Quote: NEXT month's final decision on whether to scrap the Royal Navy may supply us with the answer. Because the Blair government's drastic plans include more than taking existing ships out of commission. The service's entire future as a blue-water navy (that is, a navy capable of operations outside Britain's own waters) may be forfeit.
According to The Daily Telegraph, plans for two new fleet carriers of the kind vital for fighting today's War on Terror and projecting power overseas - and for which $6.9 billion had already been set aside - will also be scrapped. Two new destroyers, which were supposed to replace at least some of the retired ships, are also out of the picture. The Telegraph even reports (Jan. 8) that all officer promotions in the navy are to be suspended for the next five years.
Many in the government and in the media blame these cuts on Tony Blair's support for the U.S. war in Iraq. They claim the British troop presence there is eating up the British defense budget, leaving the other services like the navy to fight over table scraps.
But this is far from the whole story. Since the mid '80s, British defense spending has shrunk by more than 30 percent, to less than 2.5 percent of GDP. Today it is at its lowest level since 1930. Even welfare states such as France and Germany spend more on their military. (Meanwhile, Blair is busy hacking back the British commitment in Iraq from 7,000 to 4,500 troops - less than 4 percent of the coalition total.
The truth is that for two centuries Britain and the Royal Navy played the role of globocop, policing the world's sea trade lanes which keep the global economy going. (Even today, 95 percent of the weight of all intercontinental trade travels by sea.)
AFTER World War II, the U.S. Navy gradually took over that thankless but essential task; the British felt free to relax. From a postwar peak of 388 ships and submarines in 1950, the Royal Navy had dwindled to 112 vessels in 1980. By 2004. it was down to just 46.
Yet the British navy still takes pride in sharing the globocop burden with the United States in vital strategic areas like the Persian Gulf, and even being able to project power trans-oceanically alone when it has to, as during the Falklands War.
Could extending the life of the Invincible class could be an option if this were to happen? In the 1980s many of the older U.S. carriers got a new lease on live via a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). Could work in combination with a naval-ized F-35 ....
Quote: he project has been awarded to the "MPOA2" (Maitrise d'Oeuvre Porte Avions No 2) consortium composed of DCN and Thales, and is now proceeding in cooperation with the UK. The design was originally though to be for a ship of about 58,000t, but detailed design work has pushed it up into the 74,000t range, fully 72% larger than the FNS Charles de Gaulle. Unlike the nuclear-powered de Gaulle, however, the PA2 will be a conventionally-powered ship with an all-electric power system driven by Rolls Royce gas turbines.
The stated goal of 80% commonality with the British CVF carrier program is now in some question, and the ship's cost has become a concern. A recent report from Mer et Marine offers some updates, and indicates that things are going relatively well for now...
[Edited 2007-01-23 21:25:23]
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
Connies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 3857 posts, RR: 13 Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 8214 times:
If this turns out to be accurate, then how long before the Canadian Forces an outgun the RN ? :^)
It would be a big loss of capability, that's for sure. Even carriers of Ark Royal's size can project force some distance. If the future CV's are not built, does the RN get a new class of Ark Royal-type vessels or continue to dwindle?
Lumberton From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 4708 posts, RR: 21 Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 8184 times:
Quoting N328KF (Reply 2): The Frogs can't be happy about this, since the third unit of class was destined to go to the French Navy.
As I understand it from the second link I posted, that ship is still planned to proceed. Also, the article is pure speculation at this point. But...if it comes to pass, could the life of the Invincibles be extended and would the F-35 be able to operate from it?
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
Ozair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 661 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 8154 times:
Quoting Connies4ever (Reply 1): If the future CV's are not built, does the RN get a new class of Ark Royal-type vessels or continue to dwindle?
If this is true, and I will be really horrified if they actually go this way, I think we will see another couple of the Ocean class amphib carriers. A cheaper solution to provide a form of flight operations as well as troop transport.
DEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4427 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8142 times:
Quoting Lumberton (Reply 3): .if it comes to pass, could the life of the Invincibles be extended and would the F-35 be able to operate from it?
Queer that we came up with similar leading phrase and essentially the same question.
