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christopher whicker

•Swordfish Passenger Transport Boat looks great and impressive, I don’t suppose it will have HMS in its prefix,

The carrier, im sure will be a great success and prove very worthy,
as for operations and future combat zones, I suppose time will tell but very impressive all the same.

Dennis Whittaker

We had similar issues with HMS Ocean. During Trials and Commissioning phase forecasting completion is more an art than science. Even with the best project management skills problem solving is not finite. This does not stop observers wanting finite dates to fix in diaries. First of Class problems continued for sometime after she entered service, but with joint effort between the Builder, MoD and the Ship’s Staff these were overcome for her to become a major asset for the fleet.

Jag Patel

It is true that the integrated electric propulsion system is common to both, the QE aircraft carrier and the Type 45 destroyers. What is also an undeniable fact is that both of these acquisition programmes are subject to the same, tried-and-failed procurement processes used by MoD.

Here is one reason why.

Anyone who has worked in the defence engineering industry will know that financial risks start-out as innocuous looking technical risks on the Defence Contractor’s premises, where selected ones are deliberately concealed by the Contractor during the design and development phase, then skilfully transferred to MoD Abbey Wood, Bristol where they morph into ‘show stopping’ risks and come to the fore immediately after the main investment decision has been taken (as they have done so spectacularly on the Type 45 destroyers with total power blackouts), ultimately ending up as an additional cost burden on the Front Line Commands, who have recently been given day-to-day responsibility for managing the defence equipment budget.

This happens because a key behavioural characteristic of Defence Contractors is that they will always choose to conceal technical risks identified early in the programme, by engaging with procurement officials and getting them to focus on declared risks which ordinarily fall in the trivia category, whilst skilfully diverting their attention away from those really huge ‘show stopping’ risks which they will only reveal later on, when things go wrong, to realise their objective of ‘growing’ the Contract by getting Abbey Wood Team Leader to raise Contract Amendments and/or let Post Design Services Contracts.

They achieve this by contriving situations which entice procurement officials into partaking in detailed design decisions relating to the evolving Technical Solution, and then use this involvement to coerce procurement officials into raising Contract Amendments later on. Indeed, it the very existence of Contract Amendments and PDS Contracts that causes Contractors to conceal ‘show stopping’ risks in the first place!

These concealed risks then come to the fore immediately after (never before) the main investment decision has been taken, surprising everyone (except the Contractor) and imposing a budget-busting burden on MoD.

And because there exists no ‘Code on Ethical Behaviour in Business’ which would offer protection to good people on the Contractor’s payroll (generally in the direct labour category) who are driven by strong professional, ethical and moral values and who would otherwise blow the whistle on this conspiracy of concealment, they are forced to remain silent.

The only people who are not in the know about this blatant scam are those in the pay of the State!

So the chances of financial risks coming to the fore soon after the main investment decision has been taken are about as certain as night follows day.
on twitter


There must be considerable truth in what you state. If you can prove a case it should go before the commons defence committee for exposure and possible prosecution for fraud.
In my experience both personally and professionally there is/was a golden rule; never change the contract till the delivery is complete. The hidden flaws are always going to be the existential threat.
I have been saying the RN needs its own commercial yard to run against and understand how construction works. When there was an inhouse design office ships rarely had major problems. It seems the problem started in the 60’s when orders were scarce.
Looking back further I’m not sure whether the main armaments of both Nelson Class and KGV weren’t however seriously flawed and did Vickers have a hand?
The Germans meanwhile designed, built and got into service Bismark and Tirpitz without as far as I’m aware any problems. Impressive.


All very nice but no actual facts applicable to the Type 45.

Fact is that Bae recommended a GE gas turbine for the Type 45’s. An engine that was already in service and at sea in many warships. As well as being low risk, it was also cheaper. Bae was very concerned that the WR21 had never run outside the development lab, was a new a revolutionary design and therefore very risky, and very expensive.

The MoD overruled Bae and insisted on the highly risky and expensive WR21 primarily for political reasons (UK jobs in a key constituency).

Of course this hasn’t prevented the MoD blaming Bae for both the high cost of the Type 45’s and the unreliability of the engines.

Want proof? The MoD is having to pay for the entire cost of repairing and fixing the ships. Not because of any sneakiness by Bae, but because the MoD overruled Bae and were expensively proven wrong. The current Minister admitted this in Parliament.


Actually no Bae did not recommend a GE turbine fit for the T45 class this is a common idea trotted out. Bae put forward two solutions one involving a fit if GE2500 the other WR21, they stated the WR21 solution had a higher risk than the GE one but left the decision to the MOD. Bae stated both solutions could meet the requirements.

At the time Rolls-Royce were at risk of leaving the defence Marine Turbine business and the then Defence Secretary Geof Hoon had the Rolls Royce factory in his constituency, it was a politically unpalatable situation to go for an American solution under those circumstances at the time so the government accepted the higher risk.

John graham

What a load of pish . I work on the ship and it will not be out the basin this year. To many f** ups and no one will put there hand up . Woodgroup who I work for are a shower of incompetent bastards . all a smoke screen our saftey put at risk on every shift to please a bunch of idiots with no clue what they are doing .


John,I know nowt about the shipbuilding industry,but as an old ex-coalminer,who suffered from investment in inferior gear for our coal-faces,which was a direct safety risk to life and limb,by British Coal Directors,and Governments of the day..mainly Thatcher -the- hatcheter,I can fully sympathise with your feelings.
It was a case of people at the top who knew nowt about coalmining playing with our lives for political reasons,and cost-cutting excercises.
The lads in the armed forces had the same carry-on in the Desert..tanks breaking down because of inferior caterpillar tracks,when for a few quid more they could have had better quality stronger steel,for tracks and armour plating….and even better boots on their feet!!!
Never mind,mate you have built a beautiful ship,I salute everyone who was/is involved,except those you refer to!!

Bloke down the pub

This video was provided by Alnmaritec on twitter. I suggested that the names of the other boats might be Barracuda, Skua and Fulmar, but they said that while I was close, they wouldn’t be able to confirm their names until they were handed over.


“MacTaggart Scott, probably the world leaders in aircraft lift design, drawing on long experience with many other carriers”…

ITS Cavour and SPS Juan Carlos, what else…?

Are you counting helicopter lifts, ammunition lifts, food lifts…?

True, PAR systems is technically only the world leader for aircraft elevators, not lifts…


They supplied the lifts for the Invincible class is that long enough ago?


Does anyone know what the faults actually are so we can have a more informed discussion?

David Graham

The issue of hogging and sagging arose after QE was floated out of the building dock. Shortly afterwards, it was found that the deck edge lifts were jammed. No matter what anyone says, this is factual information.

Possible cause: When a ship is floated out, or launched conventionally, there is a possibility of a phenomenon know as the still water bending moment [well known to naval architects]. There are many papers on technical ship construction and naval architecture sites which explain this in detail. I am a seaman, and not a naval architect, however still water bending moment is induced as a result of the uneven distribution of weight in the hull upon floating for the first time. It puts stress on any large openings, for example around hatch coamings in a bulk carrier, and obviously around deck edge lift openings. It was very difficult to obtain information regarding this; obviously the MoD did not want a press witch hunt. One would hope that all is well with the installation.

Incidentally, McTaggart Scott as an engineering company go back to the 1890s, and have produced aircraft carrier lifts and elevators, ammunition hoists etc, etc for many years. Think back to RN carrier strike of the 60s: HM Ships Ark Royal IV, Eagle, Victorious, Centaur and Hermes, for example.

D C Graham.