Home » Aviation » U.K. Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Set for U.S. Visit, F-35B Trials


U.K. Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Set for U.S. Visit, F-35B Trials

HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived back in Portsmouth following successful First of Class rotary wing trials in the Atlantic. Royal Navy Photo

LONDON – Earlier this month, Britain’s national security adviser declared that the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers would be unlikely to ever deploy on high-end combat missions without support from friendly forces.

The two new flattops would “inevitably be used in a context of allied operations of some kind, if used in a contested environment”, Mark Sedwill told the House of Commons’ Defence Committee on May 1.

The London press suggested that the U.K. government would be unwilling to risk the ships in a unilateral warfighting operation similar to the naval task force sent to recapture the Falkland Islands from Argentinian occupation in 1982.

In addition to that unwillingness, it has long been known that the U.K. would require U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters to bolster its small number of jets on the 70,000-ton carriers, particularly during their early deployments.

And with an escort fleet reduced to just 19 frigates and destroyers, the Royal Navy will be reliant on surface combatants provided by the U.S. Navy and other foreign partners to help protect the carriers from technologically advanced adversaries.

Lead ship HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) was floated out at Rosyth dockyard in Scotland in 2014, commenced sea trials last June and was commissioned into the Royal Navy on Dec. 7. The future HMS Prince of Wales (R09) was launched at the same yard two weeks later and is now being fitted out. Construction costs for the two ships have totaled £6.2 billion (about $8.4 billion).

Pictured: Chinooks land on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time in February 2018. Royal Navy Photo

In August 2017 Queen Elizabeth rendezvoused with the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) carrier strike group during the multinational Exercise Saxon Warrior in the North Sea and northern Atlantic, with some Royal Navy personnel sharpening their aviation-related skills on board the U.S. carrier.

The British carrier completed rotary wing trials in February this year, conducting 450 deck landings with Chinook Mk 5 helicopters and 540 landings with Merlin Mk 2 aircraft. Both types flew an average of 10 hours per day in all weather conditions, generating data that will enable technical staff to draw up ship helicopter operating limits.

Amphibious warfare trials were also conducted, with a detachment of Royal Marines commandos simulating an air assault from the ship.

Queen Elizabeth is now alongside in Portsmouth naval base on England’s south coast, covered in tents and scaffolding for a 13-week capability insertion period (CIP) in preparation for an inaugural transatlantic voyage in September. The ship will then conduct a long-awaited first flight trials with F-35B aircraft and is also expected to visit New York City.

“Every month sees a graduated increase in the capability the ship can deliver,” Rear Adm. Keith Blount, the Royal Navy’s Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Aviation, Amphibious Capability and Carriers, said in a press statement last month.
“With over a thousand helicopter deck landings already under our belt, we’re developing more expansive clearances for helicopters than we have ever seen before.”

“Next up are the jets, and the ship is being fitted with all the kit and communication systems required to ensure the aircraft and carrier can work together as a system. This is highly technical and time-consuming stuff and our sailors, airmen and shipyard workers are doing a great job in piecing it all together,” Blount continued

Various fixed-wing landing aids are being installed during the CIP, chief among them the U.S.-designed AN/SPN-41/41A Instrument Carrier Landing System. With an azimuth antenna at the stern of the ship and an elevation antenna on the aft island, this system transmits flight path information to approaching aircraft, which can be viewed in the pilot’s head-up display.

Defense science company Qinetiq has developed a flight deck lighting array – dubbed the Bedford array – to assist F-35B rolling vertical landings, but this will be fitted initially to the future Prince of Wales as a technology demonstrator.

US Marine Corps and British F-35B Lightning II JSFs in 2016. UK MoD Photo

Maintenance is being carried out on the thermal metal spray coating that has been applied to aft sections of Queen Elizabeth’s flight deck, designed to protect it from jet blast during F-35B vertical landings, when temperatures could hit 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Workers are fitting the three Phalanx close-in weapon systems that will give the future fleet flagship a last-ditch self-defense capability against inbound missiles.

Funnel badges displaying the ship’s crest are being bolted to the uptakes, both island superstructures are getting additional cabling, and the junior rates’ scullery is being doubled in size and gaining a new conveyor dishwasher system.

 

The flagship of the Royal Navy, the HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves the port of Gibraltar after her maiden overseas stop. Royal Navy Photo

“Occasionally the ship will look like it’s held together with scaffolding – it isn’t and without it that mast, aerial, radar, funnel, anemometer or even paint job won’t get done,” Blount continued in his statement.
“These are exciting times; the ship is on track, as is Prince of Wales. When [Queen Elizabeth] gets to the States in the autumn, things are going to get noisy, pointy and fast!”

Carrier strike full operational capability for Queen Elizabeth is scheduled for 2020, and the first operational deployment is planned for early 2021.

The U.K. has to date received 15 of the 48 F-35B Lighting II aircraft ordered so far – hence the expected need for support from U.S. Marines’ F-35Bs – with a total of 138 expected to be acquired over the lifetime of the program.

  • D. Jones

    2700° jet blast for the F35. Any idea what it was for the Harrier?

    The thermal signature of that can be seen from Pluto.

    • tuknir

      This distortion is a reflection of lazy journalism. I am frankly disappointed with Jon being sucked into the gross misrepresentation. Someone, it would be nice if Jon did it, needs to stop this 2700deg melting deck narrative that is nothing more than a click bait substantive lie. The F-35 has twice the engine power of the Harrier. That’s true. It has a thermal signature on landing that needs to be dealt with. That’s true. It is also true that there are ways to handle it. But it is NOT a 2,700 degree blowtorch that will melt decks! Jon do your job! Please. Find and publish the facts, not the repeat of a repeat of a repeat of a false implication.

      • Duane

        The author didn’t write that the F-35B exhaust would “melt the deck” … just that the deck requires a special treatment to protect it from the exhaust, which is true and also applies to our own amphibs, which also must be so treated.

        You’re right though … it’s also true that F-35 trolls and silly media writers have used that as another line of attack on the F-35, which is silly. Using the fact that the F-35B has more than double the thrust of the Harriers, which therefore necessitates specially treated decks as a criticism of the F-35, is equivalent to slamming all carrier jets for requiring aircraft carriers to be lengthened and have cats and traps installed, none of which was needed on the old WW2-era flattops that carried lighter and slower prop fighters with lower takeoff and landing airspeeds.

        It’s called “progress”.

        • tuknir

          Good response but the author did “repeat” the 2,700 degree lie. At its very worse the heat near nozzle(at the deck) is less than 2,000 deg (circa 1700 F) and the heating rate is 85°C s−1max. it is much less as you get away from the actual touchdown – shutdown point hovering higher. Is it hot? Yes. Is it more than the Harrier? Yes. But it also has the Fan air playing in the picture as well. and even untreated the damage is one of long life durability. not destructive end of landing spot. The treatment provides for long life regular use, and higher sortie tempos. You could wait for the deck to cool, and safely sortie another landing at a lower sortie rate. Just saying the sensationalism is misleading.

        • Leroy

          I thought they were primarily going to conduct Shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL):

          “With an SRVL manoeuvre, a V/STOL aircraft can make a rolling landing on an aircraft carrier and come to an effective stop with the disc brakes in the landing gear. Unlike a conventional rolling landing on a carrier, this does not require the use of an arrestor wire and tailhook.

          The operational advantage of this technique is that it can increase the
          landing payload capacity of a V/STOL aircraft, which can be restricted
          when it lands vertically. It can also reduce the level of wear on the
          lift engines and extend their operational life. Similarly, it can reduce
          the amount of wear upon the deck surface of a carrier caused by the
          downward jet exhaust from vertical landings.”

          Wiki sourced of course!

          • publius_maximus_III

            They could just roll up the hill of that ski slope to help slow them down…

          • Secundius

            Approach Speed for an F-35B using SRVL is only 57kts. Landing with a 2,000-kg. load can be accomplished in about 450-feet. Whats the Landing Distance in a Tail-Hook Landing…

          • No More

            Don’t you understand “British physics”? That hill makes airplanes go faster and fly farther.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Sounds like the Naval aviation equivalent of the old “PF Flyers” — maybe before your time? You could “run your fastest and jump your highest” after strapping on a pair of those magic sneakers.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Here’s a neat twilight simulation video showing such a rolling vertical landing. Knowing USNI News I’m sure it will prohibit posting an actual link, so you will need to search for the following article:

            “F-35B Pilots Will Make Rolling Landings Like This To Board Royal Navy Carriers”

          • D. Jones

            Maybe some sort of giant spring vertical catapult…

          • publius_maximus_III

            Or a big tower planted amidships with a cable attached to the top which swings them around and around, faster and faster, until it suddenly lets go — like David’s payload for Goliath.

        • sferrin

          Most of the “ZOMG the F-35 melts steel” crowd studiously ignore the fact that they had to install new, water-cooled, blast deflectors on the entire carrier fleet to support the Tomcat.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Source?

      The IR signature metric is classified….. just like the RF signature.

      • D. Jones

        My vigorous retort is classified.

        😉

    • Centaurus

      I’m on Pluto and I can’t see a damn thing !

    • Fake news person. Bet you can’t even move past the Earth.

  • tiger

    I will happy to see The Fleet Air Arm back in the jet business again.

    • DaSaint

      Here here!

    • It is sadly RAF-dominated

  • sferrin

    That CH-47 should be a CH-53K. 😉

    • Scott1945est

      Why?

    • Secundius

      One Wee Bit Problem! While the CH-53K is capable of ferrying a load of ~35,000-pounds, the 35,000-pounds is “Exterior” Loaded. Reducing Range and Speed. The CH-47 HC Mk.6 (i.e. CH-47F modified) is capable of carrying an “Internal” load of 20,000-pound at 170kts for up to 400nmi…

  • PolicyWonk

    Hmmm. The Brits are getting two sizable carriers for considerably less than the price of one less-than-functional USS Ford.

    Regardless, the Brits as even they admit are unable to assign the ship duties in a contested space without escort of friendly ships (notably, the USA is emphasized), as they are down to a mere 19 frigates and destroyers.

    The RN is down to a fraction of what it once was, and it can no longer embark on any independent missions. Sadly, they allowed their naval capability to dwindle down to the point of being suitable for coastal defense, and not much more, resulting in a “top-heavy” navy.

    JMHO, but letting the RN deteriorate to the point to where they cannot deploy a reasonable task force to independently defend their interests, while leaving a force capable of defending their island really makes the point that they cut the RN too far for their own good. In short, if the Argentines has simply waited it out, the British (and RN) wouldn’t have been able to do anything to counter the invasion of the Falkland Islands.

    • Duane

      These vessels are far in capability from a Ford CVN. Thirty six thousand less tons, conventionally powered with all the operational limitations (especially range) and ongoing fuel costs therefrom. Far smaller air wing. No cats so limited to only STOVL or RSVL type fighters and rotary wing aircraft. Sortie generation rate a small fraction of the Ford class, or even a Nimitz class. Nowhere near the onboard defensive arsenal of the Fords, both now and in the future (with rail guns and lasers powered by the Ford’s supersized electric plant).

