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Alan Pickthorne

BZ to all involved in getting battle ready, now where are the doom & gloom mongerers who where asking where the jets are, they’re here, just as we said they’d be.


They are not royal navy aircraft. American and raf. Where are the navy ones.


Have you noticed that the commander is from the Navy


There are no RN jets. The arrangement is that they’re operated by joint RAF and RN pilots and ground crews.


What? There’s a a Royal Navy squadron forming soon..


Absolutely Fantastic to see. Back at the very top of the league.


More British jets
Hello it’s a British warship no American


Tim, As Allies, We are obviously very interlinked, have been for many Decades, I have no problem whatsoever with this. The F35 is a joint venture between many Nations as was the QE class design,( Thales, BAE and many many international supply companies, not to mention all the hard working people from all manner of different nationalities that helped build them ) We should all work together, the World is a scary place.

Karen Edmunds

Bring back the EAGLE and 899 sqdn.
Sea Vixen FAW Mk2.


Well Yes, OK but, Eagle despite being the better Ship was deemed not as good as the Arc Royal,( Fact) and 899 have long since disbanded. RNAS Yeovilton might yet host F35 B’s but only if a monumental shift in World affairs occurs.


It now seems the RAF side of the ‘joint force’ isnt that keen on the original numbers of F35B ( or even half that, in the 70s). The RN should say its OK with that and take complete control of 45-50 F53B and leave the RAF to get away from STOVL.


I’m not sure why there are not more RN/RAF jets. Four really? There are 17 in the country right? You mean the UK could only muster four? Pathetic.


Fairly sure the CVS’ very occasionally had 16 FA2/GR7 aboard, so technically not biggest since 83.

Nevertheless, fantastic to see that deck spotted with a decent number of cabs at long last. Also goes to graphically demonstrate how quickly that big empty deck becomes a big busy deck once you start operating.

14 parking slots and a couple of helo spots and before you know it there’s only the port quarter left.

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B
Max Jones

I think you are right about the CVS load. I heard that happened at least a couple times, such as off Iraq enforcing the no-fly zone.

Regarding capacity, you could certainly fit a lot more on there if they were economically spaced.

I made a quick (extremely shoddy) mock-up of the deck with aircraft fully packed in. With a couple more F-35Bs facing the ‘Q’ on this deck, you could get 36 aircraft + 24 in the hangar – with about 10 extra Merlins you could still fit maybe 12 F-35Bs below deck, meaning you would have a total of 42 F-35Bs + 14 Merlins for AEW/ASW.

That seems reasonably for a fully operational carrier as I’ve heard about 56 used before. If you took out a flight of F-35Bs to clear up a bit of space you might get it down to about 36+14 which would be the advertised full load of 50 for maximum efficiency with moving around deck and sending out sorties.

You could also place up to 12 additional F-35Bs along the spare space beside the landing strip opposite the others and ditch the extra 4 merlins for a total of 44 jets on deck with up to 24 in the hangar (maybe slightly more if it’s really cramped). You could plausibly carry the full 72 F-35Bs suggested purely as far as getting into the theatre then flying at least 24 off to other carriers or land bases.

Last edited 3 years ago by Max Jones

I believe that the 72 Aircraft mentioned would be a mix of airframes not just F35B’s. either way, what a capability. fantastic.

Max Jones

Possibly. Merlins seem like they would take up more space than the F-35Bs but realistically any air-wing would be mixed anyway since Merlins provide the vital AEW and ASW support.


Merlin, Wildcat, Chinook. Puma ? plus F35 B’s are the 72 mix, from what I can tell reading certain reports. Look up what HMS Hermes took South in 1982.


realistically no need for the carrier to have any helicopters as the support vessels can take these T45’s can hold 2, T23 1, Tide class 2 and a Fort class 4 I think, so plenty of capability on the escorts for helicopters with them getting maintained/ fuelled on the carriers as necessary. So the escort and support fleet can hold unto 14 helicopters – far more if Albion or Bulwark are also in tow.

Clearly no need for this to happen at present, but does go to show that with an 8-10 ship carrier strike force we can put an awful lot of aircraft out there.