Quoting Lumberton (Reply 5):
I was discussing the prospect of "SLEP"-ing the Invincible class,
SLEP could certainly benefit those hulls although the bigger issues would be the RN's funding of the effort, and if the JSF SDD phase would progress to the order stage, seeing as how they were conceptualised operating optimally from the endangered CVs.
UH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 8047 times:
Well, if England actually goes through and cancels the program... they'll basically be ceding their ability to project military power beyond their region of influence. Very disturbing.
Quoting Lumberton (Reply 5): I was discussing the prospect of "SLEP"-ing the Invincible class, i.e. HMS Invincible, HMS Ark Royal, and HMS Illustrious. AFAIK, they are all still in active service.
Talk about a huge blunder. They have the plans, they have the money, they have the ability and they have the go-ahead. Canceling the program in favor of a SLEP for the three current ships would be assine. You'd basically be spending a ton of money, to only be put in the same position 10-15yrs from now.
The only reason the US Navy could pull it off, was because the budget has remained healthy. And we still have the means to purchase a whole new line of carriers.
But do we honestly think 15yrs from now England will suddenly willing to find the money to buy new carriers? Especially since they just pissed a ton down the drain on the SLEP?
Gary2880 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 7920 times:
Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 8): Well, if England actually goes through and cancels the program... they'll basically be ceding their ability to project military power beyond their region of influence. Very disturbing.
Think we have had this discussion before, **Britain** is the word your searching looking for comrade
No doubt this is yet another of this governments cost cutting measures along with the Red Arrows facing the possible chop.
Probably would save more money if they didn't take part in unnecessary wars rather than trying to find drastic cuts to the military which will end up harming us when we need to use the forces against a real threat.
But as Sir Humphrey says, Common sense has no place in government policy
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 7727 times:
Firstly, a health warning.
This is sourced from the Daily Telegraph.
While a broadsheet quality paper, in recent years, it's defence reporting has been a joke.
Just recently, they ran a story of how the Argentines were planning another Falklands invasion, due to 'Blair's cuts' etc.
Trouble is, their 'resurgent' Argentine AF bore no relation to reality, neither did they mention the non existent carriers, air defence ships and now very limited naval sealift forces to carry this out.
The opposition Defence Spokesman, Liam Fox MP, made a fool of himself by citing this story.
CVF is a big programme, that is controversial.
However, the next PM, the current Chancellor Gordon Brown, shows no sign of significantly differing from Blair in the general foreign policy direction.
He has, on more than one occasion, voiced public support for the CVF programme.
Much of the work would be done in his political backyard, that since the Lib Dems won a bi-election in a seat near to Brown's, looks not quite so secure as before.
Despite the overstretch in the forces, manned and with equipment, the fact is that Brown as Chancellor, has presided over the first increase in defence spending since 2000. Prior to 2000, the budget reduced every year from 1986.
It is not impossible to see CVF cancelled, however, the political fall out, the effect on foreign policy, would be huge.
And 'SLEPing' the Invincibles is far too late in their lives, still would not (assuming they were 'stretched'), not provide a robust platform for F-35B's.
And the Government has just expended a lot of effort, spent a lot of political capitol in Washington, to get the agreement on F-35B software access/operational sovereinty.
Without the Naval need for F-35B, it would not be a programme that the UK was either getting so heavily involved with, or just procuring in the first place.
The RAF would just get more Typhoons, much as they'd like to keep VSTOL, given the choice, more of the same would suffice.
They might covert F-35C's, but no Naval programme, no F-35.
As it is, the RAF are riding on the back of the RN, are happy to get a new, low observable, VSTOL type.
TSV From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 1641 posts, RR: 5 Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 7388 times:
I seem to recall a comment in a journal article about the size of these two when they were first talked about given that people were surprised that they were even thinking about them (especially in the light of cancelling CVA01 years ago and the "never be able to afford a conventional carrier ever again" argument). The comment was something along the lines of "Steel is cheap and space is free". Meaning obviously that the raw materials were cheap and that some systems could be added later in their lives if the space was there thus saving some initial cost. Someone could probably produce a graph showing that in the time they were first talked about to now steel has more than trippled in price so logically if the comment was indicative then they should be more than nervous about how much they are going to cost.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7330 times:
As I understand it, the drivers for the delays, have been about the possible inclusion of France, the issues around the F-35B, first with the weight issues LM seem confident they've licked, then the recently solved software access issues, as well as the desire to put all UK military shipyards under the 'ShipCo' organisation.
