A bit unfair to compare the carrier to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, an engineering marvel of it’s time that has served the nation for hundreds of years.

Maybe they should have put a picture up of the SS Great Britain instead ;-)

Red Rat
Red Rat
June 29, 2014 11:55 am

I’m with Repulse and GNB on this. I am surprised that Parris’ opinion piece has not been picked up more on.

At the RUSI Land Warfare concert this year a significant concern was that as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan the West no longer seems to believe in the efficacy of armed force. The West may not, but most others do. Link to decreasing economic and military relative strengths, declining (and ageing) demographics and the West is going to have to fight hard to retain its current opulent lifestyle.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 11:57 am

I’m flying out from Singapore next week to Rosyth to see her.

I don’t care what anyone says about white elephant’s or giant helicopter carriers. I think its a day for the entire nation to be proud. it might take until 2020 to get it all kitted out but that Delicious strawberry jam promised to us for so many years is on its way.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 12:02 pm

@ Red Rat

I think the populous has come to terms with the fact that no matter how big are army is we are not going to be able to fix the problems of the Middle East nor are those problems worth the time and money they would cost us to fix.

with the rising economic tide in the world the “west” keeps getting larger and larger and in effect its economic and military dominance is larger today that it has ever been. Countries like Germany, Poland and Japan are now firmly in the “west” were are one pint they were the enemy.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 12:03 pm

Mark

I also think the nose looks a bit stumpy nosed. Might this be becuase of the 20m that was chopped out when the design was ‘optimised’ for STOVL? I seem to recall that the section that went was in front of the front island.

Consequently when the decision was taken in 2010 to change to CATOBAR it was found that the rear end of the CAT was now foul of the angled deck, meaning that we couldn’t launch and recover at the same time. Not a show stopper but annoying and something that would have been fixed in the original ‘adaptable’ design.

Observer
Observer
June 29, 2014 12:25 pm

Think it looks stump nosed because half the height was supposed to be under the waterline, so the length looked odd compared to 2x the height.

Anyway, congrats on the new carrier. Arguments on cost and utility aside, it was a massive undertaking, and the work and effort that went into it at least should be appreciated.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 12:26 pm

@ Peter Eliott

if you look at my Avatar picture it’s the CATOBAR configuration for the Queen Elizabeth Class and the nose still looks stumpy.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 29, 2014 12:29 pm

Congratulations to Jerry Kidd who is a top bloke and a fantastic ship handler and another great guy in Mike Utley who will take Lusty up to be there for the launch. Two different characters but both outstanding leaders and ship drivers you would “go to war with”.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 12:30 pm

@ Observer

agreed, I think its shows the capability of British industry given the fact that we have never built something of this size nor any real aircraft carrier for 50+ years yet it was built without too much of an issue. Looking at other large aircraft carrier projects in India and China or even France and the USA I think its quite an achievement.

MSR
MSR
June 29, 2014 12:32 pm

The final design iteration was the ‘delta’ which is shorter fore and aft, has less electronics, less weapons handling automation and less self defence capability than the original ‘alpha’ design, which was easily comparable to a US carrier in all these areas. The delta is a costcutting exercise pure and simple, but one which sacrificed things like the ability to convert to catobar. I believe the alpha was capable of being retrofitted for catobar as a possible mid life upgrade, but when the delta came along they started talking about it as an optional change during construction, and not as a future refit.

I think these ships will still be impressive and very useful, but to have a credibly depliyable capability we needed 3. And while I was for a long time a supporter of STOVL I now think it should have been CATOBAR to give us better options in the future for both manned and unmanned platforms, because the F35B is really just a fat stubby unmanoeurvrable slow short-ranged bomb truck that leaves the RN still relying on the RAF for air superiority, which clearly limits the RN’s freedom of movement in theatre. The F35B represents the single egg in our rather large basket, not to mention the
end of British fighter design and construction.

MSR
MSR
June 29, 2014 12:39 pm

@Martinon a technical level, yes, a success, but don’t forget about the ten years of political interference and inter service rivalries that resulted in a bigger, better ship costing £3 billion for two becoming a smaller, less capable design costing twice as much. It’s almost, but not quute as bad as, the price inflation of Typhoon for a not very multirole fighter.

monkey
monkey
June 29, 2014 12:43 pm

In just under two years March 2016 I believe the POW will be launched , the ‘lego’ blocks (all ships including the USN Gerald R Ford , the worlds largest ever Warship are built this way) for POW are being readied for final assembly next to QE. Are the Aircraft Carrier Alliance seeking out new customers. A stretched version of this design bringing back the option of CATOBAR could be marketed. Russia for one, no stop laughing/gasping in horror , the French are busy selling them Mistrals (2 built in France 2 in Russia) why don’t we offer them a couple of Fleet Carriers to finish off the 6 strike groups they want. The Kuznetsov is ancient (She was launched by Brezhnev). One could build the first two and have them both in the water by 2020 .They could fit all their own weapons/sensor systems back in Russia with is just supply the completed ships minus these systems. I known it would make it a slower process to complete but that would be their problem. When they have their own yard up and running at Kotlin Island they could complete the other four themselves based on the French model.
This may happen any way if Scotland goes for Independence and is shopping about for work for these yards.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 12:43 pm

Martin

But is your picture the ‘Alpha’ from before 2007 or the ‘Delta’ from 2010-12?

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 12:49 pm

One would hope that UK owns the IP of the design and so the Perfidious Scots would have no such opportunity.

monkey
monkey
June 29, 2014 12:51 pm

Elliot
What would we , do sue them? :-)

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 12:57 pm

@ Peter Elliott – as far as I know its the alpha design.

@ MSR – Not much we can do about politics and compared to the previous Queen Elisabeth Class this one has been a breeze.

I don’t share you assessment on the F35 and I think it will be a far superior fighter to either of the other viable choices of Rafale and F18EF.

I also can’t see any merit in having 3 when we on,y have enough FJ to operate one at full load.

with T45 and other vessels armed with Sea Ceptor plus Merlin, Sentry and F 35 armed with Meteor the RN will have a better capability to defend itself from air attack than at any time in its history and given that the US Navy’s air defences are looking a little long in the tooth possibly the best air defence capability pound for pound on the planet.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 1:04 pm

@ Moneky

if there was a market for export variants of the Queen Elizabeth Class we would already have sold them Prince of Wales.

mike
mike
June 29, 2014 1:14 pm

@MSR

You forget that from the very start, and the whole reason we were in JSF program, was for the stovl B variant. The carriers were planned and built with that in mind. You should have contributed to the argument around 2001 ;)

Despite its cost and limits… it beats, hands down, anything the RN and RAF has put to sea.

I am no buzz-kill :P but its a blatant attempt to be popular media – I agree that a death star or some star-ship would have been a funnier reff….invokes the “Empire strikes back” motif from ’82 ;)

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 1:22 pm

Monkey

Presumably in 2016 we just roll up the drawings and take them back to Pompey with us…

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
June 29, 2014 1:27 pm

Monkey,

Because the Russians are not very friendly, that’s why we don’t want to build them aircraft carriers.