I wonder if a predator or some other UAV could be launced and landed to provide aerial overwatch, surely this would be a major step forward.


Personally I’d be more interested in some sort of STOVL refueling capability, be it UAV or Manned aircraft, but a UCAV capable of operating of the carriers would be a brilliant capability.

Glass Half Full

Maybe something like the following, but perhaps a little larger, will be in the cards in the 2030’s to provide the range, endurance and payload for AEW and re-fueling. Might want to be a little faster for the re-fueling.

Albert D. Kallal

There is a re-fuel option available for the v22’s Osprey.
So, if air to air re-fueling was required? Then a v22 could and would have to be adopted.
this short video shows the air to air re-fuel system in action:

Bell Boeing V-22 Aerial Refueling Proof of Concept Flight – YouTube

Since the v22 can produce good air speeds, then this setup can work very well, and would dramatic extend the reach and range of the HMS Q.


There just isn’t the money or will to procure it I’m afraid.


Of course the RN should acquire the V-22 in order to have a “full up round” carrier capacity but it won’t. The MOD is more interested in impressive photos than sovereign capacity. What is going to happen when the first f-35 engine goes out and you need a new one in the Far East. If you had V-22 too easy…without the capacity…find a port. Defeats the purpose.


Virtually all of that is wrong I’m afraid.

For Merlins, it’s one – and one only – for T23.T45, T26 (in due course) and Tide. The only Fort left is Vicky which can nominally carry three. Wildcat? You might – just – fit two in a T45, but its a squeeze.

Booting the rotorheads off was an idea if your deck is jammed, but that’s one reason why QEC is so big. It’s also easier to co-ordinate crews and cabs on one platform.


Lynx and Wildcat fit into a T45 hangar, Tight fit indeed.


That’s not navy tight!!


Thats what I call ‘designed for and with’


Fort Victoria can comfortably operate four Merlins, though it only has hangar space for three. The other aircraft can be ranged in the ‘graveyard’ (starboard side immediately aft of the hangar) which still allows both spots to be used.


You mean the stores dump where the main lift is?


Yes. Althought the lift is further aft. This area is commonly used as a deck park.

Max Jones

It would be better to carry the Crowsnest Merlins on the carrier. The escorts could carry 4-6 merlins between them depending on whether T23s or T26s are present and the auxiliaries primarily provide Mk.4s for transport and SAR.

Current helicopter air wings, setting aside F-35Bs, consist of maybe 5 Crowsnest, 6-9 HM2s on the carrier, 2-4 HM2s on the ASW frigates, 2-4 Wildcats on the destroyers, and 3-5 Merlin HC4s on the auxiliaries. In this scenario the escorts are alsready quite packed without the carrier’s 14 rotorcraft.

The LPDs are not capable of carrying aircraft for long-term embarkments however RFA Argus could plausibly carry half a dozen helicopters if you wanted to clear up some space.

It is unlikely the QE-class would ever be in a position where it is so filled with F-35Bs that it moves the helicopter wing off-ship. Even with 48 jets embarked you could still fit the core AEW squadron.

Stuart D Dangerfield

They are already trialing UAVs off carriers apparently the problem is the landing.


QE’s fuel tanks, weapon magazines etc. are designed for 36 F-35B and 500 sorties for a week. That’s the limit not deck space.


ever heard of R.A.S ?


Deck space – and specifically safe parking area – is what determines how many sorties you can launch in a given cycle. There are all sorts of other deck management issues involving radhaz, armed aircraft and the number of chockheads you have available which also affect sortie rate.

That – and your desired RAS interval – then drives your bunker and mag capacity.


As i understand it 36 F35 is the amount she can operate long-term as all of the support functions are built around but roughly 50 could be embarked for a short-term surge in sorties before the strain on munitions and maintenance etc had an impact.

I’m sure theoretically 70ish aircraft could be crammed onto a ship that size but as you say deck space is what really determines effectiveness so fewer but properly maintained and supplied jets would probably generate a better sortie rate.

Supportive Bloke

I’d totally agree with that.

Managing the full cycle optimally & sustainably is what dictates the sensible loadings. Making the place crowded slows things down and makes them more dangerous.

