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Fat Dave

A ridiculous argument and typical of this site in particular, which will say anything and everything in defence of the carriers.

Is there any evidence that the RN has higher states of hygiene that the US? Does the CDG reek of garlic all day long because all foreigners smell?

The nation wants to know that essential defence activity is being conducted and that every effort is being made to defeat Covid.

Sending the carrier to sea for a work-up exercise has no justification whatsoever and places our sailors at risk, just to satisfy higher Navy ranks, who care more than the carriers than they do about their personnel’s health. And more than having a balanced Navy for the 21st Century

There remains no credible argument for these antiques. And the forthcoming deployment has already been identified by many defence observers as a pitifully transparent attempt to race to readiness, in the hope that this will prevent their deletion. Especially in the face of growing acknowledgement that the nation doesn’t need carriers of this size.

All we need to do is listen to what Lord West says and wants. And then do exactly the opposite.

Skinny Dave



There there, now go sit down in a corner and have a bickie, I’m sure someone will listen to you then.


Think more like full of sh*te fat Dave!!! I was on the vince and we knew we required larger carriers then. Or maybe you want us to spend the defence budget on the NHS and social care
Tue only thing I do agree about is Lord up his own arse West mind !!!


The NHS budget accounts for 24% of all public spending.
In 2003 it was 7.8% and defence was 3% by 2010 it was NHS 21% and defence 2.25% before SDR
The projection for 2025 is the NHS will take 27% of public spending and defence 2.5% .

We should remodel our healthcare system to the German model .
In Germany health insurance is compulsory for the whole adult population 77% public and 23% private.
If you are employed you pay 10% and your employer pays 10% ,pensioners pay 11% as do students and unemployed and self employed.

Hospitals and gp clinics are owned 55% by the state ,38% private and 7% charities.

Your insurance is paid into one of 123 mutual funds who pay for any treatment you require.

The German healthcare system has 6 billion in reserves .

We might then actually fund our defence properly because healthcare funding would not come out of general taxation like it does now .

Trevor Holcroft

fair enough comments.
But we spend about 10% of GDP on health care.


Declining general health of the population due to poor diet and lifestyles are also a factor. 31% of adults in the UK are now classified as clinically obese. If that rate was at 1900s levels then obviously spending on healthcare would not be as high. The UK’s high obesity rate is possibly a national security issue, as we are seeing now, people with pre-existing medical conditions much more likely to swamp government hospitals.

Paul Bestwick

Would you like 1900s levels of undiagnosed cancers and genetic disorders that were never treated back then? That way we wouldn’t have to spend as much on healthcare… I thought not, we live in a different age. It could be better, but it also could be worse.


I say old chap, There’s a time and a place for all that, what what.

Armchair Admiral

The current situation should be treated by the armed forces as a biological attack. The ability of our armed forces to operate in this environment is paramount and although its not very nice, if we DID have a proper biological attack (and who is not to say this ISNT one, leaked or otherwise) then we need to know that the country can be defended by a possible follow on conventional assault. Keeping all our forces in lockdown does not prove our ability to respond to a non-conventional assault, rather the opposite.
Sending the QE to sea is absolutely right, and if they manage to carry out the scheduled activities without undue harassment from our virussy friends, then that will prove to many nations that the countries armed forces are indeed ready to deal with all eventualities.
NOT sending our sailors to sea, I would say, puts them in MORE risk for when we have to send them out in a war situation. If they can deal with this, they can handle anything else.

Meirion X

@Troll FD
Same again, Nothing unusual from You!
Another MAD rant about the carriers!

You Know F**k All about hygiene!


I reckon one of the carriers banged his missus!

Meirion X

Quite possible!
And it would’ve been a laugh!


S**t the bed! You know so little it’s sad, rather pathetic but amusing at the same time. Doesn’t the Guardian have a comments section you can have a go at, that paper loves fiction and comments from people who know so little yet say so much!


Airborne, he’s crusty tissue man spending too much time alone in his room.


Don’t say things like that, we want to have people spend too much time alone in their rooms right now.


Easy there Airborne. Some of us read the Guardian and aren’t jeb-ends!


Why would they be at any less risk if the crew were ashore in barracks or in the mess?


Should like to mention I am on HMCS Regina over here in Canada. We put to sea to avoid contracting the Corona. We are also doing workups. I hate it, and am super displeased by the situation. However, if we weren’t doing a workup program, we would actually be wasting money, as we wouldn’t come out of the situation more ready or capable. It’s like all of the memes on Facebook, you can come out of quarantine the same, better or worse. The RN and RCN are trying not to be complacent, and are doing the right thing. Think about that.


