Beleaguered admirals are fighting hard to save the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers and with them the service's status as a world top-three navy, according to reports. One plan thought to be on the table bears a close resemblance to that set out in the Register's recent "We Want Two [carriers] Or No Votes For You" campaign. …
So unless it can be moved by a helicopter the RN can't land it?
Doesn't sound very sensible to me. Perhaps it's to force the Army to give up some vehicles - after all virtually nothing they've got can be slung under a chopper.
Perhaps if we want to save some cash, we should scrap the PFI idiocy that is the centralised training under Metrix the planned defence academy at St Athan, Wales. That is said to cost abot £14 billion over 30 years.
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz Now I have a title see, let me post my comment please
So why has nobody started a petition at that stupid gov petition site ?
I have the same problem with titles. Why do we need to be creative when all we want to do is criticise?
If escort ships are so important....
Maybe the coalition can try to satisfy both the R.N. by providing more boats AND middle-class parents by providing paddle-boats equipped with a genuine R.N. captain to take children for free boat rides at all lake-equipped parks.
At least the taxpayer gets to see where the money goes....
We can just have 6 captains per ship, they can rule for 4 hours a day each.
Having six Captains as COs ruins the unified command principle, but
What we can do is rank-inflate again. Since IIRC Brit destroyers and frigates (4-5 thousand tons) already have Commanders as well as full Captains as COs, it stands to reason that the CO of a Daring class destroyer (8000-9000 ton) be a Commodore and the commander of a 65000 ton carrier (complete with wing sized Air Group to be commanded by at least a Captain) be a Rear Admiral. And yes, of course, the "PWOs" of the carriers can be of Commander-Captain rank, plus a Commodore-rank "Commander"/Executive officer, coming close to your idea.
Say what you will about rank-inflation, but in a realistic world where we can't fire or even demote senior officers, it allows at least some of them and their experience (at least, we hope they have experience) to be put to use in operational roles rather than sitting behind a desk.
Couldn't agree more about the need for 2 carriers! Not really sure why we couldn't just leave one as a hull in dock until we can afford to outfit it properly..
Also, aren't the Type 45's ready to be equipped with Harpoon ship killer missiles whenever we can afford that? They aren't as useless as you make out!
Hate to say it
But 'we want eight and we won't wait' was a better slogan.
Those white elephants nearly bankrupted the country as well and proved entirely useless in warfare.
David Lloyd George
If the threat of the Grand Fleet didn't keep the German Navy in harbour while the blockade starved the German people, what did?
WW1 Battleships were useful
The UK navy kept the German fleet and merchants bottled up for the entirety of the war.
Even looking at Jutland, where it can be argued the Royal Navy ships were "less good", the important thing was that the Royal Navy remained undefeated and stronger than the German Navy. Those dreadnaughts certainly helped.
Lloyd George, who I think said it, was quite pacifist (for his time) until 1912 or so, when it was obvious war was looming, and he subsequently became a very effective War Minister and (later) Prime Minister.
In WW2, technology had moved on, and carriers became the rulers of the seas, but there was still a role for 8-10 16" guns on a floating platform....
A new Harrier perhaps?
I do get annoyed that the only options for aircraft are US... It would be nice if we could actually have an aircraft industry in the UK, that did not just put aircraft together from kits bought from other nations.
I wonder if either of the following is possible:
a) develop a new harrier with more use of composite materials, which would hopefully make it lighter and more stealthy. Because it would be lighter it would be able to carry a heavier weapons load, or more fuel. It would probably still not be supersonic, but it could probably still be very useful in the ground attack or air support role.
b) develop a tailhook version of the Typhoon. I'm sure I'm seeing this from a very simplistic standpoint, but apart from the tailhook and strengthened undercarriage, what changes would need to be made? Don't we have some of these in mothballs somewhere, that we could use as development aircraft?
Just thoughts from someone sitting on a (non naval) ship in the South Atlantic...
