The Defence Of Britain
What kind of Threats does Britain face ?
A - Nuclear Ballistic Missiles comning in from any trajectory.
B - Cruise Missiles, nuclear-tipped or not coming from from the sea. Especially the Tu-95 "visits" coming down along the nowegian coast are a clear threath and provocation.
C - Potential amphibious landings from the European continent.
D - Threats to British shipping and lines of communication in choke points like Suez, Aden, the Malakka Strait and the Street of Hormuz.
E - Threats to allies like Estonia, Saudi-Arabia, Oman from powerful neighbours. Note that these threats are no longer clear threats to "Britain".
How to deal with these threats taking into account the current armory:
A - SLBMs and in the future potentially road- or rail-based ballistic missiles as a cheap, indigenious replacement. If the russians can do that, Britain can do it too.
B - Eurofighters combined with upgraded ADV Tornadoes. The latter need the same Radar as the Eurofighter and new missiles. The airframe itself is the best solution to the long-range, supersonic cruise-missile threat exemplified by the Tu95 Bomber and its cruise missile weapons. Swept-Wing Technology allows for long loitering or patrols, combined with supersonic "dashes" to get into the shooting position to intercept the latest russian cruise missiles.
The Eurofighter complements this anti-bomber capability with the most agile fighter of the western world and would fend off any fighters attacking British forces. Both Tornado and Eurofighter could be further upgraded with thrust-vectoring technology developed by MBB/Rockwell in the X-31 project.
An affordable AWACS solution would be the medium-sized Saab ISR aircraft to defend British airspace. A330 MRTT tankers are force-multipliers to keep EFA and Tornado fighters far away from British beaches fueld for sorties of 8 hours and more. The Tornado concept of pilot and WSO makes even longer patrols far norh of Scotland possible, as one crew member can relax while the other one monitors the aircraft.
C - The RAF and the RN have sufficient weapons systems to make such an option virtually impossible. Frigates, Tornado (using the combat-proven Exocet system) and Eurofighter would screen the coasts. In addition to that, British Army tanks would quickly crush any "stealthy" invasion.
D - These problems can be solved without the cooperation of any large, belligerent nation by the EU themselves. Imagine Iran trying to choke the Hormus strait. German submarines would respond by sinking any large vessel in the strait, while French, German, Italian, Spanish and British fighter/bomber aircraft would attack surface targets. Meanwhile, a German-led tank army would be assembled (taking one year or so) in Saudi-Arabia to slash deep into Iran, conquering Teheran in less than one month. If we made it to Stalingrad, Tehran will be a holiday trip. There exist more than 3000 Leopard main battle tanks around the globe and plenty of seasoned tank commanders up to general rank in Europe.
Large armoured attacks against Egypt, Lybia and Somalia would work the same way.
E - The deep-strike capability of the Tornado bomber would be used to hit targets deep in well-defended airspace (e.g. S-400 defended airspace) in support of these allies. The concept of terrain-hugging is still valid against seasoned operators of the latest air-defence systems. Incompetent Arab operators of Russian air defence systems do not make a counterargument. The Tornado loss rates in iraq were as high as expected in a conflict with the warsaw pact. Operating at higher altitude against seasoned russian and NVA radar operators would have been simple suicide.
Where does this leave the aircraft carrier ? It leaves it to large, belligerent nations who want to quickly leash out at supposed or real threats, without much political investment. If there is a problem anywhere, the EU can fix it with a large-scale, common response which will take about one year to deliver the Hammer of 2000 Leopard, Leclerc, Merkava and Challenger tanks attacking simultaneously. During the time of armour build-up, diplomacy can run its course, which is exactly what is required instead of "shooting out of the hip".