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 …

  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!

            1. David Pollard

              Re: Bust-up

              Catapult? Bus? Sounds like a job for Jeremy Clarkson.

        3. Don Jefe

          Re: Bust-up

          Here's a useful tip to keep in mind for the future. If, at any point, you have the desire to run comparative siege engine projectile experiments involving oversized public transports and military aircraft, just do it.

          You're not going to get permission for that sort of thing. Trust me on this, there's a threshold beyond which no bureaucrat or elected official is capable of rationalizing what you've written on the Application for Special Use Permit. At best, you've made next Christmas very painful for the bureaucrat's family that has to feed their institutionalized and straightjacketed father turkey purée through a straw. At worst you'll be shot immediately.

          However, if you're bold, and somehow manage to acquire all the elements necessary for your experiment, it's highly unlikely anyone will stop you. Firstly, it's just never a good idea to interfere with people who can round up a giant bus, a fighter aircraft and an enormous catapult in the same place. Common sense will shield you. Secondly, even the thickest, most aggressive and well armed person is going to want to see what happens. If it's impressive enough you'll remain safe. If you blow it you'll probably be shot, but being shot for just for asking was a real risk you've already sidestepped, so you're 100% further than you would have been. Carp Areadime!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bust-up

            "Here's a useful tip to keep in mind for the future. If, at any point, you have the desire to run comparative siege engine projectile experiments involving oversized public transports and military aircraft, just do it."

            Some further thoughts.

            F-35 has 191kN of thrust compared to the Routemaster. Which does not list it's power in the datasheet. So to make it fair, we may need to add JATO. This would likely increase YT hits.

            We don't actually need the F-35 and asking if we can launch the aircraft without it using it's engine is likely to lead to a swift showing of the door. Possibly at terminal velocity.

            EMAL is inside Lakeland AFB. I doubt painting the bus Navy blue or OD will fool them. I also doubt telling any Marines on guard that you're testing a next-gen amphibious assault vehicle would help. That would likely result in lethal force being applied on the grounds of self-defence. They get screwed over by contractors enough already.

            Mythbusters on the other hand do seem to be on good terms with the US military..

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bust-up

            It's been done:

            http://www.therealgang.de/php/myexp/FUN/Bilder%20-%20FUN/carlaunch.jpg

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: Bust-up

              The problem with launching a bus, car or indeed upright piano from a steam catapult is that it doesn't weigh as much as a fully loaded jet fighter. This means if you use the same steam pressure as you'd use for a jet on a bus the underdeck parts of the catapult will fuse together at the end of the run due to the much higher terminal speed. So ultimately it's still only going to come off the end of the ship at around 140 knots.

              http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r209/TurboBob/Military/ArkRoyalPianoLaunch-2_zps0af25ec5.jpg

              Of course if you're not worried about writing off the catapult it could be quite interesting...

              1. Don Jefe

                Re: Bust-up

                Nah. You increase the effective weight of the bus by setting the parking brake.

              2. Alan Edwards

                Re: Bust-up

                > This means if you use the same steam pressure as you'd use for a jet on a bus the

                > underdeck parts of the catapult will fuse together at the end of the run

                The catapult bits (on a Nimitz-class, anyway) are adjustable to cope with different aircraft types.

                ISTR there have been a few (near-) cockups due to trying to launch the wrong type of plane. Same with the arrester gear.

                > So ultimately it's still only going to come off the end of the ship at around 140 knots.

                Still be cool to watch, though...

                1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                  Re: Bust-up

                  @Alan Edwards

                  That's kind of my point, they adjust for different aircraft by altering the steam pressure, it's really the only variable there is. That's why in the linked pictures of cars and pianos going off the bow they don't go that far to avoid damaging the cat. Although you do wonder why they didn't try full pressure on the piano they launched off the Ark at the end of her last commission, it's not like they were going to use it again!

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bust-up

          > even if we do fit cats to the carriers, I doubt the Navy would let us try.

          What that for? To make sure they land right side up? Don't know about the Navy, but the animal welfare types will be all over you.

          How many cats are we talking about though?

        5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. El Richard Thomas

    Summer Holiday

    If each one is manned by a 20 yr old clone of Cliff Richard then be afraid, be very afraid. No vertical take off option but he'll sing the enemy into surrender!

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Summer Holiday

      I was about to suggest Kelly Family tour buses, but I'm not sure they are allowed by the Geneva Convention...

    2. Rizzla

      Re: Summer Holiday

      Just as long as Sir Cliff is in the first one off the ski ramp.........

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Summer Holiday

        Bus, Cliff Richard, ski ramp, steam catapult... what's not to like?

        1. MrT

          "Look out!! CLIFF!!!"

