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

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

  1. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

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

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Paywall article. Can't read it. :(

      1. LDS Silver badge

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

        Also here:

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

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

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

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

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

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

        2. Mark 65 Silver badge

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

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

  2. graeme leggett

    sea power

    Off the top of my head.

    Suez

    Gibraltar

    Two battles of the Atlantic

    Blockade of Germany

    Northern Barrage

    Otranto Barrage

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

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: sea power

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

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: sea power

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

        1. VanguardG

          Re: sea power

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

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

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: sea power

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

            oo err

        2. gandalfcn

          Re: sea power

          macjules

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

        3. BagOfSpanners

          Re: sea power

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

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: sea power

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

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: sea power

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

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

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

        2. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: sea power

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

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

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: sea power

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

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: sea power

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

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

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

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: sea power

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

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

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

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: sea power

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

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: sea power

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

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

            Oh wait, no, I don't.

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: sea power

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

              Oh wait, no, I don't.'

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

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: sea power

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

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

        4. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: sea power

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

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

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: sea power

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

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

      3. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: sea power

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

        ________________________

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sea power

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

  3. hplasm Silver badge
    Unhappy

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

    What is this sorcery?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

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

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

      [Pause for thought.]

      Ah.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

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

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

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

        1. Solarflare

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

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

      2. SkippyBing Silver badge

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

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

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

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

    2. Gnomalarta
      FAIL

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

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

      1. 's water music Silver badge

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

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

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

        1. Chairo
          Pint

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

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

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

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

          Beer - what else could be used for testing!

          1. Eltonga
            Devil

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

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

    3. phuzz Silver badge

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

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

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

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

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

        Maybe that's the current standard

    4. Pangasinan Philippines

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

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

    5. Richard Boyce

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

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

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

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

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

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

    6. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Coat

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

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

      Just checking my coat for ferromagnetic items.

    7. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

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

      I know, it Hertz to read it...

    8. CN Hill

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

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

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      nuclear powered propulsion

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

      1. Graham Dawson

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

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Nuclear power

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

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

            1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
              Megaphone

              Nuclear power or no catapults

              A nuclear powered carrier has to be taken out of service to have the reactor refueled; this can take over a year, with only two carriers this becomes an issue. (Unlike the USA that has lots of carriers, so can be refueling one at a time.)

              It isn't simply a matter of considering nuclear power or diesel as a propulsion source, the choice is "nuclear power or no catapults". The overwhelming benefit of nuclear power over gas turbines and diesel engines for large aircraft carriers is that nuclear power supplies an abundant source of steam for catapults whilst diesel and gas turbine do not.

              Ultimately, the British had to equip their new aircraft carriers with the short takeoff and vertical landing version of the F-35 because of the decision against nuclear reactors. Had they chosen to use nuclear power, they would have had a realistic choice about what fast jets to purchase.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Nuclear power or no catapults

                the choice is "nuclear power or no catapults".

                Maybe coal would've been a better choice then?

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: Nuclear power or no catapults

                  The steam catapult was developed on HMS Perseus which was effectively a steamer. Steam turbines pushed round by steam from boilers heated from burning fuel oil.

                  1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
                    Pint

                    Re: Nuclear power or no catapults

                    The steam catapult was developed on HMS Perseus which was effectively a steamer. Steam turbines pushed round by steam from boilers heated from burning fuel oil.

                    Until the 1940s most aircraft carriers used hydraulic catapults. However, they could not cope with the increasing weight of naval aircraft, and so much more powerful steam powered catapults became commonplace in the 1940s. Steam was conveniently available because most large ships of the period were steam powered, and aircraft carriers especially since they required the speed that only steam turbines could deliver.

                    They needed to be even faster than the main, largely steam turbine driven, battle fleet (where most navies put them), so that they could turn into the wind to launch and recover aircraft, and then catch the rest of the fleet up. Steam engines are very inefficient, so aren't used now except when the water is heated by nuclear power. The cost of nuclear fuel is small compared to the cost of the overall system, so its inefficiency doesn't really matter.

