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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 5th May 2021, 22:01
  #6201 (permalink)  
 
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Tuc,
The trip in question was minus jets, so there was just us, the 771 cab and a Merlin that took ages to get serviceable on the Fort boat. Nottingham did have a Lynx but that went for a swim. I must admit I can't remember whether we did any actual "rescues", but the winch was not just for show. So hats off to you for not bowing to pressure. We were actually ready to go to 2 fishermen floating in an empty storage container (1 dead unfortunately), but the RFA got there first.
I really think the "5 Merlins can do" statement has cost the Navy dearly. As you said, beancounters just don't understand what they're doing beyond their little bubble. The guy who first said it obviously meant in the ASW role, in a particular scenario, but why let the truth get in the way. Now we have a further attrition of ASW cabs by fitting a bunch of them with a bag (if only they had looked seriously at the storage cabs for Asac). Yes I know it's role fit, but you know that's cobblers. The image of doing a hot role change on deck when Red October comes knocking, is just for public consumption in my opinion.
H "n" H,
I keep forgetting that the language we spoke was very particular to the Navy and WAFFUs especially. I know my first attempts at producing a CV on leaving the RN needed "de-Mateloting" by my career transition advisor.
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Old 6th May 2021, 06:13
  #6202 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Martin the Martian View Post
Purely anecdotal, but since 820 disappeared to Portsmouth last week, Merlin activity in the skies over West Cornwall has reduced to almost nothing.
Probably because all the spares went to QNLZ by road the week before and the S cabs flew in last week.

The 5 Merlin for 8 SK might have worked had the ILS budget not been cut to the bone and beyond.
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Old 6th May 2021, 06:44
  #6203 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Hot 'n' High View Post
airsound, trust me, you are not the first person to accuse us WAFFU's of talking utter nonsense ........ and, sadly, there will be many, many, many after you who will say the same!!!!! All I can say is .......... it's a fair cop, Guv! But you picked up on the really important bit!!!!!!!!! So "BZ" as we would say!!!

Tuc, forgot all about our convo way back on the Mk. 7 fiasco. I did laugh when I got the GFE list across my desk for the Mk. 2 bits to feed into the Mk. 7 Mods Programme. The 2 was UOR if I recall (hence the hand-to-mouth shuffling of things like pallets) so one would have hoped the endorsed requirement for the replacement would have acknowledged those issues. Seemingly, if you manage to survive on a "beg-steal-borrow" Support Policy long enough ..... why not read that forward for the next Fleet?! Good on you/PE for sorting that out! Was that our certain "do the Mod over the weekend" friend again? And I never realised the Merlin had older kit than the SK 6! Never worked Merlin so always assumed it was a big jump forward. Ah well, H 'n' H was always one to "look on the bright side of life!" as Eric Idle wrote for Monty Python! Actually, "Monty Python" sums up an awful lot of stuff!!! Hey ho! H 'n' H
Lots of issues there Hot'n'High! You'll recall there were 10 Mk2 airframes, but 2 were attrition airframes, not aircraft, and there was no kit for them. The Radar System Upgrade (a small part of the ASaC Mk7 programme) endorsement said 10 fully fitted, but the top-up buy was uneconomical. Not much more to buy an extra 7 or 8. But there was a contradiction on the same page - SOIU said '96 hours continuous coverage from a CVS'. That worked out at 16 cabs. (And was prescient, as that is exactly what the squadron did in 2003). But Main Building doesn't like getting caught out on their arithmetic, so dug their heels in and said 10. But there was tacit approval after a quiet meeting with their boss, and swift support for the extra 3. Depending on who asked, we gave a different reason.

The Pallet Head and Scanner Assy was always a problem. We (you, me) were always loathe to send them back to 4th line, as the Swing Arm was an old piece of North Sea gas pipe and could never be certified. And there was no safety case possible for the 3000 psi accumulator. The poor rep from Thorn, who lived in the portacabin at the 849 hangar door, had his work cut out. He was brilliant.

MoD acquisition is littered with programmes that the end user assumed would be an improvement, but were actually endorsed as a 'replacement'. RMPA for Nimrod. BOWMAN was not required to be any better than Clansman. 'Entryism' to get the job off the ground, hoping your OR successors will manage to swing an upgrade. Merlin avionics was definitely in this category, if only because of the 'on board commonality' mandate for CVSs.

To be fair, the 'convert the fleet over a week-end' chap got on board and helped persuade OR on the 13 cabs business. The basic problem was that 99.9% of the RN thought it was a minor Transmitter power hike, with colour displays. Poor communication. When your AEO sussed his cabs would disappear for a 3 month upgrade, I was asked to do Q&A sessions on what you were getting. I remember the pilot who was always front and centre and eager to learn was Andy Wilson, who was killed in 2003. A lot of the nice to have tweaks came from him.