          "Whew! That was close!"

          Might also work with a nitroused Jaaaag XJS...

  7. DropBear Silver badge
    Trollface

    I'm fairly sure they intended to express the surface area in number of F-35s initially, but someone realized the general public might not know the difference between the size of an unladen F-35 of European or African origin.

  8. Frankee Llonnygog

    By the way those buses are packed in

    I'm guessing they have the VTOL option fitted?

    I wonder how many grand pianos and effigies of Dudley Moore you can fit on deck?

    1. MrXavia

      Re: By the way those buses are packed in

      I think someone in power has been watching Dr Who and forgot it wasn't a training manual....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I name this ship White Elephant.....

    And of course, she'll be escorted by HMS One Trick Pony (Type 45 destroyer - no surface combat or anti submarine capability).

    1. localzuk

      Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

      Yes, because we as a country have needed lots of anti-submarine and surface combat ships recently haven't we... Oh wait, no, nearly all of our wars in the last 20 years have been about air power.

      So, why would we invest in anti-sub and surface combat destroyers?

      And why wouldn't we invest in more air based weaponry?

      1. Jason Hindle

        Re: HMS White Elephant Vs Torpedo?

        Enough said.

      2. dotdavid

        Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

        "So, why would we invest in anti-sub and surface combat destroyers?"

        I'm guessing it's in case an opponent thinks "nearly all of our wars in the last 20 years have been about air power. They won't be expecting our submarine/destroyer/shark-with-laser-weapon attack!"

      3. Stuart Van Onselen

        Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

        So, why would we invest in anti-sub and surface combat destroyers?

        Because you just might need them again within the decades-long lead time involved in floating a new class of warship?

        Because it just makes sense to have at least a little versatility in your expensive weapon systems?

        And why wouldn't we invest in more air based weaponry?

        Because surface-to-air should only be a measure of last resort.

        When enemy aircraft can launch sea-skimming missiles at you from well over the horizon, what you really need to be doing is sending your own aircraft to meet them, and do as far away from your big, slow, sitting-duck boats as you can.

        The Royal Navy learned exactly the wrong lesson from the Falklands conflict. Back then Argentinian aircraft nearly devastated the UK's task force while it was "parked" just off-shore, due to woefully insufficient air cover.

        But what TPTB seem to have decided is that what they needed back then were more AA ships, when what they really needed were more Sea Harriers (and carriers to fly them off of, of course).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

          That would explain why I remember reading that a single Type 45 destroyer can wipe out the entire air force of South America...

          They are planning to defend it again...(I hope so anyway, those damned Argentinians are trying a land grab! the Falklanders want to remain British!)

      4. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

        Is it too late to add underwater capability to the F35's spec?

        1. cortland

          Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

          Not at all. What is lacks is an ability to SURFACE afterwards.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

          'Is it too late to add underwater capability to the F35's spec?'

          Given the long list of defects and malfunctions that have already "surfaced", plus potential problems in landing on... we'll probably find out soon enough.

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

            > Oh wait, no, nearly all of our wars in the last 20 years have been about air power.

            > So, why would we invest in anti-sub and surface combat destroyers?'

            We haven't had a nuclear war for even longer but we're renewing Trident...

      5. Scroticus Canis Silver badge

        Re: I name this ship White Elephant..... @localzuk

        Cast your mind back to the Falklands conflict, a Royal Navy sub made the entire Argentinian fleet* retreat to port post haste. The enemy also had a sub operating during that conflict.

        * OK, such as it was.

        1. localzuk

          Re: I name this ship White Elephant..... @localzuk

          Amazingly, the Royal Navy have other ships for anti-sub operations... For example, the Astute class subs. My point was more one of why is it a problem that the Type 45 surface vessel has a purpose specific to how it is actually going to be used when other ships and boats can do those things already...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I name this ship White Elephant..... @localzuk

            @localzuk And yet a comparably sized American vessel throws in anti submarine and anti surface, in addition to the core anti aircraft mission; it does this for a considerably lower outlay. When you have less than thirty major combat ships in your fleet, that last thing you need is the idiotic level of specialisation found in the Type 45.

      6. Don Jefe

        Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

        Western wars in the last two decades may have had a big air power element, but not an air superiority element. See, air superiority requires your enemy to have aircraft to be superior over. That hasn't been a problem in quite some time.

        Western militaries have been grossly misusing air superiority aircraft as light bombers and that's just as stupid as parking nuclear submarines in the Persian Gulf (ICBM's are fairly launch site agnostic you know). F-35's and such are cool and all, but if you're going to fight a ground war from the air, F-35's and such are just about the dumbest, most expensive, least efficient way possible to do it.