Not feasible - sorry
a) Harrier GR7s are already made of a lot of composites, it doesn't matter; the design is inherently "unstealthy". As much as the Harrier made us all proud to be British etc. etc. its never been that useful as, y'know an actual combat aircraft (Falklands notwithstanding - they were up against some fairly poor opposition), being able to carry fuel or payload, but not much of either.
b) Tornado is poorly suited to carrier ops because of its high speed landing characteristics. Plus, re-engineering land based aircraft for carriers is a process that's always more complex and expensive than the other way around, usually resulting in something heavier, slower and shorter-ranged than its donor aircraft. I worked on the T-45 (navalised Hawk trainer for the US Navy) back in the eighties and the damn thing was basically a new (and not better) aircraft by the time the necessary airframe work was done.
If you fit a tailhook, you'd need to strengthen the fuselage to stop it just ripping the back end of the plane off.
Then you'd need to strengthen the wings, to stop them ripping off the fuselage during the start/stop activities. As well as reinforcing the pylons etc. to stop them coming off the wings when loaded.
Probably a lot more fuselage reinforcement to stop the landing gear being punched through the plane when it hits the deck, and maybe some big bulges to accommodate the reinforced gear.
You might also need to replace magnesium components in the plane with aluminium or similar for corrosion resistance, and make other change to deal with the more corrosive naval environment.
I don't think any of this stuff was considered in the original design, so it would probably be expensive to add it all in now.
Not the Aghulas I hope
Sent from my computer, linked to a sat phone
The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.
Nope, not the Aghulas, but I don't want to tell you for reasons that would become obvious if I did :-)
But you've done it again - Aircraft carriers are utterly, utterly useless in many of the Navy's current taskings - To the point where the last aircraft capable of an intercept from a carrier was retired several years ago. A carrier is completely useless in anti piracy operations. They are useless in enforcing shipping inspections, in fisheries protection, in drugs smuggling - and they're too expensive to be risked doing most of their work. The most effective work for a fleet aircraft carrier is a general war scenario - a scenario less and less likely, as we move into fourth generation warfare
The most important ships in our current fleet are our amphibious warfare ships; particular HMS Ocean - which is pretty clapped out, and in dire need of replacement. So dire, in fact, that a defacto aircraft carrier, HMS Arc Royal (Light Aircraft Carrier, and current flagship) was pressed into the role of LPH - HMS Ocean's role!
Combat Aircraft are useful in fourth generation warfare, but the original bid, for 150 aircraft is completely ridiculous - we have Typhoon Aircraft, which are superior in everyway to the F-35B and Super Hornet (indeed the only Super Hornet aircraft which is superior to Typh is the EW version, and the Americans will never sell all the vital software which makes this aircraft worth having in inventory), and our Typhoons are more than adequate at protecting our interests, whether launching from our own airbases, or from allied nations.
What I'm most surprised though, is that lack of support for A British ship class, based on the thoroughly excellent America Class assault ship - capable of launching a small number of fighter bombers, operating a good sized fleet of rotary wing platforms (Osprey and Helicopters) and launching assault boats as well... much more useful for future Royal Navy and Marine Operations!
anti piracy operations? shipping inspections? fisheries? smuggling?
I hate to break it to you, but Frigates and destroyers are an utter waste of money in all those scenarios too.
For those roles you can get by using a decent-size trawler with a ww2 vintage 20mm bolted on one end, a heli deck welded on the other and a few extra bunks for marines fitted in the hold.
Your facts are just plain wrong
"HMS Ocean - which is pretty clapped out, and in dire need of replacement."
It's 15 years old (which is peanuts for a warship this size) and had a long refit in 2007. The "dire need" to which you refer, when Ark Royal stood in, was during the long refit. Much of what else you say is of a similar standard.
"a) develop a new harrier with more use of composite materials, which would hopefully make it lighter and more stealthy. Because it would be lighter it would be able to carry a heavier weapons load, or more fuel. It would probably still not be supersonic, but it could probably still be very useful in the ground attack or air support role."
The Harrier servers a brilliant purpose, and should not be scrapped. It needs a beefier engine, and a rethink on stores. As a multi-purpose aircraft, its been proven again and again in combat. Whats the reason for scrapping? Oh - it can't land on our small carriers. Note to MOD, you;ll have two big carriers. Maybe you should get a clue.
At the very least, the Harriers could have been used as a basis for stage one aircraft, and after the payment on carriers, the later planes could have been brought in to suppliment the power of the platform.
