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flyingturtle
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New British aircraft carriers - News and Discussion Thread

Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:06 am

Just dropping this thing here.

Among many of the points are:
- the British fleet is so small nowadays, that around half of the larger ships would be tied up with protecting both carriers
- only 138 F-35 have been ordered to maintain the training and the operational readiness for both the Navy and the Air Force, while the full complement of one carrier is 24 F-35Bs
- in contrast to the US, the British does not have a cheaper plane for the grunt work (namely, the F-18E/F)
- liaison aircraft like Osprey still have to be bought to build up the carrier's versatility

The article says that the two British carriers basically serve to uphold the prestige of the old HMS Invincible days

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/id ... t_carriers


David
Last edited by SQ22 on Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title updated
 
bigjku
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:33 pm

The RN and UK has a fundamental issue to decide. Are they in the carrier power projection business or not. If they are then most of those fighters need to be dedicated to the carrier task and sufficient escorts and UNREP ships need to be maintained.

If not one has to question why the ships were bought in the first place.

Personally I think the UK can afford to do this properly but it has to ditch other defense extravangences that I doubt it is willing to let go. Such is life.
 
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par13del
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:53 pm

I would say that based on the current situation, they cannot afford the ships, it may even be that the brass who pushed through the ships adopted the mindset that if they build them the rest will fall into place. Recall that the second was to be completed them immediately sent to storage, and this was after the plan to share with the French.
What is needed is massive funding to get the RN up to speed, they do not have sufficient ships nor the manpower to fully staff a CBG, some articles I have read say ships put to sea with minimal ordinance, including those for self defense. A number of their current AAW ships are laid up due to staffing and engines that do not function properly in warm weather. A ship of her size should require at least 2 AAW ships fore and aft with a couple other ships on each side in addition to the sub.
Still have not heard what will be the local AEW asset, will they still use a helicopter or rely on land based a/c.
 
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smithbs
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:06 pm

Sounds like they certainly have to put up a lot of money to get the CBG properly assembled. One wonders how things have gotten so expensive. In the old days you'd just get a sponsor for a ship and then let them pay it off from prize rules. Oh, that hasn't been done for over 150 years? Dang it.

I'd say Ospreys would be a "nice to have" but not required - helicopters can suffice and the F-35B complement is more important to get filled out.

Seems that the Merlin AEW choppers will be used, although I wonder if that is kind of insulting to the F-35. The Merlin has altitude and endurance problems, yet the carrier design can't support a Hawkeye (at least the French got that on the CDG!). So RAF would need to provide land-based expeditionary AWACS. Wedgetail, anyone? At least a Wedgetail with possibly a tanker has a good chance of coming out to support the carrier in most areas.

I do want this to succeed, but I'm not in position to tell the UK and MoD where to spend their money or just to go get some more.
 
bigjku
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:09 pm

par13del wrote:
I would say that based on the current situation, they cannot afford the ships, it may even be that the brass who pushed through the ships adopted the mindset that if they build them the rest will fall into place. Recall that the second was to be completed them immediately sent to storage, and this was after the plan to share with the French.
What is needed is massive funding to get the RN up to speed, they do not have sufficient ships nor the manpower to fully staff a CBG, some articles I have read say ships put to sea with minimal ordinance, including those for self defense. A number of their current AAW ships are laid up due to staffing and engines that do not function properly in warm weather. A ship of her size should require at least 2 AAW ships fore and aft with a couple other ships on each side in addition to the sub.
Still have not heard what will be the local AEW asset, will they still use a helicopter or rely on land based a/c.


I believe it will be a helicopter but I haven’t followed closely in a while. I think it was a Lockheed Martin solution on old Merlin’s IIRC.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:02 pm

The Merlin CROWSNEST will be the AEW component of the QE battle group to begin with. I believe there is some work being done on making an Osprey variant to cover the AEW stuff but that's a long way away if ever.

I think a big issue with the cost is that the tax pool as a total size of the GDP keeps shrinking. And instead of taxing the 1% and 0.01% more for the benefit they get from a safe and secure country the government tightens belts and expects those with a relative tiny wealth to pay for everything while getting essentially nothing back. The ability to have force projection is a waste to families who have to choose between food, warmth, or rent.

If the UK government wants to have a usable carrier system they're going to have to actually up the taxes on those who benefit the most from such things.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:53 pm

The Type 45 destroyers don't have a very large loadout for a dedicated AAW platform. I'm mostly alluding to the short range Aster 15 missile, which takes up the same amount of room as the longer range Aster 30. In contrast, the ESSM is quadpacked in each cell. There are also going to be only 8 Type 26 ASW frigates to replace 13 (originally 16) Type 23's. I see them to potentially have trouble defending one CBG with accompanying REP and/or Amphib vessels. At least they succeeded in keeping goodpaying jobs in Scotland and Scotland in the Union--their main purpose.
 
wingman
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:21 pm

While we wait for GDB’s more informed comments I’ll just say that despite all the political and TA rhetoric going on these days, NATO will have a vital role for both the US and Europe for as long as these ships were built to last at least. And to me that means that the expense and purpose of the two carriers has to be seen in the context of the alliance, or at minimum in the context of the “special relationship”. Some might say the latter is dead or hogwash but I believe it’s not only still there, it’s actually as important now as it ever was. I agree with the comments in the article that the carriers guarantee a seat at the table, a say in how, when and where the partnership operates and yes, hopefully a nudge to others in NATO to step up their game. The articae goes on at length about the decline of the UK Navy but I see the reality as more about it being a kind of “8th Fleet”, Australia’s being the “9th”, Japan’s the “10th” and so on. We’ll all be free to go off on silly and expensive solo adventures but the real value over ethe next 50 years will be in how we operate these cobimned assets together for a single purpose or unique events as they may arise and which threaten our collective interests.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:14 pm

The Japanese MSDF may have surpassed the RN. The RAN is it's equal, per capita. There's nothing like having the bogie man right over the horizon to focus defense efforts.
 
GDB
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:11 am

It's not a bad article, however to a degree it and the responses are still, I think, too trapped in comparing CVF to a US CVBG.
While France, obviously a better comparison, also does have a more 'traditional' carrier they only have the one, when unavailable all their E-2C's don't make any difference, no available carrier no fast jet Navair and now maritime E-2C either.

CVF's roles, as stated, are restoring fast jet Navair, this time with a LO platform, or providing a platform to house and by helicopter, put substantial personnel and material ashore. Remember none of the size constraints of previous ships, so Chinooks as well as Lynx Wildcats would be involved as well as the usual Commando Merlins.
And support in a major humanitarian/disaster relief operations, recall how USN CVBG's flew their fast jets off and shipped more choppers on, after the greatest natural disaster of modern times, at the end of 2004 in SE Asia.

