back to article HMS Queen Lizzie to carry American jets and sail in support of US foreign policy

Britain's new aircraft carrier will operate as a fully fledged offshoot of the US Marine Corps, the UK's ambassador to the US accidentally confirmed on Thursday. The 70,000-ton HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail through the South China Sea on her maiden deployment in the 2020s, Sir Kim Darroch told a Washington think tank. Reuters …

  1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    We'll let you give us your ship...

    That name will have to go though, what with inherited titles being unconstitutional in the U.S. and all. How about "Elizabeth Windsor", or more cheekily "Martha Washington"?

    More seriously, Britain does benefit from reinforcing freedom of navigation in the south China sea. Most of your commerce with Taiwan/Japan/Korea travels through those waters. Also, this woulnt be happening if Britain built enough ships to protect its carriers, and kept planes to equip them.

    1. M7S

      Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

      Perhaps "The Winston Churchill - The Hollywood Years"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

      Most of your commerce with Taiwan/Japan/Korea travels through those waters.

      I think you'll find that most of our Asian commerce is with China, by a very long chalk. And the idea of fighting China to continue that minority trade with countries themselves utterly dependent upon Chinese supply chains is laughable. What do they teach you Americans at school?

      Also, this woulnt be happening if Britain built enough ships to protect its carriers, and kept planes to equip them.

      Tosh, my dear fellow, tosh. Even if our sadly depleted Navy could field two battlegroups, one would be deployed in plastering the "enemy of the day", who seem to be Afghans, Iraqis, or Syrians, and the other would be sailing up and down the Persian Gulf in a pretence of frightening the Iranians. And if the RN had ships to spare, they'd be needed defending our territorial waters where currently Russian submarines can patrol with impunity.

      Other than as a tool of US gunboat diplomacy in SE Asia, there's no circumstances where Britain would be squaring up for a fight with China.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

        US sabre rattling in the south china sea is becoming awfully reminiscent of US sabre rattling in that part of the world in the late 1930s. And we all know what is said about those who won't learn from history. But the difference is China does have the manufacturing and resources that Japan lacked. If the US wants to start a new cold war with China in the same way that they had a cold war with Japan I'm not sure we should stick our basically unequipped noses in, still less if it turns into a hot war. In this particular case isolationist policy from a Trump administration may actually make the world a safer place than the current policy is doing.

      2. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

        "...the other would be sailing up and down the Persian Gulf in a pretence of frightening the Iranians".

        Well, maybe, until a Russian corvette showed up in the Caspian Sea. At which point, Kalibr shock would set in and the carrier would take off for home like a startled rabbit - the way USS Theodore Roosevelt did when the Russians Kalibr'd those terrorists in Syria, and the Yanks suddenly realised the Gulf was also within easy range of the Caspian.

    3. Mike Richards

      Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

      Can't we rename it the HMS Robert Ross for the duration? I'm sure our American friends will appreciate the gesture of naming a ship after one of the White House's many admirers - ahem...

    4. macjules Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

      Don't worry, by 2020 It will be CVN-81 USS Melanija Trump anyway. Always does what Donald says and can easily be traded in for a younger model, her sister ship R92 Marine LePen (formerly HMS Prince of Wales) ..

      1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

        Alternative spin on the same news:

        In keeping with a long standing tradition of RN operations in the pacific the HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail through the South China Sea on her maiden deployment in the 2020s embedded with a US fleet. It is a testament to the US navy's confidence in our brand new UK built 70,000-ton warship that she be permitted to sail in this naval exercise.

        The cynical could question whether the US navy has similar confidence in the US built F-35Bs that the Queen Lizzie will be carrying. The UK's F-35Bs will be pretty much fresh from the shrinkwrap in 2020. In order to avoid the potential of Lizzie being toothless should there be problems, yet again, with our mind boggling expensive Harrier replacements the US Marines will be along for the ride. The US Marines are much higher up the Type B queue than the UK so their aircraft should be well proven by then. This is good for the UK as it ensures that the flight handling crew of HMS Lizzie will get a good workout. If our aircraft function as planned it will be a very good workout indeed as Lizzie will be carrying and operating far more aircraft than she will under normal circumstances.

        The payback for the Marines of course is they get to practice operating from a carrier deck, something they wouldn't normally do as the US primarily uses cat & trap A variant F-35s at sea.

        So all good then. US confidence in our new UK built boat, a guaranteed workout for her sparkling new crew, all bases covered should our aircraft misbehave and a favour owed us by the Marines.

        End.

        The truth of course lies somewhere between the extremes.

