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Another depressing carrier report

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Another depressing carrier report

Old 29th Nov 2011, 04:08
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Another depressing carrier report

New Carriers may not be operational until 2030

Is it only me who thinks that these carriers may never actually see service in their intended role?

Potential scenarios:
1. Carriers enter service and perform well, with the F35 proving a hit and everybody is happy, if not a bit poorer. The RN starts to lead the world again in fixed wing naval aviation.
2. F35 turns out to perform well and ahead of expectations, but only in RAF service as by then the money has run out and neither carrier goes to sea as intended, or do go to sea but rechristened and flying the flag of whichever BRIC nation could afford to purchase them off of the bankrupt UK PLC.
3. F35 turns out to be a dog of an aeroplane, jack of all trades, master of none and crippled by various design problems. The carriers meanwhile perform faultlessly as helicopter carriers, LHDs.
4. The F35 is a shambles as are the carriers, particularly where catapult operation is concerned. The UK comes up with some sort of deal to switch their F35s for the VTOL variant and make the best of it.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 08:14
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Link to report.

Public Accounts Committee - 56th Report: Providing the UK's Carrier Strike Capability
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 08:49
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dermedicus
As much as it would be nice to see, how is "The RN starts to lead the world again in fixed wing naval aviation." ?

By then China will be a major player and that's not forgetting the US which has been the major / leading player since WW11.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 09:15
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the Chinese have been trying to build a carrier for 3 decades and haven't even managed to refit the old "Varyag". They lack the ships to form a Battle Group and at the rate they are building its unlikely they'll have enough by 2020

A single Chinese carrier is only useful IF the USN aren't on the scene and you can go and make threatening noises in the S China Sea and hope someone hasn't reversed engineered your own anti ship missiles or bought something from Moscow
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 09:32
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Actually the PAC Report confirms that the carrier build is going well! The issues raised revolve around the viability and cost of the F-35 programme and then the modifications needed and their costs to allow the ship(s) to carry the "cat and trap" version of Dave after the change of mind in last years SDSR.

MOD also enquired about the cost to enable UK F-35's to carry a Buddy type AAR store which only added more cost uncertainty as neither the US or any other Nation intends buying the F-35 with this capability.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 10:15
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Heathrow Harry,

The Chinese are getting there slowly. Second sea trial announced.

China's refitted aircraft carrier platform sets sail for 2nd trial
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 10:21
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Heathrow Harry

Haven't the Chinese already got a long range anti ship missile that can take out a Carrier in one hit ?

I still think the Chinese will get to the point I suggested once they really get going. They have everything going for them, people, money, resources (albeit Australia's !!! LOL) and the ability to get things done in record time without all the Political, Green / Environmental and other hiccups that occur in the West.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 10:54
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As I understand things the Carriers will be ready before the F35 is so why not buy or lease some boneyard early model F18 s? It would give some capability, allow Aircrew to get cat and trap experience and after (if) the F35 eventually enters service they can be used for AAR role.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 10:56
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When you actually read the minutes of evidence, what is breathtaking is the sheer scale of technical illiteracy (some of it wilful) of the interrogators. Amjad Hussein comes across as giving very clear factual answers which some in the committee struggle desperately with.

The Beeb article is (as ever) ill-informed and inflammatory - a classic case being this exchange below...

But the committee's Labour chairman Margaret Hodge says the final cost could end up being 12bn over budget. "Whilst today we're reporting predicted costs for this of 6.2bn, my fear is that that's not the end of the story," she says. "Indeed one insider said to me that the cost could escalate up to an amazing 12bn for this project.". I assume they think this means the project started with a budget of zero.......

They also repeat the myth that the ships were saved from defence cuts under the coalition government because, it said, it would cost more to cancel the projects than proceed with them.. In actual fact, the decision to proceed with PoW was driven by the cancellation clause, NOT the whole programme. SDSR was quite clear that carrier strike capability was required.

Lost in all this, is the fact that the build is going very well and that the ships are hitting pretty much all their construction milestones. The "capability in 2031" argument is (as ever) not technically based, but programming/scheduling, which can be changed - albeit at a price.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 10:59
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Why are we surprised? Virtually every programme ends up being changed, delayed and over-budget.

