The massive example of British engineering and maritime capability that is HMS Queen Elizabeth should be fully resourced in order not to waste her potential.

The National Audit Office recently reported a series of risks to the effective delivery of the ‘Carrier Enabled Power Projection’ (CEPP) programme, one of the most serious issues found is what they describe as increasing pressure on a few highly trained personnel to operate the capability.

They also warn that while the MoD has brought forward Lightning costs originally planned for after 2020, so that two squadrons of jets are available sooner. The total forecast spend of £5.8 billion on Lightning procurement to 2020 could change if foreign exchange rates shift and the total number of jets on order globally varies.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office said:

“The Department [MoD]has made good progress and clear plans to achieve an initial Carrier Strike operating capability by December 2020, but it still has a lot to do as it brings together the equipment, trained crews, infrastructure and support. Problems in any of these areas could mean use of the carriers is delayed or reduced. The programme will shortly move into a high-risk period of trials, testing and training which may affect plans and increase costs. The closely timed sequence of tasks offers no further room for slippage and there remain significant risks to value for money.”

Additionally, the MoD recently accelerated its purchase of Lightning jets, which will support pilot training, however the number of pilots will be just sufficient up to 2026 with limited resilience in the event that personnel decide to leave the services.

According to the NAO, the MoD is ‘relying on an unusually high level of simulator-based training for pilots which, if not sufficiently realistic, could limit how well prepared pilots are to operate the jets’. The report ‘Delivering Carrier Strike’ warns that the programme is in a high-risk phase. These risks include:

• A tight schedule with limited contingency. The Department has set an ambitious master schedule that brings together the interdependent schedules of the three core programmes to achieve the full CEPP capability by 2026. It has taken a number of decisions to address slippage, which has compressed the schedule and increased risk.

• Operational unknowns that will only become clear once the equipment has been tested The schedule to 2020 includes several ‘firsts’ where the result is uncertain. For example, the first sailing of HMS Queen Elizabeth will take place in 2017, followed by flying trials from the carrier at sea in 2018. The Department has made good use of external expertise where available, for example UK personnel are training alongside the US military to maintain carrier skills. This means the Department will not need to train personnel from scratch when the carriers enter service.

• Increasing pressure on a few highly trained personnel to operate the capability. The Department has a shortage of military personnel, running at 4% below a target strength of 145,560. Key shortages include engineering roles and war-fighting specialists in the Navy and engineering, intelligence, and some aircrew cadres in the RAF. To minimise the impact of these gaps on Carrier Strike, the Department is prioritising the capability and carrying out targeted recruitment. However, it will rely on a few people in certain roles to build up the skills and experience needed in time. This is creating a risk of overburdening a small number of personnel in the build-up to first operational use from 2021.

To mitigate these risks, the NAO recommends that the MoD should:

a. Maintain a realistic view of the aggregate risk and review the master schedule and key milestones regularly. This will help to mitigate the risk of the schedule driving poor decision-making that does not make operational sense or that leads to greater risks or compromises elsewhere.

b. Guard against over-ambition and robustly resist any pressure to bring operational dates forward. In assessing any decision to use elements of Carrier Strike before December 2020, the Department should set out the risks of doing so, the impact on achieving the full capability and the wider impact on defence.

c. Make the decisions needed to integrate Carrier Strike into wider defence capability within the Department’s next annual planning round. This will help identify where there are conflicts such as over-committing equipment or differing views on deployment. Clarity about these issues will be important for ensuring that current programme plans are realistic.

d. Set out arrangements for long-term leadership and oversight of the CEPP capability. Even after reaching the milestones of Carrier Strike and CEPP, there will still be a need for strategic oversight and a forum for discussing issues across the Commands and wider Department.

e. Build more resilience into its workforce model. The Department should continue to monitor workload and time away from base, and ensure that personnel have enough support. In the longer term, the Department needs to maintain efforts to recruit and train extra personnel.

f. Promote formal and informal sharing of lessons learned, and ensure transfer of learning to other complex defence programmes such as the Nuclear Enterprise.

