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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 11th Dec 2020, 09:04
  #6041 (permalink)  
 
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ORAC posted a link in the F-35 thread - here are the interesting bits for this thread

https://www.defensenews.com/global/e...lls-lawmakers/

LONDON – British Ministry of Defence officials have confirmed the military will buy more than the 48 F-35B combat jets already on order, but they were reluctant to be drawn on exactly when and how many aircraft may eventually be involved when they gave evidence to the parliamentary Defence committee Dec 8.

“We know we need to increase the number of F-35Bs to support the [Royal Navy] carrier through to its out-of-service date. The precise number will dependent a bit on the work we do and the investment we are making on the FCAS,” he said, referring to the UK-led Tempest program. “We expect to make a definitive judgement around the total future fleet in the 2025 timeframe,” Knighton added.

Britain originally committed to buy 138 of the Lockheed Martin short take-off vertical landing combat jets to equip a joint force of Royal Navy/Royal Air Force aircraft. The F-35Bs are principally scheduled to equip two new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers. Knighton said the final number could be up to the 138 commitment, or less. “We need to do the analysis and work to ensure we get the right number,” he told the committee.

The British plan to only deploy one carrier at any given time due to a lack of resources. Knighton said the British “will be able to operate up to 24 aircaft from 2023 onwards. If we want to order aircraft to be delivered in the later part of the decade we will need to allocate some of the funding that we anticipate [being available] to do that. Defence committee chairman Tobias Ellwood commented on the small number of jets the British plan to operate from the carriers, saying: “We are going to end up with a fantastic looking aircraft carrier, very bespoke aircraft, but not many of them onboard.”

Sir Stephen Lovegrove, the permanent secretary at the MoD, told the committee that while it was certain Britain would order more jets it wouldn’t be anytime soon. “It’s inevitable we are going to buy more than 48 jets, otherwise we won’t be able to operate the carriers probably. Not for the next four years, though, it’s about the 48 [jets on order]. There are certainly plans and conversation with Lockheed Martin about the future purchases, we just haven’t got to the stage of contract yet,”


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Old 11th Dec 2020, 11:24
  #6042 (permalink)  
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The slow build up of the F-35B force is disappointing - but hopefully the new settlement for defence announced a few weeks ago might help. Perhaps a few quid could be spent on ASW helicopters - spares and support as well as airframes? I understand their are projects to improve ASW capabilities by improving the Pingers' ability to share information with other task group assets.

I think that some politicians forget that the aircraft carrier is not just about carrying jets for hitting targets ashore. They have a very real role in play in things such as (integrated) Anti Air Warfare and (integrated) Anti Submarine Warfare. Since a big thing seems to be made about deploying eight or so Typhoons somewhere, does deploying the same number of F-35B/Lightnings aboard a carrier that is also carrying a squadron of ASW Merlins for a NATO role, perhaps an exercise like Steadfast Defender 21 really such a let down?

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 11th Dec 2020 at 14:05.
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 14:58
  #6043 (permalink)  
 
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I thought it worthwhile reading the minutes. https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/1350/pdf/

MoD PUS Sir Steven Lovegrove opening statement included the following:
The strategy is pretty clear. We know that there are significant pressures in the programme—the money certainly goes to help that—but there is a very clear direction on modernisation and the announcement made by the Prime Minister made it clear that he expects us to accelerate on that. We are clearly driven by three things, the first of which is an appreciation that the threat is getting greater weekly. We have recently seen much more activity by Russian warships in British waters, potentially hostile attempts to get into our supply chain and the continuation of violent extremism. We know what the threat is, and we are very much driven by a desire to meet it with modern technology and in more places more often across the world. We have a sense of wishing to be more actively deployed, thinking more about our posture than our contingent structure. We are driven by the desire of the Prime Minister and the Government for the UK to reassert itself on the world stage. We are mainly Euro-Atlantic, but clearly we will do more in the Asian Pacific. We are very much driven by an appreciation of the need to double down and invest in new technology, particularly where Britain is at the forefront. That is the strategy that is driving this. It will become fuller and betterarticulated in the integrated review, when the agencies, the Home Office and the Foreign Office will have their moments, but it is all part of a fairly clear picture.
Chair (Tobias Ellwood MP): The simple answer is yes; you don’t need to be a sea dog to know that it is 24 per carrier. But you are right in what you imply. The force effects at readiness is a rather military way of saying, “I need some to train on, I need some that will probably be in repair and I’m going to need some for long-term maintenance.” It still means that you have 24 to do that. The multiple on force effects at readiness is one to four: for every one that is combat ready, with a pilot, ready to go, you need another three spare for all these other activities, so you can guarantee the one. That means 24 divided by four, taking you down to six. You’re going to have six working aircraft ready to rock and roll on any deck at any time, if you stick to 48. Do you agree with that?