While I would like to see more T26's, there is another program that is likely to put hulls in the water before the T26's, the T31, a light Frigate.
5 or 6 vessels are planned, while they would not be part of the CVF escort group, the fact is that many tasks undertaken by RN Frigates and Destroyers, can be done with a smaller, cheaper vessel.
These include West Indies guard-ship, Falklands guard-ship, shadowing vessels in UK waters (such as Russian warships), anti piracy and other maritime security roles, training submariners on the 'Perisher' course.

The T45's have space for 16 additional VLS tubes, at refit, if used, they could ship more ASTER30's or a mix of these and quadpacked Sea-Ceptor short range SAM's.

The Merlins equipped with Crowsnest are a development of the refitted system installed on the Sea King ASuW 7's at the turn of the century, this was not the original hastily put together system from 1982, rather the ASuW 7's had radar good enough to be used also in the overland role in Afghanistan in the 2010's.
As fitted to the Merlins, a development of this will be using several electronically scanned aerials, not the previous inflatable radome.
The standard airgroup for the CVF with Merlins in the general carrier role, will be 5 ASW and 4 ASuW machines.
Last edited by GDB on Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
GDB
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:16 am

johns624 wrote:
The Japanese MSDF may have surpassed the RN. The RAN is it's equal, per capita. There's nothing like having the bogie man right over the horizon to focus defense efforts.


It's an impressive fleet, it's not all about the numbers though.
How many SSN's do they have? None.
Is there a sign of them buying and operating at sea, F-35B? It seems not.
A bit unfair this given post war history but how are they for both operational deployment and post war combat experience? Compared to the RN, nowhere, not that this is in their hands.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:28 pm

GDB wrote:
It's not a bad article, however to a degree it and the responses are still, I think, too trapped in comparing CVF to a US CVBG.
While France, obviously a better comparison, also does have a more 'traditional' carrier they only have the one, when unavailable all their E-2C's don't make any difference, no available carrier no fast jet Navair and now maritime E-2C either.

CVF's roles, as stated, are restoring fast jet Navair, this time with a LO platform, or providing a platform to house and by helicopter, put substantial personnel and material ashore. Remember none of the size constraints of previous ships, so Chinooks as well as Lynx Wildcats would be involved as well as the usual Commando Merlins.
And support in a major humanitarian/disaster relief operations, recall how USN CVBG's flew their fast jets off and shipped more choppers on, after the greatest natural disaster of modern times, at the end of 2004 in SE Asia.

While I would like to see more T26's, there is another program that is likely to put hulls in the water before the T26's, the T31, a light Frigate.
5 or 6 vessels are planned, while they would not be part of the CVF escort group, the fact is that many tasks undertaken by RN Frigates and Destroyers, can be done with a smaller, cheaper vessel.
These include West Indies guard-ship, Falklands guard-ship, shadowing vessels in UK waters (such as Russian warships), anti piracy and other maritime security roles, training submariners on the 'Perisher' course.

The T45's have space for 16 additional VLS tubes, at refit, if used, they could ship more ASTER30's or a mix of these and quadpacked Sea-Ceptor short range SAM's.

The Merlins equipped with Crowsnest are a development of the refitted system installed on the Sea King ASuW 7's at the turn of the century, this was not the original hastily put together system from 1982, rather the ASuW 7's had radar good enough to be used also in the overland role in Afghanistan in the 2010's.
As fitted to the Merlins, a development of this will be using several electronically scanned aerials, not the previous inflatable radome.
The standard airgroup for the CVF with Merlins in the general carrier role, will be 5 ASW and 4 ASuW machines.
Nice response, but a few points... More tubes "could" be added in a refit, and Seaceptor added, but until it happens, it's just a dream. With the RN kicking the the replacement for Harpoon down the road and delaying the propulsion refits, I just don't see it. The problem with the T31s is that I have read that they want to make them their "east of Suez" ships. I don't know if it's wise to put your least capable ships in probably the most tension filled area of the world. The problem that I have with the QEs is that, although the Invincibles were too small, the QEs are too large for how many F35s will ever be able to be embarked. Also, on that large of a displacement, not maiking it CATOBAR is shortsighted. It limits the aircraft that you can embark too much. They could have bought much cheaper Super Hornets and been set for awhile. What's the latest on the planned retirememt of the Albion and Bulwark, and reduction of one of the three RM Commandos? With being able to operate landing craft, the QE isn't a good replacement. Also, losing a third of its combat power makes the RM conducting an amphibious combat operation even less likely.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:39 pm

GDB wrote:
johns624 wrote:
The Japanese MSDF may have surpassed the RN. The RAN is it's equal, per capita. There's nothing like having the bogie man right over the horizon to focus defense efforts.


It's an impressive fleet, it's not all about the numbers though.
How many SSN's do they have? None.
Is there a sign of them buying and operating at sea, F-35B? It seems not.
A bit unfair this given post war history but how are they for both operational deployment and post war combat experience? Compared to the RN, nowhere, not that this is in their hands.

1. The JMSDF may not have any SSNs, but they do have 18 conventionally powered subs. With their potential antagonists relatively close, their range isn't as important. I'm sure they're sneaking around the Chinese coast, just like the RN is sneaking around the Russian coast. We'll never hear about it.
2. The Japanese have intimated that they may add ski jumps to the Izumos to operate F35Bs. The Chinese got upset, so the Japanese will probably do it :).
3. Even the RN doesn't have much combat since the Falklands, and that was 35 years ago.
 
GDB
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:57 pm

johns624 wrote:
GDB wrote:
It's not a bad article, however to a degree it and the responses are still, I think, too trapped in comparing CVF to a US CVBG.
While France, obviously a better comparison, also does have a more 'traditional' carrier they only have the one, when unavailable all their E-2C's don't make any difference, no available carrier no fast jet Navair and now maritime E-2C either.

CVF's roles, as stated, are restoring fast jet Navair, this time with a LO platform, or providing a platform to house and by helicopter, put substantial personnel and material ashore. Remember none of the size constraints of previous ships, so Chinooks as well as Lynx Wildcats would be involved as well as the usual Commando Merlins.
And support in a major humanitarian/disaster relief operations, recall how USN CVBG's flew their fast jets off and shipped more choppers on, after the greatest natural disaster of modern times, at the end of 2004 in SE Asia.

While I would like to see more T26's, there is another program that is likely to put hulls in the water before the T26's, the T31, a light Frigate.
5 or 6 vessels are planned, while they would not be part of the CVF escort group, the fact is that many tasks undertaken by RN Frigates and Destroyers, can be done with a smaller, cheaper vessel.
These include West Indies guard-ship, Falklands guard-ship, shadowing vessels in UK waters (such as Russian warships), anti piracy and other maritime security roles, training submariners on the 'Perisher' course.

The T45's have space for 16 additional VLS tubes, at refit, if used, they could ship more ASTER30's or a mix of these and quadpacked Sea-Ceptor short range SAM's.