      The new Brit carriers are far more comparable to being the big sister to one of our LHA’s (America class) than to any of our CVNs in every way.

      They are very useful ships, but in no way comparable to Ford.

      • Joshua

        I’m somewhat confused by the lack of missile-based defenses for the QE. Every other carrier on the planet (except for the tiny Spanish harrier-carrier) has them, but the QE relies on just Phalanx. It seems like it wouldn’t have been that hard to fit RAM on there, or an equivalent system.

        • D. Jones

          I’d like to see a Brit launch ramp on a Littoral Combat Carrier!

        • Duane

          I would think that adding a SeaRAM and a ESSM tube launcher would make sense. Even if not operating as part a major strike group or expeditionary group, the rapid proliferation of ASCMs with mickey mouse rebels like the Houthis would suggest better defenses for a large multi-billion dollar ship are needed.

          • No More

            Isn’t that what the airplanes are for?

        • Duane

          dup comment

        • No More

          Where are the “missile defense” systems on a Nimitiz or Ford? That’s what the AIRCRAFT are for, genius. As well as “escort ships” above and below the surface everywhere a USN CVN goes.

      • Carney3

        I’m all for nuclear power for naval vessels but I don’t get how the capital ship being nuclear powered helps with range if all the escort ships are conventional. Obviously the refueling demand is reduced but that’s a matter of degree, not kind. You still have an absolute need for oilers to trek into theater from wherever and fuel the escorts, otherwise the group as a whole is stranded or even helpless. And aside from logistics, there’s the issue of those oilers being attractive targets and especially vulnerable when out of range of the protective umbrella of the weapons and aircraft of the battle group.

        • thrunch

          Nuclear powered carriers can devote all onboard fuel to air operations … approximately twice as much fuel as a conventionally power carrier. Also, nuclear carriers can carry 50% more munitions. Under peace time operations both nuclear and conventional carriers resupply fuel at the same frequency – but in a contested blue-water engagement this is a substantial advantage. Also, CVN’s can reach full power pretty much on demand compared to a CV. There are also other operational advantages of CVN’s.

          • Carney3

            Again, I support the carrier having nuclear power. My point was that if the escorts don’t also have nuclear power, the touted unlimited range of the carrier battle group isn’t really true.

          • Duane

            All CSGs require lots of hydrocarbon fuel … but as others here wrote, if the carrier is not a nuke that greatly increases the demand for oiler support.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Shamrock — I believe a carrier can also refuel an escort at sea.

          • sferrin

            Which part of, “you don’t need to refuel the carrier” isn’t computing?

          • Carney3

            Straw man. Reread my prior post, then try again.

          • PolicyWonk

            They might be able to carry more munitions, but with the advent of smart weapons, that doesn’t make as much of a difference as it used to. Even an LAH-6 size carrier can now carry a bigger punch than a Nimitz could 25 years ago…

          • sferrin

            More weapons is still more weapons.

          • No More

            Going to nuclear power was not an “operational” decision beyond being the only practical way to increase the capability of aircraft carriers without disadvantages outweighing advantages.

        • It’s a fairly large matter of degree however. USS Kitty Hawk carried some 8,500 tons of DFM while a Ticonderoga carries 2,000 tons. Thus, going to a conventionally powered carrier effectively doubles the logistics train of a CSG.

        • Scott1945est

          You need oilers for the jet fuel…

      • Thy are useful and I believe Ford is stuck with problems as well.

        • sferrin

          Do you know that the word, “testing” means?

      • Secundius

        Last I heard USS Ford had to return to Port because of a Major Propulsion problem…

        • Duane

          A thrust bearing overheated during shakedown (which is one of the main reasons for shakedown cruises). The Navy says that the thrust bearing supplier (GE) failed to meet specs during machining. It will be remanufactured and installed during the post-shakedown availability this summer.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Sounds bad, Duane. Could be poor alignment, poor finish on the thrust collar, bad Babbitt on the shoes, insufficient lube. For sure a thrust bearing needs to be able to react every pound of thrust a propeller is generating to move the ship.

          • sferrin

            Well that IS what it’s there for.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Just a big useless pile of steel bobbing in the water without thrust bearings.

          • Duane

            The Navy said it was due to improper machining by GE.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      It’s actually 17 escorts.

      1 x T45 & 1 x T23 are permanently laid up due to manpower shortages.

      The years of cuts are not by accident.
      All was a political decision.
      The capacity to operate independently was deliberately abandoned.

      • muzzleloader

        But fear not, the new Batch II River Class patrol boats are coming! With her mighty 20mm Oerlikan, the Realm will have nothing to fear.

        • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

          The batch 2 have a 30mm cannon.
          That’s 50% more cannon!

          Actually in fairness, I quite like the River-2’s
          They are great vessels, though if the cowardly politicians would have just started the T26 work when they were supposed to, they River-2s wouldn’t exist.

          • DaSaint

            The River IIs are actually good vessels, but should have either a 57mm or 76mm, plus 2 30mm mounts. It remains to be seen whether the Type 31e will actually be funded, and if so when, and how many. They claim they will build 5 for a fixed price, but we all know how that will turn out.

          • What does a 57mm or 76mm do that a 30mm doesn’t? You really have to get up to 100mm+ before a gun becomes a realistic ASuW/NGFS weapon.

          • Duane

            To answer your question, the 57mm quintuples the effective range of a 30mm Mk 46 (10 nm vs. 2 nm) and provides 10 times the Hex load of a 30mm projectile, while maintaining the same firing rate of 220 rpm as the 30mm.

            Plus unlike a 30mm, the 57mm Mk 110 fires multi-mode seeker (semi active laser or imaging IR) precision guided rounds that work in zero visibility conditions, with software selectable contact or proximity fusing, capabiluties that simply don’t exist with any 30mm gun.

            With that basket-ful of advantages, the only value of the 30mm is as a final, last ditch short range line of defense. If you need the 30mm, you are down to your last option.

          • I question the practicality of engaging small boats much beyond 2 miles and I’m not sure if any navy has actually purchased guided 57mm rounds. While increased explosive power is an advantage, lethal area does not increase linearly so the actual advantage is much smaller than 10 times. Finally a 57mm is far more expensive and weighs 4 times as much as a 30mm so comparing them 1:1 is not exactly fair.

          • Secundius

            Most likely reason is be “Orka” only started testing in 2016! Before that it was only a Concept…

          • Duane

            Demo testing on LCS in late 2015/early 2016. ORKA had been in product development by BAE for years before that. It is the only fully developed and tested small bore (under 155mm) gun shell in the world today with bimodal tracking (semi-active laser and imaging IR) and with software selectable, in-mount fusing (contact or proximity). Proximity air burst fusing is ideal for use against both small boats and aircraft.

          • Secundius

            A “Demo Test” doesn’t imply Operational…

          • Duane

            These were operational tests of a round that was manufactured amd provided to the Navy in 2015 … using the gun and sensors and fire control systems of an operating LCS at sea

          • Duane

            The Navy field tested the ORKA rounds successfully several years ago. One shot, one kill on both boats and aircraft. I expect the Navy to purchase the guided rounds when the multi-ship overseas deployments begin next year … ditto with the OTH missiles, with contract selection scheduled by next month.

            In actuality, a ship needs to engage large boat or drone swarms starting from far out in order to provide enough attrition time to make sure none get close enough to attack the ship. If you can’t even begin to attack them until max effective range of the 30mm – just 2 nm – some of the attackers are likely to make it through to damage the ship.

            The real value of the 30mm is as the last layer of defense, batting cleanup.

            btw – the sensing range of the radar ranging sensor built into the Mk 110 mount is double the range of the unguided shell. The guided shells have a max eff range that is less than the unguided rounds about 5-6 nm. And both of the LCS’s embarked aircraft (MH-60R and MQ-8B or C) feature AESA synthetic apperture radars, FLIR trackers, and laser designators to feed targeting data to the ORKA rounds.

          • I did some reading. Apparently BAE’s ORKA lost to L3’s ALaMO, which is set to enter LRIP in 2020.

            My range comment is because I seriously question the ability of any navy to assemble a large swarm and get it to a target without it being detected and destroyed en route – as you point out, helicopters and UAV’s have a lot of modern sensors.

            Thus, I think the only realistic threat is a handful of boats suddenly ambushing a ship at close range, either during peacetime or in confined waters. Against this sort of attack, additional range matters little and could actually be counterproductive if it endangers nearby friendly or neutral shipping.

          • Secundius

            The “Seraj-1” Iranian Republican Guard Fast Attack Crafts are Fiberglass Speed Boats, based on the British Bradstone Challenger “Bladerunner-51” and are armed with One 107mm MRLS and One DShK-12.7 HMG capable of doing between 55 to 72kts. Plans are in the works for the “Seraj-2) @ 85kts and the “Serja-3” @ 100kts. Neither Fiberglass or Plastic Explosives will Show Up on Radar. And the Iranians are building them by the Hundreds…

          • They may not show up on radar (though I’m betting there are some reflective surfaces on the MLRS, HMG, and engines), but they will show up on IR or visually (imagine the wake they would be making at 72 knots). Plus they will almost certainly be using radios to coordinate, so figure ESM as well. And I’m betting satellites will detect scores of boats suddenly leaving their bases. Then there is the possibility that code breaking and spies will pick up on an attack while it is being planned. Even back during WWI it was rare for significant operations to be launched undetected so I’m just not seeing it happen in 2018.

          • Secundius

            Depends on how sensitive the Radar Set is! Currently the Most Sensitive Marine Radar in the World comes from Norway called “Sea Hawk” can actually see Underwater…

          • No More

            That kind of “radar” is called SONAR, genius.

          • Duane

            There has been no procurement competition between ORKA and AlaMO, for the simple reason that AlaMO does not yet exist. L3 only managed to complete a design review last year, and hasn’t even range tested an actual round yet. It is just a design that is not even completed yet.

            The ORKA round completed design many years ago … then successfully completed range testing … was in manufacture 3 years ago … successfully completed end to end field testing testing on an LCS at sea at the beginning of 2016. ORKA is at least 5 years ahead of AlaMO.

            The claims of L3 of a cheaper more capable round are unproven. Their main claim of advantage is US manufacture, while BAE corporate is a UK company with a large US subsidiary. But in a procurement competition, it would be easy enough for BAE to promise a US factory for production. BAE already employs over 30,000 Americans in its US factories.

            In other words, it is far from settled which rounds will actually be purchased. That there is competition is very good. But expect BAE to continue to compete and make improvements in both performance and price.

          • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

            That’s all well and good…..

            But they have some 30mm cannons
            Buying a new advanced version of the 57mm is about £10m all told.

            And remember, these are constabulary vessels.
            One will always be in the Falklands
            One will always be in the Caribbean.

            They are unlikely to ever fire a shot in anger.