Sir Stephen Lovegrove: It rather depends on whether you have both carriers out at the same time, and we don’t anticipate they will be.

Air Marshal Knighton: Mr Ellwood, your arithmetic is spot on, but, as the permanent secretary says, the policy around the use of the carrier is that we will only deploy one carrier at a time. It will be available 100% of the time, and we will be able to deploy up to 24 jets on that carrier.
May be I am just thick but I can't see how the RN can support a robust strategy in both 'Euro-Atlantic' and 'Asian Pacific' with out an an assurance that they have the ability to deploy two carriers with a full air compliment. Or is it just they assume any Asia Pacific operations will always be under USN air cover?

The DCDS (Military Capability) cheered me up slightly.
Air Marshal Knighton: The Prime Minister made clear in his statement the importance of shipbuilding and his commitment to increasing the size of the Navy, particularly the Navy’s surface fleet. Type 32 is the name given to the follow-on capability from Type 31. The broad intent is that that will follow on in the same vein as Type 31, as a general-purpose frigate. It will have open architecture, which will enable it to fulfil a range of roles. We anticipate that construction will start towards the end of this decade, and we will use the time between now and then to refine the requirement and the potential design, and to understand the commercial model. We will be in a better place to answer your specific questions about how much it will cost and precisely what it will look like in due course. I’m afraid I cannot give you more specific guidance than that, other to confirm again the commitment that the Prime Minister has made both to shipbuilding and to increasing the Navy surface fleet.
My emphasis
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 16:47
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Interesting - first clear statement in a long time that the RN will only be operating one carrier at a time. And not a great deal of apparent enthusiasm for ordering more F-35's soon

I'd hoped they'd buy more Type 31's rather than go through another design phase but I guess that's out keeping people employed in the Constructors Office
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 18:29
  #6045 (permalink)  
 
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It was all in SDSR2015 and resulted in the slow squadron build up. In essence, two carriers available but only one air group It remains to be seen whether that persists through the IR.
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 08:05
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Lovegrove specifically said they wouldn't see more jets for "the next 4 years" - I'm hoping he means they take 4 years to deliver and they'll order more in 2022 for 2025/26 delivery - not that they're going to wait 4 years to order more......... but in these troubled times ...
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 14:22
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Lovegrove specifically said they wouldn't see more jets for "the next 4 years" - I'm hoping he means they take 4 years to deliver and they'll order more in 2022 for 2025/26 delivery - not that they're going to wait 4 years to order more......... but in these troubled times ...
The timeframe indicated by PUS is "late '20s", no doubt the actual dates will be heavily influenced by the additional affordability concerns of beancounters in the House of Darkness (HMT) following the effects on the economy of Covid and Brexit. The SDSR/IR cycle might also have an effect with the next one due in 2025 or 2026. Also we may well have a different party in government at the end of 2024.