The Merlins equipped with Crowsnest are a development of the refitted system installed on the Sea King ASuW 7's at the turn of the century, this was not the original hastily put together system from 1982, rather the ASuW 7's had radar good enough to be used also in the overland role in Afghanistan in the 2010's.
As fitted to the Merlins, a development of this will be using several electronically scanned aerials, not the previous inflatable radome.
The standard airgroup for the CVF with Merlins in the general carrier role, will be 5 ASW and 4 ASuW machines.
Nice response, but a few points... More tubes "could" be added in a refit, and Seaceptor added, but until it happens, it's just a dream. With the RN kicking the the replacement for Harpoon down the road and delaying the propulsion refits, I just don't see it. The problem with the T31s is that I have read that they want to make them their "east of Suez" ships. I don't know if it's wise to put your least capable ships in probably the most tension filled area of the world. The problem that I have with the QEs is that, although the Invincibles were too small, the QEs are too large for how many F35s will ever be able to be embarked. Also, on that large of a displacement, not maiking it CATOBAR is shortsighted. It limits the aircraft that you can embark too much. They could have bought much cheaper Super Hornets and been set for awhile. What's the latest on the planned retirememt of the Albion and Bulwark, and reduction of one of the three RM Commandos? With being able to operate landing craft, the QE isn't a good replacement. Also, losing a third of its combat power makes the RM conducting an amphibious combat operation even less likely.


You have touched on the big issue, a government that has been reluctant to fund it's own stated ambitions.
However, this is far from new and the PM will be under great pressure, not from the opposition, more from her own MP's and the Parliamentary maths in this regard makes her vunerable to pressure.
We will have to see what emerges, my own view is that any controversial review is more likely to be kicked down the road.

I understand that while a T31 is mooted to be based at Bahrain, that could be as much of a staging post for the deployments I mentioned, the main customers of that base will be Minesweepers as well as other RN vessels staging through.

The nice to haves you mentioned the JMSDF seek, surely also apply to the RN?
What is important is that the habit of designing too small is gone, this applies to the T45's predecessors as much as the carriers.

We do not, will not know for years, what the final number of F-35's the UK will get, I do not expect 138 F-35B's, likely half that for the B version with perhaps some UK spec F-35A's.

Then there is the CVF's crew size, 800 plus air group staff.
A major cost driver as any professional navy knows.

When CVF was being designed, it was expected that there would be only a short gap between Harrier and the last Invincible class retiring and CVF/F-35B, not been easy regenerating that after 7 years.
Now consider the gap for conventional carrier operations, 40 years, this year.
If the RN had pushed for a conventional carrier, this discussion would be a moot point, they'd have been cancelled, probably years back.
 
Max Q
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:33 am

An Invincible class times 1.5 with Harriers / F35B or both would have been much cheaper and effective


Going to a big deck the same size
as a Forrestall class is great if you
have an angled deck, catapults and
arresting wires


Then you can take full advantage of
and use any carrier capable aircraft,
the RN would find the E2 priceless
for example


But going to a big deck and limiting
it to VSTOL aircraft makes no sense
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:38 am

The sun set on the British empire a long time back.

Why does this tiny island nation even need an aircraft carrier?
 
BlueberryWheats
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:42 am

BawliBooch wrote:
The sun set on the British empire a long time back.

Why does this tiny island nation even need an aircraft carrier?


Needlessly inflammatory comment.

Probably the same reasons that other carrier owning nations with no empire needs one.

What's India thinking, acquiring carriers? What about all those nations that have their fleets of helicopter carriers?
 
Ozair
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:44 am

Max Q wrote:
An Invincible class times 1.5 with Harriers / F35B or both would have been much cheaper and effective
...
But going to a big deck and limiting
it to VSTOL aircraft makes no sense

Max you keep making the same claims in every thread about the QE and the facts don't match with what you are stating.

The big deck isn't the expensive part of the build and the size of the ship is based not on the airwing but on the ability to sustain operations. As has been linked here multiple times the QE will be significantly more capable of sustaining sorties over a longer period of time.
The carrier will support joint combat aircraft carrying out up to 420 sorties over five days and be able to conduct day and night time operations. The maximum sortie rate is 110 joint combat aircraft sorties in a 24-hour period.

The maximum launch rate is 24 aircraft in 15 minutes and the maximum recovery rate is 24 aircraft in 24 minutes.

https://www.naval-technology.com/projects/cvf/

There is no way an enlarged Invincible, or a Wasp LHD for that matter, could sustain that sortie rate for that duration.

To add some weight to the sustainment of aircraft for longer,

Probably the key reason why larger carriers are significantly better than their smaller cousins is that they are a more efficient way of sustaining air operations from the sea. Generating the same effect with numerous smaller carriers, as some have suggested as a better course for the UK to follow, simply costs much more. The obvious consequence of this is that you get a force of smaller carriers that cannot deliver the same effect as fewer, larger, ships. The reason why this is the case can be neatly summed up with a single word: duplication. This is especially true of the manpower required to run two equivalent carrier forces, equal in "striking power", where the only difference is the size of the ships. While the individual light carrier will undoubtedly have a smaller crew than an individual large carrier, you might need two or three smaller carriers to achieve the same number of sorties as a single, larger, ship and each still requires a range of highly trained crew members. To draw upon a real-world example: HMS Queen Elizabeth has a core crew of ~679, will carry and operate a tailored air group of 40 aircraft and can surge 110+ sorties a day. In comparison the 25,000t ITS Cavour has a core crew of ~451, an air group of around 20 aircraft and can surge approximately ~40 sorties a day. This means that, broadly speaking, in order to achieve the same effect as a single Queen Elizabeth you need approximately three Cavour-style light carriers on station, with manpower equivalent to double that of the larger ship. When considering the force structure necessary to ensure there are three small carriers available at all times for operations, taking the Royal Navy's current ratio of around 2 ships in maintenance for every 3 ships operationally available, you're looking at a fleet of five light carriers to achieve the same notional operational effect as a pair of Queen Elizabeths. Overall the model of smaller, more numerous, ships would require between 20 and 35% more manpower across the entire carrier force. At a time when the Royal Navy is hard-pressed to man its existing fleet a solution that involves adding up to a third more ship-side manpower to the carrier force is simply impractical and would add substantially to the force's through-life running cost.

http://engagingstrategy.blogspot.com/20 ... rs_18.html

To put it further into context how much better the QE is at sustaining aircraft over the Invincible the following from the same source as above,
For example, during NATO bombing operations in 1995 Britain's "pocket carrier" HMS Invincible was struggling to sustain eight sorties a day with her eight embarked Sea Harrier FA.2s (and both Sea Harrier models had a reputation for being robust and reliable aircraft).
...
By comparison the Queen Elizabeth design can hold fuel and stores for around ~400 "strike" sorties, sufficient for five days of very high-intensity operations (defined as a first-day Surge of 110 sorties, followed by 72 sorties a day for four days) before needing to come "off station" in order to resupply fuel and ammunition. Alternatively, a more relaxed tempo could obviously be sustained over a longer period of time. Considering that the Libya air policing mission only required 36 sorties per day to enforce, after the first 11 days spent degrading Libya's air defences, QE could sustain a similar lower tempo operation without resupply for 11 days.