          • No More

            In case they have to do more than shoot from one side of a half-assed little river to the other?

          • No More

            Yeah. Protect the “rivers” at all costs even though by protecting “territorial waters” at sea the rivers are kind of “protected” by default.

        • 2bnfl

          you mean the ones that violate Iranian waters and the crew cries…that one?!

        • Secundius

          That’s for the Batch I “River” class. The Batch II’s and III’s, both mount the 30mm DS Mark 2 which is a copy of the Mk.44 Bushmaster 30x173mm…

        • Phstok

          I’ll bet the Russians and Chinese are shaking in their boots at the thought of doing battle with a River 2!

      • publius_maximus_III

        I assume they still have their boomers?

      • PolicyWonk

        A sad state of affairs from the once very mighty, and close to invincible RN…

      • Scott1945est

        And ALL the frigates and destroyers were docked during Xmas…

        • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

          All but HMS St Albans, which had the short straw of patrolling the home waters over Christmas.

          • Scott1945est

            ONE warship at sea…

            What a sad decline for the Royal Navy.

    • muzzleloader

      The only problem with that, is the Argentine military is so broke they have effectively ceased to exist as an effective fighting force.

      • DaSaint

        Completely agree!

      • No More

        Which makes them a perfect match for the RN.

    • No one said the British want to copy the USN like-for-like.

      • PolicyWonk

        No one expects them to. However, they did a tremendous amount of development w/r/t carrier task forces, tactics, and development (the Brits for example, invented the angled flight deck we still use to this day).

        Personally, the mix of ships/escorts the RN uses is up to them. However, at this point they cannot deploy into a hostile area without our (or other allies) supporting them. There have been occasions in the past, where they’ve had to go it alone: a capability to no longer really have.

    • TheLight

      The Royal Navy had to downsize because they don’t have a global empire to protect anymore or the resources of an empire to pay for rhe maintenance of a massive military force. I’m actually surprised they managed to find the money to build these carriers at all. Honestly, without the support ships needed to escort them, they really shouldn’t have them at all. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the US or any other country to provide escort for them every time they want to take them out into international waters.

      • Rollocks

        The RN has provided surface combatants to escort US carriers, and the US will do the same for QE/PoW. We’re pretty close allies, capeesh?

    • RDF

      If the argies had just waited two months, depth of South Atlantic winter. Game over until late spring. But I digress. What makes you think we could sail single CVN into harms way with a first line oppo? You could not. Must have at least two with lots of FA near and far support. Lots of escorts. One CVN is not enough. Brit or us. We are much better than they, but still, it’s a lot of risk. Let the FA lads thin them out first.

    • publius_maximus_III

      They are lucky the Argentines didn’t sink their carrier in the Faulklands, having no AWAC’s protection whatsoever.

      • Scott1945est

        No luck involved.

        The Argies were over matched.

        • No More

          Yeah. That’s why the Brits managed to lose half a dozen Harriers and more helicopters “accidentally”. They must have had so many aircraft down there “overmatching” Argentina they were just running into each other.

          • Scott1945est

            LOL!

            Cute.

            How many Argie jets were shot down?

            Who won the war?

            Cite your sources for those “accidents”.
            Which ones, EXACTLY?

          • publius_maximus_III

            Thatcher & her advisors gave the green light for a nuclear sub to fire a torpedo that sent an Argentine cruiser to the bottom during the war in the Falkland’s, resulting in the loss of 323 lives. Interesting accounts of this and other little known events during the life of the HMS Conqueror are found in the book, “Secrets of the Conqueror: The Untold Story of Britain’s Most Famous Submarine” by Stuart Prebble.

    • sferrin

      “Hmmm. The Brits are getting two sizable carriers for considerably less than the price of one less-than-functional USS Ford.”

      You do realize the USS Ford is still in testing, no? And that the point of testing is to, you know, FIND problems? By the way, how many E-2s will the Brits be operating? How many fast replenishments ships do they have to support their two carriers?

      • PolicyWonk

        The USS Ford is in such bad shape, that the USN is publicly considering pulling a carrier out of the mothball fleet and restoring it to active service, while they attempt to figure out how they’re going to fix EMALS and the AAG.

        Neither of these critical systems are reliable enough to certify the carrier battle-ready, while EMALS has a single-point-of-failure problem in that the loss of one catapult due to maintenance, battle damage, or accident will render the ship in capable of launching aircraft.

        The USN is considering recommissioning an older carrier to fill in the gap, because fixing EMALS and AAG will not be “cheap, easy, or fast”. W/r/t the USS Ford, the taxpayers are now saddled with either the most expensive training ship, or the largest LHA, on the planet. Added bonus: we have 2 more a-building!

        The Brits don’t use E2’s, and use a chopper-borne AEW suite instead. The carriers size and flight decks (in the case of the USN), if we were to build CVL’s, have more than sufficient space to add CATOBAR, and therefore E2’s, if we so desired. If the USN decided they wanted to use or LHA-6’s as CVL’s in a pinch, we could adapt our V-22’s to use the same AEW system the British put on their choppers, or refuel our F-35B’s.

        • johnbull

          As numerous articles state, the navy did float the idea of recommissioning the Kitty Hawk last June, but the stated goal was to help increase the size of the fleet not because of problems with CVN-78. It was also publicly reported last October, in the Kitsap Sun and USA Today among other places that the Kitty Hawk was destined for the scrapyard. The few remaining CVs in reserve are much farther gone than the Kitty Hawk and closer to being razor blades. There are growing pains with the Ford, but as others have said, first in class vessels always have them. That’s it has been assumed from the out set that it wasn’t going to deploy right after commissioning.

          • PolicyWonk

            The problems with CVN-78 are FAR beyond mere teething problems: the USN, to put it bluntly, accepted vastly more risk than they should have, because the foundational and most critical parts of the ship that make it capable of going to war in the first place are far and away too unreliable. This is the undisputed fact.

            No one expects a new carrier to head for sea the conduct operations immediately after commissioning – a process that takes a good few years.

            But the problems with the USS Ford render her all but useless and prohibit her from becoming combat certified until these foundational problems are resolved. That, according to the USN, is going to take years and a LOT of money. Hence – adding the Kitty Hawk isn’t about adding to the fleet: its about sustaining the level coverage lost with the retirement of the USS Enterprise.

          • No More

            More risk than say…building a two-ship “class” of “CODAG” ski-jump glorified helicopter carriers they can’t even get through “sea trials” in a year? Exactly what other “blue water Navy” do you limey fucks plan to get the U.S. into a war with that you think will require even TWO U.S. CVNs when no other country period has even ONE “fully operational” and “combat certified” (what the FUCK is “combat certified” by the way?) carrier with even half the capability of “mothballed” conventional-powered “antique” U.S. carriers? Before you worry about the Gerald Ford you might want to get your POS Type 45 destroyers “sorted out” and figure out how to apply whatever “fixes” THOSE require to those POS “supercarriers” you “took way more risk than you should have” powering with the same half-assed, hare-brained system.

          • Rollocks

            Dude, you seem angry … why the absurd Brit-hatred? The USN wants QE and PoW to plug the deployment gaps that overstretched US carrier assets just can’t fill anymore. Why do you think the good folks at Pax River, Eglin and Beaufort are putting so much effort into training RN/RAF pilots and deck crews? It’s because the Pentagon recognises the huge potential of carrier-borne F-35 combat power on US-led ops.

    • tiger

      Speaking of less than functional, now Ford has prop shaft bearing issues.

      • PolicyWonk

        If there’s one thing the USS Ford (and her sisters) don’t need, its new problems.

        Ugh.

    • USNVO

      Because the Argentine Navy, Army, and Air Force has increased so markedly over the last three decades… Oh wait, never mind.

      • Scott1945est

        Because the Russian and Chinese navies aren’t a growing threat… Oh wait, never mind.

        • USNVO

          Russia and China are going to invade the Falklands?

          • Scott1945est

            There’s NOTHING on the planet except for the Falkland Islands?

            Who knew?

    • Oliver

      Whilst the CVN-78 class is pricey, its designed to be a shed load more capable.
      The QE runs on conventional fuel, a problem for a country that has very little in the way of gas/oil reserves, especially should conflict break out, this is a problem that was seen before when the HMS Ark Royal had to steam for British Honduras in ’72, it didn’t have the range to make it at max speed, as the oilers couldn’t keep up and it would have run out of fuel at about half way, it had to use the buccaneers at extreme range and maximum fuel load out, something that is more difficult with STOL aircraft as the range is already reduced. QE is also slower than the Ford and any faster speed will impact range, not a problem with CVNs.
      It has no catapaults or arresting equipment so cannot handle anything that is not V/STOL, and with no steam production it cannot have it retrofitted, EMALS could be possible but would likely require a heftier power plant as well. Plus an airwing of max 40 ish aircraft plus helicopters is lower than the 75 plus that Ford can technically carry.

      Its a bit of an embarressment tbh. Don’t even get me started on the other surface combatants, T45 has been a bit of a disaster even before they decided 6 was enough, the least they could do is retro-fit the strike length VLS tubes.

      • Secundius

        Last I heard there’s a ~1.5-Trillion Liter Oil Reserve on “Ascension Island” that the RN has access too…

      • Rollocks

        QE/PoW have a range of 8,000 – 10,000 n miles, depending on speed, which is about 50 per cent greater than Ark Royal. A nuclear powerplant would have been fabulous, of course, had unlimited funds been available, but the Rolls-Royce IEP will do just fine.

  • Ed L

    Wonder if they left rooms for the pianos. Every British warship and auxiliary I went aboard had at least two pianos. But no Sam missiles. And there ASW aircraft still carry depth charges.

    • publius_maximus_III

      Recall that scene from “das Boots” where they all sang, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” — a Capella of course (’twas aboard a U-boat, not even room for a spinet).

      But I also recall recently reading here on these very blogs about the French provisioning one of their destroyers with a TANKER truck coming alongside at pier to charge the ship’s wine bunker. To each his own.

      • muzzleloader

        Das Boot. What a film. I have the Director’s cut version.

        • Secundius

          USCG Divers found a U-Boot (UX-791) in Lake Erie in January 2018. That was Sunk in February 1943, abd took part in the “Battle of St, Lawrence” which claimed at least 3 Great Lakes Freighters and 2 Fishing Boats…

          • muzzleloader

            I did not know that.

          • Secundius

            Sunk by a Canadian Frigate using a “Hedgehog” Anti-Submarine Mortar. Also is believed to having attacked and damaging IX-81, USS Sable paddlewheel training aircraft carrier…

          • D. Jones

            How did a U-boat lock through to Lake Erie?

            Were the Canadians helping them? Do we need to send another LCS up there?