        1. Dave 15

          Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

          More likely the 35bs will have been proven a heap of stinking manure and the Yanks will turn up in some much cheaper, much better Harriers showing us that we should have build 2 more Illustrious type boats and had 5 all with Harriers

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    So, umm

    When is your Queen going to announce formally that the UK is now the 51st State of the Union ?

    Yikes, I'd better get outta here fast . . .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, umm

      What makes you think Trump wants the UK? It's fulla Immygrants!

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: So, umm

        And he can't build a wall around us. If he did, part of it would get in the way of his golf resort.

        1. agurney

          Re: So, umm

          Plural, there are two resorts - Balmedie & Turnberry.

        2. phuzz Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: So, umm

          Trump did actually build a wall around the properties of people who wouldn't sell up so he could build his golf course in Scotland.

          He also tried to send them the bill, I'll leave it to you work guess what the Scottish response to that was.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: So, umm

            Interesting that he claimed to the scottish govt that it was making a loss whilst claiming it as profitable on his US disclosure.

            If I was the scottish taxman I'd be sending him a bill and penalties for making a false declaration.

        3. macjules Silver badge

          Re: So, umm

          He already built a 15' wall around his golf resort, and sent locals the bill for it. AND that Cambridge Uni Netball Team player Alex Salmond backed him on it as well

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: So, umm

      When is your Queen going to announce formally that the UK is now the 51st State of the Union ?

      Only once Scotland and Northern Ireland have left the UK. Then we'll be known just as the K, but Americans still won't know where Wales is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, umm

        but Americans still won't know where Wales is.

        The Welsh might not want to go, but we could push them anyway. If Trump can build a wall, we could reinstate Offa's Dyke.

    3. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: So, umm

      "When is your Queen going to announce formally that the UK is now the 51st State of the Union ?"

      There is a school of thought (if one can really call it that) that believes the USA is still controlled by HM - listening to such advocates does give one a bit of a patriotic glow thinking that the UK could pull off such a feat of deception and power-wielding.

    4. Grenou

      Re: So, umm

      I think we're already getting close .. with all the "Hi guys" "You guys" "Journey" "Kids (baby goats?)" etc, oh and a good dose of swearing :-((

  3. M7S

    And if the F35B's aren't ready by then

    Those Marines have all those nice Harriers that they could fly from her. That would be an interesting turn of events hopefully causing some officials and ministers to find their positions openly untenable.

    1. Joe User

      Re: And if the F35B's aren't ready by then

      Tell the Marines to bring their F/A-18 Hornets, too. The carrier will be much better protected with those planes on-board versus the F-35B.

      1. Adrian Tawse

        Re: And if the F35B's aren't ready by then

        Unfortunately, no catapult launch, so only Harrier of F35 - B. Also,no angled flight deck so no fly off, so rather too dangerous to land anything that requires an arrestor wire except in dire emergency and only after the decks have been completely cleared.

        1. Dave 15

          Re: And if the F35B's aren't ready by then

          Have we really got no Swordfish biplanes left... think they would manage without the catapult or wires on such large carriers. They are probably also so slow, low in metal and heat that most missiles will probably ignore them... seems perfect :)

  4. A. Coatsworth

    At least the ship will take part of an exercise that actually benefits other countries and not another anti terrrrist operation in the Middle East ... China's appropriation of the South China Sea being a problem for just about *everybody* who trades with that region.

    Even so, it is just sad that UK's military muscle is being held hostage by BAe & cronies.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      I am not sure if I should applaud that idea

      On one side, as you noted this is one place where it may be useful.

      On another side it will be facing a navy which has 36 guided missile destroyers (8+ anti-ship missiles each), 50+ guided missile frigates (4-8 missiles), 30+ corvettes (also armed with 2+ anti-ship missiles), 83 next gen missile boats (8 missiles each) and various odds and sods all of which carry at least a couple of 801, 802, 803 or an occasional Russian made Sunburn. This is if we ignore the fact that most of the South China Sea is within range of their coastal missile batteries.

      I am somehow not convinced about how wise is showing up with a pocket knife to what is a gun party (even as a part of the USA merry gang). If China decides to take anything around there we can only sit and watch. Even USA cannot stop it without using The Family Atomics. Thankfully, China is content with simply buying it by facilitating Chinese investment by the billions into the region. At the end it will simply own all of the "objectors" so they will stop objecting anyway.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Should you applaud or be terrified of noble ideas .... with readily available, practical leverage?