              2. SkippyBing Silver badge

                Re: Nuclear power or no catapults

                'Ultimately, the British had to equip their new aircraft carriers with the short takeoff and vertical landing version of the F-35 because of the decision against nuclear reactors.'

                Horse/Cart. The decision was made to go for the STOVL aircraft before the decision on the power plant was made, you may disagree with that decision but it was that that allowed a choice of power plant rather than the choice of power plant deciding the aircraft.

                Somewhat ironically the length of the F-35 is determined by the size of the Invincible class's aircraft lifts as it was thought they'd initially serve on them.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

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

          I thought they were all in being repaired.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "

        a) we don't have the technology and the Yanks wouldn't sell it to us

        b) a major use for our large warships these days appears to be friendly visits and flag waving, and many countries won't let nuclear powered ships into their territorial waters.

        "

        a) we do, our latest nuclear powered attack subs use home grown reactors

        b) this makes the most sense out of any argument so far, but since the carrier is supposed to be a warship, doesn't hold up to arguments...

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge

          AC because you are talking porkies??

          Our new generation sub use US Westinghouse Nukes.

          In fact, so much of the gear onboard is bought in from the US, France etc, the most British thing on board may be the teabags (unless they get them from Aldi).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: AC because you are talking porkies??

            We might have used Westinghouse tech to build the first ones back in the 50s, but the UK's Subs use UK built reactors made by a UK company and have done for the last fifty years.

        2. Mark 85 Silver badge

          b) this makes the most sense out of any argument so far, but since the carrier is supposed to be a warship, doesn't hold up to arguments...

          Depends on the "arguments". Politics, etc. seem to drive an awful lot of these idiotic ideas and I do believe not making your carriers nuke powered is one of them. Then again.. we have our fair share of political idiocy here in the States.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            EM cats probably weren't a good idea for the UK

            The US is still having problems getting the EM cats to work, so maybe you wouldn't want to go with new and untested technology on a brand new ship, especially when you're only going to have two of them.

            The US can afford to take extra time to get it working on the new class of carrier, as the old ones are more than adequate since carrier launched planes aren't a necessity for our existing or near-future likely conflicts (not that we aren't using them, but that's done more to justify the carriers and make the Navy feel included than because we can't get along without them)

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Thales under DCNS built the CDG carrier which is nuclear powered.

        1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Stop

          Yes...

          "Thales under DCNS built the CDG carrier which is nuclear powered."

          But it's only a piddly little sub power plant and the CD'G is widely considered to be "underpowered"

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Yes...

            @Smooth Newt you mean no steam catapults. Electromagnetic catapults are coming to fruition, the yanks also said they would give them for free, we just needed to fit them ourselves. Problem is, the BAE contract whilst having the provision to install also had a provision that we pay for the LACK of BAE components, hence the cost would have been astronomical. Good thinking on signing that one off.

            So no catapults for us.

            1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Yes...

              @Smooth Newt you mean no steam catapults. Electromagnetic catapults are coming to fruition, the yanks also said they would give them for free, we just needed to fit them ourselves. Problem is, the BAE contract whilst having the provision to install also had a provision that we pay for the LACK of BAE components, hence the cost would have been astronomical. Good thinking on signing that one off.

              I agree that one day maybe the British carriers will have electromagnetic catapults if the financial and technical obstacles can be overcome. But, if they had been built with with nuclear reactors then they would have been equipped with catapults from day one, which would have obviated the need for selecting the short-take off and vertical-landing variant of the F-35 for them.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Ian Ringrose

      A carrier unlike a sub has lots of resupply ships for food, jet fuel etc, therefore it can be supplied with oil at the same time.

      A nuclear powered carrier has to be taken out of service to have the reactor refueled; this can take over a year, with only two carriers this becomes an issue. (Unlike the USA that has lots of carriers, so can be refueling one at a time.)