        I'll admit 'Top Gun: Long Range Bomber' or 'Top Gun: Drone' isn't Oscar material. But if you're not planning on occupying and claiming dominion over a foreign land then sailing little airplanes to the place you want to bomb really doesn't make any sense. If expansionism isn't in the cards you can just fly airplanes to your target then fly back home. You don't need to land if you don't want to annex the country. For Christ's sake, you could put 800-1000 Kamikaze drones on an aircraft carrier deck and have a drone factory inside.

        The details are irrelevant. If the goal is to purchase the most appropriate military equipment based on recent wars then anything that needs to land outside your country is as dumb as using donkeys as mobile SAM emplacements.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

          "For Christ's sake, you could put 800-1000 Kamikaze drones on an aircraft carrier deck and have a drone factory inside."

          I believe those are called "cruise missiles" in current parlance.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

        'Oh wait, no, nearly all of our wars in the last 20 years have been about air power.

        'So, why would we invest in anti-sub and surface combat destroyers?'

        Because the next war we fight will probably be in the future, not the past?

        Also because modern submarine technology is very advanced, and still improving. Look up "Shinano" to see what can happen to an immense aircraft carrier that meets a submarine without adequate escort.

      8. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

        A good chunk of the escort group of a US capital carrier is antisubmarine. (And it includes a couple of submarines too)

        An unescorted aircraft carrier might as well have big targets painted on all available surfaces. You can't let _anything_ unfriendly get within 50 miles of the thing.

    2. Dave Bell

      Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

      Carries sonar, carries anti-sub helicopters, carries a 4.5-inch gun, and some will carry Harpoon (why not all?), so it's not that useless. It's optimised for air-defence, and could end up with Tomahawk as well, but it does look as though paying for the carriers has compromised the outfitting of the Type 45 ships.

      The carriers aren't quite tail wagging the dog, but add the plan for new Trident subs, and you wonder if the Admirals and Politicians are trying to compensate for certain anatomical defects.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I name this ship White Elephant.....

        "...carries a 4.5-inch gun...'

        Is that the one that failed to sink a plastic lifeboat in a recent exercise?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You wait ages for a bus...

    And then 470 arrive at once. Would need a monster bus stop mind.

    How is London transport coping while all these buses are being used by the navy?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: You wait ages for a bus...

      Ah. That would explain the F35 with a load of people sitting on the wings, turning left at the lights on the Balls Pond Road earlier....

  11. Tom_

    Only 470?

    It looks like they could fit on a few more if they'd parked them all pointing sideways.

  12. Arachnoid

    Flying Buses is this an episode from Dr Who??

    Yep the kit will cost more than the ship that carries it thats if it isn't all cancelled by spending cuts in the time it takes to build her and the inevitable re-estimates of final cost which will only go up.As for the both the seasoned carrier crew which we no longer have and the full complement of ships to protect the carrier which we haven't got.........

    Wasn't there a notion of "sharing" the carrier deck space with out allies not so long ago?

  13. James Boag

    470 Busses on the flight deck

    Won't this make landing aircraft quite tricky ?

    1. Arachnoid

      Re: 470 Busses on the flight deck

      Depends if they have tickets or not.......Oy mate we dont take Oyster passes ere

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 470 Busses on the flight deck

      It's just as well that since the Sea Harrier was retired in 2006 we don't have any aircraft that can land on it.

  14. Martin hepworth

    Vulture Central's backroom gremlins can't help but wonder why the MoD want to park buses, rather than F-35 fighter jets, on their shiny new aircraft carrier. As regular Reg readers know, the defence industry got away with murder when the Queen Elizabeth class were ordered.

    Probably because the Buses actually work.. http://gizmodo.com/all-us-and-uk-f-35s-are-being-grounded-again-because-1599593347

  15. Blake St. Claire

    > sports "1.5 million m² of paint covering 370 acres", says the ministry in an unfortunate collision of imperial and metric.

    We should be happy we weren't told that 1.5 million m² of paint covers 1.5 million m² of whatever it covers. OTOH, how many liters (or gallons) of paint was that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      1.5 million m²=339 acres, not 370. One figure or the other is arbitrary

      1. DF118

        1.5 million m²=339 acres, not 370. One figure or the other is arbitrary

        They somehow fucked up the procurement of the paint (I know - hard to believe, right?) had a few million tins left over and B&Q wouldn't take them back without a receipt so they just splashed it around a bit?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      How many liters (or gallons) of paint was that

      Is that US measurements?

      1. Blake St. Claire

        > Is that in US measurements?

        If they painted it in the US then yes; otherwise no.

        Are your speed limits still in MPH?

        1. Don Jefe

          'Are your speed limits still in MPH'?