All but the ShipCo issue have been addressed.
CVA-01 has loomed large too, or rather the desire not to end up with a turkey of a design, which this proposed carrier would have been.
Interestingly, it indicates the project staff want to get this into a position where it will be difficuly to cancel before the French elections in April/May and the upcoming UK prime ministerial change, likely in June.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12708 posts, RR: 80 Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6521 times:
TSV, the proposed CVA-01 project, had artificial and politically motivated limits to it's size and displacement.
The RN, in adopting the F-4, needed a big carrier, Buccaneer could-as it was designed to, operate from smaller carriers, not the similar size F-4 without severe restrictions on performance and numbers.
So the 55,000 ton CVA-01 design emerged, it needed 60,000 tons,
To meet these demands, four catapults were reduced to two.
All amour protection-even for the magazines, were removed.
Then some by choice odd features-the carrier's defensive armanment was to be the Sea Dart SAM, an area defence system-why? It duplicated the role of the fighters, the escorting Type 82 Destroyers would have this system, as would the planned dedicated helicopter carriers-which did emerge in modified form as the Invincible Class.
Surely a close range system would be better? So you had the Sea Dart launcher on the fantail-with it's limited firing arcs right where aircraft returning to the carrier would be.
The two (large) Type 909 trackers for Sea Dart helped to make the carriers 'island' bigger still-wind tunnel tests suggested this island would induce nasty wind effects over deck.
This was compounded by having a huge planned 3D radar too-again also planned for the Type 82's (one T82-HMS Bristol-was built-but without the by now cancelled 3D set).
Propulsion would be by 6 high pressure boilers, a risky design that was considered doubtful of allowing the carrier to do more than 27 kts.
Worse, this was a propulsion system that by the time the ships entered service-in the early/mid 70's, would be old hat for new build ships, with the advent of gas turbines, so CVA-01 would be as time went on, incompatible in this respect.
Also, this helped in upping the crewing requirement, 2500-3000 officers and men. The then First Sea Lord admitted that he had no idea how he could man one CVA, without serious effects on the rest of the surface fleet, the RN wanted 3 CVA's too.
CVA-01 was out of time, the escalating costs, the change in the UK's role, moving away from the no longer affordable 'East Of Suez' role, doomed it, as much greater attention was paid to the N.Atlantic NATO role. Against Soviet subs.
The CVA cancellation was a blow to the RN, though the CVA-01 chief designer, thought it 'the happiest day of my life'.
Had the RN showed more foresight-they'd have been more interested in the funny little VSTOL demonstrator Hawkers were buiding, which had already done some landings on RN carriers.
They had killed the Naval version of the over ambitious P.1154 supersonic VSTOL-still catapult launched, to buy F-4's.
With hinsight, they would have been better spending time and money, on pushing for improved but practical versions of the Harrier, based on affordable carriers-which had they done this, would likely have been larger than the originally helicopter only Invincibles, rather like an aircraft like the AV-8B but done sooner, with carriers more like a modern version of HMS Hermes in size, (30,000 tons as opposed to 20,000 of the Invincibles).
Of course, later they wised up, with some crafty use of language, in getting a naval adapted version of the now in RAF service Harrier on now ski jump equipped Invincibes, though in truth, the case of the Sea Harrier was truthful-to intercept long range Soviet bombers, used to guide ship/sub and air-launched large anti ship missiles, over the horizon.
Sea Harrier being justified as an over the horizon supplement to Sea Dart.
Just as long as they did not call them 'aircraft carriers', (though it was another Labour Goverrnment, with Jim Challaghan as PM from 1976, who dropped the formal objections to 'carriers', ordering the final two of the three Invincibles-the ones that had traditional carrier names-HMS Illustrious and Ark Royal, rather than an old cruiser name like HMS Invincible.