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Yet another instance of navy ‘bumbling’. Who would dream of building 2 ukltra modern carriers at enormous cost to then decide to penny-pinch on adequate air defence? Well the RN would apparently. Bumbling fogies et al.


The politicians that we all vote in regardless of which party they represent are the problem, until the public take defence seriously we can’t blame the navy our choices.


Very much in agreement. Sadly, what are the chances a main party is going to make a major re balance of the national budget to include defence spending around 4%? Our only real chance for that is if the Conservative’s go through another big change up and get all of their policies back in order with defence as priority again.

Although Gavin Williamson does appear to be on our side so far, and back benchers and senior officers are definitely getting more vocal


Looking at the carriers requires some perspective on the entire RN. If you look at just the carriers, then it doesn’t make sense not to provide the best protection possible for such an expensive and critical asset. The fitting costs and technical issues can all be dealt with relatively easily.

However, the carriers (and the funding for them) do not exist in a vacuum. They sit at the heart of the fleet, with the next requirements being escorts and submarines for defence, assault ships for projecting power on land once the CBG has control of the seas, and the nuclear deterrent to make sure a peer opponent doesn’t just erase half the fleet with a nuclear strike. Then you also need support ships to carry fuel, weapons, and food to the CBG while its deployed, patrol boats to protect them while they’re in port, bases and shipyards capable of berthing them when they need repairs. Plus all of the assets you need for tasks unrelated to the CBG, like OPVs, minesweepers, survey vessels, etc. All of this, from a budget that is already insufficient to sustain the current fleet.

My point is, the RN and the MoD in general are having to pinch pennies across the board to try and keep as much capability as they can. Personally, I’d choose ships losing extra capabilities (in this case, the QEC not getting a PDMS) instead of losing ships altogether. Add ons can be fitted if and when the money becomes available, whereas the past few decades have shown that, once a ship is gone, a replacement is unlikely. Case and point, if we were building like-for-like replacements for every escort and submarine lost since the turn of the century, we’d end up with 12 Type 45s (for the surviving T42s), 18 Type 26s (for the 10 T22s and 8 ASW T23s), 8 Type 31s (the other 8 original T23s) and 12 Astutes (5 Swiftsures and 7 Trafalgars).

Nigel Trew

Yes and then we would have a navy: as it stands we are a nation that wants to be playing with the big boys but can’t afford the toys. So we come to a half way house, which will need a lot of support from friends if a bully turns up. If a real war breaks out we don’t have the critical mass to be very effective for long. We would need months to prepare and fit weapons such as anti ship missiles and increase missile stocks in general, and I doubt if a potential foe would accommodate us. The conclusion of this is to increase defence spending to 3.5% for the next 10-12 years and build the armed forces we actually need to do the job, or take ourselves out of the equation and become a has been super power and withdrawn to obscurity.


If attacked and we are to weak defend ourselves then we use our Vanguard Class subs and bomb them into the next world.


Only a navy that couldn’t really afford them and living way beyond its means.


I sometimes wonder why we bothered. Getting increasingly difficult to justify the QE Class to the many doubters. The heart still says yes, but increasingly the brain chimes in with a “hmm…”


Remember the carrier programme was started before the recession and the 2010 SDR, back when we still had several dozen escorts, and after that the contract made cancelling the ships more expensive than building them. Yes, there have been innumerable mistakes made (the butchery of the fleet in 2010, the decision not to go with EMALS and the F35C, etc), but at the end of the day the RN is still gaining huge capability, and the future potential is definitely there to improve the situation (T31, Perseus, Dragonfire, and more)


It just make me so darned angry to be even be thinking of having this debate. Of course we don’t need any PDMS like Jonnny Foreigner. The experience of the RN in these matters is unique and unsurpassed. There is no precedent in the RN for adding any adequate protection to any of its most important assets. None of the WW2 Fleet carriers had any AA defense and neither were they required.
Like Nelson the watchword has to be ‘I see no ships (threat)’. If it was good enough for him then its good enough now. Besides just like him we have plenty of Frigates. Bringing this bang (whoops) up to date we should be like Holland and leave our Destroyers behind and press on regardless to fame and glory. Why not?


“The experience of the RN in these matters is unique and unsurpassed”

What drivel is this? To even vaguely try to imply the RN has more experience in carrier ops and carrier design in the modern world (especially of this size) than the USN is just lunacy at the utmost.


Tenor, methinks you have responded to a very tongue in cheek, dry humoured post, not a genuine opinion.