          My carrier registers speed in knots... If yours doesn't it might be a French counterfeit. Flip it over and see if it says 'Hecho en Mexico' on the drain plug.

  16. John 156
    FAIL

    White Elephant Ahoy!

    470 London buses is a nice little talking point to hide the fact that our only aircraft capable of using the flight deck are helicopters. The only fighter plane capable of using this vessel in the future is the MD Lightning II F35B STOVL which will be about $ouch! each and will have the aerodynamics of a brick should its sole forward engine fail, whilst its weapons carrying bay is full of vertical takeoff engine, to boot.

    So we have an aircraft carrier at 290ft the longest we have ever had, dependent on the avilability of one possible aircraft because the aircraft carrier does not have a nuclear powered engine and does not have, therefore a steam catapult to launch many different types of aircraft; this has to be the worst weapons procurement programme in British history for which we have to thank the cretins in the Labour Party and Conservative Party who could not order pizzas for a party without screwing up.

    1. Arachnoid

      Re: White Elephant Ahoy!

      Yep its good to blame politicians for the lack of steam as they only produce hot air

    2. a cynic writes...

      Re: White Elephant Ahoy!

      "... the worst weapons procurement programme ..."

      It depends if you think the purpose of the programme is to defend the realm or provide jobs for favoured areas.

      Gordon Brown signed a contract which meant it was cheaper to build the thing and throw it away than to stop work. Rosyth is in the neighbouring constituency to his. I think there may be a link.

      1. John 156

        Re: White Elephant Ahoy!

        From my experience, with a duff project the choices are either to spend the money and get it work or stop work and write off the committed contract cost; there aren't any other alternatives.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: White Elephant Ahoy!

      > will have the aerodynamics of a brick

      In fact, a brick probably flies quite a bit better than a fighter jet¹. By design.

      Manoeuvrability or however the fuck you spell that is on one end of the scale while stability is on the other, and fighter jets need to be manoue... manuou... maneuu... able to change course quickly.

      ¹ The latter has got lots of computers that keep the thing in the air, unlike most bricks².

      ² Cue the Flying Brick Arduino project.

      1. MartinBZM
        Pint

        Re: White Elephant Ahoy!

        > will have the aerodynamics of a brick

        I hope they will wrap a slice of lemon around it.

        A slice of lemon, or in a pinch a orange, does bring out the golden sheen quite nicely.

        Cheers!

  17. Godwhacker

    Bootnote

    Das Bootnote, surely?

  18. Thorsten
    Thumb Up

    And why not?

    Seeing that the ship is (basically) ready to sail, but there are no*aircraft available to park on it, you might just as well hire it out as RORO carrier for buses and try to recuperate a small fraction of the investment.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I hope defence cutback won't mean spunking that much money over a ship results in reduced seamen.

    I'm sorry.

    1. John 156
      Pirate

      More than one way to spice the mainbrace

      An inevitable consequence of playing the sailor's hornpipe. An alternative solution would be a boarding party and a jolly roger.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is to keep UKIP happy

    This new aircraft carrier is there so we can return illegal immigrants to their homelands,and the buses are to distribute them to their original villages. They should be able to carry 30 000 illegals a time, assuming they are all laid closely enough together in the hangars below deck.

    Moe comfortable for the victims and probably cheaper than Ryanair, it seems a win win idea.

  21. ukgnome Silver badge
    Trollface

    I am sure that TFL or rather the London black cab drivers would rather have the uber drivers parked on the flight deck

  22. 2Fat2Bald

    the F35

    Well, they're all grounded at the moment. So (even if we had any servicable ones) they wouldn't be operating them.

    I think even the Yanks are rapidly losing patience with the spiraling costs and poor performance of the F35!

  23. axa2wa

    Why not drones

    Why the obsession with F35s or F18s, and catapults - be they electric or steam. Airplanes piloted by humans? That's just soooo last decade darling. With the way things are going, surely an aircraft carrier full of drones (470 of them?) is the future.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Why not drones

      The other future is that the aircraft carrier won't be there any longer when the drones return. Missiles FTW!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not drones

      'full of drones (470 of them?)'

      Just like Parliament...

  24. MJI Silver badge

    A different idea

    How about one of the following?

    1) Fit a catapult and a navalised Typhoon.

    2) Refurbish any small jet powered by a Pegasus and use those.

    1. MrT

      Re: a navalised Typhoon

      From simulator studies, the thrust-to-weight of a Typhoon is enough to get off a ski-jump deck of this size without a cat - just needs an arrestor system adding to the flight deck. The ship wouldn't need as much alteration as for full CATOBAR capabilities. Problem would be getting other aircraft off the deck (AEW&C - E-2C Hawkeye, for example), or sticking to relying on ground-based cover or more limited altitude helo AEW.

