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Supportive Bloke

It is a finely balanced decision about whether the UK should prioritise readiness for the defence of the Euro-Atlantic region over an active operation defending trade routes in the Middle East.”

It could well be a decision made after a mature discussion with USN and NATO as to what deployment would be most useful for shared objectives?

That said, I can easily see QEC rotated for a couple of months into the hot zone as it is an election year and we probably can muster 2 x T45 and 2 x T23 for election reasons. Not that I am cynical at all…….

DeRuyter

Whether its NATO, US or with European partners, its not something you can choose between. Its and/and, we need to be able to defend the Euro-Atlantic regions and important trade routes.

The peace dividend after the cold war has been paid out and is over.

nige

Totally agree ????

Gavin Gordon

‘However, underfunded maintenance packages have allowed the sole ship able to supply the carrier strike group with munitions to fall into a parlous state’

Absolutely. It is very notable how long the USN can keep it’s vessels up and running purely by attending to the ‘servicing requirements’ as well as initial purchase. Same argument goes for the Arleigh Burke Flight 1s vis-à-vis our Type 23s. You obviously need a minimum # of hulls to allow for that level rotation.

Jonno

It makes sense to plan right now for another 3 T31’s and controversially another 5 yes Five T26’s because if you don’t plan now it will be too late and schedules for T83 destroyers is way off into the sunset. We need a plan,OK?

Jonathan

I suspect it will depend on what the Houthi do next and if they continue the tempo of drone and missile strikes..if they do I suspect for both political and geopolitical/strategic reasons they would send a carrier battle group..

nige

It’s a very sad state of affairs that all we can deploy is two type 23 and two 45. what a miserable mess this nation has sunk into. Is there a bright side to our misery?
Not for the next six years anyway!

Robert

Rather than diplomacy to get a resupply port, use diplomacy to get a closer airbase. Djibouti or Saudi Arabia would be much better places to base some Typhoons (or F15, F16 etc).

Jonathan

Park them next door to the Chinese never base in Djibouti….that would send a message.

NL123

What exactly is Carrier Strike going to strike with if they’re up against a credible force e.g. Russia; free-fall bombs and a missile with a 10kg warhead that is outranged by S-400 SAM systems? Storm Shadow or JSM would make the carriers a lot more credible.

Last edited 4 months ago by NL123
zavve

F-35B with Spear 3 certainly is not outranged by S-400. Spear 3 has a range of >120km and the S-400 can’t target an F-35 from that distance. I doubt S-400 could see a F-35 at 80km.

NL123

So option A) Launch stealthy cruise missile from 550km away and call it a day. Option B) Come 430km closer to the anti-ship missiles and launch non-stealthy missiles with mini warheads to take out some* air defence, so that non-stealthy F-35’s can risk their necks flying directly over what is left of the air defences to hit the hard targets with external carry drop bombs.

All that is great assuming you’re not planning on bombing anyone other than a bunch of farmers.

Jonathan

The RAF penetrated Houthi airspace with typhoons using paveway 4 so what do you think they could not do it with F35..

The Houthi are not a bunch of Farmers they are a highly committed, well resourced, trained and hardened fighting force who sent the Saudis packing…they are attacking with Ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones…farmers don’t use those…they have downed a number of f16s with their air defences….

Last edited 4 months ago by Jonathan
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

14 lb warhead. That is a lot of bang, not.

Jonathan

The RAF have been flying a lot of missions near and around Russian built air defence systems and have generally used paveway 4 as its preferred strike weapon. PW4 linked to an F35 is a very credible strike weapon.

NL123

So is a Brahmos missile when fired at a carrier forced to move into range so that F-35’s can drop Paveways.

Jonathan

Couple of points..
BrahMos range is around 300miles.combat radius of a f35b is around 520miles….so why would the carrier be within 300miles..

second..the range of anti ship missiles in regards to navel warfare is pure top trumps for kids..what matter is kill chain and generally unless you have complete air dominance and have an air asset with a downward looking search radar and data linking live targeting data to the firing platform..engagements are restricted to the radar horizon….ships cannot find each other and attack each other beyond the radar horizon which is around 20miles….and to do that you have to be sending out wave form energy that your enemy will detect, triangulate on and kill you likely before you get a solid kill chain.

it’s why generally speaking aircraft will sneak up on a ship below the horizon just popping up to fix a firing solution and get their kill chain…

finally I was talking about strike on land not anti shipping…we desperately need an air launched anti shipping weapon..it does not need to be long range ( for the reasons I have given)..but we need it…there are plenty of things that can be hung off the wing hard points of an f35b…and actually the stealth part is a bit irrelevant as the aircraft with the weapons can hide behind the radar horizon..with another clean aircraft supporting the kill china with targeting information….firth generation is very useful for multi platform complex attacks.

Me

Why is everyone obsessed with people’s navels?

Jonno

I have an Idea. Why cant the training F35’s over in USA be reimagined as tanker aircraft? That would allow a much increased strike range for the carriers.

Nick Brough

The RAF seems to have two choices. Paveway IV or Storm Shadow (the rest of anti-vehicle weapons).