Tenor “What drivel is this”. Phew Thanks Leigh I was worried for a moment.


Excuse me. With an attitude like yours no wander HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Renown were sunk without a whisper.


Exactly – few people notice the coincidence or repetition of history.


Actually the captain of the renown handled his ship like it was a destroyer and the Japanese pilots said both ships where handled with great expertise and where only sunk because they where overwhelmed by the number planes attacking them and the Prince of Wales 5.25 inch AA batteries failing early on halving the weight of AA fire.


I think that’s the point of his sarcasm

Graham Strouse

You’re thinking of the Repulse. Renown was the only battlecruiser to get a full refit & proved to be quite effective throughout WWII.


If you throw enough s*** at a target, some of it will stick. Even the Yamato would be overcome by US carrier aircraft.

The loss of Force Z was also due to an under-estimation of the anti-ship capacity of the Japanese air force. Due to a lack of experience in defending agaisnt such attacks, AA tactics were also relatively undeveloped. Things like using barrage tactics against a foe who’s training countered such tactics.


The Italians seem to be standardising on the 76mm for ciws instead of Phalanx.
Perhaps it’s greater range reduces the likelihood of damage from shrapnel after a successful missile engagement.
They are planning to fit three 76mm on their new LHA Trieste as well as Camm/Aster missiles.


There seems to be a real strength of opinion among some associated with the QEs that PDMS are not needed. I just don’t buy it at all. The currently planned organic self-defence has a reach of no more than 1nm!

Of course the T45 is an incredibly effective platform, but as stated they would need to get it dead right every time, and never suffer a fault at a vital moment. There is also the issue that they only carry 48 Aster and their VLS can’t be replenished at sea.

As for 76mm (or possibly 57) replacing 20mm Phalanx? Yes every time. Phalanx is horribly last ditch and depends entirely on the kinetic energy of a direct hit for destructive effect. 76 has far greater reach, and has the option of frag and guided rounds.

If the T31e leads to the introduction of a medium calibre gun to the fleet, let’s hope they become a fit on the QEs too.


The 57mm would be my preference for reliability, rate of fire, maintenance, logistics, elevation, and footprint.
It also has a good range of munitions which can have multiple rounds arrive at the same time to create a wall of destruction.


Guys, just… no. It’s not physically possible to replace Phalanx with either the 57mm or 76mm guns that other nations are using as multipurpose MCG/CIWS. Phalanx is a self contained, bolt on system that doesn’t penetrate the deck. Based on its location on both the QEC and the escorts, you physically can’t put a deck-penetrating weapon system in the same place. To fit anything else to these ships would require a massive refit.

In any case, replacing Phalanx with another gun at this point is a bit daft when the next generation of CIWS are most likely going to be laser based, and with funding the way it is, the RN is better waiting for Dragonfire. In the mean time, CIWS are always last ditch systems: it doesn’t matter if its a 20mm minigun or a big 76mm bursting shell, its a case of throwing as much shit in the way as possible in those last few seconds. Given the lack of actual combat data from CIWS available to us, its all theory anyway.


I was wondering if the weather could affect the Dragonfire. Would fog, snow, hail, rain , cloud degrade it’s performance?


Interesting question actually. Going off of a basic understanding of the topic, I’d say any weather conditions that involve heavy moisture in the air would probably reduce the maximum effective range due to heat dispersal. The US was testing their laser in the Gulf where weather conditions are far less challenging, but I can’t see either the US or RN deploying a system thats not powerful enough to remain at least moderately combat effective in extreme weather.


Until there is more data on lasers its hard to comment. However I think you need something that can bring down simultaneously upwards of a dozen incoming.
As I see it a laser wont cut it in time especially in heavy weather.
The enemy would throw everything at a carrier.

Rob N

There was some comment in Hansard and in The doock QE was built that the carriers would be fitted with containner mounted Sea Ceptor if it had to go into harms way. I think this is what would happen. That would give QE a 25+ NM anti-air range. Ithink in time of war she would be protected. Also the T23s with Sea Ceptor have an area defence role now not just the T45s so the missile cover is now much better.


You only need as many missiles as the enemy fires at you. Even on the heavily armed Russian missile ships, most of the missiles are anti-air. A Kirov-class nuclear “battlecruiser” is about as heavily armed as they come, and that only has capacty for 20 anti-ship missiles. Unlike the american systems which dictate 2 anti-air missiles per threat, the PAAMS system is designed to only need 1.