I’d much rather 10,000 Scotsmen were on the dole than we sell Russia aircraft carriers if that is the option.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 1:28 pm

Australia or Brazil

Or the USMC at a push – although that would probably have to be a license build.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 1:39 pm

I’ve always said the comparison we should make is not QEC vs Ford:

Its QEC vs America

And QEC wins hands down. Now the obvious thing to do would be to pop out a couple of license built QEC to fill the holes for the unavailable CVNs. And maybe look at back converting America and Tripoli on refit to reinstate their well docks.

Sadly the ‘carrier politics’ of the USN is such that it will probably never happen. Or if it did an ‘All American’ design would be called for which would destroy the cost and efficinecy advantages that make the business case so attractive.

monkey
monkey
June 29, 2014 1:41 pm


Do you really think we would of sold the POW , we will need two to operate at a minimum if you are going to run the carriers in the intended fixed wing role I would of thought. One would leave us horrible exposed to the complete RN’s plan for its position in World. If the Russians do go ahead with their planned fleet of 6 ,two at Vladivostok, two at Murmansk and two out of Sevastopol (nice and secure now). Their original intention was for all nuclear boats which would give them considerable endurance even supported by a conventionally powered fleet.
If one of the Flat Tops is in for some kind of work it could be days/weeks/months(?) before it could be readied for sea. Two is a minimum with three better if you are seriously going to offer a credible force to contain the Atlantic. If we get draw into something in the other hemisphere it being just posturing around the FI or being drawn into assisting our cousins with some problem of theirs in the Pacific (which Prime Minister was the last to refuse a request for military help from a POTUS?) or just offering humanitarian aid on some distant shore.
If we are going to do it then do it right .

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 1:54 pm

@ Monkey

have you met George Osborne and David Cameron

I don’t think they give a f**k about carrier viability and they have already only set a budget for one vessel.

that may change it may not but current defence assumption state we only have a need for one. I’m sure they would sell if for a bag full of magic beans if anyone wanted it.

Observer
Observer
June 29, 2014 1:59 pm

” (which Prime Minister was the last to refuse a request for military help from a POTUS?) ”

Syria?

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 1:59 pm

Monkey

The case for a third carrier is superficially attractive. But its not just about the ship. Its about the planes (only 48 F35B), the rotorcraft (only 30 HM2), surface escorts (only 19), the subs (only 7). And only enough sailors for one core crew per ship, which means spending measurable amounts of time in port for harmony time.

At the moment we are scaled for a single task group at peacetime tempo, with the ability to surge a second for a short period in wartime, but with the proviso that it would wreck the readiness cycle and result in a major ‘stand down’ afterwards. And that single task group is effectively at very high readiness (at sea) for only around 6-9 months of the year. The rest of the time it is likely to be ‘nearly ready’, in or around its home port.

To go to two full time Task Groups its not just an extra Capital Ship or two. Its all the other assests mentioned above: especially the sailors and airmen.

Now if the Russians really do look like having the ability to put 3 or 4 modern Carrier Groups to sea I will argue all for it. But maybe not right here and right now. I’ll spend any ‘spare money’ that comes our way on more Planes, Helos, Missile integration (all in 2 tone blue) to make out existing 2 ships and their escorts fully capable. And maybe the odd Armoured Box or Desert Go-Cart to keep the green fraternity happy too.

monkey
monkey
June 29, 2014 2:09 pm

@RT
I to agree selling any weapons systems to NATO greatest threat would be stupid but I wanted to bring up what the French are up to a fellow member of NATO and who we are buddying up to. The French will sell them just about anything as they are short of a few Euros at the moment. There is not only the Mistrals , there is a Franco-Russian development of a new generation of Infantry Fighting Vehicles , they recently tried to sell them their personal body armour system FELIN , I have read somewhere Hollandes grand mother is also being offered :-)
Its not only them Germanys Rheinmetall Defence have won a 100m Euro order to build a brigade-level training facility. It will enable Russian brigade-sized units to test combat readiness for combined-arms operations, using equipment to simulate realistic battlefield conditions and assess troop and staff performance. This something as yet they can’t build themselves.
The Italians have been selling them Armoured Cars .
What have we sold them , nothing as far as I can tell , why don’t we get our snouts in the Russian trough? Because were British and we are above that kind thing.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 2:11 pm

@ Peter Eliott

agreed there is little need or budget for 3 carriers. even if the Russians some how manage to get 6 which I seriously doubt they have the resources or technical capability to get we have between 14 big deck carriers in NATO + Numerous smaller vessels like America, Juan Carlos and Cavour.

factoring in the capability if F35B that is quite a force for naval aviation.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 2:13 pm

@ Monkey – We just signed a defence cooperation agreement with Russia earlier this year so we were planning to put our nose in the same troff.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
June 29, 2014 2:20 pm

Monkey,

There is sod all point in the Russians having anything in the Black Sea, least off all aircraft carriers. There are two very narrow straits to get through before the Med, and that is a NATO lake as well. To get out of the Med, there’s Gib or Suez.

Truth be told, I don’t think a Russian dinghy with a popgun would get more than 10 miles from Sebastopol if NATO was angry.

If NATO was smart, it would simply inform the Russians that all Russian vessels in the Black Sea were imprisoned.

Observer
Observer
June 29, 2014 2:24 pm

Actually, a lot of the Ukrainian crap could have been avoided if there was a formal goal statement and action taken to get closer to Russia relationship wise. Part of the crap was the “us vs them” mentality that still pervades.

Face it, would Russia be so antsy about NATO creeping closer if there had been a joint statement and plan that states economic friendship with Russia was the goal with no interference in internal politics and with the final end point of Russian economic recovery and integration into the world as another superpower?

Nothing like that was done, so the Russians had to do it themselves their way, with the current methods clash now.

So frankly, I don’t mind selling stuff to Russia, it ties them closer to the global economy and salves their pride if they got shiny stuff to parade, but more importantly, builds relations that can be used to influence thinking.

Lots of attention on China now, but Russia isn’t something to ignore either. I’ve been saying for 2 decades that they were a power, and that the resources that made them a superpower are still there, it is just their political system that took a clobbering. Once they sorted it out, they will rise again. We’re now seeing the results of that recovery. And the price of our neglect.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 2:24 pm

By the way: given the dabbling that is still going on in Eastern Ukraine do we think that the ‘Sevastapol’ will actually be delivered come September? Is an embargo on military sales part of the next tranche of sanctions?

In the classic European ‘filthy fudge’ we would probably have to give up some of the City’s Russian Wealth Laundering (*cough* Wealth Management) in return but probably worth it to be honest. If necessary the ship can be purchased as a NATO asset with Operation and Maintenance subcontracted to to the French. Fill it up with Dutch Marines or Hospital Nuns or something.

Observer
Observer
June 29, 2014 2:27 pm

PE, one of the reasons this mess started is because “NATO” is seen as an enemy. Would the action that you recommend be seen as friendly or hostile? And would that increase or decrease the “us vs them” mentality that is going to set you on a collision course?

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 2:34 pm

I take the view that the course is set actually. So we may as well begin to get ready. And that includes not selling them weapons of war.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 2:34 pm

@ Observer

The problem with Russia is that they wish to have sovereign power over foreign nations. I don’t know how we live with that.