Jed

Norway has paid the full bill for integration of JSM on F35, acquisition of this missile would provide considerable flexibility and mission profile options over a laser guided bombs and the mini missile which is not integrated yet, amd won’t be for some time.

DeRuyter

(Almost) all European navies are in shambles. The Dutch navy struggles to have just one frigate operational, are behind on replacing the subs (and frigates) and don’t even have a patrol boat in the Caribbean at the moment.

The Germans are buying extra frigates but only with 16 VLS cells (on a 10.000 tonnes ship)? If you want to carry something more then only quad packed Sea Sparrows is next to nothing seeing the number of missiles launched in the Red Sea now.

The European navies need to get their act together fast.

Theoden

Agreed. Even the USN is struggling with recruitment and retention both in the service and in the shipyards

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

And hulls too. Not enough escorts or boats too.

Sean

The only consolation is that our immediate opponent, the Russian Navy, is in an even more shambolic state of affairs. And that was before the Ukrainians started decimating it…

Roy

Its losses notwithstanding, the Black Sea Fleet is stronger now than it was in February 2022.

But it is correct to say that, in general, the Russian navy as a whole – at least the surface fleet – has been exposed as weak. And that is precisely whey there is zero urgency in the UK to prevent continued naval decline.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Russia is a land power. Saying we are better than them is like saying we are better than the Swiss navy. The navy is important to Russia. But at the end of the day hardly key. .

Sean

Saying the Black Sea fleet is stronger if you ignore its losses, it’s like saying the Spanish navy of 1589 is stronger if you ignore the loss of the Armada. Or that the US Pacific Fleet of 1942 was stronger if you ignore Pearl Harbour…
Losing 10 ships, including the flag ship, and a submarine, can never be said to make a fleet “stronger”.

The only gains in the entire Russian navy since the war started are a new frigate (Admiral Golovko) and two corvettes (Grad, Novo-Fominsk)… And they aren’t allocated to the Black Sea Fleet.

Rob Young

The west needs to get it’s act together – NOW! Western politicians don’t seem to see the urgency of the situation.

Jonno

As for our politicians; they are likely out of touch and too far removed from either their Grand Parents generation or of current service personnel; so have little clue about what is required.
Meanwhile Putin has reset the Russian economy at 40% for war purposes.
Dont forget either that Russia has unlimited Oil and most Raw Materials and if they get Ukraine unlimited Food.
On our side (?) Biden dreams of retiring to Ireland in 2029 from whence his family left 180 years ago; but don’t let that spoil his delusion.

ocramavaf

That is factually not true as the navies of Italy, France and Spain have been constantly and consistently deploying their forces around the Globe without many issues, and their Carriers have deployed in Dual Carrier operations (in the case of Italy) and Amphibious and Carrier group operations without issues and in recent years in particular increasing the tempo of deployments and size of the committed forces.

While at the same time all of those three Navies are increasing or maintaining the overall size and tonnage of their Fleets through continued shipbuilding efforts.

Jonno

I agree. We have uniquely destroyed our shipbuilding capabilities and ownership from 1970’s (EU) onwards. Lest we forget Cunard’s QE2 (1968 ) was the last liner ( complicated ship) of any consequence we built. After that the next substantial ship was HMS QNLZ (2018)! By my reckoning that’s 50 years asleep at the wheel! Nothing to be proud of.
The EU had a nasty habit of it seems subsidising the run down of UK industry when for other countries they helped build it up. I think they wanted the destruction of the UK as an industrial power. They had EU Champions, like curiously they chose Belgium as the Beer Brewing Champion allowing Interbrew to grow exponentially from virtually nothing.

Theoden

We are where we are. It’s taken a long time to get here and it’ll take a long time to get where we want to be but there’s grounds for optimism. Type 26 and 31 are progressing well and IF Lockheed Martin can finallly deliver tranche 3 there’s light at the end of that tunnel too. The biggest issue is recruitment and retention and especially for the RFA. The one thing we can be sure of is that there isn’t going to be a significant increase in the budget for the foreseeable future. Neither party with any chance of winning the next election are promising that. So the only option is massively speeding up the recruitment process which by all accounts is currently appalling. This al least has the advantage of not requiring large sums of money to acheive. The RFA is the one area where we can turn things around realtively quickly without spending large sums of cash. The RFA is so small that even significant increases in pay can be achieved with minimal affects on the overall budget. With the problem in the RFA so obvious and serious and the solution so cheap no one in the MoD or the Treasury have any excuse for inaction.

Wil

As someone who joined the RFA at 60, just 2 years ago, I can confirm what you say.. It’s a great life, just the package needs to be bolder

Jon

Won’t they let you wear a codpiece?

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Which branch are you in good sir?

