Re: O2 many issues
because every nation can afford to build Nimitz class carriers...
Bizarre logic on your part. There's no need for the sort of scale, cost and complexity of a 100,000 tonne nuclear powered monster carrying 90 aircraft. A 50,000 tonne steam or gas turbine powered vessel with catapults could field a decent air wing of fifty aircraft including supersonic jets (eg R09, back in 1968). Had the idiots of the British government included catapults in the original spec of the QE class carriers, we wouldn't need the costly abomination that is the F35B.
Besides that, half the US carriers are of the STOVL type,
Doesn't make it a good idea though. A helicopter assault ship is just that. Giving it a couple of Harriers won't give it any defence capabilility against any modern air power. Although the dawn of hypersonic missiles and "swarm" tactics by non conventional militaries may mean that even a Ford class with a full collection of F35s is nothing more than a big, fat, dumb target.
the venerable Harrier, which, oh, they bought all the old British ones
If the Harrier was such a brilliant military asset, why did the US decide to build the F35B using Russian technology from the crappy Yak 38 and unproven Yak 141? It would seem that it did not occur to the Pentagon, that if there was the slightest hint of military potential in that tech, the Russians wouldn't be selling it to them. A further thought, is WHY the US and UK want carriers at all, given that the Russians have only one, that they are not looking to replace. We've jointly caused global mayhem by using our carriers as a small part of twenty years or so of hobby wars, they're clearly not much use in a real war against any modern military, they don't appear to be frightening Fat Boy Kim in North Korea, so is bombing Stone Age tribes in the Middle East and central Asia the single use case?
F-35 comes in different varieties, and only the carrier based one gets the VTOL
We do know. The whole F35 programme is bedevilled with the consequences of trying to share parts, use compromise specifications. Even if the F35B element were stopped today, the two other variants will still be "under the influence" of trying to make a multi-role aircraft for the remainder of their service lives.