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Very informative just wish the mainstream media would do the same before going off half cocked..but the one main question that is always going to asked is who paying the bill..because in this world its dammed if you do or don’t…


Odds on this will end up with either commercial arbitration or legal action. Neither of these are particularly quick and in the case of arbitration the whole thing is deliberately very opaque

Supportive Bloke

The question you need to ask is ‘is it worth the energy and focus?’

Almost all lawyers tell you to litigate.

As an experienced, winning, commercial litigant I’ll tell you that it often isn’t worth the bother.

Sometimes best to move on.

Phillip Johnson

True, but mis-alignment of both shafts is an utter disgrace.


The major question has to be “how can we fix it?”
The minor question of who is to blame and therefore liable for the costs is likely to be a long, frustrating and costly exercise with a likely conclusion that neither side is completely exonerated. Bad design? Bad workmanship? Wrong materials? Wrong version of plans? Incompatible 3rd party equipment? The list of potential causes is endless.


The Daily Mail gets carried away with its headlines, but STOROB is still a bad approach. Money gets spent shifting parts around rather than buying adequate spares in the first place. Then trying to bring a ship into service at short notice become much harder because working but donated lot now needs replacing.


Yes. If there’s a war, do we really want the number of Type 45s limited by a lack of expensive, hard-to-make parts? We need to shift right now from the ten year rule to what if there’s a war?

Gavin Gordon

That T45 was the remark I noticed mostly as well, as seems something of a grey area in these strained times (or a bit Graeae, perhaps). cannot help comparing (somewhat, we’re not the US) to the PLAN churning a destroyer / cruiser every 2/3 years. Surreally?


I thought STOROB was the action of taking parts from lower readiness ships and puting them on the higher readiness ships to ensure the high readiness while new parts are being made. Ideal STOROB, and one that NO navy wouldn’t do. What do i know

Supportive Bloke

It is pretty inevitable that at least one T45 is in dry dock on a long maintenance period at any one time.

The key thing is the mean time to failure. If the probability is low for more than one ships worth to be broken is below an acceptable level then all is fine.

And there MUST be a full set of parts for ALL the ships at any one time, pre failure, otherwise it isn’t STOROB but negligent management.

Fortunately Treasury realised this and told MOD to get what it had working. Which, for once, makes sense.

IRL things like SAMPSON and ARTISAN are pooled and swapped for the next fully refurbished and certified unit.


Im staggered that there isnt at least one of the lift ‘chains’ thats not always in stock
There 8 per lift and 2 lifts per ship, makes that one spare per ship

Dave G

Fine in peace time or short / small conflicts where you probably wont cycle extra ships into the battle but once a major war starts the issue is what happens if one T45 is hit by a missile and sunk or just the radar damaged… those key components are not then available to be transferred to the replacement.

David Steeper

Good explanation of where we are and why. You’ll never hear anything like that in the media. Most ‘Defence’ correspondents couldn’t tell you the difference between port and starboard or bow and stern. The Daily Telegraph is a special case. I believe they do but they are an Army rag and consumed with the same jealousy towards the high profile and reputation the Navy has earned in recent years.

Supportive Bloke

I thought the only port that DT understood was left in a bottle?

David Steeper



a nice 2003 vintage.

Supportive Bloke

1970 is sooo much better….

2003 is really good for sweet pudding wines….very dry year, in France, so acidity was poor and the grapes were more like burnt raisins. Terrible yields! In fact even things like Chablis tasted like pudding wine in 2003 – didn’t keep well mind – due to the poor acidity.


1970 that’s a serous year, £160 a bottle ( Taylor’s) if you can get it all all. But I have to say although 2003 was not great for French wine, that aberration in the weather did a nice number on the Duoro vintages, but then port houses are looking for a hot dry so even a low yield year can be a very good vintage….you can also pick up a nice bottle of Taylor’s ( my preferred port house, my good man) for about £70….but most would tell you to hold your 2003 as it’s still not reached potential. Personally I would go for 1994 probably the best drink now vintage out can pick up a bottle from a good house for about £70 and around £140 for Taylor’s ( why drink any other house port).

Supportive Bloke

I’ve got a load of 1970 port in magnums!


You lucky bugger.

Defence thoughts

Even the DT can get things horrendously wrong sometimes. I ignore them for almost all Defence stuff now. There are plenty of high-quality defence-news sites now so the DT isn’t really needed anymore.

David Steeper

Yeah the same.

Xya cha

Parts exchange is standard engineering practice and good practice.

Both these carriers have been an excellent example of high skilled engineering. Anyone that thinks they can build drive shafts of that size to a tighter tolerance is welcome to have a go.