 

77 COMMENTS

  1. Why do we need a new LHD when a single QEC can take 24 helicopters and its strike package of 24-36 F35B’s – also where do we get these helicopters and the personnel to man said LHD.

    Much better to keep our LPD’s and Bays (which are under utilised as it stands) and load these carriers to at least 80% of their capacity as standard.

    There is no logical reason to have an LHD with all the other assets we have and the limited volume of helicopters we have as well.

    More Escorts and more subs should be the priority once we are committed to retaining the Bays and Albion classes.

    • Pacman27 – exactly the point I have been making Sir. We should let Ocean go to her new home because basically one of a class is pointless, we now have huge helicopter delivery capability with the QEs and the crew and helicopter resources attached to Ocean can be transferred as working assets to QE or PoW.

      We need two new LPDs to add to Albion and Bulwark which can be kept in store for surge needs (something the Americans do very well) and these could be started very quickly to kick off the National Shipbuilding Strategy if we don’t do a huge re-write to the specification from where the Albions are now and then every 6 months after. We do need to make sure they can deliver Challenger II MBTs so the ships will be slightly bigger and heavier but not hugely so. And we should now stick to a standardised Fleet Power System – MT30, Wartsilla (or RR MTU) and electric drive. All of which gives forward vision to suppliers, bigger order buying power and a guaranteed known system that just requires one set of trained Mechs.

    • The QEC is to big and therefore venerable to use as a LHA. Also the Merlin it carries are not appropriate for amphibious operations. Essentially it can’t operate as a strike carrier and LHA ship at the same time.

      • The only technology this ship will be venerable is the USA and we won’t be fighting them … The Chinese still can’t make a decent screw yet for BQ .

      • Harry – So are you saying HMS Ocean is not vulnerable and the QE is? And whatever helos operate off Ocean can’t operate off QE? And that the Chinooks operating off Ocean can’t operated off QE?

        I could swear I saw Junglies on QE as she came in to Portsmouth the first time.

      • Harry

        What helicopters does Ocean carry and in what quantity that the QEC’s cannot.

        Unfortunately your argument doesn’t stack up. Sorry

        • I’d read the air group will have both Fixed Wing, ASW & ASCS elements, and CSAR, CHF Types at once, so a nice mix.

          The QEC can pretty much operate whatever it wants, its big enough.

    • Why do we need a new LHD when a single QEC can take 24 helicopters and its strike package of 24-36 F35B’s – also where do we get these helicopters and the personnel to man said LHD.

      Because no Helo can lift armour to the LZ

      • @Farouk. we all know that however nor can an LHD – I think you will find an LPD is the only ship that is able to do this and most on this site are in favour of retaining Albion and Bulwark and the Bays. Ocean does not offer anything the QEC can’t do better and with more of.

        Also you wouldn’t put either close in as there is no need – helicopters have a range of at least 200km so no need to go into the littorals for these assets.

  2. I agree with Pacman27. Let’s concentrate on getting full utility from the superb QEC’s over the next few years and keeping the LPD’s in service.
    We can replace the LPD’s with LPH style ships when it comes to decommissioning Albion/Bulwark, which hopefully won’t be for while.

    • That Guardian article is shite. Terrorism is a current threat. Doesn’t mean it will always be the biggest problem.
      And even then US and French carriers have used their aircraft to attack terrorist targets.
      The half baked idiot who wrote this dross hasn’t got a clue about the flexibility a carrier offers a nation.

    • Otto – I got as far a ‘theguardian’ and realised it would be a waste of time reading it.

      Proves exactly my point I made elsewhere that the Leftie do-gooder liberals are the insidious 5th columnists of the UK…. Look no further than Corbyn and the Momentum morons …

      • I read it just for kicks. This statement in it typifies the whole sorry article:

        ” and on aircraft carriers with empty flight decks.”

    • It’s a point of view that you’d expect from the Guardian, but it’s not partly without its merits. Most of us would indeed recognize – as does the RN – that with the QEII and PoW they have put most of their eggs in one basket.

      Also, in terms of aircraft, it may well be that they rarely carry their full complement. So in terms of highlighting the risks with the cost-constrained defence choices that the UK has made we all know about – yes – it’s making fair points.