Q54 Chair: To probe this a bit further, we have confirmed that we have 48 in the bag, but we don’t know if we will be getting any more than that. Am I right so far? A simple reply, please.
Sir Stephen Lovegrove: We do know that we will be getting more of those; we just haven’t put them on contract yet.
Q55 Chair: Have you got the money for that yet or not?
Sir Stephen Lovegrove:The money only goes for the next four years, and that will cover the 48. There is absolutely no question that we will need to be buying more F-35Bs if we want to properly equip the carriers. It will be in the late ‘20s.
Q56 Chair: I am right in saying that you have the 48 in the bag, and you have the money to pay for that. Beyond that, there is a question mark. That, I think, is fair. Do we agree so far?
Sir Stephen Lovegrove: I am really aiming not to be Sir Humphrey on this one. There is a question mark, yes, in the funding, because we only have funding for the next four years. And you are talking about beyond that period. If, however, the question is about whether we need more F-35Bs to properly equip the carriers, then there’s no doubt about that: yes we do
My favourite Lovegrove quote from this session is, "I have obviously become a fully naturalised Whitehall citizen, because I have been accused of being Sir Humphrey twice in the first hour."
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 15:48
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So, will there only be enough pilots and maintainers for one air group, and if so will they only ever be ashore long enough to shift their gear from QNLZ to PoW and back again?
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 16:24
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Originally Posted by SLXOwft View Post
The timeframe indicated by PUS is "late '20s", no doubt the actual dates will be heavily influenced by the additional affordability concerns of beancounters in the House of Darkness (HMT) following the effects on the economy of Covid and Brexit. The SDSR/IR cycle might also have an effect with the next one due in 2025 or 2026. Also we may well have a different party in government at the end of 2024.



My favourite Lovegrove quote from this session is, "I have obviously become a fully naturalised Whitehall citizen, because I have been accused of being Sir Humphrey twice in the first hour."
I think he's trying hard not to preempt the IR and the outcome of combat air studies. I suspect the four years he's referring to is the existing approved budget for the 48, which runs to delivery of the last one in 2025.

If the IR or combat air studies change posture, then that's when they'll order any additional.
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Old 23rd Dec 2020, 10:26
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Originally Posted by Timelord View Post
So, will there only be enough pilots and maintainers for one air group, and if so will they only ever be ashore long enough to shift their gear from QNLZ to PoW and back again?
I believe the plan is that when one carrier is in the Carrier Strike role the other will be in refit, working up, or operating in the Littoral Maneuvere role. I am not not sure there will be a fixed air group - indeed this is one of the advantages of V/STOL as the pilots can stay carrier qualified without constant training. The number embarked routinely will be lower than the number embarked during a real operation.

Try not to forget the contribution she will make to task group ASW and command and control, and that not all the operational tasks, such as NATO command duties spoken of here, will be F-35B heavy. I expect either Queen Elizabeth or Prince of Wales to participate in the major NATO reinforcement exercise next year, which I expect will involve her performing a flagship role, with the jets doing intercepts, including being controlled from a Type 45, and the ASW Merlins doing coordinated ASW in conjunction with towed array equipped frigates, MPA, and even a submarine or two.




Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 27th Jan 2021 at 19:25.
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Old 23rd Dec 2020, 16:05
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I know that we all know this...but the Task Groupís task is not ASW. ASW is an enabler that allows the Task Group to go about the task in hand. The same is true of DCA.
Carrier Strike is about three bubbles. The small one in the middle is for admin/ deck ops and critical but boring stuff like that; the medium one is the Force Protection bubble of air and water space you need, slightly more exciting but not really worth shelling out for. ASW and DCA, that sort of triv. The big outer bubble is why you actually buy carriers - reserved for things like Strike, SF insertion...that sort of thing.
Iíd love to hear that exercise planners etc Ďgot ití!
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Old 23rd Dec 2020, 17:21
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The article WEBF refers to is a report of a series of written PQs asked by Shadow Defence Minister, and MP for Pompey South, Stephen Morgan. Looks like Lordflasheart was correct about the £2m.

My understanding was also that the air group composition will be dynamic with assets determined according to the tasks at hand.

I assume WEBF you are speaking from inside knowledge as SHAPE's current public list of exercises https://shape.nato.int/nato-exercises doesn't include any Atlantic exercises and MARCOM isn't listing any yet for 2021? I assume a sort of Northern Civil Partnership, a pale shadow of Northern Wedding? The PQs would suggest the participant will be HMS QNLZ.