Max Q wrote:
Then you can take full advantage of
and use any carrier capable aircraft,
the RN would find the E2 priceless
for example

If the UK wanted a fixed wing AEW&C along the lines of the E-2 they could certainly build one. Alternatively they could use the V-22 AEW&C that has been proposed but for now the Merlin system will work well. Note as well that currently USN amphibs don't operate with any AEW&C capability and these vessels do and will operate in areas outside of CVN protection.

The great foresight in building the QE big is in the ability to modify the vessel to handle new systems as they emerge. For example the ship is already prepared for the arrival of DEW,

During my visit to the Scottish shipyard where Queen Elizabeth was built, I had a chance to look at the infrastructure onboard the ship to support weapons as well as was briefed on the significant power generation capabilities onboard the ship which clearly allow it to when appropriate technology is available to add directed energy weapons.

https://sldinfo.com/2018/06/shaping-the ... hil-kelly/

That is just one example. As UCAVs develop we will almost certainly see VTOL variants that offer good performance for vessels like the QE in a host of different configurations such as tanker, AEW&C, sub-hunters etc.

BawliBooch wrote:
Why does this tiny island nation even need an aircraft carrier?

As Blueberry stated is it a reasonably silly question. The UK is an island and is dependent on trade for its literal livelihood. More importantly, the following has some very good reasons why Great Britain seeks big deck carriers,

Commodore Betton put it: “Our new carrier offers a really flexible, integrative capability.

“The carrier can play host and is intended absolutely to play host to a carrier air wing.

“At the same time, it can provide something very different inn terms of littoral combat operations, primarily using helicopters.”

They emphasized that the Royal Navy was building new escort ships as well as new submarines and the approach to building a maritime strike group meant that working through the operational launch of the carrier was also about its ability to integrated with and to lead a 21stcentury maritime strike group.

And the new maritime strike group was being built to work with allies but just as importantly to operate in the sovereign interest of the United Kingdom.

The F-35B onboard was a key enabler to the entire strike group functions.

Commodore Betton : “The airwing enables us to maneuver to deliver effects in the particular part of the battlespace which we are operating in. You can have sea control without the airwing.

“Our air wing can enable us to be able to do that and have sufficient capability to influence the battlespace.

“You clearly do not simply want to be a self-sustaining force that doesn’t do anything to affect the battlespace decisively.

“The F-35 onboard will allow us to do that.”

Col. Kelly noted that with the threat to land air bases, it was important to have a sea base to operate from as well, either as an alternative or complement to land bases.

“The carriers will be the most protected air base which we will have. And we can move that base globally to affect the area of interest important to us.

“For example, with regard to Northern Europe, we could range up and down the coastlines in the area and hold at risk adversary forces.

“I think we can send a powerful message to any adversary.”

Commodore Betton added that the other advantage of the sea base is its ability to be effective on arrival.

“If you have to operate off of land, you have to have the local permission. You have to move assets ashore. You have to support assets ashore. And you have to protect the land base. The sea base has all of that built in.

“And there is nothing austere about our carriers in terms of operating aircraft.”

The flexibility provided by the QE's size will allow it to operate in a host of different roles across the globe.
 
johns624
Posts: 5168
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:24 pm

Ozair wrote:
Max you keep making the same claims in every thread about the QE and the facts don't match with what you are stating.

The big deck isn't the expensive part of the build and the size of the ship is based not on the airwing but on the ability to sustain operations. As has been linked here multiple times the QE will be significantly more capable of sustaining sorties over a longer period of time.
The carrier will support joint combat aircraft carrying out up to 420 sorties over five days and be able to conduct day and night time operations. The maximum sortie rate is 110 joint combat aircraft sorties in a 24-hour period.

The maximum launch rate is 24 aircraft in 15 minutes and the maximum recovery rate is 24 aircraft in 24 minutes.

No, Max has it right. The purpose of skijumps was so smaller carriers without room for CATOBAR could operate fixed wing aircraft. When you put skijumps instead of CATOBAR on a ship the size of a QE, you are just hamstringing yourself. It doesn't matter how many sorties a QE can sustain if you never buy enough F35's to embark them. Last that I heard, the total of 138 airframes was going to be a rolling acquisition with no more than 60 in service at any time. It has even been mooted that the current 48 in-service/on order may be the only B models purchased.Those have to be divided into both FAA and RAF units. You also need an OCU/training unit. I doubt if a QE ever goes to sea with more than a 12 plane squadron. If you don't train with your full complement, you don't know how to use it when (if) you have it. US carriers don't put to sea half empty. The RN and RAF have different deployment rules, which precludes embarked (if ever) RAF pilots from getting fully qualified in carrier ops. There is a very good British magazine named Warship IFR, whose editor ia Iain Ballantyne. It's a monthly, read it sometime. It spells out all the shortcomings better than I can.
 
VSMUT
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:49 pm

BlueberryWheats wrote:
What's India thinking, acquiring carriers? What about all those nations that have their fleets of helicopter carriers?


India has significant interests in Africa and the Middle East. Just look at the India operation to evacuate Yemen of all places. They have much greater economic interests and expatriate populations in most of Africa.

Brazil and Turkey also have vast economic and political interests in Africa.

South Korea and Japan need them to counter North Korean and China respectively.

Italy, Spain and France need them to counter Northern Africa, and to police former colonies.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:41 am

Now that I've complained about what I think the RN did wrong, here's what I would do to correct it. I've always been a big fan of the British military's ability to do more with less, mainly due to the shortsightedness of their politicians. They are worse at long term planning than my own. The SSBNs are coming up for replacement. I wouldn't do it. The British have said that they wouldn't get into a major confrontation without the US. If that's the case, our nuclear umbrella would cover them. The RN over the last 50 years has been respected for two things--ASW and snooping and pooping with SSNs. With the money and manpower saved, I'd increase the number of Astutes from 7 to 9. This would work out to more than a net increase of two, since they wouldn't have to protect the SSBNs or sanitize their entry into port before and after deployments. They could do what they do best--shadow adversarial SSBNs and spy on them. I'd increase the number of T26's on order to ten (from 8). I'd also try to squeeze one more T45 out of the budget. I'd lower the number of T31s from 5 to 3. They only make sense as West Indies or Falklands Guardship or any anti-piracy missions. I'd put the F35B program under the RN/FAA. I'd buy 70 (of the proposed 138) and tell the RAF that they can do whatever they want with the money..--buy more Typhoons, F35As, whatever. With the likelihood of Russia ever invading a NATO country, the reason for the RAF to have Bs in nonexistent. I'd leave the RM and Albion/Bulwark alone. The RM are arguably the best light infantry around.
 
Max Q
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:58 am

Can’t agree with the RN giving up
the SSBN force


It’s the ultimate deterrent and invaluable as such
 
Ozair
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:52 am

johns624 wrote:
No, Max has it right. The purpose of skijumps was so smaller carriers without room for CATOBAR could operate fixed wing aircraft. When you put skijumps instead of CATOBAR on a ship the size of a QE, you are just hamstringing yourself.