      Thrust-vectoring variant of the EJ200 engine is possible, to assist in lower-speed approaches, and the airframe is robust enough (especially if there's no need to beef up the front gear to cope with cat launch). A naval version for our carriers wouldn't seem to be very difficult to create - STOBAR and not CATOBAR - already used by the Russian navy. Rafale & Typhoon have required thrust-to-weight (at least through simulation testing); it maybe that F35C can also meet the requirements - which, if confirmed, really will limit the take-up of F35B.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: a navalised Typhoon

        Oh you could get a Typhoon off a ski jump well enough, it's just useful things like weapons and fuel you'd have to leave behind. Which is presumably why you never seem to see Russian Navy Flankers launching with anything more than a couple of air to air missiles.

        1. MrT

          Re: a navalised Typhoon

          True re: Flankers, but the test simulations I've read about were for a 'full load' Typhoon on peace-time power (thrust-to-weight would be about 1.16 nominal, max fuel, no weapons, down to 0.76 for max everything). They can push harder if required, at the expense of engine life, on the current state of engine development.

          They also calculate the T2W with the dry weight of the plane (not ever going to fly like that though), however, max payload would be less than 7500kg from the RAF aircraft; according to Eurofighter GmbH, the additional weight of a navalized typhoon would be around 500 Kg above the land-based aircraft. In most cases, a naval Typhoon would be on fleet defence unless in a conflict situation, so would fly a lot lighter without the more bulky stores - maybe 1000-1500kg (half-a-dozen air-to-air missiles about 150kg each, not really much need for extra fuel, but there if needed). For conflict, add air-to-surface cruise missile at 1200kg or so, drop tanks, etc. and push through the gate to get off the deck.

          It still beats the F35B - maybe a max of 6800kg, with over 4000kg of that hanging unstealthily outside the fuselage bays (why have a stealthy jet that isn't that stealthy until after it's dropped stuff? Not all will be drop-tanks...). Naval Typhoon makes more sense in so many ways.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: a navalised Typhoon

            ' not really much need for extra fuel'

            You always need extra fuel!

            I'm also not totally convinced by simulations from the people trying to sell you the aircraft, especially when BAe Systems are involved. I'm also not convinced by the argument that it would mostly be on fleet defence, if we'd had them for the last decade they would have been doing what the USN has been and launching with a full air to ground load, crossing over Pakistan and supporting ground forces in Afghanistan.

            The recovery options for Typhoon aren't great either, all the simulations I've read about pointed out that to get down to landing speed the nose would be so high the pilot wouldn't be able to see the ship. And it's not a small ship.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: a navalised Typhoon

              > You always need extra fuel!

              Fuel management is an art, and a hard to master one. Neither too little nor too much fuel is a good thing.

              Fuel, range, and payload: the more you have of one of those, the less you can have of the other two. The sweet spot depends entirely on the mission.

              1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                Re: a navalised Typhoon

                'Fuel management is an art'

                True, but I've never been in a position where I've thought 'oh, if only I had less fuel and couldn't fly as long'!

                My point was more that you should have the option of launching with a full fuel load as a matter of course which doesn't appear to be an option with a theoretical navalised Typhoon.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Re: SkippyBing Re: a navalised Typhoon

                  ".....My point was more that you should have the option of launching with a full fuel load as a matter of course which doesn't appear to be an option with a theoretical navalised Typhoon." But not necessarily a problem if you consider a take off with full load but less fuel, then top-up from a buddy tanker. The technique has been used for decades to allow strike aircraft to get off carriers with a full load of weapons and still go a good distance, or for fighters on extended CAP. IIRC, it was in use with the F-4 Phantom since 1959 for exactly the purpose of getting a fully loaded Phantom off of smaller carriers.

                  1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                    Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

                    True, but if the best you can do is launch a Typhoon with an air to air load and partial fuel I can't see you getting a second one off the deck with enough fuel to transfer across. With the F-4 the catapults could get you off the deck with a full air to ground weapons load and as much fuel as you had room for. The second Phantom could then load up with full internal and external fuel and top up a number of other aircraft once they'd climbed to altitude and got to a more efficient flight regime.

                    A better comparison might be the Buccaneer S1, which like the Typhoon, couldn't get off the deck with a full weapons load and fuel because of some rather anaemic engines and weak catapults on the carriers in service. In that case tankers were used, but they were normally Scimitars, which could launch with full internal fuel and an external tank on each pylon. But that's not an option for Typhoon as if we had a fighter that could launch with that much payload we'd probably want to use it instead!

                    TL;DR, You need a tanker that can carry lots of fuel, Typhoon can't.

