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Tony John Homewood

It reads like something from Money Python. Defence procurement is a complete racket

AR

why have a combat management system(bae)for a ‘boat with nothing more than a pellet gun on it? these vessells plenty large enough to be refitted as warships they’re consistant in size with other nav’s frigates

Ivan Zelenka

Well spotted Andy! Few outside of the RN have recognised that the new OPV’s a excellent middle range platforms ripe for upgrading.
Remember the class name for the Invincible class light carriers… Through-Deck-Cruisers, they were bought as these names allowed three to be built with less political pantomime.
Hopefully the RN gets a few more OPV’s, all of which can be upgraded to a more useful role.
Obviously, the OPV’s are still limited in scope (no hangar etc.), but the RN is not looking a gift horse in the mouth with these vessels.
Don’t expect the RN to upgrade them any time soon (except trials in a few, away from our interested eyes), they do not want to lose any more numbers of the new Type-26 or Type-31.
It’s really all down to manpower, but having a larger pool of vessels is useful once upgraded.
Really, don’t worry about the current armament on the OPV’s it’s a joke for a reason (cheaper to get the numbers).
It’s a quite clever process from the RN for one other reason: Just having Frigates and Destroyers means it’s quite a jump to Captain one of these vessels from the other. All promotions would be based on skilled commanders how only experienced FF’s or DD operations or came up from the minesweepers. Having a mid-sized (Corvette) class in sufficient numbers and patrolling interesting parts of the World with a organic helicopter onboard, will provide a greater pool of experience mid ranks ready to be moved up to the FF/DD’s. it will also offer those mid/younger ranks as much fun as they could handle with a super little vessel to play with an meet/great the World.
Just as a fun thought exercise, I wonder what other systems you could sensibly fit onto an OPV? The Americans are fitting the light weight (relatively) Norwegian NSM anti-ship system to their longer LSC vessels. What about anti-air, or a basic sonar and some stingray torpedoes?
Anyway, it’s all fun.
Best regards,
Ivan Zelenka

Scott

Freddie Hackworthy is a defence reporter? You could have fooled me with some of those questions!
£500 off each frigate? Wow they really are playing hardball, saved the sum of an average washing machine for the laundry, best we give them a BZ all round!
Give me strength!

Anonymous

A wonderful yes minister spoof, great reading. I found myself reading it in the voice of Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker!

Ivan Zelenka

£116M OPV, the current Type 23 frigate cost ~£110M.
BAE sold Brazil three of the same OPV’s for ~£55M.
I have written to all the major papers about this, as it almost amounts to fraud or a very neat con.
No interest from the papers.
What a pointless exercise… the people of the UK are not interested, the Government is not interested. All of them are not interested until the point we actually need a strong well balanced set of armed services.
Then will come the crying… no we can’t build a Frigate/Destroyer in a month… nor train the crew…
If we actually get a month before yet another Russian Fait-Accompli
Oh, it’s all OK isn’t it… we have nuclear ballistic missile subs… that will save us from an expedition Russia going hot in the Baltics…
Rest of Ukraine/Moldova/Georgia we can’t help – not part of NATO and will be also subsumed as Russia re-establishes its Buffer Zones with the West.
Good grief!
If the Politicians/people think we will be protected from a conventional war due to having nuclear weapons they NEED TO LOOK AT HISTORY.
At the beginning of the Second World War… all the major countries had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).. they were called Chemical weapons….
NONE were used during the war, even when the Germans had their backs against the wall they did not use them, nor did the Japanese.
All for fear of retaliation (an old version of Mutually Assured Destruction that we use today).
Nuclear weapons ARE needed as an insurance to deter attack with similar weapons, or other WMD’s.
The will not help us against a rampant Russian conventional assault on the Baltics…
The only help we can get is from numerous more RN Frigates that have several CIWS (No NOT just two CIWS) to deal with saturation missile attacks.
These vessels can then take out inland SAM (S-400) platforms to allow fast reinforcement by air of the Baltics.
When the Russians see such a building spree, the Baltics will remain free.
But this will not happen will it… Because no one believes the Russians would be daft enough to do such a thing…. would they… so the RN will continue to erode…
Politicians, what a load of bankers.
P.S. just for fun, can someone please suggest to the armed services of Lithuania/Latvia/Estonia that now would be a super good time to invest in as many anti tank missiles and MANPADS as they can possible afford. This will put a spanner in Russia’s Baltic buffer zone plans.