F-18s a good idea. But, of course, if we were to buy them as a temporary measure, we'd end up keeping them for 25 years like we did with the F4.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 11:01
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Hadn't thought of that APG 63 but you are probably right!
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 11:01
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Oh, and IOC will only provide a fraction of the desired capability.

First time for everything, AGS!
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 11:17
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Originally Posted by Not A Boffin
When you actually read the minutes of evidence, what is breathtaking is the sheer scale of technical illiteracy (some of it wilful) of the interrogators. Amjad Hussein comes across as giving very clear factual answers which some in the committee struggle desperately with...
Hardly surprising if you watched the committee hearings. A typical example of PAC Chairwoman Margaret Hodges's aggressive antagonism and tenuous grasp of the issues was her insistence that our EMALS (which has successfully launched aircraft during trials on land) was not only unproven technology but "...a different system" to that used by the Americans because our carriers will only have two of them whereas USS Gerald R. Ford will have four.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 11:21
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Some needs shooting, again!

Whenever I hear of a major defence program I know I will hear the words "Overspend" (generally in the order of 200%), "Cost over-run", "Delay" (ten years appears to be the norm), "Re-design" (several times) and regularly "Cancellation". The MOD could do us all a favour getting rid of Procurement, by burning say 10 billion in a hole in every time they announce a new project and just buying from the Americans immediately. I doesn't do UK plc much good, but the current system can't help it much either.

So to be honest, this is only the second or third iteration of the "We've buggered it up again!" from Whitehall. We have got to waste a full 100 billion, delay the program for another ten years and then find out the basic design wrong was initially flawed and re-design it before we can even think of cancelling the project.

The MOD (an offshore extension of the US arms industry) have, and will continue to bleed all three services dry until they are reformed.

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Old 29th Nov 2011, 11:43
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Originally Posted by FODPlod View Post
Hardly surprising if you watched the committee hearings. A typical example of PAC Chairwoman Margaret Hodges's aggressive antagonism and tenuous grasp of the issues was her insistence that our EMALS (which has successfully launched aircraft during trials on land) was not only unproven technology but "...a different system" to that used by the Americans because our carriers will only have two of them whereas USS Gerald R. Ford will have four.
Exactly the same point can be made about the PAC enquiry into Typhoon which included some cost calculations (gleefully repeated by some of the more egregious members of the Phoenix Think Tank and a few people elsewhere who ought to know better) conjured up on an iPhone in the evidence session... That wasn't the only problem with that enquiry either, IIRC.

The MoD's procurement may not be fit for purpose, but there's a emerging trend suggesting that the PAC under Hodge isn't either, in stark contrast to what it was in the days of Edward Leigh (it was him who used to chair it, wasn't it?). Some of the defence questions are so stupid and/or the answers not understood or misinterpreted that you have to ask if this occurs in all of their hearings.
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 11:57
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FOD

Yes, that particular bit of moronitude was a classic, but I thought it was Stella Creasy (another social worker type) who was struggling with that.

Piltdown

One of the nice things about QEC is that the size and capacity built into the original design means that we don't have to start again - far from it. In fact, all those wittering about the ship being too large (and therefore allegedly too expensive) should actually be thinking about how that one piece of risk-reduction (partly because the required sortie rate demanded a large ship anyway) has removed the highest risk bit from the programme (F35B). There's a major difference between cost driven by ship size and cost driven by programme slip/risk, which is where most of the escalation has occurred. Most of the programme slip/risk escalation has occurred because of fallacious assumptions about the size of the ships driving the cost.

Last edited by Not_a_boffin; 29th Nov 2011 at 12:39. Reason: Moment of clarity
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 11:59
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Spot on, Archimedes. You forgot to mention that one third of the output from the PAC is rubbish, one third stating the bleedin' obvious and one third potentially useful. On a good day!
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 12:14
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These neddies who can't manage a ship building project on-time and budget then have the hide to tell the rest of the third world how to run their economies...
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 13:44
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Quite right, TBM. Did you mean "rest of the third world"?
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 13:56
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Strikes me an interim lend/lease of a sqn of F-18s may not be a bad idea....the RN already has an increasing cadre of pilots flying the beasts in the US and the USN should have a sqn or two going spare shortly. This will allow time for an orderly build up of the F35 "wing" and/or hedge against a cancellation of F35C.
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