What made Russia or rather the USSR a super power was its 400 million + population which they no longer have. Much the same as the UK post 1947. They have about as much potential to become a super power again as we do.

Simon257
Simon257
June 29, 2014 2:42 pm

Are the Russians really worried about NATO or that the EU is continually marching eastwards?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28038725

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=85045

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 29, 2014 2:45 pm

@RT

There is sod all point in the Russians having anything in the Black Sea, least off all aircraft carriers. There are two very narrow straits to get through before the Med, and that is a NATO lake as well. To get out of the Med, there’s Gib or Suez.”

Totally correct, it is a useful base in peace time as it does not freeze but taking a CBG into the Med in the face of a hostile NATO. Even if ourselves the French and the US did nothing the Med NATO Allies can field about 30 SSKs and the Greeks and Turks have some really nasty missile boats that are very effective around the Aegean island chains.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 2:47 pm

I think Putin is playing the nationalist card to prop up his authority at home. Trouble is once you start to rely on that way of securing your domestic position its difficult to stop.

Escpecially as any level of sanctions will fcuk his economy even worse than it is already. So he will have to keep on playing the strong man even beyond what he may consider wise or advatageous.

Out best hope is he finds a direction to play it in that is neutral or even beneficial to us. By leaning on Syrians and Iraqis for instance, or getting stuck into China over some footling island somewehre.

IXION
June 29, 2014 2:49 pm

TD

We can surmise ot will take 62 double Decker busses.

Or about 4 fres due to their width.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 2:50 pm

If you can stop those Greek and Turkish missile boats sinking each other of course…

monkey
monkey
June 29, 2014 2:54 pm


Forgot about that one ,snouts in the trough it is then .
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02577/Putin_Cameron_2577827b.jpg
@RT
I have no idea why they would have carriers in the Black Sea either but that’s their stated intention. Perhaps if we see them exiting the Straits or passing past the Horn of Africa alarm bells should be ringing !
@Observer
As yet with Syria no actual military action has been taken by forces outside of Syria except by Turkey in tit for tat retaliation. The US has supplied non-lethal military aid such as night vision kit etc but as yet no official military presence is there as far as I am aware. The UK’s stance is more towards sanctions and providing humanitarian aid supplies and we are taking in refugees from the conflict.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 29, 2014 2:56 pm

@PE

Spent 3 weeks in Athens in 2008 training the Greek navy on their new Roussen Class boats and they always talked about the “red threat from the east” not referring to Russia either :)

Never managed to get out on one of these those :(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zubr_class_LCAC

Observer
Observer
June 29, 2014 2:57 pm

Martin, I don’t think he really wants sovereignty, think he just wants NATO and the EU (which I did not really want to touch on, economic warfare is.. iffy) to keep a distance from him.

PE, seen people play the nationalist card very often. This doesn’t give the same vibe, not rabid enough. Think it was more of a knee jerk reaction which set you guys on a collision course.

And I suspect the economic damage is going to be less than you expect, the Russian economy was too disconnected to the global one to damage effectively anyway, not including the people (*cough* China), that want to trade with them regardless of “sanctions” or no “sanction”. It’s a buyers market, and they can afford to choose. Which gives you crap all leverage.

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 3:11 pm

@ Observer

i think he desires distance so he can dominate the countries in between. It may not be sovereignty officially but the reality is almost identical.

Much for all the talk of US domination it has in essence bugger all direct control over any of its neighbours and nor does anyone in Europe.

The Russians I know very much want to be a part of Europe and certainly don’t fear the west. Indeed most of then want to live in it.

MSR
MSR
June 29, 2014 3:12 pm

Selling carriers to Russia would backfire badly. Where do you think one if those Mistrals is headed? It will form the centre piece of a task force intended to secure Russia’s claim to the Kuril islands. Japan already has enough trouble in the south with China’s aggressive use of naval assets. They wouldn’t live you if you sold Russia a CVF with which to harass them in the north! Neither would the US, for whom Japan is a key ally. It’s not even remotely about Scottish jobs…

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 3:13 pm

@ APATS

Do I remember correctly that their is a treaty which prevents aircraft carriers from entering the Black Sea which was a reason for the Russians having aviation cruisers.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
June 29, 2014 3:23 pm

@ Martin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreux_Convention_Regarding_the_Regime_of_the_Straits

It is very complex but effectively the answer is yes.

Rocket Banana
June 29, 2014 3:28 pm

Love the pic :-)

This’ll put the Olympics and HM Jubilee to shame in terms of just how far out I’ll puff my chest. It’s about time as the recent English outing to South America was a bit rubbish – to say the least.

Tre-bleedin’-mendous! (a bit of tmesis for you).

Simon257
Simon257
June 29, 2014 3:31 pm

@ Martin
Is this what you are thinking of:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreux_Convention_Regarding_the_Regime_of_the_Straits

Ah I see APATS beat me to it!

Martin
Editor
June 29, 2014 3:42 pm

@ APATS and Simon 257

maybe we could sell them Lusty then. The term through deck cruiser could have more uses that just trying to get an aircraft carrier past HM treasury.

Simon257
Simon257
June 29, 2014 3:48 pm

@ Martin

Why would they buy Lusty. They are planning to build their own LPD

John Hartley
John Hartley
June 29, 2014 4:08 pm

I no longer think of QE/PoW as elephants, as they are clearly camels(a horse designed by a committee). We should have either built 3x 35000 ton Super Invincible STOVL carriers or 2x Nuclear CATOBAR 58000 ton enlarged Charles De Gaulles.

Observer
Observer
June 29, 2014 4:10 pm

Martin, I believe you when you say they want to be part of Europe, but I suspect they would want to join as equals, not beggars, which means that they need to restore their power, influence and prestige first. I also do agree that the current Russia would want the areas of the old Comblock to fall under their influence, but that is more a wish and a fairly placid one compared to the aggressive ones that have been happening around the world. Remember, unlike the current Pacific with constant sparring and jockeying for position, the Ukrainian incident blew up without any buildup, no Russian “border incursions” or “published maps” first, which is one of the reasons I suspect a knee-jerk reaction. No prepping the ground for the justification of claims, just “BOOM!!”.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 5:52 pm

Which in its way is even more alarming becuase you don’t know where it might kick off next. The Kalingrad Oblast and the Baltic States for example.

The point that Russia seems not to get about spheres of influence is that in large chunks of the old USSR the people who live there are dead keen not to have it. No amount of blaming the EU and NATO can gloss over that. If the Russian Patriotic Model was so damned attractive people would be queing up to join. And that’s join voluntarily not after a load of cossacks and special forces have taken over the building and chased out anyone who doesn’t agree.

As it is many of the former Soviet populations seems rather keener on the rule of law, electing their own leaders, and the opportunity to get moderately prosperous. Not all. But then NATO and the EU aren’t queuing up to invade, destabilise or otherwise harass Belarus or Moldovan TransDneister. So that’s fine then.

The Other Chris
June 29, 2014 6:28 pm

Won’t risk an edit to the above but you can imagine a railgun, VLS, SAMSON and the whole shebang.

