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mellonsx

Always nice to see the uncluttered decks of our most powerful warships, unlike those overcrowded American ones.

Sean

The Americans may change their practice as they’re finding that their aircraft are suffering faster corrosion due to keeping aircraft on deck when compared to RN experience and it’s practice of keeping aircraft on the hanger deck.

mellonsx

Yes, I think that the MOD by not ordering enough airframes to embark on one, let alone both, is a fantastic achievement and a forward planning triumph. The USN must be seriously impressed by our ability to preserve our aircraft from corrosion.

ATH

You do understand there was never a plan to be able to provide a significant number of F35’s simultaneously to both carriers. The RAF/FAA joint venture is funded when past FOC, to always be able to fully “Stock” one carrier at short notice.

PeterS

That was precisely the plan when the carriers were ordered. 138 F35b would allow each carrier to match the sortie rates of a US carrier, whilst leaving enough aircraft for non carrier operation. Neither carriers nor aircraft were funded. Quite reasonably on taking office, Cameron wanted to cancel the second carrier ( just as budgets had forced France to cancel the second planned CdG carrier) but found he couldn’t. So UK was now stuck with 2 carriers it could not afford to equip fully. There was talk of immediate mothballing, switching to F35c, adapting PoW to an amphibious role and most recently an RFI on retro fitting an EMAL system, mainly to operate UCAVs. ( Any news on this?)
The carriers were a huge mistake driven by Blair’s new world order interventionism and senior admirals desire to play top trump’s with USA.
I can find nothing in public domain information setting out clearly what we needed these carriers for. Given that 15 years after the contract was signed, we have managed to operate a token force of 8 F35s on one carrier, suggests that we really don’t need them.
With more realistic planning, we could have built a couple of smaller ships like the Italian Cavour or Trieste for @£1b apiece and operated a dozen or so F35 on each.
Given the pressures on the equipment budget and the continued high operating costs of F 35, we might be better off deciding to operate just a single carrier and mothballing or even selling the second.
The money and manpower thus freed up could be used on other more useful assets.

X

For me the biggest loss is not funding a decent ASaC / AEW system. If we had done this properly we could have gone CTOL and had E2x. First rate AEW plus other goodies like datalink control of BVR missiles.

Yes a Cavour like ship would have been suitable if the funding differences had gone into Crowsnest.

For me though QE was the wrong type of ship. We should have gone for a large LHA like Makin Island. Given fast air to the RAF. Invested as I said in Crowsnest. And then assigned a commando to the duty ship and built on one of the things we did well light amphibious warfare plus a big flightdeck to support ASW (sea control), another thing we did well. The duty carrier could have done a lengthy cruise keeping deployment costs down.

Last edited 1 year ago by X
PeterS

To me the most important role of the carriers is to provide air defence, in essence to do what escort carriers did in WW2. For that role, a much smaller and presumably cheaper ship could have been sufficient. The design of the QEs grew from an initial 30000+ tons( Invincible plus) to 70000 t because the ambition was to have 2 strike carriers each capable of matching USN sortie rates. This also determined the 138 total for F35.
Maybe the only affordable way to use both ships is to revert to the 2017 plan to kit out one for an amphibious role. It seems clear we cannot afford the original ambition which we would have required 36 F35s on each carrier.
Neither can we afford the number of escorts needed for 2 CSGs plus 2 LSGs.
Italy has managed at far less cost to build an air defence capability and an amphibious capability. We have spent an enormous chunk of the defence budget to achieve not very much.

X

A modern airborne radar is essential for air defence. As I said not just for AEW but for control of BVR missiles and AAW missiles from ships. I take your point about air defence or as I said ‘sea control’.

I think the LSG idea is a joke. A poor joke at that. What was needed was a class of large fast LPD to follow the ‘carrier’. We should have created a ‘hybrid carrier group’. 8 Bravos, 4 ASW cabs, 5/6 AEW cabs, and 8 Junglies plus 4/6 Wildcat. Put a Close Combat Company plus a TAC HQ in the carrier and the balance of the commando in the LPD (and any accompany RFA landing ships.) And if the carrier is needed in a ‘sea control’ role remove the Junglies and all but one Wildcat and increase the number of Bravos and ASW cabs.

The RN is a small navy. It can’t afford a carrier just for air defence. Though it makes more sense than ‘carrier strike’ which always makes me larf.

PeterS

I don’t disagree. I wasn’t suggesting that air defence is the only role of the carrier, rather that it is the one role that nothing else can carry out. Limited AEW, a consequence of the STOVL decision, is obviously a weakness but may be partly mitigated by the sensor capabilities of the F35 itself. Longer term, the plan is to replace Crowsnest with a UCAV which of course brings further complications of a launch and recovery system.
Your hybrid carrier group looks sensible. We wouldn’t need many more F35s to operate both QEs in this fashion. This way, we would avoid the biggest weakness of the proposed LSGs- no air cover.

Louis

I think it can still be done. The great thing about such large carrier is it can fill many roles. I think it’s been shown there could be 10-12 helicopter take off spots in an amphibious role. It’s large enough to carry Chinooks and Apache’s as well. A lot of people wouldn’t want the QECs deployed in this role, but we are sort of put in a situation where they have to be.

Duker

Escort carriers did more than that including hunting for submarines.
What you may be thinking of the escort carriers that provided CAP for the carriers and support ships who sent their strike aircraft and the support fighters off on a mission. They stayed local protecting ships.
Clearly the modern carrier has strike and air defence capability and the local air defence is best done by missiles with a much longer range air patrol for a few fighters backed by airborne radar.
It would be pointless just to have a modern carrier with just air defence and not strike from the sea capability . Indeed that was the very first uses , by the RN of course, who used seaplanes from a carrier to attack Ottoman coastal positions from the Red Sea to the Levant coast, and later launched from a deck to attack the german airship shed. They were prepping for a torpedo attack on the anchored High Seas fleet in Wilhelmshaven when the armistice happened.

Very Concerned

So we spend more to get back on the original plan. We need two fully operational carrier groups at least. There are several areas of the world where we need to have the option of projecting power quickly. If that costs a lot of money then we need to spend it (not spend it blindly but efficiently). The first duty of government is defence of its citizens. Instead of relying on the Americans, we need to man-up and commit the resources now to rebuild our armed forces, navy in particular.