The entire mixed harrier force could have operated off these carriers, and could have done so as a proper cost reduction ideal.
of course being a totally bankrupt third world nation we will be unable to get the loans to be able to buy the fuel, from other countries, to be able to run any of the damn things.
Why do the polititians and defence commentators continue their belief in the idea that anything we say and do has no effect except, perhaps, to support the Americans.
We are unable to afford to play with the big boys anymore as the state of our finances show.
So why do we need to project force on this scale?
With expensive willy-waving substitute aircraft carriers?
Firstly we have NATO to back us up militarily (remember that the UK has not won anything other than a small scale skirmish without allies since about 1850 and the USA has never actually achieved that) and secondly we have nukes.
So anything we can't deal with using the current kit would be grounds to invoke the NATO treaty and anything large scale (or against another NATO member) would be grounds to go glow.
OK, in an ideal world it would be nice to be able to piss high up the global wall through the medium of aircraft carriers but at the moment we have 2 major impediments to acheiving that erstwhile goal:
(1) as a country we have no money.
(2) as a country we have no fucking money.
I would much rather the cash be spent on health, education, pensions, fixing the roads and paying off the massive national debt than buying big lad's toys so the navy can pretend that we are still the British Empire of olde Victorian times and that it is morally OK to go and bomb any Jonny Foreigners that we damn well don't like. That'll teach them. Damn foreign rotters.
The title goes here...
People like you are living in cloud-cuckoo land if you think that we can abandon our military capability and spend it on lovely touchy-feely shit. I'm not paranoid, there really are groups and nations who are, or will be in 5-20 years, out to seize all of the dwindling natural resources at the expense of Johnny Englishman. Trust me when I tell you that the way we conduct war is positively saintly compared to the way these guys'll behave.
When you are eating squirrel flesh and burning furniture for fuel, you'd probably wish we'd kept some military capability. But if you get your way at least you'll starve well-educated and with fine NHS teeth and a good pension you could've looked forward to.
Stop planning for the last war but one
The competitor you refer to is China. I doubt that we could compete.
Lewis's idea is fine, so long as its all against tin pot little sabre rattlers. The whole tin pot plan is only to look at threats now, and to ignore any powerful ability beyond. And this is all flawed because of the historically low GDP element.
Having Ocean and 2 carriers (and historically, we can't afford to run the carriers, they spend a lot of the time in port being 'refitted' which is babble speak for resting up due to lack on ££.) Sat off somewhere, with a very small escort group that can't provide either surface defense, nor air defense, and because its small a much less viable ASW defense - is asking for a big ship loss.
And you better be ready for it, because if one of the many little tin pot idiots gains some opportunity to gave us a great big bloody nose, they can take it. And will.
Carrier groups of any kind require solid, thick, and deep protection. Or you will lose the carriers in combat.
And finally, NATO and friends. Yes, we've seen what reliance on others leads you to. Men left without kit or choppers. On the day you have to go in to fight, and the day you think your good buddies will provide you with what you need, will be the day you find like we did in afganistan, that you better bring you own frigs, cruisers, and the rest, because others won't provide this for you because you thought you could do it all cheap.
We should be spending 4+ % of GDP and during war more, and we should have been doing so proudly. The jobs, industry and the rest is not a negative. Instead we spend enormous amounts of vast seas of 'social security' and other areas. We're still at war and the military is being told to bear a brunt. Stupid beyond any measure.
In 2-5 years, when we have to do an op on Iran, with all other choices removed, watch as people say 'where did all the Tornadoes go?'.
even more flawed
> And finally, NATO and friends. Yes, we've seen what reliance on others leads you to. Men left without kit or choppers.
> you find like we did in afganistan, that you better bring you own frigs, cruisers, and the rest, because others won't provide this for you
eh? it's not nato or others who have fucked up the supply of kit or choppers for our forces. it's the fuckwits in whitehall.
and its american choppers who have had to do the serious lifting in afghanistan because our army doesn't fucking have enough to do the job. we're relying on others to feed and supply our troops, recover casualties, etc. some of our squaddies are alive today because others are providing the stuff our own army isn't. ffs!
btw, afghanistan is landlocked. so frigates and cruisers (which nobody's built since before ww2 ended) are no fucking use at all in that conflict.