Rose Compass

Any chance that you could tell us a little more about your RFA experience, Wil? Having read the Navy Lookout piece entitled ‘Is the Royal Navy in crisis?’ a few days ago I wrote in support of your standpoint – and also thought to myself that maybe one (of several possible) solution(s) to the RFA personnel crisis would be to throw the doors open to older recruits. I had a look and there is no upper age limit – however, I suspect that it’s likely that time at sea (or at least some experience in uniform) would be a factor in an older person being selected. You concluded your observations on the ‘Royal Navy in crisis’ article by saying that ‘I’m 62, I’d rejoin the Navy tomorrow!’. So you were in the Navy. Was that crucial to the RFA’s interest in you? You see, if the RFA can take a raw recruit at 17&1/2 to 18, why can’t they take a raw recruit who is, like you (or me), 60-plus? By the way, this isn’t really off topic if it is posited that one of the reasons we might hesistate to deploy a carrier is the availability of the RFA owing to personnel shortages.

Supportive Bloke

Interesting POV – not at all OT.

One of the more interesting threads.

Aaron

Did anybody else skip the content and start googling adblockers. UK defence journal is unusable due to ads, its a shame this site has doubled them.

Duker

Ads pay for the site . Do want to send a donation instead ?….Didnt think so

Aaron

Well as this is one of the few sites I really value and appreciate, maybe? I contribute a direct debit each month to keep Wikipedia free, but it would depend how much it was.

fvf

If on phone then adds can be far more detrimental.
A solution if on chrome browser on a laptop or desktop is to just right click then inspect and delete appropriately till they disappear.

Order of the Ditch

The UKDJ is really going down hill. Content is getting worse, the site is so loaded with ads that articles are becoming unreadable. Inserting an ad after every small paragraph will not increase site revenue.
A lot of the content is rehashed press releases and stuff about Scottish ferries or the RAF doing patrols for Santa at Christmas.
George’s better content now goes into the Telegraph, but he is slowly killing UKDJ with lots of small bad decisions.
Comment section is still good.
Navy Lookout is a breath of fresh air, appropriate number of ads to sustain the site, good readable layout and less content, but that is of a very high calibre.

Aaron

Yes UKDJ I don’t open, the adds as you describe destroyed it. We now have 5 on this page, up from I think 2 previous. Such a shame.

AlexS

Use a browser like Vivaldi or Brave. I have no issues in any site.

Greta Thunderpants

Just use an Ad blocker…. I don’t see any Adds on either site. I like this site but a couple of Prolific posters spoil the comments section with their huge Ego’s and passive aggressive comments, wish there was a Blocking feature. UKDJ site is still good but it’s very annoying when whole sections of comments get deleted by whoever feels the need due to having a different POV. This happens a lot sadly.

Nicholas

I posted a chart (on UKDJ) of defense spending over time since World War II overlayed with who was in power at the time. This was actual recorded information as oppossed to interpretation and did not prove what is commonlly believed. Initially I got a load of sarcastic abuse and silliness before my post was deleted.

ChrisLondon

Is there any chance you could repost that? Here would do. I would be interested in it and your sources.

Sean

Agreed, it functions now seemingly just to draw in people to increase ad-views rather than inform. Consequently it seems to have an article about the defence implications of an independent Scotland every 2 weeks, simply because it generates vast numbers of views and comments.

Plus it seems to have large numbers of conspiracy theorists/ Russian trolls/ Neo-Nazis commenting these days.

Rose Compass

That’s odd I’ve never once been troubled by adds! It didn’t even occur to me that other people might be. I have, however, set my browser up to delete all cookies upon closing down, and I never flit from one website to another without closing the browser – unless I want a subsequent website (or sites) to know what I (as any individual) am interested in. The set up I have and the procedure I follow is a faff as it means that any new visit to a familiar website takes a longish time to load – but obviously it has its pluses as I’m add free! Why would I want someone to know my browsing habits? Well for instance, I want the Daily Telegraph to know that I’m interested in websites like this one – just to remind them that peopel are!

Rose Compass

Der…typo…’people’, not ‘peopel’!

Phoneposter

There’s ads on here? 🙂
Try one of the privacy-based firefox forks, and use one of the suggested adblockers.

If on desktop or a rooted android phone, google how to replace your hosts file with an adblocking one – that’s the most lightweight solution. Easily done, and it stops ad traffic even getting to/off your device.

Deeps

Mk4 Bofor’s with onboard ammo must surely be a candidate rather than the 30mm now that is set for the Type 31; preferably before they deploy into a high threat environment like the Red Sea.

nige

Yes I think the MK4 would be a far better option to defend the carriers, How many guns were ordered for the type 31s? Order more please…

Rob Young

Whatever. The main need is to up arm our ships, quite happy with either system as long they are bought and fitted!

Sean

For defending commercial shipping from airborne attacks the T45 is the best option, with possibly an Astute carrying TLAMs for striking land targets.

But for long loitering missions over Yemen, watching-out for mobile missile launchers to appear, an armed drone carrying Brimstone or Paveway IV would be ideal. It may be an opportune time to consider progressing last-year’s testing of Mojave on PoW into a real capability under UOR funding.

Duker

US has been attacking Yemen for the last 10 years or so with armed drones from Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. Whats to change ?

image48-108-350x3001
Sean

Well what’s changed is that they’ve started to take pot shots with drones and missiles at commercial shipping. That’s only started in recent months.
Try and keep up.