Deep32

The plan was to only ever have one carrier in service at any one time, with two giving us the ability to surge a second carrier if required. We currently have two in service as both have just been built and require working up. HMS QE will go into refit within a few years and we will then be rotating the carriers as they come out of refit. There will always be a few years overlap that will see us have two in service together.
The carriers are the size they are as it was found that a 25% increase in size 40000tons – 50000tons produced a 50% increase in aircraft sortie rates. Increasing the size toots current size allowed for a sortie rate of 115 per 24 hrs for 36 aircraft.
Normal F35 complement is expected to be between 10-16 aircraft, expected to rise to 24 for deployments, and surged to 36 when required. This will only happen when we have enough aircraft obviously.
Matching US CVS sortie rates did not determine the number of aircraft (138) expected to be purchased. It was the merging of two requirements
FOAS – Tornado replacement 66ish GR4s
FCBA – SHAR replacement 60-70 aircraft
that determined the numbers to be purchased. This was the original requirement, which has led to approx 75 being purchased by 2030ish and 138 over the program life. Effectively a cut of some 50-60 airframes as we will probably never have 138 airframes in service at the same time.

PeterS

No. The original plan, echoing the joint force Harrier set up, was to replace RN Sea Harriers and RAF GR7/9s (@70 of each) with 138 of a single type the F 35 b. These numbers were driven by the ambition to surge to 36 on each carrier at the same time. They were not planned to be a replacement for Tornado even if later that turned out to be the case. So allowing for aircraft for training,OCU and in deep maintenance, the sortie rate would need a fleet of @138.
Had LM delivered on their prospectus of an affordable aircraft, the 138 wouldn’t now seem an impossible ambition. But they haven’t and with no viable alternative, the UK has a serious problem.

Will

There’s nothing going on with UK defence that a realistic uptick in spending wouldn’t cure. You chaps could get everything done that you need to get done for about 3% of GDP. During the Cold War, UK military spending was routinely at 5% and above. So I’m not talking about doing anything crazy here.

That said, it’s pretty clear that the RN should probably have gone with two or (ideally) three smaller carriers. I am thinking of a vessel that would be a bit larger and beamier than the Cavour, say, 40,000 tons with a max aircraft capacity of around 32 plus a few UAVs. The breakdown would be 24 F-35B’s, plus 4 Crowsnest and 4 ASW helicopters. If there were three of these ships, you would only need 48 F-35’s ready to go at all times in order to field two fully equipped flattops. In practice you’d still need 80 – 100 to allow for training and attrition replacement, but this would still be a smaller number than the original 138.

But for now you have the two QE’s and so the “three smaller carriers” has to wait for the next build cycle, assuming carriers are still a thing in 35-40 years. In the meantime I still say I have no idea why the RN won’t build something like the proposed Black Swan sloop of war or, to use more recent terminology, a “light frigate”. Just put around a dozen of those in the water and your numbers would be right where you need them to be (36 hulls in the escort fleet: 6 T45 or replacement, 8 T26, 5 T31, 5 T32, 12 sloops / frigates). From there, just make sure you get 8 SSGNs next time instead of 7, strengthen the RFA (again in some modest but real and cost effective way) and you’re in business.

Last edited 1 year ago by Will
Duker

They T31 are the new ‘light frigate’ in size Its just the way they are built these days , no ones going back to the Type 14 Blackwood tonnage around 1500 tons
France has put its newest light frigate in the water , its 4500 tons.
Photo Naval news

Naval-Group-Floats-First-New-FDI-Frigate-for-the-French-Navy-770x410[1].jpg
Will
Last edited 1 year ago by Will
Duker

Capt White actually says
Size: 2,000 to 4,000 tonnes –
he also says that the various missions systems could be swapped in and out as ‘package’s – just like they thought with the USN LCS- both types were in the 3500-4000 tons full load
also the crew size was …..cough. ….Ambitious
Crew: a core crew of around 8 with accommodation for those additional personnel required for each module, plus basic dormitory style accommodation for a further 60. 
Essentially it just re imagines the LCS for the UK instead

Apparently doing without galley staff and servers can be replaced by ‘sous vide’ meals. !

Will

I split the difference between the two figures and said 3,000, but alright. Your response is noted, however my real point is simply that no navy that I know of throughout history has been composed entirely of high end, big grey war canoes that cost a billion pounds each. What is obviously and desperately needed for the RN is a smaller, cheaper warship that still has some teeth that can relieve the higher end ships of routine duties closer to home in favor of expeditionary warfare and international deployments.

PeterS

Agree with everything you say except “realistic uptick”. If only we could get what compared with 2020 would amount to a 50% increase in budget. But with all the pressures on public spending and continued reliance on yet more debt to fund part of it, I cannot see it happening. For the first time in years the MOD 10 year equipment plan is claimed to be affordable. But the NAO has again cast doubt on the feasibility of projected efficiency savings and the risks posed by rising inflation.
On the up side, all 8 type 26 now contracted, contract for 3 FSS now awarded and NSM to be bought to replace Harpoon.

Will

Being an American I am only a layman when it comes to the intricacies of funding in Parliament. I’m just saying that the usual bleat is that an appropriately sized RN is impossible and I don’t believe that. What is impossible is a Royal Navy that is composed of billion dollar Cadillacs (or Rolls Royces) from top to bottom. What is possible is a navy that has a high end and a low end to its battle line. This has been true of almost every formal navy throughout history.

Keep in mind that even here, the “low end” would still be a sizable and reasonably formidable warship. If it were me, I would reconstitute a Home Flotilla composed mostly of Black Swan surface vessels, P-8 patrol bombers, and six smaller AIP submarines (you could even buy these from Spain, Korea or Japan, for example, or get them on the cheap as part of a deal for one or more of those countries buying into the Tempest program). These would still have the range and the teeth to be deployed further afield if necessary but would mostly be for the purpose of deterring Ivan and patrolling the North Sea, GIUK area, and the Mediterranean. Meanwhile the high end battle fleet would be mostly tasked with missions further afield, including AUKUS and the Middle East. My 2 cents is that building out your numbers with cheaper but still decently capable assets would make the overall RN and UK military far more powerful and you would still have the billion pound war canoes at the top of the heap.