        I am somehow not convinced about how wise is showing up with a pocket knife to what is a gun party (even as a part of the USA merry gang). .... Voland's right hand

        Gun parties aint what they used to be, Voland's right hand, and the likes of knives are of no use in those/these postmodernist raves either.

        Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems in AI Live Operational Virtual Environments as a novel means and prime meme for command and control of future eventful outcomes/realities, is already upon y'all, and you never saw ITs Coming, even though you were made fully aware of its stealthy alien progress .......... https://www.rt.com/usa/368918-darpa-gamification-public-portal/

        Did you mistake it for fake news to be ignored and discounted, in a world awash and drowning in such dire mire?

        However, quite whether Uncle Sam and a DARPA development are a leading virtual terrain team, is altogether another question posed, for IT and Media and MMORPG Manipulation of the Masses is not in its Infancy and a Crazy Childish Pursuit. It is considerably more sophisticated and advanced than most everyone on the planet will ever know and realise is possible, but there will always be info and intel made freely available on it in order to allow you access to knowledge of progress in the field, with a view to your views on that which is delivering your future destinations ......... Greater IntelAIgent Games

        Do you know what squats and plays Hollywood Gangnam style in Holywood Palace Barracks? Do they work for you in there, or are they state agents and non-state actors with/of/for foreign and alien powers without a clue of what to do in todays extreme cyber space environments capturing hearts and minds both anonymously and autonomously?

        And if they are not unbelievably efficient in what they are supposed to be doing, or presumed to be able to do in the national and international interest, are their SCADA Systems cracked and programs hacked??????????????

        Methinks then are noble ideas with readily available practical leverage exactly what is needed to be ordered, by that and those responsible for expanding impotence.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am not sure if I should applaud that idea

        This one just became much more interesting with Trump stirring up the Taiwan straights mud even before he got into office. So having the UK only aircraft carrier there during his presidency may not be a very wise move.

        You never know, the Yanks may remember how the Royal Navy used them to fetch the hot potatoes out of the oven during WW2 in the Atlantic and return the favour.

        The Russians definitely remember - my mom's university roommate's parents served in the Northern Fleet in WW2 (he commanded a destroyer escorting convoys, she was a nurse). A single mentioning of Lord Dudley or Winston Churchill was sufficient for the wife to run for the high pressure medication for the head of the family - he needed it. Looking back at what the UK high command knew about German plans thanks to Bletchley park the old man was probably right too.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I am not sure if I should applaud that idea

        "On another side it will be facing a navy which has..."

        It doesn't overly matter what the PRC navy has, when the PRC _army_ has DF21-D and DF26 antishipping ballistic missiles that can strike well outside the enclosure of the SC Sea.

        Those are the reason I call 'em HMS Sitting Duck and HMS White Elephant.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Pussies 'r' Us ……. and as Paper Tigers in the AI Space and Virtual Jungles

    My gast is flattered, but such news, which is hardly news at all, it is not at all surprising giving the lack of vision and institutional impotence in the UKGBNI.

    And it is all as a result of a lack of top table leadership. That is where the buck is stopped and rotting.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Pussies 'r' Us ……. and as Paper Tigers in the AI Space and Virtual Jungles

      Maybe the UK will be able to fight in virtual jungles with it's virtual Fleet Air Arm.

      I wonder which Ensign the ship will a be flying? Perhaps a stripey one with an extra virtual star on it!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Pussies 'r' Us ……. and as Paper Tigers in the AI Space and Virtual Jungles

        I wonder which Ensign the ship will a be flying? Perhaps a stripey one with an extra virtual star on it!

        Just a small reminder to any depressed RN Matelots of what the stars and stripes look like...

        https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=stars+and+stripes+bikini&tbm=isch

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Pussies 'r' Us ……. and as Paper Tigers in the AI Space and Virtual Jungles

          "Just a small reminder to any depressed RN Matelots of what the stars and stripes look like.."

          Hey, one of those models was holding a Union Flag!

          (Yes, I did mean to post this yesterday, but I got a little distracted)

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Pussies 'r' Us ……. and as Paper Tigers in the AI Space and Virtual Jungles

            @John Brown (no body)

            Hey, one of those models was holding a Union Flag!

            (Yes, I did mean to post this yesterday, but I got a little distracted)

            Yes, too distracted to notice further down the list the two with Union Flag tops.

  6. Dr_N Silver badge

    Bwahahahahaha

    Let's Make Britain Great Again!

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Bwahahahahaha

      We always will be as long as we're bigger than Brittany ("petite Bretagne").