      But where it goes very badly wrong is to say that because terrorism is the foremost threat now – we shouldn’t be bothering with these ‘white elephants’. But since these carriers will have a 50-year lifespan such a blanket statement is nonsense.

      In the 1960s the RAF was keen to scupper the RN’s proposed new carrier (and indeed it did get cancelled) but then 20 years later along comes the Falklands. During the Cold War in the 70s if you’d said the UK would deploy an armoured division to the Middle East they’d have thought you were a nutter. And then came Iraq.

      So we don’t know what’s around the corner. As Yogi Berra is supposed to have said: Predictions are difficult, especially when it comes to the future.

      I’m glad we have the carriers. Just wish we had a bigger defence budget. Best Tim

      • Tim62 – excellent point and something that a lot of people miss.

        Defence is about worst case scenarios – not day to day and we have clearly missed the boat with Cyber which is now a type of warfare in its own right.

        The Falklands and the Gulf war are key examples of why we need seldom used capabilities, what the military do really badly though is to not utilise these assets properly during peacetime.

        The QEC’s can take 48 F35bs easily (most images show 24 on deck), so our worst case planning should be to operate both at once fully loaded, this means 96 F35b’s +spares etc and at least 72 Helicopters of different types (inc Escorts at max load).

        We are nowhere near this and that is now the scale of our challenge.

        As we have pulled out of mainland Europe our CBG’s are essentially now the BEF and we need to be serious about this or accept we only need a defence force.

  3. The BBC reported about the commissioning then made heavy weather about the costs! Aunty has become so left wing, anti-state, I can no longer tolerate its blatant bias. In fact, one of the MOD’s biggest enemies is not a potential military foe, but the bloody British media and its manipulations. We don’t need to worry too much about false news, as politically motivated news editors are a far more formidable force. They call it balance, and fair representation of the facts, if you believe that, then the Moon is really made of cheese.

  4. Said all along the long-term strategy is to be an additional force for the USN and to cover the med and mid-east to allow an additional american carrier to be deployed in the Pacific.

    The RN and MOD have no intention of buying additional support destroyers for the carriers the strategy is to use partner Nato ships.

    At the same time they will get away with a minimum JSF force knowing full well that at a time of conflict USMC JSF will double the numbers. The USN is in on this long term approach.

    If things are really bad one of the carriers will deploy with a just a USMC wing.

    The below article outlines this. Your smoking crack if you think the RN or MOD has another long term strategy.

    https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/12/06/how_to_save_or_destroy_the_royal_navy_112743.html

    • Tim – Given the way Trump just screwed up the Middle East and Eastern Med area I am sure the US Navy would be more than happy to hand it over to the Royal Navy.

      Not sure we should take the poisoned chalice though. The US has screwed up every foreign policy initiative in the area since WWII starting with the creation of Israel so let them clear up their own shit that has flowed since their actions in the late 1940s. We should enhance our relations with particular nations for specific reasons that benefit us (like in Bahrain) but we should pass on being the Middle Eastern Navy …

      • We are and will continue to be dependent on middle eastern oil whilst the US is not. They can afford to pass the middle east to us but we cant afford to not be involved there. That being said there is no reason we cant do a better job. Not sure why you say Trump screwed up the middle east, as it has been a basket case for decades and our fingerprints are all over that. All Trump did today was move an embassy to where it should already have been.

      • Do explain how acknowledging reality on the ground that has been the state of play since 1967 is President Trump screwing up the Middle East.
        The creation of the Nation of Israel is the only good thing for the US to come out of WWII. Every thing else benefited other countries oftentimes even when they STARTED the war, or committed GENOCIDE and were given foreign aid as punishment. At least the Israelis were victims of either Anti-Semitic euros or psychotic Arab fanatics. America sided with the wronged and it is as simple as that. They have been America’s most steadfast ally. Israeli governments of any party have never wavered during the struggles against terrorism Britain cannot say the same.