Not the best example but just think of a supermarket car park with too many people circulating looking for spaces – soon seizes up.

OK the deck crew are professionals at the choreography but if you have to move A -> B and then C -> E to allow P -> C and then D -> A for takeoff things that would take minutes take hours and start to require a lot of bodies. As a logistics management generality you want to avoid long chains of interconnected ‘things’.

Max Jones

Yes. There’s a variety of factors that al contribute and can all be balanced to some extent:

  • Deck Space limits sortie rates from having too many.
  • Deck/Hangar space limits overall capacity.
  • Storage of fuel and munitions limit volume of sorties.
  • Crew capacity limit the number of aircraft that can be crewed and maintained.

All have some solutions but the overall capacity is ultimately limited by the latter two factors. You could carry 70 aircraft and try to replenish the ship constantly with multiple dry stores ships in theory but you would still need space to crew them all, at which point the full capacity of the carrier could be around 3,000.


Numbers of aircraft are not directly linked to the military output of the platform in terms of sorties. So although there seems to be ample room for more aircraft than she was designed for I bet the projected sortie rate actually goes down beyond a certain number (probably about 50) as aircraft just get in the way queuing for fuel, maintenance and ammunition. If the MOD get all 138 F35s (a BIG IF) then we will be able to commonly load up to 24 jets and surge to 36 if she ever needs to go up the sharp end. 36 jets, with the automated ammunition handling that the QE class are built with, will produce a very formidable sortie rate.


The figure of 138 was a Whole Life Procurement one, This Figure will never be achieved at any one time, If at all, so please don’t hold your breath.


Correct. These planes are going to be hera very long time, the life of the carriers probably. So ignoring the conversion, attrition and maintenance, I’m guessing that at any time maximum we might have 60 (?).


The deck was sized to allow the maximum size launch cycle required (ie X aircraft able to park, prep and launch for mission Y), plus some spots for helos and alert a/c.

Up to a point, launch and recovery areas drive size, above that it’s safe parking area.

4th watch

Could always cut and shut in another 10m section of hull and see how that worked!


The original design was for around the 50 number all airframes included, but in concert was that the ‘potential’ offered for the F35 was up to 5 sorties per plane per day in surge.
The sortie rate has been dialed right back and I think now the surge rate is about 2 per aircraft.
So the small hanger area for the size of the ship wont be used even for say 35 airframes, instead even lower numbers of fast jets in practice ( 20?) and low sortie rate.


The CVF design easily accommodates 72x F-35Bs, as well as the extra deck-space you noted about, the stern of the deck abaft the rear lift can be utilised for a deck park, in lieu of conducting rolling landings; while the deck from the forward island has additional deck park capacity. A major constraint to such a large organic air wing is the onboard facilities to fuel and arm the jets (in a situation similar to the British Fleet carriers in the Pacific during WWII) requiring suitable RFA vessels (with forward base facilities) to keep the CVFs stored.

Operationally though, if the CVF was embarking such numbers, it would be because the UK is in a hot situation, requiring CAPs to be flown 24/7 putting less strain on where to park the jets.

Given this scenario, it is easy to conclude the 138x F-35Bs the UK is / was planning to acquire is insufficient to field two war ready CVFs.

Max Jones

I don’t think 138 jets is insufficient for a situation like the Falklands where they are all being committed to carriers.

  1. It would be very rare for both carriers to be operational at all times – there is only the requirement for one available carrier wing.
  2. 72 aircraft provides more aircraft for a massive alpha-strike scenario or where you are concerned about suffering heavy casualties, however that many aircraft would decrease the overall sortie rate due to how cramped everything is so it wouldn’t work as a single base of operations. You would need to unload at least a squadron of jets to regain that efficiency.
  3. Even if you could have two carriers with 72 aircraft on both, these wouldn’t be 144 F-35Bs. With that scale of combat operations you would have at least 10 Crowsnest helicopters between them – ideally around 7-8 per carrier in surge capacity (current plans are for ten total but these plans also assume that both carriers won’t be operational simultaneously) so you would then have maybe 15 merlins and about 130 F-35Bs while any additional ASW merlins or other aircraft would further limit this number.