          • Secundius

            It was only one of two U-Boots, the Other Cruised Up and Down the Hudson with near impunity causing destruction. And returned home safely…

          • Secundius

            Depends on what time of the Day the U-Boot made it’s faithful passage. St. Lawrence River Lock is ~744-feet x ~80-feet x ~30-feet, also it took place in the Winter (i.e. February) with Ice on Both St. Lawrence River and Lake Erie. And only One Icebreaker on the Lake, its probably doable. But U-Boot Captain my have known it was a Suicide Mission. I suspect the U-Boot in Hudson River was the Diversion, for the other to Slip Past Unnoticed…

        • publius_maximus_III

          Many differences between Navies, friend and foe alike, but in my opinion many more likenesses. The ever treacherous sea for one, the long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror for another.

    • Rollocks

      Every Finnish warship I’ve been on (only two, but I think they’re representative of the fleet) has a sauna!

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    The USMC will get to see their new carrier.

    • muzzleloader

      Wry humor noted, lol

    • No More

      The USMC is a “department” of the USN. Neither want or need that POS and the “requirement” that USMC aircraft/aircrews operate/operate from a Royal Navy carrier may be a “requirement” for the RN but I doubt any U.S. president is going to “order” USMC personnel to serve “in” the RN anytime soon regardless of what “promises” and/or “guarantees” were made by anglophile so-called “American” bureaucrats/politicians in the past.

      “Impressment” led to “disagreements” in the late 1700s and early 1800s and a “loyalist” by the name of Benedict Arnold got his neck stretched where the United States Naval Academy is now located. The U.S. military has enough trouble getting funding for its own operations, missions, hardware and personnel. I don’t see Americans “donating” U.S. personnel and planes OR USMC pilots who could just as easily be flying F-18s and F-35Cs from US carriers volunteering to go be “stunt pilots” for the RN any time soon.”

      If the UK is that hard up for “fighter pilots” they can go “borrow” some from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or even one of the “Commonwealth” countries where the general population has a slightly darker complexion on average. God save the queen and all that, you know.

      • Secundius

        Really! As I recall Benedict Arnold died in 1801 in Battersea, London, England…

        • bob

          Left the active list as a Brigadier, one grade below his Continental Army rank of Major General. He was initially buried at St. Mary’s Church, Battersea without military honors. Subsequently, his remains were lost and presumably buried in a mass grave due to a clerical error when the Church was renovated. Thus proving karma is always watching.

          • Secundius

            So they (the United States) Hung AFTER he was already DEAD…

          • bob

            lol….it was an an alleged “clerical error” that got him in the mass grave. But if we listen to No More, he was hung after he was dead. Not sure how that happened but…..

            I’ve read up on him. It really was a sad story. Brilliant battlefield commander, but psychologically brittle, seeing slights at every turn. His whole reason for his betrayal was all based on his feelings that his talents weren’t respected. And to complete his delusion, he actually thought by betraying the American cause, he was helping to reconcile North America to Mother England. Hecouldn’t understand why the British establishment and Army wanted nothing to do with him and pretty much died ignored and unlamented.If he had been killed at Saratoga, he would have been considered one of our greatest Generals.

          • Secundius

            Being “Lucky” in Battle, and Staying “Lucky” in so much as Surviving the outcome of a War are two different things. Changing Uniforms “Didn’t” make him any “Luckier”…

          • bob

            Indeed. And based on the reaction of his fellow British Generals, he was pretty much persona non grata. They felt that his conduct was not that of a gentleman, and viewed him as a turncoat without honor and avoided him unless they had to deal with him.

            Talk about things not working out the way you intended. But I agree, he was dead of natural causes in 1801, the loss of his mortal remains notwithstanding.

          • Secundius

            I don’t no if “Death by Swelling” is considered a “Natural Cause”. He developed Gout in 1775 and complicated the Gout by Drinking to Much Alcohol. At the time eating “Cherries” was the only known remedy for Treating Gout. Alcohol only makes the effects of having Gout worse. And Too Much Gout will Kill you…

          • bob

            I think I was addressing the post by No More of him being hung at Annapolis. Not sure who got hung there, if anyone, but it wasn’t Arnold.

          • Secundius

            It was an effigy of Maggie Stewart by the Annapolis Tea Party in 19 October 1774. The “Maggie Stewart” was a Maryland Merchant Vessel carrying Tea into Annapolis Harbor. Instead of Burning the Ship, the Annapolis Tea Party “Hung” the effigy of the Figure Head mounted to the Bow of the Vessel instead…

          • bob

            Thank you. I actually learned something!
            Be Well!

          • Secundius

            You too…

          • muzzleloader

            Gout was amazingly common in the 16-18th century. The main cause was poor diet, chief of which was too much meat and alcohol and not enough fresh vegetables. It was also called the Kings disease because it mainly afflicted those who could afford to eat sumptuously and do little physical exertion.
            Benjamin Franklin and General Arthur St. Clair also suffered from Gout.

          • Secundius

            I have “Gout”, specifically Stage Six Gout which can Deform the Bones. Extremely Painful, I can’t Process Iron Supplements in the Normal Way. So any Iron has to be through eating “Red Meats”…

          • muzzleloader

            I’m sorry to hear that.

          • colonialpara

            I too have Gout AKA Crystal Deposition Arthritis. It’s real cause is the inability of the body to properly excrete uric acid. When this happens, the excess uric acid tends to crystallize in the joints (mainly in the big toes, but also in elbows and fingers). The excess uric acid is both hereditary and dietary related and caused by too much red meat, red wine, many types of legumes (beans) containing what are known as purines (that are themselves converted to uric acid that is not excreted properly).

            Beer is a big cause of gout, as are almost all dark liquors. Maybe that’s why the Brits like Gin so much :-). The list of foods that cause gout is fairly long, but mine is treated by taking Allopurinol (generic for Zyloprim) at 100 MG and since starting on this medication, I have not had another attack and that’s now been almost 20 years.

            Gout is incredibly painful, but it can be treated and managed and it is no longer the disease of kings. Even us commoners get it!

          • Secundius

            I have Stage Six Gout in Both Feet! It has got to the Point where no Corrective Surgery will keep the Bones from Deforming, Yes I’m aware of the Pain too, but I’m allergic to “Opioid” based Drugs and have to take Neurontin (Gabapentin) two 300mg capsules twice daily…

          • colonialpara

            Your gout is really bad! Allopurinol is not an opiod, it is blocker for uric acid creation. I’ve also lost the cartilage between the bones of my toes so I am walking “bone on bone.” I manage the pain with Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium.

          • Secundius

            I wasn’t referring to “Allopurinol”, but to “Oxycodone”…

      • Fed24

        1) The USMC is not a ‘department’ of the USN, they are one of the four separate combat branches of the US Armed forces. They happen to closely work with the USN but that is different to saying they are a subservient branch.

        2) In what sense is HMS Queen Elizabeth a POS? It is arguably the most modern Aircraft Carriers currently sailing with highly modern systems and superior habitability standards to any USN vessel. Unlike the Ford class that is a derivative of the 1960’s designed Nimitz class the QE class was designed in the 21st century and benefits from advances in ship architecture and manufacturing. Representatives from the Carrier alliance that built QE and PoW went to see the construction of Ford and were shocked to see how behind modern European build practices the US yard was, the Ford class require significant file to fit and fitting out for the construction blocks. QE class was built from Superblocks that were basically finished and fitted out when delivered to Rosyth for final assembly.

        3) The USMC and USN has been heavily involved with the QE class development program with a large number of RN personnel embedded in the US to gain experience and the first Fixed winged pilots assigned to HMS Queen Elizabeth who also form the team developing processes for F-35B operations from the class include Cdr Mike Mullen USMC. The USMC will be a regular and welcome visitors to QE and PoW.

      • colonialpara

        Thanks, this was amusing and I chuckled at the end.

  • Carney3

    If I were British, I’d be furious about being told that the government is giving up on the UK being able to fight on its own to defend its own interests and even territory.

    Why can’t the QE class, presuming they are fully completed, shaken out, manned with trained sailors and pilots, and with the full complement of stealth fighters and escort ships, defend themselves let alone wage a Falklands style “offensive” campaign?

    • DaSaint

      I’d be furious too! I’m surprised they didn’t design them with capability for Sea Ceptor, or at least substituted SeaRAM for Phalanx. And frankly 3 CIWS for this is not enough. It should have four, covering each quadrant.

    • Centaurus

      God save the Queen, It’s a Fascist regime !
      Johnny Rotten

    • publius_maximus_III

      Two word response: No AWACs.

      • muzzleloader

        Actually there is of sorts. The Crows Nest radars fitted into the Sea Kings, which I understand will be mounted in some new Merlins.
        It is not an E-2D, but far better than nothing.

        • Secundius

          Actually one even better coming out by Leonardo, called “Seaspray” 7000E. A belly mounted Doppler Pulse Radar with a Instrumental Range of 300nmi and can detect Missiles out to 200nmi. Crowsnest is limited to ~185nmi…

      • Scott1945est

        Sea King ASc.7….

    • No More

      So you’re NOT “British”? You’re oddly passionate about and have put considerable though into what you’d do if you were.

      • Carney3

        No, I’m an American (of Irish ancestry). I consider myself a friend of the UK and other Western nations.

  • MrChocoholic

    It’s sad how the ever-shrinking RN has become a purely regional power with limited force-projection capability.

    • Ctrot

      Do they even dare sing “Rule Britannia” these days?

      • tiger

        Just Adele songs…

    • CaptainParker

      The civil service mandarins have succeeded on what they have been working towards since the 1957 Defense Review – turning the UK into an island Switzerland with negligible power projection. But they have to spend billions on mandated foreign aid to countries like India who can pay their own way. Another example of liberal guilt over having had a colonial empire.

      • Secundius

        Prime Minister of England in 1957 was Anthony Eden of the “Conservative” Party, hardly a “Liberal”…

        • CaptainParker

          The Tories have been some of the worst when it comes to maintaining a defense establishment – sometimes they quite frankly put the lefties to shame when it comes to doing away with capabilities – but they “cut costs.”

          • Secundius

            The problem with “Bean Counting” is that Nothing Gets Built and/or Replaced. Keep in mind that in 1957, England was Fighting a Home Front War with the IRA, that lasted until 1969. So a Lot of Financial Resources was spent to Fight that War…

          • CaptainParker

            Yes, but…the 1957 Review resulted in the scrapping of the entire Reserve fleet…over 300 vessels. Massive cuts in both the Army and the RAF. If it wasn’t unilateral disarmament it sure came close.

          • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

            You are all over the place here.

            Firstly, Anthony Eden actually was quite liberal for the time.
            Secondly the war in NI started in 1969 and continued into the 90s.

          • Secundius

            Actually the war with the IRA started in 1922 and ended in 1969 with Ireland as a Whole. Northern Ireland lasted until 1998…

        • geoff

          Prime Minister of the UK. there has not been a Prime Minister of England since 1707!!

          • Secundius

            In 1707 there was NO Prime Minister Title. He would have been called “The Minister” or “First Minister”. The First Person to wear the Title of “Prime Minister” was William Lamb in 1835…

          • geoff

            OK-thanks for the correction but you get my drift about the main issue-people continually confuse Britain and England

      • colonialpara

        The Royal Navy is a sad joke and shadow of what it once was. This is what Socialism hath wrought, i.e. the end of a once mighty military.

