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Willful Murder

A fantastic sight! Cheers to our British cousins!

Cameron

Cheers mate, will look even better when a ford and QE class sail together fully armed with all their escorts and submarines and RFA ship, that’ll be a sight to behold.

John

Fantastic news just the 2? Were these the uk jets or the test and evaluation ones from the west coast?

CannonballJunior

The test eval jets from California are also UK jets.

OOA

Fantastic. These are exciting times: Potential adversaries would now surely have to plan on the basis that we could if pushed have 2 CSGs at sea within a few weeks.

Dan

Realistically the second boat is some way away even in crisis mode, and if you had the second boat available a full set of aircraft for both simultaneously is many years away.

But don’t get too greedy other than the US who else has a second operational CV

Simon m

Brilliant news, I hope the momentum continues we’re in an elite club of super carriers and actually a club of one with fifth generation stovl aircraft and fifth generation carrier, a truly flexible and highly capable combination.
Although great we need to ensure that we have the necessary key enablers and continue to invest in the correct aircraft, the correct defensive systems. The CSG is a great deterrent but only if done right and it must have the best tools to go to war if necessary

Challenger

It’s the second photo that gets me. Look at the size of an F35 compared to the flight-deck. A staggering amount of space that would have made a Harrier look minuscule!

John Clark

You need an F35 on deck to truly get the perspective of her vast deck.

It really shows the incredible capability of these amazing ships and that capability is being steadily increased every week.

Fantastic pictures, makes you proud to be British.

donald_of_tokyo

Impressive large deck to handle many air crafts; this is what is making CVs distinct from LHDs. The small Wasp/America classes flight deck, cannot sustain air strike, air defense, as well as ASW and AEW operations in parallel. (Of course, these LHDs are paying their top-weight margin for large internal cargo and accommodation area to carry soldiers). Two completely different type of ships they are. These photos clearly show it.

Ripp

Holy Cow the amount of chockheads on deck for one aircraft

Rick

Great to see UK owned jets on QE. That’s what we want, the Great is back
in Great Britain!

March9999

I must say this looks very impressive. Congrats to you Limeys! I hope the RN is able to afford V-22 tankers. That would make a very formidable force so much stronger.

But, and I hate to say it, that ship will win no beauty contests. Yeesh!

Rick

Yes March, QE is somewhat painful to look at from certain angles but she’s built
to do a job and we will take it up and love her just the same.

Mal

Hi March – this would not have been possible without the MASSIVE support of our US friends especially USN, USMC and Lockheed Martin. THANK YOU. Allies forever I hope.

And yeah, she is ugly as hell!!!

ONeil

I must be the odd one out because I think she’s friggin gorgeous! LOL!
She could do with some Sea Ceptors installed though.

Dan (the other Dan)

You’re not the odd one out – I was just thinking how purposeful the QE looks with her clean lines and modern design. No offence to our American friends, but I think she makes the USN carriers look rather dated. But it is capability that counts, of course, before anyone gets on my back! And it’s great to see the jets on board again.

Dern

American carriers look fantastic… except their islands… those spoil the look for me.

Paul Blake

Unlikely to have Sea Ceptor fitted to the carriers, would be more useful & more likely to have them fitted to T45’s, along with ABM capability.

Will O

Why shouldn’t there be Sea Ceptors on the carriers too?

T45s should have been given an ABM capability from the beginning (with the 16 additional Mk41 silos, & SM3/SM6). With the SAMPSON they’re perfectly capable of being adapted to have that capability.
Aster 30 block 1NT, & block 2 looks to be the most straightforward path.

There’s too few of them now really to be doing both area defence & CSG escort. Shame Osborne & his mates were such muppets with their ‘build less for more’ approach to defence.

James Fennell

They do have some ABM capability – a French Horizon with PAAMS (same as T45) successfully intercepted an Israeli ballistic missile target with Aster 30 a few years back and T45 has successfully tracked ballistic missile targets in trials with the USN. MoD has expressed and interest in acquiring the new Block 1NT version of Aster 30 which, as you say, has great ABM capability and is under development, so should see that as part of a midlife upgrade for T45. I agree the carriers should have additional organic air defences, although I’d go for a longer ranged CIWS rather than sea ceptor.

An aggreived taxpayer

What an obscene waste of money. This programme will sink the royak navy. Once we’ve paid for this and Trident replacement we’ll only have enough cash left for a pedalo to provide escort and these useless boats could be taken out by a couple of Iranian drones. https://theconversation.com/what-went-wrong-with-the-f-35-lockheed-martins-joint-strike-fighter-60905

Meirion X

Old News again! Years Out of Date!
You are more likely to be a momentum-Mob sponger, an obscene waste of money Yourself!
You Anti-British Troll!!

Gavin Gordon

Sir, if you’re going to give people the benefit of your ‘insite’, kindly have the courage to give your name and quote the source of your unique authority on the issue.
Yours,
G Gordon

DaveyB

Hmm, pedalos are super quiet, so perhaps you’re on to something. We could use them for littoral anti-submarine work. Have one of the matelots lower an underwater microphone over the side, a radio and space for a cool box for your stickies. I think this could work 😉

Geo

I don’t know if it’s the RAM in the stealth skin or the paint but whichever one it is, it really does make them look like they have been photoshopped onto the carrier. Thats actually quite a feat of material science.