You can even count the heart attacks @NaB would have when he was asked to create a low noise version for ASW work too!

Observer
Observer
June 29, 2014 6:54 pm

PE, I would have settled for a neutral zone similar to the old non-aligned league. They may not want to join Russia, but moving in too close to their borders will cause a reaction. Cause and effect. In this case, actions were taken without consideration to the effect.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 7:01 pm

We’re not moving anywhere. The majority of Ukranians seem quite keen to move towards us. That’s what Putin doesn’t like. Becuase he fears that deep down rather a lot of Russians might think the same, and he doesn’t want them getting ideas.

Observer
Observer
June 29, 2014 7:08 pm

PE, that is inventing unrest out of whole cloth. Most people are loyal to their country before loyalty to a good life if only because they don’t see that good life with their own eyes. You can imagine a country of rebellious Russians, but I would strongly advise you against making plans on that.

Ukraine unfortunately you are right that they are extremely westward leaning. The problem comes in that they should not have been accepted but left as a “neutral country with good westward leaning relationships”. You remember the old story of someone sticking his hand into a candy jar, grabbing a huge handful and being unable to pull it out again? Same thing. There was a great desire to grab as much influence in Ukraine as possible without consideration that a light touch might have been a lot better.

Sometimes I seriously suspect that the only hammer in some western government’s eyes is the big one. Damn it, use a smaller hammer and AIM!!

Repulse
June 29, 2014 7:13 pm

/ PE: If times were different 3 CVFs would be the way to go, but 2 (hopefully) will need to do.

Over the past year, my thoughts have become increasingly set on the need to review how we use and equip the Royal Marines, the need to move away from the RFTG concept and the value of the UK having a ready “big stick” to back our Soft Diplomacy.

Whilst a Falklands II would need an amphibious operation should we be foolish enough to loose the islands again, the chances of needing (or being able to support in a broader sense) a full scale RM brigade style assault is zilch. Therefore, we should be looking to use the RMs in a much more broader (and dispersed) sense. Having enforced company sized units based on the CVFs and on frigates / destroyers would in my view give much more benefit given the anticipated operations required. These units can independently tackle pirates / terrorists and enforce blockades, but can also be joined together to perform larger raids or “kick the door in” for an Army landing. To do this, the current build of T26s should be stopped at the 8 required for ASW. Instead a further 8 “T27” escorts should be built based on an extended basic T26 model, but with a rear mission bay able to operate LCVPs and amphibious vehicles. These would replace not only the 5 GP T23s but also the 2 Albion LPDs.

Remodelling the way the RMs operate gives the opportunity to reshape the fleet around 2 CVF carrier groups, plus an Army Amphibious Group (operated by the Army and RFA). This would assign the “one structure fits all” RFTG to history, which would be a good thing as it’s too cumbersome for small operations and completely not fit for purpose in any real war.

One carrier group could be operational at any point in time (with the ability to surge 2) with a CVF (24 F35Bs, 6 HC / 6 ASW / 4 AEW Merlins) supported by 2 T45s, 2 T26s and 2 T27s (plus a SSN nearby).

The Army Amphibious Group (AAG) would be based around an Auxiliary Carrier capable of carry Merlins, Apaches & Wildcats (could HMS Ocean by operated by the RFA in this way?), the 3 Bays and the 4 Points. The AAG would be able to deliver up to an Army Brigade anywhere in the world to an already secured landing area. This would be escorted by a mixture of T45s, T26s and more importantly the T27s.

The reality is that the AAG would be a once in a 20 year affair, whereas the Carrier Group would be the ready “big stick” sailing quickly to trouble areas.

This in my view would keep the UK relevant and able to shape events even given our financial limitations.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 7:17 pm

I’m not inviting unrest anywhere. But I sincerely doubt we will succeed in establishing stable and friendly relations, inlcuding both political and commercial relations, with Russia until they do have something approaching the rule of law in their own country.

Peter Elliott
June 29, 2014 7:27 pm

Interesting idea Repulse but I wouldn’t be without our LCU Mk 10s even in an ‘already secured’ landing area. They are the critical connectors for moving ‘stuff’ from ship to shore in quick time.

If you did dispense with the idea of big well dock ships I think you would need to replace them with one or both of Expeditionary-Delivered-Port-Infrastructure, such as TD recommended in his recent series, or big Flo-Flo barge big enough to carry 8 LCU into theatre and then act as a transfer pontoon onto which the Ro-Ro s could unload all those army vheicles before the LCUs take them ashore.

On Frigates not sure y0u would get 8 ships for the price of 5 just by reconfiguring the back end. What other systems did you delete? The VLS? The radar? How survivable are these things going to be when someone starts shooting at them? To be honest provided T26 does what it says on the tin I will take as many as I can get. And they will still be dead handy for company level operations if we need them to be.

Repulse
June 29, 2014 8:01 pm

@PE: Agree on the Expeditionary-Delivered-Port-Infrastructure, and perhaps carrying LCU type craft on new RFA SSS mother ships. However, my basic premise is that by having a secure landing area (read permanent or temporary port) as a prerequisite then LCUs become less important.

To get my 8 T27s, I have deleted the 5 GP T26s and also any replacements for the 2 Albions. The T27 to me was the craft that the T26 promised to be before the rear mission bay had to be deleted due to the fact it didn’t fit well with having to tow a sonar. In terms of deleting kit, I don’t see a need to, except no need for strike length VLS (for TLAM).

John Hartley
John Hartley
June 29, 2014 10:15 pm

I cannot see the RN getting a 3rd Carrier unless it is a combined replacement for Argus & Ocean. So half helicopter carrier/half hospital. Would be handy for disaster relief, so get DfID to pay for it.

mickp
mickp
June 29, 2014 11:25 pm

, I like the thinking.

A CVF centered fleet that has a self contained and adequate RM capability yet can all operate at fleet speed and T27s that act as escorts in their own right.

I agree the way forward is all heavy lift to be RFA – and lets get DFID to part fund an Ocean / Argus replacement to operate under the RFA

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
June 30, 2014 12:22 am

The QE Class carriers appear to be credit to the naval shipyards that are building the two ships. In time they will have their air wings.

So till something is shown to have gone wrong, let’s look on the bright side. So I think I’ll link to Lt Cdr Woodrooffe’s BBC report on the Illumination of The Fleet at the Spithead Review from HMS Nelsons in 1937 … You know the one about the fleet being lit up – as was Lt Cdr Woodrooffe

http://www.nr23.net/mp3s/fleets_lit_up.mp3

Martin
Editor
June 30, 2014 1:16 am

@ Repusle

Why could we not support a second RM assault on the Falklands? Maybe not today but by 2020 we will have a far more capable force than we could have dreamt of in 1982.

Peter Elliott
June 30, 2014 6:41 am

Not sure we have enough escorts to protect so large a task force: Carrier Group, Amphib group, and ships shuttling to/from Ascension. Assume we manage to get 12 FF/DD to sea out of 19 total. If there were a couple of modern SSK sniffing around the AO I think we would lose a lot of ships to torpedo attack. And if we pulled our own SSN back to deal with them we would lose our most potent attacking weapon. Both in the ‘Belgrano’ sense and for lobbing TLAM into enemy ports and airfields.