Stuff breaking is normal. It’s only when we dont know how to fix it that we need to get worried.


It is a poor use of manpower. Might be justifiable in some particular exercise or situation but otherwise moving things around just tells me RN have too much idle manpower and is not prepared for full mobilisation.


Or the spares money is spent on something else …

Mal C

Anyone with half a brain would not believe what the gutter press prints, there’s only one place for all the journalists and the papers they print there lies and that is the filthiest drain they all come from,

Mike Docherty

We had a similar problem on HMS Ocean which was also built in Scotland.The vibration on one if the shafts was that bad we had to sail from Barrow to Portsmouth on one shaft .Upon arriving at Portsmouth the prop and the shaft had to be removed and sent for repair.We also has to replace the shaft bearings as they were also damaged.It looks like the quality control at the Scottish yards has not improved over the years since HMS Ocean was built there.


That might have had something to do with running the basin trial in Buccleuch dock in Barrow, where from memory, they manage to wrap some gash cables and other crap that was on the bottom of the basin round the prop and shaft. Because she was also a deep draught ship, she was also sucking in a load of sediment to the shaft bearing SW cooling system which was never going to help.

Oliver Craig

Seem to recall the Astute nuclear submarine which was built in Barrow and it had lots of problems. Making assertions that because the P of W being built in Scotland that this was the problem. These are large complex warships which are going to cough up engineering and teething problems no matter where they are built. Back in 1994 the Tory government decided that Rosyth would no longer be the responsible for maintaining Britain’s nuclear subs caused untold problems as it would take years to train peopke to work on them.


A new starboard propeller and shaft sections have been supplied by an overseas manufacturer.



Kongs berg in Norway I believe, the division used to be part of Rolls Royce but was sold recently.

George Weightman

RR marine is now Kongsberg. They bought that division as was deemed loss making, RR had been trying to get rid of it for a number of years. Same engineers just different badge


The issue of shaft misalignment and coupling failure was mentioned before as the root cause of the incident , the bigger issue is who signed off the known misalignments as within acceptable tolerance ie what tolerance ?? Clearly someone either in the shipyard, or the certifying authority or the MOD should be named on the verification documents for the work ? It would be a no brainier then to pinpoint who was to blame . The other big issue is not identifying on risk analysis any damage to propellers , couplings or shafts during service and making provisions for spares to be in stock, they are identical fit items and interchangeable for both ships.


Deja vue

Seems like its a core design issue.

As for propellers they seem to be something Rolls Royce was crowing about and was their technology but it seems likely a subcontractor made the props

This is a British ship propeller manufacturer, you would think that …..but maybe cheapest won or the large size ruled them out

My digging comes up with the most likely …Mecklenburger Metallguss GmbH (MMG) 


Nope – two completely different issues. The QNLZ issue was a single blade not seating properly which was shifted by a rope tangle, putting it out of pitch. Which – luckily – caused vibration which led to a shaftline inspection, which in turn identified a cracked thrust block, the cause of which was a poor design assumption for that specific piece of structure.

The PWLS issue is – as Python would say – something completely different. The component that failed was the muff coupling, nothing to do with the prop.

The props themselves were made in Sweden – by what was KaMeWa, who developed the bolted hub prop concept.


An even bigger issue is why there was no breaking signal, vibrations etc..

It is not likely that a shaft in this class breaks outright.

Dockyard Davy

Have the aircraft lift chains not been properly greased ? I know it is a very unpopular job but surely it has to be done to protect them from corrosion. a bg brush and a large tin of underwater grease required.


…classic case (on chains) of careless management making for heavy work…in the wrong situation an imperative aircraft lift could indirectly lead to the sinking of the aircraft carrier and everything on board…. somewhat akin to government not keeping contingency stocks of “personal protective equipments” (PPE facemasks etc) because it would be a waste of money…and look what it cost us when COVID19 came along and smacked our incompetent backsides !


For “imperative” pse read “inoperative” aircraft lift


I reget to say (I am an ex matelot!) that I visited POW fairly recently and commented how rusty the lift chains were! You really cannot afford to have these things exposed to the elements just basic husbandry.


Great to hear QE will deploy with the CSG in May and with any luck PoW will be heading across The Atlantic in August to make for a busy summer of carrier operations all round!

Be interesting to see whether the CSG includes as many F35’s and escort vessels as last time given the need to furnish PoW with both (albeit in smaller numbers) for it’s deployment.


Why would PoW need any escort? Possibly a B2 for plane guard if that’s still a thing. But otherwise if it’s a pure test and evaluation trip why bother? Just take a couple of Merlins for SAR.
QE will likely get a full escort group but if the opp is a NATO one then it’s possible that not all the elements will be RN. I suspect the F35 world will be making this trip their prime planned focus for the summer. So at least as meany U.K. F35’s will be going as last time.