The fact that so many of the responses to your comments are negative and angry is a sign that they subconsciously agree with you and are in a repressed state of denial.


Isolated a long time then? mmmmm

Gavin Gordon

If there is a fear as you say, David, it would be that the carriers will be axed in the next review, of course. Though I don’t see this as the current intention, unless C-19 will have so affected our economy that it is totally FUBAR – another argument altogether and a strategic result that 2 x ‘politburo’ would pop champagne corks and light fireworks over. There is in many people’s minds the rationale that there are, at base, only two high-offensive* maritime assets worth the name – submarines &, yes you’ve guessed it, carriers. As a/cs go, ours are an ingenious British attempt to operate them as efficiently as is possible, to my mind as part of * above. Keeping the hulls even with a reduced air complement at this time will be infinitely preferable to decommissioning either as the a/cs inherent flexibility should allow you to increase that complement as risk determined with the most advance air assets available.
This will do as a short riposte to your first 18 words, the remainder borders on hubris and requires no further comment.


Are you Fat Dave’s skinnier brother?


@Fat Dave – Wow what a pile of shi.. you talk.
Its people like you who expect everything to be in place, but don’t want to invest in it, or understand how it comes to work and why…. sheer ignorance… but then stupidity and ignorance together are a truly dangerous combination.

You describe carriers as antiques…. well, lets look at how many countries have or are building carriers and lph’s at the moment. We have Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand, India, Australia, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, France, Brazil, Spain, the US and the UK. So if they are indeed antiques…. quick FD – you better get round to all those countries and tell them that Fat Dave is right, you and all the rest of the liberal metropolitan Guardian reading elite, and all those countries are wrong…. quick…!

Working up in times of difficulty is a massive string in the bow of a fleet. You can’t guarantee that if a real defence crisis was to arrive upon us, it would only do so at a time and place when best suited to the UK. Hence we have and need readiness.

Its people like you that get rid of the guns, didn’t realise you needed bullets for them, forgot to teach people how to use them and then blame everyone else when things go wrong…. and capability doesn’t exist.

When you take the time to clear your eyes, you might notice that the United States is becoming more Pacific centric. European NATO will have to do more to tackle the Russian Fleet in the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea, the centerpiece of which will be a combination of US / UK and French carriers, amphibious forces to defend Norway and Iceland, and ASW air and sea assets to protect the GIUK gap.

Learn first please.



Gavin Gordon

You’ve been requested this before, FD, but could you kindly give a credible explanation of your personal employment history that enables you to make such informed categorical statements. As you know, many contributors have little hesitation in stating the militarily professional background they call on in support of their post; n.b. that does not mean they have to support the article, it just gives some credence to what they impart to the discussion.
With such wide ranging conviction you may not even mind supplying your real name.


Would have thought that applying an element of screening and control as part of a wider exercise and training routine would be valuable in terms of contemplating what may happen if a biological conflict were to break out!!

Many other industries, including the offshore oil and gas industry, are operating 24/7 in the face of Covid19 and through the application of well thought through procedures, controls and checks are doing so successfully.



Good to see our F35’s are Social Distancing though.


The UK Secretary of Defence, has left the final decision to the the captains of the Royal Navy’s warships, re Covid 19, today while speaking to the House of Commons Defence Committee.

HMS QE is within helicopter range of the UK, on its trials.

Phillip Johnson

Did you see the names of the contracts
MTU Germany
MAN Germany
Blunox Denmark
Darchem Engineering UK
Novemco Demark

Phillip Johnson

Yes. It is a European design. You don’t change major components easily particularly if you are in a hurry.
It was going to happen, for most of the items are there UK suppliers anymore?


Have been giving some thought to the way in which both carriers might be used in the event we needed to wage a max effort sea, land, air campaign. Since we’d have all our eggs in 2 valuable baskets, we obviously can’t have them coming inshore – or even close – to launch an aircav style helicopter assault. Helicopter IFR could provide a solution but probably has some significant limitations and in any case doesn’t seem to be the way we’re going at the moment. So as an alternative, how about the general idea of a smaller, more numerous auxiliary vessel which can go closer to shore and act as a Lilly pad for the helo assault force (Or UAVs perhaps), as well as hosting the heavier follow-on forces and logistics train. Obviously links to the recent related news on combining auxiliary types and I’m sure there are good arguments against but it does make you wonder.