        • Secundius

          So is the United States Navy…

          • colonialpara

            Oh really? With 11 CVNs, more than 60 Arleigh Burke destroyers, 50+ nuke attack subs,12 Fleet Ballistic Subs (SSBN), 22 Ticonderoga Class cruisers, 2 new Amphibious Warfare Helicopter carriers (America class), 8 WASP Class Helicopter Dock Landing Ships, 11 Amphibious Transport Docks (LPD), 4 Dock Landing Ships (LSD) not to mention hundreds of smaller patrol craft and auxiliaries. Our Coast Guard is larger than the Royal Navy.

        • DCDR

          The Tories control your government sir. You might have a better Navy under Labour.

          • colonialpara

            DCDR: I am not a British subject, I’m an American who’s served alongside UK forces and while I admire them and their skills, tenacity and valor, I find that both the Tories and Labor have done all they can to emasculate UK Armed Forces. Every time you turn around, the UK forces get smaller and smaller, so that soon they will be completely worthless except for entertaining tourists at the Changing of the Guard. The fact that the two RN carriers cannot embark AEW aircraft because the ships lack cats while US and the sole French carrier do is a glaring failure on the part of the MOD and RN. The Patrol Frigates being bought to replace some of the Type 23 frigates are another glaring example of capabilities not provided. Need I go on?

          • DCDR

            Well, the Tories have engaged in a general move to privatization and a strong austerity regimen that has certainly been in excess of what Labour was doing historically. The Tories are also responsible for Brexit, which will be catastrophic for the UK defense industry. I’d say the current Conservative party leadership has done a rather horrific job of supporting the long term economic, political and defense needs of the UK and it will at the very least lead to a lost generation of opportunity. It also has to be said that when the UK was a true global power it needed a global military. With a much smaller footprint the Royal Navy needs to find a suitable mission. If you use a rule of thumb as $1.5 trillion GDP as an economic base to support a carrier group the UK can build a decent fleet if it makes some hard choices but those choices have to meet actual needs. Building two big deck carriers along with nuclear submarines might not be what’s sustainable.

          • colonialpara

            I guess you vote Labor, correct? Labor has historically been the party of nationalism of production and entire industries inside the UK, many of these schemes being disastrous. Remember your electricity blackouts of the 1970s? Trash not being collected due to how the government dealt with unions?

            Let’s be honest, both The Tories and Labor have been detrimental to the economic well being of the people in the British Isles. As for BREXIT, many here in the USA applauded the move because we saw it as the people of the UK re-asserting their sovereign rights to not live under a European centralized tyranny with its HQ in Brussels.

          • DCDR

            European centralized tyranny? Well, not too sure what that means. In any case the EU was something Sir Winston strongly supported, proposing something similar just before the debacle of the collapse of France. We’ve had, with the exception of the collapse of Yugoslavia, one of the longest periods of peace in continental Europe in history thanks to the EU. And NATO. In any case the United Kingdom without Europe is basically a minor country with nukes. The Royal Navy only makes sense in the context of a European defense posture. Without that it might as well have the Irish Navy and name all the ships after writers. The HMS Jane Austen actually sounds, well, kind of awesome.

          • Secundius

            As I recall, Sir Winston also came up with the “Percentages Agreement” (i.e. The Naughty Document) with Joseph Stalin at the Fourth Moscow Conferance in October 1944. On how Eastern and Western Europe was to Divided Up between Democracy and Communism…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            If you don’t understand what was wrong with surrendering sovereignty over to the EU you are part of the problem. It is not the EU that has kept the peace in Europe. It is NATO.

            More specifically it is the US security umbrella paid for by the yanks that has freed Europeans from having to pay for their defense so they can lavish funds on welfare programs.

            The United Kingdom, freed from Europe, can re-engage with the much larger Commonwealth. A Britain that is re-engaged with the Commonwealth whose members are separated by thousands of miles of sea lanes has a use for the Royal Navy.

          • tom dolan

            I’d prefer the HMS Basil Rathbone lol

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            How is Brexit disastrous for the UK defense industry? The Europeans aren’t buying weapons, they are blowing all their money on social programs for migrants.

            Brexit gives Britain the ability to return to closer relationships with the British Commonwealth. As China gets more powerful and threatening to it’s neighbors India and Australia need to add to their defenses and Britain has the defense industry to support their needs.

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            The American Navy was so excited about the prospect of the Royal Navy having large deck aircraft carriers that could integrate into Nimitz or Ford carrier battle groups and be able to operate USN aircraft from their carriers, that they offered to give them the magnetic catapult system from the Ford class.

            The British rejected the offer. Which would have allowed them to operate long range aircraft and would have given the Royal Navy the ability to fight it’s way into a contested area while minimizing risk to the carrier. Aircraft carriers are big fat targets, the further they can stay away from the fight the better. And as you pointed out the lack of AEW aircraft is huge hole in their defenses.

            The project had some clever costs saving measures such as using large cruise ship construction techniques. But as a whole it has been badly executed, maybe even worse than the Charles DeGaulle was by the French.

    • Duane

      Don’t cry over the size of the Royal Navy … it is the world’s 5th largest navy in tons and capability, despite the UK being only the 22nd largest nation in population. Right in line with the UK’s GDP which also ranks as 5th largest in the world.

      Yes, the Brits used to have the world’s largest navy … but that was pre-World War 2 when the Brits had an empire that straddled the world. And which unevitably evaporated after the war.

      • muzzleloader

        When the Falklands war broke out in 1982, the Brits sent no less than 28 surface combatants in harms way, among them 24 destroyers and frigates, and 6 SSN’s, along with 2 anphibs and 2 carriers.
        Yes that was during the Cold War, but today the RN has 6 DDG’s and 13 FFG’s, one of each being permanently alongside because of lack of crew and being robbed for parts.
        Of the 17 remaining only around half are available to sortie on short notice.
        The admiralty is concerned as to how a proper sized escort force will be assembled for the QE when she is ready to deploy.
        It is quite possibly that you could see an Arleigh Burke or a Tico being part of the mix.
        This is not a put down of the RN, it is the situation as is.

        • Duane

          Yes, the RN is much smaller today than during the Cold War, and ditto, so is the USN, being less than half its 600 ship peak in the 80s. Ditto with the Russian Navy, now but a tiny shadow of its Cold War sized fleet.

          And even our Cold War fleet at its peak 600 ships was but 10% of the size of our fleet at the end of the Pacific War in September 1945.

          It’s all relative. The RN is still to this day the 5th largest/most capable navy in the world, with the Brits still punching far above their weight. Not only fielding, soon, the largest carrier fleet outside of the USN, but also featuring the world’s most lethal and capable stealth fighter, and also one of only a handful of navies with nuclear powered ballistic missile and attack submarines.

          The Brits are extremely far from being naval lightweights, as the commenter at the top of this thread laments.

          • MrChocoholic

            You’re completely right about the corresponding decline in the USN’s force-projection capability, with fewer (but bigger) amphibs and escorts. No one’s buying DDG 1000s or Littoral Combat Ships. Shrinking, yes. Yet the RN has completely abandoned the concept.

          • Secundius

            “Proyekt 22160”! The Russian Navy are building their own…

          • muzzleloader

            No one said the RN is lightweight. The concern is lack of depth in terms of fighting ships available. As was mentioned before, how the Admiralty will have a cohesive escort group for the QE without drawing every available surface combatant the RN has, is a genuine worry.
            The other factor is if a genuine shooting war involving the RN breaks out, is the ability to withstand combat losses.
            Yes the RN has some capable platforms, but a total of 17 means that losing one Daring class Destroyer along with with a Type 23 frigate, would be losses that would be grievous in both manpower and war fighting capability.

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            You are not understanding how these things work. Naval battles are not fought and won based on comparative terms. If that were the case the Royal Navy would have lost to the much larger combined French Spanish fleet at the battle of Trafalgar. The US navy would have lost to the larger Japanese fleet at the battle of Midway.

            Naval battles are won on capabilities. The bean counters at Whitehall have been watching too many fantasy movies. A rag tag fleet of rebel ships that is incapable of performing key war fighting skills is not going to survive a shooting match with a first rate navy.

            The Chinese navy has one operational carrier, is working up a second, has begun building a third which will have the catapults and arrestor gear necessary for a front line aircraft carrier and they plan on building more. They are also building the necessary support and escort vessels.

            For the Royal Navy to get serious about war fighting capability it will have to build more ships. It plans to have two aircraft carriers so it needs enough ships to create two independent carrier battle groups.

            To truly be serious Britain needs more than enough ships to be a paper tiger. Warships need maintenance. Just because a navy has X number of ships on paper that does not mean it can send X number of ships to sea.

            ie On paper the US navy has 10 Nimitz class carriers. But at any given time, one is in dry dock for it’s mid life refueling and comprehensive overhaul which takes 3-4 years. Then there can be other major repairs or upgrades which can take a year.

            For Britain to continuously have two aircraft carriers available it is going to need more than two. The reason why the Royal Navy has become a sad shadow of it’s former self is because Britain has the wrong priorities. Britain borrows 17 billion pounds a year to give away on foreign aid, that is mostly wasted propping up dictators or is given to wealthier countries.

            If that money were invested in the Royal Navy for a few years Britain could once again have a very credible Royal Navy, capable of going in harms way. It would also provide work for Britain’s ship yards that would allow it to maintain it’s warship building capability. Shipyards need steady work to maintain their workforce.

          • tiger

            That is a lot of money for a rather tiny empire.

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            Freedom isn’t free. Military industries provide high wage technical jobs along with spinoff technologies which can be used by the civilian sector.

        • Phstok

          In1982 the Royal Navy had 11 SSNs, several Oberon-class SSKs, and over 70 destroyers and frigates. Three torpedoes launched by HMS Conqueror sent the entire Argentine fleet back to port for the rest of the war. Today’s RN has less than 23,000 sailors, barely 6800 marines. Thank former de facto defense minister Osbourne, whose defense policy was to multiply everything by 0.8, shrinking the forces from 179000 to 142000.

          • tiger

            The USMC has more people than the RN? And is as big as the RAF I guess. That is sad…..

        • colonialpara

          The RN has already admitted that USMC F-35Bs will need to be embarked until the Fleet Air Arm gets its first B models after 2022. Great planning! Put two CVAs into commission without their assigned air wings. How stupid is that?

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            If you think that is bad planning. Mid build when they deleted the catapults which would have allowed operation of F-18 while they wait for the F-35C and refueling aircraft and went to the primitive ski ramp. The new plan was that the F-35B’s which don’t have a great range would be refueled from land based refueling aircraft if they had to go more than a couple hundred miles from the carrier.

            As astoundingly stupid as that sounds, I refuse to accept that the Royal Navy is that stupid. This was deliberate, intentional, sabotage.