Alex
Alex
June 30, 2014 10:49 am

Congratulations to Jerry Kidd

Let’s hope this Captain Kidd doesn’t go pirate with the nice new ship the king built for him…does he have a cat by any chance?

Peter Elliott
June 30, 2014 11:00 am

Repulse

I still think you bust the budget. Just because something is RFA doesn’t mean it doesn’t need paying for or a crew finding. Bearing in mind we only crew one Albion at the moment and you are now planning to create 2 or 3 additional RFA ships for EDPI or MLP type duties I just don’t see where the crews for your extra 3 FF are coming from too. And did you crew the second Carrier? If so can we justify the Ocean/Argus type ship as well? If you didn’t crew the second Carrier where the Amphibious Group to be commanded from? The Albions have command centres, the QEC do, but Ocean and RFA type ships don’t.

Peter Elliott
June 30, 2014 11:06 am

Monkey

Those buses are old style Routemasters and not the current Boris Buses. You only get 25 Boris Buses in the length of QE as opposed to the 28 Routemasters shown.

;)

monkey
monkey
June 30, 2014 11:18 am

Elliot
I stand corrected (it was from The Daily Moan).

How many hospital beds does the new QE class as standard?
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/03/26/article-2589540-1C94B5E300000578-16_964x704.jpg
The middle deck items 57 and 59 are the hospital facilities.
I was prompted by John Hartley’s comment re tasking the crews/finances of Ocean/Argus .
P.s. How long have Albion/Bulwark got left before becoming artificial reefs?

Chris
Chris
June 30, 2014 11:27 am

Monkey – 22 F35 shown on the graphic – is that the full complement? Does anyone know?

monkey
monkey
June 30, 2014 11:31 am


No idea on what you can actually fit , I suspect its about right as to maintain LO feature I would think except on flight operations they are kept below decks.
There is also the Complement of Merlin’s to fly ASW/AEW/SAR as well as any future UAV.

The Other Chris
June 30, 2014 11:32 am

36 x F-35B’s plus four helicopters has been mentioned regularly.

Peter Elliott
June 30, 2014 11:35 am

I should think official OOS dates for the Albions should be some time after 2030. But given they are at sea approx only 50% of what they were desinged for the hulls ought to last considerably longer. Obsolescence issues of the diesel-electric propusion and other systems will probably be the main thing. But as we have seen with Ocean systems issues can be fixed on refit if the will to do so is there.

To me the push factor is likely to come from the supply side. There will come a point when the T26 build is finishing and the Design Office and Shipyard need a Complex Warship project to work on. A pair of new Amphibs may well be the next cab off the rank. (I expect the replacement MCM hulls to be a COTS purchase of an OSV from the lowest bidder – not a complex warship project)

Challenger
Challenger
June 30, 2014 11:48 am

@Chris/TOC/Monkey

The phrase ’40 aircraft as standard and 50 full load’ has been thrown around a bit, though I guess it depends on the force mix and how many sorties you want to try and safely generate.

I’m sure a lot more than 36 F35B could be crammed into the hangar and on the flight-deck, but their is little point if it left things too congested to make good use of them.

Chris
Chris
June 30, 2014 11:54 am

The UK buy of F-35 isn’t that big; once OEU/trg squadron and home squadron(s) are catered for, I’m unsure if there’s 40 left to send out on a cruise? Anyway – not really any of my business. I trust FAA will get as many to sea as they can.

Peter Elliott
June 30, 2014 12:03 pm

Current plans are for two front line squadrons to stand up. One badged FAA and one badged RAF, but both in fact joint and desinged to support carrier operations. Given the SoS’s statement that the routine peacetime embarkation will be 12 aircraft outside home waters you would imagine that these will be 12 aircraft per squadron.

Allowing for some to remain in the USA for as part of the joint OEU there is some obvious slack within the 48 aircraft currently funded that could be stood up as a third squadron in an emergency.

Its not clear to me whether there will be UK based OCU squadron or whether British pilots will go to USA for conversion. I think the RAF wants it in the UK. But the business case probably swings on whether we end up with 48 aircract, 138, or something in between.

Rocket Banana
June 30, 2014 1:01 pm

Generally I think the Royal Navy design their carriers to accommodate 2/3 of their warload in the hangar. Given that various pics show 24 x F35Bs squeezed into the hangar I’d therefore suggest 36 is the sensible maximum number of jets we’ll ever see on CVF.

I’d imagine she’d then set sail with 12 on deck and 24 in the hangar. Plus however many Merlin we can also squeeze. Once she arrives on station the hangar will be “unpacked” leaving around 12 jets in the hangar and 24 on deck. I think she is spec’ed to be able to launch these 24 in a single wave in around 15 minutes which is not at all shabby.

If operating cyclic ops in the initial surge we’ll probably see 12 aircraft airborne at any one time (three airframes per flight) with a decrease down to four airframes per flight as maintenance requirements bite in and we spend time disarming and unpumping fuel prior to a “visit” to the hangar.

This also supports the notion of being able to actually get to the mission capable aircraft within the hangar without moving everything else around. From what I can see CVF can make around 12-16 F35Bs available on an ad-hoc basis. This allows us to move “ready” jets up to the deck and fill the vacant slot in the hangar with non-mc aircraft.

The Other Chris
June 30, 2014 1:17 pm

Initial UK training for the F-35 is currently handled at Eglin AFB. Longer term, the UK is planning its own Integrated Training Centre to handle European crew training.

A collaboration agreement has already been signed with Norway, with reciprocal F-135 engine maintenance being handled by AIM. I can’t find the source right now, however IIRC Italy also intend to use the UK ITC.

El Sid
El Sid
June 30, 2014 3:10 pm

@TOC
Interesting seeing the opening page of that through-deck cruiser article :

which are utterly useless outside a carrier task force. These ships are not equipped to operate offensively or defensively in any significant manner unless in company with a carrier and her other escorts. In anything other than a zero-threat or very low-threat environment, large carriers and such escorts are hopelessly wedded to each other. The luxury of the carrier force as now constituted is no longer affordable, for economic and operational reasons. Even if inflation were not a factor, though, there are even more pressing reasons for casting aside the carriers and their task forces.

Could easily have been written today in the context of LCS and the “big carrier” debate in the US today.

Observer
Observer
June 30, 2014 3:25 pm

El Sid, I fail to see how. Carrier + escort yes, but the LCS was never designed to work in tandem with anything. They are, in theory, sacrificial independent (pun not intended) scouts.