John, how do you expect the UK to afford CATOBAR? As GBD stated above the French have CATOBAR capability and their carrier spends more time in maintenance than in service. CATOBAR, as has been discussed on here multiple times, comes with a significantly increased cost and training burden.

johns624 wrote:
It doesn't matter how many sorties a QE can sustain if you never buy enough F35's to embark them.

This is where the contradiction begins. You campaign for CATOBAR, which costs a lot more than STOVL, and then lament the lack of acquiring enough aircraft. Buying the CATOBAR capable F-35C would have cost only slightly less, been more costly to maintain and would have provided only a marginal increase in capability, especially when operating from a vessel smaller than a CVN. Irrespective of the carrier built, the hidden cost of any carrier purchase is the airwing.


johns624 wrote:
Last that I heard, the total of 138 airframes was going to be a rolling acquisition with no more than 60 in service at any time. It has even been mooted that the current 48 in-service/on order may be the only B models purchased.Those have to be divided into both FAA and RAF units. You also need an OCU/training unit.

By the numbers previously worked on here somewhere around 68 is a very sustainable number for UK ops going forward. It provides for enough aircraft to be in maintenance, continue the OCU and deploy a meaningful number on the QE. There is no division between the FAA and RAF, the aircraft will operate across both services and the aircrew will all be trained to operate from the QE.


johns624 wrote:
I doubt if a QE ever goes to sea with more than a 12 plane squadron. If you don't train with your full complement, you don't know how to use it when (if) you have it. US carriers don't put to sea half empty.

Peacetime perhaps the QE will only operate 12 aircraft but US CVNs are no different. Typical fighter numbers on a CVN today is 48 or less yet the CVN is capable of many more aircraft. Perhaps the USN also don't know how to use it?


johns624 wrote:
The RN and RAF have different deployment rules, which precludes embarked (if ever) RAF pilots from getting fully qualified in carrier ops.

That is completely false. RAF and RN Harrier aircrew have flown together on the Invincible Class for many years as part of the Joint Harrier Force. For example the current chief UK test pilot for the F-35B is SQNLDR Andy Edgell, RAF, who has the following experience.

In 2006, Edgell joined JFH at RAF Wittering to conduct a 13 month conversion to the Harrier at the 20(R) Squadron Operational Conversion Unit. He was subsequently assigned to “Happy IV”(AC) Squadron at RAF Cottesmore as a first tourist until the squadron’s disbandment in March 2010. During this tour, Edgell matured as an aviator as he operated from HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious, he acquired Electronic Warfare Instructor and 4 ship (Division) Lead qualifications and ultimately led combat operations over Afghanistan in support of Operation HERRICK. Upon “Happy IV” disbanding, Edgell continued his Harrier career serving in 800 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) until the demise of JFH and the final flight of the Harrier on December 15, 2010.

https://www.sldinfo.com/wp-content/uplo ... Edgell.pdf

You would think that if relations between the RAF and RN were so bad it would be an RN pilot flying the first F-35B take off from a ski jump, and an RN pilot flying the first landing and take off from the QE shortly. What is factual though is it will almost certainly be Andy who is RAF flying off QE in a couple of weeks.


johns624 wrote:
There is a very good British magazine named Warship IFR, whose editor ia Iain Ballantyne. It's a monthly, read it sometime. It spells out all the shortcomings better than I can.

Yes Iain. The same guy who last year stated the following on his blog from an article published in Warship IFR

With an anticipated lifespan of 50 years these massive and deeply impressive vessels will be flagships of a fleet with an outstanding reputation for fighting and winning stretching back centuries.

It is now time for Britain to capitalise on the huge investment and potential offered by the new carriers to not only project power around the world but also help to shape events at sea, on land and in the air for the good of mankind.

http://iainballantyne.com/tag/aircraft-carrier/

Just to let you know Iain is a writer, he is not an expert on military equipment. His job, and his income, is derived from publishing books and magazines. He has never served, from what I have read does not really understand the requirements that drove the QE and, with respect to his position, is solely interested in seeing the RN return to the glory days without comprehending the immense budgetary funding that would be required to make that happen.
 
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Kiwirob
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:56 am

BawliBooch wrote:
The sun set on the British empire a long time back.

Why does this tiny island nation even need an aircraft carrier?


The same question could be asked of India.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:14 pm

Ozair wrote:
By the numbers previously worked on here somewhere around 68 is a very sustainable number for UK ops going forward. It provides for enough aircraft to be in maintenance, continue the OCU and deploy a meaningful number on the QE. There is no division between the FAA and RAF, the aircraft will operate across both services and the aircrew will all be trained to operate from the QE.

Peacetime perhaps the QE will only operate 12 aircraft but US CVNs are no different. Typical fighter numbers on a CVN today is 48 or less yet the CVN is capable of many more aircraft. Perhaps the USN also don't know how to use it?


Just to let you know Iain is a writer, he is not an expert on military equipment. His job, and his income, is derived from publishing books and magazines. He has never served, from what I have read does not really understand the requirements that drove the QE and, with respect to his position, is solely interested in seeing the RN return to the glory days without comprehending the immense budgetary funding that would be required to make that happen.
You're missing the point. With CATOBAR, they'd be able to operate a much greater number of Super Hornets immediately along with fixed wing EAW and AWACS planes. The QE is almost 3/4 the size of a Nimitz, so 12 vs 40+ fighters isn't even close. CATOBAR may cost more upfront, but makes for a more versatile vessel over its life. The CDG spends a lot of time in maintenance but we don't know about the QEs yet. Type 45, anyone?
The two services do have different deployment rules. http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot ... 0-raf.html
I have never read him say that he wants to return to the "glory days", just to have a well rounded, sustainable fleet.
I've
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:14 pm

Ozair wrote:
By the numbers previously worked on here somewhere around 68 is a very sustainable number for UK ops going forward. It provides for enough aircraft to be in maintenance, continue the OCU and deploy a meaningful number on the QE. There is no division between the FAA and RAF, the aircraft will operate across both services and the aircrew will all be trained to operate from the QE.

Peacetime perhaps the QE will only operate 12 aircraft but US CVNs are no different. Typical fighter numbers on a CVN today is 48 or less yet the CVN is capable of many more aircraft. Perhaps the USN also don't know how to use it?


Just to let you know Iain is a writer, he is not an expert on military equipment. His job, and his income, is derived from publishing books and magazines. He has never served, from what I have read does not really understand the requirements that drove the QE and, with respect to his position, is solely interested in seeing the RN return to the glory days without comprehending the immense budgetary funding that would be required to make that happen.
You're missing the point. With CATOBAR, they'd be able to operate a much greater number of Super Hornets immediately along with fixed wing EAW and AWACS planes. The QE is almost 3/4 the size of a Nimitz, so 12 vs 40+ fighters isn't even close. CATOBAR may cost more upfront, but makes for a more versatile vessel over its life. The CDG spends a lot of time in maintenance but we don't know about the QEs yet. Type 45, anyone?
The two services do have different deployment rules. http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot ... 0-raf.html
I have never read him say that he wants to return to the "glory days", just to have a well rounded, sustainable fleet.
I've
 
GDB
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:07 pm

BawliBooch wrote:
The sun set on the British empire a long time back.