With the upcoming Sea Ceptor missiles, which can be quad-packed into the VLS cells used by Aster, the capacity for number of missiles intercepted will dramaticlly increase. If 16 of the current 48 VLS cells are used, then that’s a total of 96 very capable anti-air missiles, a perfectly reasonable amount.
And if the funds ever become availible, the Type 45s also have space for 16 more VLS cells, which would bring the total up to 64, but factoring in 16 with quad-packed Sea Ceptors, then that’s 112 missiles (at which point the problem is buying enough missiles).

But that’s the problem, in an ideal world, the QEs would have had their own self-defense missile system, but they would also be larger, have more planes, be of conventional catobar design etc. But budget cuts are a reality and only going to get worse. Perhaps in future after the economy recovers, they will be refitted with sea ceptor, but for now that money could probably be better spent elsewhere in the fleet. It’s not like the carriers even have their planes yet, so this is all hyperthetical, but if some crisis did emerge where the UK would need to send in the carriers (after they got planes), I suspect there would be an emergancy purchase of a few almost bolt-on RIM-116 RAM systems from America to supliment the Phalanx units already fitted. It’s dar from ideal, but funding is a lot easier to justify if you’re knowingly going into a war.


Several years ago I wrote a letter to the MoD via my MP asking about this issue and several others, I did receive a reply which I e-mailed to the editor of Save the Royal Navy. They decided not to publish my four page letter or the reply by the minister of state for defence as it was not detailed enough, however due to my initial letter I was asked to give evidence at a government inquiry into the Royal Marines which is published by the government. The result of my inquiry was that the QE class carrier is equipped for but not with a Sea Ceptor defense system.
However my personal preference would be is to take the Phallax CIWS and combine it with two quad packs of Sea Ceptor missiles using the radar of the Phallax giving 24 missles .
My personal opinion is this if the enemy has overcome the defences of the carrier group and then the close defence of the carrier then there is a major problem and it would appear that nothing is going to stop it. It would mean that the group commander has screwed up or the enemy has launch as surprise or suicide attack.


Honestly, I find it doubtful any peer opponent could level sufficient firepower to get through a CBG’s defences. For the US, a pair of Aegis destroyers can have several hundred AAW missiles ready to deploy at short order, as well as SeaRAM /Phalanx and the soft kill countermeasures, versus a salvo of AShM from a Russian task force of anywhere from 20-60 missiles (depending on the presence of a Kirov). Through sheer weight of numbers (and the Aegis network) the US force is almost guaranteed to shoot down all of those missiles at some point in their engagement window.

The Type 45 is technically even more capable in the air defence role than the Arleigh Burkes, but practically speaking fewer ships carrying smaller quantities of missiles means they’re more vulnerable to a sufficiently large salvo of AShMs. Still, between a T45, a T26, and the carrier’s CIWS and decoys, a RN task force still has a very high chance of survival.


The final paragraph of the article is of some concern and possibly gives a false impression. The current block of harpoons can be upgraded to the Block2+ or Block 2 +er. This should give a further ten years by the I hope the Perseus missile is accepted and will replace the Harpoons.
But to incorporate this missile a Mk 41 launcher or the equivalent will be needed.


Couple of points to note:

1. The govt has committed to writing that it will never send our troops into conflict with sub standard equipment (based on Land Rover snatch debacle).
2. CAMM is cheap under any level of scrutiny and should be added to the carriers.
3. I remain concerned that anything less than a 6 escort ring around the carriers is insufficient and 2 is a non starter imho.
4. If as documented the carriers are currently under budget why not spend this additional money to safeguard those onboard.

The argument for escort is not valid really as there are a lot of variables that are worrying. The RN is running a risk model that may look ok on an individual basis but is starting to stack up to unacceptable levels of overall risk – similar to that when we entered the Falklands. Our ships have little offensive capability as they currently stand and rely on interacting with each other but do not have CEC.

Even the much vaunted Sampson radar is there as a means to reduce cost as it operates 2 rotating arrays and then we order another radar for T26 when we supposedly have the best radar in the world.

History has shown that RN complacency has lost ships – whether that’s the hood going up against a pocket battleship or sending our frigates to the Falklands with serious deficiencies. Seems as though history is repeating itself unfortunately.


As I understand it, the Hood and Prince of Wales were more than a match for the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. It was an inprobable hit on the magazine at extreme range that was responsible. Just bad luck really.
Spot on about the Falklands though.