        • David – So where are our ‘fingerprints all over it’? We basically haven’t had a role East of Suez since the Americans shafted us and the French (their biggest and long time Allies) over Suez when the Israelis, who actually sided with us to start with, then became worried we were getting ‘too close’.

          And please define one US Foreign Policy in the Middle East that has ‘gone well’?

        • Elliot those Arab fanatics you talk about were largely living in a state called Palistine and the terrorists the USA have fought against with their steadfast ally Israel also tend to be Palistinian. You tend to reap what you sow and the British know a lot about this type of thing.

          • NO such State existed. The Palestinian Mandate was not a sovereign state it was territory under Imperial rule by Britain often under Martial Law. Before then it was split between what is now Jordan and Syria under the Ottoman Empire. Before then it was the Abbasid Caliphate. The area only got the name Palestine as a romanization of the word Philistia when they renamed the province after the Hebrew’s enemies as punishment for rebellion.
            Also these Radical Islamists have come from all over the planet. So yes we do reap what we sow. It is obvious the United States has been FAR to merciful. The radicals who are willing to strap a bomb on a 7yr old little girl and send her into checkpoint. Are in NO way deserving of sympathy, pity, or any amount of restraint in conflict against them.
            Do tell me this year a Palestinian snuck into a village and murdered 5 out of 7 family members as they sat down for Yom Kippor dinner. Another gunned down 2 Israeli police officers who were were Druze, a hint that means Muslim just cause they wore an Israeli uniform. Spare me your Palestinians are peaceful rhetoric. I remember when the Pravda spun it’s lies about my country, at least they were more imaginative.

          • Elliot using CAPITALS is just a little childish and if you can highlight where I stated that the Palestinians are peaceful I will buy you a pint. The horrible and appalling acts you list are however, not a licence to commit genocide and you are confusing ISIS and associated fanatics with the rights of ordinary Palestinians.
            If a two state solution could be found much of the terrorism against Israel would stop although it seems the Muslims would then descend further into a sectarian conflict. Anyway this is not usually a website that discusses the Arab/Israeli conflict.

        • Elliott – I will preface my remarks by pointing out I was prepared to give Mr Trump the benefit of the doubt and actually defended him against most ‘perceived wisdom’ he was an accident waiting to happen internationally. I supported his State visit to the UK when probably 90% of the UK were against it. The PM was right to invite him then and it remains right now. He is the Head of State of our most important ally and sometimes we have to shake hands with people we would rather not have to.

          Well here is that ‘accident’ I mentioned. If you (or he) cannot see the impact on the so called ‘Peace Process’ or the progress to a Two State Solution of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital then you are completely ignorant of both history and reality. And to cover up what is simply a payback to the Israeli lobby in the US (which has a couple of floors to itself in the State Department) as something else is frankly disingenuous. No Candidate ever gets elected in the USA as President by being anti-Israel and upsetting the Jewish vote. That isn’t being anti-Semitic it is statement of hard political reality. Obama did criticise and blank Isreal after he was elected and look how he was savaged afterwards.

          The ‘state of play’ since 1967 is that the UN and every other International body and all other states recognised that Jerusalem is a totally unique city. It has huge religious significance to the three main religions who equally share sacred ground. There are three ‘quarters’ that reflect those religions. What has progressively changed since 1967 has been the illegal occupation by ‘settlers’ of Palestinian owned land and the creation of large tracts of Isreali land that separates Palestinian communities on the West Bank. Nothing in Jerusalam itself has changed in any way.

          You bypass HOW the US created the state of Israel of course because it makes unpleasant reading. So lets reprise a few facts: For some 30 years Palestine was a Mandated Protectorate under International Law. The mandated ‘protecting power’ was the UK, it was called ‘The Palestinian Protectorate’ and it worked reasonably peacefully all that time until 1946 with all three religions equally treated. The UK Government in 1917 in the Balfour Declaration declared that there would always be a Jewish Homeland in Palestine but not to the exclusion of other religions or the detriment of Jews internationally. This is worth a read:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration#/media/File:Balfour_declaration_unmarked.jpg

          In particular his words were:
          “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”

          So after WWII (in which British Forces defended Palestine, Egypt and all the rest against the Germans and Italians) the US backed Zionist gangs Stern, the Irgun, the Lehi, the Haganah and the Palmach murdered and butchered their way through Arab communities in Palestine creating panic and movement of communities. They shipped hundreds of thousands of European Jewish refugees (with no connection to Palestine whatsoever) to use as the battering rams for their objectives and basically removed the Muslim and Christian Palestinian populations by force of arms. 740 British service people were killed defending innocent Palestinians against these murderers who were basically ethnically cleansing Palestine with the bullet, bomb, IED and large numbers of foreign people. So don’t lecture us on who did what in Palestine.