          • Secundius

            A conventional Take-Off Roll w/o a Ski-Jump requires ~820-feet. And aircraft is able to gain ~60-feet of altitude at the end of the Flight Deck. Using 12* Ski-Jump reduces Take-Off Roll to ~435-feet and adds ~200-feet of altitude at the end of the Flight Deck. Just exactly HOW is that Stupid SIR…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            It is stupid because the ski jump is a primitive system that is intended to help a vertical take off airplane get into the air with a little more weapons or fuel than it could achieve with a purely vertical take off.

            But a ski jump is a poor alternative to a catapult launch where the airplane can be fully loaded with fuel and weapons, and is accelerated to speeds that are fast enough for the wings to generate lift.

            The ski ramp only works for launching jets with very high thrust to
            weight ratio. It can’t be used for launching a turboprop such as the
            E-2C Hawkeye AWACS aircraft. By opting for the ski ramp over
            catapults the Royal Navy has sacrificed the ability to launch Airborne Early Warning aircraft, for no benefit. That makes the ski ramp really stupid.

            Without the angle deck that is used for arrestor hook landings, the ships themselves could have been made much smaller and cheaper. This is another reason why the ski ramp is really stupid.

            The Royal Navy has built a Forrestal class super carrier sized ship with none of the projection of power capabilities. The design is so compromised, they to have to rely upon land based aircraft to fulfill roles that the American aircraft carriers, use aircraft carrier based aircraft for.

            For the F-35B to be able to land vertically it had to give up a fuel tank to make room for the lift fan. Which is another compromise to performance. The jet exhaust is so hot that special heat resistant landing plates have to used, and those are only good for about 50 landings before they are eroded and have to be replaced.

            When the vessels were finished, the British government had scrapped the Harrier jump jet fleet, so there are no British aircraft that can operate from them and there won’t be for a couple more years. If they had catapults the Americans offered to loan the Royal Navy F-18’s until the F-35 became operational, but the British rejected that offer for the stupid ski jump.

          • Secundius

            The “Ski-Jump” is not even a British Invention, it’s American. First developed in 1954. The British were the First to see the potential of the Ski-Jump in 1972…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            The only reason why the Americans considered the idea is back then their catapults weren’t as powerful, airplanes were getting a lot heavier, and they thought they might have to catapult planes onto the ski jump to get them airborne. Ski jumps are a desperate solution for those who don’t have a better way to get aircraft airborne. Catapults are a better way.

          • Secundius

            First US Navy Aircraft Carrier to be fitted with a SBC-27A (C-11) (i.e. Two Seven Alpha) Steam Catapult, was CV-34, USS Oriskany in August 1947. Seven years earlier…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            And your point is what?

          • Secundius

            You seem to suggest that there “Weren’t” ANY Powerful Steam Catapults before 1954. The SBC-27A’s (i.e. C-11) were used on Late Model “Essex” class and “Midway” class Aircraft Carriers…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            No I did not suggest. You need to work on your reading comprehension. As I said in my earlier post. The US Navy was concerned that their available catapults would not be powerful enough, so they considered catapulting aircraft onto a ski ramp. They were thinking about using both in combination, but their catapults kept up with the increases in airplane weight.

          • Secundius

            You didn’t even know the “Ski-Jump” was an American Invention until I pointed it out to you…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            You didn’t know that catapults are a far superior way to get aircraft airborne until I pointed it out to you. Not wasting my time marveling over inferior designs is not a failure on my part.

            Ski ramps suck and any navy that has the ability to install catapults on their carriers does so, except for the Royal Navy who are bloody daft. It’s typical British small mindedness to bugger around with an inferior solution when a superior solution was offered to them by the Americans.

          • Secundius

            I didn’t say that either!/? Quit trying to Reinterpret my Comments to suit you’re Questions. At No Time did I say the “Ski-Jump” was Superior to the Steam Catapult. But it IS a Respectable Alternative to the Steam Catapult, IF the Country using them can’t afford to Buy and Fit the Steam Catapult to meet their (Royal Navy) needs…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            And I didn’t suggest the Royal Navy should put steam catapults on a ship that doesn’t have steam. The Queen Elizabeth class were not built like warships. In order to save money they were built using large cruise ship design and construction methods. In terms of construction the HMS Queen Elizabeth has more in common with RMS Queen Elizabeth 3 than the USS Gerald Ford.

            Those vessels use diesel electric propulsion, with a gas turbine for when extra power is needed. That is why the Americans offered to let the Royal Navy use it’s EMALS Electric catapults. They had the electrical plant to power them.

            Ski jump is not a respectable alternative. It is a brute strength method that severely limits the amount of fuel, weapons and types of aircraft that can operate from the carrier.

            With catapults, fully loaded aircraft leave the carrier moving fast enough for the wings to generate lift. Catapults would have allowed operation of turboprop E2-C Hawkeye AWACS to provide early warning.

            It also allows longer range attack aircraft, so the carrier does not need to get as close to the fighting. Which is an important consideration when the carrier is not as robustly built as a pure warship design.

          • Secundius

            The Original Design was for Steam Catapults for a “Navalized” Eurofighter “Typhoon”, but as the Ship progressed in development and Rising Costs started to mount. Steam Catapults were replaced with the “Ski-Jump” design after January 2001…

          • tiger

            Well said. The Russians, Indians, PLAN, and RN all like the system. The USN should have used it in all new LHA designs.

          • Secundius

            Oh the British “Didn’t” scrap their Harrier Aircrafts! The United States bought them all. We have them now…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            The British spent 600 million pounds updating their Harriers, then they sold them to the US as scrap for 116 million pounds. The airframes were sent to the aircraft boneyard in Arizona where they have been cannibalized of parts to keep the USMC Harriers flying.

            The US got a great deal on Harrier spare parts and the British ended up with an aircraft carrier with no airplanes. Those ships could have been built a lot smaller and cheaper just to be helicopter carriers.

          • Secundius

            Approximately 58 Harriers/Sea Harriers and ~29 Tandem Seat Trainers are currently located at the Davis-Monthan AFB “Boneyard”, until abound 2025…

          • UKExpat

            The British have not ended up with a carrier without aircraft. If they had followed your naïve arguments they would have, like our good friends in the USN, ended up with a carrier with no reliable functioning catapults (EMALS)

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            There have been teething problems with EMALS but US Navy will work them out. They have no choice. The Gerald Ford was not designed for steam catapults, so retrofitting would be very difficult and expensive.

            Even with the present reliability issues EMALS has advantages, it is gentler on the airframes, which reduces maintenance costs, and it’s power can be reduced allowing it to launch UAV’s.

          • UKExpat

            Sons of Liberty MC / tiger / Secundius

            After reading many of your comments / posts it seems very clear that there is/are a large amount of fallacies / guesswork included. particularly as to exactly what the UK is doing / has done with it’s QE Class carrier project. I have tried here to rectify some of the errors, as far as I can, in the space /time available with reliably researched and verified facts whilst ignoring, unless stated, any unverified personal opinions. Please note I am not trying to score any Brownie Points or upset any one, I am just looking for accuracy and the truth.

            UK’s Objectives.

            It was decided in a UK Government Defence Review in 1998 that the UK wished to return to having a plausible and viable Strike Aircraft Carrier Capability. In order to achieve this it was deemed necessary to ensure that the Strike Capability was strong enough to deter any potential aggressor and be available 24/7 for 52 weeks a year. It was also essential to ensure the project was relatively risk free, good value for money and affordable.

            Initial Ideas/Concepts

            Research clearly indicated that to maintain ‘short notice’ availability a minimum of two carriers would be required. It was fully appreciated that a single carrier navy was not viable as any sensible aggressor would only need to wait until one carrier was in maintenance/refit etc. before starting hostilities.

            Given the then high risk of the latest EMALS and traps technologies and their prohibitive costs it became very clear that a STOVL (Short Take Off & Vertical Landing) aircraft carriers were the best way to proceed.

            What may be unique, though I have not fully researched this, in carrier design/development history is that both the UK QE Class carriers and the F35B aircraft were, in effect, both actually designed and built as a single design package, from day one, to operate together using a short take off via Ski Slope and a ROLLING vertical landing i.e. SRVL (Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing) mode
            This was done in full agreement with the US as the UK is the only Tier One partner with the US on the F35 project. This is the reason why the QE carriers have the longest single carrier runway of any other current carrier built world wide. and why their flight decks, at 4+ acres, are almost as large as that of the US Nimitz/Ford Class at 4.5 acres. Simply put, in SRVL mode the UK F35Bs will approach the carrier in the traditional direction from aft, at a reduced speed of about 60 Knots, using lift generated from both airflow over the wings and from the aircraft’s own vertical lift system, it will then roll down the runway and stop by applying the aircrafts own wheel brakes. This operating / landing method was fully integrated into all F35B aircraft by Rolls Royce who designed and manufacture the system in the UK as part of the UK’s partnership deal with the US on the F35 project. Note: one of the main advantages of SRVL, not widely appreciated is the fact that it greatly increases the sortie rates of the QE Class. To get this into perspective, one has to appreciate that a QE carrier should be able to spend considerably more time at sea than a nuclear Nimitz Class carrier to the extent that when the two QE carriers are available to operate together i.e. currently expected to be 50% of their lifespan, their potential joint sortie rate capacity will equal that of a Nimitz carrier.

            Indicative Time Line

            For a very short period, before the start of construction, CATS & TRAPS were a contractual option for the QE Class.

            After the start of construction the UK Government of the day decided to go for CATS & TRAPS, The only practical then option for the CATS was EMALS (Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System) being designed and built by General Atomics in America for the new USS Gerald R Ford Class super-carriers.

            The UK Government of the day negotiated with the UK carrier builders and General Atomics for changing just ONE carrier (POW), the QE being to advanced to change without a long delay, and the quote came in at £2+ Billion for the one ship. Whilst the cost was substantial what made the Government just as upset was the fact that the the American Company would/could not say and/or guarantee when work on QE Class EMALS could/would start or how long it would take Not only that they would/could not guarantee if the systems would actually ever work. Thus the idea of CATS & TRAPS was immediately cancelled and the ships continued to be built for their original SRVL operation. Note: Everyone remembers the extra costs but NOT the other main reasons for the cancellations.

            At present USS Gerald R Ford, despite being commissioned before HMS Queen Elizabeth, is languishing in limbo, as she cannot be declared fit for service i.e. fighting fit until, her other faults and the EMALS & AAG system problems are solved. The EMALS & AAG systems are now so unreliable that, resent testing shows that they could fail without even completing one, yes one, day of service. The Ford, despite being commissioned, has been returned to her builders for a year in order for other major construction problems to be rectified, e.g. to her propulsion shaft installations, elevators, etc.

            The idea that this EMALs problem is just an unimportant teething problem is complete and absolute nonsense, it has the distinct possibility of being an absolute disaster for the Ford Class. Whilst I do not have space/time to fully explain the reasons for this here, suffice is to say, Work on EMALS/ AAG’s has been going on now for one or two decades, the US put men on the moon in one decade in the 60’s, and EMALS / AAG’s etc. have still not yet been perfected. We can only hope that a solution can be swiftly found so that this fine ship can join the US fleet with out further delay.