Pretty standard to provide them with some degree of escort outside of UK waters. From memory QE went with a T23 and one of the Tide’s when heading over the pond for aircraft trials.

The CSG will almost certainly include other NATO vessels as it did last time. Important to work on inter-allied skills and plenty of smaller European navies will be keen to deploy their assets as part of a carrier group.

Who know’s whether the USMC will embark a squadron this time but one would hope that we can just about get 8 or 10 jets together for the deployment whilst also readying 2 or 3 more for the trails on PoW later this summer.


The trials may well not use U.K. aircraft. All the previous trials have been done with instrumented trials aircraft out of Pax River.

Ian sinclair

Our warships were far more reliable when designed by RN designers and draftsmen.
Look at the problems of the BEA ships in the falklands compared to the much older RN designed ships.

Ian sinclair

Oops, BAE, not bea !


Werent they all RCNC/RN designs at the Falklands except the T21 which was done by Vosper Thorneycroft ( but still the RN specs for stability and strength). The knowledge about some types of failure for aluminium-steel structures wasnt known till after they were built, 1981


No it’s just that we hear about them these days thanks to 24 hour news and the internet… and tabloid rags looking for sensationalist headlines.

Dave Wolfy

Type 42 was designed in house.
That got stiffening.

Joe M Bloggs

There should never be any excuses for defence capability to compromise and Young Sailors life at risk.


Headlines in the media sell papers. STOROB process is a well known process in the RN and no doubt within the Army & Air Force. Frontline and deployed assets must always take precedent. Supposedly all of the major papers have dedicated Defence reporters why do they then not rely on them to corroborate the facts. During the 80’s we stripped many parts out of Leander class frigates and sent them all round the world to keep the deployed Fleet operational. My concern is that any new class of Warship has such a limited number in its class these days. Therefore requiring greater spares to be held in reserve ready for shipment. If we have reduced our Ammunition stockpiles to a minimum as part of the Defence Dividend. I’m sure the same approach will have been taken with Critical Operational spares. Both of these failures need to be recognised and resolved promptly!! It takes money that needs to be found but it as critical as shiny new ships!!


You can’t run government, especially defence, like a business.


STOROB was usually used from decommissioned ships in reserve, not fro ships already in commission. MOD penny pinching at best, criminal activity at worst. Take your pick with (un)civil servants.


Time to paint the rusty bits.


This episode proves the need of a dry dock in Portsmouth big enough for the QE class.
The PWLS dragging herself up to Scotland was a public relations disaster.
The dry dock could also be used for foreign navies and commercial vessels.
This would also make the cost of dredging the approach to Portsmouth cost effective.


Yes the reporting on this was truly appalling from the national press. Good to see the above article clearing some points up.At the end of the day the client Royal Navy along with the contractor Babs and Lloyd’s (now included) would have had to of signed off on the alignment tolerances. If these figures are with held which i’m expecting speculation will continue.

David Graham

Babcocks were not part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, and therefore had nothing to do with building the ship.


You might just want to check those facts again……

The ACA comprised three major industrial partners – Thales, BAES and those nice people from Babcock, plus the MoD.

It is absolutely true that Babcocks did not “build” the ships, in teh sense of a complete shipbuild. They did however build a number of sub-units (principally the bows and the flightdeck sponsons) at both Appledore and Rosyth and were responsible for integrating the blocks into an assembled ship in Rosyth, with assistance from BAES.

David Graham

Sorry, forgot about Appledore.

You will know the answer to this: Who decide nowadays what are “acceptable tolerances?”

Would that be Lloyds?

Kindest regards,

Paul T

“The dry dock could also be used for foreign navies and commercial vessels.”

Been tried – and proven to be illusory. Look up Fleet Support Ltd. If there was huge demand for drydocks, C&D lock in Portsmouth would be very busy. They’re not.


The QE class should have most if not all maintenance done in Portsmouth.
The problems could’ve been discovered and fixed in Portsmouth.
As for allied navies using it, the world is becoming more dangerous.
Commercial use can be encouraged with the right marketing.
It makes strategic sense to have two large dry docks at each end of the country.