Duker

So how come fighting back when attacked is great for Israel but not for the forces of Yemen- after 10 years plus of heavy attacks on their country

In 2017, U.S. Central Command stated it had conduced 131 air strikes in Yemen, but New America has only been able to identify location and date information for some of those strikes. The strikes for which such information is lacking are labeled as “insufficient detail.”

131 in one year !

Funny how the explanations change: Turkiye invades its neighbour Cyprus in 1970s . Nato does nothing nor does Britain over a member of the Commonwealth.
The ‘rules based order’ is complete fabrication its just political theatre

Sean

How is taking random pot shots at international commercial shipping “fighting back”? I don’t recall Britain fighting back against Germany’s blitz during WW2 by trying to sink neutral ships carrying cargoes between neutral ports.

The forces of Yemen, the forces of the legitimate internationally recognised government, have not been under attack by U.S. forces. The US has been attacking a group of rebel religious fanatics that have been attempting to overthrow the government of Yemen.
The Houthis are just another bunch of religious fanatics, they don’t represent the majority of Yemenis which are Sunni whereas the Houthis are of the Zaydi branch of Shia and they only control a third of Yemen.

But you know all this. You’re being deliberately disingenuous in your false equivalence of Houthi and Yemen, and again in your usual attempt at obfuscation by dragging up the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Last edited 3 months ago by Sean
Coll

And now HMS Chiddingfold has collided with HMS Bangor in the Gulf. It can’t get any worse. At least someone will get a promotion for helping with the cost-cutting.

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Phil Chadwick

On the whole, things are positive. There is one issue though that need to urgently be addressed. That is recruitment and retention. It needs to be sorted out ASAP. There is no problem at all in attracting applicants who wish to join, but it is the painfully slow process of evaluation and selection that is holding up new joiners arriving, and that is having a huge knock on effect, meaning delays in the training pipeline and further delays in qualified Sailors going out into the Fleet, so more good People are leaving and less of them are coming in to provide a relief. Can we have the Careers Offices back please?? Let the RN do the job instead of Capita, who have failed miserably.

Russ

Totally agree based on what has been reported in the media that I’ve read.

I joined up in 1988 and from walking into the careers office in Edinburgh to going through the gates of HMS Raleigh was 8 or 9 weeks in total. Drop out rate was low back then as well, I think for our entire entry # 38 (120 ish blokes) we lost less than 10 people.

Decided to leave after 24 years because the writing on the future state of the RN was on the wall and I wanted to do something new/different.

Jed

2 more years than you originally signed up for though, right? BZ and thank you!

Jed

There is a double benefit – you get an easy draft to your home town careers office, pretty sure in my day we used it a lot for “welfare” cases, people who needed some time to sort out non naval shit that happens in real life. BUT have we already dropped below a “critical mass” required to do this? Do we have the people spare to take back the staffing of recruitment offices?

Supportive Bloke

It was also used to keep people ‘in’ who would be needed for an emergency deployment.

Will

An air wing of 24 F-35s and 14 Merlins is indeed respectable, but you don’t need ships quite as large as the QE’s for that kind of a strike group. I presume the real reason the UK built the QE’s the way they did is because the Americans wanted more sizable ships in order to “cross deck” in the event of a hot war. That’s … alright, I guess, but again, the UK could still find itself in a situation (such as the Falklands or perhaps something going on in the eastern Mediterranean) that would require the RN to operate independently or with some support in the shadows but nothing on the firing line. British national sovereignty and strategy is greatly hamstrung if the military in general and the Royal Navy in particular are too small to afford 10 Downing Street the option of going it alone.

Last edited 4 months ago by Will
Phil Chadwick

The Queen Elizabeth Class are the size they are because of one of the key lessons learned after the Falklands Conflict. For example, when 809 NAS and 1 Squadron RAF reinforcements arrived on SS Atlantic Conveyor, there was barely enough room to take all of them. There was simply no more flight deck or hangar space available. It is important to point out that the Harriers were much smaller than the current F35B. Remember also that the Invincible Class were originally designed as ‘Through Deck Cruisers’, with the intention to carry ASW Helicopters only, up until 1975 when it was then announced that the maritime version of the Harrier (Sea Harrier) would be developed with the intention that they would also operate from the new ships. But I’ll not rabbit on like a keyboard Admiral, I’ll refer you to this brilliant article from the very website you are commenting on… https://www.navylookout.com/development-of-the-queen-elizabeth-class-aircraft-carrier-a-design-history/

Will

Heh, thanks Phil.

Yes, the F-35 is a larger and more extreme aircraft than the Harrier, and the Merlins are bigger than the old Sea Kings. I’m just saying the RN could probably have built 3 medium-large carriers rather than 2 supercarriers given the very low probability that either of the QE’s will ever sail with their full complement of 36 Lightning II’s plus helos.

Sean

Steel and air are cheap.
What’s expensive and time-consuming in the build is all the stuff that goes inside them, electronic-systems, power-plants, lifts, etc. You’re talking 3 sets of everything not 2, regardless of the size of carrier.