Tony Rosier

My God what a total load of bonkers nonsense, we are being ripped off by our government and by BAE why do we need all these giant conglomerates it was more competitive with lots of small shipyards. Instead of lining their pockets our politians need to read a few history book’s and get rebuilding our Navy, Army and Airforce. We need to start manufacturing our own equipment again not doing deal with the French who have already proved they can’t build a Aircraft Carrier that works.

Tom Dando

I suggest you so some research on the French carrier and it;s various travails since it was built, you won’t be quite so confident in their shipbuilding skills and abilities then.

Ivan Zelenka

Hi Tom, I think you may have miss-read Tony Rosier’s comment: He agreed with your sentiment and ended his message with “they can’t build a Aircraft Carrier that works.”
Sadly for the French, their carrier does have a long list of issues that keep on needing attention, and from looking at the details of those issue most appear to be on the nuclear power side.
Forgetting the issue that are plaguing the French carrier, I guess you and Tony would agree that there are pro’s and con’s in building a nuclear carrier during peace time.
When it works (American CVN’s) nuclear propulsion is super. It provides surplus electricity which is in high demand these days (Phased Arrays, Comm’s etc.), gives the strategic ability to move anywhere without fuel bunkering issues, provides extra space for aviation fuel and weapons storage and can provide a classified high turn of speed.
Problems with nuclear power are very apparent during peace time due to several countries been uncomfortable with nuclear powered vessels docking in their ports. Even amongst allies this is a sticky situation which limits port calls and flag waving. Both the port calls and the visibility of warships are more important than most people imagine – providing a soft power show of who is friends with whom and what support they could expect. If your allies don’t want your nuclear powered vessel in port, no flag waving and no political benefits.
Oddly enough, when you research the commercial trade benefits of such visits many friendly countries will happily sign some new trade deal within six months of a major port call, especially if such port calls occur during tension with a local adversary. Witness deals from Malaysia and friendly Persian Gulf states.
That is one of the reasons the UK went for non-nuclear carriers – they would be welcomed at all our allies. They are also cheaper to run.
Although I still wish the carriers had cats/traps and the longer range C version of the F-35.
Yet we still have two very capable carriers, once they have their relevant complement of F-35’s.
Our carriers also benefit from their larger size providing the potential to install a useful set of the latest Sea Ceptor for dealing with anti ship missile attack. I personally hope they either increase the number of CIWS’s from three to six simply due to the cost factor of a large missile saturation attack:- i.e. it is much cheaper to build and launch 100 advanced anti-ship missiles at a carrier than the cost of the carrier.
Sadly I guess we (our government) won’t learn from history, but I have a ray of hope.
During build up of a fleet to retake the Falkland Islands in 1982, numerous vessels were fitted in Southampton docks with pre-made and stored equipment: Helipads and AA was simply brought in tracks and bolted on to pre-surveyed areas of the ships.
It would be nice to think that someone has realised the potential of the Phalanx CIWS, which is essentially a bolt on unit with one small control station. Apparently the Carriers have space for this type of bolt-on, and the Destroyers too could field an additional three CIWS, by it may negatively affect the trim of a Type 23 if fixed to the only lower space either side, and just behind, the main mast.
Anyway, enough said; the French carrier needs to be resurveyed and all it’s issues resolved (rather like our Type 45’s)
Best regards,
Ivan

Monegers

Really dont know what is funnier the supposed inreview or the fact that some comments on here believe this was a real interview.
Nonsense

Ivan Zelenka

You have obviously not read the initial comment noting it is based on a Python sketch.
No one believes this is a real interview, you only have to have read the comment about the name of the real Minster of Def. Proc. and the £500M saving.
However, as the whole point of the article is to raise awareness of misspending, and the website is a forum for views on how to improve on such things…. therein lies the point of such responses.
All responses in a forum such as this are for the benefit of those wishing to learn, and laugh, through the current predicament the Royal Navy is trying to deal with.
Complaining about this or the use of constructive comments is…. pointless.

Tony Rosier

I’m not sure if we already have something but it seems something on the lines of the old MTBs would be more appropriate for coastal patrol and fisheries protection.