My issues with all this is how the RN didn’t have spare parts to begin with, I would have thought having a stockpile of spares in storage would have been a good idea to begin with. STOROB makes sense as in the Falklands War I bet damaged Harriers were used as spare parts hosts especially if they were going to be sent back to the UK for repairs (I know of one Harrier with Cat 4/5 damage after an Argentine Tigercat successfully hit it). There is also the issue of what to me looks like a cover up in terms of POWS passing inspection despite the shaft issues being known about…..its ironic really as the Previous POWS was sunk with her prop shafts being a vulnerability


Good to read that both carriers will be active later this year. The F35 numbers will inevitably be small with no change to the slowed down delivery schedule.
It is now 2 years since the MOD issued an RFI on an EMAL system that could be operational by 2023 and help to mitigate the shortage of manned jets. I can’t find any information on what if anything happened. Has the whole idea of heavy UCAVs been abandoned or pushed into the distant future? Whilst there is a government commitment to buy further F35s, the numbers will be far short of the original ambition, leaving the carriers seriously under utilised.


Issuing an RFI is precisely that. Asking for information on suitable systems. If they actually exist – or could be delivered by 2023.

It’s perfectly possible that the answers to that RFI ranged from :

  1. No chance. Bring money, lots of money before we even get out of bed.
  2. EMALS/AAR is available off the shelf now. Bring LOTS of money.
  3. We’re working on something but it won’t be ready for five or six years. Send us some money to help development.
  4. Your question hasn’t really been thought through properly. Ask us again when it has been.

Crikey, That’s some reply there…. I guess you are a regular here ?


Not A Boffin works in the ‘business’.


You asked some relevant questions and it matches the RFI. Thanks for that


Question perfectly well thought through. Given the publicity the RFI received on announcement and the short timescale for implementation, it is surprising that nothing has been heard since. All of your scenarios are possible, but neither you nor anyone else seems to know which is correct.

Supportive Bloke

Or another avenue us being followed?

Or there is something in the works with DARPA?

Or, or, or…..?

There is an unpopular, on here, alternative: CrowsNest could have turned out to be really rather good after its teething issues? Just a thought.


I wouldn’t say unpopular.

Crowsnest is cheap and nasty.

Supportive Bloke

CrowsNest is rather different to E3.

It is optimised for two things: sea skimmers and sub periscopes.

For those things it is rather better.

For wide air search E3 is much better.


It’s cheap and nasty. 😉


There’s a reason there’s nothing in the public domain. This stuff isn’t easy.

Last edited 9 months ago by N-a-B

Agreed. The RAF Mosquito project has been cancelled and it was widely suggested that Vixen should be essentially the same design. I commented at the time on this site( as did others) that fitting cats and traps capable of launching air vehicles up to 55000 lbs t/o weight was likely to be technically difficult and very expensive, probably much more expensive than upping the numbers of F35.
The RAF has explained their decision and what is planned next but from the RN only silence.

Supportive Bloke

I was never terribly convinced about the idea of adding a catapult to QEC.

I always thought it more likely to be trialed on a converted merchant ship before risking carving up a prime £3Bn carrier.


You do realise that “4” above is a potential response from industry to the MoD RFI?


I doubt that. The RFI was very specific about the capabilities being sought; so specific that it almost looked like the RN had a clear idea from prior soundings of what industry could deliver.
My guess is that the potential costs were deemed unaffordable and, just as the RAF has done, developments will continue with smaller, lighter systems that won’t require a major reconfiguration of the carriers.
That leaves the problem of delivering a successor to Crowsnest by 2030.


Where did the Russian come from?


Ive seen it too when I tried linking some months back
Темников is in Moldova


It’s just possible that GE (Converteam) may be able to do something with their EMKIT/EMKAT design. At the time when the Government made the decision to go with the CATOBAR and F35A, GE were the competing team to General Atomics EMALS. However, General Atomics were further down the road in building a full sized EMALS, whereas EMKAT was still a concept based on the smaller EMKIT design.

In the end even though they went for the EMALS, it proved to be too expensive. Luckily we did not go down that road. As EMALS is still not cleared to launch the F35A. It still has lots of reliability issues. So would have had a carrier without fixed wing aircraft, oh the shame!

The EMKIT is currently used by Qinetiq to launch a number of their target drones, along with a number of bungee and gas powered catapults. GE did say the EMKIT could be scaled up to launch aircraft weighing 10,000kg. Any heavier would require the EMKAT design.

Hurry and wait I guess!

Supportive Bloke

As EMALS is still not cleared to launch the F35A.”


Surely you mean F35B?


F35C surely!


Yes. But why wouldnt the ‘C’ not be cleared by now , the first time was over 10 years back.


It seems its not specifically the emals itself , but sounds like the USN built the carrier USS Ford , and its follow on JFK…..For but not with many of the other essentials

‘Specifically, modifications include changes to the maintenance areas and pilot ready rooms and the installation of jet blast deflectors on the carrier deck, Malone said. Of the new equipment that’s needed, about 60 percent of it is furnished by the Navy, while the rest comes from the Newport News Shipbuilding yard that builds aircraft carriers.’