Oldgrubber

"If only they had looked seriously at the storage cabs for Asac".

Ferranti's Blue Vixen, in a Merlin, won the 'ASaC' radar job hands down in 1993. There was a political overrule, and we were told to give the radar contract to Racal, and upgrade Searchwater LAST. Hence, the honking great list of 3,000+ items handed to Hot'n'High, whose boss had nil resources as everyone 'knew' it was to be Merlin with a new radar. Problem was, Racal had never bid - it was purely a political decision to protect jobs in the Minister's constituency. The programme was frozen for 6 months to allow them to work out what we wanted. (They never did). Retention of Sea King was directed, but it turned out to be a good decision (for the wrong reason) as there was no guarantee Merlin would be ready. There were too many unknowns on Merlin in 1993, and it could have ended up as a Chinook Mk3 or Nimrod cock-up; which were both predicted and notified at the time. You'll recall FOAEW and then MASC worked on the assumption that the Sea King consoles would simply be transferred to whatever platform they chose. Not gonna happen when the consoles are part of the superstructure. What has become Crowsnest was always going to be delayed until the genius who made that assumption was promoted out of the way. Little changes!
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Old 6th May 2021, 08:50
  #6204 (permalink)  
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Well, Tuc, Not_a_boffin, Oldgrubber, Martin the Martian, SLXOwft and others, a fairly comprehensive list of concerns raised in the last few days - and, OG, exactly my thoughts re the "role-change" concept from ASW to AEW. Sounds good in theory ...... I remembered that point after I'd posted and was en-route to the Beer Garden for a couple of hours "on task"! And, Tuc, glad our "friend" came good in the end.

So, WE BF, I think you have some inkling now as to why there is a degree of concern and maybe why things don't add up reading across from CVS to QE - there are just so many factors influencing this - some going back more than a few years now! And none are reflected in the current MoD "Tweets" - unsurprisingly!

I'll bow out of this convo now, but, in departing, I think I can probably say on behalf of all the above Posters, I wish the Lads and Lassies tasked to make this all work all the best. Ultimately, it's in the Cab or on the Flight Deck or down in the Shed and in the AED Workshops where it all comes to rest - and it's down to the skill and, often, ingenuity of each and every one of them to make the best of it.

Fly Safe - Fly Navy!

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Old 6th May 2021, 14:29
  #6205 (permalink)  
 
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Maybe we should send the QE to Jersey?
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Old 6th May 2021, 16:24
  #6206 (permalink)  
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Is it me - or does this appear to be a Merlin HM2 flying from Yeovil, presumably sent back to Leonardo to have the structural modifications to carry the Crowsnest gear - which would have removed it from the deployable fleet for a while? Aircraft ZH864:



Also this morning there was a Merlin HM2 up from Culdrose.

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Old 6th May 2021, 17:20
  #6207 (permalink)  
 
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I believe '864 has been 'under the care of' Leonardo since 2019. So I assume a ASAC D&T cab.

Picture from May 2020 of her with a Bag in this article from 2020. https://www.navylookout.com/a-pale-i...arrier-strike/

The Merlin allocated for flight trials, the responsibility of Leonardo Helicopters, was left outdoors and needed repairs leaving it only useable for ground testing. Another of the RN’s 30 precious Merlins Mk2s had to be handed over for the task, reducing its fleet availability.
I think I can probably say on behalf of all the above Posters, I wish the Lads and Lassies tasked to make this all work all the best. Ultimately, it's in the Cab or on the Flight Deck or down in the Shed and in the AED Workshops where it all comes to rest - and it's down to the skill and, often, ingenuity of each and every one of them to make the best of it.
BZ H'n'H

Thankfully, this is intended to be a showing the flag Ex and I trust will remain so. If things got nasty East of Suez tactics based the assumptions of the North Atlantic would IHMO go over the side. Unless in range of land based (or a US CVBG) support and intel, the threat axes would be uncertain. As Mog might remind us, 39 years ago the CANA delivered Exocets by attacking from an unexpected direction hence avoiding the AAW pickets.

Last edited by SLXOwft; 6th May 2021 at 18:46. Reason: adding the missng link
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Old 6th May 2021, 17:31
  #6208 (permalink)  

 
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After all the negative stuff about the outbound carrier group, how about a spot of positive stuff that doesn't come from WEBF, hmmm? This is from Thin Pinstriped Line. (My bold bits!)