In this kind of hypothetical scenario, the likely fully loaded QE-class might carry around 50-58 aircraft total: 36-42 F-35Bs, 5-7 Merlin Crowsnest and maybe 9 HM2s for ASW. That would probably be the most efficient land for sortie rates and the most plausible with available crew, munitions and fuel on board the carrier and its auxiliaries.


How would an F-35B land in that photoshop? Landing spots are all covered.

Max Jones

Only demonstrating how deck space might be used – you would want to move a few out the way on the port side for safe landings unless you can manage an SRVL from the back.


These images are both encouraging and depressing. The UK has made this huge investment in two great ships and probably won’t buy more than 70 F-35’s. Its defence on the cheap once again. Yes, the USA and UK are the best of allies but the 10-4 split tells the real story. Defence is simply not a priority for Johnson’s government.


I immediately thought that too. There was a mix of 16 RAF/FAA Harriers embarked a couple of times on one of the Invincible’s in The Gulf around 1998.

I also recall 14 Sea Harrier’s being operated a few times on training deployments in the late 80’s and early 90’s and HMS Invincible had 15 jets aboard for her swansong in the Red Sea in the early 00’s.


You are right, post 82 it was not unusual to see 16 Harriers on the Invincible. I note QE has still not received her full complement of Phalanx or 30mm guns. Why? Prince of Wales has her full fit of Phalanx…….

Max Jones

It’s one Phalanx short. Broadly speaking it’s an extremely minor factor.

It was always planned to happen in late 2020, specifically after JW202 and so it is still on schedule for that to happen. I don’t know why it was planned out in this particular way but it doesn’t have any impact on the ship’s security while in service.


Bloody Brilliant! Made my day.


Fantastic stuff, love seeing a RN carrier with the decks crawling with aircraft again!

Something different

Great pictures and fantastic to see. Everyone involved in making this happen deserves our thanks.


This does look very impressive. Morale must be sky high. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a boon in recruiting.

You Brits have quite the capability now. I think the Iranians would rethink seizing a British flagged vessel when she reaches IOC. And just imagine how much better operations in Libya would have gone for just one example.

But, and there is no nice way to put this, what an ugly ship! I thought that maybe a busy flight deck would make her more graceful. But she is still a pretty grim sight. Well, cant have everything and it has what is important. Congrats!

Left hand down a bit

Ugly looking ship, ugly!!! I would admit it would be fun to have a set of sharks teeth painted on the extended bow. But ugly, no just mean.


Grim ? I think they are Brutally Magnificent Ships built in a unique way to do the job.

Albert D. Kallal

I don’t know what pictures or examples one is comparing to here?

Gooly, I guess this comes down to what kind of beer one likes? Or maybe wine?

I find that layout, the look and the whole setup absolute first rate, absolute brilliant in design.

It looks like spank new, and everything looks modern, up to date, and is a world class ship no matter how you slice and dice this. Deck layout and large traffic like boards for ground crews to see? Again, really fab.

And pilots will love a control tower dedicated to JUST flight operations.

I can’t think of a better laid out ship and better setup. Really, just fab.

Now I don’t want to feed the trolls, but that thing looks just fantastic.

I mean, wow!


What exactly is wrong about their looks? Function has to drive form.


This is great to see. But I feel the UK needs 6 Sqn F35B of X 16 per Sqn 2 RAF and 4 FAA & 4 Sqn F35As x 16 RAF. This would give a good mix of ability and the F35A is cheeper


What exactly does A bring? Nothing really. We have gaps everywhere we are not going to miss a few miles range in an age with modern long range missiles. We need two jet fleets. We have invested billions in the carrier. It makes sense economically that we invest as much as we can in to it. Splitting slender resources makes no sense. Buying anything but B would be stupid. A is cheaper. But there is more to value than cost.

Something different

I absolutely agree x, a split buy would be unwise for the reasons you gave.

4th watch

Quite I always think of the UK and its outliers as a huge series of airbases; the fleet of carriers being needed to fill the gaps between and move the a/c around to concentrate; as and when required.Sans Pareil (almost). Without the carriers its strategically pointless.