More generally, I understand why you all slammed Fat Dave – I feel his post was worded to get a reaction – but his view is unfortunately shared by some significant section of the population who finds the case for the carriers to be weak – in particular when they are alongside and/or have no aircraft on board. The advocates of the carriers (of which I’m one) ignore this at our peril. I feel it’s increasingly urgent that the navy & MOD do something additional to demonstrate the worth of these vessels so I very much support QE’s training deployment but I would advocate going further. Quickly demonstrating that BOTH aircraft carriers actually carry aircraft – and can credibly go up against advanced adversaries in some realistic way is vitally important or we run a real risk of losing at least one of them.


I for one, welcome the QE class and their step change capacity to project power across the Globe , I also agree with you to a degree ref FD’s Initial post but the real issue here is time and Government turnaround/merry-go-round . It’s taken Decades to put Hull’s in the Brine and It’ll take forever to land enough F35’s on their Heat resistant parking areas to make full use of their intended design. Why? because we are more than a little distracted by other “important” things. Each F35, still cost’s more than an entire MP’s pension and the running cost’s of their second home off shore. I think we are living through extraordinary times at the moment, just look at Branson. We the “Grunts” are but Cannon fodder.


What about something similar to the Spanish/Australian/Turkey LHD’s? Designed to be able to operate F35B &/or helicopters as a light carrier, as an assault ship, as a HADR ship etc. There is a well deck. It has a ski jump up front. There is a moveable partition between the hangar & light vehicle deck (depending on mission profile) allowing the hangar space to be doubled. It gives some sort of backup to the carriers & designed to be able to operate closer to shore. They are not cheap though & come in at just under 28,000t. It would potentially allow you to think about removing the RM from the carriers & going pure carrier – more along the lines of USN operations. This relates in some way to a recent SRN article on multi-role vessels. Compromises, certainly. But ditching a couple of dozen F35B because they have nowhere to land will cost a lot more.


Also – and at the risk of being branded a traitor on SRN: If this ‘get moving quickly’ logic resonates, doesn’t it argue in favour of a split buy of F35s with the carrot being that the FAA gain increased operational control of the B models and leave the RAF to play with the A models? To be honest, I’ve never been totally convinced that ‘only’ 48B models undermines the case for the carriers. It would mean routinely having enough for 1 credible carrier air wing and in extremis having say 20-ish per carrier for both at once (and that’s without any extras from Uncle Sam in an unlikely go-it-alone against a peer scenario). We did this in the Falklands where every serviceable SHAR was sent south so why shouldn’t this be the planning assumption now? Would give us more than double the strike capability we had in the 1970s with the retirement of the old Ark Royal so would be a real return to form for the FAA – and crucially, they would more have say over deployments / priorities etc than the current arrangement.

Since the A model is around 35mln US$ a piece cheaper than the B, it must be worth considering as this equates to over 3bln$ Saved for the remaining 90 (138-48). Since all our neighbours are buying the A, we can share the logistics burden and thereby cut down the buggeration of 2 sub-types.

Surely there’s a case to be made???


50-odd frames of SHAR only supported 800/801 (8 cabs each) and 899 (12?). Lots needed for depth maintenance, attrition, evening out fatigue life etc.

48 is totally insufficient to support an FAA force. Would probably give you thirty in forward fleet to support training sqn, OEU/IFTU and at least two operational sqns.

Then there’s the thorny issue of AAR. A-models all use boom. No RAF tankers configured or certified for such. That would eat up most of your $3Bn in short order.


Really there are four choices for air to air refuelling when it comes to the F-35A being operated by the UK:

1) Capability holiday, don’t use the refuelling receptacle. Pretty unrealistic for what the UK would want to use the type for
2) Use the receptacle but only with allied tanking assets. Almost as bad as option one as it strips the UK of flexibility and also causes issues with AirTanker over exclusivity agreements
3) Come to an agreement with AirTanker and fit the boom to the A330 MRTT, AirTanker have put forward to the MOD ways this could be done in a cost effective manner as it would also help RC-135W, E-3D (then E-7A) and if the receptacle was activated C-17 operations
4) Fit a probe to the F-35A, Lockheed Martin has done some limited studies into this and have stated it wouldn’t be that difficult as the nose section of the A is the same as the B and C less the probe. They have space reserved for the probe and pipework. The problem is the USAF don’t want it and so far no international customer except for Canada who made some noises about it before they utterly messed up their future fighter procurement. This means the UK would have to fund the development and certification of this unique sub variant of the A model probably adsorbing any cost advantage over buying more B model or the C.