          So then we come to 1948, the US forced the UN to recognise the new State of Israel and basically erase Palestine form history. Since then those Palestinians have been fighting for their OWN lands, businesses and homes that were stolen from them. You can play the terrorist card if you want but the first terrorists were the Zionist gangs I listed. I know. My cousin was killed guarding a hotel by an IED in Jerusalem.

          Quote:
          “America sided with the wronged and it is as simple as that.”
          No. The USA sided with the Zionists. The ‘wronged’ were the Palestinians shipped out of a country they had lived in for centuries.

          Quote:
          “They have been America’s most steadfast ally.”
          No shit Sherlock. Of course they have. They have been the single biggest beneficiary of US Foreign aid in history. They get CASH ($3 Bn in 2017) every January! Lets say ‘paid allies’ shall we?

          Quote:
          “Israeli governments of any party have never wavered during the struggles against terrorism Britain cannot say the same.”
          Well if you mean against people fighting for their homes well yes they have been pretty brutal. In ONE operation in Gaza in 2014 2,100 innocent civilians were butchered by Israel firing 34,000 unguided shells into Gaza. Including illegal Phosphor bombs. No ‘wavering’ there at all.
          And where has the UK EVER ‘wavered’ against any form of terrorism? Including 30 years of US funded IRA terrorism in our own backyard. Or anywhere else. Or is this just another ‘sleight of fact’ like the rest of your post.

          Trump is an international liability and has proved it with this utterly stupid act. It was not necessary and we (outside the USA) know what the consequences will be. He has just recruited thousands more ISIS fighters …. but we have to endure him as he is an elected POTUS. I just hope you Americans will see sense in 2020.

          • No he has not just recruited more ISIS fighters. These people have been chanting death to the west since the first radical realized he could manipulate the word of his prophet to attain power.
            The Palestinians did not have their lands “stolen”. Right of conquest through war is one of the oldest institutions of mankind. I am well aware of how Israel was born. The Arabs attacked the Jewish immigrants FIRST and repeatedly. The Israelis created defense groups when Britain repeatedly refused them justice for their murdered families. Then not to finish there the UK decided to try and curtail Jewish immigration after WWII by putting recently freed Holacost victims in “Displaced Persons Camps”on Crete. How did you think Americans were going to react when they saw that just after liberating the camps in Germany.

            The UK is one of the most UNRELIABLE countries on terrorism. You can blow up plane loads of people or kill a decorated Admiral and member of the Royal family and his grandson, and still walk out of prison. In the US they would have been executed if the police even bothered to arrest instead of “shot while resisting arrest” that or they would be taken care of by their fellow inmates when sent to prison.

            FYI Phosphorus munitions are only banned by Euro countries and their puppets. America signed but did not ratify, the Secretary of State at the time was laughed out of the Armed Services committee. The US, China, India, Russia, and South Korea all use them. Furthermore placing military targets within civilian population centers makes those centers legal targets of war. Complaining about your city being bombed after launching rocket attacks is a little rich.
            No one outside highly arrogant UN officials give a single solitary damn what resolutions are passed by them. The State of Play is who has “clear and consistent police power. Translation more guns, tanks, and aircraft.

