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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 21st May 2024, 11:41
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https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/brit...g-of-carriers/

Britain ‘assessing options’ to increase air wing of carriers

In response to a parliamentary question from Conservative MP Damien Moore, the Ministry of Defence has addressed the potential retrofitting of Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers.Moore inquired if the Department would evaluate the benefits of adding catapults, additional angled decks, and arresting wires to the carriers.

James Cartlidge, the Minister of State for Defence, provided insight into the ongoing plans for these state-of-the-art vessels. According to Cartlidge, the aircraft carriers were constructed with the flexibility to accommodate future capability enhancements throughout their operational lives.

“The Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers (QEC) were built to allow for capability changes over the lifetime of these ships. The Royal Navy is committed to developing capabilities that will allow it to build combat mass, whilst remaining at the forefront of technology, and this includes a strong focus on uncrewed air systems,” Cartlidge stated.

He further explained that the aviation capabilities of the QEC carriers are set to evolve in the coming years. A detailed analysis is currently underway to explore and assess various options for operating a broader range of aircraft. This includes a review of the launch and recovery systems, spurred by the recent successful trials of the Mojave and Windracer systems.

“As such, the aviation capabilities of the QEC aircraft carriers will continue to evolve in the coming years and the operation of a wider variety of aircraft is being considered as part of a detailed analysis to scope and assess options. The launch and recovery systems for these new capabilities is currently under review, following the recent successful trials of Mojave and Windracer,” Cartlidge added.

What are those plans?

At the ‘Combined Naval Event 2023’ conference held in Farnborough in May, Colonel Phil Kelly, the Head of Carrier Strike and Maritime Aviation within the Royal Navy’s Develop Directorate, presented an ambitious vision for the Royal Navy’s future in maritime aviation.

This vision, part of the broader Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF) initiative, includes ‘Project Ark Royal’.

Colonel Kelly’s presentation highlighted several pivotal challenges and objectives:
  1. F-35 Deployment Limitations: The colonel pointed out the current constraints, stating, “Lack of Mass – F35 mass will not reach level required to resource both QEC with full Combat Air potential.
  2. Urgency for Uncrewed Platforms: Emphasising the inevitability of adopting these platforms, he noted, “The question is not ‘if’ the Naval force will prioritise and leverage un-crewed platforms and systems, but how quickly and efficiently, in resource constrained environments.
  3. Automation for Increased Capacity: Colonel Kelly underscored the importance of automation, “We must free up warfighter capabilities for critical operations, by automating routine/repetitive tasks.
  4. Operational Complexities: The focus is on “operating in complex and contested areas all the while reducing the risk to life, force, and mission.
  5. Enhancing Operational Reach: The presentation highlighted the need to “increase our range, endurance, and persistence in order to build advantage.
As part of the FMAF vision, the Royal Navy aims to retrofit arrestor gear and assisted launch equipment to the Queen Elizabeth class, you can read more on this here.

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Old 21st May 2024, 21:01
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That looks like an old article. Combined Naval Event 2023?

Here is a far more recent story: Aircraft Carriers Underpin Royal Navy Plans To Use UAS To Help Build Maritime Mass - Naval News

Three key programmes are:
  • a fixed-wing UAS to replace the carrier-borne, Merlin helicopter-based Crowsnest airborne early warning (AEW) system, which is due to retire at the end of the decade;
  • the Future Crewed Maritime Air System (FCMAS), which will assess longer-term capability options, beyond the in-service Merlin and Wildcat helicopters, for various tasks including search-and-rescue, joint personnel recovery, and maritime counter-terrorism;
  • the Vertical Take-Off/Landing Autonomous Collaborative Platforms (VTOL ACP), which aims to develop – in collaboration with crewed aircraft and surface ships – future intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance (ISR), logistics, and strike capabilities, post-Merlin and Wildcat.
Removing Crowsnest from Merlin will have the effect of increasing the number of ASW Merlins, as those aircraft will be able to return to their original role, which is desperately needed - remember ASW is a carrier role. Some of you may have noted that the main conclusions over on the 1977 US Congress Report: The US Sea Control Mission (carriers needed in the Atlantic for Air Defence and ASW - due to Maths/Physics/Geography) discussion have been refined to better explain things:

A. Sea Control (ASW, air defence/AAW, and anti surface warfare) is a critically important mission for the carrier and the carrier group. It was during the Second World War and the Cold War, and it is again now in a renewed era of peer adversaries and contested seas.

B. Sea Control is difficult to achieve without carrier aviation if operating any distance from friendly air bases.

The carrier puts fighters in close proximity to the assets or area to be defended without needing an excessive number of aircraft, and Geography, Mathematics, and Physics show that attacking aircraft carrying anti ship missiles are best dealt with using fighters to kill the archers, not the arrows. Airborne radar can see far beyond the radar horizon of shipborne ones and can detect low altitude targets at range, and fighters provide the means for interception and visual identification beyond the horizon, and engagement far beyond the range of shipborne missile systems.

