CVF Construction

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8 years 3 months

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I can't see behind the firewall, but I gather from elsewhere that acoording to the Times:

The configuration of the two new carriers, under construction is somewhat misleading. If these ships are fitted with catapults & arrester gear this will not preclude them from being equiped with F35B VTOL aircraft & cross operating with French carriers. What it would mean is that these ships would be able to operate all known or projected forms of carrier borne aircraft & cross operate with both French & US carriers.

For ships destined to remain in service to perhaps 2050, such flexibility seems to me to be essential. If they are sent to sea with only a VTOL capability, they will be ham strung from the word go.

Gives lie to the statement that all service chiefs are behind STOVL

And is I believe correct. This is a 50 year life asset - let us invest in it as such

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A flight deck full of "B"s will look good when CVF sails past the reviewing stand on the Queen's birthday.

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A flight deck full of "B"s will look good when CVF sails past the reviewing stand on the Queen's birthday.

By the time we get that number of F-35's of either type the poor Queen will be writing herself her own telegram !!!.

Look at the production schedule, the bulk of the F-35s don't start being produced till the end of the decade and given the number of desperate customers its going to be the middle of the next decade at best before the bulk of most orders enter service with their respective air arms.

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No problem with VTOL if your ambition is set to bomb insurgents in former colonies,
but if you're going up against one of your own size, or control over sea lines, (used to be UK top priority) you'll need AWAC & long range recce/strike/CAP,
and that will remain preserved for cats n traps

Not intending to do more than drop bombs on, at most, regional power level states!. Who is there who's frigate/ssk navy could challenge us in bluewater and precisely what is our brigade-level landing capability going to do against regional superpowers?. You seem to be advocating unrequired capability levels for no better reason than to show 'ambition'. Shame.

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No problem with VTOL if your ambition is set to bomb insurgents in former colonies,
but if you're going up against one of your own size, or control over sea lines, (used to be UK top priority) you'll need AWAC & long range recce/strike/CAP,
and that will remain preserved for cats n traps

Not intending to do more than drop bombs on, at most, regional power level states!. Who is there who's frigate/ssk navy could challenge us in bluewater and precisely what is our brigade-level landing capability going to do against regional superpowers?. You seem to be advocating unrequired capability levels for no better reason than to show 'ambition'. Shame.

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Not intending to do more than drop bombs on, at most, regional power level states!. Who is there who's frigate/ssk navy could challenge us in bluewater and precisely what is our brigade-level landing capability going to do against regional superpowers?. You seem to be advocating unrequired capability levels for no better reason than to show 'ambition'. Shame.

I couldn't agree with you more!

We just do not need the same sort of capability as the US. All of this noise from the US on a UK issue just makes me think they want to turn our carrier strike program into a CBG acting as the 12th battle group.

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I couldn't agree with you more!

We just do not need the same sort of capability as the US. All of this noise from the US on a UK issue just makes me think they want to turn our carrier strike program into a CBG acting as the 12th battle group.

I'm afraid it's a bit of a binary thing. If you don't have the principal ability to become the 12th CBG (or 1st Euro-fleet CBG) don't build those carriers! Against those opponents which the UK can go up against alone no such carriers are needed. And for all others you'll find yourself as part of some form of alliance, so better make sure you can be a useful part of such an alliance. Besides that, the treshold where the carriers make sense is relatively high (carriers, escorts, replenishers, air wing). Don't build the whole complex far enough and you're just wasting resources.

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I'm afraid I do not see the logic in that at all!. You'll have to forgive me if I put words in your mouth Distiller but you seem to be saying 'build a Fleet carrier or forget it'?. Once again why do we need to build the centrepiece of Europes 1st Fleet? Europe aren't offering to pay for the catobar conversion or offering to contribute to the costs of establishing permanent naval squadrons to fly off them!. We have no requirement to go after China or India alone, but, we have been involved bombing Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya since the end of Desert Storm!.

If we do have to go in somewhere hotter with STOVL, on the proviso the 35B makes it, there is a simple division of tasking with someone elses carrier and/ or strategic-range air doing battlespace domination and deep strike and we do CAS/BAI at 100 sorties per day while we get beachhead/airhead established. Noteworthy contribution any way you cut it.

We therefore are building ships that let us generate high sortie rates of precision strike effect at 400nm+ from the ship without all of the usual naval tacair cost. Moreso its a capability that can be converted to a more conventional role should it ever be required and that spend justified which it isnt and can't be today. To me, for what we want to use naval air to do, STOVL CVF and Carrier Strike were real winning ideas and condemning them for not being something they have never been designed to be is unfair comment.

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Not intending to do more than drop bombs on, at most, regional power level states!. Who is there who's frigate/ssk navy could challenge us in bluewater and precisely what is our brigade-level landing capability going to do against regional superpowers?. You seem to be advocating unrequired capability levels for no better reason than to show 'ambition'. Shame.

