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Anonymous

Good comment and perfectly correct. If the RN wished to have two major assault carriers then they could have redesigned some of the American LPH class to take 30 F35 B aircraft. However I keep insisting that they give HMS Ocean to an international disaster organization paid with international aid monies and use this to offset the cost of a new 30,000ton LPH. With that then done the the Albion and Bulwark can go through the same process. The two carriers are strike platforms not makeshift LPH,s.

Anon

I’m sorry but the author/s of this article are misguided. In a period of constrained defence spending and ever increasing competition from the other services we must ‘sell’ the concept of CEPP to the public and political class ‘including’ the fact that both carriers can and will be used in the LPH/A role. Whilst in an ideal world with plenty of money for procurement projects we would like to see Ocean retained and ultimately replaced like-for-like the fact is any deviation from the party line (that we need both carriers) will likely result in the mothballing or disposal of one. I for one would rather time and treasure were devoted to sorting out the shocking lack of escort vessels than arguing for an additional capital ship that we will struggle to protect without sufficient FF/DDs. If we need to bolster our Amphibious Capability then we should aim to have both Albion and Bulwark operational in conjunction with QE and PoW (so far as routine maintenance schedules allow). Overall an interesting article but authors here failing to grasp the the political and economic reality and simply playing Armchair Admiral. We should be spending time fighting the fights we might actually have a chance of winning.

Anon

Thank you for addressing my points. Nice to see that two sides can debate firmly and I really do appreciate your argument and the fact that you have taken the time to reply. I am in agreement that this is clearly a compromise we would rather not have to make. However, I stand by my argument / assessment of the political situation; that the inclusion of a newly commissioned and dedicated LPH in our limited inventory will ultimately result in the sacrifice (mothballed or sold) of 1 X CVF. Given the difficulties we had getting the government to commit to operating both platforms in the 2010-15 debating period, I cannot see politicians (or the chiefs of other the services) supporting our desire for 3 “flat tops”. Whilst it may be argued that a CVF will make a less than ideal LPH/A, it is without question that a dedicated LPH/A will make a very poor strike carrier. Unfortunely that is the reality. By 2025 we either have 2 X QE Class CVF either of which can moonlight as an LPA or we have 1 X QE CVF/LPA and 1 X Ocean-like LPH (which will not be able to project carrier strike when QE is in a maintenance period). I sincerely hope I am wrong but an additional £300 Million in 2020 will likely not be forthcoming and if it was it should probably be spent on additional FF/DDs. As for holding in reserve….nice concept but comes with many problems. Manpower would have to be found to reactivate it (and they will likely have very limited experience with the platform type). It would need maintenance and a prolonged work up (to re-train ships company) before deployment. Certainly an argument for keeping it until PoW is afloat but after that point I can see no real advantage – costs again outweighing any likely benefit. Let’s get both Albion and Bulwark operational and maybe argue for a LPH capable replacement for them when the time comes for retirement. On another note just want to say the website is exellent and the articles are always thought provoking. Appreciate what you guys at savetheroyalnavy do.

Anon

Sorry clearly meant LHA not LPA

AR

during the falkland war both blake and bulwark were considered for reactivation, blake was fine but needed a 450 crew and used f.f.o for propulsion the navy had insufficient tanker facilities to keep them going at sea their seacat system was a liability, her 6 inch gun for n.g.s would have been a bonus, as would her 4 seakings, after the loss of the convayer, bulwark was badly damaged from a boiler explosion which’s damage had never been touched,tiger in pompey harbour had been so cannablised for blake, that blake would have been in danger of breaking down.mothballing ocean would be a risk, it would need to be maintained in a degree of readiness, which the m.o.d couldn’t afford or want to do.

Paul65

It should be noted that the only reason Blake was not reactivated for the Falkands was that the MOD had disposed of all the 6 inch ammo some months before. In the case of Bulwark, a proposed reactivation was considered and abandoned because her communications fit was completely obsolete.

AR

buying a mistral would need a crew of 400 finding them wouldn’t be easy.retiring albion and bulwark makes sense the mistrals are in the way in france, they really do want them off their hand.s a flightdeck comparable to ocean and a bigger cargo deck. could allow them to easily cover the expeditionary role, ba real asset for the marines building a ship as big as an albion class and not arming it was stupid what would be the outcry be if a fully loaded bulwark was lost because it couldn’t defend itself! there are so many possible answers to naval issues. i for one cannot get my head around how the problems came to happen in the first place.there is more common sense on here it seems than the M.O.D how do those buffoons get the jobs?