Constant ASW helicopter operations are best supported by a large deck with multiple helicopters, as collocating them simplifies coordination, communications, and maintenance and support. Physics also shows that modern long range sonars fitted to ASW warships need to be used in conjunction with dipping sonar to achieve their potential - andvice versa. As with all such detection systems (radar/sonar/optical) there is trade off between range and resolution. The long range sonar provides long range detection, and the dipping sonar provides pinpoint accuracy.

Perhaps things were best described by the late Cdr Sharkey Ward in a few paragraphs in Sea Harrier Over The Falklands:


There were essentially three elements of naval warfare which had to be controlled and directed from the Ops Room: Above the Surface (Air), On the Surface, and Under the Surface (Anti submarine). These were very much interbred and interdependent, thanks to the variety of modem weapons available to the fleet and the sophistication of the modern threat. It was therefore no easy task to collect and collate the information from all the ship's sensor (including aircraft sensors and information from other platforms) and present them to the Command in an easily digestible fashion. All friendly units in each element had to be continuously plotted and information from the separate levels of defence recorded, so that in extremitis the Command could judge priority and take the appropriate action.

Defence in depth had become the war fighting philosophy of the day. Against the air threat, the outer layer of defence could be air to air and surface to air systems provided by a third party and deployed some point between the source of the threat and the fleet at sea. In the South Atlantic there was no such layer available and the Task Group had to rely on its organic defensive weapon platforms.

The outer layer of air and surface defence was the Sea Harrier on Combat Air Patrol. Whenever the threat assessment made air attack highly possible, or probable, then CAP aircraft would be stationed up threat to deter and/or engage the attackers. (Should a surface attack be predicted then the SHAR would be dispatched over the horizon to search for the enemy units.) Air defence radar pickets (warships fitted with suitable sensors and weapon systems) would also be stationed up threat, but inside the CAP stations, to provide information to the CAP and the Carrier Group itself. These pickets would be armed with a variety of surface to air weapons and represented a second line of defence. The next layer of defence was the the medium or long range surface to air ship borne missile system. Sea Dart fulfilled this role for the Group. Attackers or their air to surface missiles that managed to penetrate through the outer layers of defence would then face the next designer system - the Short Range or Point Defence Missile Systems such as Sea Wolf. And, as a last ditch defence (on the hard kill side), high rate of fire, radar directed guns such as Phalanx fitted bill. Soft kill options, such as jamming and chaff were also an important integral part of the air defence in depth scenario.

If one analyses the probabilities of engagement and kill of each of the layers of defence, and calculates the overall probabilities of engagement and kill of the cumulative system, it is easy to demonstrate mathematically and in practice that money spent on defence in depth is far better than spending the same amount on a single 'all singing, all dancing' weapon system. The latter can never be perfect or 100% efficient and if it has weaknesses, which it surely will, the threat will be certain to capitalise on these deficiencies and circumvent the system. The separate layers of defence in depth each act as a deterrent to an enemy, and each are capable of causing attrition to attacking forces.

It is the Commander Task Group's job to ensure that where possible he does not place his force in a position that denies that force the full benefit of its defence in depth systems, whether by geographical location or by misuse of a particular asset or layer.

The under surface threat had to be approached in the same manner as the air threat, using third party resources, long range sensors such as Towed Array Sonar, ASW frigates as a screen between the threat and the group, anti submarine helicopters on the screen and at other locations around the group, and last but not least sonars fitted to the ships in the main body. Each of the anti submarine platforms must be capable of not only locating the threat submarine but also of prosecuting it with appropriate weapons. And with the submarine threat being ever present and very difficult to detect, the various level of defence have to be working at 100 per cent efficiency for twenty four hours a day when in a threat zone.*

There were, of course, no third parties of any description providing defence for the Task Force in the South Atlantic; no Nimrods, no air defence fighter barriers, and no shore based Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft.#


*Technological developments since 1982 have changed things and increased the range at which submarines can be detected, with the advent of things such as low frequency active sonar. The longer range comes at the expense of resolution, which is where the helicopter with dipping sonar comes into its own.

#The Sea Harrier, and the CVS, was expected to operate in the GIUK Gap and Norwegian Sea, with Tomcats from USN carriers and two squadrons of RAF Phantoms (dedicated to maritime air defence) providing the bulk of the air defence, supported by AEW. The Nimrods sent South in 1982 were mostly used in ASuW roles.

That description of defence in depth puts his credibility far above many other frequently quoted defence 'experts' - such as those who insist that warships with anti air missiles make having fighters aboard the carrier unnecessary, or that the Navy only needs carriers. Similarly his brief mention of ASW puts him far above those who insist that you either can do without frigates or that you can easily do ASW without a carrier - where do all the helicopters go? This was the argument that eventually got us the Invincible class, along with what might be considered the killer argument:


To put fighter cover over the fleet at just a few hundred miles would take up all the tanker resources of the RAF and most of the fighters.

Without going into what that means exactly in too much depth, a few simple speed/time/distance calculations prove the value of having your fighters near to the area or assets to be protected - see post #7376.