      The calcs show that over the lifetime of the carrier a reactor would cost more then oil.

      With a reactor, if it breaks down you got real problems; with oil you can have many separate generators.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        "With a reactor, if it breaks down you got real problems; with oil you can have many separate generators."

        So when it's the Russian heavy cruiser with aircraft that's obsolete technology, when it's us it is a sensible tradeoff of availability versus refuelling. (Not The Reg I hasten to add, just our more jingoistic tabloids.)

        Others have commented on the substitution of "transformer" for "inverter" but I will just mention in passing that Robert Peary was the one who lost a number of toes to frostbite while exploring the Arctic. Getting stuck in the Channel due to fog might be a kind of nominative determinism.

      2. sal II

        >The calcs show that over the lifetime of the carrier a reactor would cost more then oil.

        >With a reactor, if it breaks down you got real problems; with oil you can have many separate generators.

        It's not just about cost - this is a warship - in a war time you might end up with restricted access to oil and/or refueling points/ships. With nuclear you can ration the food and produce fresh water for the crew and still keep the ship running. Arguably given the fact that you still need oil based fuel for the airplanes on board might counter this point.

        That's why US carriers have 2 reactors each, with one being stand-by

      3. phuzz Silver badge
        Facepalm

        "A nuclear powered carrier has to be taken out of service to have the reactor refuelled; this can take over a year"

        Hah, I'm pretty sure the MoD could take at least five years to refuel, maybe even ten, once they notice that the original contract didn't specify that the reactor was supposed to be refuelable.

        1. Zmodem

          air craft carriers arn't possible without nuclear power, diesel turbines cannot ganerate enough power or electric to be able to turn the axles

  5. Ol'Peculier
    Stop

    "reconfiguring tides"

    Good luck with that one...

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: "reconfiguring tides"

      Sounds like a Cnut of a job

      1. GBE

        Re: "reconfiguring tides"

        That would be a grand fleet indeed.

        [On a more serious note, can anybody offer a clue as to what that phrase is supposed to mean?]

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "reconfiguring tides"

          I suspect they mean "updating tide tables" ... You'd think tide tables would be stable for a given location, but what with Humans mucking about with natural estuaries through dredging, adding/subtracting/moving channels, installing £200m, 220 pile concrete jetties & the like, you actually have a change of a few percent decade to decade. When you've got 920 feet of ship with a draft of 36 feet, a couple percent over a potential 12ft swing in water depth over a couple hours makes a bit of a difference. It also affects currents in the various channels.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "reconfiguring tides"

        "Sounds like a Cnut of a job"

        what, tying up alongside Piers (morgan) ?

  6. Thesheep

    Brows raised...

    So these mighty brows can handle a man every three minutes? Either there will be an awful lot of women sailors making up the numbers, I'm misunderstanding things, or there is mighty sorcery going on...

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Brows raised...

      the brows would be capable of handling one 20-foot ISO container every six minutes

      So two men per container. Whereas we don't want overcrowding in the Navy, I think they could pack a few more in.

    2. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Brows raised...

      So these mighty brows can handle a man every three minutes?

      I guess "handling" a woman every three minutes is Trump's job.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Brows raised...

        So these mighty brows can handle a man every three minutes?

        I guess "handling" a woman every three minutes is Trump's job.

        Sounds more like a job for Clinton.

    3. Dom 3

      Re: Brows raised...

      https://navynews.co.uk/archive/news/item/15245

      3,000 per hour.

    4. Korev Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Brows raised...

      So these mighty brows can handle a man every three minutes? Either there will be an awful lot of women sailors making up the numbers, I'm misunderstanding things, or there is mighty sorcery going on...

      Does Roger the Cabin Boy count as a man for this or does he join Sea(wo)man Staines on the lift?

      Where's the icon for rum? ->

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Gunboat Diplomacy

    That may have worked against the Chinese back in the 19thC, but somehow I don't think it will work this time around.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gunboat Diplomacy

      That may have worked against the Chinese back in the 19thC

      Well, this time round it's their problem given that it's mainly their exports, and there are for all practical purposes no UK owned or operated cargo ships (although a princely 2.9% are UK flagged).

