back to article Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

Today saw her Maj QE2 smash a bottle of Islay malt whisky over her floating namesake at Fife's Rosyth dockyard, as she hailed "a new phase" in Blighty's glorious naval history. The carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is a 280-metre-long behemoth which promises a maritime capability equal to that of its voracious appetite for …

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  1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

    Wait until you see the final bill for the F-35x!!

    Is it possible that the fighters aboard might be more expensive than the ship that carries them?

    1. MrXavia

      Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

      Well thats what you get if you don't build it here.....

      At least the Lifting fans/engines are built in the UK for the F35 (rolls royce) but whether the computers will turn on is another matter... I remember at one point the US was refusing to hand over the source code.....

      We have a great history of building amazing aircraft here in the UK & Europe, I can't see why we didn't build out own VSTOL fighter, at the very least we should never have sold off our Harriers!

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

        " I remember at one point the US was refusing to hand over the source code....."

        Wouldn't surprise me. We're the USAs Bestest Friend Ever when they need something from us (like helping them justify pointless invasions), but when we need something from them and they don't get much from it, its a different bloody story.

        "We have a great history of building amazing aircraft here in the UK & Europe, I can't see why we didn't build out own VSTOL fighter,"

        2 main problems:

        A) We don't have the money and since no other european country has ever seemed that interested in VTOL we'd probably have to cough up for everything which wouldn't go down well with the usual "wot abaht 'ospitals-n-skools!" style of moron voter all politicians seem in thrall to these days.

        B) The current crop of politicians don't seem that interested in supporting british industry anyway and when challenged just fall back on the EU fair competition rules. Which everyone else in the EU ignores anyway except us.

        "at the very least we should never have sold off our Harriers!"

        A textbook definition of extreme short term thinking. Even if we didn't have the money to run them they could have been mothballed with minimum maintenance until we did. But no, Osborne had to sell them off for a pittance. The man should be ashamed of himself.

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: "wot abaht 'ospitals-n-skools!"

          Shirly if (presumably) your mates in the defence industry weren't such an incompetent bunch of theving vagbonds, footpads and skulking loafers, and could manage to just once fulfil a contract at least in the same decade it was supposed to be delivered in and at a cost within say 5000% of the original estimate, then we could have all the jump-jets and carriers we want... and still have enough money left over for me and the rest of the electorates schools and hospitals.

          just a thought.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Gormlesshorse Re: "wot abaht 'ospitals-n-skools!"

            Check your facts before bleating again - in the UK 2013 budget there was twice as much on education, threes times as much on NHS, and nearly four times as much on pensions as spent on defence. If you had even the faintest knowledge about the way we procure weapons systems you would also know the majority of delays are due to the politicians using the armed forces as a political football, making ridiculous changes to requirements mid-project at the drop of an hat, and then poisoning the chalice (as Labour did with the carriers) when they realise they are not going to get re-elected.

            1. Naughtyhorse

              Re: Ah! shit-for-brains-bryant

              cos killing people is soooooo much more important than say educating the ignorant, or providing sheltered accommodation to the mentally enfeebled.

              both subjects I should have thought would be close to your heart* <kiss kiss>

              * silly me, old fashioned thatcherite - no heart in the first place.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Happy

                Re Boringhorse Re: Ah! shit-for-brains-bryant

                "cos killing people is soooooo much more important than say educating the ignorant, or providing sheltered accommodation to the mentally enfeebled...." I didn't say it was, I simply exposed the ignorance in your previous post. Nice to see you're maintaining your record as a bad loser.

                ".....old fashioned thatcherite - no heart in the first place." Always fun watching a Leftie shriek and whine when their fave bleat has been easily demolished with a single factual post.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

          "But no, Osborne had to sell them off for a pittance. The man should be ashamed of himself."

          I can't imagine Osborne being ashamed of anything; he reeks of ill-educated entitled arrogance.

      2. midcapwarrior

        Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

        "whether the computers will turn on is another matter... I remember at one point the US was refusing to hand over the source code....."

        Pretty sure not having the source will not affect the computers turning on. Maintenance maybe but not boot up.

        1. JohnMcL

          Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

          This might bring new meaning to "floating point" problems in software.

      3. Psyx

        Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

        "Well thats what you get if you don't build it here....."

        Ha!

        Yeah, because our Nimrods worked out so well.

        There's no point us making our own aircraft: We only need a handful and the development costs are thus insane. Our new radios and the SA80 worked out so well, too.