      Wait, that means that if trump invaded somewhere small, and renamed it "Little America", then he'd be justified in calling the USA "Great America". He could actually fulfil one of his election promises!

  7. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    U.S. has used Harriers...

    Just to bring it up, the U.S. has used Harriers as an important weapons platform for the Marine Corps, being as they can take off and land on 'gator freighters' and helo-carriers.

    So yeah, lots of cooperation between US'ian and British armed forces.

    [how about you guys design/build another major paradigm shift like the Harrier? then we'll buy YOUR planes!]

    1. Fazal Majid

      Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

      I think he is referring to the fact the US Marines couldn't believe their luck and purchased all the British Harriers they could get their hands on when the UK MoD unwisely decided to scrap them even though there is still no operational replacement.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

        the US Marines couldn't believe their luck and purchased all the British Harriers

        Your translation is correct, but we should recall that the Harrier was (whilst clever and impressive) always a solution searching for a problem. Physics dictates that S/VTOL types are unstable and need huge amounts of thrust (=fuel) if doing short or vertical manouevres, and the unfortunate result is that they can't fly very far or carry heavy weapons loads.

        When the Harrier was conceived missiles were big, slowish, expensive and of dubious accuracy. Nowadays they're small, cheap, portable and accurate, so you need to have your aircraft taking off and landing a very long way from the action. The reason the USMC want Harriers is because they're desperate to avoid the long term inevitability of being folded fully back into the USN. In the hope of avoiding that fate they need to maintain the concept of being a fully capable operation that is different to USAF, the US Army, and only links to the USN because they can't justify their own ships. That isn't knocking USMC, merely observing that the organisational structures are nonsense.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

          'and the unfortunate result is that they can't fly very far or carry heavy weapons loads.'

          Not strictly true, the AV-8B has a similar range and payload to an F/A-18C when both are operating from a carrier. They also don't use as much fuel as people think during take-off and landing, an F-16 or similar will use more as they tend to engage the afterburner which gets through go juice like you wouldn't believe. Being a high bypass turbofan the Pegasus is also more efficient at take-off and landing speeds than the low bypass units used in conventional fighters. It's all to do with the exhust velocity.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

            an F-16 or similar will use more as they tend to engage the afterburner which gets through go juice like you wouldn't believe

            Oh, I would, having worked on front line RAF stations.

            You're technically correct in what you say, but you ignore the point that when using S/VTOL it does sacrifice payload and range, and that (even without afterburn) the fast jets on proper carriers have better performance. And if you;re using the Harrier in a non S/VTOL manner, why put up with the other compromises like the brick-like aerodynamics, the heavy airframe, and the severely anhedral plan that contributes to hugely unstable handing?

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

              You're not really sacrificing range if you plan on a vertical landing, you just have to make sure you've used most of the fuel when you get to wanting to land. Not sure about the short take off but it allows significantly more to be carried as you can be heavier than the max thrust of the engine.

              I'm guessing the anhedral was because they wanted that level of stability, it doesn't appear to be a feature of VSTOL aircraft as such.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

              "And if you;re using the Harrier in a non S/VTOL manner, why put up with the other compromises like the brick-like aerodynamics, the heavy airframe, and the severely anhedral plan that contributes to hugely unstable handing?"

              The Harrier was designed for Close Air Support (CAS) & Fighter Reconnaissance (FR) from front-line operating bases and this dictated most of its design features. CAS requires low altitude performance and FR requires manoeuvrability.

              As far as I'm aware, the Harrier is always operated in STOL mode (rolling short take off and short landing) from land bases because there's little to be gained from conventional long roll take offs and landings. S/VTOL (rolling short take off and short/vertical landing) is used from ships for obvious reasons.

              The Harrier has exceeded the speed of sound in a dive (the supersonic P.1154 was cancelled) and everything I've heard about them indicates that their manoeuvrability is generally very good and their acceleration, perhaps unsurprisingly, is exceedingly good. It is, apparently, an easy aircraft to fly but vertical landings, whilst not difficult, do need regular practice - same as most other aircraft really. Because it's designed to operate primarily at low altitude, thanks to the CAS requirement, it will usually be on a par with most other aircraft it's likely to encounter, which are designed to operate at high altitudes, and their engines are just as thirsty at low altitude as the Harrier's Pegasus.