      Even if the Suez transit routes were disrupted, that just means ships have to use the Cape Town route which adds, what, ten days, for clothing and miscellaneous manufactured tat. If the Straits of Hormuz are blockaded, then oil becomes a problem, but you'd need more than a navy to fix that because the trouble will be local.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Gunboat Diplomacy

        > Even if the Suez transit routes were disrupted, that just means ships have to use the Cape Town route which adds, what, ten days, for clothing and miscellaneous manufactured tat

        I'm sure I could wait an additional 10 days for my tat to hit the high street stores, but I'd guess there's an additional cost of fuel to ship it all that extra few miles (admittedly divided up over all the containers on that particular boat but still)

        1. Emmeran

          Re: Gunboat Diplomacy

          The true costs comes in lost revenue opportunity plus interest costs. That ship and everything on it are leveraged for incredible sums of money and usually at a variable rate.

      2. Pedigree-Pete
        Mushroom

        Re: Gunboat Diplomacy

        @Ledswinger. "If the Straits of Hormuz are blockaded, then oil becomes a problem, but you'd need more than a navy to fix that because the trouble will be local"

        I suspect if someone blockaded oil shipments there'd be a few more interested parties than our couple of carriers, many of whom are already local and quite well healed. PP

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaving aside the lack of warplanes, cats and traps, decent aew, fixed wing transport aircraft, enough escorts to protect them it's actually refreshing to see an article about concrete. Joking aside, people pay way too much attention to the shiny, expensive stuff, without recognizing the dumb lumps of concrete and inanimate carbon rods that actually allow the shiny stuff to work. In rod we trust.

    1. Chemist

      @ nick_rampart

      " inanimate carbon rods"

      Do you mean :

      1) Animate carbon bods or

      2) Inanimate carbon steel rods ?

      (Seems in any case a lot of trouble to go to to rise/fall an "inch or two" especially as the tidal range in the harbour is ~~ 4 metres)

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        @Chemist Re: @ nick_rampart

        You may need to watch more Simpsons.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      without recognizing the dumb lumps of concrete and inanimate carbon rods

      It's not nice to talk about the Navy Senior Officers like that..

  9. toffer99

    "auto-tensioning bollards" is a staggering technical advance for these jetties Its just a shame that we don't have planes to put on the carriers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I suspect it will carry Drones... A child of the taranis project..

      and if I had my choice, they would work on a naval Eurofighter.

      1. Ivan Headache

        They'll get an awful lot of DJI Phantoms on that ship.

        Join the Navy. Get your own quadcopter.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        if I had my choice, they would work on a naval Eurofighter

        With no catapult capability on the carriers they still wouldn't be able to use a navalised Typhoon. Added to which, the design concept of the Typhoon was a high agility interceptor fighter using look-down, shoot down weapons, so not very suitable for use as a naval strike fighter, which generally fly lower, and need far greater capability for air to surface weapons (including heavy, long range anti-ship missiles). Then there's the need for larger wings that also fold, new avionics, new stronger landing gear, airframe mods to cope with an arrestor hook, weatherproofing for the corrosive environment etc etc.

        It simply doesn't make sense spending five-ten years creating a naval Typhoon - by the time it comes into service the original design will be thirty years old, it would cost a fortune, and still be a compromised design.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        I suspect it will carry Drones...

        Galente or Amarr? Certainly not t2 ones..

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        "I suspect it will carry Drones"

        European or African?

    2. kmac499

      <<"auto-tensioning bollards" is a staggering technical advance for these jetties Its just a shame that we don't have planes to put on the carriers.>>

      I looked this up my MOD-English Dikshunary apparently auto-tensioning bollards == Bungee

      The real crime of these carriers is no catapults, I know no boilers so no steam; but maybe a version of the electric ones rail gun style. Even if only for the lighter UAVs becoming the primary armament

      Maybe they could repurpose the 'auto-tensioning bollards' tech into a couple of rubber bands like my old Kiel Kraft launcher.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        'The real crime of these carriers is no catapults, I know no boilers so no steam; but maybe a version of the electric ones rail gun style.'