....this is a huge success story for the Royal Navy, which has spent time and money over many decades investing in a range of different projects to ensure that the UK could field a credible carrier strike capability. This isn’t just about the carrier, but the whole picture of ships, escorts, support and all the enablers required to make it happen.

The result is an asset that is truly joint in nature, and which will be of benefit both to all three UK services, but more widely allies too.

Nowhere is this truer than the fact that a core part of the airwing is derived from the presence of 10 US Marine Corps F35 jets, supported by a large contingent of US military personnel onboard. They form an integral part of the ships company and will be embarked throughout the deployment.

This marks the first time in history that a significant US military force has embarked on a foreign vessel in peacetime as an integrated part of a ships airwing for an operational deployment.

Although highly limited ‘cross decking’ has occurred, usually linked to landing/recovery and possible overnight stops, interoperability is far more limited than some people imagine. In fact other than the odd training deployment (such as a small number of French aircraft embarking for maintaining carrier skills, or the occasional south American ‘touch and go’) it is difficult to find any record of this ever occurring before.


Integrated is a quite different concept to that of just landing and taking off. It means that the jets and their crew are part of an integrated weapon system, at the disposal both of the local commander and more senior political decision makers in both nations, to be employed as seen fit.

It means crews embarking as part of the ships company, working seamlessly together as one to plan the mission, arm the aircraft, prepare them for take-off, before conducting a mixed multi-national mission, then recovering to the ship where the aircraft will be serviced by a mixed crew. In other words, the US Marines embarked onboard are an organic part of the ship and are treated as such.

It is difficult to find words to describe adequately just how big a deal this is – it means that the Royal Navy has built an aircraft carrier that the US armed forces feel comfortable embarking a fully worked up squadron of jets on and conducting routine operations off. The level of planning that has gone into this is huge – it means the right IT, the ability to embark different stores, and ensure that any minor national differences on equipment are properly supported.

From a planning perspective it means that the US is prepared to put its most advanced fighter aircraft onto a foreign vessel and let it be employed operationally – meaning full discussion of tactics, ‘sneaky tricks’ and other very sensitive issues around how to not just exercise together but go to war together as a joint force.

This is a big deal – there are no other countries on earth that do this, and it demonstrates a huge level of trust and support between the two nations.

Some will mock this, incorrectly seeing it as the UK somehow being reliant on ‘Uncle Sam’ to bail them out and put planes on decks. Such a view is tediously inaccurate nonsense. The UK F35 force is still building up to strength and deliveries of the initial 48 (with more very likely) and while this is going on, will not always have l8 aircraft available to deploy.

This doesn’t mean we won’t – it just means that for a little bit longer there may be a smaller than expected UK fixed wing presence. Over time, as the UK commitment grows, expect to see the airwings grow and over time there will almost certainly be 20+ jets onboard plus supporting helicopters.
airsound
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Old 7th May 2021, 07:48
  #6209 (permalink)  
 
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"deliveries of the initial 48 (with more very likely)"

IIRC when the Defence Review was published the same blog said that the number of extra F-35's was a long way off if ever?
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Old 7th May 2021, 09:34
  #6210 (permalink)  
 
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Didn't a USMC AV-8B unit deploy to Illustrious in about 2007/8 whilst our Harriers were busy somewhere hot and high?
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Old 7th May 2021, 16:13
  #6211 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
Didn't a USMC AV-8B unit deploy to Illustrious in about 2007/8 whilst our Harriers were busy somewhere hot and high?
" in July 2007, Illustrious took part in a US-led Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFX) off the eastern coast of the United States (for which she hosted 14 US Harrier jets and 200 US Marines) before returning to Portsmouth the following month"

So yes but you don't want to get in the way of a good press release do you?
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Old 7th May 2021, 16:46
  #6212 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
" in July 2007, Illustrious took part in a US-led Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFX) off the eastern coast of the United States (for which she hosted 14 US Harrier jets and 200 US Marines) before returning to Portsmouth the following month"

So yes but you don't want to get in the way of a good press release do you?
If only you understood the difference between what happened in that instance in 2007 and what is happening now.

Still, you don't want to get in the way of a good dig at the carrier programme or TPL, do you?
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Old 7th May 2021, 17:53
  #6213 (permalink)  

 
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Asturias - when you refer to 'a good press release', I assume you're referring to the Thin Pinstriped Line that I quoted at post #6208.

