back to article This is where UK's Navy will park its 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers

The UK Ministry of Defence has spent around £200m rebuilding a jetty at HM Naval Base Portsmouth ready for the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth later this year. El Reg got invited to watch an American supply ship test it out. As the picture further down this story shows, the planned exercise involving US Naval Service ship …

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  1. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    Keeping the seas safe, to ensure customs frauds while importing Chinese goods?

    https://www.ft.com/content/c2865de0-0404-11e7-ace0-1ce02ef0def9

    It's really true UK has no longer a textile sector to protect, but it's good after the Brexit EU borders will be safer against low priced Chinese goods - while Britain will be able to keep on enjoying them, LOL!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keeping the seas safe, to ensure customs frauds while importing Chinese goods?

      Just Brexit fuelled bargaining by the EU. You can add a couple of billion to that £60bn bill.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keeping the seas safe, to ensure customs frauds while importing Chinese goods?

      Paywall article. Can't read it. :(

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Keeping the seas safe, to ensure customs frauds while importing Chinese goods?

        Also here:

        http://www.politico.eu/article/uk-faces-e2-billion-eu-payment-for-china-fraud-trade/

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Keeping the seas safe, to ensure customs frauds while importing Chinese goods?

          Unless it's written on the side of a bus that can't be true.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Keeping the seas safe, to ensure customs frauds while importing Chinese goods?

            surely no-one would ever write anything untrue on the side of a bus? At least, if they did, they would admit their "error" ...

        2. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Keeping the seas safe, to ensure customs frauds while importing Chinese goods?

          The problem with sending someone a large bill after they've told you to fuck off is principally that they've just told you to fuck off.

  2. graeme leggett

    sea power

    Off the top of my head.

    Suez

    Gibraltar

    Two battles of the Atlantic

    Blockade of Germany

    Northern Barrage

    Otranto Barrage

    All examples of importance of closing down or keeping open access by sea in British history

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: sea power

      The more interesting question is: "Can you keep it open (or respectively closed) with a carrier deployment?" or there are more cost-effective ways to do this.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: sea power

        The more interesting question is "How in clucking bell's name could you spend £200m on concrete?". I mean, who the hell is building this and why are they using unsold gold bullion bars from the BoE for the reinforcement struts? Also what is actually wrong with the existing jetties? I can recall (when we actually had a navy) seeing 2 carriers, Ark Royal and Invincible, lined up bow to stern at jetties in Portsmouth, so why can't we use those?

        1. VanguardG

          Re: sea power

          Perhaps insufficient depth, and a seafloor not easily dredged...the older class of ship had a draft of 27 feet, while this one is rated at 35 feet. The new carrier also has considerably wider hips, 138 feet in the beam versus 95 for Ark Royal. So she'll need more depth and more clearance to the outboard side.

          Lastly, the length of the ship (919 feet versus 787) means much more room is needed to turn...even with the help of tugs, it could be the bigger ships just can't be readily made to line up in the slot to slip in beside the jetty. And the older jetty might, possibly, simply be TOO old and weathered to take having a big ship leaning against it anymore. It'd be a bit embarrassing for the RN to have the carrier break off and take the jetty with it for good measure.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: sea power

            the bigger ships just can't be readily made to line up in the slot to slip in

            oo err

        2. gandalfcn

          Re: sea power

          macjules

          I think we need to consult BoJo, after all he is a self proclaimed expert on "boats"

        3. BagOfSpanners

          Re: sea power

          The closest Wickes branch is in Fareham, so the concrete probably didn't qualify for free delivery, particularly if they wanted it delivered on a Saturday.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: sea power

        If you can have a large enough carrier group with it to provide anti-missile, anti-submarine and anti-air support to the carrier, yes. But a carrier alone is not effective. It's a massive sitting duck for surface skimming missiles, submarines and air attack (unless the carrier can deploy an effective AWACS and air cover umbrella, which the UK carriers won't be able to due to missing AWACS capability and lack of deployable aircraft)

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: sea power

          Even a minimal force ensure you can keep the needed skills alive - which can be used in time of need to train the necessary larger force. If you lose those skills wholly, recreating them from scratch would be much, much harder, and take a far longer time.

          Moreover these ships can be deployed together allied ones to create a much larger and effective force.

          It's the same for the industry - once you have no more the trained workers to create what requires specific skills and experience, it far harder - and expensive - to restart from scratch.

        2. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: sea power

          'which the UK carriers won't be able to due to missing AWACS capability'

          No, they definitely have an AWACS capability, it might even be on a modern airframe by 2018.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: sea power

            @Skippy, sure, if you want to call the almost up to the job conversion of a helicopter to a sort of AWACS role to be an AWACS capability. A helo simply doesn't provide the same kind of coverage a fixed wing craft like an E-2 can. Which they could have easily deployed (and operated much more cheaply per flying hour) had they built a cat'n'trap ship.

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: sea power

            No, they definitely have an AWACS capability, it might even be on a modern airframe by 2018.

            No, they do not. Ask any of the navies which have been using rotor based AWACS and why are they desperately trying to change to fixed wing. Even the Indians whose Kamov-31 has better endurance and higher ceiling than the UK candidates for early warning are looking to switch.

            If you do not care to ask, compute the necessary flight resource, spares level and maintenance windows required - you will see that you need to use at least 3 of the very precious slots in the air wing for the rotor AWACS. More like 4. Compared to that you can get away with 2 fixed wing ones which are considerably more capable and have much better endurance too.

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: sea power

              'Even the Indians whose Kamov-31 has better endurance and higher ceiling than the UK candidates for early warning are looking to switch.'

              Because the Ka-31 is a poorly built piece of junk doesn't mean the idea in itself is terrible.