I think my biggest issue with this is why does it take sites like this to correct the inaccurate and sensationalist claims of the Daily Fail? Excellent that Navy Lookout is, its reach to the general public is small.

What is the Royal Navy PR Dept doing?!?!

Surely they should have had a press release out as soon as the Mail published, I’m sure its opposition on Fleet St would have enjoyed pointing out the errors in the Mail’s article. Looking at the RN’s website there’s NOTHING in its “News” section ????????‍♂️


Side lifts always seem to have been an issue in RN carriers. Are they in the USN’s ? The old 1956 Ark Royal gave up using its because, half-way along, it couldn’t cope with the hull flexing in heavy seas. You would have thought its therefore the lift guideways that are the problem. That its the chains is new to me. But WDIK


Ark Royal was a ‘closed’ double hangar offset from centre line with armour plating design from the late war period.
Ark like Hermes had their side lift in wrong place , opposite of the island. It should have been behind and same side of island.

Supportive Bloke

I could be that the lift got trapped due to hogging.

I suspect not.

I would *guess* that what happened was that the electronics controlling the two sides of the lift went awry. The lift the was at an angle and jammed on the guides.

This then stressed the chains or the chains failed during the operation to free the lift.

Only a guess but it must be a significant force as those are some very strong chains.


They aren’t as simple as they first appear.

Supportive Bloke

Exactly so.

I’m aware of a previous similar failure, not in a QEC, because the drive shaft that kept the two sides in sync failed. This was on a much older design.


The lift is sizeable, has to be light yet strong, whilst at the same time working in a structure that flexes.

Supportive Bloke

Which is why I said above

It could be that the lift got trapped due to hogging”

Hogging being the bending of a ship….


I know. I wasn’t disagreeing with you.


Arent QEC types have lift electric motors- which to be seem to each drive a ‘synthetic’ chain. There isnt an interconnecting shaft


I was surprised to find many, many years ago what a pain in the bum aircraft lifts are for architects and yards. And how surprisingly costly they are in relation to the whole.

peter rowe

cannibalisation of sister ships is common practice. media was spot on


Chinese aircraft carriers are already as powerful as Britain’s
In a future battle between Royal Navy and Chinese carriers, the British jets would be badly outnumbered


Britain left SE Asia as a military power 50 years ago. They arent going back- not with the current budget.
show the flag is different


Showing the flag in say a 12,000 tonne well armed cruiser that is well turned out (with a destroyer and oiler in escort) is one thing. Whilst using a poorly armed OPV for the role is quite another…….

comment image

Last edited 9 months ago by X
Fat Bloke on Tour

Go big / go simple / go fully equipped.

Flag waiver should not cost a lot — just a case don’t turn up with a 57mm gun.
Outgunned by a T55 tank is never a good look.

As for the London Treaty spec cruiser hull architecture in the picture above — incredible that the RN never built another large scale cruiser hull after that and just got by with rinse and repeat while increasing the beam by 12 inches at a time.

Treasury madness and then some.

First rule of UK politics post 1906 — if the Treasury is in favour then the policy / idea / stratagem is a dud.


Whats wrong with a 6 in gun cruiser on 12,000 tons fully loaded ?
Starting a fully new design during the war would have meant long delays and anyway the light fleet carrier design was (correctly) identified as the best approach instead of a US type heavy cruiser.
The Admirals took till the 1960s to be convinced the cruiser was dead – hence the absurd conversion of an existing automatic 6 in gun cruiser to a helicopter cruiser
They had new designs in early 60s for ASW helicopter carrier around 12,000 tons , but wasted the money on conversions which had a short life

Fat Bloke on Tour

No long delays if you knew what you were doing and could remember what you had done before.

The 8K ton Treaty cruiser hull — aka the Colony Class — was a a miser’s delight of stuffing 908ml into a pint pot.

Limited stability / no growth potential / bursting at the seams / poor AA armament / main guns reduced from 12 to 9 as the radars got heavier — the older but bigger Town class were more use in the post war navy.

Up there with the Hunt class escort destroyers as testament of the Treasury’s ruinous penny pinching — saving pounds for today and to hell with the cost tomorrow.

Current RN design efforts are following a similar pattern but made worse by contractor inefficiency and gouging.