Sean

It’s fantastic planning by the MoD to limit purchases of F35s until Block 4 is delivered. Those we already own will incur further expense having their hardware and software upgrades to the full Block 4 standard. They’ve also saved money in that each tranche of F35s ordered has been cheaper than the previous as production has slowly ramped up.
As it is we have 24 F35s available, which is certainly sufficient for one squadron per carrier, especially bearing in mind the entire Russian Air Force has only 5 stealth jets operational.

But don’t let facts get in the way of your sarcastic ill-informed comments.

Supportive Bloke

If we had more they wouldn’t be doing much anyway as there are not enough qualified pilots.

As you say going straight to Blk4 does make a degree of sense anyway.

It wasn’t that long ago that capping the buy at 48 was frequently talked about. Whereas now a number in the 70’s seems real.

I do wish everyone would stop bleating about how expensive the F35B is. It is no more expensive than Typhoon or any other 4.5/5th Gen aircraft.

F35B isn’t really the hole in the budget.

RAF and RN want it.

Duker

It is way more expensive. Take out the Typhoon development costs as ‘sunk’ and the cost comes out cheaper that the F-35B ‘unit costs’ which is what FMS customers pay. of course the Treasury has an elaborate system cost to cover future funding to maintain, upgrade and even the Defence capital charges and VAT are included.

OkamsRazor

Well said too much unthinking nonsense being spouted.

pjh

and that comment was not ?

Roy

There are a grand total of 30 UK F-35 pilots … there is no way that 24 F35s are available for deployment on two carriers. At least not for more than a few weeks until the pilots are exhausted and then the entire thing collapses. And the idea that a few dozen F-35s (even if you had the pilots) is a “grand accomplishment” when one has built two big deck carriers but can’t equip them at all as intended is ludicrous.

PeterS is entirely right to call out the state of affairs as deplorable. I don’t agree that the carriers were a “huge mistake”. But what has been a huge mistake is not to focus defence efforts (given the reality of a declining defence budget) on the Royal Navy and ensure that the carriers (which you have now committed to) are adequately equipped and supported.

Duker

The defence budget is increasing in real terms.
Its the people making the decisions that is the problem
Look what happened with the Capita defence recruiting , the privatised aircrew training pipeline

‘The inquiry found that Capita had underestimated the complexity of defence recruiting and the specialist expertise needed. It concluded that Capita’s off-the shelf commercial solution was not fit for purpose, and noted that a bespoke application took longer to develop than anticipated.

And when the contractor fell short the Army didnt change the contract or supplier. The ‘computer system’ went offline for 6 weeks after a possible hack
“Digitising the recruitment process seems to have also driven an increase in applications from ‘unsuitable’ candidates.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker
DaveyB

The Su-57 in all fairness shouldn’t be called a stealth jet. It does have a reduced radar cross section, especially when compared to the Flanker series. But it is no F22/35. Its radar cross section is not much better than a clean Rafale.

Last edited 1 year ago by DaveyB
John Hartley

I see P&W have been awarded $115m contract for F135 engine enhancement.

Esteban

Yeah they have done it since before world war II and it seems to be working just fine.

X

Even American carriers are short of space in the hangar. It is customary for cabs to spend sometime on the roof to give maintainers space to work below. Salty water and air get everywhere even into the hangar. It is one of the reasons why carrier aircraft cost more than land based variants.

mellonsx

Did you duck when that just flew right over your head ?

X

It’s nearly Christmas I am trying not to be too negative. So no it didn’t. 🙂

X

This is my excited face. 😉

Michele

Is the Royal Navy/Fleet Air Arm to “share” F-35B with the RAF ?

Michele

Sorry, the question is:
Is the RN/FAA happy to share F-35B with the RAF

Sean

It’s a joint RAF/FAA Force for the F35B, mirroring the arrangement when the Harriers were in service. It increases the number of available aircraft to the RN when needed.

Anonymous coward

Ha, the FAA are basically RAF now…. Those in 617 would rather check in than deploy in a ship….. Its a shame, the only FAA squadrons based at RNAS are rotary.

mellonsx

to be fair though Yeovilton does still have a few Hawks and Phantoms, Buc’s, Seafires and other Iconic Fixed wing aircraft. I particularly love the Gannets, amazing Double Mamba’s to be fair.

David MacDonald

THE RAF did not do a good job running naval aviation in the run up to WW2.

ATH

And exactly what has the events of almost a hundred year’s ago got to do with today?

Sean

And you think the same people are in charge a century later?… ??‍♂️

Duker

Not ‘the people’ but the split decision making, serving 2 masters .The RAF has always been the RNs biggest enemy ( for funding)

We likely can see the very recent decisions over slowing F-35B deliveries of the 48 contracted for from 7-8 per year to 5-6 per year as ‘suiting RAF requirements’ rather than RN

Sean

I think you’ll find they serve the same single master, HMG.

As for the slowing per year it’s more likely to do with spreading costs, the year on year reduction in F35 costs, and the desire not to be exposed to too great an upgrade cost for Block 4.
But feel free to provide a link to show you just didn’t simply invent your “suiting RAF requirements” quote in order to bash the RAF.

Duker

The RAF has it’s own future fighter development under way, the F35B is last decades plane. It’s the sort of small fleet that s offered up for the chop when occasion demands .
Look at how the F35 training pipeline has been screwed up…..admittedly no the only aircraft …. But they have grander ambitions to keep up the Typhoon and it’s follow on.

X

No carrier version of Tempest wasn’t a surprise.

Angus

The Senior Bods in the RAF killed off the SHAR Forces saying it was not a multi role fighter!! Yet it came out on top each time it came up against the light blue mob or any other for that matter. It could still be filling them decks today. And its true those in light blue are not so happy when at sea.

X

Harrier procurement was stupid. We bought extra SHAR based on the Mk1 Harrier. Packed them with a superb fit out. And then bought Harrier II for the RAF sans radar………..Only we British could do something so stupid.

Louis

The biggest issue I had with the Harrier fleet was that the SHARs couldn’t perform ground attack so well whilst the RAF harriers couldn’t at all perform air defence. The situation got a bit better when we had both types on the carriers but then SHAR was retired, and our carriers lost their purpose.