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                      Happy

                      Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

                      ".....You need a tanker that can carry lots of fuel, Typhoon can't." Ignoring buddy-refuelling tanks, you mean? The tanker doesn't need to carry a full load as it only needs fuel for takeoff, climb, circle whilst waiting for the other Typhoons, and then descent and landing. But, if you want to go there, we could also lease V-22 Ospreys as the USMC is already developing them as tankers for F-35Bs with up to 12,000Lbs of fuel (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Boeing_V-22_Osprey#Refueling_capability). Should be enough.

                      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                        Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

                        'Ignoring buddy-refuelling tanks, you mean?'

                        There's not a lot of fuel in buddy-buddy tanks*, normally the tanker also transfers fuel from it's internal tankage and as many external tanks they can hang off the thing. Ideally you want a tanker carrying as much fuel as possible, not launching one tanker per fighter as you'd soon run out of room on the boat.

                        There's also the issue of arrested landings where you need a tanker airborne to top up anyone who's delayed landing for whatever reason** otherwise you soon run out of aircraft as they typically only plan to have enough fuel for a couple of approaches, to minimise landing mass. For VSTOL aircraft this is less of a problem as they seem to get the landing right first time.

                        V-22 could work and would be an idea for F-35 as well, plus they'd make a more useful AEW platform. Alas I don't think the Treasury/Defence Logistics would be happy adding another type to the UK order of battle as they've spent the last few years trying to get us down to two fast jet and four helicopter platforms. Although it's still going to be a decade or so for that last one to pan out.

                        *In absolute terms there's quite a bit but not in fast jet terms and then half the tank is gubbins for transferring fuel.

                        **Either messing up their own approach a number of times, or someone else doing it and causing the recovery time to slip right.

                        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                          Happy

                          Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

                          ".....Alas I don't think the Treasury/Defence Logistics would be happy adding another type to the UK order of battle as they've spent the last few years trying to get us down to two fast jet and four helicopter platforms...." Personally, I'd choose the Osprey as the Chinook replacement when that fleet has to be retired.

                    2. asiaseen

                      Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

                      Scimitars had fallen out of operational use at sea by 1966. Thereafter the tanking was done by Sea Vixens or Buccaneers.

                      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                        Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

                        'Scimitars had fallen out of operational use at sea by 1966.'

                        As had the Buccaneer S1 which was the model that couldn't get off the deck with full weapons and fuel. The S2 had about 50℅ more thrust so was far less limited in what it could launch with and so less reliant on tankers. And actually useful as a tanker.

                        If you want to be really pedantic you could point out that of the two carriers that deployed the Mk1 Buccaneer only Eagle carried Scimitar tankers as Victorious didn't have the room. This meant the Vixens of 893 had to double up as tankers as the S1 Bucc was pointless in the role as it couldn't carry enough spare fuel, much like a marinised Typhoon would be.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: a navalised Typhoon

                  > True, but I've never been in a position where I've thought 'oh, if only I had less fuel and couldn't fly as long'!

                  You've never been in that position because you've never done any commercial or military flying. Or even dropped skydivers, for that matter.

                  Come to think of it, you totally sound like a certain type of PPL. In that case I hope you never take full pax and full tanks on a jolly, because if you do, on a regular spamcan you're probably overweight and/or out of CoG limits. Talk to a qualified instructor at next opportunity.

                  1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                    Re: a navalised Typhoon

                    'You've never been in that position because you've never done any commercial or military flying. '

                    Wrong on both counts. I've never thought 'oh, if only I had less fuel and couldn't fly as long'!, this doesn't mean I've always flown with a full fuel load it just means on those occasions I haven't I've cursed Westlands for their general inability to manufacture a half decent aircraft, or the passengers for never saying no to dessert.

      2. John Hughes

        Re: a navalised Typhoon

        From simulator studies, the thrust-to-weight of a Typhoon is enough to get off a ski-jump deck of this size without a cat
        Loaded or empty?

  25. briesmith

    White Elephants to Sitting Ducks

    These enormous ships will sail around pointlessly (well, one of them will, the other will rust away swinging at anchor in Devonport or somewhere) with no planes to fly until the Jihadis perfect their cheap and cheerful drones which they will then launch in their 100s, swamping whatever defence we've managed to afford, to sink them.

    This will be a slaughter like Churchill arranged for Repulse and Prince of Wales at the hands of the Japanese. This involved the casual sinking in less than 20 minutes of wrongly conceived, poorly protected, badly constructed, vastly expensive capital ships - the pride of the bloomin Navy, they were, as Uncle Albert might have said - that were in the wrong place with no possible role other than to provide targets for Japanese navy bombing practice .