David Broome

Awesome!!!!

Jonny Field

Fantastic photos here and great to see the Carrier programme moving in the right direction. HMS QE looks great alongside a Type 45!

AKM

Possibly a dumb question, but what is the hatch with the yellow surround set into the flight-deck just inboard and aft of the after aircraft lift? It’s about the same size as the weapon elevators that are inside the towers, is it just another one?

March9999

For casualties to the hospital?

AKM

This question was asked and answered in the comments of the next post. It’s a “small provisions lift”.

Jack

Fantastic. I think there will 6 British owned F35b’s on board during the trials 3 each from 617 and 17 squadrons ? With some USMC planes joining later.

Alfred Ross Ranutt

Good looking ship. Good to see her with aircraft. I do have a question. Do the aircraft only use the ski jump for take off or can they also use the flat part o the flight deck?

DaveyB

Technically speaking the F35B can take-off vertically. However, it will have to choose between carrying a decent weapons load or fuel, not both. It could also take-off just using the flat part of the deck, as our American cousins are currently doing with their USMC “mini carriers”. The benefits of the ramp cannot be understated as it allows the aircraft to take-off at max all up weight, with no comprises on fuel or weapons load.
I believe on the first set of aircraft trials last year they did a reverse deck take-off.

March9999

I assume this has already been discussed. But please help me here. Why no SAM? I saw In the comments that Sea Ceptor isn’t fitted. Surely there are plans for that or at least RAM?

Escorts have to maneuver due to UNREP, submarine suppression, plane guard, casualty, man overboard, recovering helicopter, etc. If they are out of position then the carrier may be “caught out” and will only have Phalanx. That can’t be right can it? Am I missing something?

AKM

I would like to see RAM or SeaRAM added, but they do have Phalanx and presumably soft-kill elements like jammers and decoy launchers for last-ditch self-defence.

However don’t underestimate how good modern SAMs like Sea Viper and Sea Ceptor on the escorts are; they can theoretically engage sea-skimming missiles that are over the radar horizon if another platform (such as the AEW/ASC helicopter) sees them coming and puts the tracks onto the datalink network. This results in a huge increase in effective coverage compared to earlier semi-active radar guided SAMs. As such, whether or not adding a point-defence missile capability to the carriers themselves is worth the money is debatable.

March9999

I’m not doubting the effectiveness of the escorts. I’m talking about what happens when the escorts are NOT in position or are unable to respond. Or even when there are “leakers”. A Mach 3 Missile at 30’ appearing at the visual horizon gives about 20 seconds (?) warning. Suppose 2 to 4 appear on quick sequence or even simultaneously? Phalanx is good but that would be asking a lot.

As far as I can tell, every other large deck carrier / amphibian has a SAM system. From what you (and others) are saying there is no plan for any SAM. That just seems very odd. Surely there is provision for one and they haven’t installed it? Wikipedia makes no mention but it’s hardly trustworthy.

AKM

My point is that the increased effective range of the SAMs means that it’s a lot easier for the escorts to be in range and there should never be a time when the carrier doesn’t have an escort or two in position to protect it from an air attack.

The design of the Queen Elizabeth class IMO follows the logic behind the Colossus class Light Carriers of 1942 but on a larger scale (I sometimes call them ‘Large Light Carriers’); it keeps the air capability and range but trades away the self defence and speed to save time and money. This is not necessarily a bad idea, especially when you consider how cash-strapped the UK MoD is.

As a side note; I’m pretty sure that 20 seconds warning, even from the high speed Russian missiles, is fairly pessimistic. Not that it can’t happen, it’s just that there should be airborne assets that can provide early warning and even the surface vessels should be able to spot the IR plume over the radar horizon. Also the warning time from a hypothetical Mach 3 sea-skimmer (are any of them actually that fast in sea-skimming mode?) should still be at least 30 seconds on radar and that’s ignoring atmospheric lensing which will extend the radar horizon further.

March9999

I hope you are right. And I understand the Type 45 may be better than AEGIS in many situations. But still I am shocked.

The RN has this incredibly capable ship armed with the worlds best fighter. It is manned by world class professionals. It represents a titanic national investment. And yet it arguably has less capable active air defenses than a 1980’s US carrier while facing more advanced threats.

I understand the cost issue. But how much difference does a MK56 VLS and 16 ESSM or similar Sea Ceptor fit make in the grand scheme of things? Well, its done I guess. I’m sure people smarter than me know what they are doing.

DaveyB

As part of the ship’s design there is a space near the forward island for a SeaCeptor installation. Whether this gets fitted or not is known only to the MoD.

AKM

I hadn’t heard that. Can you be more precise on the potential location of the launcher?

Dern

There is also the fact that launching a sea ceptor from the QE will drop debris all over the deck…

Db69

I couldn’t help wondering if the very expensive radar arrays on HMS Dragon can actually see the equally expensive F35 coming? Great to see it all coming together.

Rob

Anybody know why in the bird’s eye view picture the carrier deck looks to have been resurfaced in places? The big stretch amidships is obviously to protect the deck from the jetwash of taking off jets but why the patch starboard of the ramp? I thought we spent lots of money with clever paints and stuff so that this wasn’t needed?