            Some Conclusions

            What is significant here is the fact these two new technologies were introduced into the Ford Class Project’s Critical Path Construction Programme, early on, as “Concurrent” items. This was very significant and serious error! It meant that the technologies design and development work was to be carried out as the carriers were being built. Unfortunately, design and development work includes and needs to have time for a lot of inventiveness, research, going down dead ends, etc. and a lot of luck. It cannot be realistically estimated or allowed for. This problem was not just confined to the Ford Class but caused absolute devastation to US Military procurement back then. It was often referred to as the “Concurrency” Myth/Problem it was also responsible for the virtual demise of the Zumwalt Class Destroyers, the huge ongoing problems with the LCS debacle, rail guns, guidable ammunition, etc. etc. Fortunately the UK Government at the time recognised the huge risks associated with EMALS and immediately cancelled their idea of introducing them into the QE Class. As it turned out, it was an inspired decision but it was still based upon basic contractual risk reduction procedures. It should also be noted the whole F35 programme was nearly cancelled due to “Concurrency” issues causing huge cost increases and delays. I believe that this was probably thwarted by a joint USMC / UK Government initiative to save the project, but that is another story.

          • tiger

            The solution is a AEW version tilt rotor. The ramp system is cheaper and requires less crew.

          • Secundius

            Actually there is two available for the MV-22 Osprey. Both made by Leonardo Aerospace (i.e. ex-Agusta/Westland) “SeaSpray” 5000E or the “SeaSpray” 7500E. It’s only a matter of which and when one of the systems is to be considered…

          • UKExpat

            The decision has already been made and the order placed for “Crowsnest” AEW Radars to be fitted to Merlins.

          • Secundius

            What’s the “Merlin” again? Ohhh that’s right “A” Helicopter! And “What’s” “Tiger” talking about? Ohhh, that’s right “A” Tiltrotor. Mixing “Apples with the Oranges, again”…

          • tiger

            Is this a offshoot of the AW 609 tilt rotor?

          • Secundius

            What is a “Offshoot” of the AW.609? The MV-22? or the “Leonardo” Name!

          • tiger

            🤔 You said Leonardo had a plane for the role. That led to the question. Clear now? So is the Leonardo plane a offshoot of the AW609?

          • Secundius

            NO! I said that Leonardo had the Radar for the Role! Either the “SeaSpray” 5000E or 7500E…

          • UKExpat

            You are a bit behind the times. The new “Crowsnest” AEW System for Merlins was ordered last year with the first set arriving next year with operational capability following on in 2020

          • tiger

            Bit of a step backwards. But better than nothing.

          • Secundius

            Only on problem with “Crowsnest”! On the MV-22 Osprey the Crowsnest Radar Antenna would have to be mounted on the Rear Cargo Ramp/Door. And Lowered while in Flight, Door and Antenna together. Disrupting the Flight Profile of the MV-22. By lowering it’s Airspeed. Crowsnest maximum airspeed limit is ~150kts, while Stall Speed of MV-22 is ~110kts. Not a Lot of Wiggle Room for Error…

          • UKExpat

            You seem to have ignored the fact that the UK Government has specifically stated that they will definitely NOT be purchasing MV-22 Ospreys for the RN/RAF. Consequently, I cannot think of any operational reason as to why MV-22’s would need to land on the QE carriers other than in an emergency situation or even have any need to carry AEW Radar.

          • Secundius

            And “When” and “Where” did I say the Royal Navy was going to be Purchasing the MV-22 Osprey!/? IF the USMC is going to be operating “Their” F-35B’s from the “QE” too, I suspect so will the USMC’s MV-22 Ospreys…

          • UKExpat

            You intimated it by saying the MV-22 could have AEW Radar fitted, albeit with difficulty, as the USN would have no reason to do such a think logic says it would be the RN would need it.

            More to the point it would appear from your attitude that you are more interested in scoring “Brownie” points that establishing the truth.

          • Secundius

            As I recall BOTH the Leonardo “SeaSpray” 5000E and 7500E are Belly-Mounted. Which can be Lowered and Raised from the “Ventral” Gun Mount System. The “Other” possible application is also a Leonardo product call the “Osprey” AESA Phased Doppler Radar which is a “Bolt-On” application and weighs a mere ~64-pounds without the Pressurized Cabin Control Module…

          • UKExpat

            The M-22 has NO low limit stall speed. Wiggle room is not needed.

          • Secundius

            The Glide Ratio of the MV-22 Osprey is ~4.5:1 (i.e. Flies Like A Brick). Anything below ~110kts. and the MV-22 CAN’T sustain Forward Momentum and stay in the air…

          • UKExpat

            For goodness sake you are only talking about the rare occurrences of having engine failures. In normal circumstances with both engines working there is no lower stall speed!

          • Secundius

            There’s also “Auto-Rotation” like on a Helicopter! But without Power it’s only useful to getting to the Ground In One Piece (i.e. Controlled Crash). The Wingspan of the MV-22 with Proprotors Spinning is ~84-feet 7-inches. Without the Proprotors Spinning, the Wingspan is ~45-feet 10-inches. How far will ~46-feet of Wingspan take you in a Unpowered Flight from ~25,000-feet. In theory ~18.5nmi., in practice probably to the Crash Site…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            No such aircraft currently exists, so it would have to be developed. That is not going to be as cheap as using the already available E2-C Hawkeye which would still be a more capable aircraft. So the ramp still is not cheaper.

          • Secundius

            One problem! E-2C/D won’t be able to Fly using a 12* Ski-Jump, Prop Blade will Dig Into the Surface of the Ramp. Maximum Angle for a Propeller Driven Aircraft is ~7.4*…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            Which is yet another reason why I have been so critical of the decision to use a primitive sky ramp instead of catapults. I doubt that a Hawkeye could get airborne with either ramp angle, unless they used RATO.

          • Secundius

            The only US Made Aircraft’s that still use JATO’s are LC-130H-2’s/H-3’s operating between Antarctica and New Zealand…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            I’m not saying it wouldn’t work. But it is still a poor alternative to simply having a proper catapult which never should have been removed from the design in favor of the ski ramp .

          • Secundius

            Problem with JATO’s is where do you store them when not being used!/? In the case of the LC-130’s, they were designed directly into the Airframe of the Aircraft. And a C-130 is quite a bit more robust than that of a E-2C/D’s Airframe…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            That is why catapults are superior to the ski ramp, and the British were typically short sighted to opt for the lesser capability.

          • Secundius

            Except the UK didn’t design the Ski-Jump concept, the United States did in November 1952. As a means for Getting Aircraft of the Ground in the Shortest Amount of Space after ALL the US Air Fields have been bombed. They were devising a means to Avoid a Repeat Performance by an Enemy Power of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, again…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            They did a lot of experiments in the 50’s, testing out bright ideas that didn’t work out.

          • Secundius

            Just exactly how is the “Ski-Jump” concept a Failure!/? France, the UK, Russia, the PRC, India, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Turkey, Thailand, Australia, the United States and even Israel, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan are considering using the Ski-Jump Aircraft Launching System…

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            The catapult is simply a much better way to get aircraft airborne, because it doesn’t require compromising range and payload.

          • Secundius

            So is a 10,000-foot Runway! But if you don’t have Either, then the Ski-Jump is a good compromise…

          • UKExpat

            You really aught to do some reasonably sensible research before expounding so many basic fallacies !

          • Sons of Liberty MC

            No I am being realistic. Unlike too many in Britain I am not letting the wonderful ingenuity of vertical take off and landing blind me to it’s short comings and limitations. VTOL, VSTOL requires brute strength and light weight.

            Less weight means less weapons and or fuel. Less fuel means less range. Less aircraft range means the aircraft carrier has to get closer to the fighting. That is a bad strategy with ships which had their side armour and armoured bulkheads deleted to save money.

        • Sons of Liberty MC

          The dire predicament of the Royal Navy could be turned around relatively quickly if the seventeen billion pounds a years that is borrowed to pay for foreign aid, were used to rebuild the navy.

      • Carney3

        I’d say the “evaporation” of the British Empire was not inevitable.

        Many many divergence points from our timeline with a plausible likelihood, which could have preserved it much longer, or perhaps even to this day.

        Like if World War One had been prevented. If Indian nationalism had been crushed and co-opted rather than allowed to fester. If the US had eased up on sweeping egalitarian rhetoric during WW2 which stirred up expectations in the colonies. If Churchill had not fumbled away re-election in ’45. If the Soviet Union had been prevented, destroyed, or weakened enough to refrain from anti colonial agitation.

        • Anton Green

          Britain’s colonial aquisition habit continued disastrously after WW1 when our financial hegemony had been smashed up by war costs and trade disruption…the territories of Iraq, Palestine and the atttempt to control Iran proved disastrously expensive as Uk decline continued. The only justification for maintaining Imperial oversight and control longer post WW2 would have been to make a better job of decolonisation…..few countries have dismantled their own empire, which ws what Britain fought in the Far East to acheive rather than having it grabbed by a more exploitative entity. The defeat of Malaysian communists and Sukharnoes indonesia were real acheivements, but again very costly

      • colonialpara

        Yes because the war bankrupted the UK and they could no longer afford Empire, not to mention that history was against the European powers that had conquered 4/5 of the world’s population and landmass. That said, colonialism was doomed in the aftermath of WW II when native populations had seen British, Dutch, and French colonial administrations and military forces defeated by the forces of Japan.

    • tiger

      Expanding the RN will not stop truck or knives in the streets of London. Till the people decide more on ships than Royal weddings, this is what you get.

      • UKExpat

        You really have absolutely no idea whatsoever about what you are talking about. I suggest you do some reliable and sensible research before posting such ridiculous nonsense.

        • tiger

          Sorry, the truth stings.

          • UKExpat

            Thanks, but their is no need to apologise as we can all make mistakes.

  • paul beatty

    You are God. HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers expand U.K. defensive command & control of her surroundings like a floating island base home to future AI robotic aircraft flying longer & further than present day aircraft. A standing military almost completely made of AI Robots. Best defense against robot is another robot superior. Best of all robots work for free, keeping costs down & saving lives, utopia

  • publius_maximus_III

    “The London press suggested that the U.K. government would be unwilling to risk the ships in a unilateral warfighting operation similar to the naval task force sent to recapture the Falkland Islands from Argentinian occupation in 1982.”

    Might that be because, without a catapult launch system, the new carriers have no way of launching an AWAC aircraft with its protective umbrella? So the Brits would need to rely on a nearby ally that could?

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      They will have AEWAC in the form of Helicopter borne “crows nest”.

    • Duane

      The sensors and ECMon their embarked F-35Bs are superior to anything on a 70s/80s tech AWACS or any other, with the further advantages of being undetectable, well able to defend themselves, and well able to launch offensive weapons against surface and airborne targets. Best on the planet, bar none. That’s why MDA wants to utilize F-35s as early launch detectors against ICBM attacks.