              As for weight, the GR3 came in at 13,535 lb empty/25,200 lb MTOW rolling Short Take Off (STO), the AV-8B comes in at 13,968 lb/31,000 lb MTOW (STO). The (not really comparable) F-16 weighs in at around 18,900 lb empty/42,300 lb MTOW, the F/A-18 23,000 lb empty/51,900 lb MTOW and the (cough) F-35B 32,300 lb empty/60,000 lb MTOW. I've included the F-16 because it's a roughly comparable weight, but note that it lacks the much heavier landing gear that carrier borne aircraft need - in the light of those numbers I find it difficult to regard the Harrier as overweight - it's just a smaller aircraft and carries a proportionally smaller weapon load.

              The Harrier's Pegasus engine dictated a high mounted wing; without anhedral it would have been too stable for its intended CAS/FR role.

        2. Strahd Ivarius
          Happy

          Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

          "they can't justify their own ships"

          but they'll manage anyway to get a carrier by 2020 ;-)

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

            "Your translation is correct, but we should recall that the Harrier was (whilst clever and impressive) always a solution searching for a problem."

            Actually, this isin't correct.

            The Harrier was built to fit in with RN concept for fighting the likely war, against the Russian North Sea fleet. As it almost entirely consisted of submarines, the RN was designed to fight this threat.

            After scrapping the post WW2 fleet carriers without replacement the RN intended to leave the high profile carrier battlegroup work to the USN's supercarriers, and concentrate on the unglamorous, yet essential job of finding and sinking submarines. The RN's flagships were the light carriers/command cruisers which were intended to operate large and powerful airgroups.... of ASW helicopters.

            The air threat was soviet TU-95's, which did maritime patrol and could circle around the outside of a ASW frigates missile range broadcasting it's locations for something else to sink. Enter the Harrier. Stick a few of these onboard the command cruisers, and you gained the ability to either shoot down the maritime patrol aircraft, or simply scare them into staying well away from where they thought the RN was. Either effectively eliminated the threat from maritime patrol aircraft.

            This was fine up until the Falklands war, at which point carriers were demanded. The ASW helicopters were offloaded and every Harrier the RN had was loaded up, closely followed by all of the RAF's harriers. These were then used to act as a fighter screen for the RN taskforce, without AEW as none existed at this point. After this experiance of using the "Command Cruisers" in an actual war the RN stripped out the air defence missiles on the basis that carrying more aircraft would be more useful.

            The Harrier was never meant to be used as an air superiority aircraft, although the upgraded version with AMRAAM would probably have acquitted itself reasonably well in this role when combined with the AEW support (albeit helicopter based) that the taskforce lacked at the Falklands.

            So yeah, the Harrier wasn't fairly describable as a solution looking for a problem. It was however misunderstood and misused. The F35(B) should be a significant improvement, although I think that the decision to decommision the harrier fleet before a replacement was operational was absurd.

    2. nematoad Silver badge

      Not the first time.

      "So yeah, lots of cooperation between US'ian and British armed forces."

      In 1943 the US Navy had lost carriers at the battle of Santa Cruz so the Admiralty leant Victorious to the Americans for service in the Pacific. After a few months replacement USN carriers were available so Victorious went home.

      Later in 1945 she was again operating in the Pacific where she was hit by Kamikazes. British fleet carriers had armoured flight decks whereas her American counterparts had wooden ones, so apart from a few dents and a lift out of action she was soon operational again.

      1. Narwhal

        Re: Not the first time.

        One must point out that not one USN Essex class CV was sunk during WW II, and other than at Pearl Harbor, not one US BB was lost.

      2. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Not the first time.

        Victorious' sister ship Illustrious absorbed a phenomenal amount of punishment from the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean, including a number of direct hits from 250 kg and 500 kg (half ton) bombs.

        'The naval historian J. D. Brown noted that "There is no doubt that the armoured deck saved her from destruction; no other carrier took anything like this level of punishment and survived."'

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Illustrious_(87)#Subsequent_operations_in_the_Mediterranean

    3. fruitoftheloon
      Pint

      @Fantastic Bob: Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

      Bombastic,

      great idea, that would require some politicians and [un]civil servants to both open their eyes and have a f'ing clue about the real world.

      ....not much chance of that happening then eh?

      Have one on me.

      Cheers,

      Jay

  8. dalethorn

    General "Mad Dog" Mattis will ensure a good sendoff.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      He's an interesting character for sure and in my head, a good choice for Sec of Defense. No nonsense. Practical. Understands modern warfare. Well educated in the things that matter to his position. His orders are well thought out as well as laid out to minimize collateral damage but also to win wars. I wish he'd been in command back when I was in the USMC. Things might have been different then and now.