X

Yes. If the MoD had just bought Harrier II to AV8x specs we could have addressed both needs. Corporate knowledge in the FAA would not have degraded to the extent it did,

Duker

The SHAR FA.2 Blue Vixen radar was seen as better than the early APG-65 radars used in AV-8B (taken from the F-18A)
The Ferranti Blue Vixen was later developed into the Ferranti led Euroradar consortium for Typhoon

from: The Post-War Development of Fighter Radar in Europe – A British Perspective 
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=4653881

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker
Duker

Thats just not so for the RN Sea Harrier 1 version
During the early years, the FRS.1 was equipped with the capability to deliver 1,000lb (454kg) high explosive bombs in free fall and retard modes with a proximity fuse option, 600lb (272kg) BL755 Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs), 2in rockets and Lepus flares. The FRS.1 also maintained a tactical nuclear capability up until around 1992 with the ability to deploy the WE177A 600lb nuclear bomb. In the Falklands Campaign 1,000lb bombs and CBUs were used extensively and caused a considerable amount of damage and disruption to the Argentinian forces on the islands. “
Sure its not optimised for ground attack but sounds pretty good to me !!

The reason for the FA.2 being based on the FRS.1 was because they converted 33 of the older type as well as 18 new builds ( 14in fuselage extension just behind wing for balance reasons and extra space.) It also had the same upgraded Pegasus engine version as the harrier II/GR5 and of course the outstanding Blue Vixen Ferranti radar
So not at all ‘stupid’

The quotes and detail come from the CO of 800 and 801 NAS Paul Stone
https://www.key.aero/article/sea-harrier-frs1-fa2-capability-odyssey

DaveyB

Agreed. The Sea Harrier based on the GR3’s narrower airframe had reached the limit of what mark Pegasus engine could be fitted. Whereas, the wider Harrier 2 could use the bigger diameter more powerful Pegasus. Though the Harrier 2’s wing had a lower critical Mach number, so a Sea Harrier could go supersonic in a dive, whereas the Harrier 2 struggled.

Duker

My understanding is the ‘Harrier 2’ change was the bigger area all composite wing ( a first for a military aircraft) which was optimised for lifting – hence the better warload -radius
the mark 105 engine for the AV-8B/ Harrier II was also produced in a navalised version, the mark106, for the FA2
There was a later Pegasus version for the AV-8B+ ( with radar) intended for the GR7 to 9 upgrade.

X

It seems with fast air there is always a ‘compromise’ somewhere in the performance.

Duker

The ‘width’ was merely the air intake structure. The main fuselage itself was largely the same with a small length extension of 18 in behind the wing

Sean

Presumably the Bedford Array will be installed on HMS Queen Elizabeth when it is dry-docked for its next planned maintenance/ refit?

fvf

hopefully.though it first even use was in hmsqe

ATH

If short rolling landing is found to be safe, practical and useful during testing. This is not in anyway a given.

Sean

SVRL has already proven to be practical and safe. First trialled on Charles de Gualle and then on Illustrious using a Harrier. It’s since been performed in Queen Elizabeth with the F35B. The Bedford Array isn’t essential for SVRL it just makes it easier for the pilot in high sea states.

N-a-B

It’s been trialled. That’s a very long way from being safe to use operationally.

Duker

No carrier landing is ‘safe’ in civilian use of the word.
I would think its well thought out approach to be ‘safer’ than current human eyeball method for STOVL landings.
Some are even thinking it could be useful for the F-35C on a carrier arrested landing

ATH

What possible relevance has SRVL to the F35C?

Duker

Its adds additional information to the existing optical land system ( meatball to the side of the carrier deck). Other current automated systems rely on transmissions to the plane
 system called the Bedford Array Landing Reference System that would augment our current IFLOLS system. The system would consist of a series of high intensity centerline lights as depicted below: [PHOTO]

These lights would be approximately twelve feet apart and would shift in order to display not only glide slope information but also glide slope trends during the pass, similar to a PAPI or VASI but stabilized with regards to deck motion.”

Angus

Proven you plonker. read the mans words. Have you ever flew on to a mover deck? RN and MOD have been dealing with this for ages and now its to see the average jockey can do it too although the aircraft does most of it for them anyway.

N-a-B

Having had something to do with SRVL at its inception and being aware of what is currently ongoing, I’ll leave your childish and poorly spelt wibble for you to fester in.

There’s a common factor which has not yet been tested in all the trials to date. A factor which is one of the larger risks in being able to do SRVL safely in an operational environment.

Duker

The lights themselves give a glide path combined with the pilots helmet display giving a velocity vector
It might be the gyro stabilised deck lights needs more work ?
They cant really slam the plane onto the deck like an arrested landing plane is built for.

DaveyB

GR3s used to do SRVL when deployed to hides in Germany.

Duker

But the ground wasnt moving forward as well as roll and pitch like a ships deck

David MacDonald

Where, when and if is 809 Naval Air Squadron?

mellonsx

Waiting for the Pilots to be born and the aircraft being built, just be patient.

David MacDonald

To accelerate the process perhaps the MoD should start funding romantic weekends for the current pilots and their wives. That way we might have 809 NAS by the early 2050s, assuming of course, that we buy the additional F35Bs by then.

Otterman

I believe it’ll stand up in Q2 2023, and then we’ll have FOC for the 2 frontline Lightning squadrons in 2025.

Anonymous coward

I’d love to know who thinks the spares barge will be out in February?! Certainly not February of 2023 anyway!

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous coward
mellonsx

Ha, a fellow thinker. It’s all part of the Big plan we are seeing being played out, We order two huge “Barges” but realise we can’t afford to buy any meaningful numbers of F35’s so to save face, POW is earmarked as a future Floating Casino and is undergoing the same protracted fate as HMS Diamond who has also failed to turn up to the ball. This way QE get’s her 4th Phalanx and enough F35’s to present a cluttered deck photoshoot for future generations to look back on in wonder. “A Growing Navy” in reverse.

pjh

Hello you funny person, I must admit to sharing a huge chunk of your thought process too, you might actually be spot on given our history. Think back to the original 138 F35B numbers, the “At least 5 Type 31’s” and the soon to be dumped “Up to 5 Type 32’s” recently being confirmed as un funded. You can add to that the reduction in Type 45 numbers a few decades back, the reduction of Trident Tubes on the Dreadnoughts and the recent conformation of no additional Atlas,C130’s cut alltogether, on top of all the cuts to the Army, Tanks, MRAPS, Hawks, Typhoons, Mine Sweepers so on and so forth. I think I might like it here !

