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what would you estimate the cost of re activating the 10 Merlins?


we need to find the funds for these, until we can afford V22’s, we have a desperate lack of helo’s once crowsnest is introduced

jon agar

cheaper than buying 1 v22 osprey….


It would be great to eventually have this capability covered by UAV, as it would be a very much sole-role style mission, with little demand for conventional piloting? It also seems to me to be a small mission load for a large bird.


all of which underlines what an idiotic situation we created by not selecting a catapult carrrier – so how useful are the CV’s if our closest ally is unable to land their kit on it. Our defence procurement should parallel the US’s as we are unlikely to be engaged with out them – but the prid pro quo is we get 20% of the work –

David Stephen

It would be worse if we had cats n traps. There is no money to buy E-2D and stand up the training and spares needed. Even if the carrier had catapults it would still be Crowsnest on Merlin for AEW. The USMC can use the carriers perfectly well. They are bringing V-22 and F-35B along for deployment in a couple of years. STOVL was and is the best choice for the RN as it allows us to surge extra aircraft in extremes just like the Falklands.


I take your point about surging a/c but surely the best solution is to fit an angle deck with arrester gear and keep the jump. What is the argument against that?

David Stephen

Cost and training. We can send a carrier out with one squadron, or two or even four with the F-35B but we could could not expect to keep two full FAA squadrons certified for cats n traps. Best option is to have one common fleet of aircraft that can fly from the carriers or a land base. The F-35A has lots of differences from the B and would put a huge extra strain on Logistics and the budget.


Sooner rather than later we are going to see other navies employ medium sized drones on ‘through deck warships’. I think AWACs will be one of the first uses. These aircraft will need to be recovered. My point is why not get ready for this by fitting arrester wires on the QNLZ class. I think it possible after the USN has done the research we could also fit a medium power CAT on the carriers parallel to the ski jump. Seems to me there is a lot of wishful thinking and limiting of possibilities on these ships. I particularly resent this nonsense I am hearing from PC Admiral Jones about RN leading the world in carrier tech. WE are doing the reverse and taking it back 50 years right now.
There should be less PC justifying of 2nd best and more thinking out of the box how we get back to THE BEST.
That is what got us to invent ALL the main key elements of carrier aviation in the first place.
If you think its possible it usually is. First you need a vision and a plan.


Does anyone remember the AEW Gannet? A useful bit of kit – pity we didn’t have it in the Falklands!


The argument for not installing an angled deck is time and money for a massive refit costing maybe £2 to £3 billion pounds per carrier. I understand that a large percentage of the flight deck including at least two decks below will need to come off, be redesigned and reinstalled not forgetting the design and reallocation of the work spaces lost by the disruption or any increase in electric power generation that may be required. As far as I understand little or no attempt was made in the actual built design to accommodate and allow for such a massive rebuild despite what the tender/contract may have implied. Confirmation of the above can be gleaned by the anger publicly expressed by government ministers when they tried to implement such fundamental design change early in build program.


They should built in catapult capabilities to the carriers so we could have used the fr more capable E2 Hawkeye