Waylander
Waylander
June 30, 2014 5:39 pm

@MSR
The QEs are not helo carriers, they were designed to carry three squadrons of F-35s, hell if more aircraft were chocked and chained on the flight deck they could carry 50 JSFs. The only limiting factor is of course how many F-35Bs the UK buys, but even with an initial order of just 48, that is still adequate for a “warload” of two squadrons 24 fast jets eg 809 NAS with the surge capacity provided by 617 Sqn RAF.
The QEs will still be more capable than the “aircraft carriers” of India, Russia, Italy and no doubt China’s first indigenous built platforms as well.
The Indian Navy has a very limited ASW capability for example, so their carriers are virtually defenceless against PLAN and Pakistani SSKs, in contrast the QE’s will have a Maritime Force Protection Package that includes the superb Merlin Mk2.
Elliot
The QEs are not comparable with the America class assault ships as they were designed for completely different roles. The America class can carry around 1,200 US Marines and will normally only carry 6-10 F-35s.
As I said above the QE’s were designed as strike carriers to carry a large number of fast jets, with amphibious assault only being a secondary capability, hence why the QEs will only carry 250 RMs (perhaps a few more), even though they are 70,000 t compared the America class’s 40,000 t. The QE’s are large because of the size of their Air Group, not to carry RMs.

El Sid
El Sid
June 30, 2014 7:12 pm

@Observer
The degree of independence is at the heart of the debate – and that’s a debate that goes right up to the highest levels of the USN, even the people writing the CONOPs for the LCS. Obviously they’re not full-service escorts like the Ticos, but most of the ships that the LCS are replacing (Avengers and Perrys) get used as specialist battlegroup escorts in the underwater domain. There’s been a lot of debate about how the LCS as delivered matches up the requirement for independent operations “in anything other than a zero-threat or very low-threat environment” – and the result has been the new project to replace LCS with something more frigatey.

It’s also a good example of how critics fail to appreciate the power of flexibility and Moore’s Law. OK, those first 5 Ticos looked just like any other cruiser of the time with their Mk26 launchers – but under the skin they had Aegis, and soon their sisters would have VLS which allowed them to eg be loaded up as Tomahawk arsenals in GW1.

Topman
Topman
June 30, 2014 7:50 pm

@ Waylander

‘The only limiting factor is of course how many F-35Bs the UK buys’

There will be plenty more factors on the number of a/c deployed beyond numbers purchased.

Repulse
June 30, 2014 7:58 pm

: Re Falklands II – I not saying that we wouldn’t have an amphibious assault, but the approach and mechanism would be different. I would see a series of amphibious and air launched raids, followed by securing of a bay to build a temporary port to off load the AAG. Having TLAM, F35Bs and Apache gunships in close support and significant Chinook lift capability was only dreamed of in 82.

John Hartley
John Hartley
June 30, 2014 7:59 pm

QE/PoW + F-35B might work out ok, but there are still many ifs. If the RAF ever allow any F-35 onboard the carriers. If the F-35 gets a reasonable choice of weapons. If the RN gets a few V-22 with the air refuelling kit to give the F-35B a reasonable combat radius.

Repulse
June 30, 2014 8:08 pm

@ PE: “And did you crew the second Carrier? If so can we justify the Ocean/Argus type ship as well? If you didn’t crew the second Carrier where the Amphibious Group to be commanded from? The Albions have command centres, the QEC do, but Ocean and RFA type ships don’t.”

I referring to redirecting the budget for the next 20 years from LPDs (or LHDs as some want) an additional 3 new Multi Role Support Frigates, so I think it is possible to do it in the current planned restrictions.

Crewing the 2nd Carrier and the 3 FFs will (assuming the RN gets it’s training in place) come from not having HMS Ocean and the 2 Albions (okay one in reserve) plus the crew reduction in the T26 over the T23.

On the Command Centre – I cannot see why we wouldn’t just take the kit from the Albions and fit to the QEs?

Observer
Observer
June 30, 2014 8:29 pm

So that you don’t have to lug a carrier around whenever you need to deploy.

Waylander
Waylander
June 30, 2014 8:33 pm

@Topman

My point was that as the QEs were designed as strike carriers they will be able to carry a large air group without much difficulty, unlike helo/assault carriers which usually only have limited space for fixed-wing a/c.
Obviously there will be other issues: cost, aircraft availability, training, pilots etc especially for routine RFTG type deployments, but for a major operational deployment or crisis like the Falklands, as many a/c would be deployed as possible.

Topman
Topman
June 30, 2014 8:48 pm

No problem, merely trying to drift towards ‘drier’ matters. Although during major operation deployment or crisis, those issues (and more) will still be important. Little point sending a/c you can’t operate properly anywhere.

Challenger
Challenger
July 1, 2014 12:27 pm

I’d like to see 60 F35B ordered during the 2015 SDSR, plenty to stand-up 3 squadrons, have a OEU and a large OCU which could generate either an extra squadron or bolster the others in an emergency.

Run a fleet of 100ish Typhoon and 60 F35B until at least 2030 when we can make a decision about what comes next.

The Other Chris
July 1, 2014 12:57 pm

138 F-35’s please (Harrier and Tornado replacements). Without affecting Typhoon numbers.

Also, look at using Tornado airframes with remaining life for specialist roles.

Challenger
Challenger
July 1, 2014 5:04 pm

@TOC

Blimey, you don’t want much do you!

I prescribe more to the idea that whilst things like fighter-jets are crucial to the integrity and effectiveness of our armed forces as a whole they aren’t something which are in short supply among our many allies across the world and thus capping our fleet at 160-200 top notch air-frames allows us to spend money on things that are relatively scarce such as amphibious shipping, carriers, SSN’s, extensive RFA support, ISTARS platforms, heavy lift transports, world class special forces and so on.

Out of interest what specialist roles would you use your remaining Tornado air-frames for?

The Other Chris
July 1, 2014 6:52 pm

Absolutely! Stake in the ground, drawing lines, shooting straight and all those cliches.

These are the numbers (bar Tornado) that we’ve committed to. It’s not a huge ask to expect what we’ve stated will be provided to the services! The analysts have already listed the numbers they expect will be required for the tasks specified. The numbers are reduced from the previous generation.

A discrete Tornado fleet provides for the Buccaneer/Vulcan/Canberra/Lightning scenarios: A platform that can be cannibalised, roughly converted, expended. Air Sampling, High Speed Reconnaissance, Test Platform, Su-24MR style ad-hoc MRA, Son of Taranis integration platform, micro-satellite launcher first stage, Heritage Flight (where’s the Heritage Harrier?). If you don’t have an asset like it, you have extra cost reinventing the wheel in whatever endeavor needs something similar.

Other fleets will continue for a period past our retirement providing opportunities to exchange for training, assist with maintenance, keep supply chains open. The cost per airframe loses efficiency, but given the small size of the fleet the amounts spent become a comparatively small item on the MOD spreadsheet.

But it gains you a high mach, 50k feet ceilinged, high payload, refuelable, tough airframe to turn to whenever needed.

Repulse
July 1, 2014 7:39 pm

@Observer: “So that you don’t have to lug a carrier around whenever you need to deploy.”

Then add new kit to the auxiliary carrier ship also, though I think any hostile landing without carrier support is never going to happen…

TAS
TAS
July 2, 2014 11:34 am

The GR4 has only two uses left in it’s frame of any value – StormShadow carriage and the RAPTOR pod. The former is almost ready to go on FGR4, but no sight of a replacement for RAPTOR. That’s a huge blow – few countries have anything as good as RAPTOR for reconnaissance. Anyway, once SS is integrated and cleared for carriage on GR4 you can expect the fleet to be retired sooner than you think.