No, it is plenty vs surface action groups, it's the part when you have to go within striking range of land based strike a/c, that the problem arise.
First you havn't got an AWAC, tho an Osprey could be built to do this, and i sure hope you'll get a couple of them with an Erieye or similar.
The 2nd part is long range UAV recce/strike, which i'm convinced is going to need cats&traps.
So i don't object B, i object the lack of means to operate AWAC & long range UAV

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No, it is plenty vs surface action groups, it's the part when you have to go within striking range of land based strike a/c, that the problem arise.
First you havn't got an AWAC, tho an Osprey could be built to do this, and i sure hope you'll get a couple of them with an Erieye or similar.
The 2nd part is long range UAV recce/strike, which i'm convinced is going to need cats&traps.
So i don't object B, i object the lack of means to operate AWAC & long range UAV

Is that the problem though? Going in range of land-based air isn't the issue - 250nm offshore your carrier is below the radar horizon to any airborne radar platform patrolling its coast at 20k ft. The opposition finding you will be difficult enough and you would have been launching 35B strikes at coastal and theatre entry denial targets I.e naval facilities, ground radar, comms nodes, airfields etc from 500 miles with Storm Shadow. The 'mere' 450nm range of the STOVL type is enough to give shore based opposition a very difficult time counter detecting the carrier.

Long range recce, in permissible environments, could be fixed before the carriers are finished. As I have already stated a UAV able to carry and power a suitable search radar is flying operationally now. Its manufacturer claims it can be carrier converted. The low-power EM catapult to launch the 9000kg class UAV also exists and is tested. If BAE don't want to develop a radar version of Telemos/Mantis then contracts to GA and Converteam sort out electronic support/ISTAR quite adequately. Without necessity for full court catobar.

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Long range recce, in permissible environments, could be fixed before the carriers are finished. As I have already stated a UAV able to carry and power a suitable search radar is flying operationally now. Its manufacturer claims it can be carrier converted. The low-power EM catapult to launch the 9000kg class UAV also exists and is tested.


1) if the cost of converting QEC for full CATOBAR really is £1.8bn, your low power E-M catapult will of course be cheaper to buy, so that saves half of the EMALS cost, but presumably installation, training, systems changes will be about as much. Indeed you would need both the CATOBAR systems and the STOVL systems if you only installed it. Also deck layout and training would be more complicated. So I'm struggling to see how this would be affordable given it is going to cost north of £1.5bn

2) If the cost of converting QEC/POW is much less, then why aren't we doing it?

Either way, I can't see why your option gives good value for money Jonesy

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Just to clarify the issue of EMALS contracts etc, this just published by the House of Commons

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has stopped any work or deferred signing contracts on (a) the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and (b) the arrester hook equipment.

Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 18 April 2012, c371W)

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

We have not yet signed any contracts for the procurement of any Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment, be that the Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System or Advanced Arrestor Gear.

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1) if the cost of converting QEC for full CATOBAR really is £1.8bn, your low power E-M catapult will of course be cheaper to buy, so that saves half of the EMALS cost, but presumably installation, training, systems changes will be about as much. Indeed you would need both the CATOBAR systems and the STOVL systems if you only installed it. Also deck layout and training would be more complicated. So I'm struggling to see how this would be affordable given it is going to cost north of £1.5bn

Either way, I can't see why your option gives good value for money Jonesy

We're only talking about a low voltage catapult able to launch a 9 tonne UAV Prom. Its not going to be anything like a full EMALS fit. The flight deck width is easily there to set up a shallow-angled landing run and, indeed, if we are going to SRL F-35B's with any frequency it could be that we go that route anyway. The only thing that you may have to carry over in full from CATOBAR could be the DAX gear IF the UAV would even require that. I imagine a lot would hinge on the UAV approach speed and gust response characteristics.

Operational costs....wire/cat life etc arent going to be anything like a full CATOBAR setup. Seeings your UAV's have endurances of 24hrs+ your 'CATOBAR' flying programme is launch today.....land tomorrow!. Its not going to be difficult to fit a STOVL/rotary flying programme around that. Extra training/support requirements will be there for supporting the cat/trap but, again, this may not even require a full-time manning and could, in theory, be passed to existing engineering teams as a secondary duty....something you definitely could not do for high-tempo systems as in full CATOBAR.

2) If the cost of converting QEC/POW is much less, then why aren't we doing it?

Honestly I've no idea. To me as soon as it became obvious that we had an air vehicle with the payload and power generation to lift a Searchwater sized set, and keep it up for 24hrs+, its prime contender for MASC/Crowsnest/Scavenger and however many other programmes we can adapt it to fit. Optimally this is a variant of BAE's Mantis....otherwise Guardian/Mariner is a variant on MQ-9 and we know all about that chappy too.

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Despite what the press have been saying the final choice on a switch back to STOVL has not yet been made according to the MOD under secretary.

http://www.defencemanagement.com/news_story.asp?id=19580

(Don't watch the video its deathly boring as the MP's press the Senior Civil Servant for answers she cannot give until after the PR12 has been finalised and the Ministers decided the action to be taken).

We are not going to hear anything now until after the UK local elections
next week.