"Carrier groups of any kind require solid, thick, and deep protection. Or you will lose the carriers in combat."
You're missing the point; if we don't cut back on escorts, there won't be anything to escort!!! Lewis is suggesting a realignment of priorities so that the RN will have a useful purpose; when was the last time that the RN was fired on by anything more deadly than an RPG from an inshore patrol boat?
"you find like we did in afganistan, that you better bring you own frigs, cruisers, and the rest, because others won't provide this for you"
Afghanistan is hundreds of miles from the sea; what good is a warship (other than a carrier) to the war there?
"You're missing the point; if we don't cut back on escorts, there won't be anything to escort!!! Lewis is suggesting a realignment of priorities so that the RN will have a useful purpose; when was the last time that the RN was fired on by anything more deadly than an RPG from an inshore patrol boat?"
You totally miss the point. Warfare is not static, and neither is the strategic element. The weapon systems to take out big ships are many and varied. And getting them is a lot easier than building the carriers. Carrier groups need multiple layers of protection and coverage, because at their centre are irreplacable assetts. The theory that somehow the carriers can be surrounded by a less numerous fleet, one that lacks capacity as well as ability means that when a crunch happens, you very well might lose the assetts. And I hate to say it, but a carrier at the bottom of an ocean does not do a job very well. And it ends totally any idea of force projection for - in our case, a decade or more. I'm sorry, but I sincerely believe any carrier group HAS to have anti air, anti surface vessel and anti sub defense at a very thick level. The whole point is force projection, not having to run the carrier fleet away from combat zones because they are utterly exposed.
Further, everyone keeps on about RPG from inshore patrol boats. Wake up. Seriously. Even the third rate tin pots can buy large ship killers on the open arms market.
"Afghanistan is hundreds of miles from the sea; what good is a warship (other than a carrier) to the war there?"
We have bases in Afganistan that provide the air cover, or would if we did it properly. A carrier is not a solution. Our men need equipment, and air cover, and choppers, and they are fighting there today. Now. They don't need carriers.
its an amphibious operation
the initial troop deployment was from ships (Persian Gulf); and ships continue to provide staging posts for much activity. That's way Ocean is so important; she carries large numbers of marines (& possibly brown things) to be deployed INLAND. Trouble is - to defend Ocean you need aircraft carriers; and to defend carriers you need lots of (different types of) escort ships.
Here's a cost saving - scrap all RAF bases in the UK - build 5 or 6 carriers - the UK is small enough to be covered by a couple of decent sized nuclear carriers That way we can replace the RAF with the Fleet Air Arm; reverting the Army to their traditional role of being a weapon that is deployed by the Royal Navy
'course I'll never understand why they didn't make them nuclear powered; stupid left politics I suppose; bad enough realising they HAVE to have armed forces; never mind having to cope with the concept of clean non-polluting eco-friendly & efficient nuclear power !
re. indeed, but
"Carrier groups need multiple layers of protection and coverage"
I wouldn't argue against this, if we had a much larger budget then this would be the way to go; but in the current climate we're discussing options that allow us to operate carriers in a more limited, but still useful fashion. Other European allies have escort ships, and this would give us options in a more serious conflict, but if we only have escorts then we're left with only operating in support of the US with its carrier groups.
"We have bases in Afganistan that provide the air cover, or would if we did it properly. A carrier is not a solution. Our men need equipment, and air cover, and choppers, and they are fighting there today. Now. They don't need carriers."
Again, no argument, but one of the reasons for the lack of kit for infantry operations is that the budget has been blown on less relevant stuff like air superiority fighters (Typhoon) and super frigates (Type 45).
Its been a failure in UK planning for decades that shortfalls, or equipment angles can be played out in the way that someone else fills a void. Hence the point about Afganistan. Did we have buffoons in whitehall? Off course. But you need to understand that while british men and women die, 3000 helicopters exist in NATO allied Europe alone. The Americans are doing all the lifting because they are left with little choice, and are frequently shafted by their 'friends' just as we are. NATO today is meaningless and is filled with people who want the benefits of it, but not the costs. Its time some of those were actually told to bugger off.