In the case of HMS Hood she was designed as a fast Battlecruiser, heavily armed whilst sacrificing armour protection in return for speed. Her deck armour was inadequate hence shells from Bismarck were able to penetrate into her magazine causing an explosion that sank her in minutes. She was due a refit to increase her protection but it didn’t come in time.


Good points, but deck armour is only really a factor at extreme ranges (high arcing trajectory causing the shells to impact at a higher angle). If the Hood had been able to close the range, which was a reasonable expectation, I would have fancied her chances.


Correct on all points. Hood was not designed to engage battleships. However the circumstances of war placed the Hood in a position of availability. The Royal Navy did not gain it’s reputation by sitting in port and worrying about what it’s losses could be. Hood was available . . . get on with it.


No disrespect to anyone here, but has anybody looked at the armour and drawings of HMS Hood and Bismarck? HMS Hood was a classic fast battleship her hull build was very rugged with 1″ Ht behind the forward 15″, 2″ midships (not protection, but it does count but due to hull movement and fatigue), and 1.5″ at 15″, all behind the main Armour, when other battleships in the world had just over 3 tenths of an inch hull behind. The clearness ends with the indefatigable and clouding with fast battleship starts with the Lions and HMS Tiger certainly fits the 60% rule for a Battleship and fast Battleship. Her standing up to the punishment she took at Jutland shows this. Were G3’s designed to attack just cruisers? No. Nor was HMS Hood. Papers taken from crew regarding Bismarck show that she was just as in danger from any plunging fire. HMS Hood apart from being younger than the classic slower battleships had better deck armour than these ships, thus those ships received modernisation beforehand (the Queen Elizabeths and Resolution ships would have been just as vulnerable without this and indeed the US battleships and the Colorados which were unmodernised at this time). But was it torpedoes? Or flashback in X or/and Y turrets, tons of ammo near the shelter deck or the 4.7 ammo. Barhams blow up is given as the 4 or 4,7 inch being the primer to the main ammo explosion.


The original battlecruiser concept was just this but ended with the Indefatigables and start of the Lions then Tiger. HMS Hood’s deck armour at the time of commissioning was considered as good as any other battleship, and better than the previous British battleships. One reason why she was later on down the line for a rebuild (the other being a younger ship). It should be noted that Britain was the only Allied Country (including USA) that had ships to take on Bismarck at that time. From certainly HMS Tiger onwards, these ships were fast battleships, but the Navy still used the term battlecruiser, even for the new KGVs.


The Hood was only a match for the Bismarck on paper. Theoretically, they both weighed in around 45,000 tonnes (Bismarck was actually lighter at standard load but heavier at full as she had much greater range) had the same number and caliber of 8x 15″ guns, their belts had roughly the same maximum thickness of 12″, and both could make 30 knots.

The problem is, combat isn’t top trumps. What were ostensibly two very comparable ships were far, far different vessels. HMS Hood was designed to hunt and kill cruisers and other battlecruisers, and built to survive fire from guns and shells several decades more primitive than what Bismarck was equipped with. Meanwhile, the Bismarck was practically state of the art, with a more effective armour layout, subdivision, fire control system, and more besides. The presence of Prince of Wales wasn’t much of a balancing factor either, as at several times during the battle she could only fire a 2-3 gun salvos. Poor execution of an otherwise decent plan also contributed (the two cruisers the Hood deployed with were meant to engage the Prinz Eugen, but due to radio silence weren’t actually aware that was the plan, and the RN ships screwed up their approach and let the Germans cross their T).


The Battle of Denmark strait is a fascinating topic and one with lessons for today which is why I mentioned it in the first place. Today the lessons, amongst others,are; that the RN should keep its ships up to date, ensure they have adequate protection and offensive armament, and they have an Admiral who doesn’t surrender the advantage more than the other side. Luck comes into it but precautions can ameliorate bad luck. Virtually all the rules of precaution were broken in the above. Why repeat them.

Des K

Do we not have highly salaried ‘EXPERTS’ to make these Design decisions for us?
As a lowly, and now retired, Marine Engineer from the Royal Navy, I would expect the decisions to be made and our ships built and designed to the highest reqiurement and specification.
Please get on with it and get it right.


Just one problem with that – ignorant Politicians and complete lack of funding!! Defence is not a major concern at Westminster!


And yet the politicians are happy to send our warships into harms way equipped For but Not With the necessary weapons, a peculiarly British phenomena. This is a risky policy and one which stems from a general political inexperience in military matters.
Agreed Defence must be properly funded.


Foreigners think we are a stingy people. Maybe they are right.