Treasury penny pinching had nothing to do with the Hunt class problems- that was a design error that was missed when all the RCNC staff were over worked. It was deliberately a ‘light destroyer’ class to fit on smaller building slips and armed with 4in guns which could mount credible high angle air defence.
Manpower issues also affected the shipyards and changing priorities meant some types languished on the slips for longer as material and workforce diverted elsewhere. Like I said the design and shipyards were diverted to light fleet carriers instead of more/larger cruisers- the correct choice even then. Heavy gun production was also a bottleneck

The last cruiser class the Minatour/Tigers, the modified Colony, had none of the Treaty restrictions on weight and like the US cruiser types found that 3 turrets with 9 guns was adequate. The rebuilding to 2x twin 6in automatic turrets was overdone as the existing structure was changed to give 360 deg fire for the 6in turrets, as though they were going to be used for AA fire when thats why you have front and rear 3in guns.
As a side note , many many RN warships classes were slightly modified series over many years as the ships capability follows the mission they are required to perform , not as you think it should be done from scratch. Even the first dreadnoughts were just adapted from the previous battleship classes -which themselves followed a long line of classes with small changes.
Its the current bane of the current RN …..too many types of frigates doing much the same thing. Better to have higher levels of equipment on existing designs than just a newer type for the sake of it

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker
Fat Bloke on Tour

The Hunt class was a Treasury special — smallest hull possible / narrow beam to reduce the power requirement / quite high main gun fit out.

New hull / new powertrain — too much change leading to failure.

Better plan was a two boiler variant of the existing Intrepid / I class hull.

More range / lower performance — could have been used as a fleet escort.

Two boiler 24K shp powetrain — 30 knots nominal / 28 knots tactical would have been on the agenda.

Save money — Could have used related turbines from the WW1 R and S ships.


Too many inaccuracies in that article. For a former RN officer, he seems too fond of exaggerating to the point of absurdity. He must know better. The disadvantages of STOBAR over STOVL are well known, and I’m sure he’s aware that dumping weapons doesn’t happen every time an F-35B comes into land vertically. Nor would they benefit from arrestors. As for it being the only Western plane capable of taking off from a ramp: I think he’s been at the whacky baccy. He misses out the real areas of Chinese superiority, such as the ability for the J-15s to carry anti-ship missiles, something our F-35s don’t have integrated yet.

However the headline will be true soon enough. When the Fujian is carrying J-20s in a few years, China will have leapfrogged the RN capability.


The silliest argument I hear against CTOL concerns pilot quals. I hear that the computer lands Bravo so it is easier to get the pilot qualled, well these days the computer lands cabs on CTOL decks too. Not going CTOL has just cut us off from the mainstream of USN carrier development. And there is little point pushing drones this and drones that in the future when the MoD(N) can’t be bothered to fund programmes like Crowsnest properly right now. We need Meteor now or at least buy AIM-120x. And yes the absence of an AShM is glaring. Why send a ship to sea if it can’t kill the enemy? It is madness. At the moment I don’t see why we send them to sea. And if they need to go to sea they don’t really need to leave NW Europe.


Commercial planes ‘can’ be flown automatically right down to the runway , but arent except in poor visibility and even then they still need 100m of visibility to be used.
Carrier planes are the same, manual landing is the usual method


I have wondered where that qualification argument leads when short rolling landings are considered. I’m pretty sure we bought a load of AMRAAM-Ds before CSG 21, but yes, we still could do with Meteor.

I think the immediate lack of a fixed-wing air-to-ship missile has only glared since the focus has shifted back to peer threats. The rethink that prompted NSM may well also make us rethink “Spear whenever and something-something-wingman” as the Navy’s policy. (Not that the RAF’s inclusion of “FC/ASW whenever” is any more urgent/immediate.) Jam tomorrow is a procurement problem that extends throughout the UK military, and the default has been to kick down the road anything even remotely difficult/expensive to be someone else’s problem.

I don’t agree that RN carriers should stick to NW Europe prior to FOC, but that’s a whole different discussion.


So Jon, you have a bastardised Kutznetskov carrying Cold War era planes and you believe that will be superior to 5th gen jets on a 21st century carrier. I’d like some of whatever you’re smoking!


The Fujian won’t be anything like the Kuznetsov-based/derived Liaoning and Shandong. Both the J-15s and J-20s are 21st century planes (introduced more recently than the F-35).

The projected weakness in Chinese fighters has mostly come from the engines, but they are getting better. Yes, I think a 85,000-95,000 ton CATOBAR carrier will be better than a 65,000 ton V/STOL one and the question of superiority between the F-35B/Crowsnest and J-20/KJ-600 has yet to be seen. Of course it’s possible the Fujian will be a total turkey and I’ll be proved wrong. We’ll have to wait and see.


‘Wont be anything like’
Thats not how these things work in China , its copy copy copy.