Louis

Complaining about the reduction in Trident Tubes on the dreadnoughts has to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.
Type 32 can’t be built until the end of the decade at the earliest when the last T31 is launched so it doesn’t matter if funding is cut now.

pjh

Oh Hello, If you actually read the full comment, you will see it’s a reply highlighting the seemingly endless cuts that the UK armed Forces have to contend with year after year, decade after decade, If you think my comment is “the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard” then all I can say is Wow Really ? I mean Seriously really ? as for the Type 32’s if the funding is cut now can you say when it will be put in place ? TIA. Cheers Phil.

Last edited 1 year ago by pjh
Louis

Regardless of the other contents of your comment could you explain why the reduction in Trident Tubes is such an issue.
As for T32 Babcock and BAE will continue to develop their own designs so when the MOD funds the programme again, they have mature designs so can start construction sooner.

pjh

Hello my new found friend, hope you are well, I note your sweeping aside of my other comments, must be difficult to think of an equally difficult set of answers but as for your repeated questions, when you go to school in the morning, ask your Maths teacher to explain the difference between 12 and 16, it’s rather worrying that kids today don’t understand the basics ! Whilst you are there, try asking someone what 4×12 is, if you can then ask them to explain how one deployed Vanguard or Dreadnought with 12 D5’s and a probable max of 48 warheads stacks up against the probable 6000 Warheads of Russia. not to mention the difference in yields ( look up the Tzar Bomb and it’s successor ). As for the Type 32, you still don’t say when the funds will be in place ? Any hard facts here you want to share ? Don’t forget to brush your teeth in the morning.

Louis

How hard is it for you to understand that Trident is not about the numbers.
If you had bothered to do any research you would see that the US is replacing its 14 Ohio class SSBNs with 20+ Trident tubes, with 12 Columbia class with 16 Trident tubes.
Given Trident can hold up to 8 warheads then the only reason we will have max 48 aboard is because we don’t have enough warheads.
48 warheads are also plenty enough to destroy Russia.
Finally, it doesn’t really matter how many warheads Russia has if it would only take a few dozen to annihilate the UK. 6,000 is such a meaningless number.
As for the T32 how am I supposed to know when or if the funds will be put in place? What I do know is they are designed to replace our minesweepers by acting as motherships operating autonomous systems. It is very clear right now that funds are not available for the RN with NSM ordered, second batch of T26 ordered and 3 FSSS ordered.
Typhoon tranche 1 are so different from later tranches that it makes little sense operating them, we should focus on Tempest and F35B.
I don’t see the issue in cutting tank numbers as I believe we should focus in more specialist areas of defence, and I’m unsure as to your point on MRAPs.

Will

No. Trident IS about numbers, or at least it was. British strategic nuclear doctrine during the Cold War was based on the “Moscow Criterion”. This meant that the UK was committed to fielding sufficient numbers of indigenously controlled warheads to enable the destruction of Moscow and (hopefully) the Soviet government strictly with British weapons. You can readily see where this comes from. Despite NATO and Article V and all that, it would certainly benefit HMG in any kind of apocalyptic scenario if it could credibly threaten—and if necessary, destroy—Moscow completely on its own should Washington get the wobblies and decide it might try to sit this one out rather than lose hundreds of American cities and towns for the sake of dozens of British ones.

The 48 Trident warheads you suggest here would not be enough to ensure the destruction of Moscow while simultaneously having sufficient numbers left over to annihilate multiple additional targets, whether military bases and staging areas or population centers (or both). That’s because the Russians field an ABM system that protects Moscow and possibly other sites, as well. Although the depth and effectiveness of this system is questionable (particularly since the exoatmospheric component has been retired), nevertheless it is at least possible that some incoming British Trident warheads would be intercepted and destroyed before they could detonate. Russian ABM’s would presumably be more effective if a British strike was staggered so that most of the nukes would be coming in onesy-twosy as opposed to more or less simultaneously.

In the previous Polaris system, the “Chevaline” warheads-plus-decoys system was designed to ensure greater penetration of the Russian ABM shield, but that technology was retired. As far as I know, there is currently no comparable system fielded by the RN, nor any plans to develop one.

Granted, it would not take much of the British arsenal to destroy Moscow. A couple of accurate hits from 50kt or larger warheads would pretty much level the entire metropolitan area. Presumably there is some kind of deep buried superbunker beneath the Kremlin, so digging out the Russian government without multiple hits from high kiloton detonations would be problematic. Thus the need for a sufficient reserve of British warheads beyond the ones dedicated to any strike on Moscow to more or less guarantee that even a strictly British nuclear broadside would annihilate enough of Russia to make it unlikely that Ivan would try to nuke Tommy.

In other words, 96 is how many you want to go to sea aboard the Dreadnoughts, not 48. The former number would probably be enough for British purposes. Bojo’s decision, before he left office, to increase the number of British nuclear weapons was certainly made with this calculus in mind.

Last edited 1 year ago by Will
Will

No. Trident IS about numbers, or at least it was. British strategic nuclear doctrine during the Cold War was based on the “Moscow Criterion”. This meant that the UK was committed to fielding sufficient numbers of indigenously controlled warheads to enable the destruction of Moscow and (hopefully) the Soviet government strictly with British weapons. You can readily see where this comes from. Despite NATO and Article V and all that, it would certainly benefit HMG in any kind of apocalyptic scenario if it could credibly threaten—and if necessary, destroy—Moscow completely on its own should Washington get the wobblies and decide it might try to sit this one out rather than lose hundreds of American cities and towns for the sake of dozens of British ones.

The 48 Trident warheads you suggest here would not be enough to ensure the destruction of Moscow while simultaneously having sufficient numbers left over to annihilate multiple additional targets, whether military bases and staging areas or population centers (or both). That’s because the Russians field an ABM system that protects Moscow and possibly other sites, as well. Although the depth and effectiveness of this system is questionable (particularly since the exoatmospheric component has been retired), nevertheless it is at least possible that some incoming British Trident warheads would be intercepted and destroyed before they could detonate. Russian ABM’s would presumably be more effective if a British strike was staggered so that most of the nukes would be coming in onesy-twosy as opposed to more or less simultaneously.