That is definitely (note the spelling, Line of Duty folks, particularly Detective Superintendent Buckells...), anyway, that is definately not a press release. It is a blog by a guy called Humphrey, who is, as far as I know, an employee of HMG, but who blogs very much on their own views. Humphrey is not afraid of denigrating government efforts when necessary.

airsound
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Old 7th May 2021, 18:59
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Well said, Airsound. This is no puff piece press release; it is the views of someone who is always reasoned, coherent, and apparently well informed. Sir Humphrey is no one's poodle and has consistently given deserved criticism. I hope he (or she) doesn't object to me quoting further.

What this deployment of a joint airwing offers is a toolbox of enormous flexibility to British and American policy makers and military planners. It provides an asset that can be used to support NATO or other coalition operations, or if needs must could support bilateral airstrikes instead.

We already know that the airwing will be conducting operations over Syria to take the fight to Daesh in the coming weeks and months. For the first time since 1942 and the “USS ROBIN” (aka HMS VICTORIOUS) the combined air forces of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and United States Navy & Marine Corps will be going on operations from the shared deck of one carrier.

This is perhaps the ultimate demonstration of the flexibility of the concept – providing a platform that both nations can use to best effect. It is a good example of just how effective the working relationship is that both countries feel comfortable committing their assets to what are essentially wartime operations on the first operational deployment of the ship.

The deployment of the CSG21 team represents the first of many deployments like this, which could run for decades to come. It demonstrates the incredibly close links between the two nations and is a timely reminder of the versatility of the carrier platform
https://thinpinstripedline.b l o g s p o t .com/2021/05/the-start-of-something-special-csg21.html remove the spaces.

Last edited by SLXOwft; 8th May 2021 at 16:10. Reason: making link work
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Old 7th May 2021, 21:59
  #6215 (permalink)  
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Looks like continuous ASW might be on the menu soon:

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Old 8th May 2021, 08:13
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"If only you understood the difference between what happened in that instance in 2007 and what is happening now."

I was answering Dave's question - and I really would like to know what the differences are between the 2 deployments please. As you say I'm not a big fan of the UK Carrier programme - I've consistently argued the case for more frigates and more SSN's instead.

"Asturias - when you refer to 'a good press release', I assume you're referring to the Thin Pinstriped Line that I quoted at post #6208."

Partly - and also to the large number of updates provided by WEBF. I find the TPL informative - but I'm sure they previously suggested that it would be a very long time before the extra F-35's were purchased - which was a bit at odds with their latest thoughts
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Old 8th May 2021, 15:46
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There is a huge difference between a dozen cabs hopping aboard for a couple of weeks scripted exercise off the US coast and a similar number and all their associated support embarking for a six month deployment to the other side of the world. Where they have to be prepared for anything and are a fully integrated part of the CSG.

That should be obvious to anyone and is partly why it's difficult to take your views on FF and SSN seriously.
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Old 8th May 2021, 18:43
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Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin View Post
There is a huge difference between a dozen cabs hopping aboard for a couple of weeks scripted exercise off the US coast and a similar number and all their associated support embarking for a six month deployment to the other side of the world. Where they have to be prepared for anything and are a fully integrated part of the CSG.

That should be obvious to anyone and is partly why it's difficult to take your views on FF and SSN seriously.
it’s akin to the difference between a US Cavalry unit joining elements of the British Army for a scripted training exercise at BATUS and the same unit being assigned to UK OPCOM for operations in Afghanistan (and, as happened in 2010, vice-versa).

This is not as outlandish as some might choose to think and it happens at individual level too. RN officers have been embedded in the US CENTCOM Fifth Fleet’s CTF 52 command structure in the Gulf for several years.

Joint Fact Sheet: U.S. and UK Defense Cooperation
British and American exchange personnel routinely deploy on operations with their host units. For example, British air transport pilots flew with the U.S Air Force in Haiti earthquake relief operations, and British F-18 pilots are currently flying operational missions from the USS Stennis. U.S. Marine Corp exchange officers have deployed on operational tours to Afghanistan with their host British units, in some cases in a command position, and the U.S. Air Force has a long tradition of exchanging pilots on transport, aerial refueling, and combat aircraft with Royal Air Force units...
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Old 9th May 2021, 06:56
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Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin View Post
There is a huge difference between a dozen cabs hopping aboard for a couple of weeks scripted exercise off the US coast and a similar number and all their associated support embarking for a six month deployment to the other side of the world. Where they have to be prepared for anything and are a fully integrated part of the CSG.

That should be obvious to anyone and is partly why it's difficult to take your views on FF and SSN seriously.
Thank you - my views on FF & SSN are however shared by a large number of ex serving officers in all arms of the forces............................
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Old 9th May 2021, 08:42
  #6220 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Thank you - my views on FF & SSN are however shared by a large number of ex serving officers in all arms of the forces............................
Good for you. So are mine.
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