To be honest the most realistic solution if the UK went for the A model is to get the boom on the Voyager, as AirTanker are not utilising all airframes for tanking it wouldn’t take much to rotate them around for conversion without sacrificing short term availability.


Option 3 is probably the only way forward and would help with our increasingly odd mixed fleet, BUT :

1. Airtanker will need all certification (to UK stds)_costs absorbing and will pass them on.
2. There will be a trade-off between flow rate (boom x 1) and flow rate (P&D x 2). Boom will have higher flow rate, so less time in receive per a/c compared to P&D, but not sure by how much.
3.Potentially increases the tanker time (and hence frames) required if we start to add the heavies to the AAR schedule. More bunce for AT…..

Still doesn’t get away from 48 being too few frames to meet requirement.

Steve Taylor

Buying anything other than B would be stupid. Yes there is a capability gap not buying A. But where do we not have gaps?


“3.Potentially increases the tanker time (and hence frames) required if we start to add the heavies to the AAR schedule. More bunce for AT…..”

Not necessarily an issue considering how the PFI contract is worded, AirTanker has to provide a certain amount of availability per year with surge options. How they do it is up to them not the MOD, that includes bringing new airframes into service to maintain availability. Not all the fleet owned by AirTanker is actively involved with tanking and that certainly formed an element of what they were proposing to convert and bring on as boom tankers. There is also the curious situation with Covid-19 that there is now a glut of grounded Airframes including A330 that could be available for purchase and conversion by Airtanker at a bargain price especially as Airlines will look to consolidate on newer airframes when the lockdown lifts.

It should be noted that the position within the RAF has shifted AND Air Marshal Greg Bagwell, said at the FIDAE Airshow in Santiago Chile in March 2016 that the operational case for equipping at least some of the UK’s Voyagers with the ARBS boom had already been accepted.


I don’t disagree. We should have a boom capability, whether we buy A or B, because so many of our heavies are now configured that way. But it will cost money, probably more than people expect any A vs B trade to save.

Nor does it get over 48 being too few frames to support Carrier Strike. We would be setting ourselves up for a repeat of the SDSR2010 trade, all over again.


My position is 48 is too few F-35B airframes and more need to be ordered, I also think whilst there is a strong argument to keep all airframes ordered the B model I also think there is some compelling arguments that can be made for a split buy including the A model.

If the UK does go for the A model in a split buy then a serious look needs to be made at further reducing the Typhoon fleet size and standardising on a single variant with all tranche 1 retired and some Tranche 2 bringing all remaining airframes to Tranche 3b standard.

I also think the F-35 total order should be spread over many years with the UK buying later Blocks as needed and even retiring earlier ordered airframes rather than upgrading them to the latest Block. I also think the UK needs to take a VERY close look at the Australian ‘Loyal Wingman’ program with an eye to a future purchase of that or an equivalent UCAV system.


OK, let’s say your numbers are right and there are 30 available in normal peacetime circumstances. I’d suggest that it’s credible to expect 16-24 of them to be deployed on the active strike carrier based on a 1:3 to 1:2 ratio of the overall fleet. That leaves 6-14 for ‘other’ uses like training and trials. I would hope we’re actively looking for ways to make it closer to 6 than 14 used for these onshore purposes – I admit 6 seems on the low side based on historical analogies but at a 135mil a pop, we need to think of doing things differently to maximise the front-line force. Eg. Elements of the training programme can be shared with the other B operators; a similar model has been in use for global F16 operators for decades.

The numbers above seem like reasonable assumptions so it’s worth taking stock of what they mean: just imagine having a peacetime CSG of 20-odd F35b each tooled-up with Meteor, Spear3, SpearEW, LGB, ASRAAM etc etc. 4 AEW merlins, say 6ASW merlins and 4 junglie merlins for CSAR, COD etc. Escorted by T45, T26 and an SSN – with 1 or possibly 2 of these platforms having 1000mile+ ranged TLAM and perhaps a Dutch BMD destroyer along too. I’d argue that this is an awesome force to have at our disposal basically 24/7. It is unrivaled outside the USN. It’s all already in the equipment plan and will be a reality very soon. Spear 3 and Spear EW appear to be real British success stories by themselves and will give our F35s the the ability to take on literally anyone out there with swarm attacks. From the perspective of this armchair admiral, it looks highly, highly credible and would give enemy planners a real problem from day 1: No need to squabble with RAF on whether it’s a carrier or a land-based deployment, no need to accept any WW2-style compromises, it is truly a fleet in being. What’s more, in extreme circumstances we could more than double the # of deployed jets without relying on any outside help whatsoever. Admittedly, there wouldn’t really be an attrition reserve in this case but if we’ve had to mobilize to this extent, we’re in a major shooting war and can expect to be pulling-out all the stops to buy / borrow more of them. I would therefore argue that 48 jets is likely to cover 99% of our Defence planning assumptions. I’ll caveat that by saying 48 to block 4 software or better since I read that the early ones will never be operational – but if I could have all that, and operational control of the jets by having them in the FAA with ‘Navy’ written on the side, I’d be very tempted to take it.