We always have funding to give away £billions of Britain’s hard earned money every single year though. This needs to be seriously reduced, this is not how we want our money spent.


True Stephen foreign aid giveaways is very frustrating. When it comes to defense we are always economizing downsizing and cutting all in the name of efficiency. Americans don’t operate like that. They do everything in a big way.


This is part of a wider issue of capability and firepower that has plagued the RN & RFA since the 1970’s with the T42’s and perhaps before.

For example It’s easy to forget because they have never had to face any enemy aggression that the T23’s whilst fantastic anti-submarine frigates are pretty badly provisioned to defend themselves against other threats. The fact that they still carry the 35+ years old Seawolf system (which is by modern standards slow to process information, react and fire) with only 32 missiles and nothing else apart from a couple of 30mm guns heavily suggests they’d be in real trouble against a serious aerial onslaught.

It’s the same story across the rest of the fleet. Sea Ceptor’s cold launch, compactness and range make it an absolute no-brainer to fit to QE & PoW. It’s comparative cheapness and the fact that every other navy seems to find missile systems a necessity for their carriers just adds to the argument.

In my view CIWS, Seahawk Sigma mounts with Sea Venom missiles as well as the 30mm and Sea Ceptor should be a standard fit on all capital ships, destroyers and frigates.

We should also look to quad pack Sea Ceptor on the T45’s instead of the Aster 15 given they have similar levels of capability. A block upgrade to extend Harpoon out to 2030 is feasible and should at least be considered. We could then phase in either Perseus (if we ever stump up the cash to develop it) or the LRASM and fit MK41 silo’s to the T45’s as well as the T26’s.

The only issue would then be what to put on the T31 given that by the early 2030’s all our ship-borne missiles could potentially be vertical launched.


Would quad packing Sea Ceptor on the T45s require fitting the Mk 41s or can they fit in the A50s?


According to MBDA they can fit into A50 silos.


I guess neither is needed.

ExLS can be stand alone.


By having CAMM on CVF, or on her close escort, as a “goal keeper”, the CVTF anti-air warfare can “gain” precious 5-10 seconds to shoot down the incoming missile.

T45 and T26 shall be placed on the best places for AAW (fleet-wide) and ASW (as well), leaving the close escort duty to something else. Even if we have 1 T45 or T26 as a close escort, “the other side” blind to the escort needs “something”. In other words, we need TWO close escorts, in ideal case.

The close escorts can be one or two T31(s) armed with CAMM, or a QECV herself armed with CAMM. (*1)

As QECV has good radar sets and CMS, adding ~24 CAMM will be cheap, say 30-60M GBP per hull. As T31e’s CMS and radar will be driven by the existence of CAMM or not, it will cost “more” than in the case of QECV. And what is more, we may need two of them for the close escort duty. Therefore, arming QECV with CAMM will be higher priority than arming T31e with CAMM.

On the other hand, a T31e with CAMM can go to Red sea fighting against Hoiti-rebels, but without CAM shall not go. This will even “define” the usefulness of T31e itself. Thus, making a decision not that easy.

Rather, I guess cutting one F35B will enable BOTH two QECV AND two or three T31e to be “added” (if not yet) with CAMM. In other words, we are talking about fairly small amount of money, as many here suggest. Cutting one T31e, which will reduce the program cost by ~200M GBP (not 250M, because of design+initial cost) can do even more, adding CAMM and also introducing Harpoon Block II+ (as a interim SSM).

I prefer cutting 1 F35B or 1 T31e, than not having SAM on QECV nor SSM capability fleet-wide.

*1: Here I regard CIWS as an “active armor”, reducing the damage of the hit, but not neutralizing it. I believe active armor is very important, significantly reducing the damage in to the hull.


A wider issue is whether the 20mm Phalanx is still an effective CIWS against modern missiles. It may be effective against small craft swarm attacks, but are there not cheaper options in that regard?

Should we consider upgrading all of the Phalanx mounts to SeaRAM? This would not only give the carriers a more effective anti-missile defence, but improve the protection of all of the amphibious ships and auxiliaries.

All of our major units and auxiliaries should have a baseline fit of 4 x 30mm ASCG for 360-degree coverage, plus 2-3 SeaRAM.


The gun systems have the added advantage of versatility. They can be used against a wider variety of threats. Drone, speedboat, sneaky bugger with an rpg. They are also cheap to operate and have much-much more ammunition.
Whilst a missile defence system would be desirable, it should not be done at the expense of guns.
When Fearless lost her 30mm canons the captain requested some hand held stingers to replace them. Denied on cost grounds!
Could a cheap stinger, javelin, starstreak, or even mistral be considered?