In the previous Polaris system, the “Chevaline” warheads-plus-decoys system was designed to ensure greater penetration of the Russian ABM shield, but that technology was retired. As far as I know, there is currently no comparable system fielded by the RN, nor any plans to develop one.

Granted, it would not take much of the British arsenal to destroy Moscow. A couple of accurate hits from 50kt or larger warheads would pretty much level the entire metropolitan area. Presumably there is some kind of deep buried superbunker beneath the Kremlin, so digging out the Russian government without multiple hits from high kiloton detonations would be problematic. Thus the need for a sufficient reserve of British warheads beyond the ones dedicated to any strike on Moscow to more or less guarantee that even a strictly British nuclear broadside would annihilate enough of Russia to make it unlikely that Ivan would try to nuke Tommy.

In other words, 96 is how many you want to go to sea aboard the Dreadnoughts, not 48. The former number would probably be enough for British purposes. Bojo’s decision, before he left office, to increase the number of British nuclear warheads was certainly made with this calculus in mind.

X

THIS ^^^^^^^6

pjh

x2

pjh

Exactly. War is all about numbers, always has been, always will be. At least the rest of us understand that.

pjh

Good morning, I’m still sensing your lack of understanding basic Maths, which you are clearly underling with every reply. Less is More ?

X

It reduces options. You don’t want all your missiles carrying full loads. You may want some with one warhead. You might want some missiles for ‘sub strategic’ or conventional tasks.

Louis

Our Trident subs do not fire conventional missiles.

Duker

Yes, thats reserved for the attack subs

X

They could if there was a need. More tubes gives more option. The question was does reducing tubes matter? It does because it reduces options. I just listed some options.

Well done anyway for your yawn worthy effort.

I am ‘slightly’ familiar with bombers………

Louis

Unfortunately for you RN won’t fire conventional missiles from dreadnought class. Torpedo tubes are reserved for self-defence missiles, and Trident tubes can only carry Trident missiles. 4 boats give us 1 on patrol at any one point meaning we wouldn’t ever send one to a warzone because it needs to remain in the middle of nowhere ready at any second to launch. No multitasking in the SSBN fleet unfortunately.

Will

I know the German Navy has developed a submarine-launched self defense wire guided missile for use against ASW helicopters. Are you saying the RN is going to put something similar aboard the Dreadnought class? I have never read that this was the case, so if you have a source, I would appreciate it. Meanwhile I see no reason why a British SSBN could not be reconfigured to fire cruise missiles from at least some of its Trident tubes should the need arise. Given the fact that the Astute class boats can fire Tomahawks from their torpedo tubes, I don’t know why (in theory) the Dreadnoughts couldn’t do the same. British SSBNs have four torpedo tubes so even if two were dedicated to self defense missiles that would still leave two for standard torpedoes and/or SLCMs.

Last edited 1 year ago by Will
Will

To be clear: I meant that I see no reason why the Dreadnought SSBN’s could not fire Tomahawks and other missiles besides Trident from 1) their Trident tubes and 2) their torpedo tubes. Either or both, should the need arise.

Last edited 1 year ago by Will
Louis

I was referring to torpedoes used for self defence from other submarines.
There also Isn’t enough space for tomahawks and as I’ve said the SSBNs are entirely focused on retaliating to a nuclear attack.

Duker

https://www.bundeswehr.de/en/organization/equipment/armaments-projects/sea-to-air-guided-missile-system-for-u212a-idas-
They use the IRIS-T land based missile in a torpedo tube launch

of course the RN tried it first with the Shorts Blowpipe in a 6 pack in a mast raised from conning tower. Trials only in an A class in the 1970s

X

Again………..

They could if there was a need. More tubes gives more option. The question was does reducing tubes matter? It does because it reduces options. I just listed some options.

How do you know what the RN will or won’t procure over the 50 year life of Dreadnought? You don’t. Why are you talking about sending one to a ‘warzone’? There has been talking of alternative warheads for Trident for a while to give options.

Duker

They once considered firing Polaris ballistic missiles from cruisers too, apart from 1 or 2 that were fitted with but not loaded with soon changed their mind.
Considering UK only has a single SLBM boat on patrol it compromises its primary task

X

Which takes us back to the number of tubes does it not?

Yes there were some wild ideas about launching Polaris from cruisers and large destroyers. Um. I think an Italian class even had the space put to one side………

Duker

USS Long Beach was the other

The UK numbers of warheads deployed is limited buy treaty these days.
As the subs Trident missile tubes , which are made by US contractor and used in Dreadnoughts, come in quad packs, 3X 4 was seen as the ‘right size ‘ without blowing out the costs even more

AlexS

It was the WW2 era cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi that fired a Polaris. But was testing and US backed off support.

Duker

Just checking, it seems the US never provided a Polaris to test but Italy built and tested its own IRBM, the Alfa which ‘could’ reach Moscow from the Adriatic. They never had a warhead of course
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_nuclear_weapons_program

Alfa_missile[1].jpg
Esteban

I have yet to see where all the munitions gifted to Ukraine are being replaced in the UK stocks? Maybe I missed it.

Jon

First small NLAWS contract is in place, but the supply chain wasn’t ready yet for larger contracts, so they will follow. I think Martlets may have been ordered too.

Jon

And the big contract arrived even sooner than I thought and is all over today’s press.

X

If or when the balloon goes up the duty QE will be filled with USMC Bravos freeing hangar space in the USN LHx for MV22. All this talk of ‘carrier strike’ is just eyewash for the British public. These are the additional dockless America’s………

Last edited 1 year ago by X
mellonsx

I think you will find that the Vast Majority of the British Public are more interested in who wins “I’m a celebrity” and Megan and Harry do Netflix to be honest, not to mention Strictly come dancing. Events east of Poland are just annoying and anything to do with defence is as tiresome as the next Conservative prime minister vote. One day, we will start to concentrate on real issues but not now, have to go now, I feel that I need to go on strike, can’t be arsed to get off my lazy chair and better my life, rather just mess everyone else’s up.