The J-20 is just a developed version of the Mig I.44, as the russians quickly spotted. They often make improvements along the way but the Soviet style structural beam method of design makes that possible.
The little old JF-17 was just a redesigned Mig 21/J-7 as its well known Grumman helped redesign the nose intake to the sides and had further improvements down the track
The J35 is a Mig 29K in stealth drag still with many of its core features
KJ-600 is an E-2 copy, probably with some of the Nimrod AEW radars that they bought but modified for a rotating disc

Even the RAN ex Melbourne was hauled up to China to copy before being sold as a fun park thing.

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker

I said it won’t be anything like Kuznetsov. Everybody copies. For example, it’s said to have IEP, like the QE class, and EM catapults like the Ford class. Some say it has incorporated elements of the Ulyanovsk, but I don’t know what; it’s certainly not a hybrid carrier.

It’s expected that the nuclear powered Type 004 will be even closer to the Ford class. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (for China).

By the way, the main K-600 radar uses three fixed AESA antennas in the radome. The Nimrod system was rejected in the early 1990s in favour of an Israeli system. Then by the end of the decade, after the US had pressured Israel to drop the arrangment, an indigenous system, the Type 88 phased array radar was developed. These went into the KJ-2000 using three-panel fixed antennas (working in a similar manner to Leonardo’s adverts for the Osprey 30). Unlike the E-2, the radome doesn’t rotate. A similar arrangement with more modern radar is thought to be in the dome of the KJ-600.

It’s the fourth generation of Chinese indigenously produced AEW built over the last 20 years. They tried something like the Erieye radar, went back to the fixed AESA system in the KJ-500, and are continuing it in the KJ-600. You can scoff as much as you like, pretending it’s a copy of a failed mechanically-scanned 1980s radar. It isn’t.


radar dishes like on the E2 are mechanically scanned , thats why they rotate.

very little is known of the Chinese E2 pastiche , its not a direct copy, but the very first versions of US E2 had standard radar elements of the day which scanned by 360 deg rotation.


Which is why calling the non-rotating Chinese system a pastiche of the E-2 is simply wrong. If anything it was originally a conceptual copy of the Elta Phalcon radar that Israel later sold to India. The Indians mounted it on a Russian Illyushin 76, also using the fixed array panels in a non-rotating radome.

The reason we know so much about the Chinese radar systems is that it was open to international bids in the ’90s. They like the three fixed panel arrangement, which is why they gave up on the KJ-200’s flat blade and went back to it.

Fat Bloke on Tour

QE design — total dog that would win Crufts.
Not only was the design poor but the build quality was honking as well.

Makes the Hood look good — at least it managed to get to the Denmark Straight.

QE design — overpriced / over complicated / over project managed / over thought.
Under powered / under developed / under engineered / under strength.

Powerpoint design that is not aging well.

At what point will reality be addressed?
MOD — world class PR department and little else.

T45 and now this plus the RVNAF style logistics / support package in full view.
Not good.


QE2 are quite simple ships to be fair. The ship to compare them isn’t another carrier but the Queen Mary 2. In some ways QM2 is more complicated than the QEs. It is fun to watch QM2 effortless pirouette into her birth using bow thrusters and pods.

Fat Bloke on Tour

OK — agree that they are simpler ships than they could have been.

Treasury must have stamped their feet and threw a hissy fit.

But simple — if that is correct then why did they cost so much and come with so little?

They aren’t setting the heather on fire regarding an export trade — given the way that our Spanish friends are making sales we have some way to go.


You have to remember this is the ‘Delta’ design or in others words ‘cheap plus plus’.

In a surface warship it systems that cost. That is why if we have built a 40k ship there wouldn’t have been much of a saving.

I hold my hands up. When I found out we were getting proper carriers I was very happy. But that was back when we had 32 escorts and 12 SSN’s and some decent amphibious ships.

The MoD as a whole just cannot spend money wisely.

And I hear you about Navantia too. A Spanish government owned entity that was saved through subsidies. They even managed to survive being sanctioned by the EU for those. And they are making money selling kit built to be compatible with US standards and doing well at it.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Help me out here — where is the system cost?

The radar is seemingly pretty close to frigate spec and it needs a police escort to sail outside the 12 mile limit …

I appreciate that the build strategy had its challenges and saved a number of communities from the ravages of ConDemNation austerity but it was built to cottage industry efficiency standards by “Spaniards” who were expert in the practice of milking the workstream for all its worth.

And now we find out it was not built very well.

Above is the yesteryear “Spanish” in the local vernacular not the Spanish of present day naval shipbuilding endeavours.


All manner of things from the radars to systems in fly co to hoists for ammunition and so on. For a frigate 60% of the costs is systems, with the rest being hull; that is everything from engines to the actual hull and everything in between.