One thing looked certain, they were not for answering MP's questions neither confirming or denying the various press stories, and its shocking how many of those committee MP's had a clue about the Carrier Strike program, the aircraft and the issues apart from what they read in the papers !!!!:eek:

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DJ

If we need to strike deep inland we are going to use TLAM anyway as we have no space-based or VLO airborne recon assets to target in realtime at deep strike ranges. If we are shooting at fixed, pre-identified, targets why are we sending manned strikers when we have TLAM???. Deep strike as a justification for CATOBAR on CVF is, frankly, absurd.

.

Here here! I for one have never seen the logic in putting big big bombs on small, fast, planes. Particularly now that we have highly accurate stand off weapons with significant range? What of course we should have done is this -

Kinloss - Tripoli? 1,899 Miles. Un-refuelled range Nimrod MRA4. 6,910 Miles (I have heard as much as nine?) 4 x Stormshadow on underwing pylons, internal bomb bay 22,000 lbs. Job done.

And the really sad thing? We could have. Whilst it is easy to take rumour of Machiavellian inter AND intra service rivalry too much to heart, there was something really strange about the death of Nimrod, not least why they were bulldozed on cam with such indecent haste. Apparently the attached photo giving proof that Stormshadow was not only planned for integration on MRA4, but they had actually got as far as to hang it off the wing. It is however also rumoured that this is a photo that one Glenn Torpy, Air Chief Marshall of the Royal Airforce, Tornado pilot, and now listed on LinkedIn as 'the Senior Military Advisor' at BAE, ordered never to see the light of day......

In memorium of SuperNimrod, an original contributor to this thread....

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Profile picture for user Fedaykin

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Its hardly surprising that Glenn Torpy wanted that photo suppressed, Nimrod MRA4, Stormshadow and A330 MRTT would of given the RAF a true quick reaction global strike capability. The First Sea Lords of the Royal navy would of had a supreme hissy fit as it offers a faster reaction time to a situation then the Tomahawk equipped SSN. There was also talk of putting Paveway IV on Nimrod MRA4 as well...

Anyhow such is life!

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Its hardly surprising that Glenn Torpy wanted that photo suppressed, Nimrod MRA4, Stormshadow and A330 MRTT would of given the RAF a true quick reaction global strike capability. The First Sea Lords of the Royal navy would of had a supreme hissy fit as it offers a faster reaction time to a situation then the Tomahawk equipped SSN. There was also talk of putting Paveway IV on Nimrod MRA4 as well...

Anyhow such is life!

Torpy having a twitchy fit when he saw that I can believe!. There is his deep and persistent strike budget gone in a second!. Fill the front of the weapons bay with a cluster of MALD-J's (as I believe we have interest in) to hide behind and you've got the reach, endurance, commo kit and space to stage out taking an onboard strike planning cell along for the ride. The more perfect CASOM platform is hard to conceive of!

I'm not sure their lordships in the admiralty would have been all that vexed by Nimrod/CASOM as the two capability sets would have been more complementary than exclusive. You arent going to get a Nimrod to stay on station permanently for a week for instance!. Plus an LO CASOM like Storm Shadow could have had use 'shooting in' RN TLAM's by hitting hardened air defence SOC's or fixed AD targets etc along the early phases of a plotted TLAM ingress path. You could also see potential interaction between the two platforms - should Nimrods strike planning software, for instance, carry a more up to date threat database along a specific ingress corridor than the SSNs the aircraft could either downlink the data or update and refine the TLAM strike plan before firing....or, with TacTom, even when the weapon was flying!.

The SSN, in return, could upload operational intel on observed patrol patterns, the opfors actual EOB profiled over time etc, etc. The kind of intel that can be best collected by a covert and persistent platform like a fleet boat.

The more you think about it the greater the sheer stupidity of the decision to bin Nimrod becomes apparent.

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I totally agree that it would of been an excellent complimentary capability to the RN and its Cruise missile equipped subs...the only problem I see with that ideal world is the institutional hatred of the RAF within the higher echelons of the RN! Considering all the attempts at wiping out the RAF over the years by the boys in dark blue (and green) or at least belittling everything about the light blue I see what should be seen as a positive development for combined operations being perceived as "pissing in their pond" and a budgetary threat!

Also agree that Torpy being a pointy strike boy being paranoid over the protection of the deep and persistent strike budget! Ironic really considering that with a few messed up SSDR decisions over the last couple of defence reviews and that is verging on dead and buried! Actually if it does come to be that its back to F35B and STOVL "Deep and persistent strike" IS dead and buried! (That's not a dig at your preferences buddy but we can't ignore that over the last fifteen years the RAF's future deep penetration strike plans have been whittled down to virtually nothing). Then again if the plan is cruise missiles (Tomahawk/Stormshadow) and UCAV for penetration strike then maybe we need to look to the future. In that respect get on with the Storm shadow integration for Typhoon, have a proper look at a palletised or pylon based solution for the A400 and kick off a proper look at adding a cruise missile type to the frigate/destroyer fleet.