Peter S

Steel and air may be cheap but the QEs weren’t. The total cost rose from £3.5b to £7b, only partly because of deliberate slowing of the build. In comparison. Italy has paid £1b for the Trieste. Of course the RN ambition was driven by planned sortie rates (150 per day later reduced to 111) in order to match the capability of a US carrier. In hindsight, given the likely much reduced air wing we will be capable of deploying, the ships are too big and expensive. We could have achieved the probable capability for far less money.
But the big problem now is that we are entirely constrained by LMs failure to deliver F35 development on time. It is likely to be 2030 before integration of Spear3 and Meteor. Until then, whatever the potential of the aircraft, its weapon load will be no better than the SHAR2.
And the negative effects of the carriers’ high cost in money and crew are becoming ever more obvious.
.

Hugo

F35 order was only reduced in 2015, how was the navy supposed to predict that and in turn change the carrier design 10+ years beforehand.
And I don’t see how the carriers cost is affecting the navy today.

Peter S

The F35 order wasn’t reduced. We have never ordered the number (138) in the initial plan. What was absolutely predictable was the initial plan for carriers and F 35 would go way over budget. Without a major uplift in budget, other programmes had to be delayed or reduced to avoid even bigger black holes. So we have a fall in escort vessels that won’t be rectified until @2030. The crew needed for the QEs has proved to be larger than planned, exacerbating the overall shortage problem.
So the costs of the carrier+F35 programme has been a significant factor in the hollowing out of the rest of the fleet. Had the initial plan been more modest/realistic, this wouldn’t have happened.

Duker

Meanwhile even more countries took on the naval aviation challenge and the existing countries: USMC, Italy ,Spain shift to the F35B for their aviation ships
The RN has had poor fiscal/maintenance planning for a while , but maybe not as bad as the other services considering the RNs operational environment

Grinch

Why are you labeling your links in Russian?

Louis

seems someone messed up lol

Last edited 4 months ago by Louis
Peter S

I’m not. The Russian words appeared when I posted. It has happened before- no idea why.

Duker

Yes. Your links lead to Navy Lookout too!
the underlying htlml is
<a href=”https://www.navylookout.com/author/” rel=”author”>@Владимир Темников</a>

 

Translates via google to Vladimir Temikov

Louis

Trieste is primarily an LHD. A better comparison would be Cavour.

For the price of 2 QEC, factoring in inflation you could buy 5 Cavours.

That doesn’t take into account differences in shipbuilding. Fincanteri is the largest non East Asian shipbuilding company. It has lots of experience, better facilities etc. so can build ships faster and cheaper. Add in the fact that steel and energy prices are lower in Italy. With that factored in it’s probably about 4 Cavours for 2 QEs.

If you want to operate them separately you’ll need 2 times as many escorts and supply ships.
Cavour can generate ~40 sorties max compared to ~110 for QE. That means to be effective you actually need 3 Cavours to generate the same number of sorties as 1 QE.
Add in the fact that Cavour has a crew of 486 and QE 679 meaning the Navy would need to be far larger.

Peter S

Fair points. The Italian plan seems to be to use Trieste as a reserve F35 carrier when Cavour is unavailable. Although Trieste is somewhat larger, its aircraft capacity is lower because of the space dedicated to its more substantial amphibious role.
I don’t think it is relevant to suggest that we would need 4/5 Cavours to equal the QEs. With the likely size of the QE air wing, the planned sortie rate will never be met. I am not convinced it was ever a sensible ambition.
All I am saying is that we could have built Cavour /Trieste size vessels with a squadron of F35s on each, more in surge mode, and had a capability close to what we have spent 2/3 as much to achieve.
When comparing costs, we should also take account of the fact that both Italian ships, as well as having amphibious capability, have a full suite of sensors and self defense weapons. The QEs are virtually unarmed.

Caribbean

The initial sortie rate was planned for 108 sorties/day (i.e. 3 sorties/ day per aircraft for 36 aircraft) for 2 days, followed by 72 /day for 5 days ( 2 per aircraft).

The US Marines found that they could sustain 5 sorties/ day per aircraft in their trials on their smaller LHDs

Translated over to the QE’s, that means an air wing of 22 could fly 110 sorties per day for 2 days, followed by 71 sorties/ day for the next 5 days, for roughly the same overall number of sorties

Duker

Thats unusual claim. I thought the reverse was true. The ‘design’ sortie rate per aircraft was never achieved in practice, not increased
The design carrier sortie rate is mostly correct but it cant be done , even more so on the USMC small cariers. Its not the ship thats the limiting factor. Its the complications of the F-35

The original specification in 2001 called for a carrier that could launch up to 150 fixed-wing sorties every 24-hours although by late 2002 it was accepted that this would have to be reduced to 110.”
https://www.navylookout.com/are-the-royal-navys-aircraft-carriers-too-big/

In the world situation we have , Id think for training and operational reasons the carriers should have 30-35 F-35B on typical RN shorter deployments. Sometimes that might be spread over both carriers.
This would mean the fleet of F-35B is really optimised only for carrier operations

Duker

Cavour also has drive on side ramps and even a large stern door , so that hangars can accommodate wheeled and tracked vehicles

c550-cavour-trieste-041
AlexS

Cavour have Aster missiles, radar guided 76mm guns. You have to take that investment out of equation to compare to QE that only has some light 30mm..