      If's possible he'll kill the F35 once he has time to look at it. Maybe re-open the Harrier and A10 production. Not sure what he'll do for air superiority.. maybe the F22? He does believe in smart and educated leaders and policies. The most bang for the buck and extreme care in using that bang. I expect changes, some quite large, in the DoD and the equipment and philosophies as well as training of the troops. Might be pretty painful for some who play politics....

  9. Caustic Soda

    Awful lot of fuss about F35-B. The whole F-35B programme has slipped, and ours won't be built when QE comes into service. Thank God she's 4 years late or El Reg would have had a coronary about her having to fly helos only for 5 years.

    The Yanks are going to help us work up our deck crew - we have not had to manage a fleet carrier since Hermes was sold, arguably not since Ark IV - and we get to fly the flag in a part of the world where we have a stake but have taken no responsibility for decades.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and we get to fly the flag in a part of the world where we have a stake but have taken no responsibility for decades.

      You don't think we gave up our stake when we surrendered HK?

      Why should the UK "take responsibility" for the posturing between China and other relatively wealthy south east Asian nations, any more than those countries should intervene to ease the fractious standoff between NATO and Russia in the Baltic and elsewhere. For the UK to get militarily embroiled in (for example) the South China Sea territorial disputes will be a bizarre piece of international vigilantism.

      1. fnj

        we surrendered HK

        The UK surrendered HK 9600 km away, but the US surrendered the Canal Zone 1900 km away, and many US ports are run by foreign organizations.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "many US ports are run by foreign organizations."

          As are at least one UK port. (Tilbury)

        2. Dave 15

          Surrendered?

          Nope, HK was leased, the lease ran out, we decided against renewal (even if that had been an option).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So now they don't even need a dodgy "45 minutes" dossier before we're suckered into another unjust-ified war. Maybe the taxpayers should be consulted before someone makes these decisions? Forgot - we don't matter, the little people just fight the wars and pay for them.

  11. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    "The US Navy and its regional allies have been carrying out freedom-of-navigation exercises to reinforce the fact that international waters are not Chinese."

    I wonder if the Chinese are only doing those patrols to show that International Waters aren't American Waters...

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      The tricky bit is where they're trying to make them Chinese waters by creating islands.

      It is incidentally the exact corollary of the Russian task group sailing through the English Channel. The right of free passage allows anyone to sail anything pretty much anywhere, including territorial waters. However in the case of territorial waters you're very limited in what you can do without committing an act of war, i.e. don't dawdle, don't exercise weapons systems, don't commit aviation etc.

  12. sysconfig

    Classic...

    That deployment will take place with half the air wing provided by US Marine Corps F-35Bs because Britain hasn't ordered enough of the jets for delivery in time to fully equip the air wing

    So let's build those bloody carriers, even though we don't have enough planes to utilise them?

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Classic...

      The original timelines for both projects would have had the F-35s flying from the Invincible class carriers prior to the QE Class entering service. I seem to remember one of the design drivers was being able to fit the older ship's elevators. Makes you laugh really. If you're not crying.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Classic...

        The original timelines for both projects would have had the F-35s flying from the Invincible class carriers

        That may be true, but by the time the QE carriers were ordered, it was well understood that the F35B was a crock of shit that would take another decade to get working and into squadron service. The reason the carriers were ordered by Gordon Brown was simply to try and buy Labour party votes in the West end of Glasgow, when the Labour party were threatened with annihilation by the Scottish Nationalists.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Classic...

          That may be technically true but the programme had been going for almost a decade before the ships were ordered in the sense of committing to pay for actual steel. A lot had already been spent getting to that stage and I think we still should have got the jets before the ships at that point.

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Classic...

          I think we're wandering away from the point here. Whether the carriers or the F-35s actually work - or what they are supposed to accomplish even if they do - is neither here nor there. The justification is simple: jobs, orders, PROFIT.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad idea

    Expensive floating coffin. As sensible as building a Dreadnought in 1970. Sailors may well die as a result of Brown's anti-SNP job -creation scheme.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Bad idea

      "As sensible as building a Dreadnought in 1970".

      Exactly, Or, come to think of it, as sensible as building HMS Hood in 1918. That cost just about as many lives as a sunk modern carrier, and with as little justification.

      Hood was the culmination of a series of fundamentally pointless ships, starting with Jackie Fisher's bright idea of a big cruiser fast enough to catch enemy cruisers and armed with battleship guns to sink them. (If it could hit them, which turned out to be very doubtful indeed). Fisher apparently didn't consider what would happen when the enemy (oh, what the hell, when Germany) started building its own battlecruisers which were better armoured and which (for whatever reasons) shot a lot more accurately.