    That we are still annually butt fucked by our defence industry, venal politicians and hapless civil servants is a never ending catastrophe that inevitably leads to the death of our young men (and women now) whenever the guns start firing.

    Our military is led by officers who would much rather defeat the other services than any enemy. The RAF considers it a point of honour - a bit like Cardigan and the French in Oh What a Lovely War - to sink the Royal Navy whenever it can, regardless of the consequences for the national interest, and the army just stands on the sidelines hoping that it will be remembered that soldiers in action need to be delivered, supplied and extracted and that takes ships, planes and helicopters.

    We spend a lot of money - probably not as much as we should, but enough - and get bugger all in terms of modern effectiveness for it. It would be cheaper to simply pay off any emerging enemy. And a lot less lot bloody.

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: White Elephants to Sitting Ducks

      10 December 1941 en route to Singapore and returning from a sortie intended to intercept the Japanese invasion force heading to Malaya. The Admiral had declined the air cover offered by local squadrons (RAAF and RNZAF) and a carrier had not yet reached Singapore.

      First attack on Prince of Wales at about 11:40

      Destruction of the struts holding the propeller shaft means the unrestrained shaft (turning at full power) damages the seals and bulkheads and causing severe flooding. The list to one side and loss of auxiliary power meant most of AA guns were unable to operate and limited the ability to pump out water, or steer her.

      Repulse - a cut down battleship design built in record time in 1915/1916 and lacking compartmentalisation and anti-torpedo bulges - is hit (for the first time) at 12:20 by torpedoes

      Repulse rolls and sinks at 12:33

      Prince of Wales hit by bombs at 12:41

      Prince of Wales sinks at 13:18

      1. briesmith

        Re: White Elephants to Sitting Ducks and no Carrier

        Churchill forced a very reluctant admiralty to send Repulse and Prince of Wales which were originally intended to be accompanied by HMS Indomitable (whose force of Fairey Fulmars would have terrified the Japanese - not) but the admiralty very cleverly arranged for Indomitable to be damaged in the Caribbean thus preventing its sailing with the two ships and its inevitable loss.

        The admiralty knew the game was up for battleships but were determined not to lose one of their modern carriers (which, interestingly, were reasonably well designed but had no aircraft to speak of - ring any bells?) and, anyway, where would you want to be in the world if your ship couldn't sail?

        Churchill gained his naval operations experience running the Gallipoli campaign 20 odd years earlier of course.

  26. Natalie Gritpants

    Propellers going backwards

    Irony?

  27. Chronos Silver badge
    Stop

    Still utterly useless

    ...without the tin cans and other screening elements this huge target needs to actually be able to operate. Given that the Brylcreem brigade scuppered the last attempt at updating our carriers and left the way open for the down-sizing of the tin cans, perhaps the budget for rebuilding our screening force should come from them?

    Natch, it'll never happen. Aerial superiority is another of those phrases they like to throw out like it trumps everything else, never mind they had to move Singapore to make their case that we don't need to rule the waves. One wonders how the Falklands would have turned out had the Invincible and her Harriers not been available.

    Good luck to HMS Queen Elizabeth and her crew. I have a feeling they're going to need it

    /me raises glass to a willing foe and sea room...

  28. Caaaptaaaain kick arse

    might as well use it for a bus park

    until the planes arrive in 6+ years time

  29. Chris G Silver badge

    No Cat's No Yanks

    Maybe we should look East: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOOIERdUsEo

  30. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Pirate

    There are at least three options for multi-role aircraft TODAY.

    Firstly, we could simply buy/lease some AV-8B Harrier IIs from the Yanks, the USMC being committed to using theirs until 2030. Secondly, we could fit an arrestor system and fly a number of current jets off the ski-ramp using rocket-assisted take-off packs, leased F/A-18s being one option, and that does not require a steam generating capability. As I understand it, USAF F-16s also have hooks for emergency landing use, and I'm pretty sure the Norwegians use RATO packs for getting their F-16s off very short runways. I'm sure the US has a few we could lease. The third option is simply RAF MQ-9 Reaper drones, which can fulfill most of the Third World combat scenarios, with the added bonuses of not risking aircrew and allowing us to carry much more than 40-odd. A mix of Reapers and RATO-equipped Typhoons would seem to cover most requirements.

    1. pepper

      Re: There are at least three options for multi-role aircraft TODAY.

      Well, the F-16's are useless in a carrier configuration, the airframe is not build for it(One does not simply strengthen a airframe). The Arrestor is more a experimental emergency braking system next to the parachute system. Its not advisable to use it if you want to avoid lengthy inspections.

  31. dshan

    Bus Superiority

    Why 470 London buses instead of a smaller number of F35s? Let me list the reasons...