        The problem with the VTOLs we are ordering from the US is the same problem we'd have if we had made them ourselves... except less-so, because someone else does actually want the same plan (USMC). If we'd have built them ourselves the costs would have been even higher.

        1. asiaseen

          Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

          Considering that Nimrods were Comet 1 airframes (yes, the very same that embarrassingly broke up in flight) I reckon they did pretty well.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

            'Considering that Nimrods were Comet 1 airframes (yes, the very same that embarrassingly broke up in flight) I reckon they did pretty well.'

            Yeah, until one blew up in mid air killing 14 people because BAe Systems lied about the safety case .

      4. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

        'Well thats what you get if you don't build it here'

        As I understand it BAe are also making part of the fuselage of every F-35. In fact something like 20% of the total build is from UK industry, which over the course of the programme will probably be of greater value than if we had a 100% UK built aircraft and then only brought a hundred or so of them.

      5. asiaseen

        Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

        The problem with the Harrier was that it was getting a bit long in the tooth. Do you realise the prototype P1127 first flew 54 years ago?

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

      To be fair they're not that expensive, less than two weeks of benefits and pensions payments. Or about 18 months of TV licence fees.

  2. SuperTim
    FAIL

    Geography...

    Can someone revisit the little yellow dot of Birkenhead and move it back from Fleetwood please. Thanks muchly.

    1. BJC
      FAIL

      Re: Geography...

      If someone could also just pop Rosyth back down onto the Firth of Forth and away from Dundee, that'd be grand.

      I hope that map wasn't generated by the on-board navigation system.

      1. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge

        Re: Geography...

        We'll spotted BJC. Same to the OP with Birkenhead. Last time I was in Perth docks there was no Aircraft carrier there. :) But there was a big hole in Rosyth waiting for something.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My wife and I were forced to re-enact the now show scetch about aircraft carriers and libya this morning.

  4. Don Jefe

    Exact Change

    Why not busses? If you sail a carrier packed with aircraft to a foreign land you're really boxing yourself in as far as tactical options go. There's really only so much you can do with military attack aircraft and no matter what Admiral Blueblood says, none of those things are going to be novel, or even creative.

    But sail an aircraft carrier full of big London busses to a foreign land and nobody will know what to do. Are the busses a gift? Have the British woefully misjudged the available surface road infrastructure in Kerplackistan? Have the British discovered anti-gravity technology and no longer need their aircraft to be aerodynamically efficient? Are the busses full of migrants? Are the busses Transformers?

    See, nearly limitless options, none which justify attacking the bus carrier preemptively. Only a fool would launch an attack on such an enormous what-the-fuck. You can't shoot at things unless you know what's going on and nobody is going to know what the hell is happening when HMS Mass Transit anchors offshore. For a few days, even longer if you refuse to communicate, the British Navy will once again control the Seas.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Exact Change

      Trojan Buses.

      That will keep them guessing.

      But- a bottle of Islay Malt!

      Sacrilege!

      </You Poured it On a Fish?>

      1. AbortRetryFail

        Re: Exact Change

        You Poured it On a Fish?

        Punt & Dennis?

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Exact Change

          Mary Whitehouse. Experience.

          possibly both...

      2. launcap Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Exact Change

        Re: Islay Malt

        "</You Poured it On a Fish?>"

        Well - back in the good old days of British Neo-Prog quite a lot of it was poured *into* a Fish..

    2. Rob

      Re: Exact Change

      Looks pretty scary to me, especially if they are using them in a ballistic manor. One route master double decker launched on the steam catapult at your enemy, maybe fill it with school children because they are a nightmare on public transport in packs.

      (I mention steam catapults but I can't remember if they were being installed or not).

      1. dotdavid
        Headmaster

        Re: Exact Change

        "Looks pretty scary to me, especially if they are using them in a ballistic manor. "

        I hate to be a pedant but I'm trying to decide which is the more ridiculous image; ballistic double-decker buses or ballistic stately homes.

      2. despun

        Re: Exact Change

        IIRC they're not being installed. The ship was to be capable of retrofit for convential aircraft - opening the purchase options considerably, but then BAe can back with a silly price for it, forcing the government to carry on with the F35x. (which it part builds)

        OT. The caaier is a "shared resource" of the European Rapid Reaction Force. Which may go some way to explaining the distortion of the UK naval capacity that it represents.