X

I hear ya.

Will

Wow, you guys sound just like Americans. Depressingly so. Glad to hear of it over on this side of The Pond.

Sean

I didn’t realise Prince Harry had a boat…

Supportive Bloke

To be really honest most people are loosing interest in the Ging and Wing show. It is so obviously self serving.

I was quite surprised at how vociferous some of my 20 something employees were about this.

Sean

Well Anonymous seems to be interested enough to bring up “the spares barge”.
Or was he referring to Harry’s wife with that remark?

Anonymous coward

I wasn’t actually going down that road of not being able to afford it all with my post originally….. I was just being rude to ship 2, who have just had lots of bad luck and who will be in dock for a lot longer than suggested in the article. Its a QE vs Ship 2 rivalry.
However, since you all mentioned it…… We were having a wet in the mess the other day and the usual subject of pay, conditions and the unreal VO (voluntary Outflow) rate came up…….long and short of it, its fairly agreed opinion (and it is just opinion) that we as the UK can’t actually afford 2 Carrier’s the size of QE, and we certainly can’t man them…. The gapping is getting worse and we can see it going the way of bulwark and albion as soon as they can say PWLS has actually flown some planes and down a deployment…. And grown some of her own SQEP!

Duker

Well then, the second SL should be retired imediately and replace by someone who can assure the sea going jobs are prioritised above all else. And if that person can’t make an impact someone else should get the job , even if they have to reach down into the commodore ranks to find the right person

Anonymous coward

It doesn’t matter who you put up there. There just aren’t the numbers.
There was a suggestion a year or so ago that all shore drafts would be removed to send people to sea…… A great idea……I’ve had one 18 month sea draft in over 15 years of a career and the work life balance doesn’t exist. I run a group with 5 leading hands across it and all of them now have their notice in…….no one wants to become a burnt out senior rate!

X

The government didn’t appreciate that shore drafts served a function: they gave sailors time ashore to build lives.

I remember the days just about when the navy was that large the only seatime some got was the Tor Point ferry.

Duker

That wasnt the point I was making , which is that there are ‘too many jobs’ which arent even possible to go to sea, not that those who do sea time cant work on shore.
Even civilian mariners can look at a roughly 50 50 home- sea ratio. While you say 18 months at sea over 15 years or 10% was ‘too much?

X

I wasn’t responding to you.

Duker

Im giving the other readers my view and its was in response to Anonymous … Its not always a tet a tet

X

When you reply you click on the Reply button in Anon’s box not mine then. Not the last the post in the chain.

N-a-B

I think he meant one 18 month shore draft in 15 years – which tallies with other info.

You still haven’t identifed all these jobs that “aren’t even possible to go to sea”.

Duker

Environmental Heath officer, I cant imagine dental staff would have much if any sea postings.
logistics and cyber would be others that would have a small sea footprint compared to the land postings.
And if as one person said its only 10% sea duty over 18 years, one sea posting could be the norm over the first 7 years

N-a-B

I doubt you’ll find many specialist EHOs in the mob. All capital ships – and occasionally some others – deploy with a dental team.

The logistics branch is one of the more important ones. Who do you think looks after the stores levels (of all types) on ships? Not sure we have a cyber branch per se. But we will do – and they’ll deploy.

I repeat – the reference to one sea draft in 18 years is a typo.

Duker

It wasnt read as a ‘typo’, I understood it to mean all the time combined. Still only 10% of 180 months total.
Some might say ‘harden up. US navy consistently does major deployments of 4-6 months at a time and 9 months isnt unusual ( plus shorter redeployments of a week or 2 in the lead up)
Maybe they are more regular and you know long time ahead when the next deployment is due. Perhaps RN is muddled in that respect as well.

N-a-B

I suspect he meant one 18 month shore draft in fifteen years. Which if you apply your maths to it is a very different picture. Someone who has served fifteen years will be in their early thirties, with a young family. Imagine only having ten percent of that time where you have a stable family routine, can commit to holidays, watch your kids grow up. That’s been the reality of the RN manpower plot for the last couple of decades and has had predictable effects.

Duker

My father was in merchant marine. He was 50:50 for sea time and home time, as it was a domestic tanker the port time wasnt long

Do airlines not have time away from home too!
Watch your kids grow up ? Give me a break , with say 10% sea time

N-a-B

I’m pretty sure he meant to write 10% shore time.

Airlines are a failry specious parallel. You live at home. If you’re short-haul you’re home most nights. If you’re long-haul, you’re away a few days before you’re home and then its a few days before you’re rostered again.

If you’re on a three or six month deployment you’re away three to six months. Plus the upkeep and work-up prior to that. Then you might be back out again a month later. In some pinch point trades, there are people – particularly SR – who are drafted from a returning ship to a deploying ship with a couple of weeks at home and minimal notice.

Hulahoop7

When will the CSG go EoS again? Was the intent not to go with 24 next time? I imagine that would be 14 uk and 10 USMC F35s?

Last edited 1 year ago by Hulahoop7
simon

push back against the QE carriers, we are probably doing something right then.

Michele

Is the Royal Navy happy to share the F-35Bs with the RAF ?

pjh

Afternoon from a rather chilly Copenhagen, just logged on and noticed a whole lot of yesterdays comments have Vanished, Is this normal on here ? I was enjoying the Banter enormously.

Tenalad

Greetings from Tenerife, I hope your weather is warm ! As a follower of this site, I often chortle at some of the regular posters replies and then they are gone, Pfft, in a flash, It’s a shame really though as I love seeing the witty reposts even if I do -iss myself at times.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tenalad
bill

As an american, its always good to see the UK picking up some of the CSG burden. Congrats once again on getting back into the flattop game!

Craig Lewell

A US marine squadron has 10 F35B’s, the UK Invincible class often had 9 Harriers whilst the UK has deployed 8 F35B’s for CSG 21, 8 F35B’s for CSG 22. Accordingly, it’s not unreasonable to suspect that 8 F35B’s will be our peacetime deployment on a QE Class. I don’t have a problem with this personally, it’s not like additional units from “Lightning Force” can’t reach our carriers when supported with Voyagers if needed and this spreads out our assets in a distributed fashion to avoid a critical first strike.