To be properly operationally effective she needs a working AEW platform so the sooner Crows Nest is available the better.

Also, the F35’s need to be fitted with a stand off land attack capability (Stormshadow,) and a stand off heavy anti-ship missile (e.g. NSM). As I understand it there are no plans for either leaving the F35’s needing to fly into the engagement envelope of any adversary with an area defence SAM system on land or sea.

Without AEW and stand off land and ship attack capabilities the carrier air group is a long way off being effective against potential threats such as Iran.

Last edited 3 years ago by Sunmack

Sunmack, It’s still early Days, Give it time, We’re not at war yet !


The earliest Storm Shadow would be integrated for is 2026-27. That means just 3-4 years of service life. I can think of a few places where the money spent integrating the weapon could be better spent.

Humpty Dumpty

Agree about AEW.

NSM (and all Western anti-ship missiles) lack range though vs Russian & Chinese anti-ship missiles like Kalibr, Oniks, Zircon and YJ-18. We should develop far longer ranged anti-ship missiles as well as ones that F-35Bs can carry internally.

We also need something far longer ranged than VL-ASROC to fit to the Type 26s as well as far longer ranged anti-air missiles (ideally that can accelerate in their terminal phase like Meteor) to keep enemy fighters at arm’s length, especially considering the F-35’s poor sortie rate.

JASSM-ER would give F-35s a stand-off range of over 900km.

Imo we need vast numbers of cheap suicide drones to deal with Russia and China’s IADS and mobile anti-ship missile launchers.

Last edited 3 years ago by Humpty Dumpty

Now then, Where’s that Sad Downvoter when you need him 🙂


Just to add that an Interloper appeared and posted something unsavoury , hence my post here, He’s since been removed.


I have nothing to say so he won’t appear……….




Oh Look, here he is, Using all of his One Brain Cell again. lol.


Somethings telling me somethings happening soon, fact,


Are you Psychic ? what can you see ?

Meirion X

The time table for carrier strike, including this deployment was agreed with the USMC in 2015.

So No up coming conflict soon!

Rose Compass

How can it be ‘fully sovereign’ if it comprises partly of US assets (VMFA-211)? I have no issue whatever with the fact that they are there, it’s just the glib use of language, you see… This is not a tilt at STRN, I’ve seen it described as such elsewhere…


I believe the point is we’re at a point where we wouldn’t need the augmentation of USMC/any foreign aircraft to form a Carrier Air Wing. So the “sovereign” part of the article possibly refers to capability, not what is actually present. So in short, technicalities.


They are referring to the ships rather than the air assets when they say fully sovereign.

Rose Compass

So if we remove the aircraft from the picture, the aircraft carrier group is fully sovereign? Think about that (as in, the point of an aircraft carrier group is…) It is appropriate too, that the article subsequent to this one anticipates and addresses another challenge to the very idea of sovereignty (rightly, in the sense of being both fully organic and exclusively under national control) in that the group is as yet bereft of a key element, namely the requisite AEW capability. In this age of casual, devil may care what does it matter language, the term ‘fully sovereign’ is glib because it is most inaccurate and all too previous: yes, we may well be in position to deploy a fully sovereign carrier group but not until some time in the mid 2020s, when it fully satisfies the plural conditions for such.

Humpty Dumpty

Yeah and what happens if we get involved in a war the US wants no part of? Will the USMC F-35s fly off the carrier?

Michael Watson

Great to see so many F35b’s on HMS Queen Elizabeth deck.


The back end of the F-35B looks so horrible. Really liking the colour on that one USMC one though.




I have to pinch myself these are real images and not computer generated.


Indeed, but the CG ones do contain many more. So It does instil a fair bit more confidence at times.!


Just wish they had more escorts/more defensive weaponry ? The Royal Navy cannot absorb combat losses (Ships specifically) right now if a fight broke out. If the Mark 4 Bofors 40mm and Mark 3 57mm are coming to a frigate near you then I hope the QE can get some too ? To me that size of the fleet means the QE needs more defences incase Aircraft or Missiles leak through say after her escorts have been sent to Davy Jones. Also Phalanx is getting old and is starting the struggle to keep up (The M61 Vulcan specifically is the issue)

criss whicker

something tells me, we may need a bigger carrier with all these great planes gulp.
just a nice thought,
still a fantastic sight.