Yes why not; the Russians are going to line their rails with their equivalent. Fact. We need to start thinking out of the box. Single ships defending themselves , but in company there might be blue on blue problems.

Harry Nelson

I remember deploying to the Gulf in 88 on a T-22 with an embarked RM ADT with javelin I believe

Northern Light

It was all sounding so sensible until the second to last paragraph. CAMM is only an option if it’s the same kit as fitted to T23/26/31. The moment you start redesigning the launcher you are into Cats and traps territory – the cost of designing, testing the launcher, reintegration with missile and fire control system render is unaffordable.

If the current CAMM launcher creates too much FOD you are looking and RIM-116 on sponsons below deck height


It is already fitted and tested on some t23s and will be deployed on the t26s.

Ah wait i misread your pist you were referring to the disposable launch cap on the CAMM vs an opening lid.

Geoffrey Hicking

The United Kingdom quite simply needs to get richer. Cuts, quick-fixes, and the like will no longer cut it.

Just out of interest- what are the different strategies and methods for dealing with surface v surface naval warfare? Its easy to read about the manouvres of fleets at Malaga or Jutland, but when it comes to CBG defending against missile barrages, all I hear is a reliance on overwhelming force’. What about the placement of defending escorts? If we were to be the offender, what would the varying strategies be? Would be nice to hear about such things.


I would have thought adding CAMM would be a great advertisement for the missile system and would generate a sale or two.

By the way some of the arguments against are a tad contrived:
Phalanx at full blast spews a thousand times more FOD than any CAMM launcher;
CAMM launchers are fitted on a truck for the army so clearly need very little space;
QE must already have a robust IFF system;
No need to deck edge mount the missiles, just take a small amount of deck space (all that’s needed is one F-35B parking spot), forward adjacent to the ramp would be my choice;
there are more.


For sure where there is a will there is a way. She’s designed for 50 years worth of weapons and systems upgrades. Start with this one.


Apparently CAMMs spew out a lot of bits when fired so may be better to fit them aft. Otherwise I’d be all for it. Seems as you say its an easy fit if anyone bothered to try. QNLZ already Fitted For. No Brainer.


How is fitting them aft going to help?


Ship moving forward keeps debris more localised and makes easier to clear it and more of it falls into sea. Better to turn away from attacking missile. I think HMS Glamorgan did just that and survived.


Plenty of unused parking spots

Iqbal Ahmed

The great British public do not see any reason to significantly increase defence expenditure beyond 2% of GDP as opposed to say, increasing the NHS budget. We live in a democracy and therefore the politicians broadly reflect public sentiment.

The British public is correct in believing that the terrorism and cyber threat is greater at this time than a state-vs-state conventional conflict. Resources are allocated accordingly.


Incorrect, but being incorrect is pretty routine with your posts! Politicians do not reflect the broad public opinion, they reflect their own constant efforts to remain in power, and pandering to the easily bought off voting community. Cyber threats do exist but only in conjunction with a physical placed military threat which will operate in conjunction with any single or related cyber attack. Try to keep up and do stop trolling.


Extreme confusion about democracy


Not at all Grubbie, I don’t believe the propaganda that you lefties live by.


I am definitely not a leftie.


Or experienced in the subject matter being debated.


Let think outside the box, adopt something on the lines of the Starstreak self-propelled, high-velocity missile which the army uses. Why should this system not be able to adapt to more than one use. Remember aircraft were to be flow from land bases until the aircraft carrier came into being. Its not the perfect answer, but its another line of defense against attack.


Unless someone can think of a likely mission that would be worth risking this asset on its pointless pondering the weapons fit.China,Russia and North Korea are definitely out.

Iqbal Ahmed

I suppose we have bragging rights with these carriers. They aren’t of practical use against anyone in high intensity combat other than intervention against the likes of Burkina Faso or the mighty Maldives.


Oh dear, there you go again proving to all and sundry your knowledge of strategic military matters is equivalent to good old Captain Mainwaring of the Walmington on Sea home guard.


The gallant capt Mainwaring was also desperately underarmed but at least he had some idea what he was supposed to be doing and clear mission.I have repeatedly asked this question and the only answer I get is “projecting power”.


Capt Mainwaring was also essentially disposable,there were plenty more like him who were prepared to lay down their lives repelling or at least slowing down an invasion attempt. If you apply the rule of 3 there is less than one carrier.