        I believe the USN are having, or had, issues with the first set of electromagnetic catapults fitted to the Gerald R Ford so possibly a bullet dodged in that case. Someone is proposing a system using propellant http://www.launch-systems.com/default.html which sounds like the old system of using cordite updated.

      2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        @kmac499

        Perhaps an industrial strength rubber bank, fitted across the front of the flight deck?

        BAE will provide that for only 500 million Sterling!

  10. Christoph Silver badge

    " The automatic retraction feature is disabled by software, we were told, if the ship sails with the cable still attached"

    Mr Phillips! What did you forget this time?

    Oops! Sorry pardon Mr Murray Sir.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      I suspect

      its from the time illustrious set sail while having the de-watering gear running in the main gear box

      It got about 2 miles out and went bang due to it over heating and setting fire to the oil mist inside the box...

      Also I think the 200 million for a lump of concrete also includes all the other works too... like the habour dredging etc.

      And I'm sure its those sneaky germans in their super quiet electric subs that keep putting bombs in front of the dredgers..

      "Heehh Hans... this will pay them back for not liking the new BMW M3"

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Everybody down!"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Single File Please

    I'm confused by this about the ramps: "These will happily carry around 500 men per day while the ships are alongside, we were told, against 100 per day for the old Invincible-class aircraft carriers’ brows."

    I know the US carriers have a crew in the thousands. As I read it, it could take days for a crew just to walk up the ramps and board? I must be missing/misunderstanding something here.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Single File Please

      No it makes no sense to me either. Essentially at the start of the working day around 500 people will be trying to get on at the last possible minute to get to work and then get off as soon as secure is piped at the end of the day. During the day there'll be various comings and goings but peak demand which I think they're trying to describe and failing will be around 500 people in about 15 minutes.

      In this case I'm guessing it's the MoD Press Officer failing to write a coherent brief.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Single File Please

        "In this case I'm guessing it's the MoD Press Officer failing to write a coherent brief."

        And a journalist not asking the right questions when given obviously bogus information.

  13. earl grey Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    auto-tensioning bollocks

    Did i mis-read that? I'll have to ask her...

  14. JustNiz

    I truly wonder about the actual need for these giant money pits.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Simple really..

      "The QE-class carriers will overhang the jetty by around five metres once snug against its fenders."

      Zombies can't climb overhangs. Might still need to have a ship's cat to deal with other unwanted guests though.

  15. Herby Silver badge
    Joke

    50Hz vs. 60 Hz

    Maybe this is a precursor to the whole island going 60Hz. You know Brexit and all that.

    I've often wondered how difficult it would be, the generators needing to go 20% faster and all that. Not much is totally dependent on 50Hz, other than some clocks.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Robert Peary had problems with fog?

    really - i know there was debate for a long while about whether he actually got to the Pole (although in my book plus / minus 60 miles is a pretty good effort either way!!), but stuck in fog is just sad ....

  17. Howard Hanek Bronze badge

    Lord Nelson

    ....toppled off his pedestal today in Trafalgar Square in response to a publication proclaiming that the RN now 'parks' it capital ships.

  18. keith_w

    Only 500 men per day?

    I was surprised that the new "Brows" can only handle 500 men per day, and that the old ones for the Invincible class carriers could only handle 100 men per day. Would that be 250 men off and 250 men on or just 500 men on or off in any combination?

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Only 500 men per day?

      Would that be 250 men off and 250 men on or just 500 men on or off in any combination?

      I don't want to be anywhere near anything that's getting 500 men off a day.