The crew is also not correct if we count on flight crews.

Nick Brough

Bargain compared to what the US Navy pays

Sean

Hmm links in Cyrillic script, I Russian Troll, and not a very competent one either.

Supportive Bloke

Actually the site code translates some non alpha numeric strings into Cyrillic script. I’ve noticed it a few times and edited it out.

It doesn’t display when you write the list but ‘converts’ as it passes through the posting process.

Sean

That sounds very bizarre… all the site is doing is displaying the HTML he has embedded in his post. I can’t see why it would translate the content between the opening/closing anchor tags alone into Cyrillic, especially when the ‘translation’ isn’t into gibberish.

Supportive Bloke

Try it!

I can’t figure out why but it does it……..

I did try to figure it out……but had work to do.

Maybe it is a Russian plugin trying to harvest all our email addresses…..jokes….

Sean

I have, it’s never happened to me.

Last edited 3 months ago by Sean
Peter S

Bollocks_ now wait for some Cyrillic.

Sean

Yes, that single word describes accurately what you post.

Duker

The SH FA2 was really limited to 1 or 2 Amraam BVR missiles per jet in hot conditions ( bring back to deck ) as the max engine thrust wasnt ideal – Pegasus had increased thrust over FA1 but was 1000lb heavier with new radar and fuselage extension for more avionics.
F-35B has up to 4 Amraam under normal conditions. plus the choice of LGB which the FA2 never had
Engine reliability also fell away in its last years before shock retirement. In one 18 month period all 8 planes in a squadron had engine replacement while at sea

Peter S

I’m not remotely suggesting that the SHAR2 was as capable as the F35. Even with the limited current weapons fit, F35 is faster, longer ranged with vastly better sensors. But it does fall well short of the plan for a much enhanced weapons load with Meteor and Spear 3. LMs performance on the F35 has been appalling and they haven’t covered themselves in glory with Crowsnest or Warrior either.

Sean

If you think LM are bad, just remember that the competition to LM was Boeing…
A bullet definitely dodged there!!!

Peter S

Boeing is in trouble. Its fixed price deal for the T7 Redhawk will lose money, and the costs in both loss of reputation and compensation for the 737 failures will hit them hard. Booked losses for its tanker contract have reached $7b.
The consolidation of the defence industrial sector into a handful of big global players hasn’t been wholly successful.

Sean

You forgot the Starliner space capsule fiasco too.
The issue was the merger with McDonnell Douglas and the change in cultural from doing great engineering to produce profits to minimising costs to increase shareholder value.

John fedup

The MD merger, a huge problem. Instead of engineers in Seattle running things, they have bean counters in Chicago (and Arlington), what could possibly go wrong……?

Jon

That wasn’t a given when the ships were built. It wasn’t really a given until LM failed to deliver upgrades on time. I’m not even sure saying it’s likely they will never sail with 36 is a given right now. I don’t consider it that low a probability that 24 UK and 12 USMC could be ready in 2027. If we can scrape up the support units.

Nick Brough

Would anyone i current day No 10 (or in the immediate future) even think about “going it alone” ?

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The UK is wholly dependent on the US for defence. We can do next to nothing without them.

Greta Thunderpants

That’s not true… you are once again typing rubbish….

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The only stretch of water the average Briton wants defending is the Channel.

And the ‘government’ aren’t interested in doing that.

Sean

You know nothing about what the “average Briton” wants. The average Briton wants action on climate-change, something you completely deny exists.

Bob79

No we bloody well do not!! I like many people I know want all these boat people sending back. We want to be able to see a Dr instead of being fobbed off, we want to keep more of our money we work hard to earn

Sean

You want to keep more of your money… but presumably want more money spent on defence too. I think the term is “cake-ism”.

The majority of the British public don’t want illegal immigration across the Channel. But the majority want the solution to be legal, which excludes machine-gunning unarmed people in boats or invading French territorial waters.

And the majority of the public do want action on climate change, because of the impact to it already beginning to have and the consequences longer term if it is not stopped.

Siddall

Our carriers are down the road in dock at pompey.Trying to get rid of Albion and Bulwark .
Forces can’t recruit. Mps trying to reduce defence spending.
The world’s at its worst since 1939.
IF YOU WANT PEACE PREPARE FOR WAR,

Order of the Ditch

Fort Victoria is a repeat of the same mistake that was made with the T23s. Instead of getting on with ordering the replacements in a timely matter many years were wasted by budget constraints and failures of the procurement process.
The result is that we are now 5 years away from getting the first FSS but have been pouring money into an old hull that doesn’t have a future. We should have not put ourselves in a situation where we were double hulling Fort Victoria or modifying her to work with QE.
QEs were conceived in 1997, it wouldn’t have been that difficult to have had the first FSS available for 2018
Build ships, use them and scrap them at the appropriate point in their lifetime instead of creating a situation where very costly refits are needed.
We should also look at flogging the Waves and building two replacement Tides. Would be good to keep H&W busy and have a uniform, modern tanker fleet.

