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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 25th Oct 2009, 15:38
  #2241 (permalink)  
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it could revert to aircraft carrier when QE is in refit or if other circumstances required it to do so
Nice idea, but in the current financial climate can we afford it? The QE will go in for refit at what intervals and for how long? Every 5-6 years for 6 months? And the manning issues / currency requirements for the ships compliment would be difficult to maintain. The RN complain already about the lack of deck time provided by JFH. With only enough JSF for one carrier we are either going to have two half-trained crews or one fully trained crew. I suppose we could always have all the JSF permanently embarked, including the OCU (!), moored off the coast somewhere. You could make savings by closing the land base then .
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 03:40
  #2242 (permalink)  
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Wow..a 65000 ton LPH. The USMC will be jealous.

Joking aside, what's to stop a MAG Configured airgroup going to sea continually? A balanced force of 12-18 F35, 4-6 CH47, 8-12 Medium SH, 8-10 AH and 4 MASC RW (plus some Royals) is pretty well capable of delivering appropriate effect in the vast majority of real operations that the CVF will ever be involved in (Diasater relief, Amphib "poise", limited Forced Intervention etc). The willy-waving value of a 30-40 ac F35B CAG is almost pointless in the real world, and only really of use in a high tempo war against a near peer....which (thankfully) is a very rare event. If we do need to alter the airgroup mid-cruise, then do so. After all, we're always told that HNS is available so staging/Strat AT shouldn't be a problem....

That should see the F35/CH47/CHF boys getting enough deck time and leave sufficient frames in the UK for training- assuming that the RW guys ever grow spare capacity or are pulled out of Afghanistan.

As I've said before, the F35 lines are long and there will be opportunity to buy extra frames if required (A,B or C) - in the same way that the F16 lines have run for years. It actually conveys the advantage of realising amortisation cost benefits and of buying more capable, later block number aircraft.

The priority now is not stealthy FJ ac, it is protected mobility for ground troops (vehicles/RW). At least this gets the hulls - we can make up the numbers, if appropriate, at a later date.
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 16:31
  #2243 (permalink)  
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so... fifty F-35's and one carrier. Won't be long now before the whole sorry saga is abandoned completely - as it should have been years ago.

So, how long until the Harrier fleet gets the chop? I'm still putting my money on next September. And the GR4 fleet? Hmm... couple of years?
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 17:49
  #2244 (permalink)  
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Tim, I suggest you READ the article, not just the headline, even though it is an awful example of journalism. Before this news came out we were scheduled to get two carriers and a first tranche of about 50 F-35Bs. Now, we are sheduled to get... Two Carriers and 50 F-35Bs to achieve IOC around 2018. The plan was always to have one 'on call' carrier available and a second at a few weeks notice. The second could always double up as a LPH, just as we do now with Lusty and Ark. Buying more F-35Bs later on in the early 2020s is srill a possibility, and the current financial problems won't have any effect on that. The only ship under threat is the replacement for HMS Ocean, though I expect her to be extended into the early 2020s and a replacement to be reinstated sometime after the first CVF is delivered.
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 18:47
  #2245 (permalink)  
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That's rather missing my point - what I was getting- at is that it's just another stage in a path towards what seems to be an inevitable abandonment of the whole carrier/F-35 programme. The process will drag on and on until the carriers have gone, the F-35 is gone, the Harriers are gone, and probably the Tornado GR4 fleet as well. We can all see where we're heading, it's just that some people seem to be unwilling to accept the fact. We're bankrupt and (as ever) punching above our weight.
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 18:50
  #2246 (permalink)  
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Britain, and America, has a economically hard decade ahed.

By the time POW is in the water though the financial state "should" be better (cross-fingers).

Having said that it is inconceivable that POW will be finished without at least the bare minimum of equipment to be able to operate Lightnings "in an emergency". The savings between that and a full complement of maintenance bays is going to be small beer and I can see it being sneaked in sometime before she is finished.

The real story here is the sacrifice of an HMS Ocean replacement (already rumoured) and a cut in Lightning numbers, The second of these is easily rectified by a later buy of lightnings.