The USN new carriers also use a ‘frigate spec’ radar AN/SPY-6V3


You sound as if you know a lot about ship design. Not. Why don’t you save your ridiculous comments for one of the rags. This is supposed to be a serious forum.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Know a fair bit about design and know a fair bit about naval ship history — the QE class were never great but they would appear to be aging disgracefully.

Cats and traps — sounds like Scratchy and Sniffy are back running the Tory party.

Dave from Accounts is standing in for them to bulk up his CV.

Not good.


FBT obviously not. If you did you would know that complex systems often have teething problems. You would also know that our peers have experienced worse “teething” problems (France & USA). You would also know that the QE class were designed around maximising the capabilities of the F-35. You would also know that £ for £ they are the most capable carriers on the planet. You would also know that the press express opinions of juveniles whilst reporting on Navy matters and not to be taken in by them. If you wish to educate yourself, you could do worse than go back to some of the original NavyLookout articles on the subject, and a glance at the DOD/Audit reports on the Ford would do no harm for context.

Fat Bloke on Tour

All of which points to Global MIC wastefulness to the fore.
Being marginally the best of a bad bunch is never a good look.
Pound for pound meaning what — great value failures?
Still poorly designed / poorly built / poorly operated.

Maximising the capabilities of the F35 — that would be funny if it was not so tragic.

B then C then B then …

If we could make up our minds that would be a start.


That was political chopping and changing…. mostly to just get headlines after 5 years of doing nothing for RN
Its a well know political theatre in 2 acts.
1) The way to hide a decision to stall a project is too announce a search for a cheaper but better ( LOL) version which is then ditched when an election nears
2) The way to get more headlines in the popular press is announce a new variation of existing project – which has tiny chance of being delivered – but that can wait till after the election again.


You can’t compare QEs with USN CVN that is just silly. QE is under equipped when compared with CdeG and Cavour. QE has next to no aircraft. F35b has few integrated weapons compared to Rafele-M. Crowsnest is a third rate system compared to CdeG’s E2’s. I am not sure how you can say £ for £ the are most capable carriers on the planet. Good grief get some perspective. The only country that could get any value out of them is the US as they have the numbers of Bravo to make it worthwhile. And Bravo’s with decent spread of missiles from AIM-120 to LRASM.


How many Rafale does CdG have as its normal air wing ?
Thats even with the MN actually having full ownership of its aircraft rather than the F-35B ridiculous shared parentage having ‘two mothers’

As for the integrated weapons, its a tortuous progress for all modern types. Rafale, Typhoon included
But some real information is required
This list gives
Spear ( not which version)
GBU-12 Paveway II and IV

AGM-158 or LRASM isnt mentioned

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker

About 15 more then the penny packet carried about QEC………

I think you are light on those numbers.

And you are confusing systems integrated on USMC Bravos with those integrated on RN variants………

You are reaching.


Looking forward the plan to fit QE with Cats&Traps should be dusted off when she goes in for her major refit. Maybe start with the traps so she can use and recover large drones.


I wonder how much it would cost to fit something like the MacTaggart Scott arrestors, and whether the cables would interfere with veritical or short rolling landings.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Reading back — aircraft lift design.
Interesting comments regarding the lifting mechanism.

QE class — side lifts with chains?

What was used on the Invincible class?
Scissor jacks underneath?

Also what used on the WW2 stuff — from memory they had to deal with armour as well?

Surprised the QE class didn’t go with rack and pinion?

One motor / one drive shaft / two racks / cantilever lift?

Possibly too automotive for our carrier experts …


Electric motors driving paired ‘continuous’ belts which could be ‘non metallic’

USN seems to use wire ropes on outer edge and a toothed track ? on the inner edge .

Mike Jones

How long has Big Lizzy been sat in Pompey, doing nothing? Appeared, before POW failed, there was a strategy to use both carriers in tandem, but…


Anyone else find it odd that the last Prince of Wales was doomed by a broken shaft?

Fat Bloke on Tour

Force Z and Singapore plus the Dodecanese campaign — stuff that is nor talked about in polite society.

It is what happens when you have a journalist in charge of things.

Total shambles as our recent political history confirms.

Never seen any detail or critique on why they only had 4 destroyers for an escort — and a very mixed bag at that.

H Parker

It starts to look bad and very very expensive when the construction and manufacturing tolerances obviously are at loggerheads. Given the size and weight of these parts, any imbalance or out of alignment rapidly starts to tear fixings etc apart. This should have properly designed and realistic tolerances built in. Very embarrassing.

Allan Desmond

Most Likely the Same British Leftists Unions that sabotaged the T~26 ships in Harbour.

Francis de Smet

Fix it and sell it, give the money to the old people who were let down by the politicians during Covid.

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