Grubbie maybe your questions are generally shrouded with piffle and whining that they mostly get ignored? Ever thought about it that way?


Aircraft carriers, or more specifically, aircraft launched from aircraft carriers would be essential in any conflict with any of those nations. For a start, any group of surface ships needs air cover and if it’s organic so much the better. Conflict with Russia would require naval operations e.g. to keep the North Atlantic SLOCs open; conflict with China would require naval operations in the Pacific; and as Korea is a peninsular, it is ideal for carrier operations, in a land strike role, as demonstrated in the Korean War. There is also a continuous carrier presence in the Gulf, including as a deterrent to Iran.
But wouldn’t any conflict with those states go nuclear very quickly? Maybe, but it would start likely start with a conventional, not a nuclear attach. At the very least, to deter that initial conventional attack, a conventional deterrence is required. Without aircraft carriers, that conventional deterrence is not very plausible and therefore cannot be effective. Either we can chip in to that conventional deterrence with our own aircraft carriers or we can continue to rely on our allies.
A better question would be: what is the point of having a surface navy without aircraft carriers?


A couple of possible facts:
1. It is reputed that SeaCeptor (CAMM) is not as manoeuvrable as Aster 15. However a pack of four can be fitted in to a Sylver A50 VLS cell.
2. The T45 can only carry 48 SAMs being a mix of aster 15s or 30s. Further the ship cannot be networked together to control another ships anti missile system. As pointed out before the Aster system cannot be replenished without outside assistance.
3. An Arleigh Burke destroyer (Flight2) has 96 V41 VLS cells. These can carry a multitude of missile systems from Tomahawk, Asroc, SM2 or SM6. The Flight 2 Arleigh Burkes can be networked together and can take over control of each others missiles. Thus maximising the missiles it can put into the air, but also ensuring all threats are individually targeted especially during swarm attacks.
4. A US Navy CBG generally has two Aleigh Burkes assigned as minimum. This gives a significant high end anti missile capability compared to what we can put together as a CBG.
5. Put simply, the Type 45s do not carry enough Asters to provide sufficient protection for a long term CBG deployment. As a possible solution, by ditching the Aster 15 and replacing with SeaCeptor gives the ship the option of 36 Aster 30s and 48 SeaCeptors giving a total of 84 SAMs per ship for example.
6. Our prize carriers simply must be fitted with SeaCeptor (CAMM). The main two reasons are that the T45s do not carry enough missiles and more importantly will not be networked any time soon. So each ship will need to generate its own protection and thereby waste their missiles to ensure each inbound threat is targeted.
7. Although the Phalanx during test has proven itself, I believe it is still to be battle tested? The 57 and 76mm autogun options are very teasing, except it will need lower deck magazine space. There is a 40mm bolt on option. CTA International, who manufacture the cased telescopic gun for the Ajax and Warrior armoured vehicles. They have also manufactured a SPAAG system that bolts on to the rear of a 6 wheel drive truck. The system contains both the gun, ammo and targeting system in a relatively compact turret. It states that the minimum effective range is 2500m nearly double the Phallanx. Perhaps this could be a better CIWS option?


Your point on endurance is well made, but it may not be as crucial as you state since the ability of the QE carriers to support generate sorties is also of much lower endurance than that of a US CVN.

J Wilson

Invest to save was a previous government theme. Perhaps this is something they should consider as the cost in lives and ship infrastructure if left undefined would itself be indefensible. Historically the government saw the battleship as King until the advent of AirPower sank ships such as the Prince of Wales in WW2. The need to consider thoroughly the risks of tomorrow is essential.

I also understand the navy lacks effective airborne radar, utilising helicopters instead of aeroplanes equipped for the defence of ships. Perhaps they could consider the development of a drone alternative that could remain in flight for longer.


Why are such large vessels only receiving 3 CWIS mounts? I could understand that approach on Ocean because the forward unit sat atop the deck and had mostly 360 coverage (plus she was considerably smaller), but the QEs have four corners that need coverage. Looking at mounting positions in renders etc. it looks like their aft starboard qtr has no CWIS coverage at all.

Clive Williams

Part of the upcoming trials should include tracked rapier batteries from the Army. Four units would provide 32 missiles. Just drive them on board when an emergency arises.