          • Elliott – You just eloquently proved my various points that Americans, and therefore sadly their leaders, really do not have a clue and happily scoop up whatever historical re-write suits their agenda. Quote:
            ” The Arabs attacked the Jewish immigrants FIRST”
            Oh did they really? So when was that then? Are you referring to the Arab rebellion against the British in the ’30s? they didn’ attack the Jewish community.
            According to Gordon Welty in his respected 1995 book: “Palestinian Nationalism and the Struggle for National Self-Determination” Philadelphia: Temple University. page 21. ISBN 1-56639-342-6.
            “The Irgun began bombing Palestinian Arab civilian targets in 1938”
            The Irgun you will recall were vicious Zionist thugs and mureders not Arabs.

            And only a Redkneck Yank would call a country like the UK ‘UNRELIABLE’ simply because we moved on in the 20th century and stopped Capital Punishment because we realised that however great our legal system mistakes are made and better to release someone from prison than hang a Presidential Pardon on their tombstone.

            And yes we know all about how your Police manage to have people “shot while resisting arrest”. Especially if they are black of course. Best not go down the gun route Pal you’d lose by a country mile.

            And then you justify the slaughter of 2,100 civilians because three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in 2014? Not that anyone was arrested, charged, tried or found guilty. No apparently an Israeli life is worth 700 dead Palestinian men, women and children. And you justify that?

            Do not lecture the UK on how we treat people when your moronic Police shoot without a thought and when your own people manage to shoot thousands of your own citizens. You are terrorists within your own country ….

          • First the time rioters decided it wouldn’t be a bad way to spend the afternoon massacring Jewish people in Jerusalem in the 1890s second the Arab Insurgencey 1930-35, Arab Revolt 1936-39 note major Zionist insurgency did not begin until late 1944. If you think people don’t get killed in the crossfire of a revolt you are amazingly high.By the way I did read Mr.Yelty’s book, it was more liberal trashing and ignored anything that did not suit his Palestinian fetish.
            Also thank you for your classism towards the American working class who make up the bulk of the Army and Navy that Europe stakes it’s defense on. By once again dismissing them as if we are just “rednecks” , and “terrorists within our own country.”
            Once again also with calling the police racist without cause. Perhaps we just don’t think it is a good state of affairs for a policeman to be killed by a migrant with a meat cleaver. Yes America so racist we had a black president for 8yrs.

          • Elliott – Did I use the word ‘racist?. No I bloody didn’t. But you just peddled it to deflect the argument. Have US Police shot more blacks than whites (on a Per Capita basis)? – Well sadly yes they have.

            And did I call the whole of the US population ‘Redknecks’? No I bloody didn’t do that either. But again you misrepresent to justify a false following statement. I was referring to YOU and your inane comments. You just can’t take criticism can you? You have to turn any personal comment into a slagging of your country. Grow up …..

            And by the way if you had read that book (which I actually have on my bookshelf) the author was Mr Welty. Not Yelty. And of course you couldn’t resist the Redkneck reaction to summarise a very widely respected thesis which examines many of the factors in Middle East affairs with the words ‘liberal’ and ‘fetish’ thrown in as insults. Pathetic!

            Israel and what it does every day stands as a monument to the utter failure and incompetence of post WWII US Foreign Policy. And yes you had a black President. And look how Israel treated him: Netanyahu goes to the USA pokes two fingers to the POTUS and then wanders off to Congress to disrespect their Command in Chief and make an election speech. Outstanding example of the Israeli tail wagging the Yank dog …..

          • Really complaining over a typo. Suffice to say I have read the book. No it is not on my bookshelves anymore I donated it to my local library. Along with numerous others I knew I was never going to read again.
            Do not use pluralities and generalize if you intend to impugn in the singular ,“You are terrorists in your own country.” “Your moronic police kill without thought.” Considering I just attend the funeral of a state trooper who would be alive if he hadn’t wrote a speeding ticket to a drug dealer out on parole. As it is he would be walking his daughter down the aisle today, but no he did not “shoot without a thought.”
            Reasons for per capita shootings 6% of the population responsible for 44-47% of the murder. So play stupid games win stupid prizes.

      • Read the article. It’s about us maximizing the strategic dependence the US will have on the two carriers.

        Create reliance to deepen the alliance.

        Same with the key UK
        work in the JSF program.

        Of course in times of non peer warfare we can “project” prescence across the med and middle east but I guarantee GCHQ has more power to take a nation down than a carrier.