To be clear, its not a British OP. Its an ISAF/NATO OP, and trying to pretend that shortfalls of equipment are a british shortfall are flat out wrong. The overall mission is NATO, and the contribution of the NATO alliance is supposed to fulfill the obligation. And in that OP, we are contributing 'enough' for our part that a shortage of helicopters is a pathetic outcome from others who shirk their load and responsibility.
Now, I know of notables who do fight, the dutch, the danes, the brits. And I'm not going to name the ones who don't, because they should leave the alliance.
As for the British assumtion on mixed forces that fulfil missions around a lower cost idea, we've assumed for far too long that others will help us out. However, operations across the globe continue to provide clear evidence that when Britain is in the crapper and is fighting, in too many cases that strategic idea falls down totally. It does not matter what op you care to pull up, wether its serbia, iraq, afganistan, the falklands.
If the assumption is that somehow - in a handful of years - the falklands or any similar operation could be run with - oh lets say for the sake of argument, France would provide Frigs and Cruisers to protect our now exposed carriers. No. Very doubtful.
Now, as to the Navy being useful in Afganistan. No, off course its not. I never said it was. But its a global issue. We don't spend enough on defense, and we have a misunderstanding that others will stand and fight with us and hold their share of a burden, when that is not true. Afganistan applied to the naval issue is the same.
These two carriers are either going to be overly exposed, and thus will be useless and kept back in case they are lost, or they will be exposed badly and plausably sunk - because everyone thinks someone else is going to protect them while they do our work.
Carriers, and thus carrier battle groups have to be able to take on whole states. When sat off someone coast, you better be able to. And alone these carriers are going to be badly exposed and a magnet for troubles.
"Develop a new Harrier"
The moment you start talking about "develop a new..." you're fucked.
Buy something that already exists for fuck's sake.
"I do get annoyed that the only options for aircraft are US", or French.
Don't be such a pansy.
What do you intend on replacing the Harrier with exactly?
This isn't the sort of thing that you buy from other countries. It's the sort of thing that you sell to other countries.
Never mind you guys. What happens when our own USMC needs to replace it's Harriers. Build a new Harrier so we have some place to buy ours.
Expectations of total dependence or indepence are both equally absurd.
As a non-matelot may I say
this all sounds a bit strange.
1. If we have only one carrier permanently available then won't enemies eventually hit on the plan of attacking somewhere the carrier isn't? Or attacking in two places at once? Presumably if you need it on the other side of the ocean it takes a long time to sail it there.
2. Why is it so important to have the radar high up on an airplane instead of on the ship? What about all these incredibly expensive satellites aren't they even higher up?
no title for you
1. Any enemy that can launch attacks on the UK on opposite sides of the world isn't going to care if you have 1 or 5 carriers.
2. Really? you are really asking that?
Wow, where to begin...
1. "Attacking where the carrier isn't". If the carrier is posted somewhere with important strategic interest, then the attack would occur ... somewhere without. "Attacking two places at once". Launching large-scale near-simultaneous attacks on multiple fronts requires a lot of resources (measured in $trillions). Just ask the United States how well that one worked out for them recently..
2. "Radar on the ship". FFS learn to read! Can only see to the horizon, allowing the enemy aircraft/missile in close enough to kill you before you can react. Can't see where to send your firepower. Can't protect yourself against enemy submarines. "These incredibly expensive satellites". Brits don't have even one of their own (rely on US data). Can see a very small patch of the earth at any one time (SAR-Lupe sees a box 5.5km2 at <50cm resolution). Move out of view very quickly. Response time measured in hours. Spend majority of time over parts of the earth you have no interest in. Enemies know when your sat is overhead. Are incredibly expensive. And you don't have one.
I have to wonder, did I just get trolled?
Hey, Chris 244
But what about alien invasions
Everyone know that when the aliens reveal themselves (it can't be an invasion if they are already here) that JUMPJETS hidden in canyons will be all that saves us from annihilation.
If we don't bu y the F-35B jumpjet versions, then when our harriers go we'll be defenceless !!!
What about having 50% F-35B 50% F-35C.....otherwise we're doomed
Why Not Three?
It sounds good to me!
(See what I did there?)
Give us Four, Or we'll show you the Door?
(More seriously, Good article.)
Even if they git rid of HMS Ocean, the navy will still have an amphibious capability.