Duker

They need to operate as a seagoing unit regularly Its not like the RAF where you can fly in an extra squadron and get down to work at a remote air base “immediately”

Craig Lewell

I don’t disagree but we also need to bear in mind that “Lightning Force” is not purely for the carriers. For example it undertook NATO air policing over the Baltics this year. Given that we have just over 30 F35B pilots and the continuing problems in fast jet training (see the Defence Committee meeting last week) I suspect 8 F35B’s embarked will adequately service training requirements (circa 4.8 years/300 hrs for fast jet) particularly when like this year POW and QE could have both been at sea.

Against a peer aggressor there’s value in having our hard to replace assets distributed initially and having strategic depth, as the US Marines plan in the Pacific. Against a non-peer we can surge, though if you think about Operation Shader or our intervention in Libya would 8 not have sufficed? If we look at one of our unsinkable aircraft carriers, RAF Akrotiri we beefed up our contribution earlier this year by sending 4 Typhoons whilst against Libya in 2013 we sent 6 Typhoons to Cyprus. Unless we are operating a long way from Sovereign air bases, such as CSG 21 I’m struggling to see the point of routinely carrying many more in peacetime.

X

Exactly. The US deploys CBG’s to do ‘work’. We deploy to ‘train’. We might help out the Americans on occasion. But nobody is going to miss us if our carriers stay by the wall. A US carrier not on a station would be a cause for concern for the West.

Louis

Firstly, any nuclear war that involved the UK would involve the US.
Secondly, 48 warheads would wreak havoc on Russia.
Thirdly, 12 tubes still allow for 96 warheads.
Finally, Russian ABM defence is non-existent

Duker

The opposite . Russia retained its Soviet era ABM capability around Moscow

https://www.rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/defending-mother-russias-skies
I think the S400 system has some terminal ballistic missile capability, probably for the tactical type missiles

Louis

My apologies, my post was meant as a response to somebody else. The final bit was poorly worded. I was questioning the credibility of suck systems rather than the existence.

pjh

ha.

Will

Duker, yes, agreed. Soviet ABM capabilities are uncertain, but they are real and they must be taken into account vis a vis the number and probable effectiveness of the Trident warheads.

PeterS

“More than 20 years into the F35s development, the aircraft remains in every practical and legal sense nothing more than a very expensive prototype”
Conclusion of the most recent POGO report on the F35.
That’s the dilemma the UK is facing: do we spend vast amounts more on an aircraft still in
a development programme over which we have no control? And is there any feasible alternative?
Has anything been heard about the RFI for an EMAL system?

X

I think we are stuck with Bravo’s now there will be no CTOL. If there was spare budget I would it allotted to Crowsnest.

PeterS

Another Lockheed Martin led project. Like F35 and Warrior upgrade, years late and over budget. But yes we need capable AEW . I think it’s still planned to go out of service by 2030, to be replaced by a UAV. How we do that without catapults, I’m not sure. The new STOL version of the Predator looks possible but does it have the ability to carry a powerful radar?

X

It’s a mess isn’t it? It’s not just a question of lofting the sensor the platform needs to generate enough power for the sensor for a good time too.

I am not sure a UAV is the way to go. I have looked at biplane type configurations and, don’t laugh, seaplane type configurations. None of them quite compare to CTOL and E2x. It is the latter that should have driven the carrier build not the bomb truck. AEW is needed all the time. Plus their other considerations such as control of BVR missiles. No point in bragging about F35’s stealthiness if the platform has to sit to guide its missile in.

There is only one option. Stick a decent sensor in MV22. But the cost would be horrendous for us.

Duker

Aim-120 Amraam is a fire and forget, mid course guidance is optional.

X

Yes. OK. Perhaps I have over egged the pudding? I shall try again. The option of mid course guidance enhances and protects F35’s stealth.

Duker

Firing a BVR supersonic missile gives away your position right then.
I always understood the stealth was best used against ground defences and low low level , not when you are in wild blue yonder ?

X

You launch and you notch leaving the AEW cab to guide the missile home. I would say no you are not automatically detectable. But that is down to all sort of factors. Many of which are mitigated by passing missiles off to the AEW cab………. We need to do what we can to look after how many few Bravos we have.

PeterS

I wondered about the Valor. But if a radome the size of the Hawkeye’s is needed, the blades in horizontal position might interfere with the signal or even the radome structure itself.
If the latest Searchwater radar is adequate, could it not be fitted to a STOL turboprop? The BN Defender carried a nose mounted radar and could operate from a QE without a catapult.
Any successor to Crowsnest is going to be expensive. A UCAV needing an EMAL system is likely to be the most expensive of all. I can’t see it happening and certainly not by 2030.

X

I have pondered on Defender and its three engine variant, planes like the Anatonov AN-2 (no real stall speed!) and other things including gyrocopters. As I said above the best option appears to be crane something over the side which would never happen.

It’s the ramp that cause me the most concern.

Searchwater ASaC is adequate.

Last edited 1 year ago by X
X

comment image

PeterS

Looks feasible and I guess the rotors will be vertical when the radar is in operation.

X

Yes. Doesn’t look optimal does it?

AlexS

All that turbulence do not look very healthy for the radar antenna neither for flight quality.

The only option i think is a conformal antenna in each side.

X

I was looking for a pic of an illustration of MV-22 with a drop down array out the aft door.

Duker

Vickers Wellington near the end of WW2 with fuselage mounted rotating radar for vectoring fighters
https://www.aerosociety.com/news/airborne-early-warning-and-control-detecting-the-battlespace/

blog-wellington_ic_-r1629[1].jpg
Last edited 1 year ago by Duker
X

They went so far in those few years.

Duker

Large circular radome no longer required, its just continued for flight development reasons

20130228-en-1256501-1[1].jpg
X
Last edited 1 year ago by X
Duker

Even better
AS 532 UL Cougar

snias_cougar-aew[1].jpg
X

In terms of physical scale Searchwater is small.

Duker

originally the radar was supposed be multiple ‘conformal’ plate type AESA radar surfaces…. but Lockheed couldnt deliver/ MOD didnt want to pay ?
This is an early trials version

message-editor_1617304997904-royalnavymerlinaesa_1[1].jpg
X

Like the Italian AEW Merlins.