A bigger one still? We’d need to quadruple our number of current F35s just to fill this one. 70,000-80,000 tons is no small ship.

Paul Richards

I think a squadron of bae systems taranis drones, would make a fine addition to each of the carriers. As warning scouts for the battle group, as well as recon missions. It would give the carriers a sixth generational edge. And quite possibly save lifes. Long range air superiority, reconnaissance, 24/7.


That’s the trouble with not going CTOL. In theory we will be able to fly F35b off more hulls (deck proofing to oneside) etc. with our carriers, the US LHx, the Italian Cavour, Japan’s flat tops etc. But it does cut off from the main thrust of carrier air development which is still centred on the US CVN’s which are CTOL. And they are already well along the UAV path. For me the reason why we should have gone CTOL is E2x. The ‘bomb truck’ should have been a secondary consideration.


Agreed. The CTOL argument wasn’t as much about F35B v F35C but about future proofing & all the add on capabilities (COD, AEW & refuelling) that CTOL would make so much easier and cheaper to develop, procure and maintain. All of which could have been shared capabilities between ourselves and the US & French.

I also agree with the ‘we will be able to fly off more hulls’ BUT we’re not likely to get enough to fill our own carriers. And joint ops with USN and French Navy would have been possible with CTOL & CTOL aircraft but unfortunately… ‘that ship has sailed’ so to speak.


Normally at this point somebody mentions Osprey. But it is too complicated and expensive. I am surprised that there has never been a marinized CH47. It would be a superb maritime platform.


I see what you are saying here. It normally manifests with other comments like, Should have had Cat’s and Traps, Should have kept the Harriers, A Supersonic version would have been a lot better, What no Nuclear Power ?, and all manner of other comments. Personally I’d have preferred a Submersible option, With 18 inch Guns and a bow ram.


Collectively we are all just a bit frustrated that few more millions things could be just that much better. Be it air frame numbers, or weapons systems, or whatever.


Adding arrestor wires (traps), would allow operating as a STOBAR carrier if required. Most CATOBAR aircraft can operate in STOBAR mode with reduced fuel / weapons load. The lowest load out is AA. France only has one carrier. If traps were fitted, French naval fighters with an AA load out could already be operating from QE. Traps are much simpler than catapults to both fit & operate.

Meirion X

The Taranis will not be able to be launched from the QE class carrier deck without a catapult.

I still think a bolt on/off mini catapult, still large long box type, could be tested on the PoW for drones.
PoW IOC not until 2023.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

Taranis was never intended to be.

Meirion X

I agree that drones would need to be designed for naval operations.


I have wondered about amphibious UAV’s.
comment image


Catalina ish.


Yes. While it wouldn’t do for tactical needs for some missions why not use the sea as a runway?


Petty little troll……..


FANTASTIC to see our boys and girls at sea.

Richard Taylor

Bring back the vulcan bomber and the lightning British engineering at its best


Would love to see a Vulcan flying again but maybe not off the carriers 🙂


But, a Vulcan that could be flown off HMS Hermes, would have been an incredible detterant way back in 1982.


Well Yes, That’s probably very true but we have had to suffer decades of Idiots voted in to power by Millions of other Idiots.

Abner Cimafranca

On one level good to see, but compare with Ark Royal IV/Eagle. And you realise how limited this all need. The RN needs more Merlins (15-20) and there needs to be 3 frontline squadrons if F35 dedicated forcarrier ops. Plus our escorts and carriers need to be better armed. Sorry to be so negative, but unless these things happen. This is a paper Tiger, an HMS Hood in the Denmark St or HMS Repulse and POW in the Pacific. Looks impressive until conflict happens. On another note its good to see the close cooperation with USMC.


We do need more Merlins. But we could do with a cheaper to run air frame for tasks like plane guard. Four Wildcat perhaps?


You are getting petty now.