Basically the Govt build two carrier and NOW can’t afford to properly equip the carriers or any other ship in the fleet, they even haven’t got enough crewmembers


I have what might seem to be a silly question but hopefully logical. Would it not be possible to bolt on to the external legs of the Phalanx CIWS 2×4 Sea Ceptor launchers and use the Phalanx radars for initial identification. Yes it would add about an extra 800kg to the Phalanx mount which would mean that it would probably need some strength members installed but the missile/ gun combination for CIWS for the Carriers and Assault ships would be useful. It would also mean that no VLS would need top be installed and no extra wiring. The gun mount is below deck level so there should be no issue with debris. Sea Ceptor is cold launched so no toxic gasses across deck.
By strengthening the mounts now it does not mean that the missile packs need to be installed, but what it would mean is that the Carriers would have the possibility of 24 Sea Ceptors and three Phalanx 20mm CIWS on the same footprint.
When thinking about the Carrier and its battlegroup, which ship has the AAW command, the Carrier or the Type 45. The reason I ask this is would it not be good if the command vessel can control and use the weapons of the group rather than just those that is available to the ship.
Sometimes I think that for fleet/battlegroup operations a dedicated command and control ship might be needed with underwater remote vehicles, UAVs needing control, mast moving AAW-ASW-SS warfare and the possibility of inter-connectivity and inter-ship operations command and control in a combat vessel would need to be huge. A command and control ship would have only point defence, as it would be crammed with active and passive surveillance for all three dimensions.


Late to this discussion, I know, but…

I just looked at a diagram of the firing arcs for the three phalanx mounts. There’s a big gap starboard aft. It looks like a simple fix would have been to add a similar sponson/platform for another phalanx mount like the one that is port aft. But, looking ahead, wouldn’t starboard aft be a great place for a small but well placed CAMM silo? As the article notes, there are no blast protection or ducting requirements due to the cold launch system, and the missile system itself is very lightweight. Also, this area is not in the flight path of either take-offs or landings. It’s primarily used for deck parking. So, perhaps a future refit will see an interesting box hanging off the starboard quarter!


Can anyone offer me a sound reason for only fitting three Phalanx gun mountings to these aircraft carriers ? Surely a minimum of four mountings, one on each quarter, has to be the least possible requirement.
In wartime, as a type 23 frigate slips beneath the waves, will the Flag Officer commanding the Task force bemoan the lack of Aster/Sea Ceptor missiles fitted to his carrier in much the same way as Horatio bemoaned the lack of frigates. I say this because we are bound to take casualties in the next conflict and a suitably equipped carrier would be a terrific force multiplier in such an event.

Paul Corcoran

I was led to believe that there is a 4th mounting available. At the very least it should be used. And if there is an issue with smoke from rockets then how about trying to squeeze a number of the 40mm/57mm Bofors guns onto the damn things instead.

Colin Brown

We should try to get the best bang for our buck, the navy should consider buying CAMM extended range missiles for the Type 26, and 31, replacing the Aster 15 on the type 45’s with Medium range CAMMs, and installing CAMMS on the carriers and the Assult Ships.


Yet another addition to the carrier debacle…Common sense would dictate that QE carriers need 4 CWIS (each corner for 360 coverage)plus point defence missiles port and starboard.These chosen from current systems in use by the RN.There will never be enough picket ships(lack of hulls,manpower shortages,Daring problems).Bolting on £10M of extra kit is a small price to pay for extra protection on a £3bn carrier.

Gregory Martyn

Waste of bloody money all of it. Either the UK government can afford to equip all vessels and have a fully armed fleet and personnel to man the ships or it can’t. In which case build hospitals instead. We don’t need a showpiece Navy. Let the Subs defend us.

Ronnie Farnsworth

Bloody Hell, YES let’s protect our major ships like the US Navy does !! They use three system layers on their CVN/LHD of ESSM, RAM and 20mm CIWS plus their Awesome DDGs loaded with SAMs all 65 plus ships !!!!!! Oh and CGs and soon FFGs. But they are a True fighting Navy the last 20yrs and they put as many weapons on board as possible and don’t worry about cost and a PC Government like us !!!! God help us !! RN 1978-1986′

Last edited 3 years ago by Ronnie Farnsworth

I still wish it was one of those things they “designed for but not with” for budget reasons. Then add it as soon as either funds are availible or the ship is set to go into action and suddenly the treasury opens it’s coffers.
Or else if they really can’t find money for that, just tax everone more, more money for the NHS, police, schools etc, more money for national defence, and then people would stop complaining that everything is underfunded. But of course they won’t do it if the politicians want to get voted in again.