Nick Brough

Budget constraints (ie ever larger real world cuts and capability gapping) mean we cant plan anymore. We’re very lucky we have two carriers rather than the 1 Cameron would have preferred.

AlexS

What i don’t understand is how RFA Argus a modified container ship – not not even build to military standards even modern merchant ones -from 1981 continue to soldier on seemly without big issues and these younger ships have such troubles.

Supportive Bloke

Plates are more than twice as thick.

Argus was very well built for a hard commercial life.

Sean

I think while we’re waiting for the FSS the navy will end up relying on vertrep from the small sold stores that the Tides carry – possibly even using the Bays for this too.
Won’t solve the rearmament at sea issue, but the QEs have a huge onboard capacity.

Supportive Bloke

The problem it when they need heavy parts they do not have on board maybe for carrier engineering…..

Sean

Yes it’s a stop-gap solution and as such won’t be able to handle all scenarios. The only other option is to have a RAS equipped FSS ship from another NATO navy for CSG operations, which is not inconceivable as they often supply an escort for a deployment.

Supportive Bloke

But QEC is a lot bigger (higher) so I’m not at all sure that a KD, for arguments sake, would be able to match up to a QEC?

Sean

I was thinking more the Vulcano’s that Italy is building (France is also building them as the BRF); combined oiler and solid supply ships which would have to support Carvour and Trieste. That said, they aren’t as big as the QE class, so there could be issues.

(Interesting that both Italians and French don’t appear to operate dedicated solid-store replenishment ships.)

Supportive Bloke

Neither has two 80kt carrier that they intend to use at some intensity for some time at some remoteness.

They are really Mediterranean forces which are fine when there are plenty of friendly bases about to re-store things that go bang in.

Professionals do logistics……..

Memories of ’82 etc…..precious little point in having a stick as big as QEC if everyone knows you cannot really use it.

Sean

As has been demonstrated by the Russian logistical fiasco in Ukraine.

Sunmack

My thoughts for the limited amount that they are worth:

1) We need to procure drone base AEW platforms ASAP if they become viable to stop diverting Merlin from it’s primary ASW mission. This is all the more important when we are moving to a position where 60% of our escort fleet will have no sonars either manned or fitted.
2) Stand off anti-ship and land attack missiles for the F35B are essential. These have the advantage of making stealth less important for anti-ship and land attack missions (it doesn’t matter if the other guy can see you if your offensive missiles can be launched from beyond the range of his defensive ones). This would allow the F35 to carry drop tanks (which the US are working to integrate). Stand off weapons and drop tanks are essential in terms of allowing the carrier to operate further from a hostile coast. Yemen and Ukraine are showing the danger that land based missiles can pose even in the hands of technologically unsophisticated countries and/or those with little maritime assets of their own. This is particularly important given that TBMD capability is not on the near-term horizon for T45.
3) All F35B’s should belong to the Fleet Air Arm. The priority should always be for these assets to be on the decks of carriers which can take them anywhere in the world rather than on an airfield in Norfolk.
4) Would it not be sensible to maintain one carrier in operation and the other in maintenance, refit or reserve? This would release crews and operating costs for the beleaguered escort fleet. We are never going to have the escort assets to operate two CSG’s simultaneously and a single fully equipped CSG is capable of dealing with almost any non-peer threat and adding huge power to the assets of our allies in peer on peer warfare.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

More Merlins should have been procured for Crowsnest.

AEW / ASaC isn’t one of those nice to have capabilities it is an essential.

At the moment due to their relative newness and less than rigorous deployment cycle the two carriers are ‘nominally’ available. At some point soon that won’t be case. It isn’t just a question of escort numbers.

SD67

IMHO what the RN could really use is a cheap and cheerful subsonic ground attack aircraft to fill out the QE airwing, and lob LGBs at the Houthi all day long, with F35B providing cover and backup where needed.
You could call it a “Harrier”

Greta Thunderpants

How would it launch and recover ?

Duker

I suppose this old fashioned way might still work

SHAR-Falklands-top-11
Esteban

And on one other Navy it still does… Ramp or not?

Greta Thunderpants

You missed the OP’s “Cheap and Cheerful” bit…. As “Harrier” is obviously no longer an option, It would require a new aircraft that includes the ability to take off and Land in the same way that the F35’s do…. I was merely asking the question rather than trying to be a smart arse.

Ian

Or a drone (passim).

Supportive Bloke

For persistent overwatch a drone is the obvious solution.

Sean

The FAA are relieved to hear you’re not proposing “Swordfish”…

Marcus FARRINGTON

HoHo!!Or call it Sea Harrier even!!Sadly FAA is stuck with F35B shared with the RAF for the duration.Think what could have been achieved if the QEs were CATOBAR.Interoperability with the US Navy and French Navy.F18,F35c,F18 Growler,Rafale,Goshawk…COD aircraft,AEW planes,And more.