      The main thing Fisher overlooked was that a Captain RN commanding what was always called a capital ship - and which was actually bigger than any battleship - could not, in practice, refuse battle against an enemy battleship. Unfortunately the enemy battleship could take a few hits from Hood, but not vice versa. It seems possible that Hood was actually sunk by the German cruiser Prinz Eugen - if true, the ultimate in black irony as cruisers were the one thing she was designed to defeat.

      There seem to be a few lessons there for the advocates of carriers today. Filling in the details is left as an exercise for the student.

      1. fnj

        Re: Bad idea

        [HMS Hood] cost just about as many lives as a sunk modern carrier

        When virtually the entire complement of HMS Hood went down with the ship, that was only about 1400, not much more than a US heavy cruiser. A Nimitz class aircraft carrier carries over 5000, and even a WW II Essex class carried over 3000.

        If we ever lose a Nimitz, that could more than equal the entire US death toll of the Normandy landings in the blink of an eye.

      2. Lapun Mankimasta

        Re: Bad idea

        "Hood was the culmination of a series of fundamentally pointless ships, starting with Jackie Fisher's bright idea of a big cruiser fast enough to catch enemy cruisers and armed with battleship guns to sink them."

        The thing that scotched the battlecruiser idea was that they had battleship guns on cruiser armour. And having battleship guns, the blessed admirals wanted them in battle line. Against other ships armed with battleship guns which coincidentally also boasted battleship armour. Nobody cared about using them to intercept commerce-raider cruisers any more. They should've been decommissioned en masse following the Battle of Jutland, which pointed out this rather painfully ...

        The German equivalent during the 1930s was the pocket battleship. As commerce raiders they made some sense, but the RN outmaneuvred the Graf Spee psychologically after the Battle of the River Plate.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Bad idea

          "The German equivalent during the 1930s was the pocket battleship".

          That turns out not to be the case. The Panzerschiffe ("pocket battleships") though heavily armed with 6 x 11-inch guns had a top speed of a mere 28.5 knots - less than that of any reasonably up-to-date cruiser. Even the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter, which fought Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate, had a top speed of 32 knots - and light cruisers would usually have a knot or two more than that. So Panzerschiffe were not designed to chase and catch enemy cruisers; their purpose was as commerce raiders, and they weren't very well suited to regular naval warfare.

          Ironically, the ultimate "battlecruiser" turned out to be the American "Iowa" class of battleships, which combined armament and armour second to none with a published top speed of 33 knots - although they were rumoured to be able to go faster. Completed just in time for the battleship to become obsolete, the Iowas closed the loop by being faster than any battlecruiser ever built, while as heavily armed and armoured as any other battleship.

          1. Lotus79

            Re: Bad idea

            And mostly likely much design copied from the Roayal Navy's G3 battleship (fast battlship) that did all that only nearly 20 years earlier, ordered but cancelled as weaker nations sought naval treaties back then. By the time Iowa came about, the British new sloped armour was not a brilliant idea in reducing the waterplane area etc, and carrying a thining homogenous armour down to act as a torpedeo bulkhead ( not in G3 design) was poor design.

  14. Milton Silver badge

    VSTOL

    Harrier did us proud in '82 and no one should denigrate that service.

    But let's be clear, the only reason you make the performance sacrifices required of a VSTOL design is when you need a combat plane that can operate in the absence of runway. The late-50s Harrier concept assumed a European war with many air bases nuked and a plausible requirement to operate close behind the FEBA (Forward Edge of Battle Area). Sea Harrier was an obvious further opportunity, given the expense of big CATOBAR carriers. (The excellent Jaguar was another answer to the glowing-runway problem, being designed to operate from motorways if necessary.)

    But it turns out the need for land-based VSTOL was mostly illusory. And, unless you make a series of truly dreadful procurement decisions*, you don't need VSTOL for carrier ops either: just build decent CATOBAR ships and enjoy the versatility that that delivers.

    The USMC propagandises endlessly about the 'vital importance' of having VSTOL jets supposedly deployed close to the combat zone (and they'd NEED to be close, given the F-35B's very short range) but it doesn't hold water: the real reason they want a VSTOL is because it's the only way they can have a dog in the game.

    * "Truly terrible procurement decisions" i.e. the monumental stupidity and ignorance displayed by the last four UK governments.

  15. Archtech Silver badge

    Like magic

    "HMS Queen Elizabeth under construction, being overflown by two F-35Bs".

    Well, at least the bloody things really are stealthy! I can only see one of them in the picture.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Like magic

      Look closer. There are two F-35s in the picture.