Why does this tiny island nation even need an aircraft carrier?


Why does a country where large scale poverty still stalks there vast land, want aircraft carriers?
Unless you are unaware that India does have them, if you approve, well you know who to thank for the Indian Navy's first carrier, it's second, it's first jet carrier aircraft and it's second one too.
 
GDB
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:44 pm

Jons624, I would also like to see 9 Astutes, however that's a tough ask when the RN will be maintaining, arguably, three classes of Capital Ships, SSBN's, SSN's and these new carriers.
With the SSBN's, clearly a burden but one that goes beyond conventional warfare.
When it was decided to replace the Vanguard Class, taken in December 2006, (and effectively stalled for 5 years of the Coalition government due Lib Dem pressure), the Cabinet had a few members long opposed to the UK deterrent.
Blair too later acknowledged the money could be spent elsewhere and that he had mulled over it for some time.
However, a series a factors drove them to begin the process of Trident renewal, something that many in their party did not support.
(Though it was a Labour government in 1946 that began the UK nuclear program).

To not veer off thread too much, I recommend this talk from 2011 from Peter Hennessy. He is very well informed on the workings of policy making in this area and as a historian, has got into the archives and found many gems.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeARYkdDDto
All described in a clear, concise manner, even when dealing with a policy once described as 'The Paradox Of The Double Reluctance'.

Beyond but including nukes and SSBN's, a superb history of the RN Submarine Service from 1945-2015, can be found in 'The Silent Deep' by Peter Hennessy and James Jinks, my paperback copy is well thumbed.

To add to Ozair's points, Steel is Cheap, Air Is Free', a cliche but true.
Aside from the airgroup and personnel, in terms of just the carrier itself, the costs are mostly in the multitude of mechanical devices and electronics to make it more than a floating hunk of steel.
From the powerplants to radars, generators to galleys, any carrier needs them, regardless of size.
The CVF class look to me to be the most future proofed vessels the RN has ever had, not just the largest.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:41 pm

GDB wrote:
The CVF class look to me to be the most future proofed vessels the RN has ever had, not just the largest.

Yes, they are proof against everything except the British politicians! :) Nimrods MRA4's, early withdrawal of Invincibles, early withdrawal of Harriers, etc.
Serious question here--I know that the inventory of British Trident missiles are kept in the US. Does the US have any voice in how they are used once they are turned over to the British?
 
Ozair
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:14 pm

johns624 wrote:
You're missing the point. With CATOBAR, they'd be able to operate a much greater number of Super Hornets immediately along with fixed wing EAW and AWACS planes.

John, the F-35B is a better aircraft than the SH today, let alone 10 years from now and irrespective of the aircraft CATOBAR wouldn’t change the number of aircraft they operate from the current vessel.

The RAF doesn’t currently operate a dedicated fighter sized jamming aircraft from land bases, or even a dedicated transport based jamming aircraft from land bases, so acquiring and operating that capability would also come at significant cost. Good news though is the USMC is planning to integrate the Next Generation Jammer onto the F-35B so if the UK wanted it they could acquire it for the Bee fleet.

As for AWACS, operating for example an E-2 costs a significant amount of money. The whole fleet of Merlin AEW&C aircraft were acquired for what the UK would have to pay for a single E-2, let alone the fact that they would likely have had to operate at least four E-2 on the QE to get coverage required. I agree that the Merlin AEW&C is not the ideal solution but it is the one the UK can afford and sustain long term. In this case it is better to have a reasonable solution that can operate for the next 25 years than a gold plated solution that cannot operate because funding won’t allow it.

johns624 wrote:
The QE is almost 3/4 the size of a Nimitz, so 12 vs 40+ fighters isn't even close.

John, you gave the 12 aircraft number, the QE is capable of embarking 40 plus F-35B, and likely surge to 50, if they need to and the sortie generation rate is based on that.
johns624 wrote:
CATOBAR may cost more upfront, but makes for a more versatile vessel over its life. The CDG spends a lot of time in maintenance but we don't know about the QEs yet. Type 45, anyone?

CATOBAR costs more up front and more each year to sustain but how is a CATOBAR more versatile? What other roles that a carrier performs would make a CATOBAR vessel more capable than a STOVL or STOBAR one?

Just to remind you the size of the vessel was dictated not by the specific number of aircraft it could carry but by the sortie generation rate requirement as evidenced by this testimony by the RN then First Sea Lord in 2004,

The reason that we have arrived at what we have arrived at is because to do the initial strike package, that deep strike package, we have done really quite detailed calculations and we have come out with the figure of 36 joint strike fighters, and that is what has driven the size of it, and that is to be able to deliver the weight of effort that you need for these operations that we are planning in the future. That is the thing that has made us arrive at that size of deck and that size of ship, to enable that to happen. I think it is something like 75 sorties per day over the five-day period or something like that as well.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/c ... 112403.htm

There is no point building a carrier that can launch 100 aircraft in one strike but then it has to depart the AO to refuel and re-arm because it has run out of stores. Similarly the evidence of the poor sortie generation rate of the Invincible Class shows that design was simply too small for the requirements of the RN.

johns624 wrote:
The two services do have different deployment rules. http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot ... 0-raf.html

John you are completely misunderstanding what that link means. The deployment rates are based on force generation, ie personnel being deployed on operations for extended periods of time. Specifically being able to support a three year conflict from the current force structure. The different services have different standards for how long they will typically deploy their people. It has nothing to do with the ability of RAF aircrew to operate from an Aircraft Carrier and not being trained to do so as you originally claimed.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:13 am

Ozair wrote:
johns624 wrote:
The two services do have different deployment rules. http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot ... 0-raf.html

John you are completely misunderstanding what that link means. The deployment rates are based on force generation, ie personnel being deployed on operations for extended periods of time. Specifically being able to support a three year conflict from the current force structure. The different services have different standards for how long they will typically deploy their people. It has nothing to do with the ability of RAF aircrew to operate from an Aircraft Carrier and not being trained to do so as you originally claimed.

No, you're the one who misunderstands. RAF pilots would not be able to do a full ship deployment and would have to be rotated home. From my link
Where do the problems lie? Well, for a thing, an aircraft carrier deploys for six or even nine months each time, and it is impensable to rotate the embarked squadron in the middle of a deployment. We could assume that the squadrons embarked would be included in the 2.5% of the personnel allowed to break guidelines, but does it make sense? Not really.
 