        If the UK was serious about lethality at sea we should have licensed the arleigh burke design and pumped out 20 loaded to gills with cruise, aegis and anti ship missiles and doubled the astute numbers.

        That is a navy.

  5. ‘They also warn that while the MoD has brought forward Lightning costs originally planned for after 2020, so that two squadrons of jets are available sooner. The total forecast spend of £5.8 billion on Lightning procurement to 2020 could change if foreign exchange rates shift and the total number of jets on order globally varies.

    It should be pointed out that the value of the pound against the dollar has gone from about $1.20 at the start of the year to about $1.35 now, so the dire consequences that were being warned of shortly after the Brexit vote don’t seem so serious now.

  6. Poor old Andrew. Down to a couple of big ships whilst the few remaining escorts are tied up in harbour and of which there is no news at all. We have paid dearly for these two poorly equipped carriers compared to the 50 plus aircraft including strike aircraft on board the old Ark and Eagle and their rightful replacements the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Duke of Edinburgh CVA01 & CVAO2 & CVA03 (Victorious replacement) and accompanying Type 82s. Now, they were ships along with the Albion and Bulwark, Centaur, Fearless and Intrepid, Lion, Tiger & Blake and destroyers and frigates by the squadron! Depot ships and dozens of subs then the real navy – the small vessels of the ‘Ham’ Class, the ‘Tons’ and so on. Good ships.

  7. Very disappointed by the BBC, there coverage of the commissioning of QE was minimal at best, and mentioned the cost in every other sentence. I think 3.1 billion for 50 years service is a bargin. It’s peanuts in the grand view of government spending

    • BBC? I’d abolish the licence fee tomorrow if I could. Brussels Broadcasting Corporation, poisoned by PC.
      Together with the Guardian totally against the nations armed forces, and, in the case of the Guardian, GCHQ.

      • @Daniele you must be looking at a different BBC to the rest of us. Any evidence that it is ‘totally against the nations armed forces’?

        Having a publicly funded broadcaster is one of the many great things about the UK.

        best Tim

  8. How difficult was it to sink the Atlantic Conveyer? Two rather elderly French misiles fired by a small South American power. And now we have this to support! Meanwhile, the country is facing quite possibly, the biggest economic crisis of modern times!

    • TH
      Sorry for the lateness
      The Atlantic Conveyer was hit by Exocets she was never sunk by them the Brits sank her as she became a hazered
      She was hit by those Exocets for one reason
      That reason was the fact that the Conveyer and RFA Regent where used to block the route of those missiles and so defend from attack HMS Hermies
      I was on Regent at the time and it would have been a big bang if we had got hit as we where an ammunition ship LOL
      We where guinea pigs to save a carrier
      Was not a nice site watching a ship burn

    • And yet in other posts previously you want the army cut even more, despite your obvious glee that it is indeed small already. Contradiction. If it is so small already does not need cutting does it?

      As usual your post smacks of vindictiveness and glee at the troubles of the military.

      You really are a nasty little shite aren’t you?

      • It’s not me cutting back on the defence budget, remember that. But what I have always forecast will surely come true. We need better defence more suited to a medium sized country.

        • “It’s not me cutting back on the defence budget, remember that.”

          Pointless reply.

          “But what I have always forecast will surely come true.”

          As I have replied to you on that point already, cuts in 91,95,98,2004,2009, all the time in between, 2010, 2015, and pending. No one disagrees, it is the attitude and reasoning towards them.

          “more suited to a medium sized country.”

          Medium in what fields?

          Militarily certainly, with some areas where the UK punches above its weight.

          A country that has worldwide engagement, wide ranging soft power, cultural diplomatic and military ties due to language and history. The UK does not have the same world view or status as say Sweden for example.

          The “medium sized” comment always nails it. Corbyn said similar but said a “rather small country” The Guardian calls carriers and SSBN’s “Status Symbols.”

          Status really is an issue with your sorts isn’t it? Putting your own nation down is a continual theme.

          Does having the 6th biggest economy make the UK medium? Not to me.
          Most of the worlds nations are behind.