      That being said, the longer I look at them, the more they seem like something out of a Gerry Anderson production.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Like magic

        Stealth doesn't mean the aircraft is always absolutely invisible. It just means it is harder to see (with radar).

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Like magic

          "It just means it is harder to see (with radar)."

          in the case of the F35, that's only front on and a 30 degree offaxis cone.

          From all other angles it's not particularly stealthy and it's a big IR target.

          That's fine for its designed role (air support) but not for its trumpeted one (air superiority).

          It was _designed_to only work in areas where the F22 had already removed all aerial and groundbased opposition which would shoot it down.

          And - of course - it's only stealthy with the doors closed. Having to open the weapons bay every few minutes to toss out heat makes it quite easy for radar to see it. Ditto if any external stores/weapons are used. At that point you may as well have bought F16s for 1/5 the price.

  16. Mike Richards

    Oh that's clever

    After Trump's little call with Taipei, the seas around China are going to be - interesting. Now the Americans can test the efficacy of China's anti-ship missiles without losing one of their carriers.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Oh that's clever

      Yeah, but not until 2020, or to put it another way, the end of Trump's turn.

      That's a long time to wait for test results.

  17. Lapun Mankimasta

    New Anthem?

    Time to make this official?

    Singing Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves

    And Britons never, never, never shall be married

    To a mermaid at the bottom of the deep blue sea

    Since the other one - something about "slaves" I believe? - doesn't seem to apply ... whereas you can verify the number of Britons married to mermaids any time you take a wander down the road ...

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    British Brainwashing Corporation .... v2.0 Rocket

    You just haven't cottoned on yet, have you, to the wonderfully weird and wacky nature of modern futurist war warefare. What is it exactly that you do not understand? Is ITs Power and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivity so difficult for you all to believe and realise is that which sustains and maintains and terrorises you? FFS ...... grow a pair and get mad as hell. It is practically all that you can do whenever it is the least you can do to change it ........

    This is the first step in creating Orwellian ministry of truth , unacceptable. No media should be censored,not even Russian. …. USAisfreedom ....https://www.rt.com/op-edge/369152-western-msm-propaganda-russia/

    Ministries delivering truths would be a Great Game Changer and a most welcome novelty, USAisfreedom. One does have to marvel at the lack of intelligence in media whenever it goes so far off piste to present a false picture for mass consumption.

    Does such then deliver a fake virtual reality which has everyone fooled into believing that which doesn't exist?

    Now that is very dangerous for corrupt hosts and purveyors whenever the ignorant unwashed and dispossessed get knowledge of it and be further educated and entertained in the many ways of their remote programming to server elite needs/feeds/seeds.

    I wonder if RT would be into that endorsing that operation? Who be at their Head of Creative Direction?

  19. Roj Blake Silver badge

    That Noise You Hear...

    ...is Nelson spinning in his grave.

    1. Lapun Mankimasta

      Re: That Noise You Hear...

      "...is Nelson spinning in his grave."

      Any chance of gearing him up to the HMS QE's propellers? Just think, no radiation, no pollution!

  20. JJKing Silver badge
    Happy

    Reflag the carrier when on loan.

    How come nobody suggested plonking the Hawaiian State flag onto the Queen Lizzie? It's got the right bit in the top corner.

  21. Potemkine Silver badge

    Make it easier

    After Brexit, join the US as #51.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Make it easier

      Peter Preston's Brexit-followed-by-joining-the-US-predicting novel 51st State was published in 1998. It was reviewed for the TLS by a young journalist called Michael Gove. He quite enjoyed it.

  22. RedCardinal

    >>Reuters reported Sir Kim as saying the deployment would take place in 2020, a year ahead of Queen Elizabeth's scheduled debut operational deployment with her F-35B fighter jets

    Good luck with those jets actually being in service by 2020. Remind me again how we apparently can't afford the NHS/State penions/etc etc but can afford an aircraft carrier with no aircraft on it...

    1. Dave 15

      History repeats

      Remember the tsr2, cancelled for an American plane that would be in service earlier...but the yank plane turned up decades late. Not sure how the timescale conclusion had ever been reached, the tsr2 was already in the air when it was cancelled,the jigs available etc. all that was worrying was a bit of wobble on the undercarriage which could hardly have taken more than a couple of weeks to fix.

      tsr2 was also capable of carrying more, faster and as manourverably as the eurofighter ... 50 years earlier.

  23. Lotus79

    It is probably more the case that the US navy is facing reduction in it's carrier force.

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