TAS
TAS
July 2, 2014 11:38 am

Anyone know why the Digital Joint Reconnaissance Pod hasn’t been integrated into FGR4? We had them for Harrier.

Waylander
Waylander
July 2, 2014 11:47 am

The UK just got approval from the US Gov to buy up to 65 more Tomahawk Block IV missiles to replenish stocks, obviously the RN will still have some TLAMs left from the previous buy, so this will increase the overall stockpile. They probably want to increase the numbers because the Astutes have nearly twice the loadout of the Trafalgars.

http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/united-kingdom-tomahawk-block-iv-torpedo-launched-land-attack-missiles

Mark
Mark
July 2, 2014 12:21 pm

Have they not done tests with the raptor pod gubbins on reaper?

The new targeting pods litening 3/4 are starting to give recon capability and I’m sure reccelite may make an appearance on typhoon.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
July 2, 2014 12:51 pm

“But it gains you a high mach, 50k feet ceilinged, high payload, refuelable, tough airframe to turn to whenever needed”

Reasonably sure that the Fin can’t get anywhere near FL500. And as for ” platform that can be cannibalised, roughly converted, expended”, you are aware of the MAA and its function?

“They probably want to increase the numbers because the Astutes have nearly twice the loadout of the Trafalgars. ”

I rather think it’s because the TLAM line gets discontinued in two years time…..

Rocket Banana
July 2, 2014 1:18 pm

“They probably want to increase the numbers because the Astutes have nearly twice the loadout of the Trafalgars”

This is because of my comment regarding the pitiful (playing around) type numbers the RN procure in comparison to the 900 Storm Shadow the RAF have (sensibly) ordered ;-)

Peter Elliott
July 2, 2014 1:51 pm

Makes sense to build up stocks if the line is closing. Just like it did to keep stocks low while it was open.

The question does arise what we would do if we need to stock up after 2 years: either becuase we shot our load, or becuase the threat increases, or becuase our capacity to fire them increses (from surface ships for example).

Presumably Uncle Sam has a replacement in the works.

Or maybe we would go for MdeCN to get the commonality with Storm Shadow?

El Sid
El Sid
July 2, 2014 2:55 pm

@PE
MdCN costs €2.43m (FY13) in serial production without support, so a smidge under £2m at current exchange rates (and €6m including R&D!).
http://www.senat.fr/rap/a13-158-8/a13-158-814.html#toc259

These 65 Tomahawks are costing us $140m including support, so £1.25m each – and previous ones have been on the books for £0.87m (inc VAT) without support.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110517/text/110517w0001.htm#11051744000014

If we needed more Uncle Sam has several thousand in stock which we should be able to borrow under almost any plausible scenario – and if we were in WWIII one might imagine they would restart production, it’s been done before.

The reason they closed the line was to free up budget for the development of the replacement, OASuW Increment 2, IOC 2024.

OASuW Increment 1 is LRASM, which is more of a Harpoon/SLAM replacement, it’s effectively a JASSM-ER with multimode seeker that can be launched from the air or you can stick on an ASROC booster to launch it from Mk 41 VLS. They’ve launched it from Mk41 but it won’t be in service for a couple of years, and officially there’s no submarine version yet – but one can imagine that it shouldn’t be too hard to adapt Tomahawk systems to LRASM.

The Other Chris
July 2, 2014 3:21 pm

@El Side

Any idea who the potential competitors are for OASuW Increment 2 yet, and do the requirements include submarine tube launch from the outset?

Rocket Banana
July 2, 2014 3:28 pm

Hopefully we’ll be able to use the MdCN soon?

Have the French launched them from their FREMM yet?

These French chaps… are always one step ahead of us, which is odd ‘cos there are missiles hanging in the foyer in Stevenage.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
July 2, 2014 4:29 pm

Given that by the time they actually get a TLAM successor, nominally known as Next Generation Land Attack Weapon into service, the youngest non-VLS 688 boat will be 40 years old at least, so other than the three Seawolf boats, there’s little incentive for a torpedo tube launched version.

That leaves the UK two options – buy small increments of MdCN (assuming they ever get round to submarine launch), or live with remanufactured TLAM stocks until NGLAW service entry at which point go VLS on T26 and potentially MUFC.

x
x
July 2, 2014 4:50 pm

“These French chaps… are always one step ahead of us, which is odd ‘cos there are missiles hanging in the foyer in Stevenage.”

No they aren’t ahead of us (not that you meant it that way) it was just another MoD / service cock-up.

T45 should have had the appropriate VLS from the get go. Astute should have been built with VLS get go.

Prime capability that doesn’t cost much to implement in relative terms pissed up the wall.

Don’t care who made the decision or what colour uniform they wear, or who they report to or the colour of their uniform, or what committees it went through, or whatever it is a total unmitigated cock-up.

Phil
July 2, 2014 5:20 pm

or whatever it is a total unmitigated cock-up.

Must be time for a new armchair soon?

Peter Elliott
July 2, 2014 5:24 pm

“potentially MUFC.”

What is this please?

x
x
July 2, 2014 5:47 pm

@ Phil

This is site about encouraging debate about UK defence and not a site specifically for defence professionals so I think I am allowed to voice my opinion on the issue. If you don’t like it why not go over to post at ARRSE?

Perhaps that nice Mr Cameron will sign the UK to help France in Africa and then you can go off to help your chums shoot up another Third World country? And then we won’t have to put with your holier than chippy comments.

Phil
July 2, 2014 5:55 pm

A multi billion pound project at the cutting edge of human endeavour and technology doesn’t have your favourite toy on it and therefore the whole thing is wank and a massive cock up? Not much of a debate is it?

Peter Elliott
July 2, 2014 6:00 pm

Not Manchester United Football Club.

Is it a name for the next design of SSN after Astute?

wirralpete
wirralpete
July 2, 2014 6:24 pm

& x… easy chaps
x… Think having cmc fitted to astutes from get go would have been non starter at beginning of design etc , we are however getting 7 extremely capable ssn’s with a missile load out comparable to the usn virginia class ssn’s, but torpedo launched, my question would be what replaces tlam in 10-15 years time and do we go for a storm shadow/ tlam replacement covering both missiles capabilities with the sub launched / frigate launched having an tlam like range ?
The next generation ssn to be developed for in service, as astutes bow out , in the 2040+ timeframe may well have the cmc modules developed for the future ssbn incorporated, but does this impact on the hunter-killler aspect of the ssn, ie bigger circumference etc etc thus bigger displacement and inability to conduct ops in the littoral in the north atlantic, baltic, med, north sea? Is the uk going for torpedo launched for operational needs because we’re never going to have the volume of missiles to justify the impact on anti sub, sneaky beaky sbs missions that chalfont provides, and other non public missions that our ssn’s conduct ( thinking of conqueror cutting a russian trawlers towed array sonar and capturing it post falklands without them knowing it in the baltic, i think)

El Sid
El Sid
July 2, 2014 6:26 pm

@PE
Yep, the Maritime Underwater Future Capability is the project name for the next-generation SSN.