We need dedicated Merlin for Crowsnest. Enough that we can cover two task groups (one of which would be the carrier) in ‘wartime’.


Plus something like the V-247 Vigilant for AEW and free up the Merlin for ASW.


I think the Crowsnest module weighs more than the V-247’s internal payload limit. Perhaps a mesh network of something? Distributed between nodes.

But tilt rotors are very complicated.

The problem is this: to put something into the air from a carrier takes a level of technology. It is where that ‘technology’ is located is the problem. Do you have it on the ship in the form of catapult, be it steam or magnetic? Or do you have it in the aircraft? Vectored jets etc. VSTOL is clever. You may save on ship costs by not paying out for a huge catapult. But you push that cost onto the airframe.


Other countries use no catapult but arrested landing avoiding the vectored thrust.
Vertical landing and its sibling the ‘rolling’ vertical landing comes with other benefits and of course catapults and arrested landings take their toll on the airframe – which has to be built in too.


STOBAR is a very inefficient system. Conventional planes need all their thrust to get off the deck meaning they need more space for ‘launching’. And don’t take a good weight of ordnance or fuel with them. Arrester wires take up a lot of space too. This means flight deck space is at a premium. Sortie rates are impacted too.

It is easier to build robust landing gear and airframes, which are passive, than it is to build (and maintain) complicated thrust vectoring systems. As I said the technology to get the thing in their air has to be somewhere between ship and aeroplane.

If VSTOL was the way to go the USN wouldn’t have built C only B.

We have had a bargain with B. I think it is more aeroplane than the USMC need. But for us it is just perfect. We have good from a Mini to a Jag.


STOBAR can be less efficient if that is your sole intended means of operation. AA operations are much lighter than strike & is the obvious fast air option if your aircraft has to operate in STOBAR mode. The problem for a pure STOVL setup is there is only one modern jet available. Off a small carrier/LHD, fine. Off a 65,000t carrier, STOBAR gives you options, even if it’s just for emergencies. France has 44 modern STOBAR capable naval fighters that can’t land on a QE carrier (though they could take off).


I see that they have Merlins embarked so presumably they will have Crowsnest?


Love it …British battle fleet but How’s that sovereign with us marine jets????


They are free to come and go.


I wonder if I may ask what will seem a very basic, and possibly very naive, question here? What’s ‘commander air wing’ s basic role? Is that a permanent role as part of the ship’s crew, or part of the commodore’s command staff when there’s a full air wing aboard? The rank of captain was impressive.

Meirion X

A good question!
Most likely He/She will come under the Carrier Strike Group(CSG) commend.
So Capt. Blackmore would command the Air Group/Wing on the QE.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

USN carriers now usually have air wing commanders and XO as Captains too. One deployment I read about even the head chaplain was captain rank.


CAW is responsible for the air wing. All the squadrons and support staff report to him. And he reports to the captain. Just as the XO runs the ship. The squadrons are the ship’s main battery.


At least within the USN, the Air Wing Commander (CAG)(O-6 Captain) is responsible for all the aircraft operations in the carrier battle group. The captain of the carrier, who also holds the rank of Captain, is responsible for just the carrier and it’s operations separate from the Air Wing. They report to the Strike Group Commander (O-7 RADM/Commodore), as one of the department heads: there’s also the Air Warfare Commander (also captain of the accompanying cruiser), Undersea Warfare Cmdr, Surface Warfare Cmdr and Command & Control Cmdr. The Commodore is responsible for all the ships and their activities in the Strike Group.


All true, but for a small technicality – under certain circumstances, the skipper of the ship may overrule the CAG. Hate to be technical…but for the sake of completeness. I am not convinced that the British mode isn’t better.


And if the States plunges into Civil War 2 after November 3rd 14 aircraft will be all you will be getting. And when they become U/S the wisdom of doing away with the SHARs will come back to bite you and then some.


If you look at the MOD Equipment plan they are spending 9Bn on F35 vs. 6Bn on Ajax Scout vehicle for the army. What’s more likely to get used? Which technology gives us an edge? Hopefully the next review will ask why a tracked vehicle can cost so much….