Question for Ministry of Defence
HMS Prince of Wales: Repairs and Maintenance
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department is making on repairing HMS Prince of Wales after its second flooding incident in October 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Asked 8 December 2020 Answered 14 December 2020 by Jeremy Quin

Repairs of the damage caused by floodwater in the engine room of HMS PRINCE OF WALES are progressing as planned. The Ship's Company is conducting concurrent preparations for their programme of at sea training activity in 2021 which precede her operational commitments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department is making on repairing HMS Prince of Wales after its second flooding incident in October 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Question for Ministry of Defence
HMS Prince of Wales: Repairs and Maintenance
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2020 to Question 126964, when HMS Prince of Wales will be operational again.

Asked 14 December 2020 Answered 17 December 2020 by James Heapey

HMS PRINCE OF WALES will return to sea in May 2021 to commence preparations for her next planned operational tasking. This underway period will take the form of activities in UK waters prior to her undertaking NATO Command duties in 2022.

Question for Ministry of Defence
HMS Prince of Wales: Repairs and Maintenance
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2020 to Question 126964 on HMS Prince of Wales: Repairs and Maintenance, what estimate he has made of the cost of the repairs.

Asked 14 December 2020 Answered 17 December 2020 By Jeremy Quin

The estimated incremental cost of the repair work is £3.3 million.

Remedial work being conducted on both Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers to help prevent a repetition of this event is expected to cost £2.2 million.


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Old 23rd Dec 2020, 19:19
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Originally Posted by orca View Post
I know that we all know this...but the Task Group’s task is not ASW. ASW is an enabler that allows the Task Group to go about the task in hand. The same is true of DCA.
Carrier Strike is about three bubbles. The small one in the middle is for admin/ deck ops and critical but boring stuff like that; the medium one is the Force Protection bubble of air and water space you need, slightly more exciting but not really worth shelling out for. ASW and DCA, that sort of triv. The big outer bubble is why you actually buy carriers - reserved for things like Strike, SF insertion...that sort of thing.
I’d love to hear that exercise planners etc ‘got it’!
Regarding your middle bubble - I think the middle and outer bubbles may well be the same thing. I am thinking of things such as protecting an amphibious force from the enemy, or defending resupply convoys - which is why the US Navy committed eight carrier groups to the Atlantic during the eighties - with a role of SLOC protection, as noted by this former US Navy EA-6B Prowler guy.

...the primary mission for the CV/CVN in the North Atlantic was not ASW (it was an additional role) but rather AAW to prevent the Backfire/Bears from attacking the convoys.

It was also the reason the CVS was built with Sea Kings for ASW in the GIUK gap and SHAR to deal with the Bears providing reconnaissance and over the horizon targeting for submarine launched missiles. NATO is back to minding the gap...

Originally Posted by SLXOwft
I assume WEBF you are speaking from inside knowledge as SHAPE's current public list of exercises https://shape.nato.int/nato-exercises doesn't include any Atlantic exercises and MARCOM isn't listing any yet for 2021? I assume a sort of Northern Civil Partnership, a pale shadow of Northern Wedding? The PQs would suggest the participant will be HMS QNLZ.
Try Googling Exercise Steadfast Defender 21 - or perhaps looking at this recent story from the RN website:

Exercise Steadfast Defender (STDE21) will be a significant milestone in achieving FOC, demonstrating JFC Norfolk’s competence and readiness to fulfil its roles and responsibilities.

As a SHAPE-sponsored operational and tactical level live exercise, STDE21 will train and evaluate a wide range of NATO and national force elements. Focused on the reinforcement of continental Europe from North America, NATO will exercise its ability to secure the Strategic Lines of Communication which link our continents.

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum! Happy Christmas!
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Old 4th Jan 2021, 22:11
  #6054 (permalink)  
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Happy New Year!

Carrier Strike Group hits important milestone - hot off the press today!

Both the air and naval elements of the CSG have now met this milestone, which includes qualified pilots and ground crews being held at short notice for carrier-based operations and trained to handle weapons and maintain the equipment. HMS Queen Elizabeth is now considered to have achieved IOC and is at five days' readiness to move.



STDE21 and CSG21 coming up! Barring unexpected crises - of course!