The Other Chris
July 2, 2014 6:32 pm

A fancy way of saying a stretched Astute with X-Fins? ;)

Rocket Banana
July 2, 2014 6:57 pm

MUFC – Maritime Underwater Future Capability

One of those silly ones. If it’s “underwater” it’s maritime init so why bother with both Maritime and Underwater?

Should really be SSNF (Scottish Stroke Nurses Forum) :-)

monkey
monkey
July 2, 2014 7:24 pm

Maritime Underwater Future Capability
It has the word Future in it which like FRES will curse it and doom it to vast overspend with the Astute’s running 10 years past their end of service date on extremely expensive LEP’s into the second half of this Centaury :-)

El Sid
El Sid
July 2, 2014 7:27 pm

@Simon
If it’s “underwater” it’s maritime init

Not necessarily – maritime is only the sea, we might want to wander up the Yangtze or something! And it doesn’t hurt to remind RN submariners that they’re meant to stay in the wet bit.

Mind you, I can imagine a change to MCFC on footballing grounds, now that MUFC is starting to look a bit second division and is getting beaten up by Germans and Iberians on a regular basis…

@TOC
Maybe….

Tom
Tom
July 2, 2014 8:01 pm

The sub launched version of Tomahawk is the same whether via sub-VLS or torpedo tube, so I imagine that when the USN replaces Sub-Tomahawk, it will be perfectly compaibatke with our sub tubes.

For reference: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_(missile)#Launch_systems – see second paragraph.

IXION
July 2, 2014 8:19 pm

I see from the Telegraph ‘An Admiral writes….’

Guess what!
We need the other Elephant in service if we are to remain (Yawn) a ‘ premier league power’…

Mark
Mark
July 2, 2014 8:25 pm

http://aviationweek.com/farnborough-2014/carrier-strike-capability-returning-uk

The Royal Navy has planned a generic operating cycle for the ship, with the carrier at sea for 180-210 days per year with 20 weeks for leave and ship maintenance. Every second year, a period of what the ministry calls “high intensity” ship training and a similar level of training with F-35s is envisioned.

The U.K. has shaped the carriers around the F-35—which the U.K. sees being in service until around 2040. Senior officials say the U.K. has been fortunate be developing the ship and the aircraft at the same time. As a result, U.K. industry has been able to conduct significant work to ensure it can gain the most out of the aircraft and its interactions with the carrier ski jump and the Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing method. The latter was developed to increase the aircraft’s ability to return with its weapons payload, rather than jettisoning them into the sea.

Opinion3
Opinion3
July 2, 2014 8:41 pm

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen the build of the QE in person. It is an impressive feat of engineering.

I don’t subscribe to those who view the Aircraft Carrier as a LHP. I believe this tag was added by the Conservatives for political reasons. Yes the lifts can take a Chinook unfolded, but it also takes X2 F35s and the reality is that we have Chinooks in our inventory. The Aircraft Carrier appears to have been designed as an Aircraft Carrier where someone has said “It would be silly if we couldn’t use it as a helicopter platform”. The wide corridors are wide but it’s no Mistral or LHD, these are designed with large open spaces, well-docks and means of getting large bulky items (and men) to exits to disembark.

I was surprised the hangar didn’t have a large overhead crane, it doesn’t and will instead rely on one of those mobile jobbies TD mutters about in his sleep. A 300m Carrier would have been cool, the extra cost has been more than wasted by the delays and changes, however having said that I believe the headline overspend is again a political disingenuous statement. It is implying that ACA has overspent the full amount. It hasn’t and much of the cost is due to Gordon Brown not having the readies in the bank to pay his suppliers per the original project plan.

This is a serious piece of kit that would benefit from some more F35s and some MV22s with Crowsnest / Inflight refueling of helos and jets plus carrier replenishment capability. Otherwise I really can’t see much lacking. The CATOBAR carrier decision was fully supported by me but the F35Bs look capable.

As for the ‘LHD’ stuff I think that belongs to the MARS SSS.

IXION
July 2, 2014 8:48 pm

Interesting that the Admiral implies that with only one carrier the RN is not a credible force..

And he’s an Admiral with gold braid and everything.

Phil
July 2, 2014 8:53 pm

And he’s an Admiral with gold braid and everything.

How do you bear it all IXION? How do you bear it?

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 2, 2014 9:48 pm

pre SDSR special pleading leak

Caroline Wyatt has just done a piece on the world tonight R4.

Opinion3
Opinion3
July 2, 2014 9:49 pm

It would certainly be interesting to know what the services believe are at risk and need ears bent on. I wonder how effective these pleadings are? You would think there is a budget, you propose how to spend it and stick to it.

Mark
Mark
July 2, 2014 9:52 pm

The sdsr pleading only starts when we have a round of stories on scrapping the red arrows!

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 2, 2014 10:21 pm

Tom, the Virginia payload tubes each hold a canister of six vertical launch Tomahawks forward, and seven in the midsection. The mid tubes are also longer than the forward tubes.

The US and UK both use 21″ torpedoes. Without similar payload tubes, the Royal Navy will be limited by that 21 inch weapon diameter; with their payload tubes the US is not restricted to that dimension, and can simply fit a new canister with fewer fatter weapons into the same payload tube.

So there is no guarantee that the submarine launched Tomahawk replacement will be perfectly compatible with our existing SSN.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 2, 2014 10:26 pm

Good idea Boss, but would a Thread be enough? This far out you could populate a whole new website…

GNB

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
July 2, 2014 10:53 pm

“The sub launched version of Tomahawk is the same whether via sub-VLS or torpedo tube”

I rather think you’ll find they’re not – and that making the later variants torpedo tube launched costs money.

Observer
Observer
July 2, 2014 11:00 pm

NaB, as one of the people here familiar with the blue and wet, what are the differences in the tube and VLS launched versions? Think the launch canister is different?

As for the carriers, why can’t people just be happy at the accomplishments instead of trying to find faults? Too much fault finding turns you into an 80 year old Jewish grandmother don’t you know? So guys have even more to lose at being grumpy. :P

IXION
July 3, 2014 6:44 am

Phil

As I sometimes reiterate I am in fact a fan of ‘proper’ carrier air power. That means 3 ships.

Now whether that is 3 Nimitz or three enlarged illustrious style matters not.. Then you need the appropriate level of screening a scores for surface, air and submarine threats.

The point is if your going to do it, do it properly.

I have called the Elephants white Elephants, because only 2 was stretching not only the deployment cycle to ensure one available for use at all times, and it is clear that any serious wartime use would stretch the RN to the point that the entire fighting strength of the RN would have to cover it.

Now we only have one. Clearly a chap has stated that 1 is ‘not credible”. I suggest the treasury take him at his word and cancel the project saying: –

“Ok if your leadership says it’s not credible to deploy one, let’s not bother and scrap it”

At which point the Admiral with all his gold braid will scream. Sometimes taking people at their word really winds them up.

Phil
July 3, 2014 7:40 am

Why would we need to spend money to have a carrier available all the time? Out of all the vessels in the navy it is the least likely to be used as per its original design. Name a single instance in history when instant carrier air was vital.

Start thinking of them as commando carriers or something else because they’re barely going to be used as strike carriers.