          Does being a UNSC P5 member make the UK medium? Not to me.

          Does being a self proclaimed nuclear power make the UK medium?
          Not to me.

          Does the English language, Culture and Soft Power make the UK medium?
          Not to me.

          You consistently make comments that sound like every other leftist, Guardian reading Liberal do gooder that has a chip on their shoulder about Britain’s past, Empire, and position in the world.

          Do continue your put downs, and I will happily continue to debunk you and talk up my nation, not the opposite.

          • Pointless essay. Utterly pointless made by an ill informed individual lacking any ideas other than to impotently waffle on a corner of the internet.

      • Jonathan – I suspect Daniele might have meant little in mind (some or all of character, intellect, emotional intelligence etc) rather than physically.

        Harry – I had the very same thought myself.

        Daniele – I suggest not trying to look for sense or consistency. I suspect that TH randomly tries to press various buttons, often without really understanding anything about them, to try and elicit a response. Look how goading and inflammatory his (or her? Not sure which since it’s a gender-neutral user name) wording is in this last post. When pushing the various topic buttons fails another favourite button to push has been the ad-hominem-attack button, recently aimed at us as a whole group. I actually find it quite interesting and amusing now that I see how unthinking, unsubstantiated and instinctual his comments are. At one point some of us were willing to discuss sensibly some of the points TH raised but for me that time has passed as he/she has looked increasingly silly.

        We now have our very own lab rat troll here to study its behaviour. Lucky us.

        • Strikes me that TH has a lot in common with a certain US politician. They are both tweeting twits who turn up unexpectedly.

  9. Seems like a sensible report from the NAO, highlighting the risk points to the ongoing carrier project. All large projects military and commercial have similar stress points, and identifying them thoroughly is a means of minimising the downside and focusing resources where neccessary, while allowing perhaps easier and less-resourced phases between the stress points.

  10. This is all going to plan – the problem is that the general public don’t understand it properly. A tv programme similar to the one on Crossrail (the billion dollar railway) would go a long way to building the profile and showing everyone just what a fabulous achievement this is for our country.

    My only issue is it seems to me that capability gaps are not receiving the right treatment from the treasury in that we cut a key element of defence with a plan to re-instate later, but that cost is far greater than if we had continued. Surely this needs to be more formally documented and accounted for. As with a couple of people the BBC made a lot out of the cost of the QEC – but made no reference to the fact a significant proportion of the cost (20-30%) was the result of government indecision and then poor decisions.

    All said and done – on time and to budget – as defined by the client..

    • Dan Snow should be pretty good. At least he is historian (a 1st from Oxford in modern history) so hopefully will look with an objective eye and, if adding his own colouring, it will be to add historical context and comparable events rather than a journalistic angle of looking for downsides, claims of government incompetence and/or misjudgement and all the other usually imaginary muck that bad journalists often try to find (or invent).

      • I’d hardly call Dan Snow a great historian….. he’s far too boyishly enthusiastic about death and destruction. But all that said, he should do a good job on the carriers.

        • In fairness to me I didn’t call him a great historian, just a historian. My reference to his degree wasn’t to claim greatness but rather to show that he had clearly applied himself to his studies. Even if Dan Snow is not considered in historical circles to be a worthy academic I would still prefer, if any presenter’s observations are injected into the documentary, for those observations to be through the eyes of a historian rather than some journalist hack who feels that he or she needs to uncover and highlight some negative stuff even if it isn’t really there or is trivial vs the good stuff.

  11. TH Yawn back to you- why do you not just shut your computer down and save the power over there in Moscow- or does the basement of the Kremlin have its own nuclear power generator?
    are you allowed to divulge?
    On a more realistic point- the QE carriers should be the focus of our navy and we should rebuild our fleet after years of what appears to be terminal decline. Russia and China are building up their fleets at a break neck speed- we need to match this with enough warships, submarines and weapons to face down these threats. Everyone knows the RN needs 30 escort warships and 10 SSNs these should be enshrined in law and be the minimum size the RN is allowed to go too.
    Building a replacement for OCean makes total sense.

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