Ivan Zelenka

Hi Tony Rosier,
A MTB size vessel would be useful for inshore work, and as such the RN already has the potential to use its 16 Archer class training vessels which are roughly the size of an old MTB. But an MTB vessel is not sea worthy enough to patrol in poor or more extreme weather, nor for long periods.
MTB’s were designed for quick hit and run attacks, or worked from a mother ship for longer duration attacks. They were excellent in good to mild weather, but caused too much stress to their crews in poor weather, and were often in peril of flooding due to their low freeboard, to be of much use in their main role beyond good to fair weather.
Although the OPV classing of the new RN vessels, and their light armament, implies they will only be used around the UK waters:- their excellent sea keeping abilities and the incorporation of a flight deck allows these ships to be utilised in light/general roles where a Frigate would otherwise be needed. This role change would allow a Frigate to be re-tasked to make use of the Frigates particular skill set (antisubmarine patrol etc. ) and allows a potential useful skills upgrade to the Captain of the OPV. The RN has already tested this tasking by deploying one of the current River class OPV to the Caribbean in place of a Frigate. If a Lynx helicopter could be made available, the OPV would be a very effect force to use on these smaller/lighter patrols. A Lynx helicopter, and crew/engineer plus basic parts, could be forward positioned out to a friendly base at the OPV area of patrol – ready to join the OPV when it arrives.
So when all is said and done the new OPV’s are not bad, just very overpriced.
I would still prefer the current River class to be kept on and used in local environments from the UK to Gibraltar.
This scenario would basically give the RN five extra corvettes (!) for use on light/general patrols – releasing more Frigates.
But the manpower issue in the RN will nix the idea of keeping the Rivers.
As a final point; don’t be misled by the OPV’s light main armament, this could be quickly upgraded to a more useful Bofors 40mm with additional equipment added as needed. The OPV could be upgraded to a useful war vessel if it could be fitted out with a few more weapons. It would be worthwhile to determine what is the most minimum useful sonar (and sonar operations desk) to further enhance the OPV’s with a small number of lightweight anti submarine torpedoes (Stingray). It would also be interesting to test the benefits of deploying a marine squad on the vessel with a MANPAD anti-air capability.
So configured, and with it’s own helicopter, our “little” OPV’s could be made into very useful anti-submarine chase vessels, complementing the Type 23’s and 31’s to come.
The OPV’s have a little appreciated capability; spare capacity.
Oh… and they do have a very pretty bow!
Best regards,
Ivan

Tony Rosier

Is that crazy Ivan lol are you a submariner

T A A

From the script of Yes Minister. Rubbish but funny.

Ivan Zelenka

Hi T A A,
Quite correct, the interview is all a play… try searching for Defence Procurement Minister, the Right Honourable Graham Gittins, MP.
The Def. Proc. Minister is actually:- Harriet Baldwin (also the £500M saving gives the game away…)
But it is a useful play to make a serious point… our country is paying for not having multiple competing organisations to buy our warships from. Having only one supplier (BAE, sadly Appledore does not have the capacity, yet) is a cost disaster.
To get the cost down ,the government could threaten to purchase vessels from other countries suppliers, but the public outcry would be too negative to be worth it.
The only practical way is to have a constant demand for warship building. If one warship were to be built every 18 months, this would be a secure incentive to create (or recreate) a new ship building company. This would not give the RN many more ships than it currently has, due to the slow pace of building as the oldest vessel would be retired as the latest vessel is been launched.
But this sort of secure build approach would offer a bonus in having several recently retired ships as spare capacity in the event there was a need for them.
The USA already does this, moving oldest vessels to mothballs for quite a long time before they are scraped.
To save more money the UK could buy into this to and store its older retired vessels with the USA mothball fleet, or just continue to keep them in Portsmouth etc.
All in all, with such a warship building approach the UK could get competitive prices from the tenders due to the stability of an ongoing build process attracting the creation of more shipbuilders in the UK.
Best regards,
Ivan Zelenka

Tony Rosier

I agree that would be a good way forward,however it has always been in the history of the RN to inovate perhaps we should be looking towards ne technology to perhaps (and I’m only suggesting I’m no expert) 3d printing ships or growing ship components in tanks etc. I’m sure that’s the way forward building in new modern shipyards that can compete on price using latest technology. We are in a good position to do this as we have little in the way of existing yards.