  19. VeganVegan
    Happy

    Be glad it's Portsmouth,

    and not somewhere in Scotland, that will likely leave the U.K. after the new referendum.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Be glad it's Portsmouth,

      Just when you thought that the Empire couldn't get any smaller...

      1. Zmodem

        Re: Be glad it's Portsmouth,

        scotland does'nt do nothing anyway, they only give back £100m a year

  20. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Pirate

    This can't be right...

    "HMS Queen Elizabeth will be deploying to the South China Sea. This is partly to fly the flag in a part of the world the UK has traditionally had little presence in, "

    El Reg knows (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/08/3g_spratly/) that other parties might get a tinsy bit annoyed at deployments in that sea, particularly by a country that has had considerable (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars), though not recent, presence in the area...

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: This can't be right...

      "HMS Queen Elizabeth will be deploying to the South China Sea. This is partly to fly the flag in a part of the world the UK has traditionally had little presence in, "

      Well, it's not like it'll have anything else to fly...

  21. Cashpot

    US Power?

    Why on earth is a UK ship powered at the US 60Hz? Yes I know 60Hz is probably better with less flicker on lighting (unless of course it's LED but my guess is the ship was designed in the compact fluorescent era) but even so it's a British ship so 50Hz!

  22. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Up and down an inch or so...

    > raft, which moves up and down an inch or so as the tide ebbs and flows.

    Portsmouth has something like a 12 foot range so either they're behind the gates in which case there'd be no need to adjust the lines as the level wouldn't move or they're outside the gates and do need to adjust the lines but the raft moves nothing like the full range of the tide - which seems odd.

    1. Timmay

      Re: Up and down an inch or so...

      I came on to comment on the exact same thing - a 75,000 ton ship will naturally rock way more than an inch either way even in very still water, so I can't work this out.

      1. Zmodem

        Re: Up and down an inch or so...

        cable slack, portsmouth has been the navy's home for many of years so they have all the tide data they need, predicting waves and tides is as accurate as 5 day weather forecasts

  23. Korev Silver badge
    Joke

    60Hz Vs 50Hz

    Sounds like they're putting a Pentium CPU in rather than a 486 SX2 - I pleased to hear that they're thinking of the floating point performance

  24. Rolly_Poly

    And these extra 10,000 tons that have been mysteriously added to the ship(s)' displacement...?

    http://www.aircraftcarrieralliance.co.uk/the-ships/key-facts.aspx

    Is there a London-class Heavy Cruiser of WWII vintage hidden aboard somewhere?

    Even converting 65,000 proper tons to an American short-ton leaves them short by a couple of WWII destroyers.

    For the benefit of the young and poorly educated :

    16 oz = 1lb

    14 lb = 1 stone

    112 lb = 1 cwt

    20 cwt = 1 ton

    And 1 ton = 2,240 lb

    1. Zmodem

      has 300 bigger and more powerful railguns

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      There are many ways of measuring a ship's tonnage, which isn't necessarily the same as its displacement. I suspect the QE Class's Suez Canal Net Tonnage would be laughably small and might be what you'd quote at the start of the programme to convince ministers you were only looking to buy a tiny tiny ship of no importance.

      It may be that someone tried adding the weight of the crew, stores, air group, fuel etc. to the empty displacement to come up with a more impressive figure.

  25. John Sturdy
    Boffin

    Why is fog such a problem?

    Why can't a modern ship dock in fog? Isn't that one of the things differential GPS was made for?

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Why is fog such a problem?

      I suspect it wasn't the docking bit, it was the getting into the entrance to Portsmouth harbour without hitting anything. It's not the easiest of manoeuvres at the best of times so if you're not in a rush why risk it.

      The ferries were probably still working but as they've occasionally hit a destroyer that's tied up alongside it probably explains the USN's reticence.

  26. Wayland Bronze badge

    EU Military Integration

    These ships will be given to the French Navy to command. They can't do much on their own.

  27. A Nonny Moose

    Nice Jetty you've got there

    Just don't let Sub-Lieutenant Phillips anywhere near it.

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