              Certainly the Italian and Spanish navies seem in no more of a rush to get out of the RW AWACS game than the UK. Although pedantically its ASACS these days for no obvious reason.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: sea power

          Our USN, will work with the Royal Navy, as we always have, shoulder to shoulder. It's not like you are out there alone. Of all our NATO and Pacific allies, only the Brits have been willing to shoulder their share of the load of strategic deterrence and defense, which is much appreciated, and not to be trivialized.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: sea power

            Our USN, will work with the Royal Navy, as we always have, shoulder to shoulder. It's not like you are out there alone.

            I recall the massive assistance from the US, deployment of AWACS aircraft and the other Sea and Air support given over the British Fleet during the Falkland Islands War.

            Oh wait, no, I don't.

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: sea power

              'I recall the massive assistance from the US, deployment of AWACS aircraft and the other Sea and Air support given over the British Fleet during the Falkland Islands War.

              Oh wait, no, I don't.'

              You may want to look up how the RN Sea Harriers suddenly became equipped with the latest version of the Sidewinder missile for starters.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: sea power

              @eldakka - "Oh wait, no, I don't."

              If I recall, that was NOT a NATO mission (as the post you referenced commented on), it was strictly a British mission going up against a third-rate military power that happened to have obtained some fancy French anti-ship missiles.

        4. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: sea power

          "It's a massive sitting duck for surface skimming missiles, submarines and air attack"

          Even with all the defences it's a sitting duck - especially when the opposition can field precision-guided anti-shipping ballistic missiles or swarming tactics.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: sea power

            'Even with all the defences it's a sitting duck - especially when the opposition can field precision-guided anti-shipping ballistic missiles or swarming tactics.'

            As is everything else on the planet. ICBMs made airbases a sitting duck and yet no one suggests we get rid of them.

      3. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: sea power

        The more interesting question is: "Can you keep it open (or respectively closed) with a carrier deployment?" or there are more cost-effective ways to do this.

        ________________________

        The answer depends on whether or not the carriers are equipped with aircraft.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sea power

      Just, it has no longer that "aura" it had back then... and even them often still fruit of Nelson battles...

  3. hplasm Silver badge
    Unhappy

    "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

    What is this sorcery?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

      And why is the carrier using US style 60 Hz when it should be a properly British 50 Hz? Anyone would think we didn't have an independent deterrence force.

      [Pause for thought.]

      Ah.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

        "And why is the carrier using US style 60 Hz when it should be a properly British 50 Hz?"

        Maybe the MoD thought that if they overclocked the power supply, they could get the carrier to go 20% faster.

        1. Solarflare

          Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

          It was the same Engineer who fitted the speed system dial which goes all the way up to 11.

      2. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

        'And why is the carrier using US style 60 Hz when it should be a properly British 50 Hz?'

        There's all sorts of electrickery on modern warships, 400VAC, 120VAC, 240VAC in a range of frequencies. With electric drive to the propellers I'd guess there's some bigger numbers in there as well. UK mains voltage is just a small part of the mix.

        From very vague memories of the T45 power system I think all the generation is done at the same voltage and frequency irrespective of source and then fed to a busbar from which the various supplies are fed and converted as required.

    2. Gnomalarta
      FAIL

      Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

      I suspect that this is a colloquial use of 'transformer' not a technical one. I expect that there will be compatibility issues with that 3 plug and 2 pin socket!

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

        I suspect that this is a colloquial use of 'transformer' not a technical one. I expect that there will be compatibility issues with that 3 plug and 2 pin socket!

        Should have gone for USB C. Can plug in at virtually any port and even when capsized. I suppose we'll find out the batteries are non-removable next

        1. Chairo
          Pint

          Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

          I suppose we'll find out the batteries are non-removable next

          Come on, we all know you can't have removable batteries and waterproofing at the same time, right?

          Btw: What is the IPX rating of an aircraft carrier?

          Beer - what else could be used for testing!

          1. Eltonga
            Devil

            Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

            It is currently accepted that aircraft carriers are splash proof only. You submerge them 5 meters and you lose the warranty, BTW. The bottom of the sea is witness to it.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

      They'll be telling us it's only 120V next!

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

        They'll be telling us it's only 120V next!

        Maybe that's the current standard

    4. Pangasinan Philippines

      Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

      Maybe the transformer spins around, a bit like a rotary inverter

    5. Richard Boyce

      Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

      Why is the conversion equipment not on the carrier itself to make it more independent? It isn't just Portsmouth that uses 50Hz.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

        'Why is the conversion equipment not on the carrier itself to make it more independent? It isn't just Portsmouth that uses 50Hz.'

        It may not just dock in Portsmouth, or even the UK. It may even be there's a universal standard for shore power supplies that oddly isn't the same as UK mains...

    6. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

      I'm wondering whether the 10Hz beat frequency will make people feel a bit queezy... sure, it won't have much direct effect, but maybe your belt buckle?

      Just checking my coat for ferromagnetic items.

    7. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

      I know, it Hertz to read it...

    8. CN Hill

      Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

      And more interestingly, why does the carrier use 60Hz ac?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A really poor decision not to build the QE class carriers with nuclear powered propulsion but hey this is admiralty spec, they can't even make their mind up what cake they want when the tea trolley comes round.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      nuclear powered propulsion

      I suspect it's because a) we don't have the technology and the Yanks wouldn't sell it to us, and b) a major use for our large warships these days appears to be friendly visits and flag waving, and many countries won't let nuclear powered ships into their territorial waters.

      1. Graham Dawson

        We do have the tech, though. All our subs are nuclear.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Nuclear power

            'We do have the tech, though. All our subs are nuclear.'

            The load cycle for an aircraft carrier is quite different to a sub as the French found out, their carrier uses modified sub reactors which were found to be sub-optimal.

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