        1. bpfh
          FAIL

          Re: Exact Change

          If the carrier is a shared ressource, what other European naval force actually uses VTOL aircraft apart from Russia (and maybe some spanish Harriers/AV8's?) The other big european flat-top is the Charles de Gaulle, and without cats & traps, no way to operate Rafale's... I really think that BAe took the piss with their pricing and we are going to end up with an expensive but sub-optimal weapons system :(

      3. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Exact Change - no boilers to power steam catapaults.....

        ...so yes they will probably fit them and then say "oops".

        Might as well stack it with buses as there are no fucking functional planes to put on it yet. Might help traffic congestion in London though.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Exact Change - no boilers to power steam catapaults.....

          No steam catapaults, fullstop.

          The option was electric ones (which had yet to be developed) and BAE made it very clear they didn't want to install them by pricing retrofitting them at somewhat more expensive than building a new ship.

          Of course having only ONE aircraft carrier won't be much use even if the UK really can pool resources with the French (I'll believe that when I see a Mirage sitting on the deck of the QE).

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exact Change

        Deffo. A ballistic manor full of double-decker buses would totally ruin someone's day.

      5. TedF

        Yes -No - Yes - No

        In typical UK MOD bungling style, it was going to have steam catapults, then it wasn't, then some fancy electro-magnetic linear motor catapult, then nothing. Multiply this sort of faffing about for every system aboard and I wonder it hasn't cost ten times its already staggering cost. Still six years to finish it, so plenty of opportunities to add / delete / add again countless bits of technology. . . .

      6. Alan Edwards

        Re: Exact Change

        > One route master double decker launched on the steam catapult at your enemy

        No need to throw them, roll 'em out of the back of C-17. Apart from the comedy factor of being hit by a bus, it'd make an awesome airfield denial weapon; make them spend months picking up bits of fibreglass to stop it being sucked into jet engines.

        I have a feeling a Routemaster is too tall to go in a C-17, but it does give us something to do with all the old Leyland Nationals.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exact Change

      The buses are vital for supplying humanitarian aid in the one remaining sector where the UK are still world leaders - the replacement bus service

    4. Neil 44

      Re: Exact Change

      I'm sure Boris would like to put all the bendy busses onto it....

    5. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: Exact Change

      London buses worked well enough in support of the Western Front of the First World War.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exact Change

        > London buses worked well enough in support of the Western Front of the First World War.

        For "sending people to their deaths by the busload" values of "well enough", yes, I'm sure they did. :-(

    6. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Exact Change

      >Why not busses?

      Cue the JamBusters March.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exact Change

      > You can't shoot at things unless you know what's going on

      That would be quite a novel, intriguing idea to the U.S. "army".

    8. Getriebe

      Re: Exact Change

      The hegemony of the Oyster card extends beyond Zone 6!

  5. Anonymous IV

    Bust-up

    Just because you can park 470 double-decker London buses on an aircraft carrier, it doesn't mean that you should...

    (Has anyone any idea of the relative purchase cost, BTW?)

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Bust-up

      Au contraire, mon ami. The fact that it's theoretically possible means it's imperative to make it happen..

    2. Tim Jenkins

      Re: Bust-up

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Routemaster puts the cost of a new RouteMaster (aka 'Boris Bus') as £354,000, so those 470 units would come in at about £170 million (assuming no discount for bulk).

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26124894 gives the cost of an F35 at around £60m per plane (£150m+ if you allocate infrastructure, training, support etc.)

      So, somewhere between 1 and 3 strike jets, or 470 buses. Now there's a strategic decision worth pondering, particularly if we could have ex-Gurkhas as conductors and Boris himself driving the lead vehicle through the gates of Kabul...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bust-up

        Kerb weight of a Routemaster 12.65 tonnes

        Kerb weight of an F-35 22.4 to 31.8 tonnes

        So a catapult should be able to throw a bus further. Give or take aerodynamics. Cheaper, and carry more rounds. With some chutes, may even be survivable but even if we do fit cats to the carriers, I doubt the Navy would let us try.

        1. cortland
          IT Angle

          Re: Bust-up

          That's for a SERIAL bus. Parallel has more impact.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: Bust-up

            There you are waiting for a bus into town and suddenly 470 of them appear at once.

            Is that a record for the number of busses appearing at once?

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: Bust-up

              Given the nature of things, not one of those buses will be going anywhere close to where you want to go. That's the route of #471.

        2. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Bust-up

          So a catapult should be able to throw a bus further.

          Gosh. I do so hope that the Mythbusters are reading this.

          1. Rampant Spaniel

            Re: Bust-up

            The most pressing question musty be how far can it throw Prescott, and how soon can we try.

            Tsunami warnings at the ready!

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