The actual article is a mess, typical both of defence reporting in general and of a Murdoch paper in particular.

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Old 26th Oct 2009, 21:05
  #2247 (permalink)  
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easily rectified by a later buy of lightnings

... or a cancellation of the whole order - and a much more likely outcome I suspect!
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 22:38
  #2248 (permalink)  
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Interesting - I took this to be RN spin in overdrive- it feels like "Through Deck Cruisers" all over again.

In sum, this means that we're going to buy two QE-class CVFs, and buy the airwing for one. As other have said, this means that there is a buy of additional airframes later on, and since it would be more expensive to redesign the CVF design to be a super LPH, then it would be (in MoD PR09 world at any rate) a "SAVING" in not redesigning it. So what we have is two CVFs, one of which is called something else.

And, um, err, that's it.

I refer the honourable audience to my previous views on whether we should buy either of these things at all. (Synopsis: "No".)

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Old 27th Oct 2009, 00:22
  #2249 (permalink)  
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I like the brave new Gordy Brown scenario though - brilliant stuff...

Okay you evil Russians, don't forget our nuclear arsenal is out there somewhere, poised to attack you... well okay it might not be if it's in for a refit but that's just a risk you'll have to take... we might be poised to defend ourselves, then again we might not be... tricky little beggars us Brits, ain't we?

And think twice before you pick a fight with us, you evil foreign despots. We'll send our carrier out to get you. Ah yes, well we might not if it's in for a refit but we'll talk to our mates over in France as they said they might lend us a boat... unless theirs is in refit too.

It's enough to strike fear into the heart of any mere mortal.
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Old 27th Oct 2009, 23:32
  #2250 (permalink)  
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We'll send our carrier out to get you
Carriers...Carriers....there are 2 of them.
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Old 28th Oct 2009, 01:11
  #2251 (permalink)  
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... and since it would be more expensive to redesign the CVF design to be a super LPH ...

Redesign? What redesign would you suggest?
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Old 28th Oct 2009, 10:12
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There will be 2 of them ....... once King William's grand daughter has cracked the champagne on the hull of the second!
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Old 28th Oct 2009, 11:00
  #2253 (permalink)  
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It's a golden rule in aircraft development ( and various other bits of kit for that matter ) that one does one thing at a time, i.e. new engine, new airframe but not both at the same time unless at war.

The F-35B ( or any other mark ) will take some serious testing from the CVF/s ; I'm not into gambling, but would happily put a whole in ( I AM half Scotish ) that the first fixed wing thing to touch the deck will be a Harrier.

I'll say it again, as the F-35B ( and the A & C models which they all they entail ), have a LOT of devopment work to do yet, a couple of dozen Harrier 2+ ( at the moment standing in the Mohave desert ) with AIM120 AMRAAMS could at the least provide fleet defence for ourseves & allies, and shares a great degree of ' commonality ' of parts with the Harrier GR7/9 strike / bomber, ( but unlike the Sea Harrier the media remembers, NO fighter ) - I think I'm in a position to know as I worked on both.
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Old 2nd Nov 2009, 13:07
  #2254 (permalink)  
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Golden Rules

A "golden rule" eh?

As in F35?, or Nimrod whatever year it's now called?

About the last time we used a well proven engine in a combat aircraft was the Spey in the Bucc, and thanks to Blackburn and Roy Boot we have never had a better aircraft. Strange to think isn't it that thirty five years ago we had almost all the capability we are now praying for! Progress in the field of defence is an odd thing to behold. I sadly tend to believe that there will simply not be the will in either government of the Navy to push mightily to continue this; the time frame will slip into IGBAD refurbishment, batch two Astutes, Trident refurb, Type 45 buys, NGF, and the money simply will not be there.
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Old 2nd Nov 2009, 13:47
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I can see a pattern there: Avon and Hunter, Sapphire and Javelin, Olympus and Vulcan, Conway and Victor, Orpheus and Gnat (combat in India), Gannet and Double Mamba and, of course, Pegasus and Kestrel/Harrier. Yes, all very risky.
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Old 3rd Nov 2009, 14:26
  #2256 (permalink)  
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Hmm, 3 points.