    • Scott1945est

      They have Sea King ASc.7’s and those will be replaced by Merlin AEW helos.

  • publius_maximus_III

    “Maintenance is being carried out on the thermal metal spray coating that has been applied to aft sections of Queen Elizabeth’s flight deck, designed to protect it from jet blast during F-35B vertical landings, when temperatures could hit 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit.”

    Just curious how quickly such a hot deck surface would cool off. What is the melting point of an F-35B’s rubber tires?

    • Secundius

      “Thermion” (Aluminum Oxnitride) is rated at +3902F, or MV-22 Down-Wash Exhaust at 75% Power for ~10-minutes or 50% for ~30-minutes…

      • publius_maximus_III

        Not worried about the DECK coating melting, but those landing gear tires that have to touch it.

        • Secundius

          What temperature difference does air flowing over a Flight Deck at 29kts. make…

          • publius_maximus_III

            Apparently not large enough to eliminate the concern about an uncoated metal deck melting, which is probably a much hotter temperature than it takes for a rubber tire to melt. But those three points of tire contact are at some distance from the center of the jet blast zone, so probably not nearly as hot an area as it sees during a landing. All depends on (1) the thermal conductivity of the coating and deck, (2) the specific heat of the underlying deck, and (3) the convective heat transfer coefficient between the hot gas and the coating.

          • Secundius

            “QE” and “PoW” both are 5kts Fast then the America’s, Wasp’s and Tarawa’s. I suspect their Tire probles are about the same…

          • UKExpat

            The QE’s will have far less deck-heat problems due them being SRVL and no STVOL.

          • Secundius

            The Royal Navy made it clear that USMC F-35B’s will also be flying from “QE’s” Flight Deck. Which will probably also include MV-22 “Osprey’s”, which can’t use the 12* Ski-Jump because the angle is to Steep. And with a ~+2,700F Down Wash coming from their twin Rolls-Royce T406/AE 1107C Liberty turboshafts, “QE’s” Flight Decks better be better protected than Sea-Spray and a Mild Tempest flowing over the Flight Decks…

          • UKExpat

            I do not understand the points in your above reply. Of course the USMC F-35B’s will also be flying from “QE’s” Flight Deck, but they will be operating in SRVL mode NOT in USMC STOVL mode.

            As regards to the MV-22 Ospreys are concerned, of course they may NOT use the Ski Slope but will probably lake off / land vertically, but there will be NO HOT Jet Blast to cause deck damage. If there was a deck heat problem it would have shown up on the USN/USMC carriers long time ago. Even if their is a problem on US ships with this may not occur on the RN Decks as their new heat protection system, in all probability, may well be superior.

          • Secundius

            And the “Blow Torch” Down Wash from it’s Turbofan can easily exceed +2,700F, which will Damage Virtually ANY and ALL Aluminum Surfaces if not treated…

          • UKExpat

            According to the manufactures, the QE’s deck coating is not just aluminium but Titanium – Aluminium. It is applied in three separate coats at 10,000C which securely bonds the coating to the existing steel deck and, after extensive testing, is now expected to last the full 50 year designed lifespan of the carriers. Even if it only lasts half that time it will still be considered to have been a successful and extremely robust deck protection system. Given that the whole extent of the QE’s their four acre flight decks also has an inbuilt water spray system (primarily for radiation dispersal) cooling the decks down should not be an issue.

          • No More

            What relevance does 29+ knot airflow over a flight deck have to a ship that can’t break 25 knots completely empty and has a big “wall” at the front of the flight deck that’s going to be a little tough to get airflow “across”?

    • UKExpat

      The QE carrier’s decks, under normal operations, will have far less deck-heat problems, if any, than the USMC ships. This is because the USMC ships generally operate in STOVL mode whilst the RN ships generally operate in SRVL mode.

  • Gene McCall

    The RN seems to take a more realistic view than the USN of the vulnerability of carriers.

    • Secundius

      As I recall, in WWII RN Aircraft Carriers had Armored Flight Decks while the US Navy “Didn’t”…

  • Beady

    Some huge misconceptions in these replies. Let me just correct two.

    Firstly, Mark Sedwill did not say the carrier cannot sail outside of a coalition effort. He expressed an opinion that it will not, which is not the same thing. The London press then turned it into the sensationalist “cannot”. If push comes to shove, the RN will be able to put together an adequate task force on it’s own, but against who? The only current possibility would be Falklands II but the Argentinians would probably need the lifetime of the carriers to get their forces up to a level where they could try again.

    The second misconception is that the RN “cannot even defend UK shores”. Anybody who thinks this should go to the UK MoD site and see all the current operations it is involved in.

    Of course the RN has been sadly cut and cut and cut, which is a bad thing, but it is still a powerful world class navy probably the ONLY blue water navy apart from the USN.

    • publius_maximus_III

      The US intended it to be that way, ever since the Bretton Woods Agreement was penned in 1944. Basically it said: (1) US will keep the sea lanes open for all countries, and (2) US markets will be open to all countries. Bretton Woods has more or less prevented another world war from breaking out for the past 74 years, and kept the USN busier than the proverbial one-legged man in a fanny kicking contest.

      • No More

        Where in that “Bretton Woods Agreement” does all that appear and who signed that “agreement” on behalf of the United States and when was it ratified by the U.S. senate?

        • publius_maximus_III

          According to Wikipedia, 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations deliberated during the 1–22 July 1944 conference, and signed the Bretton Woods agreement on its final day. Harry Dexter White of the US Treasury was our representative, so was the presumed signatory for our country. As stated, it was an Agreement, not a Treaty. Only Treaties (like NATO) require Senate approval.

    • Scott1945est

      How many frigates and destroyers were deployed during Christmas?

  • CaptainParker

    Your 1946 figure included PT boats, powered garbage scows and every type of boat with a motor as well as sailing craft. Your statistic is meaningless. When the mandarins decided to scrap the UK’s entire Reserve fleet it was a first move in removing the country from Great Power status.

    • Secundius

      And where “Specifically” in my comment did I mention they were all Warships. Even the 1957 US Navy weren’t all Warships, were they…

  • John B. Morgen

    The British have already lost the next war, if the government refuses to take risks with their carriers.

    • Secundius

      But then again, maybe so have we! By funding Three “Very Expensive” “Very Broken” Ship classes…

      • John B. Morgen

        Maybe so, or maybe we are at a junction in history that the United States is not going to last another hundred years, but will end up into several regional nation-states. The United states experiment is not perfect, and the Constitution has already been broken by the recent political events by the Trump regime and his supporters in Congress, etc. The Fall of the American Roman Empire maybe coming.

        • Secundius

          Founding Father’s weren’t “Stupid”, so the “Suspension Clause” (i.e. Article One, Section 9, Clause 2) was added into the U.S. Constitution. Which actually prevents the United States from breaking-up by either “Insurrection and Rebellion”. First used during the “Shays’ Rebellion” of 1788 by President George Washington, who actually inserted the “Suspension Clause” into the U.S. Constitution by Executive Order. His “First” and “Only” Executive Order in 17 September 1787.

          Now does that Rule Out the collapse of the United States by loosing a War, No…

          • John B. Morgen

            Well! The South left the Union, and Congress recognized them leaving because Congress voted to remit them back into the Union after the Civil war.

          • Secundius

            The fledgling United States also recognized the “Shays’ Rebellion” too. And we know the Outcome of that Fiasco too…

  • Ronsoppinion

    Well we have built a really great carrier but not one aircraft, they would have done better to have a steam catapult and fly marine Typhoons from it’s decks, the F35 B seems to be full of problems and the cost is far too much, the money this carrier is soaking up to the detriment of other parts of the Military is mind boggling.

    • Carney3

      I wouldn’t argue with you that a catapult would have been a good idea, but not a marine Typhoon, not now. Maybe in the 80s or even 90s, but these days, if you can use a stealth fighter for a given role, you should.

      Should the British, either with their core Commonwealth allies (Canada, Australia, New Zealand) or with the EU/NATO partners they co-developed the Typhoon with, have made a stealth fighter of their own by now? Yes, especially for the large, twin-engine, long-range, interceptor / air-to-air focused role equivalent to the Typhoon such as the F-15, F-14, and F-22. And they should still do it since we won’t let them or anyone have te F-22.

      But lacking that, and since a single engine, strike-focused F-16-class stealth fighter, namely the Lightning II, is available right here and now, and the Brits have had a non-trivial role in developing it anyway, it makes sense to use it.

      • Ronsoppinion

        I would Love to see F35Bs on the Decks right now but this Carrier is taking badly needed money off the Army, Navy and Airforce. The Government were proposing getting rid of 2000 Marines and their support ships, I would say the Country is Broke as far as looking after our Military, must be Russia laughing it’s head off, if it wasn’t for the U.S. help in Defence area’s the government would be in deep trouble, Thanks
        Carney3

  • Juan Gamecho

    Since WWII the Royal Navy has been repeatedly reduced in size. For nearly 40 years, economic decline caused by misguided socialist policies forced the country to make painful cuts.

    That all changed thanks to Margaret Thatcher with the economy outgrowing its neighbours significantly since the early 1980s. So much so that with a population of only 66 million, the UK has the world’s 5th largest economy.

    Continued cuts to the Royal Navy have nothing to do with finance but sadly everything to do with an entrenched and erroneous view still held by much of the British establishment, that decline is inevitable. It certainly is not and Maggie proved it.

    If Britain’s political class collectively ‘grew a pair’ and simply committed to spending 3% of our GDP on defence, the level that was spent during the 1990’s, we could quickly build a fleet of escorts that with these fine carriers, would make the Royal Navy the most powerful fleet in the world, after that of the United States.

    £14 billion would build a fleet of 56 of the new ‘Leander Class’ (Type 31) frigates which would compare to a fleet of 19 currently. £14 billion is what the United Kingdom is giving away during 2018 in overseas aid.

    Britainnia can certainly Rule if only our politicians had the balls to do so.

    • Carney3

      I’m a fan of Thatcher in many ways, but until the Falklands War broke out she was just about to cancel or sell off a number of weapons that were vital to the victory in that conflict, namely the Avro Vulcan strategic bomber and the carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible.

  • No More

    All the “Commonwealth countries” aren’t considered “UK possessions” at least by your “head of state” who still “rules” them?

  • Scott1945est

    Try reading the comment thread…

  • Scott1945est

    One should learn to admit they’re wrong.

    Or stick to the kid’s table, boy.

  • Allen

    The exigencies of war have a habit of dissolving prewar prohibitions. If required, those two carriers will sail into battle with or without Allied assistance. They were intended to be able to operate NATO aircraft from both the US and French navies, but politics and Cameron relegated them to the world’s biggest helicopter amphibs with a smidgen of F-35Bs. At least the Argie military isn’t in any condition to invade the Falklands.