You have to remember that the last RN
conventional carrier retired in 1978, but the RN
has massive experience in STOVL ops, the first in very heavy combat too.
The RAF were, at least a few years back, only interested in F-35B as a Harrier replacement, but this was always to be a 'joint combat aircraft'.
One advantage, RAF F-35B's will be able to re-inforce the carriers, (just as No.1 Sqn on Harrier GR
.3's, despite zero carrier experience then, did in 1982).
Recently a Harrier test aircraft has been trying out rolling approach/landings on to carriers.
The post war enhancements to carriers, for the jet age, were largely British inventions, but so too was the ski jump.
would cite STOVL advantages, such as a much easier operating environment, (or as Falklands veteran 'Sharky' Ward-previously on Sea Vixens and F-4Ks, put it, 'a lot less grey hairs and brown trousers').
Higher sortie rates, nothing mechanical outside the aircraft itself to go wrong, and they are very aware that while the General Belgrano was to the South of the Task Force in 1982, the upper part of that pincer attack, the Argentine carrier, tried to launch A-4's too, but with nil wind over deck, they could not.
Going back to conventional carrier ops, would mean more risk-in an already risky project, more cost, lack of similarity with the RAF-bound to get those Treasury knifes sharpening by itself.
However, as stated, the CVF
will have provision for a future EMALS system, over their 50 year life.
did not want to get into fitting steam plants for existing catapult systems on to CVF
Clearly a E-2C is a superior AEW system, but don't rule out the current 'Cerebus' system going on to some V-22 versions, for CVF
, though a future Merlin mod is more likely.
But 'Cerebus' is not the hastily modified Searchwater from Nimrod MR
.2's, as quickly developed in 1982.
In 2003, 'Cerebus' equipped Sea Kings were able to track small enemy troop formations overland, as well as having a drastically better traditional AEW capability than before.
This system is ripe for further development.
Also as stated, the names have long and proud RN
histories, (though I would still have liked previous carrier names, HMS Furious and HMS Formidable).
Unfinished business too, the first two CVA carriers were to also be called QE
and PoW .
No concessions to modernity, anyway, HMS 'Come And Have A Go If You Think You're Hard Enough' and 'C'mon then, let's have it', are both a bit of a mouthful.
And no naming after politicos thankfully either.
I'm a firm believer in the idea that the biggest threat to assets, outside of an enemy, is excessive 'Gold Plating'.
CVA had too much of that, apart from everything else.
I also like, what I'll call the 'Ice Cold In Alex' rule.
(that classic 1950's British war film, about the arduous trek through the Western Desert, of a small group of servicemen and women, to safety in Alexandria in Egypt, to a bar serving the best, coldest beer.
The ending, with actor John Mills, hot, parched, tired and dirty, chugging down a whole pint of it (later adapted for a beer advert), then he purred 'worth waiting for'.
T45 - Worth waiting for. (better than trying to squeeze PAMMS/Aster in a longer T-23).
Astute Class sub - worth waiting for. (better than adapting the now elderly Trafalgar class, itself developed from the Swiftsure class).
/F-35B - Worth waiting for. (better than trying to update and lengthen the Invincibles-maybe even then not being to operate a decent number of F-35s, so another Harrier upgrade then. Or trying a smaller jack of all trades LPH on steriods).