Steve Taylor

Not A Boffin sort of does this for a living his figures are right.


Steve Taylor: I used NAB’s figures didn’t I? And here is another for you: The French have 44 Rafale M and manage to make it work. I suspect that what you’re really trying to say is that I should be quiet and leave it to the grown ups. The trouble with that is that they are not always right: They designed the slow Graf Spee, the poorly protected Hood, the battlecruisers of Jutland, the under-gunned Scharnhorst, the aluminum superstructure components in HMS Sheffield, the lack of seabed safety valve on Piper Alpha, the lack of fail-safe in Fukushima – the list goes on. I have respect for people who know what they doing and spend a career perfecting it but I also think debate is a good thing. It may be that people with an actual say will read this and be that much better equipped to make their case as a result. At the end of the day, I and people who share my views are advocates of CEPP; I just have a different view on how to safeguard their future from the likes of one D Cummings who want to scrap them all together. I’m also prepared to admit I’m wrong if there are strong arguments to the contrary – I just haven’t seen them yet and that includes going back to the 2018 SRN article where it was extensively debated. I certainly won’t be silenced or convinced by your rather sarcastic sniping.

Steve Taylor

No. I am saying that on a forum full of Top Trump heroes and fruit loops with little understanding of anything beyond Wikipedia specs and half arsed understanding of naval matter Not A Boffin on balance, having known him for several years across a couple of forums, doing what he is does to earn crust, probably is a more trusted source. This site is not capable of debate as for the most part the commentators haven’t a blessed clue what they are talking about. They should sponsor a T31 and call it HMS Dunning-Kruger.


Okay post your credentials and lets have a look, you f**kng dick.


‘This site is not capable of debate’?

Well I’m glad we got that settled.. How arrogant.


Look through Stevie boys posts, most of them either are deliberatly trying to get a reaction, winging about hos his posts get downvoted or just ragging on the site in general.


Having a bad day?


If we were to buy F35C at a long stretch I could understand. Then we could have a FAA squadron aboard a USN Carrier. When will people understand we are an island and in effect an aircraft carrier? We also have some overseas territories which in wartime can only be accessed by aircraft flying off carriers. We need total flexibility that the F35B gives.
If one studies the War at Sea WW2 you see we lost the major campaigns of Norway, Crete and Singapore largely because we couldn’t reinforce our air component because the FAA had only just been reconstituted in 1939 with very poor aircraft. Do we really want to make all these mistakes or similar all over again?
I hear you say well what about Malta? What about Malta? Malta was a heroic struggle from 1940-1942 won after we found 3 old FAA Sea Gladiators still in their crates. They were taken over and flown by our Brave RAF. If you want to know more read it yourself. The thing to watch is how the reinforcing planes reached Malta and what a fiasco it was and how much Blood and treasure it cost.
What about the Falklands I hear you say. What about the Falklands……….? Do us a favour.


Every one had poor naval aircraft in early 1939… remember the Brewster Buffalo. It beat the F4F Wildcat in selection and that was a hasty monoplane conversion of the bi plane F3F.
Because the USN didnt enter the war till ’42 effectively everyone remembers the planes in service from that period.


“Every one had poor naval aircraft in early 1939” – except for Japan


F-35A Lot 14 cost is $77.9 mill while Lot 14 F-35B is $101.3 mill ( forward estimates in late 2019)

These arent all the costs to buy for a foregn buyer but gives good figures to base a discussion on.
You are looking at $23.5 mill price difference


Would not support a split buy of F35. I would be in favour of all F35B.
But the debate on split buy seems focused between F35A and F35B.

However the F35C has probe and drogue inflight refueling and the best operational range of the three due to having the largest fuel capacity.
However the F35C is only $6.5 million cheaper per unit than the F35B that I can see.


Which is why they’re all thrashing around somewhat pointlessly……