AR

a carrie is a carrier, end of. if you spend so much and use it for something else why build them in the first place? we’ve enough waste in the r.n budget already

CJH

Spot on as usual. Have the Falklands lessons been completely ignored. The Fixed Wing Carriers were kept at sea to the East of the Islands to maintain distance and manoeuvrability from the Argentine threat from aircraft, submarines (albeit a slight risk) and surface attack. Operating in the littoral arena simply wasn’t an option for these vital, valuable and irreplaceable assets and so it will be in future. Time for a letter to my MP…..again.

Gerry

When are we going to have to fight the argiies again? Naval history and experience didn’t start and end in 1982. Two new white elephants specs to retake the Falklands are of dubious value when the primary threat is is in kayaks.

AR

the santissima trinadad won’t be a worry, it s still on her side where she toppled over and partially sank

Paul65

The Falklands was a war no one imagined we’d ever have to fight, but it happened and badly needed lessons learned about the lack of effective air defence weapons and the direction need for an LPH. Ocean was built as a result, the QEC will never actually in the role of LPH/A simply because the MOD are not going to place a 3.5 Billion ship in a position off shore where she can be sunk with Ease! Wakey wakey.

AR

i was in the falklands on antrim,
, and no, the lessons have not been learned,inadequate self defence systems some without anything, opv’s of no military use built at the expence of cancelled type 26’s and type 45’s.carrier, so late coming into service, so late they’re already being derided. cancelling 2 f5b’s would enable the u.k to have the cash to buyback the 72 harriers sold to the u.s. for a paltry 180 million.

AR

i have sent numerous letters to my m.p who passed them to the MOD, who sent me a copy of the conservative party manifesto! my m.p now calls me admiral!!

AR

where did this littoral word come f i’d not heard of it until recently, now its everywherere

4thwatch

If the QEC are going anywhere near trouble, especially inshore, they are going to need integral anti air and anti submarine defence. I see neither in any meaningful sense. Until more escorts are built they are dangerously vulnerable wherever they venture.( Iconic RN ships have been lost before for want of a few additional inches of armour). The USN is developing and adding just such defences.

Anonymous

On the premise that steel is cheap, we can work with ‘open architecture plug-and-play’ technology and that commonality saves resources, what we need is a generic flat top well-dock support ship.
Need an amphibious command vessel? Put containerised command modules in the hangar.
Need a casualty receiving ship? Put containerised hospital/surgical units in the hangar.
Need a support ship? Put stores in the hangar.
Need a commando carrier? Put aircraft in the hangar.
Need to minesweep? Put specialist satellite manned or unmanned boats in the well dock.
Combine the manpower and support organisations of LPD, LPH, PCRS, LSD(A), MCMV and it’s eminently efficient. Cadre-ised specialist teams such as MASF, ASRM for the specific functions.
It isn’t difficult. But too many political special interests within fleet HQ to see common sense.
Time for the skimmers to realise its not about the hull, it’s about the capability.

AR

on the subject of casualties, equiping the argus with operating theater and 100 beds already, why still the need for another ship? keep the argus and paint her white, its not rocket science

AR

the obvious answer is to recomission ilustrious as a LPH OR BETTER STILL LOOK TO PURCHASE ONE OF THE MISTRALS FROM FRANCE THAT THY’RE HOLDING ONTO, BECAUSE DEALS WITH EGYPT AND OTHERS FELL THROUGH.

AR

sadly it is said that illustrious has deteriorated so badly a nd so,fast that she would be barely seaworthy.so, a like for like mistral for ocean makes more sense.and the frenchies want rid of the two built for the ruskies.

AR

IF YOU SPEND BILLIONS ON HAVING 2 CARRIERS, YOU SHOULD ONLY USE THEM IN THE ROLE THEY’VE BEEN DESIGNED FOR, OTHERWISE GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND, AND INTO THE REAL WORLD AND MAKE THE r.n.worth while.

AR

buy the two mistral the russians didn’t get from france and use as direct replacement for ocean

Anthony Chambers

Surely the real answer is just to build another QEC? And operate two at a time, one in reserve, one in each mode. You still have the same manpower issue in each situation. The designs are already there and processes for building are still fresh.

Howard SHAKESPEARE

Excellent article and enlightening. There certainly is a need to retain HMS Ocean, be it mothballed, rather than send her to the breakers.
I went onboard whilst she was moored at Greenwich during the Olympics. She was in first rate order. An excellent vessel.

Anthony Chambers

The simple answer is to create a few more queen elizabeth class aircraft carriers. The cost of production is about £1.5bn, as all the costs were in tooling up the plants and design.