Reposted to insert Twitter update.
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Old 10th Jan 2021, 16:30
  #6055 (permalink)  
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USS Gerald R Ford still experiencing problems - New York Post

The issues on the USS Gerald R. Ford “remain consistent” with those from previous years, according to a Pentagon assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

The carriers’ issues include problems getting jets off the deck and issues with the landing systems.

“Poor or unknown reliability of new technology systems critical for flight operations,” including the carriers’ electromagnetic launch system worth $3.5 billion could affect its ability to generate sorties, Bloomberg reported, citing the assessment.

Just think - people who should know a little about System Integration have claimed repeatedly that if the UK had got F-35C or F/A-18 and gone for a conventional carrier we could have regenerated Carrier Strike faster. Really? Just like people who argued that Typhoon should have been navalised - NO!

I wonder if the new light aircraft carrier the US Navy is planning will inherit any features from the QEC? It looks like the Korean one will. Has the Bedford Array technology been sold to anyone - I thought the Americans were considering using it to improve landing accuracy and I expect it would be useful to French pilots landing aboard the CDG?

Without her normal complement of jets, the Ford can still act as a flagship, conduct ASW operations with the MH-60R, and possibly embark either F-35B or AV-8B. Even in an ASW role you would want to have jets to stop hostile aircraft from interfering with your helicopters or doing reconiasance and over the horizon targeting.

You do have to expect problems with so many new systems being fitted at the same time. I doubt that the media coverage is completely fair.

Incidentally, the RN/RAF F-35B Lightning will be equipped with SPEAR3 for use against ground and maritime targets - including enemy warships.

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 10th Jan 2021 at 22:26. Reason: Add more info
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Old 10th Jan 2021, 16:40
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"the new light aircraft carrier the US Navy is planning " - they're not planning one WEBF - they're carrying out yet another comparative study - there are enough previous ones published so why they are bothering is beyond me

and don't crow too soon - many RN designs have issues that rear their heads later - T45's for example - and what did go wrong with the "Audacious"? 2 years late in sea trials and all sorts of rumours about something major not working

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Old 25th Jan 2021, 07:38
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I was not crowing - why would I? I was actually making the point that even with problems launching and recovering jets, the carrier is still a vital platform for ASW, Command and Control, and if you needed them V/STOL aircraft.

On the subject of carriers and ASW, in the last couple of weeks there has been a bit of an argument over on ARRSE on the Carrier Strike thread - for about twelve pages. It has been two arguments really:

1. The main operating area - peacetime sea lines of communication or transatlantic resupply/reinforcement routes as part of NATO? Note that they are not mutually exclusive, and shipping to the UK/Europe terminates in the Eastern Atlantic whatever the original source. A warship (or other unit) can be deployed East of Suez and redeploy if needed, as part of the NATO 30/30/30/30 initiative. Within thirty days, NATO will be able to deploy thirty major warships, thirty squadrons of combat aircraft, and thirty mechanised infantry battalions

2. ASW helicopters - a bit of a disagreement between those of us who can do basic Maths and those with experiencing of operating helicopters at sea, and those with experience in the land environment or Googling things. The extra ninety minutes of endurance that Merlin has compared to MH-60R or NH-90 really does make a difference, as does the Observer and avionics suite.

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 27th Jan 2021 at 19:28.
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Old 26th Jan 2021, 08:45
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many RN designs have issues that rear their heads later
This is so true. Throughout my career the ships I served in suffered from blocked heads - normally the CPOs' heads. We generally blamed the Chief Stoker.
Sorry - I'll get my coat ...
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Old 26th Jan 2021, 14:50
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but you don't want them rearing up surely? Rum, something else and the lash IIRC.........
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Old 28th Jan 2021, 00:50
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I think you Brits should thank your lucky stars you appear to have to half decent carriers and a stovie air wing.
Here in Oz we are getting a French nuke sub that will have the guts ripped out to put a smelly diesel engine in.
A couple of "sort of" aviation platforms, mainly for the army, ski jumps but the chance of getting F35B's is about as Australia getting nuclear power generation.
We'll stick with wind/solar and save the world from you filthy polluters.
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