John Hartley

Two recent developments that caught my eye. AARGM-ER is to be fitted to all 3 variants of F-35. Some of those bought for UK F-35 would be handy & give greater weapon choice.
The other is the MK 70 launcher at SNA2024. The MK70 is an above deck, angled launcher for MK41. It would allow a token 2×2 Tomahawk capability for T45 if the UK wanted it.

Supportive Bloke

Why?

T45 has A30 soon NSM and then Sea Ceptor.

NSM does most of what Tomahawk does.

It would be fine for return to sender type work such as the Huti’s.

So adding a 4 missile system to a T45 would achieve much sorry from massively increasing complexity and cost.

It would be a different ballgame if the Mk41 VLS had been fitted. There is only so much deck space that is protected enough for canister systems.

John Hartley

I am a NSM fan, but T45 will have only 8. If you use them to attack shore targets, it could leave you short for anti ship roles. Having 4 dedicated longer range land attack missiles (Tomahawk) could be useful.

John Hartley

South Korea shows another option. They have fitted Spike NLOS missiles to their Wildcat helicopters.

Supportive Bloke

Canister missiles can be replenished by a low deck crane in benign sea states.

You don’t have the same issues as a 6m long pendulum as there is only 1m or so of height difference between the ends of the canister.

Joe16

I know it’s hardly a full solution, but has anyone looked into wing kits for Paveway, similar to the ones used on JDAM-ER? Or alternatively, just buying some JDAM-ERs? They’re cleared on F-35 via the US/Australia and it gives us a slightly longer-ranged strike capability until we get Spear 3.
As for the main piece, it’s a helpful snapshot of the current situation, thanks for putting it together NL.
Personally, I don’t see much need to send a QE carrier to the ME- as very clearly pointed out we’re already a token force and we wouldn’t contribute much. In fact, as the environment isn’t entirely benign, we would likely have to fly our F-35 in a more stealthy configuration than we’ve had to over Iraq and Syria before. So we’d probably be giving the Houthis (and by extension Iran) some pretty valuable information, as they have AD radars and EW systems as far as I’m aware. It’s better left to 4.5 Gen fighters with EW pods, as has been done so far.
Seems wise to keep further F-35 deliveries on hold until TR-3 is available, no point in wasting money down the line- even if it means slightly fewer airframes on the 2025 deployment.
Big worry for me, looking at this, is logistics- and personnel levels.

Sean

I wouldn’t be surprised if wingkits for Paveway are being investigated: MoD spending on engineering projects in the private sector is through the roof since Ukraine kicked-off.

Joe16

I hope they do- it’s a bit of a no-brainer really.
Would love to know what else they’re looking at!
One thing I did find interesting -although not Navy related- was that the British Army are replenishing at least part of their stocks of Javelin and NLAW with Carl Gustav M4 recoilless rifles instead of like for like. Could be price point, could be availability, could be that lessons learned from engagements in Ukraine are that you need a LOT of rounds, and choice of different types of ammunition is better than a slick ATGM?

Sean

I believe the U.K. is ordering replacement NLAWS, I think production has to be restarted or expanded? But as we saw in Ukraine, they got through an awful lot of them thanks to the target rich environment. Maybe it just price given that the rounds for the Carl Gustav are cheaper, or a realisation that in many circumstances a NLAW is overkill for the junk that is being targeted.

Joe16

I think, probably all of the above!
With the interest in it, I would hope and expect that they can keep the manufacturing line open and running at full capacity for some time- it’s somewhere in Northern Ireland I think?

Mike

There are a number of errors in this report. Of note FTVR has conducted a RAS since 2021 when she RASed with Tidesurge in Early 2022 before going into her last refit. In addition QEC has RASed with USNS TAKEs and Supply class units both capable of solid support. Finally a TIDE has very limited ability to replenish solid sorts and it can only really be active by Vertep.

Mike B

By the time all these problems are solved the QE class will be ready for scrapping.

Suzanne H.

Britain simply can’t afford this type of capability. I really wonder how long it will be before Europe is federated enough to have a joint defence force and foreign policy? And included in that should be the UK.

Sean

In that case Britain can’t afford CASD, the NHS, public transport, free school places, etc, etc, all of which cost more.

Patrick Goff

Four cannon even if installed are hopelessly inadequate when even the Houthis are using ballistic missile and our escort vessels barely carry enough to defend the selves

Dhobi Bat Master

UK CSG is doing the best it can within the stupidest possible political decisions imposed upon it over the last decade ….Phillip hammond 2012 was the architect of this situation!!!!!

Mustering 8-10 a/c is realistic this year due to working up and OCU commitments ( you do want new pilots training right !!??)

Next year there will be a sea change if you’ll pardon the pun, but for now be confident that those at the sharp end know what they’re doing and want to get up to a really good sustainable war fighting level

Let’s just hope the politicians can deal with one more year of bad headlines until things are ready to showcase UKCSG as it should be seen

STOP FLAPPING !