Ivan Zelenka

Hi Tony Rosier,
A good idea, but as yet the new building technology (3D printing) is not available for large macro projects.
A useful way to determine if technology is relevant for a particular production field is which other industries are using it. The car industry is a good indicator of what is currently the most cost efficient and practical in the industrial terms.
As shipbuilding is a very large macro scale at a slow pace, 3D printing would not provide benefits in relation to its cost of running.
Although we see 3D printed objects daily, they are more expensive to produce than by current means. They are also limited in size.
Even if they could be scaled up there would be no cost benefit in creating the parts of a ship in the old fashion way.
I have not yet heard of any ability to grow the steel needed to create large flat panels for a ship. The only growing of metals is used by Rolls Royce on a small scale so they can create extremely hard single crystal turbine blades for their engines. But this process is incredible expensive and difficult hence the great secrecy RR applies to their tech. I don’t think it could be scaled up to flat panels, but if it could in the future, the panels would probably rival Cobham armor if layered in different “grain” directions.
One day I’m sure we will see metals grown and 3D printer on a cost effective and large scale.
In the meantime for the next twenty-five years ships will be built as they currently are: by hand and with cutting robots from the car industry.
Best regards,
Ivan Zelenka

Ivan

Hi Tony,
Just crazy enough to attempt to answer your comments.
Unlike the many that do not bother to reply to weird questions, I am simply interested enough to attempt to help people.
If that is funny to you, good luck and glad you have the wit to enjoyed the humour.
Regards,
Ivan

Tony Rosier

Nice to find someone who can have a sensible and witty conversation keep up the good work lol.

Darron

How much are these consultants costing, as £500 is probably less than they are costing a week, makes no sence just honour the current deals and stop waisting the funds, build the ships, then work on a new deal for the future that is more cost effective and good value for money but equipped with the best weaponry

Ivan Zelenka

Hi Darron,
You are right, the contractors in the (spoof) interview would be paid quite good rates in real life.
Of course as the interview is not real – sadly there is no £500 Million cost saving per Type-26 ship.
There are only three ways to get the cost reduced:
1. Buy a ship with less equipment (Type-45’s were launched without Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and still two vessels are missing this functionality).
2. Buy in greater volume. Either buy more of the internal equipment that can be used as spares or buy more ships.
3. Get value from competing quotes. But this can’t be achieved in the UK due to having only one supplier (BAE), and the Government would be unable to buy warships from competitive suppliers outside the UK due to internal rules forcing a UK only supplier (strategic reasons) and the large political backlash from loss of jobs and skills.
There is a calculation to establish how many ships you would need to buy to obtain any discount. The larger the number the cheaper the cost. This is due cost/volume ratio and to having to make numerous “one-off” items for the warships. If a large order is offered, the one-off items become cheaper. Generally as one-off/long lead items are complex:- they are expensive, this provides the biggest cost benefit.
You still get a volume discount even if the number of ships is spread over many years, so long as there is a constant demand for the ordered items, their manufacture will be cheaper, and during production – become ever more cheaper through competition from other companies wanting to supply the complex “one-off items”.
In a nutshell, we need a minimum of two warship suppliers in the UK. They also need to be sustained with constant orders, which means a change away from the current process of ordering one large replacement of 6 or 8 ships at a time.
The tender for building the vessels would be awarded to the supplier offering the best value for money. But to ensure both suppliers keep working they have to share the building between both suppliers – only at the cost of the best offer.
Due to the guaranteed length of the tender (constant – but slow warships building) neither supplier can turn down the secondary tender… ensuring both try their hardest to be the prime supplier.
Every few years (say five) the tender can be resubmitted to see if there is a potential cost improvement between the two suppliers.
This also ensures that the suppliers have a few years to financially benefit from the contracts and works as a continual financial incentive.
Within the next two years, the UK will be outside the EU regulations governing how a country can financially support their strategic companies. This will allow the government to financially assist its strategic companies (Warship building etc.) with soft “very low interest” loans. So long as the Government doesn’t go down the “Leyland” path, leaving the control /management to their competent (and accountable) employees, the UK’s strategic industries should benefit extensively from such a boost.
Best regards,
Ivan Zelenka

4thwatch

Joking apart it seems to me there is a big opportunity out there. Someone ought to split off BAE shipbuilding. Obviously ship building doesn’t match the BAE master plan unless its part of ROB (Rip Off Britain ) and the country can’t afford this.
The opportunity is there for two reasons. First ship building on the Clyde can be dumped once Scotland is hived off and sold to Germany, France or any other unsuitable bidders. The need then is to open a surface warship facility ‘somewhere in England or Wales’ quick and move the whole shebang south of the border. (not Mexico).
Second with the urgent need to keep control of the North Atlantic and other waters there is undoubtedly an enormous profit to be made. However this for the sake of national survival needs to be done by building Quality in Quantity; not as BAE does, quality (sort of) on a behemothian nation busting ROB scale that will bankrupt us all.
Question- if a BAE OPV costs 116m GBP what does a BAE Type 26 cost?
Answer – below.