The Type 42 Destroyer can land ashore, as the HMS Nottingham proved at Wolf Rock back in 2002.
Why the hell are these carriers not nuclear powered? Plenty of steam production capability for catapults. The only problem I can see with these two large ships, is that all our eggs are in two large baskets. Even in World War Two, it proved better to have lots of small escort carriers to keep the subs down. In all truth we need both. It's the country's insurance policy. They all thought that after WW1, they'd never be another one. They even proposed to scrap the RAF altogether! The sheeple say that there is no longer a threat from Russia, but what can change one way can go the other way too. Never mind that China is trading all its useless dollars for assets abroad, and expanding its naval ambitions to match.
The Germans sell submarines to all and sundry, we seemed to have given up after the Upholders, having a successful run with the Oberons. The Russians are buying helicopter carriers from the French. Why can't we make and sell this stuff anymore?
If the world is going to hell in a handcart (parallels with the 1930's) then lets stay out of the next one and make a heap load of cash arming the belligerents.
"If the world is going to hell in a handcart (parallels with the 1930's) then lets stay out of the next one and make a heap load of cash arming the belligerents"
Because it's not, perhaps?
>Why the hell are these carriers not nuclear powered?
They were going to be a joint project with the French, since the French seem capable of making reactors on budget and time they would get the contract for that bit. If we go gas turbine then BAe get the job.
These carriers are never going to do a battle of midway, their job is going around tin pot little countries to pretend we are a super power or on goodwill visits to pretend we are an empire.
If they are nukes then it provokes WWIII when they turn up off Libya or WTFistan to sabre rattle and provokes complaints in the press when they aren't allowed into Canada, Oz, New Zealand etc on a visit because they are nukes.
BAe won't be allowed to sell copies of them to other countries if they are nukes. Anybody you would be allowed to sell a nuke to already has carriers
Won't someone think of the oil? Oops, I mean penguins.
"These carriers are never going to do a battle of midway, their job is going around tin pot little countries to pretend we are a super power or on goodwill visits to pretend we are an empire."
They will make damn sure our south american friends stay out of the Falklands, do they count as tin pot? I really don't know. Particularly useful since it looks like there's a fair ammount of the black stuff down there. Yes yes I know one drilling expedition recently drew a blank but that doesn't mean *all* the surveys carried out down there are wrong.
As for nuke & steam cats, I'd rather our new carries could go anywhere. Our old carriers were the only ones capable of operating in the high arctic. The merkins can't because steam cats freeze solid. There is a big old bun fight brewing over the oil under the Arctic ocean at the moment and that is why the US is going with electric flingers next time.
I vote for two carriers with electric catapults. Let the first boat carry Harriers initially to free up cash for E-2D Hawkeye. Bring in the 2nd boat and mix in one complement F18 Hornet so we then have two boats each carrying Harrier/Hornet/E-2D. Then when all the wrinkles have been ironed out of the JSF and it reaches the mass production phase retire the Harriers for F-35C. Oh and bin the 'austere' Typhoon upgrade, that'll save a bundle.
Problably wouldn't work in the real world but from my comfy armchair that seem like a way to end up with the most capable carriers possible and to spread the cost.
Nuke carriers can visit Canada
I have personally seen a Nimitz-class carrier in port in Vancouver, BC. Truly a massive bit of kit.
One is enough!
The UK will never not be able to rely on an ally to loan them a bit of international cooperation if needed. And if there is another falklands then a 2 week wait will solve the problem of getting your single carrier seaworthy again. Like, they had time to transform a cruise shop into a troop transporter. I think France only has one, think of the new entente cordiale that could be born!
So if in 5-10 years time the political situation is different and a shooting war appears inevitable, should we ask our opponents to hold off their invasion for a couple of weeks?
Apples and Mangos
You really haven't got a clue, have you.
"transform a cruise shop into a troop transporter"
A cruise ship is designed to carry PEOPLE, so the leap from black tie to camouflage is not very difficult. Lick of paint on the outside and mount some machine guns on the tennis court.
Refits of *any* ship (including cruise ships) takes months, and you cannot just stick them back together in two weeks.
Can't the machine gun go somewhere else
Sorry, I just think our boys deserve the best, and that includes a tennis court.
So why exactly do we need to get rid of HMS Ocean?
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