    1. Buses are cheaper, the Conservatives are all about saving money you know.

    2. Buses are more reliable, the Conservatives are very reliable about reliability.

    3. Bus drivers are cheaper to train than fighter pilots (see point 1 above). These drivers won't be unionised (Conservatives all let out a big sigh).

    4. Buses, London buses in particular, are more manoeuvrable than the F35. Who knew? Not the RAF and RN that's for sure...

    5. London buses are faster than the F35, can sustain supersonic speeds for longer while using less fuel in the process (see point 1 above).

    6. London buses have a proven kill record, one considerably better than the F35 in fact. So far the F35 has only been proven to kill budgets, London buses have killed actual people!

    7. Buses are basically more airworthy and mission-capable than the F35. Who knew? London commuters, that's who.

  32. Alister Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No catapult, no use...

    Is there no-one in the Navy, the government or the procurement teams who realises that without a catapult, the ship is virtually useless as an aircraft carrier?

    Even if your strike aircraft are capable of unassisted takeoff with a useable payload (which is not a given) how about all the ancilliary aircraft normally used in carrier operations?

    An aircraft carrier will normally have a complement of AWACS (or AEW) planes to provide eyes over the horizon, these (like for instance the EC2 Hawkeye) need a catapult to get off the deck with sufficient fuel load to be useful.

    Then you have Carrier Onboard Delivery. All the mail, spare parts, personnel transfers etc are collected and delivered by aircraft: helicopters don't have the range and payload necessary, so again, you need an aircraft which will require an assisted takeoff to be of any practical use.

    So, what actual use is this shiny new carrier? None, that I can see.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: No catapult, no use...

      The decision to go VSTOL rather than have catapults was made a long time ago by someone who didn't understand that just because we were currently using Harriers didn't mean we always would be. And by a long time ago I mean last century, and presumably by someone who didn't understand the question.

      However it may surprise you to know that many countries operate carriers using helicopters for AWACS, such as the Sea King Mk7, and manage to do COD with helicopters without dying of scurvy or running out of spares. Is it the gold plated perfect solution, no, but it works. People have even won wars with it.

  33. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Maybe its to improve public transport infrastructure

    I mean it's probably no problem at all to purchase 470 double-decker buses for a photo-op when it's about such a large ship. The cost of that is just negligible. While it's much harder to buy such buses normally.

    So if you buy 470 double-decker buses out of the military PR budget, make that photograph, and then sell them to local communities for a symbolic price, you will have made a serious improvement to the public transport infrastructure.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kudos all round

    Just to say... I have spent half an hour reading this comment thread, and I don't think you could find a better combination of sensible, informed opinion and riotous, tasteless humour anywhere on the planet. When I think I could have wasted that time reading, say, The Times or The Guardian...

    Great work, guys!

    1. pepper

      Re: Kudos all round

      I agree, this has been a very enjoyable saturday experiment!

  35. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    470 buses!

    Where's Mr Knievel when you need him?

  36. HKmk23

    But of course when you fill the busses with concrete...

    Like the concrete they have had to put in the front of the Eurofighter instead of a cannon.....

    They will be known as .....Blunderbusses..........

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Golgafrinchans

    Discussions above have considered the tactical impact of arming the carrier with busses and the effect on other countries when launched. I wonder how many bumbling, incompetent, greedy bureaucrats and politicians could be carried in those vehicles. I suppose 470 busses could carry 35,000 to 40,000 of them - could be a double bonus. They’d quite good as ‘fire and forget’ weapons. Maybe the Golgafrinchans could advise before we all get wiped out by virulent overheads.

    Thanks Douglas.

  38. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Wow

    I want to see the buses catapulted off. Video preferred, Lego will do.

    1. MrJonno

      Re: Wow

      As a country can we really afford so many buses, what about using black cabs instead?

  39. asiaseen

    You always need extra fuel!

    And that is the major weakness of an aircraft carrier. It needs lots and lots of aviation fuel because whatever its storage capacity might be, in intensive flying operations, it needs topping up very frequently. And if it's non-nuclear engined, it needs a lot of fuel just to keep steaming round. A cunning enemy wouldn't both trying to penetrate a carrier air group's defences - simply disrupting the (very) vulnerable flow of supply ships would bring things to a grinding halt very quickly.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: You always need extra fuel!

      If only there was some way to defend the supply ships, maybe you could use aircraft...

  40. Arachnoid

    Just maybe

    Maybe the UK Politicians are so forward thinking on this project [as mentioned previously] they are having a drone only compliment of aircraft thus saving on the loss of aircrew and the needless expense of giving out medals to a previously valiantly brave air crews.

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