Ivan Zelenka

Hi 4thWatch,
Current projected cost of a Type-26 is between £650M to £850M per unit.
Price of the OPV ~£116M
[note: the OPV price includes an extra amount of money that ensures BAE can carry on paying/keeping the skilled staff it needs between the OPV and new frigate construction. This is one of the reasons the vessels are over priced, the other reason they are over priced is lack of competition etc.]
The price of the Type-26’s could be reduced if more were ordered.
A tender for the Type-26 has already been placed with BAE, but the start date has not been give.
However, long lead items have already been ordered (prop shafts take a long time to make) so the frigates are to be built.
Although only eight Type-26 vessels are envisaged, there is an opportunity to increase the total number of Type-26 hulls bought, and then gain a better volume discount (the more vessels you buy the cheaper per unit).
This could be achieved by basing the new Type-31 frigates on the same hull as the Type-26 without the expensive anti-submarine gear (2087 sonar) and other currently unneeded enhancements.
This approach would provide a few bonuses:-
1. Cost reduction from volume discount.
2. Ability to quickly upgrade the lower spec vessels should the need arise.
3. Cheaper spares due to volume discount of similar spares across one class of vessel.
4. The ability to train crews in a vessel with a similar layout and sailing characteristics.
Regarding your comments about splitting BAE’s ship building away from Clyde.
This would only be feasible over an extended period of years due to the need to rebuild labour skill levels. Best to keep the ship building where it is (and where the skilled labour live and have their kids at schools etc.). For an example of “just moving” a yard, look at the awful problems at Barrow due to the loss of skilled labour after delaying the Astute submarine program. That was a mess that almost cost the UK its ability to build nuclear submarines.
As mentioned in my previous post:- more competition is better for pricing, but how the new competition arrives is going to be complex. The government cannot order BAE to dump profitable sections, but it can oversee a process which prompts private sector either to setup shop in a previous ship building environment (Portsmouth), or buy one of the current yards from BAE.
This really depends if BAE loses interest in ship building due to the time delay (loss of profits) in the new frigate builds and is willing to take an offer for one of its yards.
We need competition but not at the cost of losing excellent skilled staff in our current ship yards.
The Clyde is a great place to build ships with engineers from all over the UK concentrated there.
We just need another large scale builder in the UK; Appledore in Devon have a good skill set in smaller warship builds, and could potentially be scaled up. Portsmouth is now an upgrade facility for BAE, with the large build halls used to upgrade the minesweepers, I doubt BAE would care to sell this as the main money with defence is generated from services (upgrades).
Cost/pricing issues for strategic industries and their products are complex.
There is no easy fix, but a start can be made to follow a more sustainable path.
Best regards,
Ivan Zelenka

Dylan Ian

I just found out that our carries could carry up to 72 F 35b’s and yet we are only giving each one 24?? What is wrong with this government, we need to up out game.

Ivan Z

Hi Dylan Ian,
You are correct, the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers can accommodate a large number of aircraft. However the space available for carrying aircraft is arranged to provide the carrier will all the relevant air assets it will need, including defensive and utility requirements [see numbers at end of this comment].
This means that a carrier will also carry several other types of air asset other than the primary attack aircraft.
All the additional units on a carrier are used for specific roles which either enhance the primary attack aircrafts abilities, or deal with necessary utilities, or provide a defensive function to the carrier and the carrier group [see numbers at end of this comment].
The number of F-35’s onboard a carrier during peace time will generally be kept at one or two squadrons of 12 aircraft each squadron on average with 36 F-35’s or more as a maximum. As the F-35 have a long ferry range, the number can be increased at any time anywhere around the world [adding mid-air refueling].
One or two squadrons of fighters may appear light but is quite a strong configuration. Considering how the aircraft are utilised into flights of four aircraft, this provides flight planners with one or two flights for CAP to provide cover to the carrier group, and two or four flights for use as strike packages. Think along the lines of 8 or 16 stealth jets hitting your enemy targets unannounced – then returning to the carrier to do it again.
The main point of carrier operations is not simply the number of aircraft it has, but the turn around time for sending them back out to do more damage.
As an F-35’s advertised area’s of excellence are:- turn-around-time and stealth, its superiority will be determined from:-
Returning from strikes without been shot down [Stealth]
Return to strike again quickly [Turn-Around-Time]
Not just numbers.
So the basic number of 12 to 24 F-35’s, is a lot more capable than one would imagine – and quickly/easily reinforced.
Publicly announcing the number of aircraft on a given carrier is a very polite way to provide the media with a low end figure.
It is not out right lying, it simply gives the media a figure. Quite often, embedded journalists onboard the UK’s previous carriers, and onboard the US carriers, would find the numbers onboard to be much higher than stated in mainstream media, but were unable to update their audience until after the operations.
There is a reason for this, we have enemies.
The nuts and bolts of basic carrier unit numbers, and their reasons are as follows:-
12-24 F-35’s 2 squadrons:- CAP, Strike, Recon, Escort, ECM/ECCM/ELINT, Buddy/Buddy refueling
5 Merlin 101 Helicopter:- AEW
9 Merlin HM2 Helicopter:- Anti-Submarine
6 Merlin HC4 Helicopter: Marine Assault, COD, VERTREP
1-2 Chinook Helicopter: Marine Assault, COD, VERTREP
[The Carriers are also configured for V-22 Osprey and Apache AH-64 etc.]
Finally, the UK government (current conservative and previous labour) have committed to buying 148 F-35’s, providing enough aircraft to increase a carriers numbers should the need arise.
Best regards,
Ivan Z