Ozair
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:35 am

johns624 wrote:
No, you're the one who misunderstands. RAF pilots would not be able to do a full ship deployment and would have to be rotated home. From my link
Where do the problems lie? Well, for a thing, an aircraft carrier deploys for six or even nine months each time, and it is impensable to rotate the embarked squadron in the middle of a deployment. We could assume that the squadrons embarked would be included in the 2.5% of the personnel allowed to break guidelines, but does it make sense? Not really.


John, again you’re not grasping the argument the author is making, that quote is a very small subset of the larger issue. Yes a dedicated RAF squadron operating from a UK Aircraft Carrier may have a different deployment length than a RN squadron (an academic argument really, the squadron will deploy as long as it needs to or until it becomes ineffective and in the context of the argument the UK will likely run out of munitions long before they run out of the people to deploy in the given scenario). What is the actual issue with rotating differently? What is the big deal if they do? Despite what the article says the UK is capable of rotating a new RAF squadron into theatre and onto an aircraft carrier if they needed to, it just takes a little extra effort and planning. For example they can rotate out different elements of a single unit, half the aircrew over a period of time, half the maintenance staff etc as has been done by a number of Coalition partners through the last 15 years of conflict in the Middle East.

What the article context is actually really concerned about is the different deployment periods between the two services and how the long term generation and sustainment of air capability can occur. If you have an operational deployment to maintain you typically need three to four times that number of assigned units/force/personnel to allow it to continue for the duration indicated (three years in this case). One unit deployed, one winding down, one winding up and another in general training/leave.

The issue the author, who is knowledge on this and a well recognised source, is stating is focused on the long term viability of that model. It is the same issue France is facing with the deployment of Rafale to Syria. The French Air Force literally could not keep enough aircrew proficient at home, nor the aircraft in a flyable state, because the sole focus was deployed ops and that was sucking all the funding.
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:45 pm

Maybe I'm just a student of military history and remember what happened when the RAF controlled the FAA in the years leading up to World War 2...
 
Ozair
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:39 pm

johns624 wrote:
Maybe I'm just a student of military history and remember what happened when the RAF controlled the FAA in the years leading up to World War 2...

Taking this thread on a significant tangent (and this is probably a good opportunity for a thread about pre-WW2 aviation) I don't think we can look too darkly on the RAF pre WW2. What they did was out of budget necessity and literally gave them just about enough aircraft to contest, and win, the Battle of Britain. Had they focused more on and further funded naval aviation the land based aircraft and radar structures in place may not have been as comprehensive or effective as they could have been.
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:53 pm

GDB wrote:
Why does a country where large scale poverty still stalks there vast land, want aircraft carriers?
Unless you are unaware that India does have them, if you approve, well you know who to thank for the Indian Navy's first carrier, it's second, it's first jet carrier aircraft and it's second one too.


Oh India certainly doesnt need aircraft carriers! That money could have been better spent on strengthening the coastal defense radars and ramping up the Coast Guard fleet. Nor does it need to spend billions of dollars on a nuclear weapons program while half its population goes to bed hungry!

But this thread is about a British desire to get back some lost national pride by getting aircraft carriers. Ok?
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:21 am

Ozair wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Maybe I'm just a student of military history and remember what happened when the RAF controlled the FAA in the years leading up to World War 2...

Taking this thread on a significant tangent (and this is probably a good opportunity for a thread about pre-WW2 aviation) I don't think we can look too darkly on the RAF pre WW2. What they did was out of budget necessity and literally gave them just about enough aircraft to contest, and win, the Battle of Britain. Had they focused more on and further funded naval aviation the land based aircraft and radar structures in place may not have been as comprehensive or effective as they could have been.
I just don't think the RAF should be in the position and have the power to make those decisions for another service.
 
Ozair
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:46 am

johns624 wrote:
I just don't think the RAF should be in the position and have the power to make those decisions for another service.

If that is your gripe I think you need to cut the RAF some slack. Carrier aviation in the 20s and 30s wasn’t an exact science and aerospace and engine technology went through some rapid changes. As an interesting comparison look at what the UK and USA had for carrier aviation during the 20/30s

From a 20/30s UK aircraft carrier perspective
Argus, converted dreadnought, laid up in the late 20s until WW2.
Glorious class, three converted battlecruisers, two of which weren’t finished until the very late 1920s.
Hermes, purpose built aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1924 but placed in reserve by 1937.
Eagle, converted dreadnought, commissioned in 1924 and served until sunk in 1942.
Ark Royal, didn’t commission until 1938.

So the UK had approx 3.5 carriers available from the late 1920s and operated aircraft such as the Swordfish, Albacore, Baffin, Bison, Dart, Flycatcher, Nightjar, Nimrod, Osprey, Ripon, Roc and Seal. All biplanes except for the Roc which was introduced into service in 1938.

Compare that to the US, who had their first aircraft carrier in 1924, two further in 1927 and then one in 34, 37 and 38 while Langley, their first, was converted back in 1936. Do you know what the standard aircraft fit for the USN was on the Lexington in 1936? F2F, F4B, SBU Cosairs and Great Lakes BGs, all biplanes… The US didn’t get a monoplane until the Brewster Buffalo in 1939 of which they only acquired 11.

The Japanese didn’t get a monoplane carrier fighter until 1937, the A5M, and the A6M didn’t enter service until 1940.

From the above we can see that although it appears that the RAF had some form of neglect of the FAA in the 30s as carrier air power developed the USN, which operated not only bigger but an increased number of aircraft carriers, had no better aircraft and the Japanese lead both by only by a year or two. No one else had carrier aviation in that timeframe.
 
Bongodog1964
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:26 am

As with anything military we are never short of plenty of people with opinions, my only comment regards the size of the carriers, The UK got into a habit in the late 1960's and into the 70's of building small ships, the result was that every fleet class either had to be stretched or its performance compromised. The Leander class frigates were built in a number of lengths/widths, type 22 frigates in three variants as the hulls were too small for the desired equipment as were the type 42 destroyers. Type 21 frigates were built with a light superstructure and could never carry a decent short range defence system.
This has now changed and we appear to build to a rather larger scale, I realise that the type 45 destroyers do have problems keeping cool in warm water, but they are being modified and the mod does fit inside the hull, 30 years ago it wouldn't have done !!

Likewise the carriers, the Invincible class were far too small, and the original deck layout had a sea dart launcher taking up lots of space. This was evident during the Falklands war, when the elderly Hermes was the more important asset carrying 36 aircraft compared to 22 on Invincible. I realise that the Queen Elizabeth class is very much a compromise compared to a US CVN, but it does have the sheer size to be flexible and still be adaptable in years to come.
 
Max Q
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:38 pm

It really doesn’t, in fact it’s the largest, most compromised
carrier ever built and the least
flexible as it can only operate
helicopters and VSTOL aircraft


Flexibility is actually defined with
a conventional carrier, after all It
can operate all types, cat/ trap and
VSTOL
 
johns624
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:53 pm

Maybe the Brits just wanted to have something bigger than the RAN's Canberra class. After all, we can't have those damned convict colonists showing up the mother country (only slightly sarcastic).
 
tommy1808
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:15 pm

BlueberryWheats wrote:
BawliBooch wrote:
The sun set on the British empire a long time back.