1. I don't believe it was claimed that the POW would be modified to make it incapable of carrying the F-35B.

2. He doesn't actually address the number of F-35Bs to be purchsed or state that there will be 2 wings.

3. He never refutes the claim that there is $1-2B shortfall, only that Gray report doesn't give an evidence to prove it. And why would it?

This would seem to be a smokescreen. Nothing has been said to refute the original leaks regarding the cuts to the F-35B order, the reroling of the RAF sqns to Typhoon and the use of the POW to replace HMS Ocean with her planned replacement being deferred or cancelled.

Davies: both carriers will take JSF

Both the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales aircraft carriers will be able to carry the joint strike fighter (JSF) according to defence equipment and support minister Quentin Davies. Speaking in the House of Commons he also rubbished the Gray Report's claim that there was a 2bn annual overspend in the MoD's equipment programme.

In October, it was reported that government would downgrade either the Queen Elizabeth or the Prince of Wales carrier, taking away their ability to carry the JSF. Reports stated the MoD was looking to save money on the 65,000 tonne carriers, which are already 1bn over budget.

Davies said reports the carrier plans were to be scaled down were "complete rubbish".

"There is no suggestion at all, and there has never been in our minds at all, to re-specify the two aircraft carriers," he said. "There has been no change in that programme, and neither has there been any change in our JSF programme. We are already committed to purchasing the first three aircraft."

He also said there was "no evidential basis" to the statement in the Gray report that between 1bn and 2.2bn was being lost each year as a result of failure to control equipment spending. "The very fact that the range is between 1bn and two point something billion shows how imprecise that statement inevitably would be," said Davies.
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Old 3rd Nov 2009, 17:34
  #2257 (permalink)  
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Denying everything except the main point is a long established tactic.

In fact, reducing the JSF force could make much sense.

It defuses the RAF "we'd rather have more Typhoons" option.

It reduces the cost of the carrier project in current budget projections, while in theory leaving open the option of buying more aircraft later, or equipping both ships when it comes time to replace the JSF-B.

There are many circumstances (for example, where you'd like CAS and BAI ashore, but there's no direct air threat to the ships) when a smaller embarked force of JSFs would be adequate.

It avoids early commitment to an aircraft that seems to have trouble making it from FW to Pax, much less doing a VL. (Today's question is from Meteorology 101: What is the weather on the Atlantic seaboard like in November and December, and how is it different from the weather in summer?)
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Old 3rd Nov 2009, 21:15
  #2258 (permalink)  
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Of course there is no change in Britain's JSF programme, as they have only ordered two Initial Operational Test & Evaluation models and are committed to buying another third as that is so far all they have been required to do in terms of orders. Davies himself said last year that a decision on how many F-35Bs will be ordered won't be made fully until about 2014. Besides, the thing has yet to finish its development to say something like "we are going to buy xx(x) F-35Bs. Definitely. The I.O.U. slip is already in the post." Nobody has done that yet as far as I was aware.
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Old 4th Nov 2009, 17:46
  #2259 (permalink)  
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According to the Times article:-

"The RAF, which had been due to replace its Tornado aircraft with the JSF, will now equip all its frontline squadrons with Eurofighter aircraft instead."
As far as I understand the Tornado F3 were always going to convert to Typhoon and there has been no decisions regarding replacing the GR's with F-35.

Does this journalist actually mean RAF harriers or does he not have a clue? Maybe it is me that is out of the loop?
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Old 4th Nov 2009, 18:38
  #2260 (permalink)  
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Ignoring the confusion of the article, if you wanted to save some serious cash in the next Defence Review (we do) then if you decided that CVF was the wrong / an unaffordable capability, then you could do the following:

- Cancel CVF
- Chop CVS (minus CVF, unnecessary)
- Chop Harrier (not going back to the 'Stan, not needed for CVS or CVF)
- Chop Dave-B and procure Dave-C in 2020 to replace GR4

Which would save lots of cash - and lot of Matelots to do other, more useful, things.

The question is, would MoD have the nerve...

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