Tony Rosier

So where will the airborne refueling be coming from ? And what range wii the F35 have without this facility?

Ivan Z

Hi Tony,
The RAF website, lists all their available Air-Air refueling assets.
The ferry range (with external fuel tanks and no weapons) of the F-35 is from 1,600Km to 2,000Km, again this information is available online.
Strategically, inflight refueling is a common modern practice.
No military deploys aircraft long range without such a capability. That’s how the first four F-35’s flew across the Atlantic a few weeks ago.
If inflight refueling can’t be achieved it implies the UK has suffered a major attack – i.e. the carriers would be steaming back to the UK to assist, not requesting assets that could be used in the UK’s defense.
Critically, force numbers on a carrier at not made by popular choice or what is stated in the media.
Only the RN/Government know the real number and this is always going to be stated as the lowest number so as not to give away information to potential enemies.
Publicly stating such a low number is an effective peace time measure.
Politicians do not want to send a fully armed carrier into a delicate political situation. But having the carrier in the area implies that it either can be reinforced very quickly, or that it could have a larger number of air assets than the media have stated.
Using a carrier to defuse a situation is much more useful than using one to start a war.
The UK has the potential to run both carriers at the same time during peace time only if the costs can be kept down. Having fewer aircraft onboard keeps the running costs down. Getting aircraft out to the carriers when needed, is a viable and practical solution.
To achieve this during peace time, the RN will have one carrier close to the UK in easy ferry range of F-35, while the other is been utilised on patrol with a light F-35 load.
Peace and spending on the military do not go hand in hand.
Regards,
Ivan Z

Tony Rosier

Obviously I’m no expert but say we were operating in the Falklands or in the Pacific how would we provide airborne refueling and reinforcement also it seems to me that in order to provide proper cover 3 carrier’s would be required as in 1 in service 1 in maintainance 1 in reserve. I understand government needs to save money but if the thing can’t work properly you might as well not have it.

Ivan Z

Hi Tony,
Modern aerial refueling will take the aircraft to opposite sides of the globe.
Having two carriers is better than not having a carrier capability.
There are numerous successful examples of only two of a class or one of a class.
Because the UK can not afford two large carriers, it is still wise to have the capacity to ensure it has trained/skilled crews.
Trying to creating an advanced capacity, like a carrier, as a war is brewing is not feasible due to the build time and training time.
Even if the numbers are not perfect, it is still sensible to have a carrier capacity rather than benefit the UK’s potential enemies by not having such a capacity.
Regards,
Ivan Z

Ivan Z

Just a note regarding the range of the F-35B:
Alone, the F-35B can travel between 1,600Km to 2,000km.
Using aerial refueling, F-35’s would be capable of reaching any part of the globe.
The main limitation of aerial refueling is the fatigue of the F-35 pilot.
A general stimulate can be administered during flight and prior to landing. Or there exists an illegal possibility of pilots taking turns to sleep for 30+mins while on autopilot, while the refueling aircraft and their buddies watch over them. On landing at the carrier, the F-35 would be piloted by one of the spare air crew on the carrier, while the ferry pilot gets some rest.
No matter the number of F-35’s on a carrier, there are always spare crew to ensure a routine that includes rest hours. Additional air crew would quickly be transferred to a distant carrier via a V-22 Osprey loaned from the US. The carriers are configured for V-22 landings/hangar space and lift size, and the V-22 have inflight refueling with the benefit of two/three crew to ensure rest during the flight.
Ivan Z