Why does this tiny island nation even need an aircraft carrier?


Needlessly inflammatory comment.


Also: not true

As long as the caymens, BIOT and Pitcairn Islands are British, the sun does not set on the empire until the next solar eclipse hits Pitcairn at the right time, between midnight and 1 am GMT, which won't happen for another 1000+ years.

Best regards
Thomas
 
Bongodog1964
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:16 pm

Max Q wrote:
It really doesn’t, in fact it’s the largest, most compromised
carrier ever built and the least
flexible as it can only operate
helicopters and VSTOL aircraft


Flexibility is actually defined with
a conventional carrier, after all It
can operate all types, cat/ trap and
VSTOL


It gains flexibility from its volume, The Royal Navy has a long history as mentioned previously of building hulls that prove to be too small, particularly with carriers, WW2 fleet carriers with insufficient hangar deck height, light fleet carriers that struggled as aircraft grew larger and heavier, even Ark Royal that required special nose leg mods to its Phantoms to enable them to take off safely. Also look at France they had to extend a flight deck as it was too short a few years back.

The question of whether we should have had cats and traps will run on for decades, obviously it was a total lie that they could be easily retrofitted for little money, no one however doubts that the hull has the space for it to happen, the part that would be difficult though is finding the extra sailors that cats and traps would require.

These carriers will end up doing "a bit of everything" as we can't afford multiple ships for the different roles; operating some F35B's, ASW, base for commando helicopters, helping with hurricane relief in the Carribbean, moving a commando brigade around etc etc.
Many of these roles are helped by the large deck, and the large hangar and accommodation spaces that result from it.
 
GDB
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:03 pm

Bongodog1964 wrote:
As with anything military we are never short of plenty of people with opinions, my only comment regards the size of the carriers, The UK got into a habit in the late 1960's and into the 70's of building small ships, the result was that every fleet class either had to be stretched or its performance compromised. The Leander class frigates were built in a number of lengths/widths, type 22 frigates in three variants as the hulls were too small for the desired equipment as were the type 42 destroyers. Type 21 frigates were built with a light superstructure and could never carry a decent short range defence system.
This has now changed and we appear to build to a rather larger scale, I realise that the type 45 destroyers do have problems keeping cool in warm water, but they are being modified and the mod does fit inside the hull, 30 years ago it wouldn't have done !!

Likewise the carriers, the Invincible class were far too small, and the original deck layout had a sea dart launcher taking up lots of space. This was evident during the Falklands war, when the elderly Hermes was the more important asset carrying 36 aircraft compared to 22 on Invincible. I realise that the Queen Elizabeth class is very much a compromise compared to a US CVN, but it does have the sheer size to be flexible and still be adaptable in years to come.


They could not even call them carriers at first! Just as well since they were originally designed as an ASW chopper platform, the ski jump, added late in the design, displaced 4 x MM38 Exocets. That along with the Sea Dart, was why they were called for a long time Cruisers.
However, all through this, the RN had been keeping a weather eye on the Harrier, then new in RAF (and more to the point for them, even more recently in USMC operation too).
Eventually getting the Sea Harrier approved.
But still this was a Cold War ship, it's prime role going after Soviet subs with it's Sea Kings.

While it's true that post WW2, the RAF has often being less than supportive of the FAA, for the usual reason both were competing for defence £'s.
Not with CVF though, which is in part I think why it made it.
By making it VSTOL, which as has been pointed out, has it's own advantages in cost and operationally, the UK had more to bring to the JSF party. Though in terms of numbers, replacing the RAF's Harrier force was a marginal thing for them, when that replacement is a new generation, LO aircraft, it's a lot more attractive to the service. In any case, by then RAF Harriers were often deploying on the carriers.

This year marks 100 years of the world's first independent air arm, the RAF.
In the 90 min prime time doc broadcast on the BBC in April, the last RAF pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft featured.
Dave Morgan shot down two A-4's in one sortie in 1982.
He was however flying a RN Sea Harrier.
The prime RAF F-35B unit formed so far at least, which will deploy to sea, is one of the most famous units in the RAF, indeed in military aviation in general.
617 Squadron (The Dambusters).
 
johns624
Posts: 5168
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:04 pm

Does anyone know if the Defence Modernisation Programme was delayed? I've read that it was supposed to be released in August but I haven't been able to find it online.
 
johns624
Posts: 5168
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:02 pm

It appears that the UK ended the design competition for their new Type 31e general purpose frigate. While details aren't clear, it seems that they couldn't get the frigate they wanted for the price that they wanted to pay. Back to square one...
This has follow-on aspects because delaying a ship that you're depending on selling to other countries isn't good when there are many other good candidates out there.
 
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Kiwirob
Posts: 13972
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:16 pm

Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:41 pm

johns624 wrote:
It appears that the UK ended the design competition for their new Type 31e general purpose frigate. While details aren't clear, it seems that they couldn't get the frigate they wanted for the price that they wanted to pay. Back to square one...
This has follow-on aspects because delaying a ship that you're depending on selling to other countries isn't good when there are many other good candidates out there.


It’s been back on again since the 14th August, it was cancelled on the 24th July, so your information is well and truly out of date.
 
johns624
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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:47 pm

The question is--did they increase what they were willing to pay or did they cut down on the capabilities of the platform? I bet there will be huge cost overruns and all five never get built. With Australia (and probably Canada) going for Americanized Type 26 boats, the export market for the Type 31e is extremely limited...may New Zealand. Spain, France and Italy are getting most of the export contracts and many nontraditional countries are building their own smaller combatants.
 
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par13del
Posts: 11268
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:26 pm

How far fetched would it be for a number of countries to come up with a single hull / engine design that would be built in each host nation along with their own weapons suite?
A big issue right now is how much money each business involved in building these ships will make, so let's say a group of countries - USA, Canada, UK, etc - pool resources together to agree on a common hull / engine / power plant design, each nation would then build their own ships.
In time the weapons suite could also be joint, but let's start with slow steps, build the ships first, lower cost by using a joint design.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
Posts: 1224
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:20 am

Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:04 pm

Biggest problem is varied desires and aims result in different designs. Just look at the project that resulted in the Horizon and Type 45. Originally those started as a joint program.

If you were to go down that path I'd actually flip it round. Join up to create a common internal suite of systems and then let each country build a hull that fits their particular needs and desires. So some countries can have something like an LHA and others can have supercarriers.

But these things are also built so rarely even that would be difficult.
 
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par13del
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Re: The new British aircraft carriers - interesting long read

Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:38 pm

On my thought I was only thinking of the smaller support ships, they have spent an awful lot on the carriers themselves that they are struggling to get the other necessary ships that the entire fleet requires. I decided against system initially because of the national interest to maintain secrecy, on a ship design itself how much secrecy would
they require for corvette / frigate size designs?
I see the larger destroyers being more custom built with no sharing of design features.

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