Quoting his Sea Harrier Over The Falklands once more, and the final paragraph of Appendix II (A Layman's Guide to Fighter Combat):

Perhaps there is one disadvantage to the present generation of V/STOL jets and this invokes the first question, 'What more could one ask for?' The Harrier family of jets are versatile and capable - but they need the best pilots to fly them. That is why the cream of RAF pilot capability gets channelled into the Harrier world. One might therefore ask for a V/STOL jet (with the Sea Harrier's unique combat performance) that can be flown successfully by 'an average pilot' rather than just the best pilots.

I think that it was unfortunate that he did not get to visit the F-35B test team to learn about the value of 5Gen and low observability (as suggested here by WhiteOvies) or to see the F-35B Lightning at sea - where he might be impressed by how smoothly and accurately it lands on deck, how it can both launch and recover in heavy seas with high wind speeds, and how efficient the STOVL deck is.

I hope that these quotes serve as a tribute to Cdr Ward.

Today is of course the anniversary of the main landings in the Falklands. These were only possible because in the preceding three weeks the carrier group had been establishing sea and air (as far as possible) control around the islands, and moved closer to land on the day to defend the amphibious group and forces being put ashore.

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 27th May 2024 at 18:18.
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Old 28th May 2024, 21:45
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Sounds familiar...

🇳🇱Netherlands Navy has laid up frigate HNLMS Van Speijk and assault ship HNMLS Rotterdam due to a shortage of sailors.

https://marineschepen.nl/nieuws/Pers...nt-280524.html
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Old 29th May 2024, 18:19
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As the Dutch article says Zr.Ms. Van Speijk has been laid up for 3 years, the article implies that the crew freed up from the Rotterdam may enable Van Speijk to resume operations with manning priority shifting to frigates.

What is familiar is that the replacement of the M-Frigates (Van Speijk and Van Amstel) and the LCF-Frigates (De Zeven ProvinciŽn class) have both been pushed back, in the case of the Ms twice and they will now be around 40 years old when they are replaced.
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Old 31st May 2024, 11:19
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So, period in dry dock extended into autumn - and then back in dry dock for a planned refit next year.

Presumably she will get some productive time at sea in the period in between?

https://www.navylookout.com/hms-quee...syth-extended/

HMS Queen Elizabeth dry docking period in Rosyth extended
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Old 31st May 2024, 16:13
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"It was decided that the corrosion presented enough risk of shaft failure that the ship had to be withdrawn from operations."

I'll bet the warranty ran out after 8 years...................
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Old 1st Jun 2024, 00:59
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ORAC,

Is that publication you linked the old "Onion" gone Dark Blue?

How does a ship stay "in service" while out of service for inspection and repairs of a known fault that keeps it from going to sea on Ops?

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Old 1st Jun 2024, 07:27
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It's clear that the prop shafts area serious worry - both replaced on the PoW and now the same on the QE.
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Old 1st Jun 2024, 15:56
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Cdr. Claire Thompson to become the first female captain of a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.

She will take over command of @HMSQNLZ from Capt. Will King in January next year.

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/-/media...41c50a94a850a1


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Old 2nd Jun 2024, 16:43
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I thought it was RN policy for Aircraft Carrier Captains to have an aviation background?
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Old 2nd Jun 2024, 17:32
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Originally Posted by ASRAAMTOO
I thought it was RN policy for Aircraft Carrier Captains to have an aviation background?
Always had been up until now - and of course it is the case with USN CVN COs.
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Old 2nd Jun 2024, 19:17
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Originally Posted by RAFEngO74to09
Always had been up until now - and of course it is the case with USN CVN COs.
Nope. Jerry Kyd would disagree with you. As would JJ Black and Alan Massey among others.
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Old 3rd Jun 2024, 09:16
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Do fighter controller and gunnery officer of the Mighty V not count?

I was trying to think if command of an aircraft carrier on promotion to Captain is unusual. JK was a substantive Commodore.
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Old 3rd Jun 2024, 09:42
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Originally Posted by ASRAAMTOO
I thought it was RN policy for Aircraft Carrier Captains to have an aviation background?
Recently it's been the exception rather than the rule - I think Steve Moorhouse was the only former aircrew to Captain QE so far
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Old 3rd Jun 2024, 14:19
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His unfortunate predecessor Nick Cooke-Priest was also a looker.
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Old 3rd Jun 2024, 15:14
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Originally Posted by RAFEngO74to09
Always had been up until now - and of course it is the case with USN CVN COs.
Don't really see why the policy of a foreign navy is relevant. We're talking about a RN vessel.
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Old 4th Jun 2024, 12:57
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Originally Posted by SLXOwft
His unfortunate predecessor Nick Cooke-Priest was also a looker.
Ah, I forgot about him!
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Old 5th Jun 2024, 09:17
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Prop shaft replacements on both our aircraft carriers? Sounds very serious indeed. Lousy QC by the sound of it.
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